The Miami Dolphins have been working to upgrade the linebacker position over the past several years. After Joe Philbin's first year on the job, the front office released Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett in favor of Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. Of course, we all know how that worked out. Last season, they moved Koa Misi to the middle and while his play was solid, it was nothing special and didn't put the linebacker corps over the top. That's why there are some questions as to whether he would stay in that position for the 2015 season. Head Coach Joe Philbin chimed in on the matter following practice on Wednesday.
“I think Koa's definitely more comfortable. He’s been able to be on the practice field every day and make strides and developed. I think he is understanding of adjustments and checks based on formation, coverage and the safety alignments and those types of things. I do think overall he feels much better.”
When Philbin was pressed even more as to whether or not Misi would remain at the middle linebacker position, he was non-committal and said they would need to evaluate everything.
“Again, we really haven’t gotten to that stage yet. I mean this was all about we’ve moved guys around and I think we’ll continue to do some of that. We’ll take a look when we meet again and see where we’re at at the end of this offseason program. But training camp gives us an opportunity to again create some competition. We’re all about getting the best guys on the field, whatever that combination may be.”
When it was time for Misi to speak, he made it very clear that he wanted to remain in the middle and is much more comfortable after spending an entire season at the position.
“Just being out here, playing the same position I did last year is that much of a difference,” he told Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach post. “I’m able to learn from things I did last year. I know the defense now so I don’t have to really study anymore. I know all the plays, all the calls. I don’t have to second guess myself during practice.”
Of course, it will certainly help Misi and the other linebackers that they have Ndamukong Suh in front of them eating up the double teams, which will allow them to roam free and make more plays. However, the situation is fluid as there is a lot of movement behind the scenes as to who will end up playing where.
That's because there is speculation that the front office has a lot of love for Kelvin Sheppard in the middle while the coaching staff prefers Misi in the middle. While some may think it's easy for the coaches to just stick their foot down and put Misi there, it's often not that easy when it comes to the politics of running a football team.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs