Sunday, August 31, 2008

3 waiver claims made; practice squad takes shape

As expected, Miami has been quick out of the gate in making waiver claims after every NFL team got down to 53 players.

The team was awarded C Andy Alleman from New Orleans, T Nate Garner from the New York Jets, and WR Brandon London from the New York Giants.

To make room for these three players, the team waived WR Anthony Armstrong, OL Trey Darilek, and LB Rob Ninkovich.

Alleman, 24, was a third-round draft pick of the Saints in 2007. He was inactive for all but one game last year, and dressed but did not play in the other. He is 6'4", 310 lbs. He played his last two years in college at Akron as a right guard (24 starts), but he will be playing center in Miami. He's an intriguing prospect because he has a great work ethic, but he needs time to learn his position, given that he played his first two college seasons as a defensive end. He's certainly raw but he has potential to be a starter in this league.

Garner (6'6", 334 lbs.) was a seventh-round draft pick of the Jets this past April. He is 23 years old.
He was a four-year letterman at Arkansas (2004-07) during which time he played in 37 games with 14 starts, including 13 at right tackle as a senior in 2007.
Here is an excerpt from the NFL's draft analysis of Garner:
Garner is a big, tall guy but is not very fast so he is not ideal for pulling. He has experience as a five-year senior and those players have generally worked out well in the pros. He is strong and projects as a possible depth player. He is a late bloomer who really made great improvement in his overall game as a senior. He has adequate power, but needs to generate more force when using his hands. He is best served on the right side, as he lacks the speed and hip snap to play on an island vs. the speedy edge rushers. He plays too tall in his stance to be effective pulling into the second level on a consistent basis, but his long reach and burst off the line lets him hold the rush lanes long enough for tailback to break into the open.
Finally, London (6'4", 210 lbs.) was an undrafted college free agent for the Giants in 2007. He is 23 years old. He spent the entire year last season on the Giants' practice squad.
In preseason this year, he caught seven passes for 86 yards. The 6-4, 210-pounder played four years at the University of Massachusetts (2003-06) and totaled 144 receptions for 1,991 and 15 touchdowns.
London provides the team with another big option at WR, and he can play special teams as well.

Also the team has begun filling its 8-man practice squad. Here are the five players that are currently on it:
  1. CB Will Billingsley
  2. WR Jayson Foster
  3. T Daren Heerspink
  4. RB Lex Hilliard
  5. TE Matthew Mulligan

Ricky re-signed

Looking to lock up one of the team's better players, Miami signed Ricky Williams to a one-year contract extension through the 2009-10 season.

This extension prevents Ricky from hitting the free agent market after this season.

According to Chris Mortensen, the extension does not include a signing bonus, but it does offer Ricky a higher 2009 base salary and several easily attainable incentives that can increase his base salary this season.

I think that is the right kind of deal to be giving to Ricky since it doesn't guarantee anything and the incentives will keep him motivated to stay on the straight and narrow. He knows full well how much money he still owes this team, so hopefully this extension lets him know that the new regime is standing behind him and that they are supportive, but that nothing will be handed out freely.

Dolphins make 17 roster moves

Here is the list of players the Dolphins released today in order to get to the 53-man limit (link):

CB Will Billingsley
LB Titus Brown
S Courtney Bryan
C Mike Byrne
WR Jayson Foster
LB Maurice Fountain
LB Junior Glymph
T Daren Heerspink
RB Lex Hilliard
FB Reagan Mauia
LB Edmond Miles
TE Matthew Mulligan
LB Kelly Poppinga
G/T Pedro Sosa
C Matt Spanos
DT Anthony Toribio

Contract Terminated
TE Justin Peelle


The only player on that list I'm a little surprised about is LB Edmond Miles. He was one of, if not the best, special teams players on the team last year just as a rookie. It would have been nice to see him stay, especially after Keith Davis, another special teams stud, already got the boot.

It's also surprising to note who made the team. Granted, everyone expects the roster to still change frequently over the next week or so, but it's interesting to note that guys like Lionel Dotson, Anthony Armstrong, Rodrique Wright, and Paul Soliai made the initial roster.

