The Miami Dolphins still have 12 days before they have to pare the roster down to 75, which for them, may not be that big of a deal. The Phins currently stand at 77 players on their roster, give or take for bad addition. The real cut comes four days later when they pare down to the final 53. So who’s in? Who’s out? Which of these guys are stuck in between heaven and hell?
While it is impossible to completely predict what will happen, I certainly am not one to back away from trying. So with 12 days left I will try and make some semi-detailed sense of who is where and why. Feel free to challenge my opinions with your own.
The “In Crowd”
Chad Pennington – You seriously shouldn’t be asking why. CP has been the Parcells hand picked guy twice now. He is slated to start the season barring injury.
Chad Henne – The future of the franchise is showing glimpses of what he can do while at the same time showing he has a long way to go as well.
Ricky Williams - Williams will lead the way for this team as they slowly work Ronnie Brown back into the fold. Brown and Williams will be a deadly combination.
Ronnie Brown – see Ricky Williams
Boomer Grigsby – The hard hitting pass catching fullback is also an ace on special teams and he is making a strong case to play on offense everytime he takes the field.
Jalen Parmale – This quick RB is practicing well on the special teams and making the most of his chances when given the ball. He is showing too much to think that the Phins can risk him making it to the practice squad.
Samson Satele – The 2nd year center is not a Parcells guy, neither in size or by draft choice. That will not however keep him off the roster. Satele is starting to become a very valuable assett and learning under former line coach Tony Sparano will only make him better.
Steve McKinney – The G/C is back on the field after recovering from his injury last season. While he likely will struggle to take a starters job away from anyone, he will be a valuable back-up who can play both G/C.
Donald Thomas – Is there a better story this off-season in Miami? The UCONN rookie has moved from nowhere to the starting lineup and it doesn’t appear that he will be giving it up. This guy has the look and feel of a major draft steal.
Jake Long – Oh please
Justin Smiley – The guard from SF is showing why the Phins wanted him bad enough to skip the 1st tier overpaying of lineman and grab the 4 year veteran. Smiley and Long have routinely opened up holes in practice and both looked good in their first preseason game.
Vernon Carey – While his future with Miami long term is in doubt, there is no doubt that he will be anchoring the right side of this line this year. Carey’s rookie contract is up after this season and Miami will see what he has in real games before looking to extend him.
Darren Heerspink – The Dolphins are thin at tackle and Heerspink is having a decent but not great camp.
Trey Darilek – Darilek would be the starting RG if not for Donald Thomas. He should be a decent backup.
Anthony Fasano – He is the chosen TE for this group coming over from Dallas VIA trade…not only will he make the 53 he will start as well.
Ted Ginn – Wr’s normally take a good 2 years to develop, 3 to know what you have. While it appears that last years picks are finding the unemployment line, Ginn will be around awhile longer.
Derek Hagan – While many keep wondering when Hagan will be gone, it appears that he is starting to show his hands. From what is being said, the staff really like what they see, so much so he is the starting number 2 WR.
Ernest Wilford – With the contract he signed in free agency, he will at least be given this year to learn to catch, but he better get a grasp quick or his playing time will be nil.
Davone Bess – The unsigned rookie out of Hawaii has turned heads from day 1 and is proving that he is not just a mini-camp player. Bess is listed as the starting slot receiver and seems to catch just about everything.
Jayson Foster – Foster has the speed to be a good return man and that’s exactly where he will likely make this team. Like Parmale, Foster wouldn’t likely clear waivers to the practice squad. This one is a prediction more than a lock, he will not make the team as a WR.
Dan Carpenter – He already has been handed the job but he can’t get too excited yet. Bill Parcells loves firing kickers and should Carpenter start missing kicks, he will be gone too, but I think he sticks around he seems pretty good.
Brandon Fields – This guy is a boomer and if he can get his consistency down, he could be a pro-bowler one of these days. The staff really likes this kid which is good because until this offense starts scoring points a big leg will be needed on 4th downs.
John Denney – The long snapper really doesn’t do anything else, but no one else can long snap.
The “D” Fence
Jason Ferguson – Had for a swap of 6′s this year and a 6 next year…sounds like my fantasy league. Ferguson is the best down lineman this team has and he is a disruptive force. The anchor of the 34 defense that is being installed, Ferguson looks more than recovered from the injury that kept him out all last year.
