2005 Position Review: DL

With the Dolphins having completed their 2005 season, we break down the team by position with a look back at each player's performance as well as a look ahead to the offseason and next season. Today we take a look at the defensive linemen.

Who finished the season on the roster: Starters -- Jason Taylor (DE), Vonnie Holliday (DT), Kevin Carter (DE), Keith Traylor (NT); backups -- Matt Roth, Manuel Wright, Jeff Zgonina, David Bowens, Kevin Vickerson (IR)

How they did: The Dolphins acquired some proven veteran talent in the offseason with Carter, Holliday and Traylor, and got exactly what they paid for. In other words, the defensive line was very good in 2005. In fact, it might have been the best position on the team. Taylor had a somewhat different role in Nick Saban's 3-4 defense, but he was as good as ever, finishing tied for fifth in the league with 12 sacks. Traylor was brought up to help the run defense, and he was productive in that role until a knee injury slowed him down. Carter and Holliday both did good work as run stoppers and pass rushers. The Dolphins also got good contributions from backups Jeff Zgonina and David Bowens (in a pass-rushing role).

What's ahead: The Dolphins are in very good shape at this position, but age might become a factor very soon. Traylor will be 37 when the 2006 season kicks off and he has said he doesn't expect to be retained. Carter and Zgonina also have some mileage on them, but they should both be back. As for Traylor, he very well might be back because his base salary for next season is only $770,000 and he was productive when he was in the lineup. Roth, Wright and Vickerson will be expected to step up and play bigger roles in 2006, so it's possible there will be little change at this position.

The bottom line: The Dolphins will make changes in several areas before next season, but the defensive line is one place where maintaining the status quo won't be such a bad thing because the Dolphins got very good play out of this group in 2005.


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