Decisions, decisions, decisions.
The Dolphins have to trim their roster from their current 75-man limit to 53 players by 6 p.m. Saturday and that means the personnel department and coaches are probably making calls that will affect careers as we speak.
One key question is whether the Dolphins will keep two quarterbacks or three quarterbacks. Ryan Tannehill is the starter. Matt Moore is the backup. And then there's Pat Devlin, who was asked late Thursday night if he thinks the Dolphins should keep three QBs on the roster.
“Absolutely," Devlin said with a wry smile. "Absolutely. I mean, there are pros and cons to everything and the coaches have to take all of that into account."
Devlin (pictured below in a Joe Rimkus photo) has not been told one way or another what the decision will be. Basically, it will boil down to whether he's one of the best 53 or not. That's how the Dolphins want to look at it. They think there is enough room for adjustment within their decisions that they can vary the number of players at key position.
In other words, the team doesn't feel it must keep a tight end or five or six wide receivers, or four tight ends, or three quarterbacks. If, for example, the third quarterback is a better player and fit on the team than the fullback, then the QB makes the team ahead of the FB. If the fourth tight end is a better player than the fifth receiver, then the fifth receiver is in trouble.
“I think we’re open to any combination," coach Joe Philbin said of the wide receiver spot. "There’s been no decisions made as to how many we’re keeping."
Devlin had his best performance of the preseason. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The night didn't look quite nearly so good when he first left the game late in the third quarter. At that point he was 17 of 30 for 167 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
But then Aaron Corp suffered an injury (either to his shoulder or collarbone, it's unclear as the Dolphins do not report injuries) and Devlin was thrust back into the game.
He then completed 5 of his next 8 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a 56-yard connection to Marvin McNutt.
Now, that's the way to make a statement.
“I think there’s a lot of room for improvement," Devlin said. "I think it was fun to get out there in a game situation. Not going against our defense, it was a lot of fun."
“It’s definitely a great feeling to play like that, even though coaches have to make the decision," McNutt said. "I just hope that I proved enough today that I want to be here. I want to be a guy that can step up and make a play when it counts."
The other side of the McNutt coin was in the locker stall right next door.
Chad Bumphis was clearly the most impressive young receiver in camp early on. He led the team in receptions through three games. Then something happened two weeks ago.
Suddenly, he seemed to be on the outs. He got only three wide receiver snaps in the dress rehearsal game versus Tampa Bay. And he didn't get in last night's game until late in the fourth quarter -- when he still caught two passes for 27 yards
"No idea," Bumphis responded when I asked why he'd been shelved suddenly. "I wasn't told anything. I just went in the game when they told me and did what they asked me to do. I was expecting to play more but, I mean, things happen. They got decisions to make upstairs and I just control what I can control."
It doesn't seem as if Bumphis will make the team. Perhaps the Dolphins bring him back to their practice squad. But it just seems Bumphis, exclusively a slot receiver, suddenly fell out of favor. Perhaps it's because he doesn't play all the receiver spots. Perhaps it's because he's only 5-11 and not 6-1 which the Dolphins prototype seeks.
I do have an idea that you'll see Bumphis playing in the NFL at some point. Call it a gut feeling. Call it guessing. I just think the kid has what it takes to play in the league.
And so does he, even if it might not be with Miami.
"Either way, I was blessed just to be here," he said. 'I'm thankful for the opportunity and I'm going to continue to get better. But I know somewhere down the road I'll still be playing football. I felt I showed some good things when I got the chance to show. It will depend on team's needs and what they're looking for at certain times. We'll see how it goes.
"It will make my story that much sweeter when I do make it. When I find a home, I'll make sure I keep it."