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Some of the tough decision facing Dolphins coaches

The Dolphins are about to play their final preseason game before making their round of roster cuts to get down to the NFL 53-man roster limit and coach Tony Sparano says "hard choices" are about to be made.

I'll say.

I'm looking at players such at Will Allen, Phillip Merling, Tyrone Culver, Gerald Alexander, Nolan Carroll, Lou Polite, Phillip Livas, Ryan Baker, Frank Kearse, Larry Johnson, John Jerry, Roberto Wallace and Marlon Moore as those presenting Sparano and his staff with those unenviable choices.

Let's look at them in no particular order:

Marlon Moore: I love this kid. I think he has loads of potential. He will play in the NFL, that is beyond question for me. The question is where? He's stuck in a numbers game in Miami. If the Dolphins keep their usual five wide receivers, he might be the last man out. The problem here is Moore needs to be a core WR to make the team because the Dolphins don't trust Moore on the field as a WR and don't have the time to develop him as such by playing him because they have better players at the position right away. Fact is, with development and experience, Moore will probably become better than Brian Hartline. But the Dolphins continue to go with Hartline because he is better right now and right now is most important to them. Thus Moore has to win a job on the roster as a special teamer. In that regard, he basically has to be better than Roberto Wallace. Sometimes he is. Most of the time, he's not. Thus his problem. If the Dolphins can find a way to fit six receivers on the roster, Moore makes it.

Roberto Wallace: Big, strong, loads of potential as a receiver. He's not the speedy deep threat that Moore is. But he's a better special teams player. That seemingly gives him a better chance at the fifth WR job. He's likely goin to play a ton against Dallas. He needs to produce on both offense and special teams to solidify himself. He obviously has not nailed down a job. But a good game could go a long way in helping him do that.

Phillip Livas: You want to root for this kid. You really want to root for him to return another punt for a TD. But after that initial explosion of attention he got, caused by that impactful 75-yard punt return against Atlanta in the preseason-opener, Livas has been quiet. Quiet gets you cut. He has shown potential but zero consistency. Barring another amazing game, I don't see how he makes the team.

Ryan Baker: This kid is like the old truck that starts up in the heat and the cold, doesn't mind never getting washed, sits unattended and needing a tune-up. And yet, when you ask for it to haul away a tree stump, it gets the job done. Problem for this old truck is the Dolphins have been building their defensive line with Dline versions of Freightliners. There are some serious, quality players on this unit. And so the old truck might have to go on the waiver wire.

Phillip Merling: He is probably the fifth of five fine defensive ends on the Miami roster. Yes, that makes him a trade chip. I wouldn't be surprised if he is dealt. But I know the Dolphins believe you can never have enough 6-4, 300-pound defensive ends, particularly when they are still in their early-to-mid 20s. Merling doesn't seem as explosive as he was in flashes before his Achilles' injury. But did I mention that he's 6-4 and 300 pounds and can still move very well? I believe he makes it. Unless he's traded.

Lou Polite: Sparano has made it clear he values Polite. Good FBs are very hard to find today. The coach has gone so far as to say it will take a lot of convincing for him to part with Polite. But the new offense has seemingly diminished Polite's role. With Charles Clay working in as an H-back type, the FB is not nearly as often on the field. And with rookie Daniel Thomas coming close to disappointing in the preseason, the club may find a need to keep an extra running back just in case. That also could hurt Polite. Me? I still find it hard to see the Dolphins let him go. Plus, I believe what Sparano says.

Larry Johnson: He's probably going to play a good deal against Dallas. That should give us a picture of what he's got left in the tank because we haven't seen him in practice which are now closed to the media. He is not pushing Reggie Bush nor Daniel Thomas for a roster spot. I perceive the battle here is between him and Lex Hilliard. This one is impossible to call because, well, I just don't know all the facts. Imagine a sportswriter admitting that? Wow.

John Jerry: What a bitter, bitter disappointment this guy is right now. If things had gone according to script, he would have used his rookie year in which he started eight games and come back this year a solid, capable, star-in-the-making right guard. Instead he came back soft and unprepared and went from starter-in-waiting to perpetual back up. Frankly, if it weren't for his draft pedigree (a third round pick last season), I could see him cut. That probably doesn't happen. But make no mistake, the fact Jerry couldn't lock down a starting job threw the Oline plans into chaos.

