Tony Sparano would never come out and say it, actually it is his policy to never speak bad about his team, but how do you think they really feel about this current linebacker group?
Do you think they are ready to start all over? bring in more talent in FA and the draft?
We all are screaming YES but do they feel the same way?
We will never know the answer to that question until the NFL Draft and FA period is done. In the meantime, I wanted to show how you can consider our LB's play has been this season by simply putting there numbers against other teams that play the similar 3-4 defense we do. Please note I only used the starters from each team.
The teams I have decided to highlight are the Steelers, Jets and Ravens. All of these teams have a similar record to our team so it should be a good test to see how these groups match up. To make this section readable for everyone I am simply going to breakdown the group by Tackles, Sacks, INT's, Pass Defended, Forced Fumbles and the leading tackler in the LB group.
Tackles - 301
Sacks - 30.5
INT - 1
Pdef - 17
FF - 11
Leading Tackler - James Farrior, 95 Tackles
Overall amazing numbers for a team that is having a down season. Each player in this group is pretty strong and it shows. The most amazing part is you can see the effect they have in the passing game whether it is in Pdef or Sacks. Statistically speaking they turnover the ball the most and are in the Top 2 in every catergory, the scary part is most of these players are young except for James Farrior.
Tackles - 319
Sacks - 15.5
INT - 2
Pdef - 6
FF - 6
Leading Tackler - David Harris, 126 Tackles
I was expecting more when I started this as Sexy Rexy is know for getting pressure on QB's but these numbers don't really show that. The one thing it does show is that this group hits the other team with both ILB leading the team in tackles.
Tackles - 272
Sacks - 12.5
INT - 2
Pdef - 17
FF - 4
Leading Tackler - Ray Lewis, 121 Tackles
This group defenitly misses Bart Scott but it still has decent numbers but not numbers you would expect from a Ravens defense. The one thing they do well though is Pdef and Ray Lewis is still a beast as NFL.com has his at 121 tackles, 2nd best among LB's I looked at.
YOUR MIAMI DOLPHINS
Tackles - 196
Sacks - 16
INT - 2
Pdef - 8
FF - 5
Leading Tackler - Akin Ayodele, 65 Tackles
The numbers themselves aren't too bad in most areas as they are similar to other teams but the main concern that jumps out at you is tackles .. the next closest team is the Ravens and they have 76 more by there starting group. Furthermore we are the only team in this group that doesn't have a LB that leads the team in tackles, Akin is 3rd best on the Dolphins.
So overall what we need is young Zach Thomas .. a relentless tackling machine. Someone who just has a nose for the ball. Of the players I think you would want to bring JT back as he makes game changing plays and without his stats (7sacks, 3FF, 3Pdef, 1INT) this would have also looked much worse.
The next step is to see where the Trifecta goes and gets this unit upgraded in the offseason, will it be at the OLB position due to the age factor or will it be the ILB position due to lack of productivity or better yet will it be both. The options are endless with the FA and Draft ... all I ask for after really seeing this is that they don't let another offseason pass without paying attention to this area.