Inside Look At Roster Changes: Defense

Nick Saban hasn't been afraid to make changes, including drastic ones, to the Dolphins roster since he took over as head coach and it was no different this offseason. Dolphin Digest takes a look inside the team's roster changes to see if the moves have made the Dolphins a better team. In Part 2 of this two-part installment, we look at the changes on defense.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Arrivals

DT Rodrique Wright, DT Frederick Evans

Departures

None

Better, worse or same?

Obviously, since the Dolphins haven't lost anybody from last year's group, the answer has to be the same or better. Because Wright underwent shoulder surgery in May and Evans is a project, it's not likely the Dolphins will get a contribution from either player in 2006. So this is a case where the Dolphins are in pretty much the same shape here as they were last season, that is unless they wind up signing free agent DT Dan Wilkinson.

LINEBACKER

Keith Newman, Sedrick Hodge

Departures

Junior Seau, Jason Glenn, Nick Rogers, Lester Towns

Better, worse or same?

Seau was a non-factor at the end of the season last year because he was on injured reserve, but he gave the Dolphins solid play early in the year. The hope is that Newman can provide a strong pass from the outside on the opposite side of Jason Taylor, but he first has to win a starting job by beating out Hodge and returning veteran Donnie Spragan. Other than Seau, the only departed linebacker the Dolphins might miss is Glenn, and that's because of his special teams prowess. The Dolphins look like they're in a little better shape at this position.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Arrivals

Jason Allen, Will Allen, Andre Goodman, Renaldo Hill, Deke Cooper

Departures

Sam Madison, Lance Schulters, Tebucky Jones, Reggie Howard, Kiwaukee Thomas

Better, worse or same?

Better, worse or same?

No unit on the Dolphins defense underwent a bigger transformation than the secondary, and its success could go a long way toward determining how well Miami can stop opponents in 2006. Although it improved late in the season, the secondary was a sore spot most of 2005, which led to the overhaul. The Dolphins will have more speed in the secondary than they did last season, but they don't have the playmaking ability they had with Madison and Schulters. A key here will be how quickly Jason Allen can become a factor in the secondary. On paper, at least, it looks like the Dolphins are better at this spot than they were last season.

SPECIALISTS

Arrivals

K Ola Kimrin, P Thomas Olmsted

Departures

None

Better, worse or same?

This likely will be the same group as last year because Kimrin and Olmsted aren't likely to beat out Olindo Mare and Donnie Jones, respectively, and John Denney returns as the long-snapper.


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