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Trusnik's Seventh Season A Learning Experience

Posted Jan 9, 2014

Veteran linebacker served as Ellerbe’s backup in the middle.

Dependability and consistency is what was expected this past season from Miami Dolphins linebacker Jason Trusnik, but the veteran also saw this as a chance to grow and continue to develop.

Even though Trusnik just completed his seventh year in the National Football League, his 19 starts with three different teams are relatively light compared to other veteran players. He is a core special teams player and has been for Miami since signing as a free agent at the start of training camp in 2011, but has answered the call defensively on numerous occasions.

Trusnik has played in 48 consecutive games and was asked to learn the Mike linebacker position this season as the primary backup to Dannell Ellerbe. The Ohio native wound up starting two games for Ellerbe and more than held his own both with his play and handling the responsibilities of calling out the defense. His approach remains the same as when he was a rookie.

“I was just trying to continue to learn new things because there’s so much to still be learned in this game, even at seven years,” said Trusnik, who finished with 25 tackles (20 solo) and was one of the leading tacklers on special teams. “Whether it’s just a new technique on special teams or obviously playing Mike linebacker this year a little bit, there was plenty to learn. So for me it’s about trying to continue to get better as a Mike linebacker, as a Sam linebacker and as a special teamer.”

Miami’s home game against the Buffalo Bills on October 20th was Trusnik’s first start of the season and ended up being his best performance. He finished with seven tackles, all solo, and the day after his defensive coordinator, Kevin Coyle, was singing his praises, calling him “a bright guy” who knows the defense and communicates well.

Like the rest of his teammates, Trusnik was disappointed in how the season ended, with the Dolphins barely missing the playoffs after losing their last two games. He described the up-and-down experience that featured two three-game winning streaks, a four-game losing streak and some off-the-field distractions as a trying one for him individually and for the team has a whole. But he is looking forward to 2014.

“I’ll take some time to myself and spend some time with my family, the wife and the two kids, take them places and do some things with them,” Trusnik said. “But before you know it I’ll be back in action starting to work out and getting back in the game and before you know it it’ll be March and we’ll be back here preparing for the 2014 season. When you’re that close to the playoffs, to come that close and to not be playing in January, you definitely want to champ at the bit and be playing. So when training camp comes I hope these guys are ready.”

Trusnik certainly will be.

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