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Dolphins News: Crawford Signed to Practice Squad
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Dolphins News: Crawford Signed to Practice Squad
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Sep 10, 1997: -- Crawford Signed to Practice Squad --

** Crawford Signed To Practice Squad **

The Dolphins announced yesterday that they had signed linebacker Mike Crawford to the practice squad. Crawford was cut last week when the Dolphins needed a roster spot to sign a punter.

Crawford was a 6th round draft choice this year and actually started one game in the preseason as the middle linebacker, but wasn't consistent enough and didn't play well enough on special teams to be considered a strong backup.

** Hollier to compete with Anthony Harris for Starting Spot **

According to a report in the Herald yesterday, Dwight Hollier and Anthony Harris will compete for the starting strongside linebacker position now that Zach Thomas has returned to the starting lineup at middle linebacker.

Hollier started at this position all last year, but moved to middle linebacker when Zach Thomas was sidelined due to a broken leg this summer. Anthony Harris moved over to fill Hollier's spot and Derrick Rodgers was named the starting weakside linebacker.

Rodgers has been playing some outstanding football and has earned the permanent starting spot as the weakside linebacker. He is currently second on the team in tackles behind Shawn Wooden.

Practice this week will determine who gets to start on Sunday in Green Bay.

** Madison And McPhail to Play Sunday **

JJ has said that he plans to activate both Sam Madison and Jerris McPhail Sunday for the game against the Packers. Both players were inactive last Sunday against the Oilers.

Madison did play against the Colts in the first game, but was inactive this week against the Oilers, presumably because JJ thought he needed run stoppers more than defensive backs. McPhail has missed both of the first two games because of an injured wrist and poor production in preseason and during practice.

** Izzo Has Further Sugery **

Larry Izzo had more surgery on his achilles tendon on Saturday and it apparently ruptured again last week, just after he started walking on it. He also had arthoscopic surgery on his right ankle for unknown reasons.

My Comments:

It's good to see Crawford back on the practice squad, because he could be an asset to the team with some work. His attitude and all-out playing style are definitely an asset in a linebacker and while he needs some seasoning, he could be a team asset in the future.

It's not surprising that Hollier is moving back to the strongside linebacker position to compete with Harris after Rodgers has played as well as he has. Despite some reported trouble learning the pass coverages this summer, Rodgers has come around to become one of the most effective members of the defense.

The competition between Harris and Hollier will be interesting to watch. Hollier has traditionally graded out well against the run and is bigger and stronger than Harris, plus he has experience on his side. Harris, on the other hand, has the speed that JJ covets.

I would expect to see Hollier play more against run-oriented teams and to see Harris play against more pass-oriented offenses. Against Green Bay this weekend, I think that Harris will play more downs than Hollier, but you'll see Hollier in the game in short yardage situations, where he excels.

The news on Madison and McPhail make perfect sense as they go up against Green Bay without Stanley Pritchett available. Green Bay is more of a passing offense and the Dolphins will need more defensive backs to help out in coverage. And with Pritchett out, the Dolphins will have room to use McPhail.

The news on Larry Izzo if very discouraging. This probably sets him back another 2 months on his rehabilitation. I hope he can recover enough to play again, but if the damage to his achilles is as bad as it appears, he may never be able to play at full speed again.

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Curt Fennell, curt@phins.com, DOLFAN in New Rochelle (almost)

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