I was standing in the middle of the Dolphins locker room earlier this week when rookie Sean Smith walked through and, looking at the kid from a distance, he seemed kind of skinny to me.
Don't get me wrong. Smith isn't skinny skinny.
I mean, he eats. He lifts weights. He works out. He weighs 214 pounds.
But he is NFL skinny. His arms don't bulge. His upper body isn't ripped.
Basically he has some growing to do yet. And that's what coach Tony Sparano says is the next step in Smith's progression toward next season.
"I would say with Sean, it’s just some strength, some physical strength," Sparano said. "Training, when you get young players out of the draft, and you’re training them for the 16-week, really the 22-week period that we’re going to have them out there, the amount of time you get them from the draft until the time you can train them and do that is not really close to what the veterans have been doing.
"Having these guys, Sean, Vontae [Davis], Pat White, Andrew Gardner, these guys all with the full offseason under their belt, I think is just going to help them down the road, the stamina that it takes to play as many games as you have to play, particularly at their positions, Sean’s position, all those things."
As you know, Smith doesn't have an interception this season. He's been around the ball, but on at least two occasions, I can remember he either got out-fought for the ball that became a completion or the receiver knocked it from him for an incomplete pass.
That is about strength. And Smith will add some in the offseason. Then, of course, the other stuff will come. Smith will have to learn to study himself and his opponent better. That time he spends thinking about the mall these days? He'll grow as a professional and think about more film study. That is part of growing up as well.
"I think, watching himself on film, watching some of these very good receivers that he’s played against each and every week. Going back through it with his position coach and really being able to hack out his fundamentals and technique, and then spend some time in the offseason doing some of those things whenever we get to that point I think would be the best thing for Sean," Sparano said. "Right now, I think the best thing for Sean is to make sure that the guys with the black helmets on don’t do that this week. We need to concentrate on that game first."
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