Israel Idonije, who has been a standout special teams player for the past few years, not surprisingly wants an increased role on the defensive line in 2008. He's been utilized as a defensive end in the past, but in recent practices he's been lining up at DT. To prepare to play inside, he put on 20 pounds and now plays at 295.
With Idonije expected to see more playing time on defense, his role on special teams likely will be reduced.
“The way I look at it right now is that I feel I have to replace him,” said special teams coordinator Dave Toub. “If I think that way and get him replaced, then it’s a bonus if I get him back.
“I’ve got to think that he’s going to be in the [defensive line] rotation. He’ll probably get a lot of plays defensively, so I’m not going to be able to use him as much. If I use him in any phase, it would be kickoff because he’s a factor. Just having him running down the middle of the field, you have to account for him. You have to use two guys on him, so that frees up somebody else.”
Despite what Toub thinks, Idonije will likely split time with Dusty Dvoracek and rookie Marcus Harrison in the preseason, but I would expect they'll win the job over him and go into a starting rotation to start the season, and Idonije will slide back into his special teams role.