Friday, May 28, 2010

2010 Mini-Camp Begins

  • LBs = 1st team Misi, Dansby, Dobbins, Anderson.  2nd team = Wake, Spitler, Edds, Johnston.
  • CBs = 1st team Davis, Smith, J. Allen (nickel).  2nd team = Carroll, Oglesby.
  • OLs = 1st team Long, Jerry, Grove, Incognito, Carey.  2nd team = Gardner, Procter, Berger, Thomas, Murtha.
  • WRs = 1st team Camarillo, Hartline, Bess (slot).  2nd team = Grice-Mullen, Pruitt, Johnson.
  • Not participating in drills = Brandon Marshall, Jason Ferguson, Patrick Turner, Lionel Dotson, Nate Garner.
  • Limited participation = Channing Crowder, Will Allen, Ronnie Brown.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tin Bits - The Criminal Defense - UPDATED

  • The Dolphins have let Reggie Torbor go.  They terminated his contract today.  One would have to believe that this means Channing Crowder isn't as banged up as we heard he is.
  • This is starting to get embarrassing.  According to Omar Kelly, Dolphins defensive end, Philip Merling, was arrested last night on charges of aggravated battery against his pregnant girlfriend.  This follows arrests of Tony McDaniel, Will Allen, and Ronnie Brown this off-season.  Merling was penciled in as the starting RDE with rookie, Jared Odrick, pushing to replace him.  Merling will likely face fines and suspensions from the league and is obviously headed to trial.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guest Article - Bryan McIntyre regarding Cameron Wake

Hey folks, since I'm slammed at work and have to do two airport runs today, I've decided to post an article from another blogger.  I don't know what Bryan McIntyre's official duties are, but unofficially he's a blogger who gives PFT a run for their money as far as reporting EVERYTHING that happens in the NFL - and he does it without any Sprint Ads or bias although he is obviously from Seattle as their is a slight bent towards their pro-teams Check out his blog here, and if you can handle the occasional Seattle mention (are the Seahawks even relevant anymore?) he's a great source to follow on Twitter (link on his blog).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tin Bits - Monday, 5/24/10 - UPDATED

  • The # Dolphins 1st round draft pick, Jared Odrick has fired his agent.  According to Bryan McIntyre, "Odrick had been represented by Denver-based agent Peter Schaffer's All-Pro Sports & Entertainment. When the 6-5, 301-pound defensive end from Penn State fired Schaffer, and who he has chosen to represent him, is unknown at this time.

    As the 28th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Odrick will likely receive a five-year contract worth between $13 to $15 million dollars, including over $7 million in guarantees."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Zach Thomas Retires as a Miami Dolphin

I'll admit it, I'm in tears.

Anyone else?


Zach Thomas has officially retired after signing a one-day contract with the Miami Dolphins.

Shula, Marino, JT, ZT - gone.  Looks like it's time to move on Dolfans.

2010 is the year.


Is Nolan Gonna Get 'Em Rollin'?

Thought I'd share this entire and un-edited e-mail I got from regular contributor, Patrick.  I think he makes a good argument in a sort of devil's advocate role in regards to Miami's new defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan.  I'm just going to cut and paste and leave my response to the comments section.
Hey Tin, Patrick from your blog… I thought you might find this interesting and maybe of some use.  I was curious about Mike Nolan as a DC.  I get the impression everyone thinks the guy is great but I don’t really see any in depth analysis of what he has actually done in the NFL so I compiled his stats from his years as a DC.

It’s interesting in that his stats are pretty much average even before pulling out the 3 years he coached with really excellent talent.  My thoughts would be that it’s easy to be a good coach when you have great players but the great coaches tend to stick out when the talent is a little wanting.  Nolan’s stats under those circumstances do not stick out to me as being special and I think that is played out when he made the jump to HC and was less than successful.

