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Dolphins do more than preach competition

Some football teams preach competition. But come on, seriously, is there really competition in Atlanta for Tony Gonzalez today? Is there competition in Pittsburgh for Hines Ward or Ben Roethlisberger? Do you seriously believe Ray Lewis is being pushed for his starting job in Baltimore even though he's going on 34 years old?

Some teams want competition. The Dolphins live competition -- at least so far under Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano.

This offseason, the first full offseason the current regime has enjoyed in Miami, there exists competition throughout the roster. There is competition for unaccomplished and accomplished players alike. There is competition for youngsters and veterans. Practically everyone outside of kicker Dan Carpenter has competition for his job.

Don't believe it?

Chad Pennington was the Dolphins MVP last season. He is by far their most accomplished offensive player. Coach Tony Sparano named him the starter for 2009 at the end of the 2008 season. And yet he's working his tail off this offseason because he realizes that although he's already earned and been handed the starting job, he's got to compete to keep it.

Chad Henne is on Pennington's tail and is, by any account, the regime's fair-haired. He is the franchise quarterback in-waiting. He is the future. He is pushing Pennington.

And now he is being pushed by Pat White.

"Obviously I have a high regard for Pat [based on] where we selected him," Ireland said. "And I don’t know that you can have too many good players at that position, and there’s a little bit of an unknown about Chad (Henne) and there’s obviously an unknown about how we’re going to use Pat. But I don’t think you can have too many good players at that position. Your vision's going to be for the future. Heck, I don’t even know if Chad Pennington’s not going to be here so they’re going to be competing for playing time and I feel good about having three four really good players at that position.”

How sold are the Dolphins on competition? This week the team has talked with Jason Taylor's representative about the possibility Taylor might return to Miami. That addition, were it to happen, would immediately create a competition at the weakside linebacker spot Joey Porter manned so well last season. 

And it would create competition between Taylor, Porter, Cameron Wake, Quentin Moses, Erik Walden and William Kershaw for the right to be part of the four-man line in the nickel and dime packages. It's called competition.

Ronnie Brown competed with Ricky Williams last training camp and even lost his starting job (few remember this) at the beginning of the season when Williams started the first two games. Then Brown recovered and reclaimed his starting job. Then Williams regained it for a week against Oakland. And on it went.

Coaches didn't let either get comfortable or allow either to settle for being the backup.

This training camp, both will be competing for carries with Patrick Cobbs. Yes, the Dolphins love this kid. Cobbs is a relative unknown and Brown and Williams have both been Pro Bowl players, and that will mean absolutely nothing during the competition.

Brown will also have another competition on his hands. The unquestioned triggerman of the Dolphins 2008 Wildcat package has to hold off the charge of White, who seems like a natural for the spot. The outcome of that competition could have us renaming Miami's signature offensive package the WildPat if White is the better triggerman.

Cornerback Will Allen is the most experienced member of the secondary and it would be a huge upset if he doesn't start throughout the season. But the fact is he's unsigned for 2010 and the Dolphins drafted two cornerbacks in the first two rounds. So assuming the two rookies live up to their billing and draft status, and assuming they improve with time, they could be pushing Allen by the end of the season.

I'm not predicting that will happen. Both Vontae Davis and Sean Smith would have to be cornerback prodigies to make this come to pass. But the fact is competition does not end after training camp and with a handful of Pro Bowl caliber receivers on the schedule, anything can happen.

Jake Long has the left tackle job sown up for the next decade right? Probably. But the Dolphins will give sixth-round pick Andrew Gardner, who might be as able a pass-blocker as Long, the chance to compete and earn his backup role.

I've told you in the past Bill Parcells likes tight end Joey Haynos because he is 6-8 and 270 pounds and shows promise as a redzone threat. Haynos will try to push David Martin and Tony Fasano. So what do the Dolphins do? They draft John Nalbone to be a redzone threat that pushes Haynos.

The receiver position is loaded with competition. Nobody's job is secure there. Not Davone Bess, not Greg Camarillo, not Brandon London, obviously not Patrick Turner nor Brian Hartline, and not even Ted Ginn Jr.

Although Ginn has a skill none of the others have -- namely, scary speed -- he will have to work hard on making himself more readily available to the quarterback to remain the No. 1 option. 

The fact is both Bess and Camarillo have a way of finding open spots in the defense and Ginn needs to improve on that if he wants to continue being the team's leading receiver, which he was last season only because Camarillo got injured and Bess didn't start the entire season. (Ginn caught 56 passes to lead the team, Camarillo had 55 catches and Bess 54.) 

