As I wrote earlier this training camp, this has been a drama-free preseason for the Dolphins. Not much that was out of the ordinary happened.
Some players stepped up. Some stepped back. No one of consequence has gotten hurt.
But there have been some surprises. And most of the surprises are pleasant so far.
I would categorize strong side linebacker Quentin Moses as a pleasant surprise. His chances of making the team when camp began seemed bleak. He was deep on the depth chart and with Matt Roth and Jason Taylor ahead of him, his prospects didn't look to bright.
But then Moses batted a pass here, registered a sack there, defended pretty well against the run over there, and batted another pass over there. And now, Moses looks like he's about to secure a roster spot on the team, particularly as Roth seems headed to the physically unable to perform list.
“I think Quentin’s progressed nicely," Tony Sparano said Monday. "I think that he’s doing a good job, to me, at the point of attack. I’ve seen, I’ve seen just a lot of improvement out of Quentin since the time that we’ve started now, you know, with him this year. Particularly starting in OTA’s, I seen a lot of improvement out of him. So, stronger player, better knowledge of the position, one of those things."
Look no further than rookie Sean Smith. Drafted in the second round, he is on the verge of locking up a starting job for the regular-season opener. He's tall and big, he's physical, he has excellent ball skills and the coaches love the fact he doesn't back down from opponents. He fights back and battles as he did against Tampa Bay when they started picking on him a little bit. Smith also has the secondary's only interception of the preseason.
Paul Soliai has been something of a pleasant surprise. He was overweight this offseason. The microscope was on him because he had this reputation as not being a good professional. Well, he lost the weight and is playing with great motor of late.
He has locked up the No. 2 nose job behind Jason Ferguson. He has begun to earn the respect of people high up in the organization.
Brian Hartline has surprised folks. Few rookie receivers are good enough to challenge for a starting job right away, particularly ones drafted in the fourth round. And yet, Hartline is on the verge of earning that job if he produces against New Orleans as he did last week against Tampa Bay.
Hartline is today leading the team with 107 receiving yards and a 21.4 yard per catch average.
Randy Starks hasn't really been a surprise, but he's opened eyes with his ability to earn a starting job. That starting job at right defensive end had Phillip Merling's name all over it. Merling had the starting job at the start of training camp. But Starks has been better in practice and mostly better in games, particularly on early pass downs, when he provided some solid pressure.
It has been surprising the Dolphins haven't really gotten their tight ends involved as much as one might expect during this preseason. Anthony Fasano has one catch for 2 yards. David Martin has two catches for 12 yards. John Nalbone has one catch for 3 yards and Joey Haynos has not caught any passes in the preseason.
There are other mild surprises, I know. But if I outlined them all for you, you'd have nothing to do in the comments section. Well?
Add more suprises.