It’s kind of a smoke and mirrors thing to me… He has the look, he has the pedigree (Dick Nolan a long time NFL coach was his father) but the actual product on the field has been purely predicated by the talent he has had to work with.  Now maybe this isn’t bad thing and maybe all great coaches are simply a product of the talent they have but I don’t think that is true.  Certain coaches go past good into great because they can take players beyond their talent level or lack thereof.

Knowing the game is only one aspect and I think Nolan’s knowledge level is right up there with the best of them, but I don’t see any great innovation here, there is no Dick LeBeau or even Buddy Ryan for that matter.  So I think the folks out there expecting to see some exotic blitz style defense are way off base.  Nolan will use traditional schemes and rely on his talent, which if lacking will lead to a mediocre defense, but if certain players reach their potential then the defense will reflect that as well.

One other thing comes to mind when looking at great defensive or offensive coordinators, they like being coordinators.  They are not looking at the job as a stepping stone to a head coaching position or if they have and were not successful, they realize their limitations and concentrate on what they are good at instead of looking over the fence at what they had proved to be unsuccessful at.

In either case I don’t think we will see anything incredible or even much different from what we saw last year.  What I will ask Nolan to do is to understand what is happening during the course of the game and make the adjustments needed to force the offense out of what they are doing successfully.  In other words, dictate the game more than being dictated to, self scout to understand our own tendencies and then change those from game to game to keep teams off-balance.  Last year I felt our defense was very predictable and was incapable of making adjustments during the course of the game.  If Nolan is smart enough to do make these things happen then it doesn’t matter whether he has some exotic scheme or crazy blitz packages, it will keep teams honest and that is all we can really ask.

As the stats clearly indicate, Nolan isn’t the greatest innovator in the world, but given the proper talent he understands the game well enough to put those players in a position to win.  Those expecting captain fantastic will probably be sadly disappointed but I think Nolan will provide the in-game adjustments that were lacking last year.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tin Bits - OTA Day 2

  • Brandon Marshall is wearing no. 19.  Ted who Jr.? Still, BM says he will change it before training camp, but if anyone has a Ginn jersey they can write 'B.M.' in Sharpie over the top of it for now.
  • Jason Ferguson has high blood pressure, but no steroids.  He's still a good guy, and if it's seriously something to treat a health issue, I can't see why an appeal wouldn't be successful in getting him back on the field sooner than his current 8-game suspension.
  • Justin Smiley and Nate Garner were both absent -  Smiley for obvious reasons - as far as I know Garner is neither injured nor in the doghouse, so it's probably an excused absence.
  • Ronnie Brown was in attendance and practiced on a limited basis and reportedly looks to be running without pain.
  • Patrick Cobbs, Chad Pennington and Will Allen practiced while Channing Crowder and Reggie Torbor both worked on the sidelines.
  • Chris Clemons worked as the 1st FS with Reshad Jones the backup.  Tyrone Culver backed up Yeremiah Bell at SS.
  • Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, Ryan Grice-Mullen, Taurus Johnson and Marlon Moore practiced returning punts.  Surprised that Kory Sheets and a couple of DBs weren't included, but maybe they are just starting with WRs and working through by position.
  • LB line-up:  WOLB - Charlie Anderson, Cam Wake.  SOLB - Quentin Moses, Erik Walden, Koa Misi.  ILB - Karlos Dansby/Tim Dobbins, Channing Crowder/Reggie Torbor.
  • LG - Donald Thomas.  RG - Richie Incognito. 
  • Patrick Turner and Brandon Marshall will not practice until Training Camp.  Goodbye Patrick Turner.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

First Day Of OTAs and I forgot my jock!!

Ah, OTAs....nothing quite like it in the middle of May.  It's hot, it's rainy, it's shorts and shells and running drills.  It's meeting new teammates, getting yelled at by new coaches, and trying to make an impression that gets you brought back in August for Training Camp. 

