Questions Arise As Dolphins Open Second Week of OTAs
May 21, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Rishard Matthews (18) during organized team activities at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Dolphins will be kicking off their second week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) today. The team had a great showing last week and will look to capitalize on that this week.
Although the team did a great job during OTAs last week, the Dolphins still have some questions that need to be answered.
Here are some observations from last weeks OTAs and some questions and concerns that could be answered in the near future.
—- Corner Brent Grimes looked great according to the Miami Dolphins’ official team site (Alain Poupart). According to Poupart, the 5’10” corner looked like his good old self once again after tearing his achilles tendon last season playing for the Atlanta Falcons. While this is certainly a great sign for both the Dolphins organization and the team’s fans, can Grimes capitalize on a great first impression? Will a solid second week of practice prove the former Pro Bowl player is back to form?
—- Joining Grimes on the first team defense is last year’s big off-season acquisition, Richard Marshall. Marshall had an excellent week of practice while lining up opposite Grimes on the first team defense. Marshall was a key reason General Manager Jeff Ireland saw CB Vontae Davis expendable last season. Marshall’s season was lost after suffering a back injury early in the season. Is Marshall fully healthy? And is Miami actually better than we expected at the corner position?
—- According to Jesse Agler and the Finsiders Radio Show, wide receivers Brian Tyms and Armon Binns (Jr.) were quite impressive to say the least. Tyms and Binns are in a battle with Rishard Matthews, Jeff Fuller, Chad Bumphis, Jasper Collins, Marvin McNutt, and Courtney Gardner for the 4th, 5th and 6th wide receiver spots (depending on how many receivers the team wishes to carry this season…). Can Tyms and Binns continue to impress? Will both take a step back (We know of Binns’ inconsistency…)? Or swill someone else emerge from the pack?
—- After the team recently let speedster Terrell Sinkfield (the “4.19” forty-yard dash man) go, how will Courtney Gardner look? The 6’4” 215 lbs. receiver certainly has the desired size at the position, but will it translate to production? And how polished is he? Is he a viable option or is he simply a camp body?
May 21, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Marcus Thigpen (34) during organized team activities at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
—- Yes, that is RB/KR/PR Marcus Thigpen in the image above. Notice anything different? The guy is looking monstrous. A few weeks ago, Thigpen not only stated that he wanted to break the NFL record for return yardage in one season, but he also told reporters that he wanted to earn the starting running back role for the Dolphins.
“I’m working towards that right now and I’ve put on maybe six or seven pounds. I’m up to 200 right now and my goal is to be the starting running back for this team.”
All I can say is that he definitely looks like he’s put on at least those seven pounds if not more…
—- With the absence of DT Randy Starks (holding out for a new long-term contract after being slapped with the franchise tag), last year’s defensive end, Jared Odrick, lined up along side Paul Soliai as the team’s first team defensive tackles. According to Omar Kelly, Odrick “looked GOOD” in this role. Although this is not surprising, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Obviously both Starks and Soliai are free agents after this season concludes so Odrick must get acquainted with his new role.
—- Is Olivier Vernon ready to take the next step and start opposite Cameron Wake at defensive end? Especially with rookie first-round pick, Dion Jordan, still recovering from shoulder surgery (also has a bit of a contractual issue..)? And where exactly is Derrick Shelby?
—- Will tight end Dustin Keller continue to impress? Many have been impressed with not only how fast the former New York Jet is, but also with his blocking ability. Many over look Keller’s ability to be an “in-line” blocker (this means the tight end lines up next to the left or right tackle on the line of scrimmage). To be honest, he is a better blocker than even you yourself may think.
—- Mario Cuadros of the Bleacher Report claims that right guard John Jerry has actually shown up to OTAs under-weight (Under 340 pounds). Yes, you read that correctly. Jerry has struggled with his weight in the past so this will be quite interesting to follow. If Jerry can keep his weight under control, he should have no problem fending off former Chicago Bear Lance Louis for the right guard position, whom is returning from a torn ACL.
With so many questions to be answered, it will certainly be an interesting time to follow the Dolphins in the coming weeks.
The team is scheduled to hold OTAs May 29th through May 31st. The team will also hold it’s third and final session of OTAs next week from June 3rd through June 6th.