The League

Doug Farrar

Doug Farrar

A staff writer

Dansby is the man


While the Chicago Bears spent like a house afire, the New York Giants paid elite money for Antrel Rolle, and the Jacksonville Jaguars took a calculated risk on Aaron Kampman, the Miami Dolphins may have made the wisest free agency signing this season in the person of former Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby. Versatile enough to stop the run at the line and play center field in pass coverage, Dansby fills Miami's need for inside defenders at a championship level.

"We've got some decent players on our team," Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland said at the scouting combine last week. "I like our linebacker corps. I would say it's a need of the team, sure. It's one of the needs. You've got some age at the position right now. I've got to get younger there, and I've got to get a better performance on the field. Inside and outside are key positions in free agency and the draft."

As I wrote of Dansby
before the Cardinals suffered a narrow loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, he can do just about everything you'd expect of a top linebacker on the field.

Dansby has been a standout for the Cards since he was taken with the first pick in the second round of the 2004 draft. His success upturn has mirrored his team's. (He) comes into the Super Bowl behind only Ray Lewis and Bart Scott in postseason solo tackles with 19 (and tied with Scott for second behind Lewis with 26 total), but against the Eagles, most of his tackles were on pass plays. Through the 2008 season, he has been by far the team's most targeted linebacker. He may face the same challenge against the Steelers.

Dansby has other ways of stopping plays, like on the third-and-9 from the Arizona 27 with 4:51 left in the first quarter. Aware that he wasn't going to get to Donovan McNabb before McNabb got the ball off, Dansby took a block from Brian Westbrook, waited, and offered up a perfectly-timed deflection at the line. The Eagles were forced to settle for a field goal. When he is up against the run, he's good at sifting through blockers and driving the ball carrier backward, as he did to Correll Buckhalter at the end of the first quarter.

With new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in the fold, and Dansby manning the middle of a more creative 3-4 defense, the Dolphins look to be serious contenders in the AFC East. And when it comes to the offseason, the Dolphins may have that contest won with Dansby's acquisition.

By Doug Farrar  |  March 9, 2010; 1:18 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Chicago Bears , Doug Farrar , Free Agency , Miami Dolphins , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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