Culver, Carroll, Allen, Alexander: Two of these four will make the team for sure. One of these will definitely be cut. The other is kind of in netherland based on what happens in the game. To me, Allen seems a likely cut right now. He hasn't really stayed healthy in two seasons. He was tripped up by a hamstring injury earlier in camp. He used to be a good player, but we're not sure what he is now. And he's scheduled to make $1.5 million. If he's on the roster the first day of the regular season, that money is guaranteed. That's a hard thing to do with a player whose recent history is to be done by October. So I wouldn't be surprised if the Dolphins cut him and then tried to bring him back later. If they cut Carroll, he'll likely get picked up on waivers. Alexander to me represents special teams insurance. We'll see how valuable at the game Thursday. Culver is valuable in that he he can play dime, works in all the special teams, and can help in the nickel in a very tough spot. But has he made plays? Some. Not big ones this preseason. And that puts him at risk.

Kearse: I love this kid. But he's a kid. He has to learn to play. He isn't anywhere near Paul Soliai or even backup Ronald Fields. He feels like a practice squad guy to me.



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Wish Colombo was on that list!

I Wish Odereye was on the "Cut" List,Well his liver cant last much longer anyway.

What about cutting all of our TE except Fasano and use Clay as backup TE/FB. Free's up some space to keep Moore and Carroll. Not gonna happen but it isn't beyond reasonable. None are that good/worth keeping


Is there any way columbo gets cut? I seriously doubt anyone in South Beach wants this guy on the team. He is the worst tackle we've had since Wade Smith.

The problem is they watched Jerry do well against the competition at the Senior Bowl, which is basically designed for the departing non-superstar seniors to get into a Bowl game before the leave college.

Life's full of tough choices!
I agree with MiamiD20...cut some dead weight with our back up TE's who rarely get on the field and keep Moore.
....and cut Columbo, he is going to get our starting QB killed if he keeps getting OWNED on the right side.

Get rid of Larry johnson, not hilliard! I thing he will start. It's weird that Sparano has not played him! Mark my wordm he is letting the Patriot's think that he is gonna be cut. I have heard that he is the HARDEST runner we have. Also let allen, go before carrol. Culver sucks, and I like baker! I cant fu**in bebeive the monday night game is two weeks away! Im goona be RAGING with my old bud from the Orange bowl day's raisng hell! GGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEFFFFENSE

But....But.....John Jerry was in the Senior Bowl, and was so very respctful of Mr. Ireland and Mr. Sparano. Surely there must be some mistake about the quality of his play.

A still picture shows less than a moving picture? You know I recall every time John Madden made an assessment on Monday/Sunday Night football with the telestrator he would freeze the image to show what he was talking about, and then run the play.

Posted by: TheTruth | August 31, 2011 at 02:20 PM

Yeah but he only did this to help out the slow dullards that couldn't keep up.

You know who I'm talking about I'm sure.

Most of Maddens freeze frames were in rergards to formatons and dsquising formations. The rest werent terribly misdiagnosed and misanalyzed, like this one.

-Nothing BUT the Truth-

Anyone listen to Sparanos luncheon speech? Besides knocking the fans for not supporting the team, he says OK about ever 7 seconds.

I need a long nap and then a triple expresso to recover.

Probably alot of Pat's fans wont be making the trip (Irene)! God Bless them! You Phin fans need to scoop the tickets up! Burmett and Dansby will help covering the Pat's TE's this year. Put Jimmy Wilson in the nickel!Then let are D-Line plow Brady on the MIA home grown grass!!!!!!!! Paul Solai will sep up!

"this kid" "this guy" "loads of potential" x 100.

I think we found some of Salguero's speech patterns.

Whew, screw the expresso, take a ole fashioned WHACK! CHAD HENNE jersey all the way baby! REPRESENT MONDAY NIGHT!

Does having "tough choices" reflect well on the GM? With our troubles running in short yardage situations it seems odd to cut Polite.

