« The differences between Chad Johnson and Brandon Marshall | Main | Quarterbacks have A LOT to prove tonight »

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

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I'll strong your schlong if it will help some of you liven up.
Posted by: MiamiD20 | August 09, 2012 at 07:50 PM

Ha! Sorry you have nothing better to do, keep sulking, frowning burns more calories than smiling, I'm sure your beer gut will appreciate it :)

We, really, deep down, don't know crap about this Team.

Some bloggers have poor math.


We give 3 picks, we get 1 pick, net result 3-1 = 2 picks for Thomas. Also, a 7th round pick rarely makes a difference, so considering we did trade up, it's not an unreasonable deal on the numbers value board at all if Thomas plays to his potential.

It all depends on how Thomas pans out, we didn't get a bargain but we didn't grossly overpay either unless of course he flops. I like the pick myself.

Lol not the Thomas math problem again. Hahahaha I never thought I would see so much arguing over numbers.

Tomorrow, if that, we will beguin to get a faint idea on who we are this Year.

Yey, Armando, you keep backups around here 24/7. I talk to no backups and everybody knows it. These days, I wake up around 3AM. Be ready. No backups.

Just a Friendly reminder: Greg Cote is STILL a Dik-Wad!

Ghosts of 1972 still haunt Dolphins?

NO backups.

Some bloggers have poor math.

We give 3 picks, we get 1 pick

Bhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant! Stop right there with the dumb math.

We had 3 picks.........we got ONE player-PERIOD!

Usually with 3 picks you get 3 PLAYERS.

We gave up 3 picks for Thomas - PERIOD.

STFU with dumb shyt!

Thanks in advance ;)

OK, so when are we getting the rundown on who EXACTLY is starting and how long who plays, etc, etc.

Philbin already said that the depth chart doesn't necessarily dictate who will start Friday night. A little unusually cryptic in my opinion.

BUT, come on Armando, give us the plan......the rundown..........SOMETHING!

Are you already getting "Iced" Armando? You already piss off the new REGIME? BOY, what did I tell you?

This is kind of like walking into someones house and there is an arguement or some bickering going on...
Awkward....

/VIO has arrived/

Arrived?

What do you mean arrived?

I put this same depth chart out 4 MONTHS AGO.

I had Guyton over Misi, but that's because the dufuses were still talking about moving him inside/middle.

Arrived? Pssssssssssssft!

Basking robins, how beautiful! I'm no queer, so why should I like these very pleasant things. Ah!, it's the mentality.

Finally, I found out who the other rookie is that's going to start tomorrow thanks to somebody from this Blog. Some guy with some kind of Polish name that used to weigh 280 lbs, at FB. Allright. We'll see.

fin4 and his bf are quoting articles from two years ago, I'm quoting sources from two weeks ago and two days ago.

1. PFT reporting that Dawn Aponte insisting on certain language: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/19/dolphins-digging-in-on-offset-language/

2. On Hard Knocks two days ago, who called JI to inform him of the status of Tannehillls contract?
a. Humpty Dumpty
b. Mickey Mouse
c. Dawn Aponte

We heard it live, we saw it in print, and yet you two can't get over you were wrong. Making stuff up won't help. I never said she was the final word, I only said she was involved in part of it and it wasn't right to blame JI for everything.

fin4, you are a sorry individual if can't see your boy odin uses an infinite amount of names here and is the number one source of blog pollution. If you think he just has two or three names you are mistaken...so before you start making false assumptions on others, maybe you should focus on how many names your boytoy has.

Poossies can't admit when they are wrong and those two prove it time and again :)

I tell you, when I saw that queer on all 4's with his balls hanging down, my peter shrank.

Watch for a big improvement from the Rams and Jeff Fisher. Still, wish we got him.

verdad, YOU WERE RIGHT!!!! I admit it!!!

OSCAR.....


YOUR LANGUAGE SPEAK OF A POOR MAN AND NO SCHOOLING AT ALL....


IT;S VERY DIRTY YOU R USING OSCAR.......PLEASE STOP//

Man, it's :-), or :-(, or :-()

VERY DIRTY WORDS YOU R USING OSCAR......

Yuh, I know you don't like the fact but thankyou for letting me express my Self.

Ah Oscar
Usually confusing, always entertaining.
If you are ever looking for some conversation in the wee hours of the morning, he is your man. You know how those older folks like to wake up in time to get the morning out of the way before the sun comes up.

;)

I can be infinitely dirtier than that, or sublime. That's me. No use comparing.

OSCR........YOUR POST @ 9;59 PM ........IF YOU READ IT AGAIN,YOU WILL SEE BALLS AND NO FACTS.....LOL

Verdad,

She didn't call Ireland. She called Philbin-ROTFLMAO!

I know how important it would look to your fantasy for Dawn having called Ireland to "Fill Him In". But dude, it never happened.

Plus, in the call, Dawn thought Tannehill would just re-enter next years draft.

LOL-Yeah, you can tell she's in chrage. She's right on top of things(Snicker).

I'll tell you what she can get on top of..........lol........

Bob Griese says he loves what he sees of Tannehill. Griese says Tannehill's definitely the real; deal and finally our qb position looks great going into the future.

'll tell you what she can get on top of..........lol........

Posted by: Coalition To Get Coalition Out Of The Closet | August 09, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Second!

