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A look at position battles heading into preseason

Everyone has been seemingly mesmerized by the much-heralded struggles of Vontae Davis as he tries to fend off Richard Marshall for a starting cornerback job. As the Dolphins' official depth chart below shows, Davis is behind Marshall.

It is up to Davis if he'll stay there or not, although he's had good practices the past couple of days and is clearly the more althletic player. So that will play out in the coming couple of weeks.

But the depth chart begs other questions and speaks to issues elsewhere. Some of those issues:

The deep secondary offers a three-man race for the starting job and really a two-man race because while Chris Clemons and second-year player Jimmy Wilson are jockeying back and forth, Reshad Jones seems to have solidified his spot as a starter.

The fourth safety is interesting. Free agent acquisition Tyrell Johnson has been something of a disappointment given his credentials as a former high draft pick and veteran. He's mired on third team. Anderson Russell has made some plays in practice but is also inconsistent.

Tyrone Culver continues to be the most likely player to win the fourth spot, given his experience and ability to play special teams at a high level.

The linebacker spot is interesting in that I see Austin Spitler and Jason Trusnick as very good special teams players but lacking as actual backups. If starters Koa Misi or Karlos Dansby get hurt, I don't have a great feeling about Miami's depth with Spitler and Trusnick. Thank goodness Gary Guyton can play multiple positions.

Spitler and Trusnick are better on special teams right now than third-team players Cameron Collins and Josh Kaddu. And the irony? Both Collins and Kaddu have the potential to be better linebackers than Spitler and Trusnick.

So one pair is great on special teams but not so much on defense while the other pair isn't as good on special teams but have better potential on defense.

Depth at defensive tackle is a concern. Other than Tony McDaniel behind Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, the Dolphins are relying on untested players such as rookie Kheeston Randall to perform. The problem is we don't know if he will perform and two of the three tackles behind him are also rookies -- the third is veteran Ryan Baker who has experience and grit but is apparently the last guy on third-team.

I'm feeling better about the offensive line than I did a year ago. Everyone, except the Dolphins apparently, knew that Marc Colombo was not the answer at right tackle when they signed him. That issue was never resolved until the draft this year.

And Jonathan Martin has been outstanding so far. He practices well, he takes great notes in meetings and he has the physical capabilities to be a very good right tackle. Yes, games will add another layer to the challenges he is facing.

Ultimately you have to perform in games.

But I believe Martin will be fine, indeed, better than that. I believe he'll be good. Moreover Martin gives the Dolphins something they haven't really had since 2008 when they drafted Jake Long and that is a backup for Long.

I know, I know, you see on the depth chart that Lydon Murtha is the second-string LT. The truth is if Jake Long goes down for an extended period, I believe Martin will move over from right tackle. He played left tackle most of his career at Stanford and I think he could be a good left tackle in the NFL given experience.

So in a situation where Long is out for an extended period, Martin would be the guy moving over. It might be different over a short period where Long is missing one game. But multiple games, Martin is the guy and then Murtha would go to right tackle.

If you look at the depth chart, it is hard to fathom John Jerry making the team. He is overweight. He weighed 360 pounds a week or so ago. He isn't picking up his assignments well on pass protection (particularly on stunts) and he doesn't stay on his feet enough -- this all according to coaches.

He's running third team. It'll be interesting to see how he actually plays because in the past he's been unimpressive in practice but efficient in games. We'll see if that continues or if his tanking has too much momentum to stop.

One more note about the offensive line: Ray Feinga was supposed to make his big move this year. But he's running third team now and is nursing some sort of injury as well. Not good.

A look at tight end shows you that not a whole lot has changed from last year. Anthony Fasano remains the best one in camp. And while I have hopes for big things out of Charles Clay in his second year, I must inform you he hasn't been the monster in practice I hoped to see.

Clay has been good. He's made occasional plays. But he hasn't been dominant and if he's going to have a 50-catch season as I thought he might, logic dictates he would be showing that in this camp. He's not.

By the way, Les Brown, who is a great story and a great athlete and has great speed at 4.4, is not a great tight end. He's not even a good tight end right now. I'd like to tell you he's fifth out of five tight ends because of mitigating circumstances like a lack of experience or strength or technique or toughness at the point of attack.

But all of those apply to Brown. At this stage, he strikes me as a practice squad project. He needs to get stronger. He needs more coaching than he'll get in the next four weeks before the regular-season opener to be a viable contributor. He was and remains a project.

