Thursday, August 30, 2007

Preseason Game Three Analysis

I know this post is quite overdue, but I was on vacation when the Tampa Bay game was played. I didn't get to see the whole thing live, so my observations will be somewhat brief.

The Bad
Screen play INT - This play seemed pretty poorly set up from the beginning, but Ronnie Brown looked as if he gave no effort in trying to prevent Cato June from intercepting the ball. It's understandable that he probably doesn't want to get whacked in a preseason game, but his effort on that play was noticeably lacking.

Kick Returners - Again, Ronnie Brown was back returning kicks to start the game. I've said my piece on this issue, and I strongly disagree with the decision. I hope Cameron changes his mind about this before the regular season starts. It makes little sense to risk the best running back on the team, when there are guys like Ted Ginn Jr. and Az-Zahir Hakim who can return kicks - most likely with a higher degree of success. Who knows, maybe this will all work out in the end and the decision to use Brown as the kick returner will prove to be genius, but until I see positive results, I can't get behind this move.

Travares Tillman - This guy kills me. I understand that he's a solid special teams contributor, but that can only make up for so many botched plays in the secondary. It seems like every other long pass is completed over Tillman's head. Granted, I know the touchdown catch by Joey Galloway came after Jeff Garcia scrambled around for about an hour behind the line with absolutely no pressure, but it would still be nice to see Tillman make a play on that ball. I don't really remember the last time I've seen Tillman make a positive play in the secondary. The fact that he is likely to make this team should speak greatly to the depth, or lack thereof, that the team currently has at safety.

Run-blocking - The run-blocking throughout the game was generally poor. The running game averaged only 3.3 yards per carry. The line clearly is still lacking in consistency and cohesion. Although I really like the kid, I think Samson Satele is going to struggle early on with run-blocking. He's coming from a school where he was asked to pass protect on almost every play. Paving the way for a strong running game is something new to him, and it's going to take some time to see some progression in his skill.

The Good
First Team Offense - Finally the first-stringers on offense got their act together and put together some impressive drives. What makes it all the more special is that the unit was able to bounce back from a potentially devastating INT returned for TD on just their second play of the game. Trent Green came back out and drove his guys the length of the field, executing 18 plays and chewing up over 9 minutes off the game clock. It was great to see that mental toughness.

Ted Ginn Jr. - Ginn came to life in the receiving game for the first time this preseason. He caught 3 passes for 29 yards, all of which resulted in a first down. It was encouraging to see Green look Ginn's way, especially on a fourth down. Ginn delivered by moving the chains. Ginn also took some crunching shots after catching the ball, but he bounced back up, and didn't seemed shaken by it.

Lorenzo Booker - It was also nice to finally see Lorenzo Booker play a significant role in the offense. Even though he ran the ball just once for 2 yards, he hauled in 6 passes for 41 yards. I would not be surprised if Lorenzo finished this season with more receptions than rushes. Let's face it, he just isn't very good at running between the tackles. In space though?...Look out.

Matt Roth - Roth made a tremendous INT at the line of scrimmage. If he can carry that kind of big-play potential into the regular season, this defense will be amazing.

John Beck - Once again, Beck looked solid in his performance, and he almost led another late game comeback. Although the team lost, Beck did his part by tossing two long TDs. He's still making some mistakes in reading the defense and deciding where to go with the ball (despite a perfect throw, P.K. Sam was tripled covered), but it's clear that he is learning well.

Health - There were a few scares on the injury front, but luckily they all seem to be minor issues. NT Paul Soliai (knee), DT Vonnie Holliday (shaken up), and LB Robert McCune (groin) all sustained injuries, but they have all returned to practice since.


Play of the Game - Jesse Chatman's 11 yard TD run on the Statue of Liberty play. (Duh. Did you think I would choose anything else?)
That was a thing of beauty, executed to perfection. Didn't see it? Take a look:


Player of the Game - John Beck. 11 for 22 with 162 yards and 2 TDs while almost leading his third consecutive come-from-behind victory.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cordova signed

After being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday, Miami signed DE/LB Jorge Cordova. Cordova (6'1", 244 lbs.) was a third-round draft choice of the Jaguars in 2004. He is 25 years old. In his first season in the NFL, he tore his ACL during training camp and spent the season on Injured Reserve. The following season, he aggravated the injury and was placed on IR again. Last season, he appeared in 13 games, all in a reserve role. He recorded 8 tackles on defense and one pass defensed. He was primarily a special teams player, where he contributed 8 tackles, a blocked punt, and a recovery of a blocked punt.

He will be hard-pressed to make the 53-man roster, especially since he hasn't had any time to learn the scheme over the offseason. If he makes the team, it will most likely be due to his special teams skills, but he's going to face stiff competition from the likes of Jim Maxwell, Robert McCube, and Abraham Wright.

In order to make room for Cordova on the roster, Miami placed T Joe Toledo on the Reserve/PUP list. This means that Toledo, who is still nursing a foot injury, will not be eligible to play until week 7.

Front Office gauges interest in Chambers

Despite reports that Miami was shopping WR Chris Chambers, it appears that the team will be retaining him this season. A trade with any team for Chambers would be hampered by his $7.3 million salary impact. Although it is unlikely that Chambers will be among those cut by Miami as it tries to pare the roster down to 53 men, he will have to play up to his Pro Bowl potential this season or face being released next offseason.

Furthermore, it would be unwise for the Dolphins to cut Chambers in a salary-minded move. He is clearly the team's best receiving option at this present time. Yes, Marty Booker has been much more consistent, but he is 31 years old and was already shopped around the trade market earlier this offseason. There's a good chance he could be gone next year as well. And even though Ted Ginn Jr. has been steadily progressing as a receiver throughout the preseason, he is still miles away from being able to shoulder the role of a primary receiver. Without Chambers this season, Ginn would likely be forced into the starting lineup well before he is ready. Either that, or Derek Hagan would start opposite Booker. I don't think that combination is going to scare anyone. This offense is already on very shaky ground. Cutting Chambers now would destabilize a receiving unit that has been marred by inconsistency for several years. This may be his last chance to capitalize on his opportunity in Miami, but he should be given that chance. I think Miami will be better this year for keeping him around - regardless of what his future with the team may be.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Porter returns to practice

SLB Joey Porter returned to practice on Monday following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. This is very good news because it gives Porter another week and a half or so to get back into game shape and reestablish confidence in his ability to play at full speed on his knee. Even though he is initially only practicing on a limited basis, it's a good sign that he came away from Monday's session feeling good. Now will be the time for him to test the knee and make sure that it is fully healthy entering the regular season.