VIO

verdad is right. yeah he called the coach, same deal. SHE called him to let him know, not JI...so, I think you need to eat some crow on this one.

Dear Odin,

The proper way to get one out of the closet whom immeninently refuses. Is to set fire to the buliding.

I still regret giving Odin a bj, but it was fun while it lasted LOL.

TO BE
OR NOT TO BE..............

I tell you a story. You know where that symbol :-( came from? 2 months ago, one of the greatest Cuban disidents, Yoani Sanchez, was to hold an extremely important workshop on Internet in Cuba. Just before it, Google decided to restrict the Cuban government from some of its services. so I wrote Yoani, Google se la entollo(See, Google shafted him). Therefore, she came up with, :shaft( or :-(.

oscar

I hate to break it to you but :-( has been in use for about 17 years now. Damn you are out of touch.

ALoco,

You have been posting for 89 straight hours now. Are you going for the record?

Really!, and I thought it was She.

No matter, she has more : : :, than all of us put together. Agreed?

Don't know, but we have to admire and respect her courage and abilities.

YG........I WORK 7 DAYS A WEEK NOW FOR 2 MONTH..YOU WERE TALKING TO FAKE ALOCO ,THE LAST TIME I CHECKED,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


LIFE IS SHORT .............

OK

But there still are, :-) and :-(). Agreed?

No chance you're gonna get the last Word on me, when I want It.

Or even, :-))

You really don't know crap about the Team.

I'll see you ~ 3:30AM tomorrow, ARRRmando. Be there.

I am watching Green Bay vs San Diego on ESPN right now, and I see head coach Mike McCarthy calling the plays. It reminds me of what I've been saying for some time...Joe Philbin was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay, but he never called a play in his life. He never selected personnel. Never made a game time decision in his life. The only offensive coordinator in the league who didn't earn his head coach's trust to call plays. Obviously, Philbin isn't good enough, but Stephen Ross was fooled. Gonna be a long season for us with an incompetent and inexperienced coach

VIO
verdad is right. yeah he called the coach, same deal.
-----------------------------------------------------

Verdad is right, but then in the next sentance he TRIES to explain away how wrong he was-ROTFLMAO!

Beating my chest with a splayed forearm, eyes crossed and tongue sticking out-lol.
-------------------------------------

Listen up Tardo!

Anyone that thinks your first round draft pick is going to re-enter the draft nexat year, especially a QB, OBVIOUSLY does not have a firm grasp of the actual situation.

Now you go ahead and believe what you want to believe. But in your case, you'd be better served doing the Pee-Wee Dance.

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!!!!

Odin ;)

..Voice of reason..Sorry to burst your bubble here. But Philbin wasn't the only OC that did not call plays last year..We have all heard of Sean Payton..He calls the plays(or would be calling the plays for his squad)..Jim Harbaugh..That worked out ok. Gary Kubiak..Yup he calls the plays for the Texans. Jason Garrett..You guessed it..called the plays. There were even guys on poor team, or coaches that git fired that last year..drum roll. Called the plays. (Hue Jackson, Todd Haley). I'm probably missing a few as well.

So I don't get your point. Philbin may indeed fall flat on his face. But just because he did not call the plays in Green Bay does not mean he is underqualified to be the coach here. The point about him never selecting personel..Name me an assistant in this league who does. Do you think he was absent from the player evaluation process. Did he go home sick from school when the offensive game plans were being installed.. Do you think he was just a fly on the wall in Green Bay? Plenty of coordinators with no HC experience have made pretty good NFL coaches. Why not give Philbin a chance before screaming the sky is falling? if he does you can come back and tell me I told you so if it makes you feel better.

Too much emphasis being placed on who's calling the plays here. Plays are sent in before defenses ever get set. So the most important play caller is always the qb.

Its the qb's job to make the pre-snap read and audible the offense into the most effective play against certaing defensive sets and coverages. Unless of course, the play sent in from the sideline is already the most effective play for the defense the qb sees.

Not having read through this entire blog (my bad) I'd like to add to a few others that mention our less than imposing crew of LB's.
It would be nice to have a real playmaker, someone a bit more "intense" on wrecking havoc, not just reacting after the fact.
I realize the Ray Lewis'/Urlacher types don't fall off trees, but the Fins seem to go for projects in the draft, especially on the defense.
This year we had no choice, as QB of the future was a huge need.

Hopefully next year, after we do 8-8, we can move up and get that LB of the future.

Lets hope Lamar Miller explodes Friday night. I have a suspicion he just might.
I imagine a screen or to to Miller might be interesting.

Really curious to see if we utilize the uptempo offense tomorrow. Could be the 3 fastest 3 and outs in NFL history, but hope not.
Enjoy the game tomorrow everyone!

This preseason will be interesting for a change!

Greatings PHINLAND, What's new in the greater 48????
Pre season starts tommarrow night, Anyone gonna be Schelping over to Tampa??

Will they ever be able to beat the friggin Browns?

Who??????????

RG3 145.8 QB rating 1st game WOW!

I wound'nt read anything into that, The Mighty air-breathers are 6...ahhh,5...ahhh 2 years away from the inaptness of Cleveland, But with Dumb and Dumber(Ross And Ireland) I think you might be right....

Would love to see More Tennehill on Hard Knocks..
That is his Hot AZZZ Wife...........
OHHHHHHHHHHHH..

« 1 2 3 4 5 »

The comments to this entry are closed.