- Fins thump Bears Miami climbs to 3-3 as they beat Chicago, 27-14
- RB Moreno out for season Miami placed the RB on the IR list, ending his season
- DE Shelby arrested and suspended! Click here to join the discussion!
- Fins run roughshod over Raiders Miami manhandled Oakland 38-14 in front of a lively London audience
The Dolphins have waived:
WR Armon Binns – Injuries, and competition hurt his chances to stick.
WR Ryan Spadola – Nice grab in the Dallas game, but too little, too late.
OT Cory Grissom — Camp Body who never really impressed.
C Tyler Larsen – Not yet ready for the NFL.
DE Rakim Cox – Didn’t flash enough to stick in a position that is deep.
CB Steven Clark – Camp body.
QB Brady Quinn – I never got the impression he had a shot.
TE Brett Bracket – Great story, hope he makes the practice squad.
The Dolphins have placed on IR:
RB Mike Gillislee – A luxury as the position is now looking deeper then expected.
TE Arthur Lynch – A project for the future if he catches up technically.
DT A.J. Francis – A.J. has nine lives.
Time To Close The Preseason.
It’s almost time for the fourth pre-season game. (Thursday, 7pm) Most fans just look forward for this game to end, and the regular season to begin. For some of the younger players this is the Super Bowl. It’s their final chance to impact the coaches decisions come cut down day as they trim the roster to 53 rostered players, and 10 practice squaders. For the veterans, much like the fans they want to get their work in, and escape as quickly as possible healthy.
Pay particular attention to special teams because if a roster spot is up in the air, the better player on special teams will in most cases be awarded it.
Some tough decisions will have to be made. Will Philbin really consider keeping 6 receivers, or 5 running backs? Is Shelly Smith going to cement his place as starting guard? Will Darkwa, or Williams stick, or will both? A case can be made for either player. These are the tough decisions that face the coaching staff.
What about Kicker? Will Sturgis be ready? Will the team carry two kickers on the active roster? So many difficult decisions await, but be sure most are already determined barring a breakout performance by someone Thursday night.
Marino is back
For years the Dolphins have tried to lure the ex QB, and current Hall Of Famer back into the fold. They’ve had moderate success using Dan in an unofficial capacity, but now it is official. Dan Marino will officially be an advisor for the club. What exactly that will entail nobody has said, all we hear is speculation.
Whatever it entails, you have to feel this will be Dan’s stepping stone into bigger and better things.
I know Miami’s offense has struggled getting into the end-zone aside from the first drive of the pre-season, but I am much impressed with the overall development of the offense. The offensive line looks like they’re coming together in a fairly quick fashion. There may yet be a bump in the road on the right side, but that is to be expected. This line appears to be improved over last year’s group already, and it’s only game 3 of the pre-season. Get this, against Dallas, Miami amassed 200 yards rushing, and 10 rushing first downs. The line allowed only one sack for -1 yard. Yes, they look much improved over the struggling group that ended the season.
I suggest tempering expectations because Dallas is not currently known for their defensive prowess, but how can you not be satisfied with that effort?
The questions I have still surround the quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. While you can see improvement in the quickness he is delivering the football, he still has yet to prove he can be a legitimate force inside the red-zone. Hopefully for Tannehill, Lazor has a remedy for what ails him, and the offensive’s lack of big plays in close. That said, Tannehill had a pretty flawless preseason until his final throw, which was intercepted inside Dallas’s 10 yard line.
Knowshon Moreno was a move I was pretty much soured on initially, especially once he arrived a bit out of shape, but you’ve got to be encouraged with the way he contributed against the Cowboys. He was running with authority, picking up blitzes, and looked in mid-season form.
On defense, Miami still has questions especially at LB, but they’ve had a pretty solid preseason from a points allowed standpoint. Only six teams have surrendered less then Miami’s 50.
There are still many questions left to be answered in both the starting units, and the key reserve roles. Game 3 you want to get your starters generally a series into the second half which means after this game you want to know who your starters are going to be come September 7th.
There’s still some doubt in many areas of the team. We’ll look at some of those here.
The other thing you’ll want to see is consistency from Ryan Tannehill. That doesn’t mean a repeat performance, but he needs to show he can continue to move the offense against a better defense then he faced last week. You’ll also want to see the defense come out and tackle better, and be more disciplined penalty-wise.
The line will work itself out, and there is little reason to think Satele will not win the center job, but someone at RG needs to stand out. Jason Fox at back up tackle needs to improve, or his roster spot could be in jeopardy.
We need to continue to see Jarvis Landry, and Marcus Thigpen return kicks, and punts. You also need to see if Thigpen can excel from the receiver position to secure a spot on the final 53.
Who is going to prove they belong in the logjam of Tight ends? Sims would appear to be a lock to start in place of Clay, but who is #3? Will it be Kyle Miller? Brett Brackett? Arthur Lynch? Herald Hoskins, or Michael Egnew?
Will Phillip Wheeler have a better game then he did last Friday against Atlanta? Or will Miami finally ease Jordan, or Jenkins into the role? If not, does Freeny earn additional playing time? Does McCain?
The slot positions on both sides of the ball seem to be in question. On offense, will Landry beat out Gibson? Or will Matthews rise up and make a case to take that spot? Both Gibson, and Matthews looked good for the short time they played last week. Landry looked better returning kicks then he did from the receiver position. It’s nothing to be too alarmed about as he should be a lock to make the final 53.
