Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Half-Way House is Seven Eighths Full - Part 1, The Offense


Today is August the 25th. Starting at the beginning of training camp, we have covered 23 days of the pre-season grind and the churning is in full effect. The regular season starts in 19 days. So we've passed the half-way point of the process and the Dolphins have already started trimming the fat (no that's not an Ndukwe joke).

The NFL rules state that the rosters must be down to 75 by September 1st, and then down to 53 by the 5th. That's not really that far away, and we still have tremendous uncertainty at the WR and OLB positions. With this in mind, I doubt the Dolphins will be going on a shopping spree this week to pick up additional players.

It's at this point I thought it would be a good idea to summarize and compare notes from the preview blogs with what has actually unfolded in the pre-season.

OFFENSIVE LINE
The starters are all as expected, but here are the movements:
Joe Berger - I originally said he would compete with Andy Alleman for the back-up interior job, then later said he could be penciled in as the back-up center. With Alleman now out of the way, he has new competition.
Mark Lewis - The new competition. Knight felt it unnecessary to mention Lewis by name in his write-up on the O-line and in mine I called him "camp fodder". Well he had a strong game vs Carolina and is still here after four other O-linemen have gone. With only 9 or 10 spots available, and 11 bodies still here, it's still a longshot for Lewis, but he is nipping at Berger's heels, mostly due to Berger's inability to distance himself. Still, I'd guess Lewis is currently a strong candidate for the practice squad.
Shawn Murphy - Knight said Murphy had to make significant improvements but might be a sleeper. I thought he would be practice squad material as we wouldn't have the luxury to keep a 'project' on the 53-man roster. But Murphy did make a significant improvement, at least physically, and has gotten the benefit of increased reps due to Donald Thomas' injury. I have not been impressed with Murphy at all in the games, however, so I don't think he's a lock quite yet.
Nate Garner - Knight was not impressed and I wanted to see him get reps with the 1st team to see if he's good enough to backup Long and Carey. That hasn't happened yet, And Andrew Gardner seems to be coming on strong. I think Brandon Frye is actually the determining factor here, as he has more position flexibility.
Donald Thomas - Knight thought he'd be up and running by week 5 of the regular season. I thought he'd be starting on day one. Too bad no money was put on the table, eh? D.T. has probably been the most noticeable lineman in the first two pre-season games. But I think they should sit him for the rest of the pre-season just to avoid risking another injury (yes I'm being paranoid).


WIDE RECEIVERS
Who would've thought we'd be at this point in the pre-season and the wide-reciver line-up would be so uncertain? I'm not confident I can name more than 3 receivers who I think will make the 53-man roster. And I'm really only confident in naming one starter.
Brennan Marion & Chris Williams - both were waived injured. Marion showed sure hands and Williams showed pure speed, but in the end, my prediction came true. I said his size would keep him limited to the return game, and he got lots of reps on special teams but not a one as a receiver.
Anthony Armstrong - I called Armstrong out as a good practice guy, but said he needed to show some toughness in the game. He started out hot in OTAs but once the pads came on he's shriveled. He has been given a chance to be the gunner on special teams, but I question if he has a 'hitter's mentality'.
Brian Hartline - I knew from the start that Hartline would be called upon to strengthen the core of the special teams unit. He has accepted that role as well as showing a real desire to improve upon the passing game. After every play he can be seen talking to the quarterback in an effort to improve upon his mistakes. He is the first of the rookies to be given a shot at the first team, so that means something. I did say he was a Camarillo-clone who can play special teams, and if he really does turn out to be just that, then obviously he would beat out Camarillo.

Brandon London - I'll be the first to admit I thought London would vanish into oblivion from day one of training camp, but he has shown up big-time in practices, at least to the naked eye. The coaches don't look to be as high on him as the media and fans, as he has not been given the opportunity to run with the ones. So far in the pre-season I've seen more of the same. He presents a big target but absolutely no run after the catch potential. There are 8 WRs still in camp, and I'm starting to get the feeling we will only keep 5 at the end of this thing. I suspect those five will be Ginn, Bess, Hartline, Turner and (either Camarillo, London or Armstrong).

