Kelly: Dolphins’ new-look linebacker unit showing promise in training camp | Commentary

You know times are changing when a notoriously weak unit on the Miami Dolphins the past few seasons produces the most ooh and ahh moments during the first three days of training camp.

That’s been the case for Miami’s linebackers, who are claiming the middle of the football field as a do-not-enter zone during the first few days of camp.

On Saturday, Lawrence Timmons picked off a pass meant for receiver DeVante Parker that cornerback Xavien Howard tipped into the air. He then started scrambling downfield with the interception like he was running a 40-yard dash before pitching the football to cornerback Bobby McCain, who finished off the turnover by running it in for a touchdown.

“You saw that?” Timmons said after practice, talking about one of the defense’s three interceptions on the day. “When I was a [high school] quarterback [I ran] the read option.”

For the second consecutive day Kiko Alonso showed Ryan Tannehill what happens when the quarterback is undisciplined with his eyes, pulling down his second interception of a Tannehill pass in two days.

“I was just dropping into coverage and I was kind of reading his eyes,” Alonso said as the smile on his face widened. “I was in the right place at the right time.”

Hopefully that playmaking trend continues for the linebackers because Miami’s defense certainly needs to see improvement from that unit this year.

The hope is that this new-look Dolphins linebacker unit can go from struggling in 2016 to decent, if not dominant in 2017.

For the past few seasons, the linebackers have been a liability for Miami. That unit is one of the main reasons the Dolphins have struggled to stop the run since 2014, allowing a high yards per carry average for the past three seasons.

Last year, Miami allowed 4.8 yards per carry, which was the second highest yards per carry average allowed in…

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