By the way, Michael Egnew has been unimpressive in camp. He's just ... just ... there. He doesn't flash with any degree of consistency. He doesn't get open consistently. He needs to seriously step it up in the next month.

At the wide receiver position, the Dolphins have an interesting situation. Their three "starting" receivers are players no one else wanted at some point in their careers. Chad Johnson and Legedu Naanee were cut from their teams in the offseason and they are starting in Miami. Starting slot receiver Davone Bess went undrafted once upon a time.

And yet they are Miami's top receivers right now.

Behind them, it gets interesting.

Brian Hartline is hoping to get back into practices next week -- perhaps as early as Sunday. He did some work in the walk-thru Wednesday so that was encouraging. He's a big factor because the Dolphins don't really have a deep threat to speak of.

Clyde Gates, perhaps Miami's fast receiver, has been inconsistent. He's good one day and a ghost the next. He's inconsistent. Julius Pruitt is interesting because, as you can see on the depth chart below, he has passed both Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace.

That doesn't mean he'll stay ahead of them because four weeks remain, but Pruitt has very good speed like Moore and (this camp) more consistent hands than Wallace. He doesn't have Wallace size and I have no idea how he'll contribute on special teams, but he's caught the coaching staff's attention.

As you've heard him say on this blog, Wallace knows this is put-up-or-get-out time. He got a chance to stick with the team last year. This year, he has to take the next step. Same with Moore. So far ... well, they have to do better.

By the way, rookies Rishard Matthews and B.J. Cunningham had their best week of practice this week. Perhaps they're starting to make their move. We shall see.

Back to Hartline a second: If he's healthy, he makes this team. No question.

2012 MIAMI DOLPHINS TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART

OFFENSE

WR 19 Legedu Naanee 11 Julius Pruit 83 Jeff Fuller 86 Rishard Mathews

15 Davone Bess 10 Clyde Gates 16 B.J. Cunningham

81 Chris Hogan

LT 77 Jake Long 76 Lydon Murtha 69 Ray Feinga

60 Will Yeatman

LG 68 Richie Incognito 65 Erich Steinbach 63 Chandler Burden

C 51 Mike Pouncey 64 Josh Samuda 62 Ryan Cook

RG 73 Aris Hicks 75 Nate Garner 74 John Jerry

RT 71 Jonathan Marin 67 Andrew McDonald 61 Will Barker

TE 80 Anthony Fasano 42 Charles Clay 88 Jeron Mastrud 84 Michael Egnew

87 Les Brown

WR 85 Chad Johnson 82 Brian Hartline 14 Marlon Moore 18 Roberto Wallace

QB 9 David Garrard 8 Mat Moore 17 Ryan Tannehill 7 Pat Devlin

FB 41 Jorvorskie Lane 6 Ryan Mahaffey 35 Jerome Messam

RB 22 Reggie Bush 33 Daniel Thomas 23 Steve Slaton 44 Lamar Miller

34 Marcus Thigpen

46 Jonas Gray

DEFENSE

LE 98 Jared Odrick 79 Derrick Shelby 70 Jarrell Root

DT 94 Randy Starks 78 Tony McDaniel 66 Chas Alecxih

DT 96 Paul Soliai 97 Kheeston Randall 95 Isaako Aaitui 90 Ryan Baker

RE 91 Cameron Wake 50 Olivier Vernon 52 Jamaal Westerman 72 Jaquies Smith

LB 56 Kevin Burnet 59 Gary Guyton 49 Jonathan Freeny 48 Shelly Lyons

LB 58 Karlos Dansby 53 Ausin Spitler 45 Cameron Collins

LB 55 Koa Misi 93 Jason Trusnik 57 Josh Kaddu

CB 24 Sean Smith 28 Nolan Carroll 25 Jonathan Wade 47 Trenton Hughes

32 Marcus Brown

CB 31 Richard Marshall 21 Vontae Davis 36 Quinten Lawrence 38 Kevyn Scot

43 Vincent Agnew

S 30 Chris Clemons 27 Jimmy Wilson 26 Tyrell Johnson 37 Kelcie McCray

S 20 Reshad Jones 29 Tyrone Culver 40 Anderson Russell

SPECIALISTS

P 2 Brandon Fields

K 5 Dan Carpenter

KO 5 Dan Carpenter

H 2 Brandon Fields

KOR 34 Marcus Thigpen 44 Lamar Miller 23 Steve Slaton 10 Clyde Gates

PR 15 Davone Bess 34 Marcus Thigpen 10 Clyde Gates 86 Rishard Mathews

LS 92 John Denney

2012 Rookies Underlined

Comments

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Hey Dashi don't show you ignorance that 15.7 per reception would place Hartline 10th in the AFC in the category along with Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson, Demaryus Jackson, Torrey Smith, Mike Wallace, AJ Green, Antonio Brown. And he's been in the league 3 years this is his 4th when receivers break out. Please don't answer this post, it'll just show what you don't know.

