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The cutdown day post-mortem and what's next

Cutdown day is over, but the activity surely is not. The Dolphins had their pro scouts in Sunday and they met with general manager Jeff Ireland and the rest of the Miami brain trust well into the evening.

The idea was to see about plucking talent from the NFL's list of cuts. The Dolphins might find a player or two that could be worthy of adding to their 53-man roster, although that is less likely this year than last. The Dolphins also are looking at that list for possible additions to Miami's 8-man practice squad.

Also chief among the personnel department's assignments is upgrading the Miami kick return game, particularly the punt returning.

Saturday was a wild day throughout the league. Lots of activity. But as I write in my Sunday column, the Dolphins enjoy a slice of continuity and his name is Jason Taylor. I don't think anyone truly appreciated the fact Taylor is on the roster until today when Matt Roth was placed on the reserve, non-football injury list.

That list means Roth cannot practice or play for Miami until Week 7 the earliest. Can you imagine the problems that would cause the Dolphins were Taylor not on the roster? Read the column and see how Taylor differentiates what he's doing for Miami now compared to the past few years the Dolphins have been running the 3-4 alignment on defense.

Now to the actual Miami cuts:

I'm not going through the entire roster. But if you want to see the that, check out the official depth chart.

Everyone is talking about the fact the Dolphins kept four tight ends instead of three. It doesn't suprise me and if you follow me on twitter, it would not surprise you, either, as I tweeted the possibility on Aug. 31. The common theory is Miami kept four tight ends because the team believed it could not get either John Nalbone or Joey Haynos through the waiver system to be able to sign either to the practice squad.

That is speculation and while not wrong, it isn't the entire story. The Dolphins aren't about just making decisions that affect this season, but also seasons to come. And the team isn't about picking a team based on a formula that designates each position with an unchangeable number of roster spots.

First, Bill Parcells picks the right players and that means players that have a future and a possibility of contributing in the future. Remember that David Martin is unsigned beyond this season and the Dolphins might not re-sign him because he's soon going to be on the wrong side of 30 and will be getting quite expensive as a free agent.

Nalbone and Haynos are cheap and both are signed for next year. The Dolphins believe they can develop Nalbone into a solid downfield threat. And they believe they can "change his body" a little to make him a better player.

So they didn't want to get rid of a player that has a future for the sake of keeping an equal or lesser player  that may not have such a high ceiling long-term. 

The Dolphins kept three offensive tackles -- starters Jake Long and Vernon Carey and rookie reserve Andrew Gardner. If you are a reader of this blog, you know I love Gardner. But you also know he is not game-ready by any means. Just isn't. Sorry.

So the Dolphins have gambled that Long and Carey will get through a 16-game schedule unscathed in any significant way, because if those two must miss time, the team has no legitimate answer to fill the void short-term. Sure, Miami can plug Gardner in, but that doesn't mean it would be pretty.

The Dolphins will likely add a tackle to the practice squad to develop the kid, and don't be surprised if an available veteran tackle gets Miami's attention. 

The interior line's depth is seems fine for now with Shawn Murphy and Joe Berger -- both of whom can play guard and both of whom have gotten work at center in practice.

The Dolphins kept five receivers which is no surprise. Rookies Brian Hartline and Patrick Turner are added to last year's core of Ted Ginn Jr., Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo. All I can tell you is Turner will be inactive the first week of the season and until something significant happens to change that.

The Dolphins kept six outside linebackers. Six! Look for five to be active on game days with Erik Walden and Charlie Anderson and perhaps Quentin Moses to play lots of special teams. Cameron Wake needs to pick up his special teams play to find himself active on game days.

The Dolphins kept six defensive ends. Lionel Dotson and Tony McDaniel will be battling week to week to land that final active spot on game day. Oh, and Phillip Merling has absolutely got to pick up his play to keep from getting passed by either of those two. That may not be a first-week issue, but look for that as the weeks pass because Merling has hung a target on himself as a guy with great potential who is in danger of becoming something of an underachiever.

Merling needs to play better now that the bell on the regular-season is ringing.

