Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dolphins waive Erik Walden after costly special teams gaffe

In the third quarter of the Miami Dolphins' Sunday night game against the New York Jets, linebacker Erik Walden missed a blocking assignment that allowed a blocked Brandon Fields punt and eventually points for the opposition.

Less than 48 hours later, Walden found himself without a job, having been waived by the Dolphins on Tuesday.

This marks the second time Walden had been waived by the Dolphins this season. Originally let go on Sept. 4 during final cuts, Walden was re-signed following the season opener, ironically to provide a boost to the special teams unit.

Walden departments Miami—possibly permanently—having played in two games this season and recording zero tackles.

To take Walden's spot on the roster, the Dolphins have promoted rookie defensive end Rob Rose from the practice squad, who will be making his second appearance on the active roster.

Originally signing with the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie out of Ohio State, Rose was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins during final cuts and spent the first game of the season inactive.

Rose was waived before the Dolphins' Week 2 contest against the Vikings in favor of fellow defensive lineman Ryan Baker and was subsequently re-signed to the practice squad.

With Jared Odrick still recovering from a fractured fibula and Tony McDaniel suspended this week for violation of the Personal Conduct Policy, Rose will serve as the team's fifth defensive end against the Patriots along with fellow reserves Ryan Baker and Lionel Dotson.


Analysis

Walden's roster spot was never safe as a player that seems to have little upside on defense, but making such a huge mistake on special teams—the one area that is supposed to be his strength—did him in sooner rather than later.

While Walden is typically a good special teams player, his loss is not one that will be hard to replace. He'd essentially never played defense in his two-plus years with the Dolphins.

I'm not surprised to see Rose get the call up over Geathers, as Rose lasted longer during the pair's initial stint on the active roster. Geathers has actually even been let go from the practice squad once already, so he's clearly not valued to highly by the Dolphins.

The Dolphins could use a veteran backup at defensive end like Marques Douglas, who was in camp with the Dolphins this offseason, or the recently released Trevor Pryce.

However, it seems obvious the Dolphins are committed to the youth movement they've been on since final cuts, and I don't expect it to end any time soon.

 As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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