The Miami Dolphins WR Situation

Photo: Miami HeraldIf you are like me, and you probably are because let’s face it, while you like to come here and read what is going on, there are always other site stops to make.  So by now, I am sure you have read the Armando Salguero blog today titled, “The complete low down on the Dolphins’ WR’s“.

The blog is interesting because it highlights what Tony Sparano said about the unit today during the AFC coaches breakfast.  However, despite the title, and this is actually not a knock on Mando, the article itself really doesn’t give anything on our WR’s.  It’s a good read because the article has the quotes from Sparano’s presser regarding the WR’s.  What the article doesn’t address is the situation with the Dolphins WR’s.  So here it is, the Miami Dolphins’ WR situation.

The Dolphins won’t admit they have a problem.  They say the right things, deny this and that, and in true Tony Sparano fashion, send out the positive vibes to a group that is very sub-par and under-performing.  They know it, the players know it, the fans know it.  So while Sparano will say he is pleased with this “group of people” there is more than one reason why this group will not be the same group lining up come September.

If your looking for clues to disbelieve the coach look no further than starting QB Chad Henne.  Henne recently stated that he would love to have a veteran like TO or Brandon Marshall and said that a veteran would help the younger guys.  Really what he is saying is that right now, he doesn’t have that go-to-guy that is a game changer.  When your starting QB says that in not so many words, believe him that the team is well aware of the same thing.

Still, to bring one in, someone has to go and while Sparano says he likes them, this is the real reason that behind that facade things are likely different.

Ted Ginn: It’s easy to see why the Dolphins brass like the kid.  He is fast and well, he comes with a high price-tag…for now.  Ginn still has potential and I don’t think the coaches truly believe they have gotten the best of him yet.  While I am sure they may never get anything out of him, the truth is until a legit number 1 is lined up across from him, they will continue to wonder…and keep him.

Davone Bess:  Who wouldn’t like Davone Bess?  He works hard and runs good routes and unlike Ted Ginn has very good hands.  What he lacks is explosive speed and the ability to make decent separation.  When Tony Sparano talks about liking people at the position, there is no doubt Bess is one of those guys and truth be told, there is always a position on a team for a solid possession guy and that is what Bess is.

Brian Hartline:  Hartline so far has looked like a steal considering his draft position.  A hard worker with decent but not great speed.  A solid route runner and unlike Ted Ginn, a tough as nails WR that will give a hit before he takes one.  Hartline is a working mans WR in the mold of former college teammate Anthony Gonzalez who has excelled as the number 2 guy in Indy.  Hartline will continue to get better.

Greg Camarillo:  Camarillo, like Hartline is the guy who just gets it done.  The problem is he isn’t relied upon anymore.  He lost his spot last year to Hartline and Bess and was relegated to spot duty.  Even with a young QB who needed a veteran WR on the field, Camarillo spent more time off it.  In reality, the numbers don’t add up to Camarillo staying with the team.  There are no rumors out there saying he is trade bait but the Phins can only keep 4 or 5 WR’s on the roster.  With Ginn, Hartline, and Bess virtual locks for the team (unless one is traded) Camarillo is the odd man out.

Patrick Turner: The Phins haven’t seen enough from Turner yet.  They also have seen enough to know that he isn’t what they thought he might be.  Turner is a big guy but he still struggles with route running and getting off the line of scrimmage.  That has to change and Sparano even remarked about it in this mornings’ presser.  Still, Turner will either spend the season on the inactive list or he will contribute.  It will be very unlikely that Phins simply release him after one season…but stranger things have happened.

Julius Pruitt, Taurus Johnson,  and Ryan Grice-Mullen:  These three round out the Dolphins current 8 man unit and none of these three are likely to touch the field of play.  The Phins say they like what they have seen in Pruitt and Johnson but that is a far cry from saying that they will compete for a job and not just fill out a roster spot to push someone else.

The Unknown: The Dolphins have said that they need a big play WR.  Jeff Ireland said they are hard to find and that you can’t just go out and grab one.  At the same time, they won’t spend the money or the compensation on a guy like Brandon Marshall.  The Dolphins have only one place to turn and that is the NFL Draft at the end of April.  Rumors continue that the Phins may look to Dez Bryant as a solution and while that sounds like a solid option at 12, the reality is that Bill Parcells doesn’t blow 1st round picks on WR’s.

That puts the Dolphins in position to draft one in round 2.  Bryant won’t be there by the time the Phins pick but Arrelious Benn, whom the Phins just scouted at his Illinois pro-day might be.  Perhaps Brandon LaFelle  of LSU may catch their eye.  Golden Tate and a few others as well.  If the Phins go this route you can bet that someone will not be back.  Greg Camarillo or Patrick Turner.

The problem with the Dolphins receivers is easy.  They are for the most part, all alike.  They all bring similar styles of play and on any other team would be used the same way.  Hartline and Camarillo are almost identical except that Hartline is more of a bruiser and a little faster.  Camarillo and Bess are the same only Camarillo has better hands.  All three, ideally are better suited for slot work rather than number 2 outside work.  Which means none of them are suited for number 1 WR work.

With all that being said, there is Ted Ginn.  Who as I mentioned earlier may be more suited to being a real number 2 WR where he can simply sprint upfield and pull coverage.  But in order for that to be a reality, the Phins have to find a suitable body for the 1 slot.  And that person is not on the roster.

Tony Sparano can like these guys all he wants.  And he should.  But the reality is that the Dolphins are missing a big piece of the offensive air attack and because of that, they have to make a decision.  And that decision will likely mean that one or two of these guys won’t be back this season.

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Tags: Arrelious Benn Brian Hartline Davone Bess Dez Bryant Greg Camarillo Miami Dolphins Patrick Turner Ted Ginn

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