Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dolphins Winning Drive - 9/30/10

Dolphins promote guard Ray Feinga from practice squad

With John Jerry still out of practice with the illness that forced him to miss last week's game against the Jets, the Miami Dolphins have promoted second-year guard Ray Feinga from the practice squad to the active roster.

No corresponding roster move was needed to make room for Feinga, as he replaces defensive end Tony McDaniel, who is suspended for one game for violation of the league's Personal Conduct Policy.

Feinga's promotion gives the Dolphins 10 offensive linemen on the active roster, including five guards. It will be Feinga's first professional stint on an active roster.

Reports from Thursday indicate that Jerry is still not practicing due to illness, and head coach Tony Sparano classified him as "day-to-day."

The Dolphins play the New England Patriots this coming week on Monday Night Football.


Background

A two-time all-conference selection at BYU, the 6-foot-4, 337-pound Feinga signed with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent following the 2009 NFL Draft, but was waived before training camp on July 1.

After being picked up by the San Diego Chargers in early August, Feinga appeared in two preseason games as a reserve before being waived during final cuts.

Feinga was signed to the Dolphins' practice squad in late December and remained there through the end of the regular season. He was re-signed to a future contract in January.

After being injured in a minor car crash on the first day of training camp, Feinga was waived by the Dolphins. He was brought back shortly thereafter and appeared in the team's first two preseason games before breaking his finger.

Feinga was waived during final cuts on Sept. 4 and re-signed to the practice squad after clearing waivers, where he has remained for he first three weeks of the regular season.


Analysis

Feinga seems like your typical borderline NFL prospect and practice body that probably isn't going to amount to anything, but there is obviously something the Dolphins really like about this guy.

For Feinga to survive two injuries and two releases since the start of training camp in late July and make his way back to the Dolphins' active roster four weeks into the regular season is quite impressive.

Feinga certainly possesses the prototypical size and strength the Dolphins' staff prefers on the offensive line and has an impressive college résumé.

The Dolphins likely didn't promote Feinga to the active roster just to have him on the inactive 45-man game day roster, so one would expect Feinga is going to dress and quite possibly play against the Patriots on Monday.

It will be interesting to see if Feinga gets a shot at filling in for John Jerry, since Pat McQuistan wasn't all that impressive in that role against the Jets. Cory Procter also played some right guard in he game, but neither he more McQuistan offers much upside.

As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dolphins sign WR Brooks Foster to practice squad

The Miami Dolphins signed second-year wide receiver Brooks Foster to their practice squad Wednesday, according to a blog post by Omar Kelly.

Foster takes the practice squad spot of defensive end Rob Rose, who was promoted to the active roster today following the release of linebacker Erik Walden.

Foster spent the entire 2009 season with the Rams on injured reserve.
The addition of Foster gives the Dolphins two wide receivers on the practice squad (along with Julius Pruitt) and seven in all added to the five on the active roster.

As with all practice squad players, Foster will make roughly $5,200 per week. He will not be eligible to play in games without being signed to the active roster, and any other NFL team can sign him to their active roster if they choose.


Background

A South Carolina native, Foster red-shirted on the North Carolina Tar Heels' football team in 2004 and walked onto the men's basketball team, where he won a national championship under head coach Roy Williams.

Foster played four seasons for the Tar Heels' football team, playing a significant role at receiver during his final three years. At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Foster had totaled 97 receptions, 1,237 yards, and six touchdowns.

He also set numerous team weight-lifting records for wide receivers while at North Carolina. At the pre-draft scouting combine in 2009, Foster posted a 4.38-second forty-yard dash and 27 bench reps of 225 pounds—a combine record for his position.

Drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the fifth round, the 6-foot-1, 204-pound Foster suffered a season-ending ankle injury during his first preseason and spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve.

After appearing in the team's first two preseason games in 2010, Foster was waived by the Rams on Aug. 22. He was claimed off waivers by the New York Jets and appeared in the preseason finale, but was waived during final cuts on Sept. 4.


Analysis

A lot of practice squad players are borderline pro prospects and serve as nothing more than extra practice bodies, but Foster is actually a legitimately decent prospect and one about which I am cautiously excited.

Foster is not your typical undrafted unknown, but rather a former fifth-round pick with a handful of good qualities. He's a big, physical receiver that also brings very good speed. He's a good special teams player and has some upside at receiver as well.

However, Foster is a bit raw and doesn't play up to his physical attributes. He's receiving skills do need work, and he also has a slightly concerning injury history dating back to his days at UNC.

There is obviously a reason the Rams let him go after just one season, and there is also a reason the Jets saw enough of him in two weeks to know they weren't interested in seeing any more. Foster's career isn't off to a great start, and it's entirely possible he never really develops beyond what he is now.

That being said, Foster is certainly an intriguing prospect on special teams and even at receiver, with arguably more upside than undrafted rookies Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace or practice squad body Julius Pruitt.

If Foster is healthy and can perform well enough in practice, it's possible he could be promoted in favor of Moore or Wallace so that the Dolphins can get a look at what he can do on special teams.

As always, check out the updated projected depth chart here.


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Dolphins waive Erik Walden after costly special teams gaffe

In the third quarter of the Miami Dolphins' Sunday night game against the New York Jets, linebacker Erik Walden missed a blocking assignment that allowed a blocked Brandon Fields punt and eventually points for the opposition.

Less than 48 hours later, Walden found himself without a job, having been waived by the Dolphins on Tuesday.

This marks the second time Walden had been waived by the Dolphins this season. Originally let go on Sept. 4 during final cuts, Walden was re-signed following the season opener, ironically to provide a boost to the special teams unit.

Walden departments Miami—possibly permanently—having played in two games this season and recording zero tackles.

To take Walden's spot on the roster, the Dolphins have promoted rookie defensive end Rob Rose from the practice squad, who will be making his second appearance on the active roster.

Originally signing with the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie out of Ohio State, Rose was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins during final cuts and spent the first game of the season inactive.

Rose was waived before the Dolphins' Week 2 contest against the Vikings in favor of fellow defensive lineman Ryan Baker and was subsequently re-signed to the practice squad.

With Jared Odrick still recovering from a fractured fibula and Tony McDaniel suspended this week for violation of the Personal Conduct Policy, Rose will serve as the team's fifth defensive end against the Patriots along with fellow reserves Ryan Baker and Lionel Dotson.


