Written by Matthew Cannata
Koa Misi is now officially the Miami Dolphins starting middle linebacker, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Salguero notes that head coach Joe Philbin told him so and that he will be in that spot when practice opens on Friday. As of now, Dannell Ellerbe will be moving outside and Philip Wheeler will start in the other outside linebacker spot.
"I would say unless something really, let's just say Koa can't get us lined up or can't make a left call or right call, then we'll look at it more. It looks like it's going to be OK," Philbin said. "If the roof caves in we can always go back and those guys can be the same. The defense hasn't changed that much. But I think we're looking forward for it to work. I think the position change has been good. I like the position change."
"I think Misi was good. When you talk grades and we grade every game, he was one of the guys that graded out highest on our defense," Philbin said. "So from my chair and, I'm throwing out 500 snaps but maybe it was 480 or 520 for him, but here's a guy that graded out highest of anybody on our defense so why wouldn't we try to get him on the field a little bit more? When watched the film he flies around. He tries to play football the right way. I think he's a good example of how you want to play defense. I just think so far that has gone well."
It’s been said all along that Wheeler will be fighting for his starting position during training camp and he has made some strides in hanging onto it and fending off the likes of Jelani Jenkins.
I think Phillip Wheeler looks more comfortable right now," the coach said. "He played in the OTAs with better body control than he did last year. He had good production last year, it's just at times we felt he was a little out of control and it hurt him at times. He was better."
This will be one of the more closely-watched positions in training camp due to the disastrous results from last season. Let’s hope they can improve, regardless of who is starting on the field week one.