That's right, not everyone is going to make it that far.  The Dolphins are currently 4 players over the limit of 80, which means by the time the OTAs are over, at least 4 of the names on the roster will be erased.  My guess would be that Justin Smiley will be one of them, and probably another O-lineman, a running back (maybe two) and a WR will be axed.  But that's something the coaches have plenty of time to decide on for now.

Still, there is tension in the air as the churning process officially begins today.  Last year, if memory serves, one or two players didn't even make it past the first day, so anything's possible.

What are your thoughts as we start the 2010 off-season in earnest?  Do you think there will be tension between Jared Odrick and Philip Merling?  How about Chad Pennington's boasts that he's the #2 guy (for now) vs Tyler Thigpen's insistence that it is him?  How would you feel if you were Pat White heading back to work today?  What if he throws a pass and it hits a seagull that's sitting on the top of the uprights?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Line 'em up, Back them down

I recently proposed some examples of how the Dolphins secondary and receiving corps could look come September (seems so far away doesn't it?).  Today I'm speculating about the linebackers - possibly the most interesting group of 2010, since so many changes are likely from the previous season.

I'll be perfectly honest by saying I was not very impressed with Koa Misi in the Utah games I watched this past season.  In the Cal/Utah Poinsetta Bowl, he was just about the most invisible person on the field.  I think he had a half-sack and a hurry, but other than that he looked undersized, slow, and barely average.  Now, to be fair, he was playing DE on every down, so it's hard to see how he would be standing up as a linebacker.  I have to believe he has the tools, and I recall him flashing a bit in that role at the Senior Bowl.  But I'm still a skeptic after watching that Bowl game.  He was in for a good 45 snaps and he made 2 or 3 plays - not impressive.

AJ Edds on the other hand, had sort of the opposite impression on me - he failed to impress me in the off-season, but looks pretty well-polished on game tape.  Ultimately this kid looks to have more upside in the long run and it wouldn't surprise me if he was a team-captain as early as his 3rd season.  I personally think he will replace Reggie 'big contract' Torbor pretty much immediately and I wouldn't be surprised to see Torbor gone before Training Camp.

Austin Spitler is likely competing to make the practice squad.  Not a knock on him - he has upside, but is a victim of a crowded interior.  Ultimately I think both Crowder and Dansby are 3-down LBs with Edds playing the nickel role.  If Torbor is kept as well, then there is zero chance Spitler makes the final cut.  I think if it comes down to choosing between keeping a 4th ILB or an extra TE/WR/RB, that Sparano will choose the offensive player.

To me, the most intriguing new LB is the one taken with the 212th pick, Chris McCoy, out of Middle Tennessee State.  A small school guy, the only non-team-captain chosen by the Trifecta, he looks immediately at first glance like a raw player with lots of potential.  Ultimately if he wants to make the team he's going to have to be a scholar with the playbook and show he can play with the big boys because I think he wins an athleticism and upside battle with holdovers like Quentin Moses and Brian Johnston.

I don't really have much to say about Karlos Dansby.  To put it bluntly he was the top prize of the free agency period and we got him.  He is a beast of a player and should be a good influence in the locker room.  I expect Mike Nolan will use Dansby as a blitz specialist throughout the season.  Expect him to be a disruptive player.

Channing Crowder is by no means a lock to be on the team in 2010, but he's closer to one than every LB not named Dansby.  He will continue to be a run-stopper LB, coming out on passing downs, but he could have a breakout year due to Nolan's blitz packages.  I don't know off the top of my head what Crowder's best sack total is, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him bring in 6 or 7 this season.

Now, here are my prospective groupings for the 2010 season:





Thursday, May 13, 2010

Whatchu talkin bout?

In what is clearly the most ridiculous story of the NFL off-season (bet Jeff Ireland is finally unclenching this week), Houston linebacker and former Tin's Fins target of ridicule, Brian Cushing, held a press conference today where he claimed innocence over his failed positive banned substance test.

