Player spotlight: DB Tony Bua

From time to time throughout the year, including the regular season, we'll be taking a close look at the Dolphins player, include a progress report and his role on the team. In this installment, we examine safety Tony Bua.

A fifth-round pick in 2004, Bua's rookie season with the Dolphins was defined by one play: that monstrous hit on special teams he put on Rams defensive end Bryce Fisher to send him flying.

The thing was that overall it was a very frustrating year for Bua from the start. The Dolphins drafted him and immediately told him they were switching him from safety to linebacker, which didn't please him one bit because he felt he didn't have the size to play linebacker.

On top of that, Bua battled injuries throughout the season and his impact was limited because of that.

When Coach Nick Saban took over, he quickly switched Bua back to safety because his scheme has no use for little linebackers like Bua.

The move made a lot of sense because Bua really was a stretch at linebacker.

But the problem is that Bua has had problems adjusting to covering in the secondary at the NFL level. This has been evident at practice and it's going to be a problem for Bua.

He's a good special teams player who will give up his body and has some athletic ability to go out and make plays, but Saban is looking for guys he count on should they be needed at a position.

Because of that, Bua might find himself out of luck when the roster cuts are being made. His special teams play will get him a long look, but he needs to make some strides as a safety if he hopes to make the 53-man roster.


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