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCown traded to Carolina

An injury to Carolina backup QB Matt Moore on Thursday opened the door for Miami to deal one of its four QBs.

According to Alex Marvez at, Miami has traded Josh McCown to the Panthers. Terms of the deal were not available, so it remains unclear at this point what Miami got in return.

Carolina will pay McCown's $1.95 million base salary for this season.

I really like this move as it allows the team to keep John Beck on the team for the time being, and it nets the team some value in return for a player who they had no use for. McCown was a good guy, but as a football player I wasn't a fan. I think it's much smarter to keep the relative unknown prospect of Beck on the roster at least a while longer.

This trade also means that the team will not have to waste a roster spot on a fourth QB and can instead keep an extra linebacker or defensive lineman.

Stay tuned to find out what Miami got in return in this trade.
[Update]: Miami received a 2009 seventh-round draft pick in return for McCown. Hey, it's better than nothing. Keep stockpiling those picks you guys! [End Update]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Keith Davis cut; several starters' spots confirmed

With just one preseason game remaining in order to evaluate the players on the roster, the team made an early decision that it won't be needing S Keith Davis. According to the team's site, Davis was released on Wednesday.

This move is a bit surprising since Davis was brought in as a free agent by this regime from Dallas and he was both a special teams ace and the team's top backup strong safety. The move may be a hint that the coaching staff likes what it has seen from Renaldo Hill in his recovery from knee surgery and feels that he can play backup at both safety positions.

In that same article on the team's site, it says that several players have already locked up a spot on the 53-man roster:
So far, the only sure bets that have been confirmed by Sparano as starters for the Sept. 7 opener against the New York Jets are ninth-year veteran quarterback Chad Pennington, wide receivers Ted Ginn, Jr. and Derek Hagan, tight ends Anthony Fasano and David Martin, offensive linemen Jake Long, Justin Smiley, Samson Satele, Donald Thomas and Vernon Carey, kicker Dan Carpenter, punter Brandon Fields, long snapper John Denney, defensive linemen Kendall Langford, Jason Ferguson and Vonnie Holliday, linebackers Channing Crowder and Akin Ayodele, cornerbacks Will Allen and Andre Goodman and safety Yeremiah Bell.
No surprises there, of course.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pennington named starter; other Monday notes

As expected, Chad Pennington was officially named the starting QB for week one today.

The rest of the QB depth chart is still a mystery, although Chad Henne is certain to make the team. The futures of John Beck and Josh McCown are up in the air at this point.

The team also announced that it signed former Rutgers G Pedro Sosa.
Sosa, 24, was a four-year letterman for the Scarlet Knights from 2004-07 and was second-team All-Big East as a junior and a senior.

Heading into the 2008 NFL Draft, Sosa was projected to be picked in the middle rounds, but a knee injury prevented him from participating in the NFL Combine as he had surgery afterwards to repair his patellar tendon. The Dolphins initially worked him out at the beginning of July but his conditioning was not up to par at the time so they passed on signing him. The team stayed in touch with him, even though he worked out for two or three other teams, and he lined up at right guard on the practice field.
Notes from practice:
  • Joey Thomas did not practice because he has a lingering headache from the hit he took in the game on Saturday.
  • Joey Porter stretched with the team, but then left the field to see a doctor about his back.
  • Edmond Miles returned to practice after suffering a knee injury in the game.
  • The coaches have been experimenting with Phillip Merling at OLB in order to gain added roster flexibility.
  • Chris Crocker continues to start at FS ahead of Jason Allen.
  • Sparano confirmed that both Anthony Fasano and David Martin have locked up spots on the 53-man roster. (Link)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kircus and Roberson released

The team is reporting that it has released WR David Kircus and CB Chris Roberson.

Some people (myself not included) believed that Kircus was going to make the roster, but he has been outplayed as of late by Anthony Armstrong and Greg Camarillo. There are now 7 receivers remaining in camp.

With Roberson's release, there are six cornerbacks left on the roster.
The first official cutdown day is Tuesday, when the NFL requires all rosters to be at 75 maximum, and then next Saturday rosters have to be trimmed to the final 53. Miami currently has 70 players on its roster.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Travis Daniels traded

ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that Miami has traded CB Travis Daniels to the Cleveland Browns for a seventh-round draft pick.

