- Jul 26, 2004
- Reaction score
"It's tough to lose two Pro Bowl guys, two Hall of Fame caliber guys like them," Anderson said, referring to Porter and Taylor, who combined for 83 tackles and 16 of the Dolphins' 44 sacks last season "It's just another challenge in my career. I'm always up for challenges, and that's what this year is about. It's a challenge for me to not just make the team, but become a starter."
Anderson spent most of the offseason as the first-team weakside linebacker in the base defense. He'll likely begin training camp in pole position.
This would be the second time Anderson began a camp in a favorable position. In 2008 he initially replaced Taylor, who was traded to Washington on the eve of training camp's start, but lost the starting job to Matt Roth, a converted defensive end, after the second week.
Unsatisfied with being a career backup, Anderson is trying to seize this opportunity. He hopes to follow in Randy Starks' footsteps, forcing the coaching staff to view him differently.
"You want to be the starter, but anything can happen. I just go in every year like I'm competing for the starting job," said Anderson, who has 4.5 sacks, a safety and forced four fumbles the past three seasons. "My play will determine how much I play."
Most people inside and outside the organization thought Wake, the former CFL standout, would be in the driver's seat to replace Porter as the team's primary pass rusher based on his productive NFL debut, He had 23 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a team-leading 20 quarterback pressures in limited opportunities last season.
Wake is clearly the best pressure player based on his athleticism, quick burst and pass-rushing moves. But his inability to master everything else that comes with the outside linebacker position — run stuffing, pass coverage, quickly diagnosing plays — continues to hinder his development.
Most of this offseason he was used as the pass-rushing specialist who was called on during passing downs. That's the identical role he held in the second half of last season, and Wake wants more.
"Maybe at the end of the season I patted myself on the back, but this whole offseason has been about sitting down with coach and figuring out whatever I could do to get better," Wake said. "I'm always looking for more and trying to show the coaches what I can do. I went into this offseason trying to get better at something every day."
Moses and Walden are long shots to become starters, in part because they aren't even locks to remain on the roster. However, the team has invested multiple seasons in their development and hopes to reap harvest.
Moses, who became one of Tony Sparano's pet projects last season, is confident he'll produce a favorable return if given enough opportunities.
"I came into the NFL with the mentality that I didn't have to do nothing but rush the quarterback. Being released by Oakland and coming to Miami, it helped me develop into a better all-around player," said Moses, a former Georgia standout who was a third-round pick in the 2007 draft. "I'm still learning, still improving, but [my career] taught me how to be tough. I wouldn't say I was a very tough player coming into the NFL.
"I'm just excited to still be a part of the team, to still have an opportunity to compete," said Moses, who has 15 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his three seasons with the Dolphins. "It's a blessing. I'm still trying to get better. Still trying to improve and compete."
The Dolphins will need all of their outside linebackers leftovers to do the same to improve the defense's performance.