Analysis

Walden's roster spot was never safe as a player that seems to have little upside on defense, but making such a huge mistake on special teams—the one area that is supposed to be his strength—did him in sooner rather than later.

While Walden is typically a good special teams player, his loss is not one that will be hard to replace. He'd essentially never played defense in his two-plus years with the Dolphins.

I'm not surprised to see Rose get the call up over Geathers, as Rose lasted longer during the pair's initial stint on the active roster. Geathers has actually even been let go from the practice squad once already, so he's clearly not valued to highly by the Dolphins.

The Dolphins could use a veteran backup at defensive end like Marques Douglas, who was in camp with the Dolphins this offseason, or the recently released Trevor Pryce.

However, it seems obvious the Dolphins are committed to the youth movement they've been on since final cuts, and I don't expect it to end any time soon.

 As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


Discuss this article on the forum here!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tony McDaniel suspended one game for February arrest

In news that first broke yesterday, Miami Dolphins defensive end Tony McDaniel has been suspended one game by the NFL for violation of the Personal Conduct Policy.

McDaniel with the Dolphins in 2009.
The suspension stems from a February incident which saw McDaniel arrested for domestic battery against his girlfriend at his residence in Broward County. He later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to attend counseling.

Assuming there is no appeal process forthcoming, McDaniel will sit out the Dolphins' Week Four contest against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.

A fifth-year reserve defensive end, the 6-foot-7, 305-pound McDaniel has recorded three tackles and two pass deflections in three games this season.

McDaniel is the first Dolphins player to be suspended during the 2010 season, though he is one of four members of the team arrested since the beginning of the calendar year. Running back Ronnie Brown and cornerback Will Allen were both arrested for DUI in the offseason, while Phillip Merling was booked and charged with aggravated battery against his pregnant girlfriend in May.


Analysis

McDaniel is hardly a vital part of the Dolphins' defense, but this suspension definitely cuts into the depth at defensive end with starter Jared Odrick still recovering from a fractured fibula.

Odrick is reportedly out of a cast and is walking without aid, although he still has a slight limp. While it is possible he is able to practice this week, he appears a long shot to play against New England and might be better off waiting until after the Week Five bye to return to game action.

With McDaniel unavailable against the Patriots in Week Four, inexperienced youngsters Ryan Baker and Lionel Dotson will serve as integral backups to starting ends Kendall Langford and Randy Starks.

Neither player brings starting ability to the table, as Baker and Dotson combine for just 12 regular season games played (no starts) and seven career tackles.

The Dolphins will almost certainly add another body to the active roster before the upcoming game, although don't expect it to be veteran Marques Douglas, who was cut following the preseason.

More likely, one of the practice squad rookies—Clifton Geathers and Rob Rose—will probably earn a promotion and dress as the fifth defensive end against New England.

Both have spent time on the active roster, although Geathers was waived first, which means Rose is probably closer to seeing game action. The Dolphins could also use the upcoming week of practice as an audition between the two.


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Dolphins Winning Drive - 9/27/10

ere's my Dolphins Winning Drive daily video from Monday, Sept. 27. It didn't process on YouTube until late last night, and I didn't want to overshadow my article of observations from the Jets' game, so here it is now:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dolphins-Jets Game Observations

Riding high on a 2-0 start heading into their home opener against the New York Jets in Week Three, the Miami Dolphins fell just a bit short with a 31-23 loss on Sunday night.

Chad Henne and Miami's passing attack excelled against the Jets in prime time once again, but questionable play-calling on all sides of the ball and a few big plays did more damage than the Dolphins could cover from.

Brandon Marshall caught 10 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
While there were certainly positives to take away from the game for Miami, there were also a flew glaring problems that need to be fixed quickly.

Things won't get any easier in Week Four, as the Dolphin have another big divisional match-up in prime time, facing the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.

Until then, here are my observations from the Dolphins' loss to the Jets in Week Three:


Offense
  • The Dolphins opened it up against the Jets on offense, if only because a sustainable, productive rushing game didn't seem like it was going to happen. Chad Henne did have some off throws, but for the most part, I felt he did a fantastic job. He got good protection from the line and did a good job of reading the field and finding the open receivers. I loved his poise and arm strength and I was really impressed with some of his big third-down throws. I'd really like to see the Dolphins let Henne loose like this more often.
  • Ronnie Brown looked fine considering the tough defense he was facing and had a few nice runs. If anything, I felt his linemen didn't quite do well enough to allow him to be more productive. Ricky Williams' ball security continues to be a bit concerning, and it's an issue dates back to last season. Williams is a talented back and his presence helps Brown remain fresh deep into games, but the Dolphins can't afford to have him splitting time if he's going to allow turnovers.
  • The Dolphins' receivers all had their best games of the season yesterday, with Brandon Marshall leading the way. He made some spectacular grabs and really got the offense moving after an early deficit. I really wish the Dolphins had gone to him at least once on that final set of downs, even if the defense was shading his direction.
  • Davone Bess and Brian Hartline also played very well. They caught everything they should have and both did a good job of running after the catch. Bess was a reliable third-down target as always. If these two continue to play like they did against the Jets, the Dolphins' receiving corps will be more than adequate behind Marshall.
  • Anthony Fasano had his good and bad moments in the passing game, boxing out the defender on a touchdown, but failing to come through with the grab on the final play of the game. The latter throw was a little late on Henne's part and the play-call was questionable, so I don't really put it on Fasano. He also did a great job blocking in the passing game and delivered a crushing block to spring Marshall for a big game on the final drive.
  • The offensive line, led by left tackle Jake Long, did a great job in pass protection all night. Henne was sacked twice, but Shaun Ellis' was the result of coverage and Henne trying to run up the middle, and Jason Taylor's was from a one-on-one matchup against Lousaka Polite. For the most part, Henne had all day to throw and was untouched most of the game.
  • The running game was far less productive as a result of poor blocking up front, in particular the interior linemen. I think all three starters inside missed at least one crucial block, and this seems to be a recurring theme for Richie Incognito. Backup Pat McQuistan, replacing an ill John Jerry at right guard, had his rough moments and was replaced by Cory Procter on a few occasions.

