Week 1 Review
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins finished up their first week of two-a-day practices. The team is setting it’s sights on a Saturday pad scrimmage at Sun-Life Stadium. It’s open to the public by the way. So after this first week, who has stepped up, stood out, and dropped out? Let’s take a look.
Training camp week 1 review:
The top 5:
Ikaika Alama-Francis – IAF made a position change at the start of camp to the outside LB position. Thus far he has been nothing short of perfect. With pre-seasons first Phins game a week away, IAF will try and duplicate his practice success with real game play against the Buc’s. It appears though that he may in fact win the starting job if his excellent play continues.
Nolan Carrol – The 5th round corner-back told reporters back in April that he thought he would have been selected higher than the 5th round. So far in camp he is proving it. Some within the local media are waiting for Carrol to move up on the depth chart and while he may not move into a starting roll soon, he could be poised to provide the Dolphins the best depth at the position. He is also working on special teams as a returner.
Jared Odrick – You would expect a first round product to play at a high level given his draft stock, but that is not always the case and usually is not the norm. Odrick has done nothing but impress his offensive counterparts. Stepping in from day 1, Odrick appears to “get it” from the start. It will be nice to see what he does in the pre-season games. (which is why we have them)
Patrick Turner – I know, there are probably better candidates for the top 5 including the play of John Jerry on the offensive line but going into camp, Turner wasn’t a name that many thought would be practicing let alone performing. Turner has been making one-handed stick-um plays in the endzone and diving grabs across coverage. It’s an understatement to say that he is turning heads. The problem is, he turned heads last year as well. For now, he sits here as a surprise of camp…that can and very well may change.
Randy Starks – If there is a bigger surprise of this camp I don’t know who it is. AIF is a candidate but truth be told, going into camp, the questions surrounding the NT position were the biggest going into camp and after the Dolphins missed out on a true nose in the draft, many people questioned the move of Starks to NT. Starks however is looking like a beast at the position. Manhandling his offensive opposition, Starks is consistently demonstrating up-field push often against two lineman. The best part may be that he is still growing into the position.
If Starks’ progress continues, he may anchor one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL.
The Bottom 5:
Sean Smith – Smith entered training camp running off with his mouth. He was going to put on a show. Instead, he found himself laying on his back in practice one against Brandon Marshall and demoted to 2nd team behind Jason Allen for a day by mid-week. Smith has been beaten by Marshall on the high side and Julius Pruitt on the low. Thus far he is an equal opportunity offender. While Smith is still in line to handle the starting duties across from Vontae’ Davis, Will Allen isn’t going away and Nolan Carrol is starting to make people take notice.
Jake Grove – Perhaps it’s because Tony Sparano loves to change things up on the offensive line but Grove has moved from 1st team center, to 2nd, and then to 3rd. Sparano loves to flex his lineman to different spots on the depth chart and he plays with it all summer long, but the fact is, 3rd string up until now, bubble center Andrew Hartline has played better with the number 1’s than Grove has with the number 2’s. Grove needs to get that nasty streak back before he loses his starting job for good.
Chad Henne – Henne hasn’t been horrible in camp but he hasn’t exactly been lighting up the practices either. Henne is having issues with his touch passes and that is something that he needs to work on before the season officially gets underway with meaningful games. A knock on Henne last year was the fact that he tended to float his passes when he tried to take off the zip. While it’s not a concern yet, it could become one. Especially if those would be pick-6 INT’s in practice become real come September. While Henne is not close to being one of the worst in practices thus far, the fact that he is “THE” leader on this team puts him here.
Pat White – I don’t want to pick on White and this has nothing to do with his “personal” issue that forced him to miss the opening day of camp. Still, White has had only 1 “decent” practice thus far. Wide on his throws, long, or under thrown, reports are that he has shown nothing more than the power to run up-field and normally far too early. White has a very bad tendency to give up on plays far too early and it’s showing in practice thus far. While it’s doubtful the Phins will keep 4 QB’s, so White may be fighting for his roster spot.
Jason Allen – It’s time. The former 16th overall pick by Nick Saban has run his course in Miami. A fresh team may do him well. Allen is never going to be a starter in Miami and the Dolphins don’t need him on special teams anymore. Allen couldn’t cut it as a corner-back so he was moved to safety where he failed and was moved back to corner. Failing a 2nd time he was moved to safety and then back again. Allen has become a secondary yo-yo and despite the fact that he was for one practice ahead of Sean Smith, he won’t take a depth spot away from Nolan Carrol who will move ahead of him this week. The Dolphins released corner Evan Oglesby at the start of camp and have brought him back. Allen is biding his time. Truth is, he will get the pre-season games and will likely be out of Miami job at the end of the month as final cuts are made. Allen has no tradable worth right now and the only thing he can provide the Dolphins is depth if there is an injury.