Apparently the Browns inquired about trading for Michael Lehan at first, but Miami did not want to part with him. That likely speaks well of Lehan's chances for a full recovery from his ankle injury in time to help this team out at the beginning of the season.

As I wrote in my positional preview on the cornerbacks, Daniels was likely going to be the fifth CB on the roster anyways, so getting rid of him for some value, even if it is only a seventh-round pick, is a solid move. This move probably guarantees a spot on the roster for Nathan Jones and the fifth CB spot is now up for grabs, with Joey Thomas, Chris Roberson, and Will Billingsley as the competitors.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 22 Camp Report; Thoughts on Ronnie Rumor

Here are some notes from today's practice and Sparano's press conference:
  • Joey Porter (back, knee) did not practice, but rode the bike. Charlie Anderson (hamstring) and Ronnie Brown (thumb) also did not practice. Shawn Murphy (ankle) returned to practice. (Link)
  • Sparano hopefully ended the ludicrous (in my opinion) rumors that were swirling about the team trading Ronnie Brown. He had this to say:
    "No. There's no chance we'll trade Ronnie ... There's been no discussion of that internally or externally."
  • Sparano also officially named Donald Thomas as the starting RG and Kendall Langford as the starting LDE.
Let me say one more thing about the Ronnie Brown rumor. If Chris Mortensen was suggesting that Ronnie Brown doesn't look as good as Ricky Williams right now, well he is absolutely right. But is that a good reason to trade away one of the team's best young players?

The reason Brown has been struggling in the preseason games and generally has not looked as good as Williams is because Ronnie is STILL RECOVERING FROM KNEE SURGERY. People need to understand that. Ronnie could very well struggle for much of the first half of the season as he continues to return to full health. He is only 10 months removed from an operation that usually takes 12-16 months to fully heal. The fact that he's even out on the field playing is a huge achievement at the moment.

So let's not be hasty with Ronnie and let's expect him not to be the same guy he was at the start of last least not right away. That's why Parcells and Ireland kept Ricky. This is exactly the situation where the team will need him. He isn't going to supplant Ronnie long-term; he's going to support him short-term.

Monday, August 18, 2008

McKinney released; Day 21 Camp Report

According to the team's web site, the Dolphins released Steve McKinney this morning. Tony Sparano said that Trey Darilek and Mike Byrne will work as the backup centers, while Matt Spanos will work at guard.

Practice sessions are only open to the media for 30 minutes now, so there will no longer be multiple detailed reports of what's happening on the field every day, but there is still some news to report (link):
  • Michael Lehan finally returned to practice after missing the first three weeks of training camp. He's probably not in the running for the starting job at this point, having missed so much time, but he should challenge for the third CB spot to open the season.
  • Vonnie Holliday also returned to practice after missing almost two weeks with a hamstring injury.
  • Ronnie Brown (sprained thumb) was held out of practice. Charlie Anderson (hamstring) and Shawn Murphy (ankle) also did not practice.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Three rookies cut

The team announced today that it has released WR John Dunlap, WR Selwyn Lymon, and LB Keith Saunders.

All three were undrafted rookie free agents.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

8/14/08 Training Camp Reports

Palm Beach Post Reports (Morning, Evening):
  • Today's practices are the last of training camp and the last practices open to the public and the media.
  • Charlie Anderson (hamstring), Vonnie Holliday (hamstring), and Michael Lehan (ankle) rode the bike but did not practice. Joey Porter (back) practiced in the morning but sat out in the evening.
  • A huge brawl broke out after Will Allen started punching David Kircus while he was on the ground. The rest of the team rushed over and a large scrum developed. It was broken up within a minute and then practice resumed. Tony Sparano pulled Will Allen over to the side to have a talk with him.
  • Both Pennington and Henne threw INTs on their first throws of the day. Beck and McCown got more work during the evening session.
  • Chad Pennington seems to throw fade routes well. He also played really well in the red zone drills. Beck showed good accuracy on his deep throws.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