I have been to Royal Palm Estates, Saskatchewan.

The Miami Dolphins, most notable for being the leading candidate for moving to L.A., are expected to sit Ryan Tannehill for his rookie year.

Remember the 'ol motherly advice;
Think before you speak.
Well the same applies for posting, or at least it should because some of you people...

WOW!

2012/13
Offensive Team MVP - Reggie Bush
Defensive Team MVP - Karlos Dansby
Special Teams Team MVP - Brandon Fields
Most Improved Player Offense - Charles Clay
Most Improved Player Defense - Sean Smith
2013 Draft slot 22

We(the Collective) is watching you.

That's in the AFC what abut the NFL?

Also 15ypc means nothing unless the Wr has over 1000 yds receiving. Don't just nit pick. I said when has Hartline gone over 1000 yds?

He's good for a 4th rd pick, role player type.

How much YAC does Hartline have after the catch. Deep threat is another word for big play potential. Does Hartline have big play potential? About the same as camarillo and at least his deep threat play saved the franchise from ultimate disgrace.

Bob Costas thinks Brian Hartline is a damn good receiver, for a white guy. Breaking down the barriers.

Yes, son, you catch the Ball first, then you worry about anything else.

Why isn't no one calling Hartline a bust? I know why... leave it for, another time

Everyone is quick to yell it at everyone else on the team. Even on T-$izzle. Hartline got beat out by an undrafted rookie. At best right now Brian is the 4th best Wr on this team. Plus he's the only Wr that doesn't play special teams.

Its time to jump ship On John Jerry and look for someone better, as for V Davis he has to much talent to be underwhelming this has to be a calculated plan by the coach's to get him going again, Im having an issue with them saying Sean smith is better than VD? VD follow your brother and start playing pro bowl level

Alll white WR's sucks

Hartline is hurt and hasn't been practicing nearly at all. And he is still ahead of plenty others on the depth chart, listed 2nd team (for whatever a week 1 August depth chart is worth) That must say something on what the coaching staff thinks of him.

Hello Dashi, a bust, a 2 year starter isn't a bust. A receiver with 44 starts isn't a bust, a receiver with 109 career receptions in 3 years isn't a bust, a receiver with a career 15.3 yard per reception isn't a bust. Are you stupid or what.

Dashi again you're wrong what counts is the total yardage a receiver makes on a reception. If a receiver has a 10 tax but averages 12 yards per catch is he helping his team more that a receiver who avrrages 15. Btw only 10 receivers in the AFC had more than 1000 yards by your definition Malcom Floyd, Torrey Smith, Anquan Bolden, Reggie Wayne, Antonio Gates, Santinio Holmes, are busts because the didn't have 1000 yards. That sound pretty idiotic.

Easy Michael
No one likes a name caller. I am fairly certain your point can be made without the 3rd garde shenanigans.

Dashi 98 vs Tenn, 85 at Balt, 84 at the Jets.

You are correct Ripley, sorry.

Why are we all worried about Hartline?

I think Johnson and Naanee are BOTH better toe to toe anyways.

He can't touch Bess in the slot either.

My only concern would be in regards to depth. But from there it starts to look like a crap shoot anyways.

Then of course you have to consider the progress blocking aspect too.

I for one am not too worried about Hartline, AT THE MOMENT.

Hartline = another Ireland bust

KT a bust doesn't start 44 games, catches 109 passes, with 1670 yards in 3 years. That's just not a bust...... Period.

I am not worried about Hartline. Naanee will be the leading receiver on this team by end of year. Followed by Bess. I am not certain where 85 sits in the scheme of things quite yet.
Big year for Fasano/Clay also.
Better than the Fasano/Martin year a few years back.

Special when he came in the 4th round. If you look at his actual production, he's a great pick.

Hartline stinks. He benefitted from Marshall getting double teamed. There isnt another team in the league he would start for.