There is absolutely no need to rush this process, and although Porter will still be getting acclimated to the defensive scheme at the beginning of the season, the coaching staff should not jeopardize his long-term health by playing him in the team's final preseason game.


In other injury news, T Mike Rosenthal was placed on Injured Reserve. When the team signed him as a free agent, I expected him to compete for a top backup job, but I heard very little about him through minicamp and training camp. He must have been very underwhelming. He then injured his shoulder in early August and has not practiced for almost a month. Even though I think Rosenthal would be healthy in time to play at some point this season, he's obviously not good enough for the team to reserve a spot on the roster for him. Instead, he's on IR and Miami will be able to retain his rights for another year.

First Wave of Cuts

In order to meet today's deadline to trim the roster down to 75 players (excluding NFL Europa practice squad player WR Marvin Allen), the Dolphins parted ways with 9 players.

Here are the players who didn't make the cut:
  • K Matt Prater
  • P Ryan Flinn
  • WR David Sutton
  • TE Jason Rader
  • RB Ray Perkins
  • DT Kevin Vickerson
  • CB Shirdonya Mitchell
  • S Christopher Vedder
  • S Chris Harrell
There aren't many surprises among that group of guys other than perhaps David Sutton. Sutton came out of nowhere during minicamps and training camps becoming somewhat of a media darling. He has tremendous size and could still be brought back to the Dolphins as part of the practice squad.

Granted, before training camp began, I predicted that both Vickerson and Mitchell would make the 53-man roster. Much of that was based on their solid showings over in NFL Europa. Neither one, however, was able to carry that momentum into training camp with the Dolphins, and their production was disappointing. Vickerson is the only player among these first cuts to have been drafted by Miami. He was drafted in the seventh round during the 2005 draft.

Miami has until 4 P.M. this Saturday to cut the roster down to 53 players.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Green named starter

In a move that should shock no one, Cam Cameron has named Trent Green as the starting quarterback following a training camp battle against Cleo Lemon. Lemon will be the backup, with rookie John Beck as the third string QB.

Nothing more to say about this matter really. Proceed.

Training Camp Recap 8/19

Here's a recap of what went on at yesterday's training camp sessions:

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel (1), (2):
"- Kick-off returns were the major point of emphasis today. Wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and running backs Ronnie Brown, Lorenzo Booker and Patrick Cobbs took the kicks, although the drills focused more on the tackling and blocking schemes than the running.

- Quarterbacks Gibran Hamdan and John Beck ran the offense in drills, both were up-and-down.

- Cameron implied that defensive tackle Keith Traylor, defensive end Jason Taylor and linebacker Zach Thomas might sit the entire exhibition season, saying he has seen enough of the veterans in practice and voicing injury concerns.

- Offensive lineman Joe Toledo was walking around without his customary boot during practice. Toledo had been on the exercise bike during all of training camp, but looked comfortable walking Sunday. Toledo is still on the physically unable to perform list. Rookie linebacker Kelvin Smith returned to practice after sitting out the last couple of sessions with an ankle injury. Safety Renaldo Hill tweaked his quadriceps or groin and was heavily iced during practice. It is unknown if he will practice today."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post (1), (2):
"- As much hype as John Beck has generated throughout training camp, he still plays like a rookie. He had plenty of nice throws in 11-on-11 drills Sunday as the primary quarterback, but he wasn't perfect. On one play, he targeted David Sutton deep down the right sideline, but threw a wobbler that was badly underthrown. A good play by Sutton prevented an interception. Trent Green and Cleo Lemon didn't take snaps Sunday.

Rex Hadnot didn’t participate much in practice and seemed to be favoring his left ankle/foot. He said in the locker room that he was fine, but he was trying to hide his limp as he walked.

- Ted Ginn Jr. continues to catch kickoffs and punts above his head instead of with his body."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Training Camp Recap 8/18

Here's a recap of what went on at yesterday's training camp sessions:

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel (1), (2):
"- Fullback Reagan Mauia fractured the navicular bone in the wrist of his left hand and is expected to have surgery Monday. The Hawaii product, selected in the sixth round of April's draft, injured the hand during Thursday night's 11-10 exhibition victory over the Chiefs. While the 6-foot, 275-pound fullback practiced Saturday with a heavily padded cast and might continue to play with the injury, coach Cam Cameron said Mauia won't return to the field until the swelling goes down. Cameron also said Mauia will wear a cast for the next four to six weeks.

- WR Marty Booker had his most productive practice in a week, making nice moves to gain extra yardage after catches.

- For a couple of snaps during a 9-on-9 drill the offense featured two tailbacks, with Ronnie Brown and Jesse Chatman sharing the backfield. Chatman either lined up behind Brown or next to him.

- WR P.K. Sam, who injured his left leg during Tuesday's practice and sat out Thursday's game, returned to the practice Saturday. T Joe Toledo has been without the soft cast that protected his broken right foot for a week, but said he's only doing light jogging. LB Kelvin Smith continues to be held out of practice because of an ankle sprain.

- I'm watching Hakim return punts as I type and he just doesn't look like he's got that afterburner speed that once made him a standout returner in the NFL.

- [Abraham] Wright's presently working with the first team on pass rushing downs, subbing in for Donnie Spragan."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post (1), (2):
"- Quarterback Trent Green's inconsistency, especially on downfield throws, has become routine. On Saturday, Green was behind his receivers on some passes and low on some others.

- New TE Courtney Anderson could become a real weapon for the Dolphins. Anderson has bounced back after some early drops in training camp with some of the best catches in the past week.

- WR David Sutton generated a lot of buzz during June's mini-camp and the first week of training camp with his leaping catches and fearlessness. Nagging injuries have slowed the 6-6, 222-pound undrafted free agent. Battling a bruised tailbone and hip, and now a sore ankle, Sutton had another quiet practice on Saturday. He hasn't caught a pass in two exhibition games.

- LB Robert McCune, the backup middle linebacker, is the fiery leader of the second-team defense and an impact player on special teams. McCune was around the ball all day Saturday, two days after he made two special teams stops in Kansas City.

- CB Travis Daniels intercepted several passes in the opening week of training camp but hasn't come up with one in a while.

LB Joey Porter is doing a couple of low-key agility drills - a good sign less than two weeks removed from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. That’s it for him.

- First team remains the same: LT Vernon Carey, LG Chris Liwienski, C Samson Satele, RG Rex Hadnot, RT Anthony Alabi. Rookie G Drew Mormino remains with the second team.

