Examining Dolphins' linebacker options minus Kiko Alonso

The Miami Dolphins lost for the first time in seven games last week in a 38-6 blowout defeat to the Baltimore Ravens. In addition to the loss, a key injury that also took place was at middle linebacker with starter Kiko Alonso. Alonso leads Miami with 97 tackles.

Miami's leading tackling broke his thumb in the first half, put on a soft cast and returned to the game. However, Alonso had surgery on Monday, according to Dolphins coach Adam Gase, and his status for Sunday remains uncertain and will be determined later this week.

Here are Miami's options if Alonso cannot play against the Arizona Cardinals:

Mike Hull

Experience: Second season

2016 stats: 19 tackles

Analysis: Hull was Alonso's replacement last week in Baltimore. He was an undrafted rookie free agent in 2015 who had a productive career at Penn State and is a natural middle linebacker. Hull made his name on special teams and is one of Miami's best players in the third phase of the game. But Hull has a lot to prove as a starter if Alonso isn't healthy. He had a season-high five tackles against the Ravens.

Spencer Paysinger

Experience: Sixth season

2016 stats: 26 tackles, one pass defense

Analysis: Like Hull, a large part of Paysinger's role is on special teams, but Paysinger brings plenty of starting experience from his previous stop with the New York Giants. He also has two starts for the Dolphins this season at outside linebacker. Hull is more of a natural middle linebacker, but Paysinger brings versatility. Miami would have the option of playing Paysinger inside and perhaps start Neville Hewitt outside.