8/13/08 Training Camp Reports

Sun-Sentinel Report:
  • Chad Pennington struggled, completing just 6 of 21 passes with 2 INTs in the red zone.
  • Chad Henne also struggled, completing only 7 of 15 passes. McCown and Beck worked with the scout team.
  • All the receivers, other than Davone Bess, continue to drop too many passes.
  • Andre' Goodman had a solid practice, breaking up several passes.
  • Paul Soliai was noticeably limping at the end of practice, but he stayed in. Keith Davis also seems to have some kind of shoulder injury.
  • There was a lot of special teams work done today, and thankfully Dan Carpenter started to show his strong kickoff leg, consistently kicking from his own 20 yard line to the opposite 5 yard line.
  • Vonnie Holliday (hamstring) didn't practice but will likely play in Saturday's game. Charlie Anderson (hamstring) still isn't close to returning. Michael Lehan is still favoring his ankle and could wind up on the PUP list to start the season.
Palm Beach Post Report:
  • When the team uses three WR sets, the players are Ted Ginn, Derek Hagan and Davone Bess. Ernest Wilford has fallen off big time.

One LB released, one added

LB Kelvin Smith, who seriously injured his knee in the team's preseason game against Tampa Bay, was waived/injured.

The team went out and signed LB Maurice Fountain. According to the team website:
Fountain played for the Utah Blaze in the Arena Football League after starring at Clemson University for four years and was named to the 2008 All-AFL Rookie Team after recording 13.5 sacks. Fountain, 25, recorded a sack in practice this afternoon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Carpenter over Feely the right move?

By now, you've likely all heard that Jay Feely was released, meaning the team has placed its confidence in undrafted rookie Dan Carpenter.

So, was this the right move?

It's hard to say at this point. In my opinion, Bill Parcells unfairly took an attitude towards Feely from the first day he took the job. Parcells historically has no time for kickers and his patience with them is almost nonexistent. Feely, rather outspoken for a kicker, drew immediate criticism from Parcells. He essentially said that kickers should be seen and not heard and that Feely had better stop talking so much. However, Feely has never said anything that put the Dolphins organization in a bad light, and the bottom line was that Feely made the effort to stay around after practices and games and talk to any and all reporters whereas many of the more "important" players did not. You can't fault him for that.

Of course, the most important distinction between the players should be in what they bring on the field. According to all the training camp reports, Feely and Carpenter have been hitting about the same percentage of their kicks. However, Carpenter hit only 72.8% if his kicks in college, a big difference between Feely's career 80.8%. Also, over the past four seasons (the same time period of Carpenter's college career) Feely has been better than his career average, hitting 84.3% of his field goals. He has improved his field goal percentage every season since 2003.

Of course, field goal percentage is one of the most inconsistent stats from year to year, but it's safe to say that Feely is one of the league's most accurate kickers. Last year may be the best he'll do accuracy-wise, but it's unlikely that he will experience a precipitous fall-off.

To be fair, Carpenter did improve his accuracy during his junior and senior seasons, hitting 81.1% over the two seasons combined, and 82.6% in his final year alone. If that improvement continues into the pros, as it appears to be so far in camp and the preseason, then this move makes sense. After all, Feely is 32 years old while Carpenter is only 22. The new regime has wanted to get younger at all positions, and kicker is no different.

The bigger question in my mind is kickoff distance. Kickoff distance is one of the most consistent stats from year to year, and it greatly affects the success of the coverage units on special teams. This was an area that Feely struggled mightily with last season, posting an average distance of only 57.8 yards. But that distance was far enough below his career average of 62.9 yards to believe that it was a fluky year caused in part by Cam Cameron's foolish decisions to squib kick so often.

Carpenter's ability on kickoffs is a bit of an unknown at this point. Most reports say he has a strong kickoff leg, but I didn't see it in the first preseason game, and Feely was reportedly kicking off farther than Carpenter in camp. Then again, Carpenter was said to be getting better hangtime on his kicks. If he can prove that he can consistently get touchbacks, then this will have been the right move.