Defense
  • The Dolphins' defensive line had its moments yesterday, and Paul Soliai in particular blew up some plays. However, then didn't get a ton of push and tackling wasn't very good. LaDainian Tomlinson racked up too many yards on the ground and Brad Smith never should have been as productive as he was out of the wildcat.
  • Cameron Wake made a few nice plays away from pass-rushing duties, including a few good tackles against the run and a nice batted ball after getting cut by Damien Woody. He was, however, exposed badly on one running play, falling for the fake handoff and letting Brad Smith get outside for a big gain. It's going to take time for Wake to become a complete player and I think he'll get there, but he has to be better about sealing the outside.
  • Koa Misi was nonexistent in this game after two strong showings, while Quentin Moses was his usual useless self. The Dolphins' weren't able to get any kind of real pass rush on Sanchez, which made the young quarterback's day much easier. When you get all the time in the world, there isn't a quarterback in the league that won't pick you apart.
  • While the defense didn't play well as a unit, I was once again very impressed with the play of Karlos Dansby. He's got great instincts and is so good at getting to the ball. One of the most impressive plays was a dump-off pass to a running back late in the game. Despite three Jets blockers in front of the ball-carrier in open space, Dansby broke through and made the stop. The guy can simply do it all.
  • Tim Dobbins and Bobby Carpenter, on the other hand, both struggled. Carpenter took a bad angle initially and was beaten on a touchdown by Dustin Keller, even though coverage is supposed to be his strength. I've said before that I'd be comfortable with the two in place of Channing Crowder, who returned to practice but was inactive last night, but I think his return would give the defense a minor boost.
  • After two fantastic games, Vontae Davis went practically this entire game unchallenged by the Jets' offense. Davis got very few opportunities to make plays on a receiver, which is a testament to his play thus far and how little teams want to throw his direction. He did miss a few tackles in keeping with the rest of his teammates, which was surprising to see because he's usually so physical and such a sound tackler.
  • Riding high on some great play thus far, Jason Allen plummeted back to earth against the Jets with some costly errors. He took a bad angle and slipped on Braylon Edwards' long touchdown and allowed another big play when he was caught behind the receiver despite safety help over the top. He was thrown to all game as the Jets avoided Vontae Davis, but he's going to have to play better to remain a starter.
  • One has to wonder if Sean Smith will move closer to possibly regaining his starting job after Allen's rough night. Smith didn't see a whole lot of action, although I did notice him early on at safety with Yeremiah Bell playing right on the line of scrimmage. I think the Dolphins will give Allen at least a few games to right himself, but I like Smith's upside and hope he can still develop as a starter.
  • Chris Clemons had a nice game, and was absolutely robbed on a personal foul call early in the game. Clemons encountered the receiver immediately after the ball got there, hit the receiver with his arms, and clearly let up on the play when he realized it was incomplete. Despite the idiotic ravings of Cris Collinsworth, it was absolutely not a penalty. This was a huge play on 2nd-and-20 that eventually led to a touchdown.
  • Yeremiah Bell certainly didn't have his best game, as he was involved in the coverage on both of Dustin Keller's touchdowns. Bell is obviously a run-stopper more than anything, and although he's better than people know in coverage, he doesn't have the physical tools to constantly match up with an athletic tight end like Keller.

Special Teams
  • Dan Carpenter did an excellent job, booting a few long field goals and going a perfect 3-for-3 on the night. He did have another kickoff out of bounds, which was his second in three games this season. He had only two in his first two seasons with the Dolphins, so this is something he really needs to fix.
  • Brandon Fields was excellent as usual, and the big blocked punt by the Jets was absolutely not his fault. Erik Walden botched his assignment, taking Tyrone Culver's man on the outside of the Jets' rushing line and allowing a man to run through untouched. Walden offers nothing on defense, so it's possible that play could cost him his job.
  • Despite his defensive struggles on the day, credit Yeremiah Bell for blocking Nick Folk's long field goal attempt at the end of the first half. It's easier to block those long kicks because they need to be line drives, but it was still a good play.
  • Roberto Wallace was active as the No. 4 receiver over Marlon Moore, perhaps because the Dolphins wanted to see what he could do on special teams. He did well in my view, making a nice tackle on a kickoff and downing a Fields punt on the Jets' five-yard line.


Conclusion

I was really happy to see the Dolphins open it up for Henne, especially amid all the nonsense about Henne being in danger of losing his job. Henne has a ton of upside and has done very little wrong since he became the starter. If the Dolphins put more faith in Henne's arm and decision-making, the offense will improve.

Despite Henne's performance, the Dolphins lost in large part because of Dan Henning's play-calling. He went to the wildcat well far too often when it was clear it wasn't going to work, and he called odd trick plays like the Ronnie Brown pass and the reverse to Patrick Cobbs when he needs to just let Henne do his thing. With the way the offense plays aside from that, I honestly believe a better job from Henning could have changed the outcome of the game.

The Dolphins absolutely have to get more pressure on the quarterback. When a quarterback has all day to throw like Sanchez did and is never getting hit, it's almost impossible to stop the opposing offense.

Despite the loss, I'm encouraged by a lot of how the Dolphins played against the Jets. I believe the team can run with the Jets and Patriots this season if they fix their mistakes. No game in the fourth week of the season is a "must-win," but beating the Patriots and owning a 3-1 record heading into their bye is absolutely vital if they are going to contend for a division title this season.


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    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Dolphins vs. Jets - Live Chat

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    2010 NFL Week Three Game Predictions

    I improved slightly last week on my 9-7 record from Week One, going 10-6 in Week Two. I'll try and do better next time. Please don't hit me again.

    Last week's record: 10-6
    2010 season record: 19-13 (59.4%)


    49ers over Chiefs — Alex Smith and the Niners played well against a tough Saints team in Week Two, and I like their chances over a team that might have the worst quarterback situation in the league in Kansas City.

    Vikings over Lions — After two losses to tough opponents to begin the 2010 season, I expect Brett Favre and the Vikings to take out their frustrations on the Lions.

    Patriots over Bills — The Bills are shaking up their terrible quarterback situation again, but the answer at the position isn't currently on the roster. It's hard to give this team a chance in many games.

    Saints over Falcons — Although the Falcons' offense exploded at home last week, the Saints can certainly match them and have the homefield advantage on their side.

    Giants over Titans — There wasn't much to like about New York's performance against the Colts last week, but I think they'll rebound at home against a Titans team that is having problems at quarterback.

    Steelers over Buccaneers — Pittsburgh is essentially going into this game with no quarterback, but the Steelers have the overall talent advantage and I'm not sure Tampa Bay is as good as their 2-0 record.