- Chatman, once again, is having a much better practice than Brown."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Preseason Game Two Analysis

Nobody should have been expecting greatness out of Miami's offensive production in its second preseason game, but the players did manage to make some positive improvements over their horrendous first showing. And that small incremental progression is all I was looking for. Granted, for the most part the first team offense still looked below average in most respects, but the unit showed that it was developing in the major areas of concern - the offensive line and the quarterback position.

Here are the specific observations that I noted during the game.

Again, as a disclaimer, I realize this is only a preseason game. Nevertheless, it's all we have to work from in terms of live game action, and it can be useful to gauge a player's progression and physical talent.

The Bad
The Secondary - The secondary continued to show that it is the weakness of the defense, allowing several big plays throughout the game. As a whole, the Kansas City quarterbacks completed 65.4% (17/26) of their passes. The secondary often seemed out of position, allowing significant yardage after the catch resulting in passes of 20, 21, and 42 yards.

Drops - The receivers have to find a way to reign in the number of drops they are having. That has been a big problem over the past few seasons, and it was not encouraging to see the first-team offense open things up with three dropped passes. The drop that stands out the most to me was when TE David Martin dropped a pass that hit him directly in the hands and there was no one around him. It was a short pass, too. There's no excuse for that kind of play, and the whole receiving corps is going to have to step up their focus.

Ted Ginn Jr./Special Teams blocking - Ginn did not catch a pass in this game and he looked pretty bad when returning punts. The punt blocking unit did very little to help set up running lanes, so they deserve some of the blame in that regard. But otherwise, Ginn showed off some poor decision making skills when fielding punts. He caught one punt with a defender inches away from him and primed to make a big hit. In that situation, Ginn should definitely have called for a fair catch. Then, on two separate occasions, Ginn tried to run backwards in an arc before going forwards after catching the punt. Although he has elite speed, those moves will rarely, if ever, work in the NFL. The players are simply too fast and too disciplined to outrun in that fashion. The opposing gunners are committed to their lanes and like we saw in this game, they will be there to tackle Ginn for a loss. Even though the blocking in front of him was poor, Ginn needs to take off straight ahead and try to find a crease in the middle before trying to get fancy outside.

Cam Cameron/Kickoff Returners - Apparently, Cam Cameron has made the decision to pull Ted Ginn Jr. from kickoff return duties, and instead is opting to use Ronnie Brown and Jesse Chatman as the returners. I simply cannot fathom the logic and reasoning behind this move, and I think that it is an absurd and awful decision. The plan was for Ginn to contribute to this team with his explosive kick returning abilities from the very beginning while gradually growing as a receiver. Now, Cameron is saying that he wants Ginn to focus only on punt returns since he apparently thinks focusing on kick returns is too much in addition to Ginn's regular receiving duties. If Ginn was slated to start at receiver, I could stomach this move. But he's not. At best, he's going to be the team's third WR this season. Ginn could be a true weapon as a kick returner, but now he's being relegated to only punts. I just don't get it. What makes this decision even more half-baked is who Cameron has appointed as the replacement returners. No, I don't have a problem with Jesse Chatman lining up as one of the returners. But Ronnie Brown? Never mind that Brown hasn't returned kicks since high school. He's the team's primary running back in an offensive system that relies on a workhorse back to carry a large load. Without him, this offense will likely go nowhere. So, why put him at a greater injury risk by having him return kicks? Why sap the energy he'll need to effectively carry the ball through a complete game, let alone a complete season by exposing him to all those extra hits? Again, I have no answers. I hope Cameron can come up with one or at least prove me wrong on this matter. If the coach is absolutely set against having Ginn return kicks, I would still rather have someone like WR Az-Zahir Hakim or RB Lorenzo Booker do it rather than Ronnie Brown. I have generally agreed with most of what Cameron has done thus far, but I cannot get behind this move. Ted Ginn Jr. has the potential to be a stud return man - on kicks as well as punts. Now is not the time to hold him back.

The Good
The Offensive Line - This designation is obviously relative. The offensive line was more or less mediocre throughout the game. No one is mistaking this group of guys as world beaters, but they sure improved from their bottom-of-the-barrel showing from last week against the Jaguars. The first-team unit finally opened up some holes for Ronnie Brown to run through - a huge difference from the last game where Brown was stood up well behind the line on almost half of his carries. That defensive penetration still happened in this game, but far less frequently. Brown was able to average 4.4 yards per carry and RB Patrick Cobbs averaged 6.8 yards/carry. It's a lot easier for a RB to look good when he has some legitimate holes to work with.

Ronnie Brown - As I just mentioned, Brown finally had some holes to work with and he showed us what he can do with them. The most impressive thing about Brown's performance was his tenacity and unwillingness to give up on a play. As long as the whistle hadn't blown, Brown was still churning his legs looking to pick up extra yards in a pile or to burst through a new crease. He made some guys miss on tackles and showed good strength on his runs.

Michael Lehan - Even though the secondary was disappointing, Lehan managed to stand out with a very solid performance. Before training camp began, I predicted that Lehan would miss out on making the roster, but he's definitely going to prove me wrong. Lehan has locked up a spot on this roster as the third CB for now, and once Andre' Goodman fully recovers, Lehan will assume the fourth CB position. Whereas the other Dolphins defensive backs often looked out of position in this game, Lehan was on his man all night, breaking up passes and making good tackles.

Health - Once again, the Dolphins avoided a health scare when LB Abraham Wright went down with only 8 seconds remaining in the game. The injury looked serious when Wright was carted off the field, but luckily the reports were that he only had severe cramps in both legs - no breaks or tears. He was walking around the locker room normally after the game. It will be a huge plus if Miami can finish the preseason with no major injuries.


Play of the Game - With about 8:20 left in the first quarter, Ronnie Brown took a hand-off and found little room to work with. He continued to pound away at the pile. Some Chiefs defenders seemed to give up on the play as if it was over, but Brown never did. He bounced the run outside and was able to pick up another big chunk of yardage. It was great to see that kind of relentlessness and patience with Brown.

Player of the Game - Ronnie Brown. 13 carries for 57 yards and a long run of 22. He also added one catch for 10 yards. Very solid and encouraging showing for Brown.

The next preseason game will be the most interesting one, as the starters will likely play for the most extended period of time yet. It will be important to see the overall offensive progression evident between games one and two continue between this game and next.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Training Camp Recap 8/14

Here's a recap of what went on at today's training camp sessions:

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel (1), (2):
"- Rookie Drew Mormino and Chris Liwienski split time working with the first team at left guard. Anthony Alabi, who has spent all of training camp as the starting right tackle, also took a few snaps at left guard during 9-on-9 drills.

- Left tackle Vernon Carey participated in his second practice since bruising his right knee in Saturday's 18-17 exhibition win over Jacksonville, but Carey said he's pushing himself through the injury to set a standard for the rest of the linemates. Cameron expects Carey to start against Kansas City on Thursday.