"I tested positive for such a small amount it can't be performance-enhancing," Cushing said. "I've got to get medical help to find out what it happened and to keep it from happening again. I'm going to change my workout regime or anything I do because I know I haven't done anything wrong. I was tested in September, and I found out in October I had tested positive," he said. "I played the rest of the season thinking I had tumors."

Cushing went on to say that he thought he was going to die from tumor-related illness.  Yet to this day he has not had a medical check to see if he actually has a tumor.  Surely someone who thinks they have a tumor in October, and who's livelihood depended on his health, and who would've received constant medical attention by trainers, doctor's physicians, and the fact that they have medical tests done at the end of the season, surely this person would've brought up this fear to someone before today, a week after being outed for about the 12th time by the media for being a steroid-user.

I'm sorry, Brian, I'm not buying any of this, and anyone who is could probably be sold beachfront property in Missouri.

Cushing had one chance to, if not clear his name, prevent a long-term backlash of the story, and he failed miserably because now the media will follow him straight to the hospital to have tests done.  

Now those who aren't up on the medical side of things may not be aware that the vast majority of instances where such tumors that can cause elevated HCG levels are found in pregnant women.  Now, pregnant women already have elevated levels of HCG so the tumor issue is relatively moot.

If Brian Cushing comes out of the closet as a pregnant (at the time of the test) woman with trophoblast issues then I will of course, completely withdraw this post and offer a full apology.

But would a pregnant woman tackle like that?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Are You Open?

The wide receiver situation in Miami is a little different this year.  In 2008, we had a slew of no-names and  unproven bodies.  In 2009 the addition of two draftees in Brian Hartline and Patrick Turner added into the mix of a high-expectation 3rd year Ted Ginn Jr, and the proven but injured Greg Camarillo and the upstart Davone Bess to go with all the undrafted free agents and developmental players like Anthony Armstrong, Brandon London, etc.

This year we have a decidedly different first look.

We have a #1 WR in Brandon Marshall - you can't even use the word 'upgrade' here as it's sort of like trading in a standard definition television for an IMAX theater.

We have the fast growth and experienced sophomore player in Brian Hartline.

We have the year-separated-from-injury Camarillo.  Though is butt may be a bit sore after his ridiculous catch vs Atlanta last year, his knee should be fine by now.

We have the 3rd year slot guy in Davone Bess, who has led the team in catches the past two seasons.

And we have 3 developmental players in Julius Pruitt, Taurus Johnson, and Patrick Turner - all three have significant Dolphins scout team experience under their belts.

Add to the 7 above, the large target, Roberto Wallace, the speedy Marlon Moore, and the reliable Ryan Grice-Mullen, and you see a very definite plan here as far as competition and positioning goes:

You have your big targets:  

Brandon Marshall: 6'4", 230 lbs
Patrick Turner:      6'5", 220 lbs
Roberto Wallace:  6'4", 225 lbs

You have your shifty slot guys:

Davone Bess:          5'10", 190 lbs
Ryan Grice-Mullen: 5'11", 180 lbs
Marlon Moore:       6'00", 190 lbs

You have your reliable intermediate guys:

Brian Hartline:     6'2", 186 lbs
Greg Camarillo:   6'1", 190 lbs
Taurus Johnson:  6'1", 205 lbs
Julius Pruitt:        6'2", 206 lbs

Due to need, it's likely that Miami will end up with 6 WRs on the team (it seems obvious to me they are trying to lower the number of offensive linemen they will need to keep and they will likely reduce the number of defensive backs, thus allowing for an extra WR and extra LB - keep in mind they will likely cut one once Jason Ferguson is eligible to return).  

I would expect them to keep only one of the smaller receivers as an intermediate player could also play the slot, or they could line up with fewer 3 WR formations should, say Bess, go down to injury.  And I don't see more than 2 of the bigger targets being kept.  