    Bengals over Panthers — I'm a big fan of Jimmy Clausen and his potential, but it's hard to imagine he'll be effective enough in his first NFL start to out-duel Carson Palmer and the Bengals' offense.

    Ravens over Browns — The Ravens certainly haven't been firing on all cylinders yet this year, but a game against the Browns is just what they need to get back on track.

    Texans over Cowboys — It's hard to imagine a Cowboys team as talented as this one starting the season 0-3, but it's also hard to imagine an 0-2 Cowboys team coming into Houston and stopping Matt Schaub and the Texans' offense.

    Redskins over Rams — I like the way Sam Bradford has played, but the Rams just don't have the talent to beat Donovan McNabb and the Redskins right now.

    Eagles over Jaguars — I think it's a mistake to name Michael Vick their starter, but whoever starts for the Eagles this week should be able to beat Jacksonville.

    Colts over Broncos — As nice as it would be to see Denver win this one for sentimental reasons, I have to go with Peyton Manning and the Colts.

    Raiders over Cardinals — This is a game that's really hard to pick because neither team is that impressive, but Bruce Gradkowski might actually give this team a boost.

    Chargers over Seahawks — I felt the Seahawks were pretenders after their big Week One win, and I like the Chargers in this one even without their starting running back.

    Dolphins over Jets — New York has a whole lot of distractions going on and are down some key personnel, so I'm going with a hot Miami team in their home opener.

    Packers over Bears — I'm not sure I believe Chicago is this good, and I'm going to go with the Packers in this great divisional matchup.


    Discuss this article and share your own predictions on the forum here!

    Dolphins waive Jermey Parnell

     In order to make room for newly-claimed tackle Patrick Brown, the Miami Dolphins have waived offensive tackle Jermey Parnell.

    A second-year lineman from Ole Miss, Parnell spent the first two games of the season inactive on game days after being claimed off waivers by the Dolphins following final cuts.

    Originally a basketball player in college, Parnell played one season of football for the Rebels and went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft. He signed with the New Orleans Saints and spent his rookie season on the practice squad, working at tackle and tight end.

    The Dolphins' roster is now down to 53 player and should remain unchanged before the team's Sunday night game against the New York Jets. 


    Analysis

    A borderline NFL prospect, Parnell probably isn't ready to contribute at the NFL level and might not be worthy of a spot on the active roster.

    That being said, this move is not necessarily an indication the team prefers Brown's talent and upside to Parnell's.

    As I discussed yesterday, there is always the possibility the Dolphins picked up Brown off waivers to pick his brain on the Jets' scheme before their matchup this weekend.

    At the very least, I'd expect to see Parnell back on the practice squad next week. Anything more will depend on how the team actually views Brown and whether or not they decide to keep him around.

    As always, check out the projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Dolphins claim tackle Patrick Brown off waivers from Jets

    In what smells strongly like a strategic move in anticipation for their Sunday night game with the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins have claimed second-year offensive tackle Patrick Brown off waivers from their hated rival.

    Brown was waived by the Jets on Thursday, coincidentally to make room for former Dolphins third-round pick Patrick Turner, who was promoted from the practice squad for receiver depth in the wake of Braylon Edwards' DWI and possibly limited playing time.

    Brown participating in training camp with the Panthers in 2009.
    No corresponding roster move has been announced, but the Dolphins will need to clear a spot to make room for Brown get back down to 53 players on the active roster.


    Background

    An Illinois native, Brown started at left tackle as a true freshman for the UCF Knights and went on to start all 50 contests for the team over four seasons. He was a two-time All-Conference USA selection.

    Despite his impressive collegiate résumé, Brown went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft and signed with the Panthers as a rookie free agent. He was waived by the team during final cuts on Sept. 5.

    Brown was signed to the practice squad of the New England Patriots the following day, but was released on Sept. 24. He was signed to the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad five days later and remained there the rest of the 2009 season.

    Inked to a future contract with the Vikings in 2010, Brown appeared in all four of Minnesota' preseason games, including a start at left tackle against the Broncos in the finale. However, he was once again waived during final cuts.

    Brown was claimed off waivers by the Jets on Sept. 5 and spent the first two games of the regular season inactive. He was waived to make room for practice squad receiver Patrick Turner on Sept. 23.



    Analysis

    The addition of Brown gives the Dolphins 10 offensive lineman and six tackles on the active roster, although Pat McQuistan doubles as a guard and could even start there if John Jerry cannot go.

    One has to suspect the Dolphins primarily claimed Brown to milk him for everything he's picked up on the Jets' scheme in the two weeks he spent in New York.

    Brown's actually the second former Jet claimed by an opponent in the past two weeks. The Patriots claimed running back/wide receiver Danny Woodhead off waivers just a day before they played the Jets in Week Two.

    It's hard to say what kind of advantage these things provide as the Jets certainly know everything Brown knows, but I suppose every little bit helps in competition.

    I'm hesitant to even get into much detail on Brown's ability and projected place with the Dolphins, simply because it's entirely possible he's gone by next week after the team gets what they need from him.

    Brown was a left tackle in college and has continued to work there some in the pros, but he's yet to see the field during the regular season and has limited upside at that position.

    While he has the size for the job at 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds and is a technically-sound blocker, his athleticism is mediocre and he will probably never be able to handle the elite pass-rushers of the NFL.

    If he ever works himself into a position of playing time in this league, it will probably come on the right side of the line or even inside at guard.

    Assuming he sticks around long enough for the coaches to get a look at him in multiple practices, he certainly has enough ability to compete for a roster spot with the likes of Lydon Murtha and Jermey Parnell.

    As always, check out the projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Dolphins Winning Drive - 9/23/10

    Here's today's Dolphins Winning Drive vlog. Please note that the news of Mickey Shuler's acquisition was broken while I was driving and making this video, so it is not covered here. See the article in the previous post for coverage on Shuler.

    Dolphins claim tight end Mickey Shuler off waivers

    It seems the Miami Dolphins weren't finished shaking up the tight end position when they waived John Nalbone and promoted Jeron Mastrud earlier this week.

    Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reported on twitter that the Dolphins claimed tight end Mickey Shuler off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday.



    Shuler's addition gives the Dolphins a full 53-man active roster, and three tight ends for the first time all season.


