Friday, August 6, 2010

Contradicting Reports and Reporting Agendas

This happens every year during Training Camp so it should be of no surprise and proves the old adage to take something with a grain of salt.

Once again we're getting three different spins on the goings on in Training Camp. I won't go into all of them, but here's some examples of things I've read that make you go "hmmm":

Jason Allen is struggling, unlikely to make the team. -or- “Jason Allen has got his hands on more footballs than anybody out there right now,” Sparano said. “So Jason Allen deserves the opportunity to move up and to see if he can do that against the best people.”

Omar Kelly said Allen was fighting for the 4th spot with rookie Nolan Carroll.  Rotoworld, without citing any sources, says Allen is lining up with the 1st team while Sean Smith lines up with the 2s.  Our own reader and Training Camp attendee, Fang, said Allen looked lethargic and not up to the task.  Tinshaker (oh, that's me) has nothing but the utmost confidence in Jason Allen, and fully expects him to be here this season and next season and be re-signed after that.  Allen, despite the myth, is not an expensive player, but the aging Will Allen is.  If you had to choose between Will Allen and Jason Allen for the nickel job, only Will Allen's family and friends would choose him, considering he's scheduled to make almost $6M a year for the next two years and is 32 and reportedly showing signs of soreness in one of his multiple knee injuries.  Jason on the other hand, is 27 and scheduled to make an average of just over $1M for the next two years and plays special teams (and does it well).  He just has more upside and costs a fifth of the other Allen.  It's a no-brainer IMO.  But the detractors continue to ignore the fact that the coaches like Jason Allen and what he brings to the team.  

Another case of the observers crossing wires is the Patrick Turner enigma.  Is he or isn't he progressing?  The talking heads say he is in their editorials, but in the beat one-liners from camp, there's a lot more negative comments than positive - in fact, if anyone remembers back this far, he seemed to do better last year, which means he could be regressing, not improving.  I find it hard to believe one reporter who claims Turner is 'a lock' for the 53 because he apparently provides versatility when he really hasn't shown versatility or that he can catch the ball - we had a guy like this before named Hagan - remember him?  I'm not saying Turner can't turn into something special, though I think its unlikely, but I'm not really willing to give him another year of riding the pine.  If he doesn't earn it during the pre-season, I'm happy to move on, and the Dolphins should too.  Last year we wasted a few roster spots, and it hurt the Dolphins then and the year before when they just didn't have any depth at WR and ran out of bodies towards the end of the season.  

There's also been contradicting reports about Jake Grove.  During OTAs he returned from injury and reports of his return to the line being like Night and Day were prevalent.  As of today it sounds as if he's about to lose his starting job to Joe Berger.  I think some people are missing the obvious point that any backup O-linemen have to play at least two positions.  With Incognito, Thomas, Garner, Jerry, Hartline, and Proctor vying for a guard position, Berger's probably in danger here.  If he does win the starting Center position he's safe, but then the Dolphins are unlikely to keep Grove because of his massive paycheck and the fact that he's just a Center.  If Grove wins the spot, the Berger would be first in line for backup Center, but would be so far down the depth chart at Guard he may not even make the team - we already know Nate Garner can take snaps in a pinch, and I just think Garner is an automatic 53 player because of his versatility.

Ultimately, I think alot of the confusion is caused by the media's obsession with making a big deal out of nothing - where a player lines up during OTAs and camp is not much of an indicator of anything when it comes to September.  The way it works is they have individual drills, and if someone impresses in those drills or impressed during the week overall, they get a shot with the ones - but it doesn't mean the guy who was already with the ones is losing his job or being outperformed.  It means the first guy impressed against the 3s or 2s and now the coaches want to see if they can replicate the performance against the 1s.  Pretty much anyone who can do so, will make the team in the end because we want our 2nd teamers and role players to be able to play at the same level as our starters.  That's what depth is all about.
So when you read somewhere that a special teamer is practicing with the 1s, it doesn't mean anything other than he's been doing well and is getting a shot to do well against tougher competition.  If he goes back to the 2s or 3s a couple of practices later, it doesn't mean he failed to impress.  It just means its the starters turn again or the turn of the next guy who impressed vs the 2s/3s.
Oh, and finally, anytime a player gets a groin injury and a 'source' says its minor/not a big deal, he's either lying or not a very good football person, because groin injuries are nagging injuries, and the most minor one can get more serious with any stress put upon it - the same goes for high ankle sprains, etc.  So now that Greg Camarillo has a 'minor' groin injury, expect him to be sidelined from quite some time.

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