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NOTEBOOK: Opportunistic Shelby Off To Fast Start; Other Notes

Posted Sep 17, 2013

Backup defensive end is giving QBs someone else to think about.



Second-year defensive end Derrick Shelby appeared in all 16 regular-season games as a rookie last season for the Miami Dolphins and did not register a sack. Two games into this season he already has two – and two forced fumbles on those sacks to boot.

Playing behind a front four dominated by Pro Bowlers in Cameron Wake, Randy Starks and Paul Soliai and a first-round draft pick in Jared Odrick helps explain why Shelby’s name is not that well-known. He’s also in the same room as this year’s No. 3 overall pick, Dion Jordan, and last year’s third-round pick, Olivier Vernon, so he had to do something to get noticed.

“It just shows me that all the extra stuff I did in the offseason, it’s paying off,” said Shelby, who had eight tackles (seven solo) as a rookie. “What you want to do when in training, you want to have a goal in mind and mine was to obviously do better than I did last year. I worked toward it and it showed up in preseason and it’s showing up now, so I can only stay positive and keep chugging.”

Shelby’s locker is in the same corner as Odrick’s just two stalls down, while Wake and Jordan are clear across the other side of the room. But that entire defensive line is a fraternity unto itself and each of they do just about everything together. So what Shelby has been doing so far has been what Odrick, Wake and the others have expected to see.

During his first three seasons after being selected 28th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, Odrick has lined up just about everywhere along the defensive line. Last week he started the game at defensive tackle and later on lined up at defensive end, so he definitely knows what it takes to get around the edge and get to the quarterback like Shelby has done in his limited snaps and can appreciate his work.

“Does it surprise me? No, it doesn’t surprise me because Shelby does it on a consistent basis,” Odrick said. “Shelby’s one of those guys that isn’t going to be a superstar in terms of the type of work he does everyday and it’s consistent, hard work and that’s what he brings to the table.”

Head Coach Joe Philbin echoed Odrick’s description of Shelby being consistent at his job.

“He’s very technically sound and a good fundamental football player,” he said. “He keeps his shoulders square, he’s got his hands where they’re supposed to be, he’s smart and instinctive and he’s done a really nice job. I really like what he’s done.”

TAYLOR AND DAVIS RETURN TO PRACTICE

In what had to be an encouraging sign for Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, both of Miami’s rookie cornerbacks, Will Davis and Jamar Taylor, were in pads and working on the practice field. Taylor hadn’t participated in a practice for 16 straight days, while Davis was limited all of last week, and both have been inactive for the first two games. Starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who did not play at Indy due to a groin injury, also practiced. Soliai, who injured his knee in the fourth quarter against the Colts, was not at practice.

BANGED UP FALCONS

Last week was not a pretty one for the Atlanta Falcons in spite of their last-minute victory over the St. Louis Rams because the injuries continued to mount. And today marked the third consecutive day they had to place someone on Injured Reserve with a trip to Sun Life Stadium on Sunday against the Dolphins up next.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon joined fellow linebacker Kroy Biermann and fullback Bradie Ewing on the list, only Atlanta is using its designation to return on him. He suffered a foot injury against St. Louis, Biermann left the game with a season-ending Achilles injury and Ewing has a shoulder injury.

IT’S A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY

It was a change of pace in the music being played for the team stretch inside the bubble, as some country music kicked things off with Chase Rice’s “How She Rolls.” Then it was back to hip-hop with “Ready,” by B.o.B featuring Future, followed by Future’s own “Honest.”

THE LAST WORD

“I think it was important just because I wanted to let people know that I’m not here just to run people off. I’m here to actually make plays, so I think for just the outside and the way teams are going to play us it was big just to let them know that I’m here to make plays.” – Wide receiver Mike Wallace on what his nine-catch, 115-yard, one-touchdown performance at Indianapolis means going forward
Game Pass: Miami Dolphins