Finally, the cutting of Will Billingsley is significant. I was told and reported Saturday the Dolphins were cutting him. Yet Billingsley was at practice Sunday morning. The fact is Billingsley was held back as insurance.

The Dolphins, who might add Billingsley to the practice squad, wanted to give the youngster a chance to work Saturday. They wanted to keep him off the waiver wire until the 6 p.m. deadline. And they wanted to make sure Vontae Davis (knee) would be healthy enough to be available for next Sunday's regular-season opener at Atlanta.

Davis missed practice Saturday. But the cutting of Billingsley as originally planned is a positive sign that Miami is somewhat confident Davis will be healthy enough to contribute, if it comes to that and the rookie suffers no setbacks during the coming week.


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The Dolphins need to consider picking up Adrian Arrington (WR) cut by New Orleans. He is very talented and has a history with Henne (Michigan) and would be an improvement over Turner who showed nothing once the pads were on. They should also consider picking up Justin Miller (DB) cut by Oakland to handle the return game. He had 2 KO's for touchdowns last year.

I think Turner deserves some time to develop. If he was impressive in camp and practice, we have good enough coaches to coax equal gameday performance out of the kid.

Thanks for comprehensive analysis Armando. Not sure I agree on Haynos/Nalbone being so valuable long-term. there always another Kevin Boss out there...

Is Moses that much better than Wake on STs? I know Sparano talked a lot about them getting Moses reps against 1st teamers during preseason and in practice -- so he seems to be an early active candidate over Wake. But, Wake unblockable 50% of the time in preseason against 2nd/3rd teamers.

Roth has likely played his last game as a Fin. Bet money on it. The trifecta are pissed!

I don't think that chasing wide receivers around is a good idea at all. If Miami does decide to take some other teams headache I at least hope its a cheap one. I am more concerned about the middle of our D-line then any receiver issue. If Miami can not button up the center and start tackling with some dominance... they will get smoked by hard rushing teams like The Giants, Carolina, Tennessee and Pittsburgh. Take care of that and find out what it takes and who we gotta pay to stop teams on Kickoff and punt returns... Do those two things and we can start looking for guys to catch the ball for Chad.

Roth has played his last game as a Fin. Bet money on it. The Trifecta are pissed.

The trifecta "is" pissed

NJ you self righteous piece of narcisitic garbage. Dying breed and me will put you in your place. Come on justin, you join us.

Once again if were all rooting for the same team then why are yall fighting

Sean Smith is great and I am glad we got him. He will be the number one CB by next season.

You blogged that the Phins Kept Gardner...is Andrew and Nate the same player? PFT is reporting T Nate Gardner was CUT!!!! (see below)
Mike W

Dolphins finish their slide to 53
Posted by Mike Florio on September 5, 2009 8:28 PM ET
The Miami Dolphins have announced their cuts in piecemeal fashion, wrapping up the process by making it known that six more have been dumped, which gets the team to its target.

Gone are defensive end Ryan Baker, cornerback Will Billingsley, linebacker J.D. Folsom, tackle Nate Garner, offensive lineman Mark Lewis, and receiver James Robinson.

Folsom was a seventh-round pick in 2009.

Hey Dishpan you douche bag "trifecta" in this case refers to a plural pronoun. Therefore, "are pissed" is appropriate. Was "engilish" your major in college? You should have made it "english".

Nate Garner was cut, Andrew Gardner stays...

Mike W I know its a little confusing but to answer your question to Armando. We had offensive lineman Nate Garner and rookie Andrew Gardner.

Garner vs. Gardner, one has a D and the other doesnt.

Mando, why isn't Ginn returning punts and kicks? Don't get me wrong, Bess has great hands in fielding punts, but he aint taken' it to the house brother! I mean, thats where Ginn shines, just go to youtube and watch that 7 minute long highlight. Has he been muffing catches in practice or something? He had all those punt returns ( with phantom holding calls) and all of a sudden he stopped, what to focus on recieving? Fielding 5 or so punts is going to distract him from that?, i'd love for U to get the inside scoop on this from a team source.


RonnieBrownMVP, Ginn doesnt have the ability to break tackles or make the first guy miss. Thats why he was demoted from those duties. But if given an open lane he'll take it to the house baby!

