Monday, October 4, 2010

Austin Spitler promoted to active roster

There are unconfirmed reported that the Miami Dolphins have promoted rookie inside linebacker Austin Spitler from the practice squad to the active roster in preparation for tonight's game against the New England Patriots.

Some anonymous tweets first broke the news three days ago, and the Sun-Sentinel's Mike Berardino reported similar whispers yesterday.

We won't officially know until the game begins, but if Spitler was indeed promoted, he should be dressed and active against the Patriots and out there on special teams.

A seventh-round pick from Ohio State, Spitler got off to a slow start in camp due to a bout with salmonella. He was leapfrogged by undrafted rookie Micah Johnson, who has played in one game this season and is currently back on the practice squad.

Spitler will be the Dolphins' fourth inside linebacker against the Patriots, as Channing Crowder is expected to miss yet another game with a mysterious groin injury.


Analysis

No corresponding roster move has been announced to make room for Spitler, although I'm guessing a fringe player like Patrick Brown, Ray Feinga, Marlon Moore, Mickey Shuler, or Roberto Wallace was waived.

The reports have Spitler's promotion also came with the info that Spitler would switch from No. 44 to an allowed linebacker number in 53, which was vacated this week by released linebacker Erik Walden.

Walden was re-signed for his special-teams ability, and it was an error on special teams (a blown assignment that allowed a blocked punt) against the Jets last Sunday that cost Walden his job.

Now, the guy taking Walden's number will get his chance to shine on special teams, because that's exactly why Spitler has been promoted.

The Dolphins don't need Spitler on defense with Bobby Carpenter and Tim Dobbins splitting time at inside linebacker alongside Karlos Dansby, and quite frankly, Spitler is far from ready for that kind of role anyway.

This promotion is essentially a special teams audition, as the Dolphins will continue to shuffle players on the unit hoping for some guys to stand out and stabilize it.

Spitler could be on the roster for just one game, or he could last the rest of the season. Some of it depends on Channing Crowder's recovery, and a ton of it depends on whether or not Spitler can showcase himself as an asset on special teams.

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


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