Kt you don't know that at all. In fact you're wrong about that. His best games were when Marshall was out.

Fin4,

Phins78 pointed out something pretty funny in regards to Dawn Aponte(I can't believe I missed it-doh).

The talk here has been that Dawn was in charge of contract negotiations. Actually it was alledged(by SOMEONE.....ahem....)that she was also involved with Player personel moves.

But, anyway, if you remember Verdad's reference to Aponte informing Ireland(though it was actually Philbin)of the Tannehill "situation". In the conversation, Aponte very naively suggest that Tannehill will just have to re-enter the draft next year.

What? Does that sound like the kind of comment that any knwledgeable NFL executive would make? You teams no. 1 picked QB re-entering the draft?

I doubt Verdad will admit it, but you and I both know the implications of all this. Aponte is obviously NOTHING but a "Numbers Cruncher".

Aponte was suggesting something that TECHNICALLY COULD happen, but never really has happened(?). EVER! This can only lead to one obvious conclusion. Aponte is not very well versed or savy of the "In's and Out's" invilved with Player contract negotiations.

She's a numbers cruncher, nothing more.


What? Does that sound like the kind of comment that any knwledgeable NFL executive would make? You teams no. 1 picked QB re-entering the draft?

Posted by: Coalition To Get Coalition Out Of The Closet | August 09, 2012 at 03:52 PM

.


Coalition, there isnt a knowledgeable executive within 100 miles of the Dolphin offices LOL

Coalition, there isnt a knowledgeable executive within 100 miles of the Dolphin offices LOL


Posted by: Fin 77 | August 09, 2012 at 04:03 PM


You Fvck! ROTFLMAO ;)

I'm trying to make a serious point and you come back with this?

Good one ;)

No doubt Ross knows RE. But he's a terrible owner IMO.

Of course she is the numbers cruncher...
Do you pay an accountant to crunch numbers or tell you how to run your business??
More than likely the camera in her face caused the extra unnecessary comments.
That's why Philbin is like..."uh, and you told him that???"
Hey, no one said women had any sense...
(oops did I just say that out loud)
;)

Probably because that name at the bottom of the checks...is his!

The Bucs TE's are just going to Tee Off on Misi.

In a cover 2 our Free Safety can't be Locked in on the TE all the time.

That means Misi will be in coverage more often than last year. Whether it's underneath zone or man, I got a feeling it's going to get Ugly.

They have Guyton listed as a Weakside Backer behind Burnett which is understandable.

But check out our Strong Side Depthchart: Misi, Trusnik and Kaddu?

Come on Man!

jaison and Mark from Toronto,

A lot of really good points today. I'm only tuning back in to your conversations now after a busy afternoon. Love all the shows you guys talked about, including Game of Thrones. Thank God for my PVR. Not sure what I would do come football season without it. I haven't read any of the Game of Thrones books yet either, jaison, but my Dad and brother have and swear by them.

Mark, I talked to a guy I know today and he tells me his friend, who is a big Dolphins fan, has been able to download the Hard Knocks episodes on Torrent. I have to be honest, I'm not as great on technology as I'd like to be but I'm pretty sure my oldest daughter can help me figure out what I'm supposed to do. Let me know if you have any success with it.

31 flavors mudahfvkaz!!!!

First off, Hartline isnt a bust but he's just average at best, should be a 4th WR, secondly Misi is def a bust he cant pass rush a QB to save his life. Thirdly, Moore has a big a** head looks like a pitbull head. Anyone caught that on Hard Knocks. Goof Mofo

Its on thing to critique a mans football prowless, but to crack down on a mans dome piece!!!
NOT RIGHT!!
LMAO
Not right at all
;)

I wouldnt eat the food at the stadium. Those places have been cited by the Board of Health a zillion times.

Its not my fault Moore head looks like it belongs on Mt Rushmore.. :)

And Tannehill wife isnt that hot. She's a cutie but shes no Kate Upton

Lauren is a cutie, but LOOK closer!

She has that UNMISTAKABLE "Stalker Chick" look in her eyes.

I wish the Sex Pistols would reunite (even though Sid Vicious has been dead for decades).

At least it would be better that that brain dead schlock for retirees like Bon Jovi or those 60-year-old metal hair bands still stumbling around casino stages in Atlantic City.

Agreed with clue. Hartline is Average at best, not a bust. He's a bust by the standards of this blog. If Vontae and Smith suck, Hartline blows.

My point is he's reached his potential. It's nothing special.

