Miami Dolphins

‘Fearless’ Eguavoen will be tough to take out of Dolphins’ lineup after strong game

Miami Dolphins linebacker Sam Eguavoen (49) causes Tampa Bay Bucs Andre Ellington (32) to fumble the ball in the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, Friday, August, 16, 2019.
Miami Dolphins linebacker Sam Eguavoen (49) causes Tampa Bay Bucs Andre Ellington (32) to fumble the ball in the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, Friday, August, 16, 2019. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Sam Eguavoen isn’t just a lock to make the Dolphins’ 53-man roster, he’s going to be awfully hard to eject from the starting lineup, even when the Dolphins’ more heralded linebackers get healthy.

The ex-CFL star and 26-year-old rookie had an excellent game against the Buccaneers Friday night. He tallied seven tackles, including two for loss, and forced a fumble with a chinstrap-loosening hit on running back Andre Ellington in the first half.

He did all that on just 48 plays from scrimmage.

Imagine what he could do with 70.

The key to Eguavoen’s success Friday?

“Just playing fearless,” he said. “That’s the one thing [Dolphins coach Brian Flores] pointed out to me in my film. He knows I’m a good player. It’s just that I need to unleash the beast. I need to play fearless out there.”

As for running backs? They should be plenty scared if Eguavoen continues to ascend.

The Dolphins hoped for this kind of breakthrough when they signed former Saskatchewan Roughrider in January.

But they couldn’t have expected him to be this good.

He’s not only played himself onto the roster. He’s about to put Flores and his staff on a tough decision. The season starts in three weeks, and assuming Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso are both healthy and available, who’s the odd man out?

It surely won’t be Jerome Baker, who has become a dangerous blitzer.

The Dolphins might have tipped their hand earlier in the summer, when Eguavoen was working ahead of McMillan, even when the latter was healthy.

Plus, the Dolphins’ first-team defense was quite good Friday with Eguavoen in the middle, allowing just three points and 83 yards in the first half. Why mess with success?

“We started fast, we had the juice,” Eguavoen said. “All throughout the week with the joint practice with Tampa Bay, that was our thing. We started fast.”

Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen discusses what he needs to work on before the next preseason game following the team's preseason loss to Tampa Bay on August 16, 2019.

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