    Background

    Mickey Shuler, Jr. is the son of former NFL tight end Mickey Shuler, who earned two Pro Bowl selections over a 14-year career with the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles.

    A four-year letterman at Penn State, the younger Shuler totaled 27 receptions, 300 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in four seasons as a blocking tight end to complement Nittany Lions starter Andrew Quarless.

    Shuler was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round (214th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft—two rounds after Quarless went to the Green Bay Packers.

    After signing a four-year, $1.85 million contract with the Vikings that included a $60,000 signing bonus, Shuler appeared in all four preseason games and caught one pass for two yards and a touchdown.

    Shuler made the Vikings' 53-man roster following the preseason, but was inactive during the team's first two regular season games—losses to the New Orleans Saints and the Dolphins.

    The Vikings waived Shuler on Sept. 22 to make room for newly-signed wide receiver Hank Baskett, who had recently been let go by the Eagles.

    Because the Dolphins claimed Shuler off waivers, they will inherit his original four-year contract that he signed with the Vikings in the offseason.


    Analysis

    The Dolphins are bringing in all the young bodies they can at tight end in search of a diamond in the rough, with rookies Mastrud and Shuler the active roster and Dedrick Epps on the practice squad.

    Shuler obviously comes from a quality football pedigree, playing the same position and coming from the same alma mater as his Pro Bowl father.

    Widely regarded as one of the best blocking tight ends in the 2010 draft class, Shuler brings possesses great fundamentals in that department and brings a hard-working attitude to the craft.

    Shuler is also a bit of an underrated athlete, posting a 4.63-second 40-yard dash time as Penn State's Pro Day before the draft.

    He might never become what his father was, but Shuler is a solid tight end prospect and is a nice addition for a Dolphins team looking for depth behind starter Anthony Fasano.

    Mastrud looks to be the No. 2 tight end this Sunday against the Jets because of his better experience in the Dolphins' offense, but Shuler is the better prospect and will be someone to keep an eye on as he pushes for playing time in the coming weeks.

     As always, check out the projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here!


    Discuss this article on the forum here!

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Dolphins Winning Drive - 9/22/10

    The second edition of my daily Dolphins vlog, the Dolphins Winning Drive, discussing Jason Taylor, Tony McDaniel, and the Dolphins' transactions of the day.

    Dolphins re-sign defensive ends Clifton Geathers, Rob Rose to practice squad

    With two spots open on their practice squad, the Miami Dolphins brought back two familiar faces in rookie defensive ends Clifton Geathers and Rob Rose.

    Geathers and Rose take the practice squad spots of defensive end Ryan Baker and tight end Jeron Mastrud, who were promoted to the Dolphins' active roster on Friday and Tuesday, respectively.

    Both claimed off waivers by the Dolphins after final cuts, Geathers was drafted in the sixth round by Cleveland out of South Carolina in April, while Rose initially joined the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent from Ohio State.

    After being inactive for the regular season opener against the Buffalo Bills, Geathers was waived to make room for Erik Walden on Sept. 14. Geathers was re-signed to the practice squad a days later, but let go again when the team re-signed Micah Johnson to the practice squad.

    Rose was also cut before the Dolphins' Week Two contest, waived on Sept. 17 to make room for Ryan Baker.

    With four healthy defensive ends on the active roster due to Jared Odrick's fractured fibula, Geathers and Rose will likely work with a mixture of second- and third-team defenders in practice.

    Geathers should continue to wear No. 62, which he wore during his brief practice squad stint last week when Lionel Dotson took his No. 95. Rose will again take No. 56.

    Both players will make roughly $5,200 a week on the practice squad, although they are eligible to be signed to another team's active roster at any time.

    As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Dolphins waive returner Clifton Smith, promote tight end Jeron Mastrud

    I already covered the release of tight end John Nalbone earlier, but the Miami Dolphins made a few more moves today, including the addition of Nalbone's replacement.

    The Dolphins waived return specialist Clifton Smith just two games into his tenure with the team, while promoting rookie tight end Jeron Mastrud from the practice squad.

    The most productive tight end in Kansas State's history, Mastrud signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent but was waived during final cuts. He had a brief stint on the Patriots' practice squad before the season before joining the Dolphins last week.

    Smith was in his third NFL season after two years with the Buccaneers. Originally an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State in 2008, Smith earned a Pro Bowl selection as a return specialist during his rookie season.

    While his kick return average increased in 2009, Smith's punt return average dropped and he missed significant time with a pair of concussions.

    Mastrud replaces Nalbone as the second tight end on the roster behind Anthony Fasano, but Smith's spot has yet to be filled and the active roster stands at 52 players. The Dolphins also have two practice squad spots open.


    Analysis

    I'm a bit surprised to see Mastrud get the promotion to replace Nalbone, simply because neither Mastrud or fellow practice squad tight end Dedrick Epps have any regular season NFL experience.

    Of course, the Dolphins promoted and utilized undrafted rookie Kory Sperry in eight games in 2009, so perhaps they've seen something in Mastrud to give him a shot at playing time.

    It will be interesting to see how long Mastrud lasts, as it's hard to imagine the Dolphins using an undrafted rookie as their second and last tight end for the next 14 games.

    As for Smith, I'm not sure his release is entirely related to his lack of production. While his numbers were not good (17.3 average on three kick returns; 4.5 average on two punt returns), two games is not really a large enough sample size to adequately judge his abilities.

    Instead, I would guess the Dolphins—a team that has always valued position versatility—simply didn't want to devote a roster spot to a player that didn't contribute on offense or defense.

    The Dolphins might also be confident in rookie Nolan Carroll on kickoffs, who had a good preseason and can also contribute as a gunner and on defense.

    Carroll looks to get the first crack at returning kicks, as veteran Patrick Cobbs doesn't have much big-play ability on special teams.

    Meanwhile, it looks like we might again be stuck with Davone Bess on punt returns. A quality slot receiver, Bess lacks the speed or athleticism to present any kind of threat in the return game.

    Stay tuned over the next few days, with more moves surely to come as the Dolphins have three open spots between the active roster and practice squad.

    As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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    Introducing the Dolphins Winning Drive

    In an effort to get back into the video aspect as far as content goes here on the site, I've decided to do daily "vlogs" on the Dolphins on my way home from work each day.

    Doing this will allow my to share my opinions on Dolphins-related matters in video form, continuing to reach the YouTube audience I once catered to quite often.