- Julius Wilson, Carey's backup, left practice midway through the morning session because of cramping, but returned for the final 30 minutes and said he's fine.

- Also held out of practice was rookie linebacker Kelvin Smith, who twisted an ankle during Monday's practice, receiver Az-Zahir Hakim, one of the team's veterans being limited to one practice a day, and rookie tailback Lorenzo Booker, who has an excused absence to attend the birth of his first child. Receiver Marty Booker participated in Tuesday's practice but Cameron said he'll be held out of the afternoon session.

- Matt Prater has one heck of a leg on him. The Central Florida standout has some serious distance to his kicks, but he's not very accurate on his longer ones. However, he's got range from 60. Jay Feely destroys him on accuracy and also had range from 50-plus.

- Joe Toledo had his boot removed a couple of days ago, but he's still walking gingerly and isn't practicing."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post (1), (2):
"- Green’s accuracy on throws beyond 18, 20 yards continues to be hit or miss.

- I’m seeing a theme here: get the TEs involved.

- A couple of new injuries. P.K. Sam didn’t practice and wore a sleeve over his left knee. Also saw Will Allen getting his right thigh/hamstring treated, and he was held out of the team drills at the end of practice.

- Jay Feely missed not one, but two extra points during practice. One went wide right, another hit the right upright. Players blocked our view, and we couldn’t tell if it was a bad hold or a bad kick.

- David Martin, Justin Peelle and Courtney Anderson appear to be the top three TEs, but don’t forget about Aaron Halterman. He and Green are clearly forming a rhythm, and he made a great diving grab in the end zone in full team drills."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Training Camp Recap 8/13

Here's a recap of what went on at today's training camp sessions:

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel:
"- Vernon Carey participated in the practice after leaving Saturday's game late in the first quarter with a right knee injury.

- Backup left tackle, rookie Julius Wilson, who filled in for Carey Saturday, was also taking some snaps with the first unit Monday.

- Injured linebacker Joey Porter (knee), who said he hopes to be ready by the regular-season opener on Sept. 9, joined the stationery bicycle brigade Monday.

- Receiver Marty Booker (knee) was back on the practice field after missing the last three practices and Saturday's exhibition opener.

- Linebacker Jim Maxwell, who sat out some of Saturday's game with cramps, practiced.

- Also missing in action was rookie running back Lorenzo Booker..."He's across the state [in Bradenton] witnessing the birth of his child,'' Cameron said.

- Joining Ginn on punt-return duty was receiver Az-Zahir Hakim and cornerback Travis Daniels. Zahir-Hakim was more involved in passing drills than usual, and hooked up a couple of times with Green on downfield passing routes."
Observations from the Miami Herald:
"- Tackle L.J. Shelton continued to work with the third team but made some blocks during running drills with Gibran Hamdan at quarterback.

- The first-team line had a long day going against Jason Taylor and Vonnie Holliday; Tight ends Justin Peelle and David Martin both had trouble hanging on to passes delivered by Trent Green."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post:
"- Rex Hadnot is lining up with the first team, even though the depth chart lists him as a second-teamer.

- Brandon Fields is booming the punts downfield again today, following his nice game on Saturday. He needs to improve his release time, but Fields looks good.

- Jay Feely just punted — yes, punted — the ball 60+ yards. Jack of all trades.

- [Trent Green] looks a lot more accurate today than he did Saturday and in previous practices."

Preseason Game One Analysis

Well, I've had a chance to watch the game a second time and here are the observations that I noted during Miami's first preseason game:

Overall, this was an ugly game, with very little to be encouraged about as far as the Dolphins go. Luckily, this is only the first exhibition game, and according to Cam Cameron only 40% of the offense has been installed thus far. Furthermore, there was no game-planning that went into this match. Everything on offense was vanilla, and the coaches were concentrating on individual match-ups for the most part.

So, while it's hard to make any concrete conclusions from this game, the performances are not entirely useless for gaging certain players' progressions and skill sets. Take the following for what it's worth. I'm not saying that a preseason game is the ultimate display of a player's ability, but it's the first live game action we have against another team.

Here we go. I'll start off with the bad, that way, this analysis can end on a somewhat positive note.

The Bad
The Offensive Line - There's little more to be said about the offensive line other than that it's performance was generally horrendous throughout the game. The first-team, in particular, was manhandled by the defensive line of the Jaguars. Ronnie Brown managed a worse-than-anemic 8 yards on 8 carries, due to little fault of his own. Almost half of the times he was handed the ball, the line had already collapsed, allowing several Jags defenders to get into the backfield. Brown will have no chance of having a "break-out" season if he can't even reach the line of scrimmage without a fight. The pass protection wasn't much better. Trent Green never had the opportunity to stand in the pocket for more than a split second and scan the secondary. He was constantly flushed out and forced to scramble around behind the line of scrimmage - never a good thing - and that ended up leading to a fumble. I really can't think of a positive thing to say about the OL after this first game.

Trent Green - Trent looked like he did during the second half of last season after he was still recovering from his concussion. He looked tired and slow and he was very inefficient. The most worrying thing about his performance wasn't his quarterback rating or his interception. The most worrying thing to me was the way his passes looked. All of his passes were so noticeably slow in reaching their target and they lacked the accuracy that is supposed to be Green's strong point. His deep ball to Ted Ginn was awful, but his short passes didn't look any better. If he continues to float his passes around, he's going to get picked off constantly. He looked a lot more "old" than he did "experienced" on Saturday.

Travis Daniels - Although he's having an outstanding training camp, Daniels allowed himself to get beat several times during this game, especially by Ernest Wilford early in the game. He seemed to be giving the receivers far too much of a cushion, resulting in some easy gains across the middle. In fact, the secondary in general seemed to be playing too lightly, not pressuring the opposing receivers enough at the line.

Moving the Chains - Miami's first-team offense couldn't move the chains at all. The offense only managed four first downs over the entire first half, and that includes one which took all four downs to get. For the game, the Dolphins were 1/11 (only 9%!) on converting third downs. That is atrocious. It doesn't help that Miami's passers averaged a mere 4.4 yards per attempt or that minus Jesse Chatman's 74 yard run, the ball-carriers averaged only 2.67 yards/carry.

Roughing the Passer? - I don't like to harp on the referee's calls since they usually do a fantastic job, but I strongly disagree with that roughing the passer call against Vonnie Holliday. There's obviously a need to protect QBs, but I think the officials have taken it a bit too far recently when it comes to roughing the passer. I suppose the only way Holliday could have avoided the type of contact he made with Leftwich would have been to shrink a few inches. He was basically penalized for standing at his full height and trying to knock the ball out of Leftwich's hand. Was he expected to crouch down in order to accommodate a better height difference between he and the QB? Defenders can't be expected to alter their rush because of a perceived need to protect the QB. It was a bad call.

