Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
In the offseason, linebacker Jason Trusnik sat down with head coach Joe Philbin and in simple terms, told him that he was more than a special teams player and wanted the opportunity to be given a chance to compete for a starting position.
“I remember last spring sitting down one-on-one visiting with him and he wanted to be thought of as more than just a special teams player, that playing defensive football was important to him,” Philbin said. “He felt like he could make a valuable contribution and I thought Sunday was a great example of that.”
While it appears that the conversation didn’t change much due to the fact that Philip Wheeler, Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe were just about locked in as starters, Philbin now has no choice but to start Trusnik due to injuries to all three linebackers. As it stands now, Trusnik is listed number one on the depth chart at the outside linebacker position in Ellerbe’s place. Trusnik is ready for the weekly challenge.
“It means a lot,” Trusnik told the Miami Dolphins website. “I’ve always prided myself on just being able to help this team any way possible. Obviously I’ve been a core special teams guy throughout my career and done some great things there. But I’ve always tried to be that next guy to step in and be the starter so the defense doesn’t lag, the defense can count on me, have respect for me and know that I can make plays and help this team win and make the defense be better.”
“Everyone wants to be a starter in the league. There’s only so many guys that get the chance to start in the league. For me, it’s just to be that guy and to lead the defense and help us get there where we want to go.”
Trusnik had a very good game on Sunday, registering three tackles while playing 67 out of 87 snaps and compiling a Pro Football Focus grade of +1.4. Going back to preseason, it appeared to me that Trusnik was better than Wheeler and Ellerbe and just needed the chance. Now, he has it and he’s going to do everything he can to keep it.