    This will not replace any kind of article content, as I am a big fan of text when it comes to reporting and analyzing news and games because it allows consumers to skim at their own discretion, which is a bit hard in a video.

    So, here is a very rough and unorganized first episode of the Dolphins Winning Drive. In it, I discuss the release of tight end John Nalbone and return specialist Clifton Smith.

    Be kind.



    Remember, you can always check out my YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/chrisjnelson


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    Dolphins waive tight end John Nalbone

    The Miami Dolphins have left themselves with just one tight end on the active roster barring a roster addition, having placed second-year tight end John Nalbone on waivers.

    After making the team as lone backup to Anthony Fasano, Nalbone appeared in the Dolphins' first two regular season games in 2010 but did not record a catch.

    This marks the second time Nalbone has been waived by the Dolphins in just over a year. After spending the first seven weeks of the 2009 season inactive on game days, Nalbone was waived on Oct. 31 and rode out the season on the Dolphins' practice squad.

    Nalbone remains practice-squad eligible once he clears waivers and becomes a free agent, although it is unknown whether both or either party is interested in such an arrangement.

    The Dolphins already have two rookie tight ends on the practice squad in Jeron Mastrud and Dedrick Epps, although it is possible one could be promoted to replace Nalbone.

    A fifth-round pick out of Monmouth in 2009, Nalbone has appeared in just two career games and has no receptions.


    Analysis

    I was a bit surprised the Dolphins kept Nalbone over David Martin and Kory Sperry following the preseason, since the 2010 cut-down was when we saw the team release 2009 draft mistakes Pat White and Patrick Turner.

    Martin was reportedly not in the best of shape, although his 2008 performance as Fasano's backup was better than anything Nalbone will likely ever do as a pro.

    Sperry, meanwhile, appeared to be ahead of Nalbone in the organization's eyes after earning a 2009 promotion to the active roster as a third tight end, while Nalbone languished on the practice squad the rest of the season.

    Although he had reportedly made strides as a blocker, it's been obvious from the start the team wasn't that high on Nalbone and that he was unlikely to have much of an impact for the Dolphins.

    As the Dolphins continue to search for a long-term No. 2 tight end following Joey Haynos' season-ending torn Achilles' tendon in August, the question becomes where exactly they will find Nalbone's replacement.

    Martin has since moved on to Buffalo, while rookies Mastrud and Epps have never appeared in an NFL regular season game and may not be ready for a role in an NFL offense.

    Another option could actually be Sperry, who was claimed off waivers by Denver last month after being let go by Miami. After he was waived by Denver during final cuts on Sept. 4, Sperry joined the San Diego Chargers' practice squad.

    Sperry is eligible to be signed to the Dolphins' active roster from another team's practice squad, and saw action in eight games for the Dolphins last season (catching three passes and scoring a touchdown) while Nalbone was on the practice squad.

    With just one tight end on the active roster of a team that has certainly been run-oriented of late, there is no doubt the Dolphins will have to add another tight end before their Sunday night match-up against the New York Jets.

    As always, check out the projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Dolphins-Vikings Game Observations

    On the road for the second straight game to open the 2010 season, the Miami Dolphins left Minnesota with their second win after beating the Vikings by a score of 14-10.

    After stopping the Vikings on 4th-and-2 in Dolphins territory on the game's first possession, Chad Henne hit Brandon Marshall for a 46-yard gain on the team's first offensive play.

    Methodically driving down the field, Henne punctuated the possession with a five-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brian Hartline.

    Vontae Davis made a spectacular interception at his team's own one-yard line, which was followed by a 51-yard run by Ronnie Brown to get the Dolphins out of the shadow of their own end zone.

    Midway through the third quarter, Cameron Wake beat Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt for a sack and forced fumble in the end zone, recovered by rookie linebacker Koa Misi for a Dolphins touchdown.

    A Jason Allen interception on the following series was negated by offsetting penalties, but Allen was able to come away with a pick six plays later on a pass intended for Bernard Berrian in the end zone.

    Despite the turnover, Ricky Williams fumble on the next play at his team's own goal line led to an Adrian Peterson touchdown, bringing the score to 14-7.

    With the Vikings marching down the field in a drive that lasted nearly seven minutes in the fourth quarter, a Kendall Langford sack on 3rd-and-6 the Miami eight-yard line held the Vikings to a field goal, making it 14-10.

    The Vikings and Dolphins swapped one-play possessions late in the fourth quarter, with Jason Allen's second interception of Favre directly followed by a lost fumble by Ronnie Brown.

    With the Vikings down four points and having a first-and-goal from Miami's 10-yard line, the Dolphins stuffed Adrian Peterson four times to for a turnover on downs and prevent the Vikings from taking the league.

    A final Vikings possession saw them fail to convert a 4th-and-6 from the Dolphins' 27-yard line, ensuring the Dolphins' victory and 2-0 record.

    The Dolphins will face the 1-1 New York Jets in a big Sunday Night Football game in Week Three, but until then, here are my observations from the win over the Vikings.


    Offense
    • It's hard to say Chad Henne played badly, considering he completed 60 percent of his mere 15 pass attempts, threw a touchdown pass, and didn't turn the ball over. He connected with Brandon Marshall on a beautiful deep pass on the team's first play from scrimmage and was generally accurate all day, benefiting from a strong running game in the first half and playing with a lead all game. Still, it was a pretty bland offense and Henne did have his share of moments where he held onto the ball too long or checked down too quickly. It'd be nice to see the Dolphins open things up a bit more with just two offensive touchdowns in two games.
    • It was certainly a tail of two halves for the Dolphins' running backs, as Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams ran all over the Vikings in the first half only to each lose a critical fumble in the second half. That kind of thing is going to be pretty rare though, and overall it was a good job against one of the NFL's toughest run defenses. Lousaka Polite also contributed greatly as a blocker after being a few blocks against Buffalo.
    • There weren't many receptions to be had for the Dolphins' receivers, as the team ran the ball well in the first half and Henne wound up attempting only 15 passes. Given that, Brandon Marshall's numbers were strong and he made a few excellent grabs, including one on a 46-yard bomb.
    • Brian Hartline made a few nice catches and scored a touchdown, which was much needed after some of the criticism he'd received last week for lack of development. Davone Bess, meanwhile, was nowhere to be found most of the game, although that was more just a fluke circumstance.
    • Anthony Fasano didn't factor into the passing game either with so few balls to go around, but he did block well, as per usual.
    • In an epic battle between Jake Long and Jared Allen, Long was the clear victor, keeping the Pro Bowl pass-rusher in check all game. Allen did have a sack as a result of Henne holding onto the ball too long and stepping up into the rush, but he was otherwise neutralized in what was a great performance by Long. There were a handful of plays where Long just kept Allen completely in place and taking him out of the play.
    • Guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry both had their rough moments, with Incognito tripping up Brown after being pushed to the ground and Jerry being flagged for holding. Incognito also really botched the play where Kevin Williams sacked Henne, letting Williams in untouched while giving a late, half-hearted block on Long's man. Overall though, they blocked well considering the opponent.