Vonnie Holiday – The veteran DE is now being asked to play the Jason Taylor roll. He is being used as a DE and a LB and it seems to be giving him some enjoyment. His intensity level is up and he is practicing better. He has been injured lately and will miss his second pre-season game this week, but he will make this team.
Kendall Langford – The 3rd round DE could be the 2nd steal of this draft. Langford is pushing to start and it appears that playing time will not be an issue.
Phillip Merling – While it is too soon to start calling him “Merling The Magician”, it is not too soon to say that he looks more like the projected mid 1st round pick everyone thought he would be before the hernia than a 2nd round steal.
Lionel Dotson - Dotson is a 100 percent sure bet, but given what is below him, it’s a good possibility the youngster will be given time play.
Randy Starks – Starks is progressing nicely in learning to play not only the DE spot but moving down to NT as well where he can spell Ferguson. In addition he can play DT when the team switches down from a 34 to a 43.
Anthony Toribio – Toribio is on the cusp but there is a lack of true “tackle” depth on this team and Toribio has been impressing coaches with his conditioning and willingness to learn. He is going to be right on that edge, but I’m going to say he makes it.
Matt Roth – Roth has to step up and do something or he will be looking for a new team next year if not sooner. He is now playing both DE and LB with the latter getting more practice time. I have not seen him in last weeks game but I don’t think the team will get rid of him just yet.
Junior Glymph – The coaching staff have been raving about this guy and the media seem to find only positives to say about the LB. Glymph won’t have much problem making this team and should be able to contribute regularly as well.
Quentin Moses – Improving every practice it seems. He was cut twice last year before being signed mid-season. He did not see much game time last year but in practices this year it seems he is starting to “get” it.
Channing Crowder – The captain of the defense. Crowder too is in a contract year and needs to step up and take control of the middle LB spot.
Charlie Anderson – Anderson was penciled in as the the other MLB before straining his hamstring. He isn’t going anywhere.
Reggie Torbor – Torbor is playing the same way he played in NY. With an attitude that fits well within a team that is trying to mold together. Torbor will be the LB that comes in and spells the others and will do so without missing a beat.
Joey Porter – It’s almost like he isn’t even there. His mouth is completly shut. Amazing. Porter is quietly going about his business but has missed some practice time due to a back issue. The issue will probabaly nag him on and off all year and could become a problem at some point that will cause him to have to sit out some series.
Akin Ayodele – Part of the Anthony Fasano trade, Aydole will be stepping in for Anderson while he recovers. He is a good fit in this scheme because he knows it and the coaches. Ayodele was only expendable in Dallas because they signed Zach Thomas.
Will Allen – Despite the fight, Allen’s only issue is his legal issues. He is the starter on the corner.
Andre’ Goodman – Recovered from his injury, Goodman has done a nice job of being consistent, something that the team needs all over the field.
Nathan Jones – The former Cowboy is working nicely within the Todd Bowles system and is a capable back up who can start if need be.
Joey Thomas – This kid can hit, the problem is he hits anything and in practice the offense is not supposed to be laid out…yeah he does that.
Chris Crocker – Crocker is not the best Safety the Phins have but he is getting better and he can lay someone out as well. Crocker was an FA signing this offseason and will see time in the nickel and dime packages.
Yeremiah Bell – The undeniable leader in the secondary, Bell only needs to stay healthy.
Jason Allen – Funny how a year ago we all thought he was out of a job, well apparently the light bulb is starting to warm up.
Keith Davis – Another Cowboy familiar with the system.
Patrick Cobbs – Cobbs has been playing very well and it will only depend on how many RB’s the team decides to keep and that is likely what will determine his fate. I still think that he is on the high end of the “in betweens” meaning if I were a betting man, I would put on the final 53.
Lex Hilliard – The rookie RB has not been all that impressive in camp and if it comes down to him and Patrick Cobbs, I give the nod to Cobbs by a mile. Still, he may be of value on special teams.
Shawn Murphy – Murphy is undersized and is struggling. He tends to get manhandled. Will he make the 53? Maybe if the Phins feel they can’t get him moved to the practice squad. They obviously saw something in him to move up to grab him round 4.
Ikechuku Ndukwe – He has been struggling in camp as well and it appears that with the problems the Phins have on depth, he could be out of a job if the Phins can find another lineman off waivers when other teams start making their cuts.