RUNNING BACKS
While from day one we all knew Brown, Williams and Cobbs were going to repeat their 2008 line-up, I can't help but wonder if there might be space for one more. While Lex Hilliard is likely headed back to practice squad candidate, I have a feeling another team would claim him off waivers first. If we go with only 5 WRs, 9 OL, and 3 TEs, its possible to keep a 4th running back. As far as the fullback position goes, I still expect Lou Polite to be the lone fullback, but Joe Kowalewski is a practice squad candidate that wasn't even on the roster for most of training camp.


TIGHT ENDS
Is Anthony Fasano still on the team? Sometimes I think Joey Haynos is the starter based on the number of reps he gets. This race could be closer than we think, but now that Ernest Wilford has been sent packing, at least we can focus on who the best tight-ends are rather than any intangibles. Bottom line for me though remains the same as I've said all along - having Haynos in there is like having an extra lineman. And for that reason I expect him to beat out John Nalbone for the 3rd TE spot.

Have any players on the offensive side of the ball changed your mind about how the final roster will look?


52 comments:

  1. FORMER DOLPHIN DEFENSIVE LINEMAN TJ TURNER HAS DIED AFTER SUFFERING A STROKE.  HE WAS 46 YEARS OLD.  TURNER PLAYED FOR THE DOLPHINS FROM 1986 TO 1992.

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  2. That's very sad and my other post has disappeared.

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  3. The Knight who says Ni!August 25, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    My name was erased as well. WTF?

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  4. my comment disapeared aswell WTF

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  5. RIP TJ, way to young to pack it in.

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  6. tin,

    did you see that wilford signed back with jacksonville? i think they signed him as a tight end to lol

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  7. I'm hoping that Hillard stays somehow.  If he plays on the ST that will help him, but I don't remember him playing there.

    I'm not promoting the SS blog here, but what is going on over there ?  Home 2010 has either a problem, or an imposter.

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  8. guys I apologize for the tech. difficulties, but I did post a notice so u shouldn't be surprised.

    alex, I'm not sure he's going to play tight end, I think that was just the way it was reported because he was listed as a tight-end for Miami.  They're hurting at WR and he played WR for them.

    Fang, Hilliard was on the special teams unit during both pre-season games.  He made a couple of tackles.

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  9. Well I guess we will know how to cover Wilford when we play the Jags in Dec. 

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  10. The Knight who says Ni!August 25, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Yeah except a pretty long paragraph I wrote got erased.  >:o

    Tin, I'll make it brief this time. Regarding my opinion of Donald Thomas, I only said he would be ready by week 5 when they reported he had a torn pectoral muscle and figured he'd be on the PUP which you agreed with. When new information came out and he was close to returning I always said he'd be the starting RG. You didn't always have him starting from day one. How could you when he was hurt?

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  11. Tin, I read resently that John Nalbone has actually been blocking better than Haynos. (I forget who said it.) Either way it's a good problem to have. 

    Off subject: (as if I ever stay on subject with my AADD) I was having a discussion (almost an argument) with one of the guys in my office.  Can anyone tell me how many draft picks we have for next year as of right now?  This is what I think we have but my buddy at work is saying I'm way off.

    10 picks = 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th#2 JT trade, 6th#3 Ndukeway/Alleman trade (assuming a 6th because we already have their 7th next year for giving them our 7th this year)7th, 7th#2 from KC

    Am I forgetting some that we gave away or are getting?  Right now I come up with 10.  Please help me out hear. I've got lunch at an expensive restaurant riding on it.

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  12. I've watched the game about 3 times and never once did I see him on ST.  Old Age sucks man, don't get old :)   A few days ago I saw a poll out on one of the blog's, it had to be yours or SS CRS "Can't Remember Sh#t "  Anyway it asked about who we would miss the most if they were let go.  I thought it it would be Hillard, seems I was in the minority that day. Williams led with about 55% of the votes.  Think we'll miss him ?  NOT.