There are other solid competitions on the roster. They involve names such as Randy Starks and Phillip Merling, Reggie Torbor and Akin Ayodele, Brandon Fields and Jy Bond, Joe Berger and Donald Thomas and Andy Alleman and Ikechuku Ndukwe.

It's about competition on the Dolphins. More players than not are in one. And that's a good thing.

I know I've missed a couple so feel free to add those in the comments section. I also expect you have an opinion on how the competitions I've laid out will turn out. So give those predictions in the comments section also.

One last thing: You might argue the Dolphins have so much competition because they are still an incomplete team that hasn't found the right combination of players yet. Fair. The only way to find that right combo is to have them compete.

But what does that say about previous incomplete Miami teams that didn't have nearly this much competition? Hmmmm.

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Why don't the dolphins pick up Cris Backer From hampton for a young nose prospect? I thought they would draft him.

I meant Baker. Can you answer this Armando

yeah, Armando what's the scoop on Baker?

Why don't the dolphins pick up Cris Baker from Hampton for a young nose? I thought they should of drafted him! Can you answer this Arnando?

I am from the far east and hate the Wets, Spills and most of all the Craptriots.

For 5 dolla i do you long time. Me so hooooorny!

Flung Dung, you no from far east, you are dirty man, you may be from the fart east. i wish this blog won't allow dirty person to be on here.
go fins

I'm cremeofsumyungguy's brother.

The best part of this coaching staff is exactly that; the fact they are willing to sign, draft, trade and fire players as needed in order to get the right mix of players out on the field. The previous coaches did not do a very good job at this + their draft picks where pretty bad hence why we sucked so much!!.... good to see them trying and even though not every player we get is going to be a Pro Bowl player at least they are making moves and making a huge difference in the team. AFC East champs in 2009.....lol

Worst Phin ever ?

Who was that RB from Tenn.who got busted in some womans apt. Cobb or cobbs or somthin like that. Now that guy was creepy

SoiledBottom

I am not sure that competition is a good thing. It speaks more about uncertainty that the Dolphins are in. I am sure that the FO would like to have certainty that players will perform as expected, but they do not; hence, FO needs to bring in people to compete. I doubt there will be much competition at QB#1, LT, RB, MLB, WLB, NT.

who's the player that fin dolphin fans love to relive today to make them forget about the misery they are in for last 10 years ?
GO FINS

Cecil " The diesel " collins from LSU.

I'm interested to see who's pushing for the DT (furguson) position. I have a feeling that Parcells was hoping that Ron Brace would still be on the board, NE is such a pain in the ass and always throwing a monkey wrench in our football existence.

Very good article Armando ...so glad you pointed out Ginn bettered Bess and Camarillo due to starts and injury. I still think Camarillo is the best impact receiver in Miami...clutch catches, big playmaker, all heart...love that guys game.

Cuban Menace = security guard, Go jets baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cuban, you my brother and i love you very much ,when you see some one is not kind to you sign with Jet in love ,you should know that voldomore is not me.

p.s ....you know who i am

I will do something I have never done before and say "good artical Mondo".The compitition is the best approach to filling a starting lineup. Loyality does not equal championship but talent and drive can.

I agree in part regarding the fact we need to get behind Ted Ginn and I hope he really does have a breakout year. We hear about recievers only really learning the ropes in the 1st 2 years and often the 3rd year sets the benchmark for the rest of their career but, although I appreciate he didn't chose to be picked 9th in the draft he was. This means that the expectation of fans, coaches (albeit not the regime that drafted him) and his fellow players is commensurate with that high pick not to mention his salary. I appreciate that Penne hasn't got the greatest arm strength to take advantage of Ginns best asset but he needs to sharpen his route running, concentration and be prepared to take hits over the middle if he is to fulfill his promise - Ted Ginn, your time is now!!

It's gotta be said that competition for spots although sounds great if the guys who signed think their a lock for starting places start to feel too pressured and leave we may end up being short handed in a hurry.
The big names just won't want to come in the future so we'll be signing all the left over mediocre players who although battle well in camp can't play against the stars of the NFL.
Don't get me wrong I love that we're making it an earn your spot type system but if you're signing the likes of Porter to multi million $$ contracts you want him to be happy when he plays not constantly looking over his shoulder at who the next guy is and what he's doing.

lets just hope the coaches keep the best combination of players together,im excited

joff her doll that was a wise comment marion looks like a long shot on paper but look what this team made out of devon bess that dude is a monster in the slot and any team wants a guy like him he was a great replacement for wes welker

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