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3 posts from August 30, 2014

August 30, 2014

Here are the cuts and what it means

The Miami Dolphins have set their 53-man roster today.

Here are the roster moves: 


DT Isaako Aaitui

G David Arkin

C Sam Brenner

WR Kevin Cone

G Evan Finkenburg

CB Kevin Fogg

WR Matt Hazel

S Jordan Kovacs

QB Seth Lobato

TE Kyle Miller

DE Tevin Mims

DE D’Aundre Reed

K Jake Rogers

DT Garrison Smith

RB/WR Marcus Thigpen

RB Daniel Thomas

LB Andrew Wilson

TE Evan Wilson 


DT Kamal Johnson


G Tony Hills


S Reshad Jones

DE Dion Jordan

 So what does this all mean to me?

I'm not thrilled with the running back position. The Dolphins kept Knowshon Moreno, Lamar Miller and Orleans Darkwa and Damien Williams. Moreno is a good-to-average NFL running back. But watching him in his one preseason outing and at practice compared to the other runners in the Miami stable is like watching Jim Brown in his prime compared to other guys.

That should not be the case.

The Dolphins need upgrade there.

Lamar Miller, who might be the starter, is a change-of-pace guy who can hit the home run if he finds the right crack. Those cracks were much more commonplace in college than they are in the NFL. Thus those runs Miller would provide at the University of Miami don't happen all that often with the Dolphins. He is still valuable. But the fact he's the starter or the No. 2 guy tells you something's amiss. He is a great No. 3 guy.

Damien Miller and Orleans Darkwa? Both are undrafted rookies. Both made this team by looking solid against second- and third-team competition. To me, they are both developmental players. To the Dolphins, they're both one fo the top 53. That worries.

What else?

At tight end the Dolphins don't one an inline complete tight end in the bunch. Charles Clay is becoming a star but he's an H-back type. Think Aaron Hernandez without the trail of alleged felonies. But he's not the traditional TE.

Dion Sims is a solid blocker but not a pass-catching threat of significance. Gator Hoskins, the third tight end on the roster, is a developmental player. He has the makings of a solid receiver. I like him in that role. But he's not a blocker. He's not complete yet. This position needs attention. 

I'm not thrilled with the DE situation. The suspension of Dion Jordan means Derrick Shelby is the No. 3 DE behind starters Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon. That's fine on run downs. Shelby is every bit a solid run stopper. That's not great on pass downs because pass-rushing is not Shelby's signature.

The Dolphins can use maybe Jared Odrick at DE but that would affect their DT rotation.

Interestingly, the team has used linebacker Chris McCain and also Phillip Wheeler in pass rush roles a lot during the preseason. The zone blitz has been on display a lot in the preseason. So I guess there will be other ways to try to get to the QB when Wake or Vernon are resting.

The secondary is interesting because someone currently employed will likely be gone when Reshad Jones returns from his four-game suspension. Don Jones and Michael Thomas will be battling it out the next few weeks for some roster certainty.

Along the offensive line, the Dolphins are banking that if Samson Satele goes down during a game then Nate Garner can fill in right away. I would expect the team will try to bring Sam Brenner back on practice squad. That way, if Satele goes down, Brenner can be promoted to the active roster and start in his place while Garner goes back to his swing position -- in that he's able to play RT, G and C in a pinch.

If the Dolphins don't sign Brenner to the practice squad, they will have to sign some other center to that squad.

By the way, you had better hope Branden Albert is healthy all year long because the backup left tackle -- regardless of the fact Jason Fox and Garner are on the team -- just might be rookie Ja'Wuan James. James is the starting right tackle.

The Dolphins kept five undrafted free agents today: LB Chris McCain, DT Anthony Johnson, RB Damien Williams, RB Orleans Darkwa and TE Harold "Gator" Hoskins.

That means either general manager Dennis Hickey and his staff can turn over rocks and pull out talent like the dickens or the relative amount of talent on this team is not as high as we might be inclined to think, thus opening the door for undrafted guys. 

Combined with the six draft picks on the roster, the Dolphins have 11 rookies on the team. Either this team that was not old to begin with just got a great infusion of youth ... Or, again, the talent level that was here previously simply was not as high as we might be inclined to believe.

That will be settled starting Sept. 7.

Mike Pouncey on the 53 man roster

The Dolphins have taken center Mike Pouncey off the physically unable to perform list and placed him on the 53 man roster.

So what does that mean?

Well, Pouncey will definitely miss the start of the season. That is not really up for debate. But he could be practicing within a couple of weeks and preparing for the start of the season. Pouncey earlier targetted the Sept. 28 game against Oakland for his return.

