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'Unofficial' depth chart has strengths, raises questions

Look at the Miami Dolphins depth chart below. It is copied straight from the Dolphins website and although it is clearly not the "official" depth chart the team might put out by Monday or Tuesday, it nonetheless has it good points and also raises questions.

As you look at the depth chart notice the areas where there is a richness of backups and areas where there are practically no backups.

The WR position and DE position enjoy the luxury of multiple backups -- so much so that it's doubtful all those backups will be active every game day.

The OT spot is currently a question mark when it comes to backups. It actually is also a question mark when it comes to the starting RT but that's another question for another day. Is Nate Garner ready to be the backup at both LT and RT? The man has never played LT in a regular season game. Yes, he's played some in practice and in preseason, but I assume the Dolphins know the regular season is a whole different game played at a much faster speed.

The backup left tackle hasn't been a worry until now because Jake Long has been a workhorse over there. But Long played injured all of last season and missed the this entire preseason as he was having a knee/leg injury nursed along. 

Now look at the running back and fullback position. Reggie Bush is the starter and that's very good. The Dolphins believe they have upgraded at that spot from a year ago. Bush is experienced, he's been in big games, he's accomplished things in the NFL.

But everyone behind him and everyone at fullback is a question mark. Backup Daniel Thomas is a rookie who had an average first camp at best. Third-string running back Lex Hilliard is in his fourth season but similarly has had little regular-season experience. He didn't carry the ball at all in 2008, didn't carry the ball at all in 2010, and had all of 23 carries in 2009. That's it.

Hilliard is also the backup fullback. He backs up rookie Charles Clay who is a fullback like I'm a Pulitzer Prize winner. Clay is a hybrid. He's an H-back. Tell me you want to use him like Indianapolis uses Dallas Clark or Washington used Chris Cooley. But a conventional fullback? The Dolphins waived that guy. His name is Lou Polite.

Speaking of tight ends: The Dolphins really like Anthony Fasano. And I get it, he's a very solid blocker and a smart player. But his inconsistent hands make him only a C-plus tight end. And behind him Jeron Mastrud is a puppy. Oh, he's a brilliant puppy, having graduated cum laude with a degree in business administration from Kansas State, but he's a puppy nonetheless.

So the only tight end with any significant NFL experience on the Dolphins is Anthony Fasano. A C-plus player. Sorry, but unless Clay turns into a beast and quickly, the front office has to look in the mirror and ask why it didn't do more to upgrade the TE position.

On the positive side, I do really like the makeup of Miami's receivers assuming each fills the role meant for him. And I really love the defensive line. The Dolphins are right up there with Pittsburgh as boasting the NFL's better 3-4 defensive lines.

Finally, there's the free safety spot. Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones engaged in a well chronicled competition for the starting job and, clearly, neither distinguished himself or separated himself significantly from the other. Considering the Dolphins eagerly want their free safety to be a big playmaker, that's not good news. Perhaps the regular season will tell another tale. We'll see on that.

This much is certain about free safety: It will not include Brandon Meriweather. He agreed to a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears this morning, according to ESPN.

Anyway, the "unofficial" depth chart as it is currently constituted. The team has Davone Bess first on kickoff returns ahead of Clyde Gates. I put Gates ahead of Bess on this depth chart. I have that power:

 OFFENSE

POS         STARTER                               2nd                              3rd                                 

WR                 19 Brandon Marshall                 15 Davone Bess                 18 Roberto Wallace

LT                 77 Jake Long                                                                                        

LG                 68 Richie Incognito                 69 Ray Feinga

C                 51 Mike Pouncey                 67 Joe Berger

RG                 72 Vernon Carey                 74 John Jerry

RT                 71 Marc Colombo                 75 Nate Garner

TE                 80 Anthony Fasano                 88 Jeron Mastrud

WR                 82 Brian Hartline                 10 Clyde Gates                 14 Marlon Moore

