The linebacker who wouldn’t get recognized in line at Dunkin’ Donuts, according to at least one Dolphins coach last season, is no farther along the road to stardom.
“I blend in pretty well with the general population,” Mike Hull said Tuesday. “I keep a low profile.”
Away from football, that is.
On Sunday afternoons, Hull appeared in every game for the Dolphins last season and even started one. He finished second in the NFL with 18 tackles on special teams, which are run by Darren Rizzi, the coach who made the Dunkin’ Donuts wisecrack.
Now entering his third season, the question is whether Hull can take that next step in his career — becoming more of a factor on defense.
“I’m going to do everything I can to win that starting spot,” Hull said.
A difficult task got tougher this offseason, now that the Dolphins have added veteran Lawrence Timmons and rookie Raekwon McMillan to bolster an underperforming unit. They join Kiko Alonso, Koa Misi and Neville Hewitt in competing for playing time even though the Dolphins will often field only two linebackers.
Hull said he has been stressing footwork and “playing faster” this offseason, trying to make up for being undersized (6-feet, 233).
“Me being a little bit smaller of a linebacker, every step I can gain is an advantage for me,” he said. “I really think that’s something that will help bring me to the next level as far as defeating blocks in the run game and even getting myself in position to play the pass.”
Although a newcomer, Timmons has established himself as a disruptive force, said Clyde Christensen, the offensive coordinator, in response to a question on which defensive players have given him the most trouble.
“He’s quiet, but he gives really good advice,” Hull said of Timmons. “He’s not a ‘rah-rah’ type guy, but if you ask him a question or he has good insight on different looks or how even he played it in his last system, that can really go a long way with helping the young guys and even Kiko, bouncing things back and forth.”
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