The Good
Brandon Fields - Fields had a bit of a scare on his first punt, having it partially blocked. Although the snap was a bit off, he still took ages to get the kick away. That was a major knock of his coming out of college, and if he doesn't fix that in time for the regular season, teams will be ferociously rushing to punt block him. Thankfully, after that first punt, Fields was golden. He blasted his next three punts over 50 yards and showed some good hang time. Then he followed up his blasts by placing three punts inside the 20 (one inside the 10). I had my doubts about Fields being able to place the ball inside the 20 effectively, but he looked very good in this game.

Jesse Chatman - Chatman continued to make a case for winning a roster spot after he broke out a tremendous 74 yard run. He was patient behind his line, waiting for some blocks to set up and he bounced in the opposite direction after he saw there were no running lanes to the right. He showed a great burst of speed that I didn't know he had and outran several defenders that were hot on his heels.

Defensive Front Seven - Even without Zach Thomas, Joey Porter, Jason Taylor, and Keith Traylor, the defensive front seven did some very good things. A lot of young guys like Akbar Gbaja-Biamila and Rodrique Wright stepped up and pressured the QB. Matt Roth showed good effort on his sack as well. The defense also held the Jags to 2 yards per rush.

Crisis Averted/Overall Health - Miami fans let out a huge gasp when LT Vernon Carey went down in the first quarter with a knee injury, but thankfully he was up and walking soon after. By all indications, the injury doesn't appear to be serious and Carey will be back soon. If he had gone down with anything serious, the offensive line would stand almost no chance this season. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the Dolphins made it out of this first exhibition game with no major injuries and relatively healthy.


Play of the Game - Jesse Chatman's 74 yard TD run.

Player of the Game - Brandon Fields (not to belittle Fields, but you know it wasn't a great night when the punter was probably the best and most consistent player on the field.)

Again, this is only the first preseason game. Things will change, hopefully for the better. Until then, we just have to take this one game at a time and look for problem areas to slowly improve.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Training Camp Recap 8/09

Here's a recap of what went on during today's training camp sessions.

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel (1), (2), (3):
"- Rex Hadnot made his return to the first unit of the offensive line, playing right guard. He was joined by Vernon Carey, rookie Drew Mormino, rookie Samson Satele, and Anthony Alabi, left to right. L.J. Shelton, playing on the second team, shuffled from right to left tackle throughout the practice. Julius Wilson played the left tackle when Shelton was on the right, and Chris Liwienski was playing guard on the second team.

- WR Marty Booker missed his second straight practice with knee soreness.

- When the Dolphins used two tight ends, the duo was free agent signee David Martin and recent acquisition Courtney Anderson.

- Quarterback John Beck was shaky. He threw some wobbly passes.

- It appears Michael Lehan has locked down that nickel spot, holding off Jason Allen. I've honestly tried to evaluate Allen without attaching his first round pick status, and to be fair he doesn't get beat as much as guys like Mitchell. But he is usually invisible."
Observations from the Miami Herald:
"- Another tough day for cornerback Jason Allen. Sometimes, even when Allen seems to have coverage, he doesn't have coverage.

- Green worked with the second team most of the day while Cleo Lemon took first team snaps. Neither were terribly efficient.

- They look serious about having Reagan Mauia carry the ball more than usual for a modern NFL fullback. Cam Cameron said they would give Mauia, projected as a Pete Johnson-like wide-load fullback, a shot at tailback this Saturday. Thursday morning, Mauia carried the ball often in team drills."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post (1), (2), (3):
"- P Brandon Fields, a sixth-round draft pick, continues to prove a worthy successor to Donnie Jones. On Thursday, Fields and Ryan Flinn punted from the back of the end zone, and Fields outdistanced Flinn every time. Fields' kicks consistently went to midfield or beyond, while Flinn - who has bounced around different camps the past four years - had his punts die around the 40.

- QB Trent Green made his reputation by attacking defenses downfield. These days, Green seems to have lost something on passes over 25 yards. He remains accurate in the middle of the field and in the flats. But he seems to simply throw the ball in the direction of receivers on fly patterns and longer sideline routes.

- With Marty Booker riding a stationary bike during practice to rest his left knee, it was Ginn - not Derek Hagan - who took the reps with the first team.

Green makes this throws without any touch or trajectory.

- [Second team] Offensive line is Wilson, Liwienski, Ingram, Stevenson, Shelton."

Camp News (Will Allen, L.J. Shelton)

The official team site had this interesting tidbit today:
"Then cornerback Will Allen, who Cameron said also has seen some work at wide receiver, broke up a pass intended for Ted Ginn, Jr., and Derek Hagan had a ball go off his hands coming over the middle."
I find that strange since Will has always been a bit stone-handed when it comes to making interceptions. Despite the fact that he's probably the second fastest guy on the team (behind Ted Ginn Jr.) I don't see how he could be a good WR with such poor hands. Also, he's the team's best CB, so I don't see why the team would risk playing him on offense, especially since the CB depth is pretty slim.

However, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have him as a sixth WR on the active roster in case of an emergency. I could also see the coaching staff using this as a means to get Will more comfortable with catching the football. If he takes a few reps at WR, he may be able to improve his hands a little bit and come up with a few interceptions this season.


In other news, it seems like the muddled situation along the offensive line is becoming a bit clearer. Until Anthony Alabi went down with an injury, the starting OL unit was always:

LT Vernon Carey/LG Chris Liwienski/C Samson Satele/RG Drew Mormino/RT Anthony Alabi.

That configuration was puzzling since both RG Rex Hadnot and RT L.J. Shelton had been the projected starters coming into training camp with a perceived positional battle at LG between Liwienski and Mormino. However, that battle never materialized, leaving instead two battles at the RG and RT spots. Even more confusing, was the fact that Rex Hadnot, who had been highly praised by Cam Cameron in minicamps could not beat out a rookie sixth-round draft pick and that Shelton could not beat out Alabi, who just recently returned from knee surgery and by all accounts has looked slow and out of shape.