What about the TE's Armando?
The starter is borderline average, the other guys are not NFL-material.
Would be a shame to see Carrol, Moore or Culver being cut while Mastrud and Shuler make the team.

Were gonna be blending Margaritas as of 4pm Monaday night! At least Kordell Stewart give's us a 9-7 season, not like these other hater's! Beacuse we have Mike Nolan, watch our DEFENSE this year!

I don't see Larry Johnson sticking. They bring him in late and he really hasnt played much in 2 years. Im hearing Steve Slaton is going to be cut in Houston. I would love to see him brought in and given a chance.

Miami trade for Tebow.

Even though our O-line sucks, DiLine will prevail!

Phinatic, Slaton is to much like Bush! We need a BRUISER! Hilliard will start!

Columbo and Murtha both need to go!!!

We do need to keep Moore, casue we need more SPEED! Brandon will step up after his BOGUS DISORDER!

Flipper 13, not Murtha, but Columbo need's to leave Golden Coral for a change! Get that FT ASS out of here

Slaton can go between the tackles unlike Bush.

John Jerry, what a waste of a 3rd rd pick! Like Shawn Murphy! Whick one of the 3 stoogesmade that pick!

Regarding John Jerry: How do you not come prepared to an NFL training camp? I think he probably thought that the labor impasse was not going to be resolved so swiftly and was too lazy to stay in shape just in case it got resolved. I hope they don't give up on him for being too stupid to stay in shape. I have seen him engulf NFL players in the running game this pre-season (though he is not good in space).

How about we cut Benny Sapp and keep Will Allen who is much better in coverage.


Keep lying to yourself, you are either, his agent, wife, or a family member.

-Good one, your so witty.

You keep saying to watch the play, I have, the nickel corner was running away from Bess before Henne decided to run.

-Duh, then why didn't you mention that Henne looked off the nickle like I did. I saw him run away from Bess and I posted that. This shows that you don't even read the posts of those that you choose to argue with, Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Sounds like the tactics of a troll. I'm not trying to start calling names, but ah what else am I to conclude?

I guess Michael Irvin is also wrong on this. HE DIDN'T MAKE THE PLAY, it was there and he didn't make it! Period end of sentence!

-Irvin is the most ignorant crack smoking talking head I've ever seen. That's no excuse though. Henne could have stepped up and to the left and made the play. I never disputed this and I've posted as much. Again, your exposing your ignorance and your tactics(ahem)in that you obviously don't read the posts of those you choose to argue with-Wow!

Henne is not a playmaker! All will be clear by the end of the year and we either don't make the playoffs or get bounced out early. I am going to love to read your comments then.

Posted by: TheTruth | August 31, 2011 at 03:03 PM

That's your opinons and predictions, don't mean NOTHING, but you're entitled. Edgar Casey predicted Atlantis would be discovered in the sixties.

Shyt in one hand shinola in the other, I'm through with you-LOL.

Slaton, had a Fantastic offensive line, he will get his ASS kicke3d if he comes here! Those Hokie RB's suck

Benny Sapp ahs been outstanding this pre-season! Also he's not coming of an injury! Sapp has played ther nickel well this year! Maybe we can trade Allen th the Giants! He played there before

WHAT UP! I hope we dont have a bunch of PANZI ASS fans this year

Another one, Arrmando?

I just hope that this season they keep the good players and let the mediocre ones go! Too often we have seen our leftovers go to other teams (the Pats) and become really great players. While the ones left here regress somehow. And then, we start the whole process over again. It's like we have a really hard time evaluating players! (Wonder whose fault that is?)


Don't break your heads figuring out how the Dolphins are going to do this year. Just ask LV. Of course, you have to know them.

Benny Sapp can't cover a dead toad.


The pick up of Alexander was kind of odd...really, the timing of it. Is there any thought he was brought in as the 4th safety not in place of Culver but in place of Bell (in anticipation of trading Bell). There are several teams (including Dallas) that need safety help and Miami might be able to get by just fine with Clemons and Jones manning the safety spots.



Hmm..., Benny Sapp, Hmm...