With that in mind, here are some possible scenarios for opening day 2010:





Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tin Bits - Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

  • Funny, when I wrote the article about Brian Cushing's drug test, I didn't think it would elicit much debate or discussion, but it did, so here's an update - Cushing tested positive for elevated levels of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, or HCG, the same compound Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games last year for.  It is commonly used as a post-steroid fix, primarily to restore testicle-size.  I really couldn't make this stuff up - Cushing literally was going through a sex change (he does kind of look like a transexual now that I think of it)  Keep in mind, there really is no reason to take this stuff unless you are taking steroids or
    by growing breasts and reducing his male gonads.
    heavy into the tea-bagging scene.  Since HCG is found in seminal fluid, Adam Schefter of ESPN has suggested that Cushing could have ejaculated before taking the urine test - leading to a false positive.  This would of course imply that Cushing was jacking off in the doctors office right before the test.  Pardon the imagery of the transexual supplemental meathead freak wanking off during a medical appointment.  I could go so much further....but I won't.  Let's just say there's no way Cushing comes out of this with his head held high.  Well, maybe one of his heads....
  • The Dolphin vets returned to workouts today after a couple of weeks off.  The rookies will join them next Tuesday for the first of the OTAs, after checking into the facilities on Sunday.  It's unfortunate that the OTAs and mini-camps are not open to the public, though I understand why they are not - imagine the legal implications of someone in the stands getting hit in the eye by an errant Pat White throw...
  • The 'official' preseason schedule has been released:
                   Aug. 14 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7 p.m.
                   Aug. 21 at Jacksonville Jaguars, 7:30 p.m.
                   Aug. 27 vs Atlanta Falcons, 7 p.m.
                    Sept. 2 at Dallas Cowboys, 8 p.m.
  • It looks like Wes Welker really won't be ready to go on opening day.  Since the Dolphins don't play the Patriots until week 4, it may not have an effect on that game, but the Pats will likely start the season without their leading receiver and anything that could slow them down versus their 1st 3 opponents, the Bengals, Jets and Bills, could be beneficial to Miami in the long-run.
  • Now that the Dolphins have a #1 WR in Brandon Marshall, it's hard to remember all the names we've tried to improve our WR corps under the current regime.  But two of the more memorable guys are currently getting another shot in the NFL - Anthony Armstrong, one of the coolest, most grounded WRs out there, is currently in camp with the Redskins, while Brandon London, the braggart who couldn't catch a fly with a glue trap, is still bragging his way around the league claiming no one in the league works harder than him on his 'quest to be better than Jerry Rice' and is currently in camp with the Steelers.  You may recall London had 3 catches for 30 yards in 14 games as a Miami Dolphin and then spent more time in the VIP room than on the practice field in 2009 before being released.  Perhaps London should 'amend' his goals a little or realize that you have to get on a roster first, then get in the game, then perform when you get your chance.  Instead of looking at Jerry Rice as 'the guy you gotta beat', look to yourself and try to beat your own limitations first. 
  • Dolphins' running back, Kory Sheets, confirmed to me that he is going to be competing as kick returner this off-season, as they try to replace Ted Ginn.  Personally, I think Sheets is the best option - I read somewhere a couple of weeks ago that Sheets hasn't returned kicks before - whoever wrote that didn't watch any Purdue games where he returned 38 kicks and his lone punt return was for a TD.  Ultimately the only thing that keeps Patrick Cobbs above Sheets on the depth chart is his tackling ability on special teams and possibly his blocking ability - Sheets could make the push this year to unseat Cobbs.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sex, Drugs, and Football

In a world where golf has suddenly become more sexy than American Football, it's good to know that when it comes to professional sports and drugs, the ever-reigning leader is still the gridiron.

Word leaked today that the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year - Houston LB, Brian Cushing (formerly of USC) - failed a banned substance/steroids test way back in September 2009.  Yes, as in the first playing month of his NFL career.  Now I'm sure everyone out there is thinking, "Well, Tinshaker, it's not like Cushing had any history of mammary-expanding drug use before this.  There's no way Houston could've known before they spent the 15th overall pick on Cushing that he was a cheater."

