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Week 6: Dolphins at da Bears
There's a lot of buzz centered around our first round pick, not this years first rounder, no, our #3 overall from last year Dion Jordan, after a sub par year last year and then a lackluster showing in the first preseason game, where he played extensively due to Olivier Vernon being out for that game, there is a lot of talk about him being moved to LB.
None of that talk is coming from the team however, they maintain that he is going to be kept at DE, Neal Driscoll has started a petition to have him moved to LB, there is a link below where you can add you signiture if you so desire.
One of the popular choices is the strong outside LB, or Sam position in NFL lingo, but I'm not sure that will help, the Sam LB is usually more suited to stopping the run, or setting the edge when need arises.
That is the weakest part of his game, he has trouble one on one with TEs in the run game so we'd be in pretty much the same position with him, under performing.
Then there's the weak outside LB, or Willie position, this is where you try to put a player who is stronger rushing the passer, and he is better at that then he is a stopping the run, and most of the other duties at both Sam and Willie positions are the same, covering tight ends and running backs on your side, or playing in a zone coverage.
However, where he is better at rushing the passer, he hasn't yet shown to actually be a good pass rusher.
Both of these ideas do conform to conventional wisdom, you have a smallish DE who seems to be getting bogged down playing on the line, so move him back a little to play LB, and truth be told I would like to see either of these things given a try over DE, but as I said, they fit conventional wisdom, which is Inside the Box, time to revisit the title of this post.
How about middle LB, or the Mike position, whoa Finster! did you just say MLB? Yes I did, but just hold on a tic, it might just work, and we are Thinking Outside the Box here. It would not be totally unpresidented, think of Brian Urlacher, a tall lanky fast Mike LB who wasn't too shabby, he was 6'4", 258 LBs and ran a 4.57 40. Dion Jordan could be Brian Urlacher 2.0.
Lets start with what I think Dion could actually be historically great at, the middle zone, think about it, just standing in one spot he'll cover a huge area, add to that his fluid athletic ability and you have the potential to be one of the best middle zone coverage LBs the league has ever seen. The way the middle of the field is attacked by todays TEs he would significantly shorten the size of the windows in that area, QBs are constantly throwing over the Mike LB to TEs, throwing over Dion would not be as easy, he can get his hands on throws that are 10' in the air, his latteral movement would shorten the inside underneath throw as well.
Lets continue with what would be his strength at the Mike position, man coverage, we know Dion can run with just about anyone, and with his height, or Tony Sparano's favorite term, length, he can be trailing a little and still have his man covered, to a QB a guy with Dion's wing span blots out the sun. In any one TE set they outside LBs can simply release any inside routes to Dion and cover any running backs or simply rush the passer.
There is one more area where I think he can really excel playing the Mike position, blitzing, Dion could actually be quite a terror blitzing from the middle, we all know he's fast, but he will probably get more clean lanes rushing from the middle than anywhere else, and if he has a clean lane watch out, and his height/length becomes very problematic for QBs to throw over, especially if he's not being blocked.
Now we get to the part we would all worry about, stopping the run, but this is a problem no matter where he lines up, and with our defensive line being so stout he would get more clean looks at RBs from the Mike position than any other position. I also think that having all the space he would have at the Mike he would be much better handling blockers, since they would now have to come and seek him out instead of just being able to engage him right off the snap, this would give him many more options handling blockers.
In a way, you could think of him being a stretched out version of Zach Thomas, I wouldn't want Zach setting the edge or rushing the passer from the edge, they both have some weaknesses due to their size, short and stumpy and tall and lanky. You wouldn't need him to be the captain right away, or ever really, Ellerbe can call the plays, but what would remain to be seen was his instincts at the position, he's smart and coachable so he may actually be a very good captain one day, but we'll never know unless we try.
One parting thought, if he were to go and play the Sam or Willie, chances are he will still be labled a bust, even if he did well, because in our system the Sam and Willie aren't playmakers, but if we got a star Mike out of him then the pick can always be justified because that is a playmakers position.