    Defense
    • The defensive line held up very well in Jared Odrick's absence. In a somewhat surprising move, Randy Starks moved back to his old defensive end spot and Paul Soliai started at nose tackle. This was probably the right move, as Tony McDaniel isn't as productive as Soliai and the way the Dolphins did it gave them the most overall talented line possible. McDaniel and Ryan Baker still played significantly though and held their own. Adrian Peterson got his yards and the Dolphins didn't always tackle well, but it was still a nice performance. They disrupted the Vikings' offensive line plenty and held up very nicely on the 4th-and-goal stuff of Peterson.
    • Cameron Wake was at it again with 1.5 sacks, as well as the biggest play of the game as he forced a Brett Favre fumble in the end zone that was recovered by Koa Misi for the touchdown. Wake is a constant force rushing the passer even when he's not recording sacks, and it won't be long before he starts to garner some national attention.
    • On the other end of the outside linebacker spectrum, Quentin Moses saw some significant time on defense and was painful to watch for the most part. He got good pressure on Favre on one play late in the game, but was asked to drop into coverage quite a bit and was just terrible at it. I don't really understand why he's around, as he offers nothing on special teams and has clearly peaked as a defender, in my view.
    • Karlos Dansby came up big with the initial hit on Adrian Peterson to stop him at the goal line on fourth down. He finished the day with nine tackles and was excellent again in coverage.
    • There is nothing special about Tim Dobbins or Bobby Carpenter, but I've grown tired of Matt Roth-esque injury of Channing Crowder. At this point, I'd prefer to just place Crowder on injured reserve and let those two guys platoon the thing.
    • There simply isn't enough time to say all the guy things you could about Vontae Davis. He had an absolutely fantastic game against the Vikings, making a spectacular interception on the Dolphins' goal line and sticking to the opposing receivers like glue all day. Another thing I love about him is his tackling ability, which is extremely good for a cornerback. When he comes up to make the tackle, he almost always gets his man and minimizes the gain. If Davis keeps playing at this level, he absolutely deserves a spot on the Pro Bowl roster.
    • Jason Allen came up big with two interceptions and overall excellent play against the Vikings, continuing his career resurrection. While I'd place a lot of the blame of Allen's picks on bad decision-making by Favre and lack of effort by Bernard Berrian, Allen certainly deserves his share of the credit too.
    • While Allen is playing far too well to lose his job, I was glad to see Sean Smith have a good game too and hope to see more of him on defense as the season goes on. Smith had a great third-down tackle on Percy Harvin early in the game and was right with Visanthe Shiancoe on the Vikings' final fourth-down attempt.
    • Yeremiah Bell had his embarrassing moment when he was leap-frogged by Peterson, but otherwise he did a good job of being the last line of defense and preventing Peterson from busting a huge run. Ideally, your safety won't have to make that many tackles against the run if the from seven game wrap up.

    Special Teams
    • While he didn't get a chance to kick a field goal, Dan Carpenter was a huge part of the special teams game with a few excellent kickoffs, including one touchback. He already has three this season after totaling seven all of last season, so whatever he's doing is working.
    • Brandon Fields was his usual self, booting at least one huge punt (59 yards) while dropping another inside the opponent's five-yard line. I swear, if someone kidnapped Shane Lechler, Fields could be a Pro Bowler.
    • Clifton Smith didn't show a whole lot in kickoffs, and will need to do more in the return game if he's going to have a long stay in Miami. Special teams blocking has never been one of Miami's strengths, though.
    • In addition to playing a significant role on defense, Bobby Carpenter also had a great day on special teams, tackling Bernard Berrian after a muffed punt that was nearly the Dolphins' ball and also downing one of Fields' punts at the Minnesota five-yard line.

    Conclusion

    It wasn't always pretty, as the Dolphins' backs practically tried to give the game away with two huge fumbles. Chad Henne and the offense didn't get a whole long going, and Adrian Peterson racked up a sizable amount of yards in the ground.

    Nevertheless, the Dolphins came through when it counted and left Minnesota with a victory. I simply can't get over how well the defense played late in the game, when they had to be physically and emotionally drained after a physical game and some huge turnovers by the Dolphins' offense.

    The Vikings possessed the ball for nearly 12 minutes in the fourth quarter, and came away with only three points. The Dolphins forced two turnovers via interceptions and two turnovers on downs in the final period, including a phenomenal goal-line stand stuffing Adrian Peterson at the one-yard line.

    There are certainly things to be concerned about, including an offense that really needs to get going. Still, at 2-0 without even having played a home game yet, things are looking good for the Dolphins right now.

    A win over the banged-up Jets would have things looking even better.


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    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Dolphins at Vikings - Live Chat

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    Dolphins promote Ryan Baker to active roster

    Still in need of defensive end depth despite the signing of Lionel Dotson earlier this week, the Miami Dolphins have promoted second-year defensive lineman Ryan Baker from the practice squad.

    To make room for Baker on the active roster, the Dolphins waived defensive end Rob Rose, who was claimed off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 5.

    This will be Baker's second stint on the Dolphins' active roster since he was originally signed as an undrafted free agent from Purdue in 2009.

    After spending the first 11 weeks of his rookie season on the practice squad, Baker was promoted to the active roster on Nov. 28 of last year and recorded two tackles and half a sack in his NFL debut.

    Now, Baker will join fellow backups Dotson and Tony McDaniel attempt to fill the void of starting right end Jared Odrick, who is out at least a few weeks with a fractured fibula.


    Analysis

    This is a logical move for the Dolphins, who need all the help they can get replacing Odrick as they prepare to face a tough opponent in the Minnesota Vikings tomorrow.