Just a thought...

Vontae Davis may eventually turn out to be the stud CB as advertised in college... hopefully sometime this season. If that happens then we might have the #1 WR we've desperately needed right under our noses. How? ...By switching Sean Smith back to that position that he started off at in college.

The kid is so dynamic and physically gifted, I can't imagine him not having great success at that position and considering how hard and costly it is to find a true number one wideout, I think it's worth a shot to at least try that experiment out next offseason. In the meantime Will Allen should continue to hold his own for 2 more years while we draft and groom another talented CB to serve as his replacement. Your thoughts???


An ESPN article analyzing the recent cuts by each team identified some lop-sided numbers at some of the Dolphin's positions. Essentially, as Armando already alluded in part, we are weak on our OL and ILB. There is much quantitative disparity in our ILB and OLB. Additionally, while we kept four TEs and four RBs our OL is slightly depleted in depth. Hopefully the numbers even out over the next week.

Doesnt anyone having anything to say now that our once hero LB Zach Thomas was cut by KC? I know he has been gone 2 yrs now but still he was a Dolphin for life and now looks sadly like his career is now over, I hope he returns here to be able to retire as a Dolphin, Love ya Zach!!!

I have said from the start (not that anyone cares) that the a backup veteran OT is the team's biggest need. They will not find a WR that can help at this point nor a NT. However, perhaps a vet that is an OT (Tony Pashos) could be had for the right price. Our OT depth is awful.

An experience FS would interest me as well. Our safety play is awful.

Breed's right -- Ginn has great straight line speed but he's not shifty enough to be full time kick returner.

Bess is muy solid and reliable, and unfortunately that's as good as it gets for us on punt returns until some Devin Hester clone appears -- but that's not to put down Bess--there's a lot to be said for reliability. I'd kinda lie to see Hilliard on kickoff returns, tho Cobbs is, a la Bess, very solid.

The position imbalance (re numbers kept at certain positions) is troubling -- it reflects the fact that the Trifecta have (not has) a ways to go.

While the Smith-to-receiver movement is a long-term fantasy (we just cannot spare DBs right now or in the foreseeable future) - I DO expect to see Smith in Hail Mary situations (& perhaps certain goal line stuff??).

Is it next Sunday yet? Sweet anticipation


What's the deal with Merling? I feel like that cat is going to be one of those guys that gets cut or traded before we hear that he was lazy and didn't want to put in his work, fought weight problems, slept in meetings, never got along with Sporano, didn't have the mental capacity to absorb the playbook, was too immature, or was a loner in the locker room and never the "team player" type. What's the deal? Why is he sliding down? This was supposed to be his year!

What about getting Jesse Holley? The former UNC 2sport athlete that won Michael Irvins reality show? He had a punt return TD in Dallas. He'd bd cheap and if Irvin saw something in him it could be worth a shot. Last two UNC basketball players to strap on the pads did pretty well- Peppers and Ron Curry.

Yeah, it's strange with Merling. He was named as a player who would have a breakout year by some sports commentators. Even Prisco wrote at one point: "I like Miami's tackles Langford and Merling". He's gotta pick it up during the season.
Turner will get better. Can someone explain the "inactive players" for gameday? How does this work?

I'm a Cowboys fan. That punt return TD was in the last quarter of the last game of the preseason against 3rd stringers. Jesse Holley just didn't show much in camp or in the preseason games. Manny Johnson was also waived by the Cowboys, but outperformed him. I would try signing Manny, instead.

I like the moves but I wonder if we shouldn't be looking at this guy:

Bryan Smith, DE, formerly a 3rd rd pick of the Eagles. 6-2, 245, couldn't make it in a 4/3, what about a 3/4? Don't know much about him.

Also think that William Kershaw should be on the PS - if he makes it through waivers, which is doubtful as the kid really showed something, esp. against the Aints.

