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Some interesting tidbits from Monday's work

Ernest Wilford had a starting receiver job when this training camp opened. It was his job to lose.

But after not getting any separation with any consistency the 10 days of camp, Wilford started losing the job Monday. Derek Hagan, who has had some flashes while working with the second team and as the slot receiver, was promoted to first team.

Wilford worked mostly with second-teamers. Nothing is set in stone so I just come out here and compete and come out here and practice hard," Wilford said.

So why hasn't Wilford produced? "It's a little bit of everything," he said. "It's still preseason, the season is still young. Nothing is set in stone until you get to the preseason games. I'm a gamer. Derek is a gamer so everything is going to work out come preseason games."

Truth be told, Hagan has been a fine outstanding practice player and outstanding citizen on the Dolphins. But he hasn't really been a gamer in his career yet. Wilford, meanwhile, did start plenty of games for Jacksonville.

So does he think he'll get better once the games begin?

"I think so but you still need to come out here and prove it on the practice field," Wilford said. "Right now we just have to continue to work on consistency on the practice field and just try to come out here and catch balls."

Actually, it's get open, then catch balls. Otherwise he'll catch hell.

Matt Roth, Vonnie Holliday, OLB note:

Just so everyone understands: It is the preseason and the Dolphins are experimenting. So just because Vonnie Holliday works some as a standup SOLB for a week, it doesn't mean he's being converted to SOLB.

And just because Matt Roth works at standup SOLB some, as he did in the offseason camps and again Monday and likely the remainder of this week, it doesn't mean he's being converted to a SOLB.

It means it is the preseason and there is a search for an answer underway. And what is the question?

How do you replace Jason Taylor?

The easy way to do it is stick Charlie Anderson in there, play Roth at one DE and Holliday at the other DE and be, well, unsatisfied with the results.

But the Dolphins are not doing that. They are searching for options. They are trying to maximize their players. So maybe the answer is putting Holliday at the SOLB, using Kendall Langford or Phillip Merling as a DE and sending Anderson to the bench.

Maybe the answer is putting Roth at an SOLB and having Holliday, and either Randy Starks, Merling or Langford at the other DE while sending Anderson to the bench. Or maybe it is sending Roth and Anderson to the bench, playing two out of the group of Starks, Merling and Langford and using Holliday at SOLB.

The point is the team is searching for the best combo of guys to create the most pressure. The team is looking at all the options to settle on the best fit. It doesn't mean it will happen. It doesn't mean it won't.

It just means the Dolphins are looking to recover the 11 or so sacks the team traded to the Redskins.

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Excellent post. It's good to have substanative things to write about. Thanks!

I think Wilford will get his chance. All I remember is him tearing up the New England DB's in the playoff game. He'll be alright, be it as the WR2 or playing the slot.

Holliday is too heavy at 292 to play linebacker. Roth on the other hand is about 272, if memory serves me correctly. He is 6'5 or so... I bet he can play linebacker in place of Charlie Anderson. Roth was drafted as a tweener... I bet he makes a good 3-4 linebacker.

Nice post Armando. These experiments are only right for a team coming off a 1-15 season. Their depth was questionalbe, and now they seem to be sorting through the pieces to see who can play where. Injuries really shook the Phins up last year, so I think its a really good idea to give some folks the opportunity to learn other positions. That way, if they have to start shuffling guys in due to injury, a starter could switch places with the injured guy and let one of the younger guys get in there and go for it in his most comfortable position. I look forward to seeing where this defense will be by the end of the year. I expect we'll see some flashes from those young guys that will begin to make this team's future a little brighter.

Either way, Armando...I'm not sure why you so vehemently denied during chat last week that Vonnie Holliday ever worked as a stand up linebacker. You very, very specifically said the only thing he had done was work some stand-up stuff in special teams drills. Once we showed you some quotes that confirmed that Vonnie was standing up as a linebacker, you backpedaled and said ok but it wasn't in any team drills. Then during the Saturday scrimmage he worked standup linebacker in the team drills and now it's backpedaling to say ok he's worked at linebacker but it doesn't mean much it's just experimentation

In reality, that's all we were saying all along, commenting that Vonnie Holliday was working out at OLB in some experimental packages. Perhaps a 30 Stack with Vonnie lined up at OLB directly behind the LDE, ready to rush the B-gap.

Either way it's puzzling why you've been so stout in the denial on the whole issue, it's not like it's a big deal.

Armando I noticed that sportsline.com and a couple other sites that released the new depth chart had Ricky 1st and Ronny 2nd??? Yours is different any comment>?

At least the coaching staff is thinking. They are looking for strengths and weaknesses to find a better fit. Unlike last years staff that said everything was OK and we would be 10-6 and playoff bound.
As far as the receivers go, it is going to be tough to see who comes out on top because you need a qb to get the ball to them. Henne, strangely or not strangely enough seems to be the man on the rise. Hopefully they don't stick him in until the rest of the offense starts to gell. A couple of blitzes and fumbles would ruin the guy.

