Miami Dolphins facing tough choices today


The Miami Dolphins made several cuts to their roster on Friday but today will pare their roster to the league mandated 53. While it will not necessarily be the final roster on opening weekend a week from tomorrow, the bulk of the roster will be set. On Sunday the team will begin filling out it’s practice squad.

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Tough decisions await the teams coaches and management. When the Dolphins released Anthony Johnson, Josh Freeman, Damarr Aultman, Jeff Luc, Michael Liedtke, DeAndre Coleman, James Davidson, and Donald Hawkins, the moves were expected and somewhat easy to make. Johnson was probably the toughest of the group but his play this training camp was inconsistent.

Today’s cuts will be a mix of the expected and perhaps some unexpected releases as well. Regardless of whether they are surprises or not, they won’t be easy.

Cornerback is not only a problem for the Dolphins but it’s also a tough decision as well. Questions remain about the safety of Zack Bowman, Tony Lippett, and even Will Davis. Despite the two interception pre-season finale for Davis, he is reportedly on the trading block which means that he could be released. If Davis is released it would be a bit of a surprise. It would also mean that the team is likely going with Bowman or Lippett or both.

Safety is also an interesting position to watch. Michael Thomas and Cedric Thompson are fighting for the last one or two spots. The Dolphins could go with four safeties or they could keep five. Jordan Kovacs is likely out but could Thomas or Thompson be headed to the free agent line? It’s hard to imagine Thomas being released because he is very good on special teams and is a viable option to start should Walt Aikens struggle. Thompson is a 5th round pick and the Dolphins may not want to risk losing him if they release him in the hopes of stashing him on the practice squad.

At wide-receiver the Dolphins have only one real decision to make. Keep Matt Hazel or release him. Hazel is the only player that is sitting on the roster bubble today at receiver. The rest have either already made it, Jennings, Parker, Landry, Stills, and Matthews, or they are simply awaiting their release, Cobi Hamilton and Christion Jones. Whether the Dolphins decide to keep five or six receivers will be the factor that keeps Hazel.

Will it be Tim Semisch or Jake Stoneburner at tight end? Could it be both? The most likely scenario is Semisch is released and added to the practice squad. Stoneburner has proven himself to be a reliable blocker this training camp and he is capable to add to the passing game as a receiver.

C.J. Mosley is on the bubble after being added to the team this off-season but the question is whether or not the Dolphins will keep both him and A.J. Francis. With the release of Anthony Johnson yesterday it becomes a two man race but the question is whether or not they are racing to one or two spots.

The kicker position isn’t cemented yet either. Caleb Sturgis hasn’t been head and shoulders above rookie Andrew Franks but can the Dolphins afford to have two rookie kickers in the house after releasing Brandon Fields? This one could go either way.

Nine linebackers enter today on the roster. It’s safe to say that Zach Vigil has mad the team but what about Mike Hull and Spencer Paysinger? What about Jordan Tripp? Tripp is still injured with an ankle issue and the Dolphins might explore putting him on the short season IR sidelining him for six weeks but allowing them another roster spot. Paysinger has looked lost all pre-season but his special teams play is good and he is a veteran that could give a young group some more experience. Only Koa Misi and Kelvin Sheppard, six and five years respectively, match him in time of service.

While everyone believes as do I that Matt Moore will be the teams back-up quarterback would it be a huge shock if the Dolphins opted to release him and save some money? McLeod Bethel-Thompson has not looked very good in pre-season but Matt Moore has looked atrocious. I’m not saying that is what will happen, or should happen but stranger things have, you know, happened.

Finally the offensive line is a big question mark entering today. The starters seem to be set aside from the battle of Jamil Douglas and Billy Turner for the right guard position but depth is a concern. While Jason Fox and Sam Brenner will make the roster, the same can’t be said for Jacques McClendon and Aundrey Walker. Yesterday the Dolphins removed Donald Hawkins and Michael Liedtke from the roster (unofficially) which means that McClendon and Walker are vying for maybe one position.

Whomever is on the target list for the Dolphins, it will be clarified today as the team makes the final moves in preparation for the season opener next Sunday.