The use of the word Trifecta is grammatically incorrect here - Trifecta is betting parlance or is used to mean, essentially, three outstanding achievements. It is used with license such that the definition has been changed to mean a "group" of three excellent individuals. A "group" is a collective noun, not a plural noun. Therefore, the correct usage of any conjugation of the verb "to be" would be singular: "The group is going to the game." So the trifecta "is" making the right decision is correct.

Patriots just traded Richard Seymour for 2011 first rounder...

to the raiders

As I wrote on my twitter account, the trade of Seymour should open some cap space for the Pats because he was in the final year of his contract.

So why should you care?

Well, that give N.E. the opportunity to employ that cap space to extend Vince Wilfork if they want. And I don't know about you guys, but I would have loved for the Dolphins to snatch Wilfork from the Pats had he become a free agent.

Improves Miami at a position of need. Diminishes the division rival. Could still happen, but now I doubt the Pats will let Wilfork walk.

What about signing DT Terrance Taylor (6'0" 306 lbs), who was a 4th round draft pick this year for the Colts, but was cut yesterday? Although he was a 4-3 DT at Michigan, we need some DT for the developmental squad. I still don't have faith that Paul Solai will keep out of trouble, and that Jason Ferguson will stay healthy.


Gian, on game day inactives, all NFL teams have 53-man rosters. But they must declare 6 inactives for game day while only 47 players are active.

Practically all teams include their third QB as one of the inactives, knowing that player can enter the game should the teams other QBs go down to injury.

I think it's time for the dolphins to start concentrating on getting the ball to Ginn. He might not be the best route runner on the team, but he is by far the fastest player on the team. I believe more creativity is needed to get him involved. Using Ginn to spread the field will not only make it more difficult on defenses, but it also helps in opening up the running lanes for Rick and Ronnie.


Getting better on the analysis, but still the self-promotion is so lame. "As you would have know if you read my August 31 Twitter." Give us a break man. You are an information source, not a player. The only reason to read your blog and tweets is if you give good info. So you worry about delivering the goods and let us handle the compliments - if you earn them!

As for compliments - the bit on Davis was the best nugget in the blog. Thanks for that one!


Here are your well deserved compliments. You've earned them(this time!).

1 Great insight

2 Way to stay on top of things.

Armando seriously Richard Seymour for a 1st rounder? Are you kidding me. The guy has to be 30 years old.
Who the Heii is the GM with the RAIDERS.

Yamon Figurs is available fins need to take a lot at this guy for the KR/PR job.

I'm still hoping there's typo in the Seymour trade.
Belicheat's a straight up Gangsta!

We still need a monster LB in the middle, and in any proven way has Ginn a 1 WR, shown he's not. Sean Smith will help make up for the first 2 picks being, not as talent bringing as other choices would have been, project White and Davis were both reaches when we need now players. On with the reg season cause the time for layin low are ova let it shine division champs and show em the road to the Super Bowl comes through Miami!!!

So on cut down day Belicheat "shuffles" to the TE he wants and picks up an extra 2010 7th rd pick in the process.
Then to make room for his young talent, he trims the old/fat and gets a 2011 1st rd pick.

Oh well....all in a days work.......

God I hate Cheaters!!!!

Yeah Dying Breed you're right (and yes, English/creative writing was one of my majors). Still, your douchery knows no bounds. Excellente! "Ines, donde esta Juan?" Repita...

Dear Mr. Greek

We still need a monster LB in the middle, and in any proven way has Ginn a 1 WR, shown he's not.

I agree with you. Ginn's having enough troubles at WR. I don't think he will ever be our monster LB in the middle.

Mr: Greek:

Sean Smith will help make up for the first 2 picks being, not as talent bringing as other choices would have been, project White and Davis were both reaches when we need now players.

Again I agree. Smith looks like the real deal. Kudo's on those project players(Davis especially). I hate it when high rd draft picks don't make the Pro-Bowl before they even play in a regular season game.

Mr. Greek:

...and show em the road to the Super Bowl comes through Miami!!!

Again I agree. The Super Bowl will be in Miami this year.