Sean Ryan – The TE was a free agent signing and really hasn’t played bad in camp. He has decent blocking skills and his pass catching is improving. He is still on the cusp only because he isn’t a slam dunk TE.
Justin Peele – Peele is a 7 year veteran who just does what he is asked. He is neither horrible nor great. He is the typical middle of the road TE that can come in when needed and not make a mistake. Is that enough on this team? We will find out.
David Kircus – Kircus was the star of the preseason game against Tampa, but that doesn’t mean he will not be cut. Most teams will keep 5 wide receivers and maybe a 6th on special teams. The Dolphins have Ginn, Hagan, Wilford, and Bess leaving one spot. With Foster looking like the KR guy, one spot, maybe 2 will be open at WR. Kircus will battle Camarillo.
Greg Camarillo – Camarillo is showing good hands of late, but like Kircus faces the direction of what this coaching staff wants to go.
Paul Soliai – He didn’t get it last year, but then again, no one did. He has had some issues this off-season and I put him on the bottom of the “tweeners”. He has started to look better but is it enough? He needs to be a far better NT as he will not make this roster as anything but.
Rod Wright – Wright spent his first year injured but has a lot of upside. He needs to consistently prove that he is not only getting better but that he can exceed those expectations. This is a tough one to call but without this group having any personal vested interest in him, he is expendable and they don’t have to keep a spot for him.
Rob Ninkovich – Ninko is a middle tiered guy. He will never be great nor will he ever be horrible. That is not enough to guarantee himself a job on this team and he will have to fight to keep it. With guys like Glymph stepping up it may come down to a depth issue.
Kelly Poppinga – When Bill Parcells pulls you aside to give you advice, it’s a good sign. If he didn’t think there was potential he wouldn’t care if you failed. He has the chance to make this team, but he will have to earn it.
Chris Roberson – The CB has actually been playing well and seems to be one of those guys that works to correct his mistakes. While not a lock by any means, he will likely play ST’s as well increasing his value to the coaching staff.
Will Billingsley – Hard to say with Will. He has been getting a lot of looks in practice and they have not been bad nor good. I think he has a shot but he will need to prove that he can get better and then show it.
Travis Daniels – I can’t believe we are still talking about TD. Daniels has not evolved but has the athleticism that coaches love. Which is why he is still here. That could change soon.
Renaldo Hill – Hill is fighting back from the bottom of the depth chart after an injury last year. He has some good qualities but there may be better options in front of him. There is not a lot of room for mistakes with Hill.
Courtney Bryan – Bryan is similar to Hill as well. Fighting to maintain his position rather than win it. He needs to focus on winning it.
Pack Your Bags
Josh McCown and John Beck – While Tony Sparano says that he could keep 4 QB’ on the roster, everyone knows that is not true. The question is which will it be? Already rumors swirled about John Beck being cut but that hardly is an endorsement for McCown. I actually think that neither potentially could be on this roster by August 30th.
Matt Spanos – With Steve Mckinney back and able to play center, Spanos doesn’t provide enought to give depth.
Mike Byrne – I don’t know anything about this guy.
Reagan Mauia – The Dolphins would likely keep and extra RB than an extra FB and Grigsby is the clearly better option. Mauia is just not getting it all the time. I think we say good-bye to yet another 2007 draft pick.
Matt Mulligan – The TE is a big guy and can block, but he doesn’t seem to catch well and he will need to do both to beat out Peele or Ryan. They won’t keep 4.
David Martin – There will not be a Miami Dolphins fan surprised when he is cut…the fact he is still on the team is the surprise.
Selwyn Lymon – Lymon is too far down to prove he can play at this level, right now he is trying to prove he can make the practice squad.
Anthony Armstrong – He has been getting some extra looks but again, he may be a candidate for the practice squad.
John Dunlap – Sorry, not everyone can make the PS.
Titus Brown and Maurice Fountain – they were brought into camp to get a look and they have given it. Brown has not been all that impressive and Fountain who just joined hasn’t been here long enough to prove he belongs over someone else.
Edmond Miles and Keith Saunders – Even with the depth problems at LB these two are not likely to make it. Miles has a better chance as he is a returning veteran.
That about does it, I guess we will see in another week how close I come.