The Miami Dolphins targeted former Tennessee Titans linebacker David Long as someone who could really help the defensive front under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Long joins a group of off-ball linebackers that includes Jerome Baker, Channing Tindall and Duke Riley that will be tasked with covering the middle of the field and limiting runs.
Before he steps on the field for the first time in aqua and orange, here are a few things that fans should know about one of the team’s biggest free agent signings of the offseason thus far.
PFF graded him very highly in 2022
While the Titans didn’t exactly have the best defensive unit in 2022, Long was a bright spot. PFF graded him as the 14th-best linebacker in the NFL last year (76.2). However, he was graded as the fifth-best against the run (89) and sixth-best against the pass (80.1).
Injuries possibly contributed to his lower contract
Since entering the league in 2019, Long has missed 16 games, as he’s dealt with different injuries. Between 2021 and 2012, he missed 11 games, mostly due to hamstring issues.
Hamstring injuries have become extremely common across sports, but a lot of times, they’re recurring injuries that could continue to pop up.
Miami is hoping that those issues are in the past for their new linebacker.
Over the last two seasons, when Long was pushed into a larger role with the Titans, he stepped up and took on more leadership responsibilities, something that defensive coordinator Shane Bowen was impressed by.
“David has done a great job,” Bowen said. “I think his approach day in and day out, he’s taken that position and that role by the horns, and he’s running with it. We’ve got some young guys in that room, some guys who came in here mid-year last year, and he’s really the solidifying force in that room right now.
Allowing touchdowns isn’t part of his game
He’s been in the league for four seasons, but Long has only allowed one passing touchdown in his career, and it came in 2020.
According to Pro Football Reference, opposing quarterbacks have targeted Long 135 times, and that’s resulted in just one touchdown. Over the last two seasons, he’s been targeted 94 times, and his man hasn’t scored even one time during that span.
Last year, he allowed a passer rating of 74, and the year prior it was 61. Those are incredible numbers for a linebacker.