Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Derrick Shelby was suspended indefinitely by the Miami Dolphins on Monday morning and they will now have to find a replacement for him on the defensive line. Through four games, Shelby had 6 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovery. In addition, his ability rush the passer and disrupt the pocket cannot be overlooked.
That’s why it won’t be easy replacing him but Joe Philbin said that they have guys ready to step up and fill the void. More specifically, those players are rookies Terrence Fede and Chris McCain.
“One thing, if you remember from the preseason, is he plays hard. He goes out there and he plays hard,” Philbin said about Fede. “He’s obviously learning a lot. He missed a lot of practice time, so there are things that we need to catch him up on. He did a good job in the game. There’s a ton of things to get better at, but he comes out to the field every day, gives an honest effort, he works his tail off. So that’s really all you can ask for as a coach.”
In regards to McCain, who has seen limited action despite having a big performance in week one against the New England Patriots, Philbin says that they may have specific packages for him.
“He’s doing a good job. He’s doing well. He’s eager. He’s got multiple roles at this point in time. He’s got a lot to learn in terms of the coverage aspect of the pro game. He’s also spending time with Kacy (Rodgers), so he’s kind of one of those hybrid guys that are getting reps at duel positions. I think he’s attacked it really well. I like his attitude, the way he goes about his business. Obviously, there is a lot to learn.”
“You never know. We are working on our game plan now. We put in normal down-and-distance. We are going to put in third down for Wednesday’s practice and red zone, so we are going to decide who those 46 guys are and utilize them in whatever way we can.”
Both players have shown flashes of promise in preseason and in their limited action they have seen in regular season games. We’ll see if they can take their game to the next level and provide the spark that Shelby often provided on the defensive line.