Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Pre-Season Wanes

Tin's Fins had its Fantasy Football League Draft last night, just another milestone along the way that signals that Football is almost here in full glory.  With the final pre-season game against Dallas tomorrow serving essentially as the determining factor in the line-backer and cornerback competitions (to a lesser degree the offensive line and 5th receiver), the game could be as exciting as watching paint dry, and not the final coat but just the primer.  That's really not very exciting.

Still, the Dolphins need to cut about 19 players following the game in lead up to Week 1 of the regular season, and while any of us could easily shave off at least 10 of those men without trying too hard, the last few could be really tough decisions.
Take, for example, the fact that we don't have any 'camp-body' tight ends this year.  With Kory Sperry released last week and Joey Haynos put on IR this week, John Nalbone, the obvious candidate for the waiver wire, is now guaranteed a roster spot.  The question then that pops into my head is if uninspiring WR, Patrick Turner can be quickly converted to tight-end at least in a hybrid role a la David Martin.

Nate Garner was placed on IR and in my mind is the biggest loss of the season thus far.  I'm not sold on our O-line this year, unlike in the previous two years when I was much more optimistic.  The Jake Grove/Joe Berger enigma really bothers me.  If Berger starts and goes down, I don't see Donald Thomas, John Jerry or even 3rd string, Andrew Hartline playing Center full-time.  So you'd have to keep the most expensive backup center in the league in Jake Grove - even though the team obviously feels he's lacking in certain areas.  Maybe Cory Proctor is the best option as a backup - but he's not likely to make the team as a Guard, so why keep him as a sole Center backup.  Let's face it, we need Grove to pick it up and win the starting job back.  Berger is a great option to cover Guard and Center, and starting him at one precludes him from supporting the other.  Who knows, there may be a last minute waiver wire pickup who solves the problem, or maybe we just carry on and take an extra lineman to the games.

But despite the worries of the tight-end/o-line positions (which directly translate to problems for the entire offense, and indirectly affects the Defense as well if the O can't stay on the field and get first downs), the 4th PS game focus will be on the Defense, especially that of the defensive backfield and the linebackers.  The previous 3 games didn't give us any clues as to who's going to play on game day and at what positions.  Several outside linebackers took reps inside, there were injuries to a few players that kept them out of the gameplan, and there's also the unrevealed scheme of our new defensive coordinator.  

One thing is for sure, if Benny Sapp repeats his performance from last week, he'll make the team, and possibly push a previous favorite to the practice squad.  This year, more than ever, we're going to have to sneak a few players onto the practice team without being poached.  The questions is, can we get a guy like Micah Johnson, Nolan Carroll, Chris McCoy, Johnathon Amaya, etc past the waiver wire?  Carroll is probably safe if we take 6 CBs, but he's in no way a lock, and  despite Johnson's clear outplaying of the Trifecta-drafted JD Folsom and Austin Spitler, the Dolphins staff made some clear favoritism-based calls last year and I wouldn't put it past them again.  They'd rather hold on to Spitler and develop him than play the clearly more physically talented Johnson.  Chris McCoy has played more inside snaps than outside, either a clear mistake by the Trifecta, or part of the preparation for the 'master plan'.  I'd like to think he's going to make the 53, but again it depends on if the Trifecta thinks they go with the player with the most upside or the penalty-riddled maxed out Charlie Anderson, who makes a ton of money, by the way, more than Wake, Misi, McCoy, and IAF, all who appear above him on the semi-official depth chart.

So keep an eye on these performances versus Dallas.  And finally you'll have a chance to play the Pat White drinking game and actually get drunk this time...

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