T minus 17 days until training camp! There will be plenty to talk about after July 30th – lots of new Miami Dolphins, and lots of new position battles we’ll be keeping our eyes on.
On the offensive side of the line, there will be some fierce competition at both guard spots (click here for my thoughts on that), and at Wide Receiver. There will be plenty of bodies competing for the right to catch passes as a Dolphin, but I’m looking forward to watching another battle within the position– the right to line up opposite Brandon Marshall at No. 2 WR.
Davone Bess won’t be starting, but he may very well end up being No. 2 statistically. He probably won’t have another 76 catch, 758 yard season – but he may come close. Regardless, he’ll be earning his paycheck from the slot.
This contest is between 28-year-old old Greg Camarillo (who managed to bounce back from a 2008 knee injury to start all 16 games last season), and 23-year-old Brian Hartline (last year’s overachieving 4th round draft pick).
Popular opinion seems to sway toward Hartline stealing Camarillo’s gig in 2010. As a rookie, Hartline proved to have reliable hands, and found ways to get the ball that Ted Ginn did not. Hartline totaled 31 catches for 506 yards and 3 touchdowns last season, and Chad Henne seemed to have growing confidence when looking his direction. But, don’t count out Camarillo. He proved his knee was a non-issue in 2009 and ending up having more catches than Hartline (50) and more yards (552), even though he was kept out of the end zone.
Camarillo and Hartline are essentially the same guy. They’re both built virtually the same. Neither is flashy. Neither is a burner. Neither is going to give a defensive back a pre-game nightmare. But they both are interchangeably reliable. They rarely drop passes, and they’re gritty receivers who aren’t afraid to go after the ball and take a shot. That means they may both potentially be perfectly suited to compliment a stud receiver – which the Dolphins now have in the new #19.
I expect Camarillo to keep the job, at least for the first few weeks of the season, but realistically it doesn’t matter who gets to see their name No. 2 on the depth chart. By the end of the year their stats will likely mirror each other. Look for numbers around 40-50 catches, 400-550 yards, and a handful of touchdowns each, as long as Henne spreads the wealth.
Come July 30th, No. 2 WR may not be the most important position battle – but it will still be fun to watch.