    Notice how quick the talk ends about how great a guy is once they get the axe.  We fans are so in the moment it's comical.  It's part of the me now mentality that is so prevelent in Todays world.

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  13. Oh BTW TIN, I don't like the new format / (old format again?) you can hardly see my avitar at all!

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  14. The Knight who says Ni!August 25, 2009 at 2:05 PM

    Rockphin, you have it right. Not counting the trade of Alleman and Ndukwe we have 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th (from WAS for JT), 6th, 7th (from KC) and 7th. I'm guessing we get a 5th or 6th from KC for the recent deal.

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  15. The Knight who says Ni!August 25, 2009 at 2:06 PM

    Fang, and I've seen Hilliard play on special teams in both games.  :-P

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  16. When you as great an avitar as you have !!  We want BIG avitars. :)

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  17. Home Superbowl 2010August 25, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    Fang
    I`m getting impostered big time
    It has been going on 4ever
    Only getting worse
    Now egaging others in conversation
    Some times jumps in during posts and adds 5 or 6 posts in a row
    Imposter uses my same posting style confusing all
    SS does nothing

    Anyway I will keep my chin up and ignore as best I can

    ***** The DYNASTY BE FINS! *****

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  18. Yea that's what Tin said.� I told him getting old sucks :) and it effects your eye sight.

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  19. The Knight who says Ni!August 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM

    Home, my guess is that wasn't you calling me an idiot along with other insults today during the Pennington debate? At least I hope it wasn't because I thought we were cool.

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  20. with the yellow pages...

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  21. ...and with Wilford, they will be hurting even more.

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  22. because I'm just that smart.  Actually maybe more optimistic.  I never thought he would miss any of the regular season.  I did the math and I think most people thought the season was closer than it actually was.  We still have another 3 weeks to go, and it was 6 weeks at the start of TC, and 3 or 4 months since the injury occured. My only concern as far as him starting was that someone else would step up and claim the spot. 

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  23. ...remember Ni went through the samething last year on SS ...you might follow the route he took ...there is nothing sacred about "Home Superbowl 2010"

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  24. HSB2010:
    Why don't you sign in with typekey/typepad whatever it is @ the SS?  That way it's obvious if it's you or not. I don't understand why everyone doesn't do that and put an end to all this imposter BS.

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  25. Yeah, we have 9 confirmed and 1 unconfirmed.  Kansas City has a 1st, two 2nds, a 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. 

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  26. ok, I havent actually changed the size of the avatars in the last month or so, but I'm glad they're not too big, cause Fang's would be too scary!!

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  27. Yea something needs to done,  Herdfan has an idea although I have no idea what she means.  The fault lies with me herd.  I just don't understand what you're talking about.  What would that look like if you can show me on tins site. 

    Anyway the guy who ever he is is a little off his rocker.  He posts as several different names, and replies to himself under those names. 

    One more thing my avitar is a photo of our cat, her eyes are actually grreen and this is her Princess Lela look.  To bad the photo is really dark so you could see it better.  The way it is it fits the Fang name.

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  28. Oh no tell that's not a reply to yourself ?  That's to funny  :)

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  29. tin ...good recap ...appreciate the effort.

    WR, I think 5 with Armstrong waived and immediately picked up by someone ...Turner, Camarillo, and London have not earned a spot yet imnsho and the ST situation breaks in London's favor ...I'd not be surprised to see them put Camarillo on PUP and wait a few weeks to see how ST shakes out ...then decide whether to keep London or Camarillo ...Turner gets a pass by default because they'll never get him to the practice squad.

    OL, they keep 10 ...either Lewis or Garner to the practice squad ...hard to imagine them cutting Berger after the investment they made in bringing him here and his versatility ...but you're right in that he's not separated himself so far ...he's certainly not Eric Green but he could well be trade bait if they decide to go with youth instead.

    RB ...they keep your 3 but Hilliard gets a lot of 1st team reps against TB AND some blocking and receiving assignments to see if he might be able to fill an HB role with only 2 TEs ...so far I've not seen Hilliard against a 1st team defense and I think its impossible to compare him fairly with RR/RW/Cobbs until we do ...Hilliard would never make it through waivers ...he might well be trade bait at this point ...I still expect to see PW on the field frequently as an option RB/WR and think that impacts the RB equation somewhat.

