NFL team depth charts mean very little
They mean nothing in the preseason when coaches routinely dismiss them and even mock them in private. They mean almost nothing right now, as no team is going to tell an opponent what it plans to do with its lineup in five or six days.
As an example of how little the depth chart means, I submit to you today's Dolphins depth chart. It lists three starting defensive tackles. I assure you Randy Starks, Jared Odrick and Earl Mitchell cannot all start at defensive tackle.
The team also lists Lamar Miller as the starting running back even though I have reported that Knowshon Moreno is Miami's lead back who will get the bulk of the carries while Miller will see a package in which he'll get his fewer carries.
(This is for now. If Miller gets hot, things can change).
There are instances when the depth chart proves valuable and that today is at the kick return and punt return positions. The Dolphins list rookie Jarvis Landry as the kickoff and punt returner. He obviously replaces Marcus Thigpen who filled those duties the past two years but was cut last week.
Landry thus will be active on Sundays, meaning the Dolphins may go to games with all five receivers active. (Rishard Matthews plays on special teams and that's how he gets on the game day 46-man roster).
This is a big deal because the Dolphins are trusting a rookie in his first game against a division opponent to, well, not screw up back there.
Also, five wide receivers active is a lot. Maybe Matthews is on the gameday bubble as he did miss a block on a punt in the preseason and that led to a blocked punt (It was nullified by a penalty but it still earned Matthews a stern talking-to from special teams coach Darren Rizzi).
Landry and right tackle Ja'Wuan James are two rookie "starters" for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins will have up to 10 new starters on offense and defense in the regular-season opener.
The Depth Chart:
WR 82 Brian Hartline
LT 71 Branden Albert, 75 Nate Garner
LG 67 Daryn Colledge 77 Billy Turner
C 64 Samson Satele, 51 Mike Pouncey
RG 66 Shelley Smith, 63 Dallas Thomas
RT 70 Ja’Wuan James, 74 Jason Fox
TE 42 Charles Clay, 80 Dion Sims, 89 Harold Hoskins
WR 11 Mike Wallace, 18 Rishard Matthews
QB 17 Ryan Tannehill, 8 Matt Moore
RB 26 Lamar Miller, 28 Knowshon Moreno, 34 Damien Williams, 32 Orleans Darkwa
WR 10 Brandon Gibson, 14 Jarvis Landry
LE 91 Cameron Wake, 79 Derrick Shelby
DT 94 Randy Starks/98 Jared Odrick, 76 Anthony Johnson
DT 90 Earl Mitchell
RE 50 Olivier Vernon, 78 Terrence Fede
LB 52 Philip Wheeler, 56 Jonathan Freeny 58 Chris McCain
LB 55 Koa Misi, 93 Jason Trusnik
LB 59 Dannell Ellerbe, 53 Jelani Jenkins, 57 Jordan Tripp
CB 21 Brent Grimes, 22 Jamar Taylor
CB 24 Cortland Finnegan, 29 Will Davis, 37 Sammy Seamster
S 25 Louis Delmas, 31 Michael Thomas
S 27 Jimmy Wilson, 35 Walt Aikens, 33 Brandian Ross
P 2 Brandon Fields
K 9 Caleb Sturgis
KO 9 Caleb Sturgis
H 2 Brandon Fields
KOR 14 Jarvis Landry, 34 Damien Williams, 32 Orleans Darkwa
PR 14 Jarvis Landry, 18 Rishard Matthews, 21 Brent Grimes
LS 92 John Denney