Abe: The depth chart I posted is the one the Dolphins have put it. It has Ronnie Brown as the starting RB.

CK: Go back and read the chat from last week which is still up. I did not say Vonnie Holliday is working as a LB on special teams. I said he's doing it in individual drills with Pasqualoni off to the side along with Joey Porter.
Also, I have not be denying anything. I am pointing out what is accurate as far as I can tell rather than yelling from rooftops that Vonnie Holliday is suddenly an OLB. He is not. Not yet.

Holliday is too big - slow. Roth from what I hear, I live in Orlando so i can,t watch the pratices, has an actual shot at being a decent OLB in the 3-4. What is surprising however is how well the secondary is playing. I was rather concerned that the Trifecta didnt draft a CB. I hope that they are truly playing well and not that our WR or QBs are beyond pathetic.
I think if would / could sign Terry Glenn that it give us a better take in pratice time. Or simply wait for this weekend against the Bucs.

Sparano said yesterday that working Holliday and Roth at OLB expands their options with the game day roster. Look at what the Pats do, they move guys all over the place. Sometimes they only have two down linemen and 5 LBs even though some of those LBs might be defensive lineman, but they're standing up.

Holliday is not slow by the way. He's not running a 4.6, but I've seen him chase people down.

CK is the message board and blog nazi.

I understand what you're saying and I appreciate you giving your input. I'm not going out of my way to give anyone crap, here. It's just confusing. The following was your initial response to a question I asked about Phil Merling's weight and how if they can start working Vonnie at OLB a little bit, why not Merling? Here:

"CK: First of all, the reports that Holliday was working at OLB were wrong. He is getting some light drill work standing up during special teams but not in there in team work."

I mean, you have to be able to see why that would be a little bit confusing. I agree he's not all the sudden an OLB by trade. But, it's also clear they've worked him at OLB and moved him around in the formations at that position. Last year the Jets needed a spark, their defense was awful, and so against the Steelers in a game everyone expected the Steelers to win, they pulled Shaun Ellis out to OLB in a lot of packages to try and get some more pressure, take advantage of matchups, and help stop Willie Parker. It was their best defensive outing of the season. I think the Dolphins are readying similar contingencies.

With the Bucs coming up Saturday, it will be very interesting to see how the O line fares against a stout D when there's heavy hitting. I doubt it will be pretty, but it should help the coaching staff guage where this young line is in their development. Methinks our secondary will do quite well, and I sure hope we emerge with no injuries.

I hope Roth finds a way to excel at some spot cuz he sure has worked hard and we need to figure out the best place to use that motor of his!

CK,

Thanks for the commentary. I also was confused about Armando's statements. Perhaps Armando was disturbed by the fact that competing papers were beating him to the punch on an interesting story and he over-reacted by denying that there was even a story. In any event, I think someone like Holliday is capable of making these types of shifts and still being successful. I am looking forward to when the real games begin to see if they work.

Armando, I appreciate your explanation and insight on the Vonnie Holliday/Matt Roth OLB issue. You've been on it from the start and it's been good information throughout. Gracias.

Matt Roth is a bust. For the price paid [second round pick] he has done little to convince me he was worth the investment.

That might be a little strong, Will. I don't think Armando is out there trying to lie to people. He's just been trying to minimize the importance of the Vonnie => OLB development, in all likelihood because Armando's been around long enough to see similar experiments amount to a rat fart in the wind. But in this case I think he misspoke, is all.

klndry, you're right this coaching staff is thinking. But you are misguided to believe that last year's coaching staff did not think. Great sentiment. False statement. They mixed and matched every bit as much as the current staff in regards to trying to figure out what players work best where, on offense and defense. The problem last year was that the first stringer would get injusred and then the next best guy would get injured and then you're left as a coach witht he guy that really shouldn't have been on the field. Furthermore, I don't know which coach in the NFL today takes the field not aiming to win their division. I'm not sure there is a coach headcoach in the NFL that knows that their team doesn't have a shot (present Dolphins included). As a coach you just gotta prepare and believe. Then you pass that along to your guys and get them to buy in.

As for the QB, every year for the last ten years or so(Fiedler-Ferrotte-Rosenfels, Fiedler-Feely-Lemon, Culpeper-harrington-Lemon, Green-Lemon-Beck, McCown-Beck-Henne)get the picture, we have been in the same position at this point of the season. It could go either way for any of the QBs on our team. Either way its going to be an uphill season. I just hope that theCoaches name their guy and Go uphill with him. Looking back, what I wouldn't give to have a guy like fiedler today. Sheesh!

Why does the herald act like they miss Taylor so much? The herald practically campaigned for Taylor's trade after Thomas' departure, so why make so much fuss after he is gone?

Yes there is no one to replace Taylor and Thomas' production on defense. We knew that before the draft and we still realized it after the draft, so why is Armando splitting hairs over any new schemes? Either way you've lost production, because the best player left on the team has moved on.

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