Of course, then I would say, now would be a good time to check the archives, my friends, and note that I said this prior to the draft in 2009:

"[Brian Cushing] has been constantly accused of using steroids and has been proven to be obsessed with muscle-building supplements. He had moved past Maualuga on the draft boards prior to this and if found guilty he would vanish from the first day. His only saving grace would be to come clean and hope that the NFL GMs believe his willingness to stay clean. But he hasn't done this. So maybe he's clean. Maybe he's just dumb. After following him quite closely here on Tin's Fins, I'd already come to the conclusion that he was dumb. GUILTY!"

Well, it turns out he was guilty as well.  Some may remember that a web-site swore up and down that both Cushing and fellow USC LB Clay Matthews (now in Green Bay) had tested positive during the NFL Combine.  They were eventually sued into oblivion for slander.  However, they stood by the story throughout the bashing they took and we'll likely never know who was right since the law got involved to protect the privacy of the former Trojans.

In any event, Cushing failed an NFL mandated test and he lost his appeal, and will now be suspended for up to 4 games in 2010.  He could also be stripped of his 2009 Def. POY award.  I'm sure he got a nice bonus for getting that award - which will likely have to be paid back.  Plus he'll be tested more routinely now for the rest of his career.  But it's not all doom and gloom for this meathead - at least he's got an impressive C-cup!

In the meantime, Cushing will be able to use his time-off to work on his relationship with Fox's Jay Glazer, who had this to say about the player he's been training at his MMA training grounds:

["In today's NFL guys have to be fully responsible for what goes in their bodies," Glazer wrote on his Twitter account. "I don't care if it was steroidal or not, it's on the player! ..

"Right now, no, we will not be training him. We do not want to be associated with any of this crap. Gotta cool off before we make a final decision."

Glazer has been working with former UFC champion Randy Couture to train Cushing.

"I talked with Couture last night, we are both extremely pissed about the whole mess," Glazer wrote. "just being associated with any of this crap."] ~Aaron Wilson, NFPost

Of course, Cushing isn't the only one taking supplements he shouldn't be taking.  The Dolphins' own Jason Ferguson, also failed a drug test and faces an 8 game suspension this year.
So my question to the readers - do you think the NFL is right in suspending these players or should they go back to the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy of the 70s and 80s, when half the league was either roided or coked out of their skulls?


Friday, May 7, 2010

Turning the Corner in 2010

The Dolphins secondary looks about as different as it possibly could from the end of 2008 to the beginning of 2010. Just 14 months ago, we had Andre Goodman, Will Allen, Yeremiah Bell, Renaldo Hill, Nate Jones, Jason Allen, Tyrone Culver, Will Billingsley and Courtney Bryan on the roster.

Gone are Bryan, Billingsley, Jones, Goodman, and Hill. Jason Allen was moved to cornerback officially. There's a significant chance he'll be moved back to safety this year depending on how the DB battles play out. Will Allen got a big contract, then got injured and missed most of 2009, allowing the 2009 rookie Vontae Davis to prove he's starter material. Fellow 2009 rookie, Sean Smith locked up the vacancy left by Andre Goodman's departure. Gibril Wilson was brought in to replace Hill, but is now gone, soon to be replaced by either another 2009 rookie, Chris Clemons, Culver, or 2010 rookie Reshad Jones.

The Trifecta also drafted cornerback, Nolan Carroll, and bolstered their 2010 class by signing Johnathon Amaya, AJ Wallace and Ross Weaver as free agents. They also have Nate Ness and Evan Oglesby as their developmental holdovers from 2009.

