Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The return of Koa Misi against the Green Bay Packers helped solidify the Miami Dolphins’ linebacker corps and also helped with the run defense. The Dolphins were able to limit Packers running back Eddie Lacy to just 40 yards and James Starks to 31 yards. Add Randy Starks and Reshad Jones to the mix and now you have a much improved unit than what we saw the first few weeks of the season.
“It’s good to have those guys in the lineup. I thought, overall, the run defense was good. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t like we shut them down totally. They didn’t have a lot of explosive runs and I thought we limited it to the degree where some of their play-action passes weren’t as effective because they weren’t gaining six, seven yards a crack. Granted, they gained some yards. I thought, overall, it was good. We could tackle better as a football team, definitely can tackle better, keep contain better on the football. Those are two things that we’re really emphasizing this week.”
Philbin didn’t try to downplay the importance of having Misi back in the lineup as he is the quarterback of the defense and always gives it his all every play throughout the entire game.
“It was great to have him back. He does a lot of the things we like our defensive players to do. He plays fast. He’s a physical guy. You throw the film on, he’s always pursuing hard to the football. He’s a good tackler. We think he has some blitz capabilities. When he comes, he comes. He’s a guy that we like. We like the way he plays the game. It was good to have him back on the field.”
One question that came up when Misi returned was what the Dolphins would do with Jason Trusnik and Jelani Jenkins. As we found out, Jenkins got the start at the outside linebacker position with Trusnik going back to the bench. Philbin credits that to his work ethic and improved production.
“Well, he’s done a great job. He’s produced in the games. As I think I’ve said on a couple of different occasions, he’s an instinctive, smart football player. You’re never sure until the guy gets out there and does it for a little bit of an extended, I don’t know if it’s an extended period of time yet, but he’s got some 250 plays maybe now on tape and he’s done well. There’s still a lot of things he’s got to do better, but he’s active, he’s around the ball, his coverage skills have been good, he’s made some impactful plays.”
Misi has been limited all week with an ankle injury but he’s expected to play on Sunday when the Dolphins defense takes the field against the Chicago Bears.