On defense, with Jones being out it is forcing Miami to move Jimmy Wilson from the slot CB position back to safety. This opens up the slot position for grabs. During this past week the team has inserted Finnegan, but it should be noted he struggled in the slot while playing for the Rams. It’ll be interesting to see if he can continue his solid camp inside. If not, Jamar Taylor, or Will Davis are waiting in the wings. Speaking of Wilson, who is backing him up? This team is not deep at the safety position. Could Michael Thomas, or Don Jones be counted on if forced to play? Can Kovacs get into the mix? Can Aikens?
How about backup QB? Can Quinn move the team or can Matt Moore get back onto the field and fight for his job? Can Labato improve over a dismal game he had last week? Will he even get the chance if Moore can play?
At RB Lamar seems to be almost assured of holding onto his #1 position, but what is going to happen behind him? How serious was Damien Williams injury? Will Mike Gillislee show something that makes you think he can play at this level?
So yes, with all the injuries, and suspensions the Dolphins have a great number of uncertainties going into week 2 of the preseason, and getting the right answers is critical going into next weeks game.
It’s always tough to matter of factly suggest a recent move is a success, or failure. That said, this team had issues it had to prioritize this past offseason. I felt Dennis Hickey did an admirable job of addressing most of them as we’ll illustrate below.
Let’s start with Miami’s biggest problem area of 2013. The offensive line, which strangely enough, got bullied the last two games of the season.
Miami went into free agency with one BIG red target and that was Brandon Albert. Miami was unsuccessful in working a deal with the Chiefs in early 2013 for him, so this was their shot to not miss out again.
To their credit, Miami signed Albert to a 5 year, $47 million dollar contract. At first glance you’d label this an A+ signing because it fills a tremendous need, but there is a risk. Albert has struggled to remain healthy missing seven games the last two seasons. In fact, only in 2011 did Albert play a full slate of sixteen games.
Grade C+. If he can remain healthy this grade improves significantly.
To continue to bolster the offensive line the Dolphins agreed to terms with Shelley Smith on a contract that will pay him $5.5 mil over 2 years provided he makes the team. Shelley is an interesting prospect for Miami and offensive line coach John Benton. Shelley is a fantastic drive blocker, and excels in the running game. Unfortunately for Miami, he is just as bad in pass protection. Miami has tried to convert him to center, and it was a struggle for Smith to master the snap. Currently, it appears he is battling for the left guard spot, but he’s got some competition in front of him in Daryn Colledge.
No one’s job is safe. Anyone can step up. It’s too early for this. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
GM Dennis Hickey and HC Joe Philbin will cut the roster down to 53 players on August 30th.
These are the roster odds heading into the first pre-season game tonight at the Georgia Dome. They WILL change over the next 3 weeks, and I will update these roster possibilities throughout the rest of the summer. Feel free to correct me on any errors @BrianCat on Twitter.
QB: Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore (2)
RB: Lamar Miller, Knowshon Moreno (2)
WR: Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Jarvis Landry (3)
TE: Charles Clay, Dion Sims, Arthur Lynch (3)
OT: Branden Albert, Daryn Colledge, Samson Satele, Shelley Smith, Ja’Wuan James, Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner (7)
DE: Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Derrick Shelby (3)
DT: Randy Starks, Jared Odrick, Earl Mitchell (3)
LB: Koa Misi, Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler, Jelani Jenkins, Jordan Tripp (5)
CB: Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, Jimmy Wilson, Jamar Taylor, Will Davis (5)
S: Louis Delmas, ReShad Jones, Walt Aikens (3)
ST: Caleb Sturgis, Brandon Fields, John Denney (3)
WR: Brandon Gibson (1)
TE: Michael Egnew (1)
DL: Terrence Fede (1)
LB: Jason Trunsik (1)
QB: Pat Devlin (1)
RB: Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee (2)
WR: Rishard Matthews, Marcus Thigpen, Damian Williams, Matt Hazel (4)
OL: Nate Garner, Jason Fox, Sam Brenner (3)
DL: Anthony Johnson, AJ Francis, Isaako Aatui (3)
S: Michael Thomas, Don Jones, Jordan Kovacs (3)
It’s exciting that football is back, but the drudgery of sitting through 4 quarters of the first pre-season game can be brutal. Let’s face it, it’s a scrimmage. With that said, there are still many players who will be giving every ounce of their being to perform as well as humanly possible. These games are auditions for many, many players.
A few former Dolphin coaches are on Mike Smith’s staff, Bryan Cox coaches the defensive line, and Keith Armstrong is their special teams coach. For those who do not remember, Cox played LB and coached for Miami, and Armstrong was the Dolphins special teams coach from 2001-2006. The Falcons defensive coordinator is none other then Mike Nolan who coached with Miami for 2 years prior to joining the Falcons. In 2011, the Dolphins boasted the third best run defense in the NFL, allowing just 95.6 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry. His defense also collared 41 sacks, which tied for 10th in the League and allowed the sixth fewest points per game at 19.6. The Dolphins also ranked seventh in the third-down percentage (33.8) and sixth in red zone defense, holding opponents to a 44.2 touchdown percentage inside the 20-yard line.
In 2010, Nolan’s defense ranked among the league’s top ten in overall defense (6th, 309.3 ypg), pass defense (8th, 209.3 ypg) and run defense (7th, 100.1 ypg). The Dolphins defense was one of just five units in the NFL to accomplish that feat.
On the field, you’ll no doubt want to see ex-Dolphin Paul Soliai go up against our interior offensive line. It’ll be an interesting contest from a Dolphin perspective, but I wouldn’t expect to see much of the starters. A couple of series at most would be a reasonable expectation. The only exception might be the offensive line. I would be inclined to let them get a few more reps of live game action.