Tomorrow night, the Miami Dolphins on Hard Knocks will premier on HBO. We will have a live Knocks chat right here so you can either find out a little bit about what is going on or chat it up while you are watching it. Most if not all the viewers will be playing close attention to the QB position and the unfolding battle between Miami’s trio in the competition. There will of course be some players that are playing well, check out the Sun-Sentinel report on our “HUB”. There will also be the players that are playing bad or have simply disappeared.
I wanted to take a look at four players who have either under-performed or have become non-existent.
Clyde Gates: Gates has been almost invisible this camp. He has made no steps toward becoming even a marginal player in the NFL let a lone a marginal player on what is widely panned the worst receiving team in the league. That alone is enough to question his ability or his lack of drive. It’s becoming more and more likely that Gates will take the same road out of town that former 3rd round pick Patrick Turner took. A one year stint and gone. To “pun” this out. The gate is closing on Gates. The first pre-season game is this Friday night and the weeks that follow will be fast and furious as teams approach the 53 man roster and the regular season.
With the Dolphins likely to keep only five or six receivers at most, Gates is already fallen behind Chad Johnson, Davone Bess, Legedu Naane, Julius Pruitt, Roberto Wallace, Brian Hartline (who hasn’t even practiced fully yet), and un-drafted rookie Jeff Fuller. Along with just about all of the other WR’s on the roster. Gates has the speed but simply isn’t doing enough. His lone saving grace may be on the return units of the special teams. If he can’t prove his value there, he will be gone.
John Jerry: Recently the Miami Dolphins turnstile, Vernon Carey, a free agent announced his retirement from the NFL after 8 seasons. John Jerry may want to polish his resume for future non-football employment. Maybe he could get a job with the Arena league. Jerry was penciled in as the RG starter but quickly lost that position. He then fell behind Nate Garner as the back-up to the RG position. Jerry arrived at camp overweight and lacking a drive to succeed. Former HC Tony Sparano lobbied hard for the drafting of Jerry but it will go down as Jeff Ireland mistake in the end. Jerry is on such thin ice that he literally could be out of a job any day. It would be a miracle if he turned it around now to make the team.
Michael Egnew: The big 6-5 TE is listed behind three other TE’s on the depth chart including Jeron Mastrud who many believed was a foregone conclusion to be cut. Egnew was used primarily as a split end in college. Rarely used in a three-point edge stance. It’s really what made him ideal for this type of offense. A guy who could catch passes and get under coverage. Thus far, he hasn’t been able to adjust to the NFL game. Egnew is not likely to be cut and he is a rookie and some rookies take longer to develop. With the emergence of players like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, fans are likely going to give up on Egnew long before the team does. Egnew has time to get it together but it’s unlikely that he will impact this years offense in the regular season. For now, he simply needs to start making an impact in practices.
BJ Cunningham: The first WR drafted by the Dolphins this past April, Cunningham has been unable to make an impression on the field. Regardless of the talent or perceived lack of talent in front of him, he is getting beaten by un-drafted rookie Jeff Fuller. Typically WR’s take a year or two to develop and learn the NFL nuances. Fuller of course knows the system having played with both Ryan Tannehill and under Mike Sherman at Texas A&M. That however does not excuse dropped passes and lack of fundamentals from Cunningham. With a weak WR corp and just about all of the camp receivers ahead of him, Cunningham is looking more and more like a practice squad candidate than a 53 man roster player.
NOTE: Thanks to Tim Knight for pointing out that I forgot Rishard Mathews was drafted in the 7th round.