Had the Dolphins placed Pouncey on regular season PUP, he would have had to miss six games before he could begin practicing with the team.

This way, Pouncey can practice and play much sooner.

The Dolphins hinted at this move when they cut both backup center Sam Brenner and third-string center David Arkin today. They wouldn't have done that if Pouncey were unavailble for six weeks while on PUP.

Samson Satele will start the season as the center and Nate Garner will likely be his backup.


More cuts as Dolphins reach toward 53 man roster

The Dolphins have cut running back Daniel Thomas and kick returner Marcus Thigpen.

As those cuts have been made, I am told all is quiet on the Damien Williams front. The free agent running back has not heard from the team, and that in addition to Thomas being cut suggests Williams is on the team -- at least for now.

Remember, teams give the impression that some players have made the roster by Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline. And then add two or three other players and make cuts to make room for those new players. So there is nothing permanent until Tuesday.

Anyway, the cutting of Thomas closes the book on the former 2011 second round pick. Thomas finishes his Dolphins career with 1,312 on 365 carres (3.6 yard average). Last year was his best with the Dolphins, as he gained 3.7 yards per carry. He never rushed for more than 581 yards, that coming his rookie season.

Thomas joins other Dolphins second round busts Phillip Merling, John Beck, Matt Roth, Chad Henne, Pat White and Jonathan Martin. And you wonder why this team has to rely on free agency? Those second round picks should have netted the nucleus of this team.

Thigpen, Miami's punt and kickoff return specialist the past two seasons, was hurt part of training camp. He got one final opportunity to make the team Thursday but offered inconsistent results.

He had a nice 39-yard punt return. But that was preceded by a fumbled punt after which he kicked the fumble. Nerves, obviously. The Dolphins recovered but Thigpen's fate seemed sealed.

I asked him afterward if he thought he'd done enough to make the team.

"That's tough to say, what's enough? I've tried to make plays but at the end of the day it's their decision. I did make mistakes but at the end of the day I left all I had out there," Thigpen said.

Thigpen is great people. He's a solid punt returner. I would not doubt he catches on elsewhere.

The Dolphins will now use Jarvis Landry as their punt returner. Damien Williams is a candidate to return kickoffs along with Landry.

The Dolphins have also cut defensive back Kevin Fogg. No surprise there.

[Update: Wide receiver Matt Hazel has been cut, according to a source. Hazel is the first of GM Dennis Hickey's draft picks to be cut. He made a push to make the team on Thursday night with a nice game. But the numbers are working against him. He is a practice squad possibility.]

[Update: Source tells me rookie free agent DT Anthony Johnson is expected to make the team. Remember, however, what you read previously about Tuesday. Fellow rookie defensive lineman Tevin Mims has been cut.]

[Update: Source tells me backup offensive tackle Jason Fox is expected to make the team. Remember, however, what you read previously about Tuesday.]

[Update: Source tells me fourth-round pick Walt Aikens is expected to make the team. Remember, however, what you read previously about Tuesday.]

[Update: The Dolphins have told TE Gator Hoskins' agent the player has made the team, as seemed likely yesterday when Kyle Miller was cut.]

[Update: The Dolphins are cutting QB Seth Lobato, per Barry Jackson. No surprise here. I reported here and here the Dolphins were likely to keep only two QBs with another on practice squad.]

[Update: Central Arkansas tight end Chase Dixon, cut recently by the Seattle Seahawks, is scheduled to come to South Florida for a workout. He tweeted about the trip. Dix is 6-5 and 242 pounds and caught four TD passes despite playing in run-heavy offense last year.]

[Update: The Dolphins are clearly looking to help the TE position. They have worked out tight end Jacob Maxwell today, according Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Neither the third TE nor sixth WR are safe on this roster.]

[Update: DL Isaako Aaitui has been cut, according to his agent.]

[Update: Offensive linemen Dave Arkin, Evan Finkenberg and Tony Hills have been cut.]

[Update: Backup center Sam Brenner has been cut, according to The Herald's Barry Jackson. Assuming that is true, the Dolphins will have cut their second-team center (Brenner) and third-team center (Arkin) today. That strongly suggests center Mike Pouncey will come off PUP and the team hopes to have him ready by the fourth game of the season. In the meantime, Nate Garner can serve as the backup center.]

[Update: The Dolphins have cut kicker Jake Rogers. Caleb Sturgis is apparently Miami's kicker to start the season.]

[Update: The Dolphins are going with six wide receivers for now: Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews and Damian Williams. For now. Remember the Tuesday rule I've repeated four previous times in this blog.]

Check back often for updates on the cuts ...