Well, the reason for much of this madness is now known. L.J. Shelton is too heavy. Currently weighing in at about 345 pounds, the coaches want to see him around 330 lbs. According to the Palm Beach Post article,
"One source said that once Shelton gets down to 330 pounds, the coaches assured him he will return to the starting lineup."
Now this is starting to make some sense, particularly since Rex Hadnot recently made his way back into the starting lineup at RG. Mormino was moved back over to LG and Liwienski was relegated to the second team. Alabi continues to take the starting reps at RT. It seems it's only a matter of time, though, before Shelton loses the weight and takes back the RT position. Once that happens the starting line will look like this (much like it was projected to look following minicamps):

LT Vernon Carey LG Drew Mormino C Samson Satele RG Rex Hadnot RT L.J. Shelton

Once that happens, the perceived positional battle at LG between Liwienski and Mormino will begin anew and everything will be as it should be (I think).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Training Camp Recap 8/08

Here's a recap of what went on during today's training camp sessions.

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel:
"- Lorenzo Booker is a lot better at fielding kickoffs than he is at punts.

- Chatman's been the most impressive back of training camp.

- Anthony Alabi's also back on the field and he said he's optimistic he'll play on Saturday.

- John Beck, who started out training camp extremely hot, hasn't looked very good the past couple of days."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post:
"- Anthony Alabi is back at RT, but Chris Liwienski isn’t lined up at LG, where he’d been working with the first team until Alabi tweaked his left knee on Monday. Rookie Drew Mormino remains at LG and Rex Hadnot at RG. LT Vernon Carey and C Samson Satele haven’t moved since Day 1 of camp.

- Another surprise development on O: WR Marty Booker is riding a bike and Ted Ginn Jr. is lining up opposite Chris Chambers in the Dolphins two-receiver sets. Cam Cameron also is using TE Justin Peele with the first team during a two-TE set with David Martin. Peele is playing in the slot. Peele played from 2002-05 in San Diego, when Cameron was the team’s offensive coordinator, and has had a good camp.

- Beck also has held onto the ball too long a number of times. He’s also thrown the ball away quite a bit.

- Feely has enough leg to get it deep, but not out of the end zone.

- It’s official, Liwienski is working with the second team at LG, Shelton at RT, with Julius Wilson at LT, Dan Stevenson at RG and Johnathan Ingram at C. Rookie G Tala Esera, who spent much of camp with the second unit, is now working with the third team.

- L. Booker has looked terrific out of the backfield catching the ball. The move of Reagan Mauia to TB tells you how Booker has looked running the ball."

Training Camp Recap 8/07

Here's a recap of what went on at yesterday's training camp sessions:

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel (1), (2):
"- Marquay Love switched from nose tackle to offensive guard Monday and played his first full offensive day Tuesday...Coach Cam Cameron mentioned the coaching staff liked his footwork at guard.

- The Kerry Reed-John Beck connection is still firing on all cylinders.

- John Beck has been sizzling during training camp, and while I admit I haven't seen him go against the first-team defense, I can't help but think Beck has a bright future."
Observations from the Miami Herald:
"- Not a great practice for Ted Ginn Jr. Although Ginn looked pretty fast in special teams workouts, often making defenders miss, he wasn't as impressive in team drills at wide receiver.

- During the special teams portion of practice, wide receiver Michael Malone, child of Moses, showed some proficiency at being a gunner."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post (1), (2):
"- L. not making the best decisions returning punts.

- I realize he’s facing the third-team defense, but Beck looks real solid out there. Beautiful drop-back and throw to Kerry Reed 15 yards downfield. Reed also continues his solid camp.

- Mauia...could be a stud on short-yardage situations...He does have quick feet, good balance, sure hands - a lot of the qualities you seek in a TB. But he’s also toting around 270 pounds … at least.

- Lemon isn’t showing much throwing the ball tonight.

- Green really struggled in the final third of practice."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Training Camp: Who's Hot, Who's Not

The full squad has been practicing together for more than a week now, so it's a good time to examine which players are impressing and which players are struggling in the early goings. Now is also a good time to look at some of the positional battles and how they are playing out.

Who's Hot
QB John Beck - By most accounts, Beck has been the most impressive QB on the team during training camp. Granted, he's been facing mostly the second-team defense, but it is very encouraging to see him picking up the playbook so quickly and finding success against NFL-caliber players. His arm strength has been great, and his accuracy and touch have been equally as impressive. Even though Beck will likely stay on the sidelines this season unless something goes horribly wrong, it's comforting to know that the QB of the future is playing that way from this very early stage.

WR Kerry Reed - Who's the beneficiary of Beck's success? Mainly undrafted rookie free agent Kerry Reed. Beck and Reed have formed a good deal of chemistry thus far. Reed has shown a knack for getting open, and Beck has been finding him when he is. Reed's strong play has put him in contention for the fifth WR spot on the roster, although it's more likely that he finds himself on the practice squad if he is indeed retained.

RB Lorenzo Booker - Although Booker has been struggling mightily fielding punts, that job is all but guaranteed to go to Ted Ginn Jr. Where Booker has been very good thus far is in the passing game and on runs to the outside. His speed and agility have made more than a few veteran defenders miss him in the open field.

CB Travis Daniels - Filling in as a starter for Andre' Goodman, Daniels has shown that he is fully recovered from bone spurs in his ankle that hobbled him for much of last season. Daniels has been making plays all over the field and has picked off roughly one pass per day during training camp. If Goodman is forced to miss the beginning of the season, Daniels should be able to capably fill the starting role and perhaps hold onto it for the whole season.

DT Rodrique Wright - Fully recovered from last season's shoulder surgery, Wright has been showing the skills that led to him being a projected first-day pick in last year's draft. With Fred Evans cut loose from the team, the defensive line rotation desperately needs a youngster or two to step up and be prepared to play. So far, it looks like Wright will be able to do just that.

Who's Not
RG Rex Hadnot - Hadnot was projected to start at RG during the team's minicamps, but he has yet to pass rookie sixth-round draft pick Drew Mormino on the depth chart. At first, it seemed like Mormino's place on the starting line was an experiment, but it's been more than a week and Hadnot has taken his snaps almost exclusively with the second team.

RT L.J Shelton - See Rex Hadnot. Shelton was projected to start at RT during minicamps, but he has yet to pass Anthony Alabi on the depth chart. Alabi is only recently returned from knee surgery and has looked slow and out of shape during practices. That says something about how Shelton has been playing.

CB Jason Allen - After a rough minicamp, Jason needed to have a strong training camp to rebuild some confidence. Unfortunately, his trend of getting burned in the secondary has continued, leading me to worry about his progression. Even with Goodman on the sidelines, Jason is still buried on the depth chart behind guys like Michael Lehan. Allen needs to turn things around quickly.

Positional Battles
Trent Green vs. Cleo Lemon - Lemon has actually made this pseudo-competition interesting. He won't win the job, but he's giving it all he's got. Maybe it's a bad sign that Green isn't blowing Lemon out of the water.