Trading Bell? I mean, some People write some things in here that make me wonder if they are truly Baseball Fans at heart.


I know you scan te first page for initial reactions.

Tell us, is the FO really content to go into the season with the O-line we hve now?

Have you heard ANY rumours that there trying to make a move?


Why in the world would they trade Bell? He is the best tackler on the team.

I can't believe I'm saying this but I agree with most of what mando just said. wow.

sparano can say whatever he wants but polite is history. he really slid back last year and ranked very low. cant keep a guy just for short yardage. will allens contract will guarantee a release. sparano spent all week with jerry at the senior bowl;then whiffed(like jerry). alot of irelands mistakes will be let go;just like last sept.

I don't think they're even considering trading Bell.

If we would have seen Clemons getting a lot of work at SS, this would have been a tip off.

I don't think Clemons took one snap at SS this pre season. So, I don't think they trade the best SS without having at least a PERCEIVED upgrade in mind. You don't make trades to weaken and already suspect secondary. Unless of course your trading for Hershel Walker!

Does anyone think Culver or Wilson are upgrades at this point?

WTF !!!!! What happen to Marc Colombo why isn't he on your list Mando!!! Why isn't Channing crowder on your list!! Oops my bad he's been gone!! Haha....

For me, the guys who likely miss out are Will Allen, Baker and one of Culver or Alexander. I don't know Alexander well enough to comment. Kearse probably heads to the practice squad and I'd be fine with Merling being traded if we could get someone who could play RT. Maybe then Colombo could be included on that cut list.

Hey you guys, take it easy on John Jerry, he's quite the patriot.

He sculpted that massive frame of his to look just like the Liberty Bell.

Forget about changing personnel now. Too late. We really have nobody with FB experience besides Polite. Will Allen? Hmm.., yes, if his salary is very high and he doesn't perform to that, he's gone. Benny Sapp...we'll give him the benefit of the doubt as he came in late last year. I think, in the end, many of these marginal players will make it on their ability on ST.

Anyone that thinks Sapp is a good corner needs to watch game film from last year. The guy couldn't cover a slow moving gerbil.

How the Dolphins can wash the offensive troubles out of their collective hair: Henne to Marshall, TD. Celebrate. Rinse. Repeat.

No, no, pod, as nickelback.

You know I've been hard on Armando for failing to become a fan of Henne's. But I assume you also are aware it is not personal. When he writes well, I tell you. When he writes poorly, I tell you.

The truth, however, is the truth. It is a great sword and a mighty shield.

Armando, great analogy for Ryan Baker.

The guy has steadily improved. He's played really well this pre season.

Trade Merling for an O-lineman and keep the old Pick Up Truck.

PS: Did Armando call Ryan Baker a Red Neck?

No, Gerbil Wilson is a Bengal now.

We don't mind Rednecks. We mind nobody, as long as they don't bother us.

Well, I have to go jump start my tow truck.

I'm working the Demolition Derby tonight at the County Fair.

Beer, Broads and Bang Em Ups, YeeHaaaaaaaaaaW!!!!

Odinseye.... I think that the only coach that knows what he is doing correctly and with the times is Mike Nolan so if I was stupid TS leave Mike alone he knows defense..he us the one that should be called " THE GURU "
so with that said, I can see the point that bell is older and we have talent at SS position,
And bell is good player but not great player...
I won't cut or trade Phillip Merling because we don't know if Odrick is going to stay healthy and the same with Merling!! But one thing I will consider is that is Smith don't play well and don't make int than it's time to give some playing time to Wilson, I'll keep Carroll
Nate, culver. On offense I will cut right away
Colombo, sign O'hare shift over Pouncy give Murtha a look at RT just a try and wait and see who gets cut,I keep Carey as a backup
I still think there are some OL players out there that can play still the problem is we have incompetent coaches running our player evaluation... And you know who you are!!! TS.. But the PHINS just can't go into the season with Colombo at RT, because Henne will get hurt I'm tell you guys... I seen it in training camp. Wake JT Odrick Misi the just run around him 90% of the time!!

Armando, you made me go all the way to Wikipedia to find out what a gerbil is. Yeah, a rodent, maybe a hamster.

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