QB                   7 Chad Henne                   8 Matt Moore

RB                 22 Reggie Bush                 33 Daniel Thomas                 26 Lex Hiliard

FB                 31 Charles Clay

DEFENSE

POS         STARTER                            2nd                     3rd        

LE                 70 Kendall Langford                 78 Tony McDaniel                 90 Ryan Baker

NT                 96 Paul Soliai                 66 Frank Kearse

RE                 94 Randy Starks                 97 Phillip Merling                 98 Jared Odrick

SLB                 55 Koa Misi                 99 Jason Taylor                 59 Ikaika Alama-Francis

ILB                 58 Karlos Dansby                 53 Austin Spitler                 52 Marvin Mitchell

LB                 47 Kevin Burnett                 50 A.J. Edds

WLB                 91 Cameron Wake                 46 Jason Trusnik

LCB                 24 Sean Smith                 27 Benny Sapp

RCB                 21 Vontae Davis                 28 Nolan Carroll                 35 Jimmy Wilson

SS                 37 Yeremiah Bell                 29 Tyrone Culver

FS                  30 Chris Clemons                 20 Reshad Jones

SPECIALISTS

POS         STARTER                            2nd         

P                   2 Brandon Fields

H                    5 Dan Carpenter

H                   2 Brandon Fields

KR                           10 Clyde Gates  15 Davone Bess

PR                 15 Davone Bess                 10 Clyde Gates

LS                 92 John Denney                                      

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#1

Needs; RT, RG, TE, QB, RB. look for some trades, we have an overload on the DE, DT side. Irelands had a life time to grind this squad and so far, in my opinion, he's done a sorry job, but u dont know how much " in put" Sparano has made. Every Dallas reject the Dulphins signed has to be on Sparano.

Why not use some of that depth at D-Line as possible trade material? There are few teams desperate for solid guys who can rush the passer and stop the run. With all these emerging young TE's in the league is crazy that we weren't able to do anything to upgrade that position.

Offense wise, the Dolphins did not make any improvement from what was needed from last year's team. Not addressed the QB, not addressed the TE and not addressed the OL. And if we don't score points, which is how you win games, a stout defense will not make the difference. All because the owner (or Ireland) did not chose to spend the money on improving the areas. That's why we are now $12M under the cap but with questionable QB, TE and OL. Dreadful! No wonder the Phins cannot sell tickets this year. Fans are not dumb!

Odrick still 3rd on the depth chart?

Getting real value from that pick. The Dolphins should just trade every draft pick for established players. Basically just accept we're completely inept in selection process and we'd be a better team.

Isn't curious that Clay was absent from the preseason? I think I saw him catch one pass against Atlanta. Me things the Phins have big plans for him and they don't want the League knowing how they are going to use him. I am very concerned about the offensive line - not very inspiring. I watched the Tampa game again and I saw Carey continually missing blocks - especially the plays where he had to pull. He is not cut out for the interior line. And, why did John Jerry make the team?? He is soft - probably from his brother beating the snot out of him as a youngster.

Go Phins!!

When I feel disgusted, I clean my House.

Bears sign Merriweather.

Odrick will move up.

It's a shame on Merriweather. Also, if Odrick doesn't move up, then that'll go down as a mistake by Ireland. That's a 1st-round pick, and they are busts if they aren't starters.

Odrick 3rd string... Another wonderful wasted 1st round pick.., what... Was it 10th over all? Geez

i like the way this team looks as far as its starters. i think i would like to see another TE and backup QB and would have liked to see them keep lou polite or larry johnson. they need to upgrade on the right side of the O-line but with henne and marshall finally getting to know each others strengths i think they can get more big play production.

will see soon enough

What really kills me is how stingy they are with trading lesser picks for proven players instead of using them to get unproven ones who most of the time bust out.

miamiphin, we traded back to get a 2nd-rd pick back, so it was more in the late 20's. But, yeah, hopefully that's just cause he hasn't played a lot, I liked what he did in the Preseason, but if not, he's definitely a bust. We'll know more at the end of the season.