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  30. Fang AND HSB2010:
    Under the post a comment section @ SS it asks for your name and email OR it ask if you have a typekey/typepad account to click the link to sign in.  If you register with typekey/typepad and then sign in each day, rather than see the name and email address boxes, it just says you are signed in and has the comment box.  When you comment this way, your name is in blue rather than gray/black.  It is possible for more than one person to have the same screenname, but when you mouse over the name, there would be a different name/account to verify who is who.  This actually happened with Jahndoh some time ago, imposter registered with the same name, but once everyone could look and see who was who, it pretty much stopped as far as he was concerned.  

    Whatever, it is totally ruining that blog.  Mind you, I don't always have the most insightful things to say, I admit that, but I do respect others right to their opinion, even if it is different from mine.  Those idiots who don't think like me are wrong, total morons and don't deserve to live.  j/k.  lol

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  31. ...looks like tin is getting a bit paranoid about his site :)

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  32. I just had a thought after reading the SS Chad's article. If Henne proves to be ready, how crazy would it be to play both QB's by design 1st half/2nd half during the season? defenses would have to prepare for two qb's. QB arm burnout towards the end of the season would be minimized. Just thinking outloud really, hell after last years wildcat display anything is possible lol

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  33. ...the thing that stood out to me in the Panthers game is that Sparano & Co have turned Henne into Penne Jr ...the game plan didn't change to engage Henne's skills ...he played Penne the game manager, not Henne the game breaker ...on reflection, I think that is exactly what they want and need from Henne ...once he becomes a game manager of Penne's quality, then they can give him some air time and start to think about replacing Penne ...but not until Henne has learned to manage a game as well as Penne does.

    ...but dear god I'm a fan, not a coach and I'd love to see Ginn run under a Henne throw 50 yds downfield :)

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  34. Thank you herdfan.� If I have trouble with an imposter I'll do that.� Truth is I'm so far out there I don't think anyone wants to use my name.� I can be an ass all by my lonesome with no help at all.�

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  35. The Knight who says Ni!August 25, 2009 at 6:00 PM

    The problem with typepad or key or whatever it is, it's not secure. I did it originally and within days I had an impostor. I'm not giving up info. if I think it's unstable. The internet is still very unstable, I'm aware of that. I only share info. with people I trust. Even then you have to be on guard. These blogs are too unreliable, obviously!

    Enough of that. The Dolphins are an exciting team again so let's wallow in that for awhile.  :-D

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  36. fang:
    No one would want to imposter me either.  Your comment about being an ass reminded of something a friend said the other day, that we should all embrace, as she calls it, our assholeishness rather than fight it.  Now granted, we had had a few cocktails at the time, but it sounded perfectly logical.  Whoever that is on the SS has gone beyond embracing and is in a place I've yet to contemplate!  Yikes.

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  37. thank gawd it is not just me wondering WTH happened to the blog at SS!! I was computerless for two months and when I logged back in, the comments were just OFF. Like  I told Tin it "almost" made me miss finfanrob. Anyway, I recognize some faces from the blog last year when I followed and I like the insite offered here...so I am going to stop following the trolls at SS. One last ?? though...who is Peacenic and cuban menace? I might have it wrong, as like I said, I did not have a computer for awhile, but they seem to be really out there.

    Onto the dolphins :) :) :) So during the game one of the announcers said that it seems like the WR are running routes that include coming back to Penny to accomidate his non strength issue...does it seem like that t you all?

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  38. Garner is not practice squad eligible. I did the Hilliard math with Kent via
    e-mail and we both agreed he was a keeper based on potential. I said we
    keep only 5wr and 9OL with Haynos as 3rd TE in order to keep 4 RBs.
    Hilliard will get his chance in game 4 but game 3 we'll see a lot more
    Ronnie/Ricky/Cobbs.