It's a bonus that Carpenter has the ability to punt as well. He punted 71 times in college for a 41.8 yard average.

In my opinion, the jury will remain out on this move until Carpenter shows how good his kickoff leg is. That is assuming that he maintains a field goal percentage somwhere in the 80's as he did in his last two college seasons. Feely likely won't have to wait long to find another job, meaning that Miami won't get another crack at him if Carpenter fails. Hopefully that won't be the case.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

8/06/08 Training Camp Reports

Palm Beach Post Reports (Morning, Evening):
  • Jay Feely is once again riding the bike. He has a sore groin. Ernest Wilford is back at practice.
  • David Martin is still a liability as a blocker.
  • Kendall Langford is lining up as first-team DE with Matt Roth behind him at OLB.
  • Patrick Cobbs had a nice practice.
Sun-Sentinel Report:
  • Sparano said that he has dropped the QB rotation which left one QB relatively inactive each day.
  • Jay Feely likely won't play in Saturday's game so that he can fully recover from his sore groin.
  • Davone Bess consistently finds seams downfield.
  • Reagan Mauia is working hard and staying after practice to improve his pass catching abilities.
  • Vonnie Holliday tweaked his hamstring, but he expects to be okay.

8/05/08 Training Camp Reports

Sun-Sentinel Report:
  • John Beck followed up Monday's good practice with another solid showing on Tuesday. Chad Henne started with the first team offense for the third straight practice.
  • Joey Porter had 4 sacks.
  • Jay Feely didn't practice and did not say why, but he did say he was fine.
  • Jake Long is now handling speed rushers with ease.
Miami Herald Report:
  • Ernest Wilford left practice early with cramps.
  • Josh McCown had a rough day.
Palm Beach Post Report:
  • Phillip Merling saw some time at NT.

Monday, August 4, 2008

8/04/08 Training Camp Reports

Sun-Sentinel Report:
  • Trey Darilek returned to backup RG.
  • Channing Crowder will serve as the defensive playcaller and use the radio helmet.
  • Nathan Jones is looking very good at CB. He has been the nickelback and Keith Davis has been the dimeback.
  • Anthony Fasano had a bad practice.
Palm Beach Post Reports (Morning, Evening):
  • Justin Peelle (back) did not practice in the morning but returned for the evening practice. Michael Lehan (ankle) did not practice at either session.
  • Reagan Mauia continues to drop passes.
  • John Beck is making all the throws in the morning practice.
  • Kendall Langford is taking both first and second team reps at LDE, while Matt Roth plays OLB.

Predicted 53-Man Roster

After going back through my series of training camp positional previews which all included a predicted depth chart for each position, here is what my 53-man roster would look like. I adjusted some of the players on the depth chart according to their performance in training camp so far. Also, I picked a few too many players over the 53-man limit, so I had to trim some of the fat off the bottom of the roster. That section of the roster is going to undergo continual changes anyways, as Parcells and Ireland continue to bring in free agents and pick players up off waivers.

Anyways, here it is:

1st String

2nd String

3rd String



John Beck

Josh McCown

Chad Henne


Ronnie Brown

Ricky Williams

Jalen Parmele


Reagan Mauia

Boomer Grigsby


Anthony Fasano

David Martin

Sean Ryan


Ted Ginn

Derek Hagan

Davone Bess


Ernest Wilford

Greg Camarillo


Jake Long

Daren Heerspink


Justin Smiley

Shawn Murphy


Samson Satele

Steve McKinney


Donald Thomas

Trey Darilek


Vernon Carey

Ikechuku Ndukwe



Matt Roth

Kendall Langford


Vonnie Holliday

Phillip Merling

Rodrique Wright


Jason Ferguson

Randy Starks


Joey Porter

Rob Ninkovich


Channing Crowder

Edmond Miles


Akin Ayodele

Reggie Torbor


Charlie Anderson

Quentin Moses


Will Allen

Nathan Jones


Andre’ Goodman

Michael Lehan

Travis Daniels


Yeremiah Bell

Keith Davis


Jason Allen

Chris Crocker



Jay Feely


Brandon Fields


John Denney

Also, here is my predicted practice squad:
  1. WR Jayson Foster
  2. WR Selwyn Lymon
  3. RB Lex Hilliard
  4. G Mike Byrne
  5. LB Kelly Poppinga
  6. LB Kelvin Smith
  7. CB Will Billingsley
  8. NT Paul Soliai
There's likely to be a lot wrong about the depth chart and the practice squad since it's certain that there will be players on the team who are currently on other rosters right now, but I can only predict the roster using the guys currently on it.