So Miami currently has 8 cornerbacks and 6 safeties on the roster. Four of the fourteen candidates have the ability to play multiple positions, i.e. corner/safety/nickel. They are Jason Allen, Chris Clemons, Nolan Carroll and Nate Ness. Taking that into consideration, here are some projected potential lineups for opening day 2010.




This kid Amaya (wearing #2 and playing both safety and wr in video) could come in and totally rock the boat. He is my projected 'Davone Bess' of 2010.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Henne vs Sanchez

This kind of got me off on the wrong foot this morning. In ESPN's AFC East blog, Tim Graham shows his Jets homerism by ranking Mark Sanchez above Chad Henne. I made the comment on his blog under my ESPN moniker 'ferment78' that Henne clearly outperformed the 5th overall pick last season:

"I think you forget that Sanchez was the 5th overall pick and Day 1 starter and Henne had to come in during the season after Pennington was snapped in half. Henne had a better win percentage, touchdown/int ratio, more ypg, more yards for the season, and a much higher completion percentage of 60.8% to Sanchez's 53.8%."

But, you know, blogs are as blogs do, I immediately got bashed by a Jets fan who didn't see any unfairness is comparing Sanchez's playoff stats to Henne's non-existent playoff stats. My favorite comment: "I'm sure Sanchez will make it back to the AFC championship before Henne, I'd bet my house on that!"

Well, in today's housing market, that's one good way to get rid of your mortgage payment...

One last thing in this whole 'who's better' debate - Henne went on Rachel Ray and won a cooking competition with a grilled steak dinner - Sanchez's contribution to the culinary world is buying /eating a hot dog from a stadium vendor in the middle of a game. The End.

Monday, May 3, 2010

State of the Spring Union

Hey everyone. Long time no blog! Actually it was only since Friday, but I was keeping up with the comments and the rookie camp stuff on the official web-site so I feel like a lot has been happening in Dolphin-land since I last blogged.

First of all, the Rookies got their groove on over the week-end, getting their first taste of the NFL life. The practice squadders got their first chance at being the 'ONE's for a change, and I came to a sudden realization - that this team is significantly better off than it was last year.

Sometimes it's hard to notice these things as they creep up on you, but in 2008 we had a guy by the name of Davone Bess make the team off an invite to camp - he wasn't a post-draft signed UDFA - he got a contract based on what he did in rookie camp.

He wasn't the only 'street' player picked up that year, there were actually several of them. In 2009 we carried over with the same 'rock-turning' mentality, but to a lesser degree. In 2010, I honestly don't see any room for any street free-agents to make the team. Surely that means we've improved from a personnel standpoint.

A couple of notes from rookie camp:
  • Several attendees were apparently impressed by former USF Bull WR, Taurus Johnson (who I wrote about during the 2009 draft here) who showed the ability to beat DBs deep consistently during camp. He's a guy who can return kicks as well as play the slot with the occasional kick out wide to run WR screens. This beating guys deep is a new development in his arsenal, which is promising.
  • Coach Sparano was impressed by the football smarts of the drafted LBs. There's no doubt that Koa Misi, AJ Edds and Austin Spitler are three of the calmest, most focused guys we had out there on the field.
  • Nate Ness may be listed as a safety on the roster, but he lined up at corner during camp, and Sparano said that's where he played last season (during practices) so I think it's fair to move him from the safety competition over to the corner competition.
  • I saw a couple of clips of TE John Nalbone - he looks thin and slow, and basically not what you'd expect of a guy who spent a year on the practice squad of an NFL team, especially the Dolphins. They are known for 'transforming' player's bodies - yet Nalbone looks like he's been working at the mall for the past year.
  • An interesting thing over at the official roster - updated yesterday - it lists Pat White as a rookie. Everyone else seems to have accurate experience listed.
The rookies now have to leave the training facilities for 2 weeks (they're not even allowed to lift weights on-site) before returning for OTAs on May 18th. Mandatory Mini-camp is May 28-30, though I suspect that's just a formality as last year we had 100% attendance for OTAs.