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  39. jumpers from the herald/armando's blog.
    anything the announcers say is to be disregarded. Just watched the 2nd half
    of the Carolina game and nat Moore was praising "Wilfork" for his blocking
    yet I watched him whiff on three blocks, and somehow manage to not get
    called on a hold, a facemask, and a block in the back that were on
    consecutive plays. 3 should-be penalties in two plays!! plus he was too
    slow to get under what was a perfect pass from Henne that would've been a
    TD.

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  40. <span style=" color: #336666;">""it's still a longshot for Lewis, but he is nipping at Berger's heels, mostly due to Berger's inability to distance himself. ""</span>


    <span style=" color: #336666;">I've heard TS suggest that IF the vet can't seperate from a rookie,</span>
    <span style=" color: #336666;">he's got no problem going w'youth/upside..</span>

    <span style=" color: #336666;">However,I'd agree w'longshot..</span>

    <span style=" color: #336666;">Been on FRYE's wagon for several yrs,back to his early college days,</span>
    <span style=" color: #336666;">and Gardner since b/4 the draft..</span>

    <span style=" color: #336666;">Been w'Haynos since his first FINS appearence..AGREE,(IF for no other reason),</span>
    <span style=" color: #336666;">AWESOME goal-to-goal/shortyrdg blocking TE,let-alone pass receiving RZ threat..</span>

    <span style=" color: #336666;">Speaking of RZ threat,along w'TINS 5 wr's(Camirillo),I have BLondon joining Turner as</span>
    <span style=" color: #336666;">a 2nd wr RZ threat,along w'Haynos... No need for YAC's b/t the goal and end-lines..</span>

    <span style=" color: #336666;">I like LHilliard,but I have 10 OL making the 53,(last I checked,prior to losing IKE/Allaman)..</span>

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  41. So HSB,WHO has it in for SSmith,and O,(you or the imposter)??

    And WHO post's your prediction's several(a thousand)time's a day,(you or the imposter)??


    IF it's you,(no dispespect intended),but no wonder why your being harassed!!
    IF NOT,my apologies!!  

    (NOW,the imposter will pop-in,and say yea it's me HSB),and we'll NEVER get to the end of this(NONSENSE)!!


    CODE WORD ( F OFF  13KV )schhhhhh...  WAIT, then everybody might reply!!!

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  42. HEY TIN,the "ALL COMMENT's" section isn't working again!!!

    Is it working @ your end ??  My TINSFINS hm pg,(negates scrolling) for new comments !!

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  43. How come EVERYTIME we make a move,the bluecoats try to one-up us ??
    Happened just prior to the draft tooo,and through-out history!!
    Are they obcessed w'us,or what??

    They just traded OL Russ Hochstein to Den...
    Watch'em get pd better for ONE than we do"OUR"TWO,
    (or simularly)..

    Parcells ,Pioli, blucoat leader , JMcDanials 

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  44. The Knight who says Ni!August 26, 2009 at 6:00 AM

    Tin, I agree about the Dolphins announcers. Nat Moore and Brian Griese are not very prepared and sound like they're guessing.

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  45. LOL I  can't even tell what Fang's avitar is! Is it a rat? Mouse? cat? I can't see it well enough!

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  46. I just don't understand how no one has corrected Nat Moore on the
    pronunciation of "Wilford" in the last 18 months. The good news is that he
    won't have to say it on a weekly basis anymore, the bad news is that he will
    when we face them this year. In fact, any wagers on if he says Wilford or
    Wilfork during that game?
    My favorite example of their pure ineptitude is the "Griese Board". The
    guys name is Gries-E, but they pronouce it like Grease when doing that
    segment. I think we all get the word play without having to change the
    guy's name! But then again, I don't think they're dumbing it down for the
    viewers, I think they're dumbing it down for themselves.
    Ah, but on Nationally televised games we get the incomparable Dan
    Dierdorf.....sigh.

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  47. He says it's a cat, but I thought it was a possessed Koala Bear....

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  48. The Knight who says Ni!August 26, 2009 at 7:22 AM

    LOL

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  49. Hey Knight, try this trun the sound off and listen to game from WQAM

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