ORLANDO - San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary, a pretty good linebacker in his day, believes Karlos Dansby is going to take his game to another level with the Dolphins.
New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is a big reason.
Nolan knows linebackers, said one of the greatest to ever play the position.
“That’s his forte,” Singletary said this morning during the NFC coaches’ breakfast at the NFL Owners’ Meetings.
Singletary, who coached under Nolan with the Ravens and 49ers, expects Dansby to go from a good player to a game-changer under Nolan.
Nolan wants inside linebackers with Dansby’s size (6-4, 250) and wide range of skills. Singletary expects Nolan to inspire Dansby to do things he didn’t do during six seasons with the Cardinals.
“He’s very solid as a football player,” Singletary, an eight-time All-Pro and Hall of Famer with the Bears, said of Dansby. “I think there’s some things that maybe he can do that maybe he hasn’t shown as much. I’m not sure how often he blitzed when he was at Arizona.
“I can guarantee you that Mike is going to get the absolute best out of him. He has the blitzing ability and Mike is going to ask him to do it more.”
Singletary ended his Hall of Fame career 1992.
When he returned to the game as a coach, he learned the ropes from Nolan in Baltimore.
Singletary coached linebackers in 2003-04 when Nolan as the Ravens defensive coordinator and Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Adalius Thomas and Terrell Suggs were Pro Bowl linebackers.
Singletary became Nolan’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach when he left for San Francisco in 2005. In 2007, the 49ers drafted Patrick Willis, who’s been to three straight Pro Bowls.
“The thing about Mike Nolan is he has a tremendous work ethic,” Singletary said. “He’s very bright in terms of looking at personnel and he really gets deep into personalities and really tries to utilize the personalities on the defenses, making sure those guys who have the talent, he lets them know, ‘Hey, I’m going to call your number.’
“He will challenge a guy to be the best he can be.”
Dansby has been a productive player, but never a Pro Bowler even though he’s now the highest-paid inside linebacker in the game.
Nolan should help Dansby earn it.
PALM BEACH POST DAILY BLOG BY EDGAR THOMPSON