I'm just dying to see how this Daniel Thomas thing works out... Got a bad feeling.., so far looks average at BEST

Yep... I guess we'll all have to see... Won't be long... One more week!

The Patriots signed pro bowl guard Brian Waters today. Hmmm.. The best team in the division thought they needed to be better at the right guard position, so they went out and got someone good.
Meanwhile the Dolphins FO are sitting on their A@S's counting the money they are saving and hoping the right side of the Dolphins line holds up! Now don't get me wrong here, I AM a loyal Dolphins fan but this is very discouraging and it really sucks. Why are the Dolphins not attempting to improve the roster? And not just the bottom "churning" of it. They should have thrown some money at Merriwheather as well.
There is a fine line between good and great no matter if you’re a player, coach or GM. This team clearly doesn't know where that line is!

I agree dbmfins... Wholeheartedly

NO HE WAS # 27 OR 28 IN LAST YEARS FIRST ROUND. REMEMBER THEY TRADED DOWN AND GOT 2 FOR 1. MISI HAS BEEN A STARTER SINCE DAY ONE. HE IS THE OTHER PART OF THE 2 FOR 1. Odrick has got stiff competition, he is young, he will be there trust me. lets see what happens next monday. this is our team like it or not. I cant wait. GO DOLPHINS!!!

Odrick will move up.

Why the Fins didn't attempt to acquire Braylon Edwards and Brandon Meriwether is evidence that the admin does not recognize opportunities for improvement like they could. Acquisitions like that is what separate average teams, good teams & great teams. It is also the difference between a Billicheat and a Soprano.

John Jerry - worst OL on field in preseason. Including Columbo. Tub of Goo. Why are they saving face with this bust. There all gone next year if they don't win at least 10 games.

Austin Spitler - poor man's Edds. What is his value vs. 2nd string and Mitchell who they kept too? Kickoffs out of play this year. So, he was kept for STs on punts and punt returns. Waste.

Alama-Francis - poor man's Misi. Again, too much depth on defense. Nothing on offense. Ryan Baker and Merling. Baker is more consistent. More versatile. Should have traded Merling. Maybe they tried.

#89

i dont care if we go 2 and 14 as long as the 2 wins are against the paper champions.That would be the jets.the jets will go backwards this year. Rex will have time to go and get another stupid tatoo on his other leg.what a dip sh#t.

Last few years, Miami has been middle of the pack in terms of salaries. No surprise, we've been middle of the pack in our standings. No surprise, all but 1 of the "elite" teams spent more than us on salaries.

Not sure if Ireland has total responsibility here. He's spending the Owner's money. If no one is coming to the stadium, the Owner questions spending more on salaries. It's a chicken/egg conundrum. The Owner needs to see people spending money in order to spend more himself, and the fans need to see a better product to spend money.

Hopefully the Dolphins can do more with less and give the Owner confidence to spend more money on salaries.

TE, RT and 3rd Corner are def worry spots to me. I cannot STAND Benny Sapp, he sucks! Vontae and Sean cannot be great if they dont have that third corner with them, they shouldve restructered Allens contract to keep him in the third spot. Fasano is solid but Henne could use a play maker and need to upgrade the starter spot. Obviously Marc Columbo isnt the ideal RT and we need to upgrade that as well. Other depth concerns, especially at RB, and we should def try to shop Merling for pretty much anything lol. Hes been a bust and if we can get anything for him, we should.

Let's go, on thing to consider, strong d-line pressure makes the DB's job easier. And we have a very strong d-line (we'll see if they can get consistent pressure). But I think Nolan will continue to be aggressive in philosophy, and the FO thinks that will make the DBs better (or hide thier weaknesses).