Training Camp Positional Preview 2008: Specialists

The final segment of the training camp positional previews looks at the specialists. Tomorrow, I'll go back through the previews and compile my predicted depth charts to see what my predicted 53-man roster will look like (trimming or adding players as necessary).

Here's a closer look at the individual specialists currently on the roster and what can be expected of them this coming season:

Jay Feely
It looks like Randy Mueller made the correct decision last offseason by trading away Olindo Mare before his wheels really fell off (only 10/17 on field goals). Jay Feely, on the other hand, set the franchise record for field goal percentage (91.3%) in a single season. Still, field goal percentage is almost entirely random from season to season, so the simple fact that Feely had an incredibly accurate year is not cause enough to simply hand him a roster spot. Kickoff distance is where Feely really struggled, and unlike field goal percentage, kickoff distance is one of the most consistent statistics in football. He averaged a pathetic 57.8 yards per kickoff and kicked only 8 touchbacks.

However, some part of that very low average can be attributed to Cam Cameron's foolish decisions to squib kick so often and in situations that did not dictate such measures. From the camp reports, Feely is kicking farther and landing more touchbacks than last season, and more than his competitor, so it still seems like Feely is the correct choice. Besides, if it turns out that Feely's kickoff woes can no longer be tolerated during the season, it's likely that Dan Carpenter would still be around. The same cannot be said for Feely if he were to be cut and Carpenter were to struggle.

Dan Carpenter
Carpenter is getting a fair chance to compete with Feely for the kicking job in training camp, and while he is showing just as much accuracy as Feely, his kickoff distances are falling shorter than Feely's. Given that Feely is not a very good kickoff man, that doesn't speak well of Carpenter's ability to kickoff deep.

Brandon Fields
Punter is really the only position on the Dolphins that isn't being contested in training camp. Parcells and Ireland seemingly liked Fields from the moment they took over the team, and it's understandable why. Fields has an absolutely huge leg, and he's capable of booming his punts with the best of them. The problem is his consistency. He mixed in those boomers with several shanks last year, and that was precisely the scouting report on him coming out of college. Still, he played at a league average level in his rookie season, and that's not bad. He should improve on his consistency at least a little bit this year. Fields also has experience kicking off, and it would be great to see him take over the kickoff duties from Feely, since his huge leg seems more suitable for the role. Hopefully, the coaching staff will give him the opportunity to win that role during training camp.

John Denney
Denney is the team's long-snapper. You can judge this position by how often you hear the player's name throughout the season. Since they are only called out when they mess up, the less you hear the guy's name, the better he's playing. By that measurement, Denney's been pretty good and I can't remember any snap that he's totally botched. Like they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Here's my predicted depth chart:
K - Jay Feely
P - Brandon Fields
LS - John Denney

Saturday, August 2, 2008

8/02/08 Training Camp Reports

Sun-Sentinel Report:
  • Chad Henne had a decent outing and seems to be gaining some momentum. John Beck continued to struggle throwing the ball downfield.
  • Overall, the defense dominated the offense during the scrimmage.
  • Reagan Mauia continues to drop passes while Boomer Grigsby is catching everything.
  • Ernest Wilford has been "virtually invisible." John Dunlap had an excused absence from practice.
  • Junior Glymph made a lot of tackles and broke up several passes.
  • Jay Feely missed a couple of field goals. Dan Carpenter made his attempts.
Miami Herald Report:
  • Josh McCown was inconsistent.
  • Jake Long didn't give up any sacks and he didn't make any obvious mistakes.
Palm Beach Post Report:
  • The team waived G Rueben Riley and TE Aaron Halterman.
  • Jay Feely's kickoffs go farther than Dan Carpenter's.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Training Camp Positional Preview 2008: Safeties

Next up in the series of training camp positional previews are the safeties.

