With Zach out, Crowder must step up BIGTIME
We turn to Channing Crowder. He is the happy-go-lucky guy with the big smile and ready-quotes. And he is also Miami's best LB if Zach isn't playing.
So he's elected as the starting middle linebacker if Thomas cannot go. Either Derrick Pope or Donnie Spragan would likely go to the outside linebacker spot vacated by Crowder.
The loss of Zach is exactly what it implies -- a loss and a huge one at that. But the loss would likely come in that the cummulative talent of the Miami linebacker crew would drop, not necessarily at the MLB spot.
Dolphins personnel people thought earlier in training camp that Crowder was the best linebacker on the team. They annointed him the heir to Zach's spot and believe the dropoff will be minimal if any once Crowder takes the spot.
Sure, the Dolphins would lose the well-studied player Zach is. Had Thomas been a certain starter Sunday he would have been in the Dolphins facility studying Wednesday night. Don't know about Crowder.
But they would gain a slightly more physical presence. Speed is pretty much a wash between the two guys.
The problem comes in that neither Pope nor Spragan approach Crowder in talent or ability.
So the loss of Thomas hurts. But it hurts at the outside linebacker spot vacated by Crowder. It doesn't necessarily kill Miami in the middle.