Also, Sapp had the most INTs on the team last year I believe (2). Yes, he got beat a lot, but the defense needs more turnovers. And Allen is worrisome because his body is breaking down. Might not have helped the team much due to his health.

Ravens cuts and waivers:

Tavares Gooden,Jalen Parmele,Prescott Burgess
The Ravens also waived tight end Davon Drew, a fifth-round pick by the club in 2009 who spent most of last season on the practice squad, as well as wide receivers Brandon Jones, Marcus Smith and James Hardy, quarterback Hunter Cantwell, centers Tim Barnes and Jason Murphy, safeties Mana Silva and Nate Williams, tight end Johdrick Morris, defensive tackles Lamar Divens, Bryan Hall and Derek Simmons, guard Justin Boren, running back Damien Berry, linebackers Josh Bynes and Chavis Williams, cornerbacks Danny Gorrer, Talmadge Jackson and Josh Victorian, fullback Ryan Mahaffey, offensive tackle Andre Ramsey and long snapper Patrick Scales.

Cantwell's release gives the Ravens just two quarterbacks -- starter Joe Flacco and rookie Tyrod Taylor -- on the current active roster.

Jones caught 41 passes for 449 yards and two touchdowns with Tennessee in 2008, but has been appeared in just eight games over the last two seasons.

Odrick is the Phins best pass rusher. It's a matter of him moving up, but how the Phins rotate their dlinemen. He is in a pass rush situations and he will get starts snaps. So please, pay a little attention to schemes. Waters is a 34 year old guard with injury problems. He hasn't been an all pro since 05, maybe 06, although he made the pro bowl in 2010, he really didn't deserve it since he missed many games with an injury. He's just a name. As for Merriweather, he hasn't been the same player after an 09 injury. He was a part time starter last year, and lost his starting spot this year. He has also had off field issues. All things being considered, it's no surprise he wasn't sign. And as for Jerry, he may be a bust. Hard to say after one years.....but yeah he may be.

You guys are getting your drawers in a knot about this depth chart, do you guys realize that this won't be the final depth chart, and there will be more signing, and more cuts, and maybe a few trades before the 1st game. Will Allen may be back, LJ may be back without guaranteed contracts.

"Odrick is the Phins best pass rusher".

YOU MUST BE KIDDING? Ever heard the name Cameron Wake? Also, how can you be the best pass rusher having played in all of 1 game in the NFL? This might be a prediction, but it certainly isn't based on actual evidence.

DC still hates Odrick for getting hurt. He needs 12 sacks before DC will forgive him.

Based on EVIDENCE, the best pass rushers on the team are:
- Wake
- JT
- Randy Starks

Odrick isn't even on the radar. I'd love him to be the best after the season, but as of now, he's exactly where he should be (3rd on the depth chart).

Sorry dline best pass rush, my error. But I thought we were talking dline and him being 3rd string.

He's a better dline rusher than Starks.

Grudger, I need to see a first-rd draft pick perform before I annoint them to anything. Pretty simple.

Also, I blame Ireland more than Odrick. Ireland knew about his injury before he signed the kid.

However, I liked what Odrick did this Preseason, looked like he had potential.

Michael,

I know what you're saying. All I'm saying is he doesn't have the stats yet to back that statement up. I hope he gets there.

Iknow what you're saying about stats, but he has been the best dline rusher in preseason.

right, neither of our statements cancels the other out.

But do you think Colombo will be better than Waters? Out of the entire team, I'm most nervous about the RT position.

Odrick is third for one reason, trade leverage for the Dolphins with Philip Keeping. By having Merling listed as the back up(which is believable, moving him to starter over Starks is not) tells other teams he's "important" to Miami's team. Meaning they aren't going to give him away cheaply, when they trade him.

27 40 starts 263 tackles 12 int one for TD 4 forced fumbles 2 sacks no one on our team has even close to similar Stats. I hate it when there is a available better player and we act lime we are so above signing them but if they suck and are from Dallas give us two of them

inFINS, that's a great point. And would show Ireland has some strategic intelligence.