Tight Ends - Projected starter David Martin has yet to show that he can be a dominant player and worse is that he sustained a minor groin injury (not a good sign from a notoriously injury-plagued guy). His average play, combined with the atrocious TE depth on the roster, led to Miami picking up Courtney Anderson off waivers.

O-Line - Well, it turns out that there really isn't a battle for the LG spot as previously anticipated. Instead, there are now two battles over the RG and RT spots. Projected starters Rex Hadnot and L.J. Shelton are stuck on the second-string line behind a rookie sixth-round pick and a recently injured and out of shape guy. Things could get messy if somebody doesn't step up their play.

Porter goes under the knife

After sitting out of consecutive practices with pain in his right knee, SLB Joey Porter was forced to undergo surgery to correct the problem.

He underwent arthroscopic surgery today in Birmingham, Alabama. The procedure was performed by the renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.

At this point, it is unknown how long Porter will be sidelined, but most estimates have him returning in 2-4 weeks. Assuming, he takes the full four weeks to recover (and I think any temptation to rush him back should be avoided at all costs) he will be ready to go in time for the season opener on September 9. Of course, this means that he will most likely be held out of the entire preseason. According to Dom Capers, Porter was still experiencing an adjustment phase to the new defense, so missing the rest of the offseason will surely set him back in his progress. He might face some rough patches early on as he continues to learn his role in this defense. Even so, it's better that he get this problem taken care of now when there are no games that count. It's infinitely more important that he be ready to go when the regular season opens up.

In the past two years, Porter has had three procedures (including this most recent one) on his knees. In 2005, Porter missed most of training camp and all of the preseason after undergoing a similar surgery on his left knee. He then went on to have one of his most productive seasons for the Steelers. In May 2006, he had another arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and went on to play in 14 games. The history shows that Porter can bounce back from similar procedures, but let's not forget that he is two years older than he was in 2005, and has since had multiple knee surgeries. His return may not be so seamless this time around.

Donnie Spragan will take Porter's spot in the starting lineup until Porter is recovered. The good news is that Spragan has a good amount of experience in this defense and he doesn't make many huge mistakes. The bad news is that Spragan's poor pass-rush ability and lack of big-play potential are what led to the team signing Porter in the first place. Spragan is a good spot-starter and backup, but if Porter's knee becomes a problem during the season and he's forced to miss time, the defense will lose a big part of its dynamism.

Training Camp Recap 8/06

Here's a recap of what went on during yesterday's training camp sessions:

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel (1), (2), (3):
"- Strong safety Yeremiah Bell (hip pointer) and David Martin (groin) returned to practice Monday.

- [Alabi] hurt his knee and limped off to the sidelines where trainers worked on him. A few minutes later, he was walking - very slowly to the locker room. It did not look good...Alabi was on the bike during afternoon practice, signaling that his injury during the morning session may not be too serious. Tackle Mike Rosenthal showed up 40 minutes into the afternoon session to work on the bike as well, joining constant bike-dwellers Joe Toledo and Andre' Goodman.

- Running back Ronnie Brown was away at a funeral, so the rest of the running backs got a big workout. Running backs Jesse Chatman and Patrick Cobbs looked very good. Cobbs had great speed and faked the linebackers out of their cleats on a few plays.

- Running back Lorenzo Booker, still returning punts after his futile efforts in rookie camp, looks like he's improving.

- [Abraham Wright] looks lost when he's in pass coverage."
Observations from the Miami Herald:
"- Cameron said they discovered Monday that 270-pound fullback Reagan Mauia can play tailback in a pinch, and the Dolphins will play him there sometimes in the preseason.

-...there was too much leakage in the pass protection Monday morning. Confusion reigned, possibly because of how offensive linemen were being shifted around."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post (1), (2):
"- John Denney’s snaps are not as accurate as you would want.

- K Jay Feely could make things interesting this season with his ability to onside kick. Feely is quite adept at giving the impression he’s kicking off and making a split-second adjustment and instead kicking the ball onside. Feely hits the ball with pinpoint trajectory and distance, allowing the kicking team to arrive as the ball does.

- TE David Martin excelled during third-down situational drills.

- John Beck continues to make some impressive throws. The rookie’s release and accuracy can be something to behold. He holds onto the ball a bit at times, but I can’t wait to see how Beck performs during the pre-season."

First Depth Chart of 2007

The team released its first depth chart on Monday. Here's how it looks:

Trent Green
Cleo Lemon
John Beck
Gibran Hamdan

Ronnie Brown
Jesse Chatman
Lorenzo Booker
Patrick Cobbs
Ray Perkins
Cory Schlesinger
Reagan Mauia
Tim Massaquoi
Kyle Eckel

Chris Chambers
Derek Hagan
P.K. Sam
David Sutton
Marvin Allen
Marty Booker
Ted Ginn Jr.
Az-Zahir Hakim
Kerry Reed
Michael Malone
David Martin
Justin Peelle
Aaron Halterman
Courtney Anderson
Jason Rader
Vernon Carey
Julius Wilson

Chris Liwienski
Tala Esera

Samson Satele
Johnathan Ingram
Dan Stevenson

Drew Mormino
Rex Hadnot
Stephen Parker

Anthony Alabi
L.J. Shelton
Mike Rosenthal

Matt Roth
Chase Page
Kevin Vickerson

Jason Taylor
Akbar Gbaja-Biamila
Mkristo Bruce

Vonnie Holliday
Rodrique Wright
Brian Soi

Keith Traylor
Paul Soliai
Marquay Love
Steve Fifita

Joey Porter
Donnie Spragan
Jim Maxwell
Abraham Wright

Zach Thomas
Robert McCune
Kelvin Smith

Channing Crowder
Derrick Pope
Edmond Miles

Will Allen
Michael Lehan
Derrick Johnson
Geoffrey Pope

Travis Daniels
Jason Allen
Shirdonya Mitchell

Yeremiah Bell
Travares Tillman
Courtney Bryan
Christopher Vedder

Renaldo Hill
Cameron Worrell
Tuff Harris
Chris Harrell

John Denney
Jason Taylor
Aaron Halterman

Brandon Fields
Ryan Flinn

Jay Feely
Matt Prater

Brandon Fields
Ryan Flinn

Ted Ginn Jr.
Ronnie Brown
Lorenzo Booker

Ted Ginn Jr.
Marty Booker
Az-Zahir Hakim

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Training Camp Recap 8/04

Here's a recap of what went on during today's training camp sessions. The team has a day off tomorrow, but check back in on Monday to see my overall impressions of the progress being made thus far in training camp and how certain position battles are playing out.

