Dansby ready to deliver

Heading into the fifth game of his Miami Dolphins career, Karlos Dansby has been steady and productive, contributing 30 tackles. But outside of the sack he had in the opening drive of the season-opening win over Buffalo, he hasn't exactly made his presence felt or provided the instant impact that would enhance his campaign to command respect as the NFL's best linebacker.

Dansby, one of four team captains, said his production is a "work in progress" at this point and he knows the missing ingredient.

"We're not where we want to be. We've got to get Channing (Crowder) back, and once we get him back I think he can make us better," said Dansby, who is on pace for a career-high 120 tackles. "I can't wait to play with him because I know what he brings to the table. He'll definitely make me better."

The thought of seeing Dansby paired with Crowder, back practicing full after nursing a groin injury for the past two months, is something that has excited Dolphins coach Tony Sparano since Dansby signed in March. But Sparano's "only seen it for eight plays in that first preseason game," which has been a source of frustration.

"Karlos can blitz. He can cover. He can play the run. He can do all those things," Sparano said. "Well, Channing can do those same things, too, and it gives you the luxury of playing chess with some of your pieces. If you want to get Karlos here on a back, or get Channing on a back, the other guy can do (something else)."

Like cover a receiver downfield, or blitz the quarterback consistently. It's that freedom to roam that allows players such as Dansby to make an impact. The hope is Crowder's presence allows Dansby to blossom.

"Every down he's been here we've felt his presence and not just on the field," weak-side linebacker Cameron Wake said of Dansby. "There's more to being a professional than putting a helmet on Sundays and going out there and making plays. He's teaching guys how to lift weights, how to look at film, putting in those 15-16 hour days. He's passing on his wisdom."

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