Written by Luis Sung at 8:15 PM EST | Twitter: @FLSportDebater
When the Miami Dolphins allowed defensive tackle Paul Soliai to leave the team in favor of former Texans nose tackle Earl Mitchell, many fans were incredibly skeptical about the move. Soliai was a fan favorite and the team let Soliai go without even putting up a fight for him. Now, the move seems to have become one of the more brilliant moves made by new General Manager Dennis Hickey.
“I love Earl Mitchell, I’m going to tell you that right now." said defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. "Earl is a consummate pro. He comes every day. When you look at Earl in the meetings, you know he’s listening to everything that you’re saying. He takes great pride in his performance. His effort is off the charts. If you watch him play snap after snap after snap, he’s running people down on the sideline. He’s affecting plays, some you notice during the game and some you don’t notice until you watch the tape and say, ‘Hey, he threw that ball out of bounds because Earl was coming back on him.’"
Earl has been excellent so far this season, being seen stuffing several running backs and stopping them cold at the line of scrimmage. Paired with fellow tackles Randy Starks and Jared Odrick, Mitchell's effectiveness becomes even more potent.
“Absolutely. That group of three tackles, I think you’d be hard pressed to find groups much better throughout the league when you go three deep there." said Kevin Coyle. "You’ve got guys, they all have a little different skill set. Randy is tough to move, he’s to move, he’s very smart inside and he’s productive. JO (Jared Odrick) is probably the most gifted athlete out of the three. He can outmaneuver guys, he can still play strong at the point of attack, he’s a very good inside pass rusher. Earl is one of those lunch pail guys that just keeps on coming, he never stops. We’re real happy to have all of them."
Mitchell is a strong, athletic tackle who has clearly benefited from being in this defense and being under the tutelage of defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers, and after a lot of time of not being able to find a home, Mitchell has carved a little niche for himself right here in Miami.