Mando, one of the Phins goals since the Tuna got here has been to find a tall receiver to be a red zone threat, and this year we waived one player we signed from Jax who did not get it done, and drafted Turner from USC who is not ready to get it done and might not do it at all. Why the heck don't we just sign Matt Jones once and for all? He averages 13 yards a catch, has over 2000 yards in receptions with an upward trend and has 15 touchdowns, and is only 26 years old!! Did I mention he is 6'6 and has 4.4 speed and is a former college QB who would be another weapon for the Wildcat..... Let's stop screwing around and sign this kid before a team suffers an injury to a WR and get him!!!!


muy bueno

mando...great coverage..

and only bill clinton knows the meaning of "is" vs are. :-)

harri sayz keep mando as a nickle back. so mando, can i have my dime back?

canes crush noles my holiday complete


at what cost?

big rob,

what a catch arrington made that got called back. kid looked great and would be not cheap but could sign that guy.

something is going on at WR because of the number of LB, TE & DE kept.

Matt Jones should be a no go due to his substance abuse issues. He's had 2 arrests in the past 14 months for cocaine and alcohol, and was suspended by the league last year.

Harricane, I don't think it will take more than the vet minimum to sign him since he has been out since being cut by Jax. I know the Titans look like they are going to sign him, so it might drive up the price. As for a roster spot, I am not sold on Turner and might risk putting him through waivers and then practice squad, or might make a move on one of the TE to open up a spot. What do you think?

According to the Nashville Tenessean, the Titans worked out receivers Matt Jones, Jerry Porter, and Samie Parker on Thursday, but all left without a contract.

Impact: Jones still looks like he could really help out an offense, but thus far he hasn't drawn much interest. Parker and Porter have less upside, but the off-field problems for Jones may make the others more attractive

The Bears and Cowboys are also reportedly monitoring the situation. The troubled wide receiver caught 65 balls for 761 yards in just 12 games for Jacksonville in 2008, and would be a huge addition to the Titans' receiving corps if he has gotten his life back on track.

Pramis, Harricane do you know anything about Jones issues?


jones's history makes him a no go, sure that never went past ireland as bill would have questioned his judgement based on jones's past issues. that kid from NO is another better option. i like him better than turner...he was a no-show ...in my humble blurbs

s. beach is so tempting, just the top-less part none the less the "sand".

why do u think we have not signed all of the cane players? too much risk of personal responsibility failure.

NFL is not college where there are 'room-mates"

Tikkanen, I understand your concern about M Jones but the big issue is with Cocaine, and that can easily be tested for on a weekly basis. As for the alcohol, he was on probasion and part of what he had to follow was no alcohol, and the guy had some beers with friends. Not making an excuse, but I would not consider alcohol to be a problem. I would take a shot with this kid because risk vs reward is worth it. Look at how Ricky has changed...


oh yea....he is a no go for me.

we don't need distractions, i.e., B. Marshall

our group seems pretty solid. i agree that seconds were doing SP not the guys who will start agains the falcons


why are we blue? lol

Crack Cocaine?

Oh...no...nO...NO! Matt say it aint so.

On the other hand, maybe the Miami area has good substance abuse treatment centers.

Yeah sure let's take the chance of putting Turner on the waiver wire so we can make room for a CrackHead.

I'm sure the Trifecta's considering it as we speak. WTF people?

I think that people misunderstand the Tuna and his aversion to troubled players. Heck, just look at the players he had in the past, and most notably LT who had huge drug issues. If the Tuna feels that a player can help him and has been able to turn things around and will work his behind off, he will sign him. I am just shocked that they have not brought in M Jones for a simple tryout and sit down chat. Heck, I felt the same with M Vick and what he could do with our Wildcat and we passed on that for P White and the jury is still out on that one given White's lack of performance.


great peice on Jason. good job indeed !! we should be happy/crazy happy to have jason back. i am.

oh BTW. bring Zack back as LB coach. make my day


I'm with you. Penny's the starter for now. With his strengths and weaknesses at this point, I can't see any other recievers making that big of a difference. The group we got plays to Chad's "game". With the offense we run I feel confident with them.
If a WR becomes available with great special teams skills, then it's another story.


are u as i am more interested in the O-Line making a great running game? TE's kept for 3 TE blockers? or for 2-3 TE on wildcat? just saying....

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