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel (1), (2):
"- Running back Lorenzo Booker struggled in his goal line appearances.

- TE David Martin (groin), LB Joey Porter (sore right knee), and S Yeremiah Bell (hip pointer ) and T Mike Rosenthal (bruised shoulder) aren't practicing today.

- Lorenzo Booker's still struggling to field punts.

- Reagan Mauia dropped an easy pass in the flat. It's not the first pass I've seen him drop and I'm starting to wonder if the Juggernaut's hands might be made of stone.

- Lemon isn't doing too hot early on. His ball's regularly are off the mark.

- Jesse Chatman looked real good on sweeps, scoring a couple touchdowns. [Lorenzo] Booker struggles running between the tackles (no surprise) and Zach Thomas was laying the wood."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post:
"- The long-awaited two-deep on D-line. 1st team: E Jason Taylor, T Vonnie Holliday, T Keith Traylor, E Matt Roth 2nd team: E Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, T Rodrique Wright, T Paul Soliai, E Chase Page. T Kevin Vickerson, an NFL Europa refugee, is the best of the third unit.

- Brown seems to find the soft spots in the defense well and has sure hands...Brown continues to excel in the short passing game...Brown looks quicker today than he’s looked all camp.

- Green has nice touch and accuracy on crossing routes - a staple of Cameron’s scheme...The QBs were a little hot and cold, but Green looked the sharpest.

- Daniels looks good. He’s around the ball a lot and might end up more than a fill-in for Goodman."

Friday, August 3, 2007

Training Camp Recap 8/03

Here's a recap of what went on during today's training camp sessions.

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel:
"- Ted Ginn Jr. and Marty Booker took the bulk of the punts, and the wildcards in the punt-return mix included cornerback Travis Daniels.

- ...the accuracy and arm strength [Beck] has shown in the past few days seemed to not be there today.

- Running back Ray Perkins, a Dillard High School graduate, was getting a little more reps than usual and more than Jesse Chatman, which is not par for the training camp. He had one drop from Beck but showed good speed in his runs and found the holes well."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post (1), (2):
"- Ginn has been very solid on his punt catches. He’s fielded a couple tough ones with ease.

- Ryan Flinn is hitting the ball a little better than Brandon Fields.

- Bell collides with Travis Daniels on the play, stays down for a minute, and now is on the sideline as Travares Tillman takes his place."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Training Camp Recap 8/02

Here's a recap of what went on during today's training camp sessions.

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel (1), (2):
"- Receiver Az-Zahir Hakim did not practice. Cameron said he's treating some veterans, including Hakim and defensive tackle Keith Traylor, to only one practice a day.

- I can't even count how many times Shirdonya Mitchell has been beaten in practice.

- Jesse Chatman looks good catching swing passes out of the backfield.

- It was a light morning for John Beck, but his throws in mechanics drills were crisp and pinpoint for the most part."
Observations from the Miami Herald (1), (2):
"- Joey Porter looked awfully good in team drills for a guy still learning the system, whether rushing the passer or being in position on the run.

- The defensive backs couldn't seem to hold on to potential interceptions -- even in the interception drill. It demonstrated why they had five interceptions as a unit last season.

- Trent Green threw some solid passes Thursday morning.

- Defensive lineman Rodrique Wright...had dynamic team drills as far as rushing the passer.

- Early in team drills the first team offense found absolutely no running room against the first team defense."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post (1), (2):
"- RG Mormino and RT Alabi continue to line up with the first-teamers, with Hadnot and Shelton on the second team. Cleo Lemon lines up with the second team, John Beck with the third.

- Lorenzo Booker is lining up with the third team, but that might not last long. Guy is having a great camp so far, making tacklers miss left and right.

- Rookie FB Reagan Mauia has really quick feet, especially for a 270-pound dude. But he hasn’t done much to get noticed during training camp.

- S Yeremiah Bell is fun to watch. He has a nose for the ball and impressive range. He’s going to make more plays than anyone on defense, other than Jason Taylor.

- Crowder is all over the field today. He seems to have really improved his pass coverage.

- Beck has another nice day. The guy looks like the team’s best QB the past couple of days. Granted, Beck is torching the second- and third-team defense. But he’s making throws no other Dolphin can.

- Call me crazy, but Chatman looks as good as RB than Brown right now. He’s more explosive and makes better cuts, which Cameron’s offense requires."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Training Camp Recap 8/01

Here's a recap of what went on during today's training camp sessions.

Observations from the Sun-Sentinel:
"- Green, who has been splitting first-team snaps with Cleo Lemon, has been the quarterback picked off the most in camp's first week.

- While the offense did have its moments, Wednesday's practice slightly favored the defense, which got to the quarterbacks on a number of occasions for what would have been sacks. Rookie guard Drew Mormino and tackle Anthony Alabi continued to hold onto the starting spots on the right side of the line, holding off Rex Hadnot and L.J. Shelton for the third straight day.

- Joey Porter had his best showing of the week, effectively pressuring the quarterbacks."
Observations from the Miami Herald:
"- Rodrique Wright, injured all of last year, has pretty much changed his body configuration. He's leaner, stronger, seemingly quicker than he was last year when he got only a few weeks of work following shoulder surgery.

- Rookie middle linebacker Kelvin Smith didn't look like much in the offseason camps. But he's been much better since the pads have gone on. The guy isn't fast or necessarily strong. But he's a hitter. He has a chance to make the team as a backup to Zach Thomas if he can show some of his instincts and hitting potential on special teams.

- Recently acquired TE Courtney Anderson is 6-6 and 270 pounds. He should be able to destroy people with his blocking, but I definitely haven't seen that. He looks like a better pass-catcher than blocker."
Observations from the Palm Beach Post:
"- Here’s the offensive line depth chart right now based on practice:
LT Vernon Carey, Julius Wilson
LG Chris Liwienski, Tala Esera
C Samson Satele, Johnathan Ingram, Dan Stevenson
RG Drew Mormino, Rex Hadnot, Stephen Parker
RT Anthony Alabi, L.J. Shelton, Mike Rosenthal

- RB Jesse Chatman has looked good so far.

- Alabi looks out of shape and slow, which he is after off-season surgery. He’s weeks away from being ready, which makes his and Mormino’s appearance on the first team more puzzling.

- You guys aren’t going to like this, but this is the absolute truth. So far in camp, the offense has been terrible. It’s as bad as last year’s camp performance, and that of 2004, when Fiedler and Feely were throwing ducks all over the place. I know the defense is very good, and that’s a big part of it, but, man, it’s really bad. They can’t run or throw with any consistency. Trust me, I’m telling you the truth."