Guys worried about the starters on the oline I have even worse news for you. Look at the depth. The drop off from 1st team depth to 2nd team depth is huge. Look for yourselves.

I really dont see any trade scenarios allowing us to upgrade the starting unit. But there maybe creative ways to upgtade the depth. As it stands right now injury to anyone of our starters has potential catastrophic consequences. Our 2nd string oline depth looks 3rd string at best.

Philip Merling ...ugh

Uhhhh are you goofballs serious ? Odrick being listed 3rd has you worried. For those of you very special, ahem, fans, who don't watch any games, the Dolphins like to ROTATE their D lineman. So as not to tire them out over the course of a game/season. You people need to change your damn tampons and put some big boy pants on.

Any GM would see through that. They know all the tricks, they've all worked on several teams and know most of the FO's around the league. Not going to trick someone so easily.

DC I wouldn't have either of them. From what I've seen of Colombo, he's like a turnstile. And Waters is just too old and frail. Murtha would have helped at rt tackle, but he's gone. The Phines have a problem on the right side. A bad one. But again this isn't the final roster.

Agreed RT is a problem Michael, but like DB said, there's not much else out there. And in his scenario, someone going down, uh-oh, pray for Henne. Let's hope injuries don't destroy us this season.

I would have kept L Johnson over Hilliard. But either way this running game seems weak.
I'll say it again Chad Henne breaks the record this year for pass attempts.

Price, Chester Taylor's out there.

One thing that will go a long ways into helping out this oline will be the ability to score quickly. The longer thier on the field the more the weaknesses will show themselves.

So, Daboll's offense has shown quick strike ability during the preseason. Quick strike ability will be this oline's saving grace. Double digit leads can hide a many of flaws.

Only way we win is to stay healthy and turnovers. Think about this marshal, bush long, and wake injured we are done. That can happen easily. No depth except defense

These idiots didn't go and get Meriweather just like they didn't go and get available talent that was out there. They are cheap and the results will tell no lies. I'm glad ticket sales are low. It takes too long to go from season to season. Unfortunately this will be another disappointing year for the Fins. And we'll have to wait for 2012. WE had high hopes but once again with this management, we were let down. Maybe nest year Cowher or Gruden will come and fix the mess.

DC,

Guess you missed and didnt research either. I posted this yesterday:

Hope this ends the sign Chester Taylor BS: Chicago BearsTaylor was signed by the Chicago Bears to a four-year, $12.5 million contract on March 5, 2010.[3] In 2010, Taylor shared carries with running back Matt Forte. His stats fell compared to his times with the Ravens and Vikings and rushed for only 267 yards on 112 carries for a 2.4 yard average.[4] Chester Taylor was released by Chicago during final cuts on September 3, 2011.

PLEASE, ENUFF OF THE CHESTER TAYLOR BS!!!!!!!!

parmalee or sammy morris would be good rb's for us.

Hmmm.......... Belichik didnt see enough value in Meriweather to even attempt to trade him.

SOMETHING IN THE MILK ISNT CLEAN AND ITS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE IT REARS ITS UGLY HEAD GUY!!! LOL...

Sammy Morris hasnt been a good rb since 1922. Parmalee? Are you kidding me? He came here in the same class as Hilliard and Hilliard beat him out for a roster spot then. LOL...

WE COULD REALLY USE CHESTER TAYLOR'S 2.4 YPC AVERAGE FROM THE 2010 SEASON.

MAN YOU GUYS BLAST THE FO THEN COMEBACK WITH EVEN WORSE SUGGESTIONS PRAISING THEM LIKE GOLD WHILE DOING ABSOLUTE ZERO RESEARCH! LOL...

How could they let the Pats sign Brian Waters with their glaring need for a guard and let Merriweather go to the Bears. Alge Crumpler is out there so don't let him re-sign with the Pats or another team.

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