Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder’s 2009 season ended on injured reserve due to a fracture in the middle portion of his right foot. The injury was believed to be of the Lisfranc variety.
In addition to the serious injury, Crowder is coming off the least productive season of his career. So when the Dolphins signed Karlos Dansby to a $43 million contract, and acquired fellow inside linebackers Tim Dobbins and A.J. Edds during draft weekend, Crowder’s roster spot appeared to be in jeopardy.
Last week’s release of Reggie Torbor — another inside linebacker — seemingly makes the Dolphins less likely to give up on Crowder, who they gave a three-year, $13.8 million contract last offseason.
Crowder is making progress. He participated in 11-on-11 drills at OTAs on Tuesday, and says he’s “feeling good.” Crowder vows to participate in training camp.
The question becomes, then, how far will Crowder fall behind the new faces as first-year coordinator Mike Nolan implements his defense with Dobbins as Dansby’s first-team running mate in the middle?
“The mental part of this new defense is going to be the hardest part,” Crowder acknowledged. “You still hit the run the same, and take on blocks the same. But understanding the terminology is critical to what we do.”
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel recently suggested that Crowder could begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, costing him the first six games of the year. While that seems unlikely now, it should come as no surprise if Crowder doesn’t take his usual spot with the starting defense in Week One.