The Miami Dolphins released their first depth chart of the season about two hours ago. As predicted by most beat writers, David Garrard is leading the quarterback battle but Joe Philbin insisted the race has not been decided. Matt Moore is on the second team and is followed by the golden boy, Ryan Tannehill. The great news for Dolphin fans is that Tannehill does not seize to impress, surpassing all reasonable expectations to date.
As far as the debate-generating receiver contest, Chad Johnson and Legedu Naanee are the first-team wideouts with Davone Bess in the slot. Julius Pruitt and Brian Hartline round out the top five receivers on the chart.
The cornerback situation has created some buzz as well with Vontae Davis practicing in the slot, behind Sean Smith and Richard Marshall. The new depth chart coincided with what we’ve seen in practice, as Davis was relegated to the second team. This more than any other player placement, appears to be an attempt to motivate a very talented defender. I still expect Davis to be starting against the Houston Texans.
Philbin also appears to believe that rookies have to start from the bottom. Except for right tackle Jonathan Martin and fullback Jorvorskie Lane, most rookies are buried at the end of the depth chart. Martin is allowing Phinphanatics to breath a sigh of relief as he has played well so far and is validating the notion that Jeff Ireland drafted a first-round talent in the second round of this year’s NFL draft. Lane is a Texas A&M product and is a known quantity in the wide-open lead-back chase.
Lamar Miller, Michael Egnew, Rishard Matthews, B.J. Cunningham, and Les Brown are being challenged to earn their spots. I expect, at least, Miller and Egnew will rise.
While this first chart means very little, here is some of the information I see, between the lines:
1. Philbin and Mike Sherman will give Lane and Jeff Fuller every opportunity to make the 53-man roster.
2. The Panama-born Roberto Wallace received no veteran preference and is, at best, ninth in the receiver competition. He was listed on the fourth-team with eight receivers making the first three teams.
3. The coaches are impressed with Jonathan Martin.
4. Olivier Vernon has also impressed.
5. There’s no need to worry about rookies at the bottom of the depth chart. They will rise.
6. Chad Johnson is entrenched as the number one receiver on the team.
Well Phinphanatics, rejoice because football is here!
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Topics: Chad Johnson, David Garrard, Jeff Fuller, Jeff Ireland, Joe Philbin, Jonathan Martin, Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins, MIke Sherman, Olivier Vernon, Richard Marshall, Roberto Wallace, Ryan Tannehill, Vontae Davis