Asked about the recent news that it will be Starks — not Dan Williams, not Mount Cody, not Cam Thomas or someone else — who will take the baton from Jason Ferguson and open the year as the Dolphins’ starting nose tackle, the seventh-year man out of Maryland smiled.
“I’m excited,” Starks said. “It’s a new challenge and I feel at home because I’ve played inside before. It’s nothing new for me. ”
Indeed, the past two seasons since coming to Miami as a free agent in 2008, Starks has filled in occasionally during Ferguson’s injury absences. So have Paul Soliai, Tony McDaniel and others, but it’s Starks who appears to have the right combination of brute strength, low center of gravity, quickness and creativity to thrive at the position.
At least that’s what the Dolphins are hoping.
“It’s not like I’ve never played it before in a 3-4 [defense],” Starks said. “It’s not going to be brand new for me. At the same time it’s going to be full duty but I’m ready for the challenge. My first four years in the NFL I was playing inside [in the Titans' 4-3]. The last two I went outside, so I’m just going back where I was before.”
Starks, 26, said he is at 310 pounds, which is what he played at in 2009. He has no plans to tweak that weight in order to prepare for opening the year on the nose in Mike Nolan’s defense.
“I’m not going to get bigger, smaller or anything like that,” he said.
Is the move permanent? Will we ever see Starks back on the end?
“I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t tknow if it’s this year, next year, for eight games. ”
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