The Miami Dolphins are set to begin paring their rosters down to the 53 man limit and have until 4:00 this afternoon to do it. If history has taught us anything, they will take the full day to release their names. In other words you can keep hitting refresh all day long and nothing will change. Keep an eye on Twitter though as players like to announce their release themselves.
We know that the bottom of the roster will turn over and there are rarely surprises there but there are positions that will be watched closely.
Running backs Orleans Darkwa and Daniel Thomas will be two players who’s names could show up on the final cut. The Dolphins may opt to look at the free agency market for their fourth running back or they could use Marcus Thigpen in that role. Regardless the position is likely to undergo a change at the bottom of that unit. Damien Williams has all but officially made the roster.
The Dolphins are very deep at wide-receiver and while it’s unlikely to see the Dolphins make a trade it’s not impossible. Brandon Gibson or Rishard Matthews could be part of trade at some point today but the real question is will the Dolphins carry five our six wide-receivers and if they can’t trade one who will they release? Matt Hazel is a good candidate for the 10 man practice squad and he and Kevin Cone will very likely be released this afternoon. Releasing those two puts Miami at six remaining wide-receivers and the decision to release one more would be very difficult coming down to one of three players. Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, and Damian Williams.
The depth along the offensive line has never really garnered much interest on cut day. It’s not a glamorous position and more often than not those that are released are camp bodies but this year it’s a little different. Dennis Hickey ran through his first off-season as a general manager and signed a few free agent lineman that could and possibly should be gone. The question is did anyone really beat them out of a job? David Arkin has been inconsistent and non-existent while Jason Fox has been almost unheard from. The good news for Fox is that he plays left tackle and is currently listed as the teams number two LT.
Another name to watch for today is back-up center Sam Brenner who has been rumored to be on the bubble. Brenner has done well but hasn’t done enough to unquestionably lock in a roster spot.
It doesn’t get any easier on the defensive side of the ball. The Dolphins have a talented front line on defense and rookie Garrison Smith has really been impressive this training camp. Can he make this roster? It’s a good possibility but the defensive line has always fell to the numbers game and Miami will have some tough decisions at other positions which means that the defensive line may get picked on this afternoon. In addition to Smith, Anthony Johnson and Kamal Johnson have also turned some heads this off-season so expect the Dolphins d-line coach to pound his fist on the table for his guys.
Linebackers have been a problem for the Dolphins. The tackling support from the second level has left a lot people worried but the stand out this pre-season has been Jason Trusnik who many felt would be part of this years cuts. Trusnik has been good on special teams and has been one of the more consistent tacklers on the team. The Dolphins have nine linebackers on the roster right now and will need to decide if they are going to carry. They ended last season with seven.
Jelani Jenkins and Jonathan Freeney are still be waited on to fully develop but they are not Hickey’s guys, Jordan Tripp and Chris McCain are. That is not to say that either will be released today but it’s something to keep an eye on.
The Dolphins have already done trimming at the cornerback position so today will bring a decision on Kevin Fogg and Walt Aikens as the rest of the roster should make the team safety however is a little different. Jordan Kovacs and Don Jones may find themselves off the 53 man roster and Walt Aikens who has spent some time at safety this camp could take one of their positions. Hickey will also have to make a decision on Michael Thomas as well obviously.
The Dolphins have already made one cut and that was at tight end with Kyle Miller but after the dust settles on today’s cuts the team will turn their attention to the free agent market and there is always a possibility that today’s 53 will not be tomorrow’s.