Dolphins linebacker Kelvin Sheppard confident that he can be the middle linebacker the team is missing
The captain of the defense is often considered to be the middle linebacker, and the Dolphins haven't had a really good one of those since the days of Zach Thomas. The argument could be made that Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby did a good job during his tenure in Miami, but even he was under major scrutiny.
Now, with linebacker Koa Misi down with an injury, veteran Kelvin Sheppard is getting an opportunity to show he can be the leader of the Dolphins defense, and he's made it a point to say he's confident in his ability to do so.
After the game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, Sheppard talked about his performance as well as the rest of the defense.
“We played overall well as a unit, stopping the run and everything like that,” Sheppard said.
And despite the lack of stats on his part, as he only gained one assisted tackle the whole game, Sheppard says he felt he did well, more in the sense of being a field general rather than a box score stuffer.
“I think I played fairly well. We were very gap sound and gap disciplined it seemed like." Sheppard said. Not too many balls popped out during the time I was in there.”
Before the injury to Misi, Sheppard had been rotating between the first and second team, and depending on what day it was, Sheppard would play middle linebacker on either the first team with Koa Misi flanking his right, or he would be in the middle on the second team with Jordan Tripp and veteran Spencer Paysinger.
Now with both Misi and Tripp both down for the count, it's become even more imperative that the likes of Sheppard and rookie linebacker Zach Vigil step up and take their places.
The linebacker corps is currently a mess, as injuries often create. Sheppard isn't anything spectacular, but with the addition of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and the strength that the Dolphins defensive line possesses, Sheppard doesn't need to be spectacular.
In truth, he just needs to be good enough.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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