It’s June – the heart of the off-season lull.
The spring excitement of free agency and the draft is long gone, and we’re still more than a month away from the start of training camp. The Miami Dolphins 2010 season is in utero, but as of now, I see just 3 offensive positions without starters already inked in – LG, RG, and No.2 WR.
It’s way too early to speculate who’s going to win each job, especially since the 53 man roster is far from complete.
So, let’s speculate!
Since two of the position battles are along the Dolphins pricey offensive line, let’s start there this week and put the discussion at WR on the backburner.
Right Guard Candidates:
Richie Incognito – 6’3 324 lbs.
Joe Berger – 6’5 315 lbs.
Donald Thomas – 6’4 310 lbs.
If big bad Richie can get his act together in Miami, unlike he was able to do in St. Louis, here’s hoping he’s the 2010 starter. When he wasn’t jawing at coaches and committing personal fouls, he had been a solid starter for the Rams. Obviously, Dolphin brass thinks he’s 1) grown up and 2) an upgrade over Donald Thomas. Thomas didn’t have a bad 2009, but he didn’t have a great season either. Sparano and Co. finally got a chance to see what Thomas could do after he spent 2008 on IR, and it seems like they weren’t entirely thrilled.
Joe Berger filled in nicely in 6 starts last season. He’ll get a shot, but may be better suited as a utility lineman. He’s already proven to be great security blanket.
Incognito’s the guy. He adds a little more mass to the right side, and let’s not forget – was part of the St. Louis line that, in 2006, produced a 1,500 yard season for Steven Jackson, and a 4,000 yard season for Marc Bulger.
If the job isn’t his in 2010 – something went wrong.
Left Guard Candidates:
Donald Thomas – 6’4 310 lbs.
Cory Proctor - 6’4 311 lbs.
John Jerry (R) – 6’5 328 lbs.
Thomas and newly acquired Proctor have roughly the same amount of starting experience. Thomas was the Dolphins starter at RG most of last year, and Proctor made 11 starts for Dallas in 2008. Physically, they’re clones – both standing at 6’4 and hovering around 310 lbs. They also both have a history with the regime. Proctor was originally scooped up by Parcells and Sparano after being discarded by the Lions when they were in Dallas, and Thomas was their potential “gem” of the 6th round of the 2008 draft.
Rookie John Jerry will get a crack at the job as well. Realistically, he’s the dark-horse, but stranger things have happened (e.g. Donald Thomas getting the nod at RG in ’08). Jerry is massive. Crazy, massive. Wishful thinking is that he and Jake Long will form a solid left wall for years to come. That remains to be seen, but the potential is surely there.
If Jerry ends up being the opening week starter, things will be good in Dolphinland. He will have overachieved and beat out 2 capable veterans in the process. Don’t count on it. The edge has to go toward Thomas as long as he can move to the left side, with Proctor providing his main competition. It will be interesting to see which one wins the battle, but whichever one happens to lose will provide comforting depth that the team has lacked for years.