As you may already know, my column in The Herald today shares the feelings the Dolphins have about all the moves and boasts the New York Jets have made this offseason. I talked with cornerback Sean Smith to gather information for the column and I wish to share here some of the material about Smith I didn't use in the column.
Smith, who started all 16 games at cornerback as a rookie, is locked in a competition with Will Allen and Vontae Davis -- three men wanting two starting jobs. My opinion is Davis is going to win one of those jobs and it will fall to Allen or Smith to decide the other.
So what does Smith think of how he did in his rookie season with hindsight giving him clearer vision of 2009?
"I think I did some real good things out there," he said. "I don't think there was a game where I was getting my butt whipped all game. I would say there wasn't any receiver that had my number for a whole game. I think my coverage was solid for the most part. Even though I didn't have any interceptions, I'd say my play was above average for a rookie."
The zero interception statistic is obviously one Smith isn't thrilled about. He says, indeed, guarantees that number will change in 2010.
"I guarantee that will change this year," he said. "Guaranteed. No way I will go another year without an interception. It's impossible."
Smith might have thought he was going to be an interception machine after collecting two in the 2009 preseason. But the real games are different and the higher stakes obviously affected Smith's coverage plans.
"The first year I moved to corner from wide receiver, I had four [interceptions]," Smith said. "So I was like, 'It's not really that hard, I don't see how guys struggle.' Next year I had five. Then I had two in the preseason and I thought, 'We'll keep rolling.' But then you get in the game when it really counts and you don't want to be that guy that messes up.
"At times I was being a little bit too hesitant. And we were in some close, close games and if I gamble one time and I get beat, I'm like, 'No way. I'm not bearing that on my shoulder.' You can't play like that."
So how far does Smith believe he's come one year into his career?
"I'm a lot more comfortable," he said. "I'm talking out there. I'm more vocal. I'm able to disguise things. I'm able to feel like a real vet, you know what I mean? I got the rookies asking me things. It's good to give advice instead of asking all the time."
Smith is also being smarter about his body and training regimen. Last year, he'd eat fast food and not concern himself with massages or icing down. Now he's eating more vegetables and fruits and staying away from fast food.
He hopes that will help him avoid the letdown he felt the final five or six games of last year when he felt somewhat worn down.
"I seen guys getting ice the first couple of weeks and I figured, 'I'm fresh I'm good,' " Smith said. "But after a while I had to take their advice. It was tough but I got through it.
"As the year went on I started to get the feel for body language of the receivers, learning how he lifts when he's going to break down. When you're watching things from the side you can tell when he's going to stop but when you're watching things from dead on its harder to tell when he's going to (drop) the hips."
It should be an interesting competition at cornerback.
[Check back throughout the day Saturday for updates from Day 2 of minicamp.]