Well, there's my take on Thinking Outside the Box with Dion Jordan, If all I did was give you all a little to think of then I've done my job, as always, GO FINS!
Here is the Neal Driscoll Dion Jordan to LB link;
Before training camp began we were all excited about what Lazor could do with RB Knowshon Moreno and WR Mike Wallace. With Lazor's version of the Chip Kelly offense, we were hoping for somewhat of a version of LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. Well, something close anyways.
Knowshon Moreno is recovering at a snail's pace.
Knowshon Moreno was a former first round pick of the Broncos, and had a very good year last year. If you had him on your fantasy league then you were very happy with him despite Air-Manning being the main focus of the Broncos.
Unfortunately, 5 weeks after getting his knee scoped he does not look to be anywhere near ready to play. In fact, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald is reporting that he may miss the entire preseason. Lamar Miller has gotten most of the snaps in that time and has looked good. He's working hard and shows flashes of being a good fit in this new offense, but from I am hearing Miller needs better consistency and focus. Let's keep in mind that the fantasy gurus were telling us last year that Miller was going to be a baller. Let's just hope that this is the year that he shows that he is our playmaker.
Luckily for Moreno, Coach Philben hasn't liked to give the rock to just one back. That's a head scratcher since Miller was clearly better than Daniel Thomas and we kept hearing they were "equal". Talk about a botched up job of brain-washing the fans. This is the internet age and we fans see a lot more tape on our Dolphins and know a lot more than coaches give us credit for.
Mike Wallace pulled his hammy.
One person that new OC was excited about is Mike Wallace. In fact, he has put him in many different offensive packages that mimicked what the Eagles did with DeSean Jackson last year. The reports were very favorable, but perhaps he is being used a little too much as he pulled his hamstring and is in danger of missing our first preseason game.
I am sure he will be fine by the start of the season, but right now the deep pass between he and Ryan Tannehill is nonexistent. That will only get bet with repetition, but with Miami's offensive line having issues with a very good Dolphins defense, the passes are not connecting with Wallace.
Backup Center Sam Brenner has a lower leg injury
The Dolphins are still having serious problems at center despite the fact that Coach Philben thinks they'll get it resolved. As I talked about a couple weeks ago, losing Mike Pouncey is a serious loss to an offensive line that was not a cohesive unit last year. It is such a shame that Jake Long's body could not keep up with the constant pounding as he would have been a major mainstay at LT for us for many years. His leadership was definitely missed last year.
So, the Dolphins felt that they could go with Shelly Smith at center, but he has had several botches with the ball exchange with his quarterback. Backup center Sam Brenner has a lower leg injury. Now the Dolphins are turning to Nate Garner who subbed in for Pouncey the last two games of the year. While he didn't do a terrible job, keep in mind that the offense was ineffective in those games and lost to our rival divisional foes and did not make the playoffs despite the fact that we were in control of our destiny.
With 5 new starters on our offensive line this year, things have got to get better if the Dolphins hope to control the clock. The Dolphins have Brandon Albert at LT, newly signed Daryn Colledge at LG, and rookie Ja’Wuan James set at RT, but their RG and C positions do not have a starter. At RG we have last year's 3rd round pick Dallas Thomas battling it out with rookie Billy Turner. Neither one has proven to be consistent yet. Turner may need another year to develop, but I feel he will eventually be our RG.
“I’ve been really impressed [with Ja'Wuan James]. He has some obvious rookie growing pains or learning curve. But talk about a great attitude, a great work ethic and a very talented individual! He’s done very well up to [now]. Very optimistic with Ja’Wuan.” (OL Coach Benton)
What I think will happen is that the Dolphins will eventually add Samson Satele at C and move Shelly Smith to RG. If that were to happen then I would have more confidence that Lazor's offense will take off this year.
DE Dion Jordan will have an outstanding year.
Once he gets past his 4 game suspension, Dion should look like the most improved Dolphin. He's gained muscle mass, and this is because his work ethic has been outstanding. I think all the cry baby fans that we have will be eating their criticism for trading up to the overall #3 position last year to get him.
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