Misi is the worst starter on our defense. The guy was a DE in college. He will definitely be exposed.

Good thing we sign r.Marshall. between Marshall and jimmy Wilson it might be better to use 5db's most downs.

Again stop using the afc and put his stats into context with the NFL. Those other Wr's have had 1000 yd seasons. Except maybe t.smith. It's a down year when they don't.

How many 100 yd games does the deep threat have?

Mr. Bachelorette does have a bucket head.

And Lauren T-Hill does look like a stalker. She was the one that probably broke his foot before the wedding. But hey the crazy ones are the best in bed. It's just everything else u have to worry about.

But hey the crazy ones are the best in bed. It's just everything else u have to worry about.

Dashi
The most true statement of the day...
Without a doubt.

dash/........


(( BUT THE CRAZY ONES ARE THE BEST IN BED ));;;;;;;;;;;;;;


DASH....IF YOU MAKE LOVE TO A CEAZY PERSON,HOW YOU KNOW MIF SHE'S THINKING ABOUT THE LOVE MAKING AND NOT KILLING YOU ?

YOU GUYS NEED TO KNOW MORE WOMEN.......YOU SOUND LIKE YOU R DATING HOMELESS WOMEN....

Hartline would have to step up huge to be "average". A practice squad guy on any decent team.

Armando, You should do some research on how many receivers drafted by Ireland and Parcells are a bust. I know Parcells can not draft a RECEIVER and from what I can tell most of Ireland's drafted receviers have not worked out. Clay is the only guy that anyone can say is a decent prospect to become viable in the NFL. The main problem with the Dolphins right now is their receivers do not have much talent. Clay is more of an H back or tight end. So name a wide receiver that Ireland has drafted that you know will help the team. Bess was undrafted and let's be honest Chad Johnson at 34 is the Dolphins best wide receiver. Perhaps Ireland should outsource his next selection of a wide receiver!

I PERSONALEY PREFER MEN WITH BIG PACKAGES.....THATS ALWAYRS BEN MY BREAD AND BUTTER

That's the suspense ALoco. It's like a roller coaster ride. The adrenaline

They don't want to kill u til u leave. Then they snap

They can do alot more things than just try to kill u. Had this chick once that called me off 2 phones at the same time. One of them restricted. How did I know because after the 10th call that night she started leaving the crazy messages off both phones.

Ms. T-Hill is simple looking compared to them super model cheerleaders. But if they start coming up missing we already have our main suspect

promichael,

Forget WR, Ireland has never drafted a good playmaker....at any position. EVER!

Parcells drafted Keyshwan, T.Glenn, Chrebet. Many more. He's not great at it, but he's OK. Ur right though in that he doesn't have set prototype. Probably why he traded picks for Marsha cause parcells knew it would be a risk drafting one.

Philbin seems to have some semblance of what a Wr should look like in his system. Notice how Naanee and the 2 late pick rookies almost have the same body type. 6'2" 200+ and with good hands.

Now I'm not saying Philbin is a better talent evaluater than parcells.

Great job Armando. Thank you very much. You're kicking butt this year, your camp reports are much more in depth.

He did this year(draft a playmaker), only he appears to be a difficult one.

Armando=Vontae

We will find out how our starting WR will pan out it's going to be very interesting!! So Bob Grease saids Tannehill the real deal!! Ok I would think if Bob is such a great QB evaluator what happen to his son! Why not interviewed for GM jobs Or player personel
In reality all those ex-players dont really know!! They see the same things we do except up close!! But what I know! Nothing

man it would be nice to have griffin right now. guy looks great already

Wow. All of you are so pesimistic. I'm sorry your life sux but man there are so many grumpy, hateful people here. I'm actually saddened to say that I'm a fellow dolphins fan of yours cause frankly most of you are pathetic or are you Jest fans trying to spoil our fun. We haven't even had a preseason game yet, wait for us to falter before you get all pissy

I'll strong your schlong if it will help some of you liven up.

i don't work for the nil so i don't wanna sound like a commercial, but, i bought the streaming preseason package because i'm not in the miami market. i was watching theredskins game and it looks awesome on my screen. so if you wanna see the fins games live it's a decently priced $19.95. 5 bucks a week to see all the out of market preseason is pretty good. i can watch on my iPad too.

you would have thought the skins would have given rg3 a bit more time being a rookie. but a nice start for him. 4-6 70 yards a td. 1 run for zero yards.

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