What to expect: Miami's group of safeties dropped like flies last season, with ligaments snapping seemingly every game. Losing Yeremiah Bell for the season in the first game immediately set things off on the wrong foot, and there was little playmaking to be seen from the backups. However, given all the injuries, Miami's secondary still ranked 11th best against opposing tight ends and 13th against opposing running backs. The safeties deserve some credit for that. Their success this year will depend largely upon staying healthy and improving their deep coverage against wide receivers.

Here's a closer look at the individual safeties currently on the roster and what can be expected of them this coming season:

Yeremiah Bell
Everyone had high hopes for Bell entering last season, as he was coming off a healthy 2006 in which he flashed consistent big play ability.
Even though he wasn't a starter from the beginning of the season that year, Bell still managed to record 68 tackles, 2 sacks, 13 PD, 3 FF, and 2 FR. It was almost a given that Bell would be involved in some kind of game-changing play at least once a game. All that promise was derailed in the very first game last season, when Bell tore his Achilles tendon. He'll be back in the starting lineup from week one again this year, and it's anyone's guess as to how long he'll stay healthy. The Dallas Cowboys' teams of the past few years are well known for their impeccable health, so there is some hope that Miami will be a healthier team overall this year. Everyone's waiting to see what Bell can do if he starts for a whole year. Maybe 2008 is that year.

Jason Allen
Jason Allen has, in general, been a bust in his first two seasons, but he finally showed a glimpse of promise during the second half of last season when he was given the opportunity to start. He's still awful against the run and he made too many mistakes in deep coverage, a definite no-no for the free safety. On the other hand, he did come up with a few big plays in pass defense. He should get the opportunity to start from week one, but he needs to improve his success rate (a disappointing 43%) and his Adjusted Pass Yards allowed (12.3, among the very worst in the league). We all know about his phenomenal physical talents, but he has still not translated that into the kind of success he's capable of on the field. Another year of experience and a new coaching staff should help somewhat. This year will go a long way towards determining whether Jason Allen will have a future with the Dolphins.

Renaldo Hill
Hill is another safety recovering from surgery, as he tore his ACL in October. Allen should supplant Hill as the starting FS, but if he falters, Hill is an adequate replacement. He's more suited to being a nickel/dimeback at this point in his career, but he still offers suitable run/pass defense numbers.

Keith Davis
Davis is a special teams stud, and he'll make the team simply for that reason. He needs to prove he can consistently play well on defense if he wants to earn any time in the backfield rotation.

Chris Crocker
Crocker has tons of experience from his time in Atlanta, and his deep coverage abilities are solid. He's a liability in run defense, but he would make a good dimeback in obvious passing situations. Last season he had 10 passes defensed and 3 INTs.

Courtney Bryan
Bryan, an undrafted rookie free agent last year, got a lot more playing time than he was suited for last season with all of the injuries. It's admirable that he's made it through the regime change, but I'm not sure he has enough talent to make the final roster.


Here's my predicted depth chart:
SS - Yeremiah Bell
FS - Jason Allen

1. Renaldo Hill
2. Keith Davis
3. Chris Crocker

Training camp battle to watch: Allen vs. Hill for the starting FS spot.

7/31/08 Training Camp Reports

Sun-Sentinel Report:
  • John Beck continues to rely too heavily on check down passes.
  • Ernest Wilford is having trouble getting open.
  • Reagan Mauia is apparently struggling pretty bad.
  • Shawn Murphy got a chance to start at LG, and he got destroyed by the defensive linemen. He doesn't appear to be starting material at this point.
  • Brandon Fields is still taking too long to get his punts off.
  • Rob Ninkovich is working as the backup long snapper.
Miami Herald Report:
  • Chad Henne had a productive practice.
  • Greg Camarillo dropped a couple passes today. Derek Hagan is still the most impressive receiver so far.
  • Vonnie Holliday is playing great right now.
Palm Beach Post Report:
  • John Beck continues to take large amounts of sacks. He also isn't throwing tight spirals.