Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said Thursday that in studying the Dolphins he saw some "hidden talent" on the roster and his job is to draw that out and make it show up.
This has to interest any Dolphins fan that remembers Yeremiah Bell came out of special teams duty to become a long-time starter at strong safety. It hearkens to the days when Wes Welker came off the waiver wire and worked his way into the starting lineup. It speaks to the possibilities that maybe, perhaps, hopefully, the Dolphins have a diamond here or there that simply got lost in the rough of 6-10.
Also, I'm a big Jeremy Lin fan so I believe it's possible for guys to suddenly perform when given the opportunity. I loved the Tim Tebow story so I think being buried deep down the depth chart isn't necessarily akin to being in a career grave.
But if the Dolphins do have "hidden talent" where is it? Who represents that talent?
Sherman hasn't told the players he's identified yet about his high hopes for them. So he wouldn't tell me when I asked if he'd name the players specifically.
But one can hazard an educated guess ...
If you're talking offensive line, which is Sherman's specialty considering he coached the position before, one has to begin with John Jerry.
Jerry was a coach favorite when he was at the Senior Bowl in 2010 and the Miami staff was coaching the South squad. Tony Sparano loved him. Then he got to Miami as a third-round draft pick and simply didn't live up to the hype.
He struggled learning the system, then got sick, then lost weight, then lost his job, then kind of disappeared. The start of 2011 training camp was no more impressive when Jerry started out on third team.
But during the season, Jerry worked at both right guard and right tackle, played in games at both positions, and frankly, didn't seem overmatched in the least. Was he perfect? Of course not. But maybe with some work, he can land one of the two wide open spots -- guard and tackle -- on the right side of the Miami offensive line.
Nate Garner might also be considered a hidden talent. He started games in 2009 and was expected to compete for a starting job in 2010 when he broke his foot. Season lost. Last season he returned to backup duty. He started one game at left guard and was fine. He filled in at left tackle one game and was over his head. He's not a left tackle but perhaps Sherman sees something there as a right guard possibility.
Clyde Gates. Remember the talk of him blowing the top off the defense with his great speed? Yeah, well, he caught two passes for 19 yards as a rookie. But perhaps there is a there there. Mark Duper and Mark Clayton didn't light it up as rookies, either. (No, I'm not saying Gates will be a Duper or Clayton so please don't read craziness into the point.)
I am saying, however, that Gates has learning and working to do. Perhaps with this coaching staff he can prosper and unveil that talent which was very well hidden in 2011.
Maybe Sherman considers Charles Clay and Daniel Thomas hidden talent because they were backups and didn't contribute to great or eye-popping degrees in 2011. I believe Dolphins fans are aware of the second-round running back and sixth-round TE/H-Back.
But hey, if Sherman doubles the production from each player, I'll gladly call them hidden talents all day if he wants. No worries.