    While Rose is a borderline NFL prospect that is not yet ready to contribute at the NFL level, Baker has a decent amount of experience in the Dolphins' system and a quality reserve.

    Baker should dress against the Vikings on Sunday and figure into the rotation on the defensive line, helping keep everyone less fatigued as the game wears on.

    While he will likely focus on defensive end tomorrow due to Odrick's injury, Baker also has worked plenty at nose tackle and provides depth at that position as well.

    As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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    2010 Week Two Game Predictions

    It's always tough to pick games the first week of the season, because even though you have a pretty good idea about a lot of teams, you never quite know how they'll do coming out of the gate or who will be a surprise team that season.

    But enough excuses — I'll try and do better this week.

    Last week's record: 9-7
    2010 season record: 9-7 (56.3%)


    Falcons over Cardinals — It's pretty bad the Falcons lost to a Roethlisberger-less Steelers team, but they now head home to Atlanta to fave a pretty unimpressive Cardinals squad. I like Matt Ryan to have a big game in their home debut.

    Ravens over Bengals — Baltimore won a pretty hard-fought battle against the Jets, but now they'll get to play the team that was destroyed by the Patriots in Week One. Joe Flacco and the Ravens score too many points for Cincy to match.

    Chiefs over Browns — Kansas City wasn't all that impressive in their upset over the Chargers, but they'll now be facing a Browns team starting its backup quarterback in Seneca Wallace. They should win this one.

    Cowboys over Bears — Chicago nearly lost to the lowly Lions in Week One, and now they'll hit the road for a tough game against Dallas. I don't see the Cowboys losing this game.

    Eagles over Lions — I don't care who starts for the Eagles this week—the Lions are without their starting quarterback too, and have a much worse supporting cast. It's an easy decision.

    Packers over Bills — Green Bay had its ugly moments in their Week One victory, but the Bills are terrible right now. Aaron Rodgers should have a huge game in what could become a massacre.

    Titans over Steelers — The Steelers were able to pull out an ugly win in Week One, but I'm not sure they'll be as lucky this time around. I like Chris Johnson and the Titans at home.

    Vikings over Dolphins — Miami eked out a win in Buffalo by five points (three if you don't count the gift-wrapped safety at the end) and now have to play the Vikings in Minnesota for their second straight road contest. It's going to be a huge challenge for the Dolphins, and I just can't justify picking them.

    Panthers over Buccaneers — Matt Moore didn't fare well in Week One, is coming off a concussion, and will face a tougher Buccaneers defense with Aqib Talib returning. Still, I like Carolina's talent better overall.

    Broncos over Seahawks — I don't know how Seattle played so well in Week One, but I'm inclined to think it was somewhat an aberration. I like Denver at home.

    Raiders over Rams — Neither of these teams is very good, but I like the way Darren McFadden is running the ball. I'll take the Raiders at home.

    Patriots over Jets — New England won't put up the same kind of points against the Jets that they did against Cincinnati, but they are playing better as a team than the Jets right now.

    Chargers over Jaguars — San Diego was a major disappointment in their upset loss to Kansas City last week, but I still like they're talent and think they'll get back on track this week.

    Texans over Redskins — Washington pulled out a close win against Dallas, but I don't think they have the defense stop Houston's high-powered offense.

    Colts over Giants — In the battle of the Manning brothers, I like Peyton and the Colts to rebound from their loss to the Texans and come out on top.

    Saints over 49ers — No one can stop the Saints' offense right now, and certainly not the Niners. There's also no way the San Francisco offense can keep up.


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    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Dolphins re-sign Micah Johnson to practice squad

    Two days after being waived to make room for defensive end Lionel Dotson, linebacker Micah Johnson has been re-signed to the Miami Dolphins' practice squad.

    Johnson appeared in the Dolphins' regular season opener last week and was credited with one tackle on special teams, but space was needed on the roster for defensive end depth after Jared Odrick suffered a fractured fibula.

    The move leaves the Dolphins with just three healthy inside linebackers due to Channing Crowder's lingering injury.

    Now on the practice squad, Johnson will resume his normal practice routine with the Dolphins, but will not be allowed to play in games.

    He'll also take quite a pay cut, earning $5,200 a week—a far cry from the $19,000+ he made against Buffalo.

    Johnson will also be free to sign with another NFL team while on the Dolphins' practice squad, so long as he is added to that team's active 53-man roster. The Dolphins could always offer to promote him in that event, if they were so inclined.

    Released to make room for Johnson was rookie defensive end Clifton Geathers, who was waived from the active roster Monday to make room for Erik Walden and re-signed to the practice squad on Wednesday.


    Analysis

    I'm a bit disappointed to see Geathers not even able to stick around on the practice squad, especially since fellow rookie Rob Rose is still on the active roster.

    I liked Geathers' upside at 6-foot-7 and 295 pounds, but it's obvious the team wasn't very impressed with him in the two weeks he was in Miami.

    Despite such a short-lived stint on the active roster, it's impressive that Johnson even got that far. Undrafted in April, Johnson arrived in camp late after being cut by the Giants in June and was able to beat out two players drafted by the Dolphins—J. D. Folsom and Austin Spitler—for a roster spot.

    Considering he was able to make the game-day 45-man roster in his first week, he seems likely to get another shot at playing for the Dolphins this season when the roster allows it.

    Although he isn't ready for a role on defense in the NFL, Johnson will be a prime candidate to be promoted to the active roster if the team has room for another special-teams player.

    As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Miami Dolphins Alumni Update: August 2010

    • Aug. 1 — The New England Patriots activated wide receiver Wes Welker from the Active/PUP list. Welker spent three seasons with the Dolphins from 2004 to 2006, appearing in 46 games and catching 96 passes for 1,121 yards and a touchdown while also serving as the team's return specialist. He was traded to the Patriots in March 2007 in exchange for second- and seventh-round picks in the 2007 NFL Draft, used on center Samson Satele and linebacker Abraham Wright, respectively.
    • Aug. 2 — The Baltimore Ravens traded quarterback John Beck to the Washington Redskins for cornerback Doug Dutch. The Dolphins' second-round pick in 2007, Beck appeared in five games (four starts) as a rookie, throwing for 552 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions. He was released in April 2009.
    • Aug. 3 — The Calgary Stampeders (CFL) activated offensive lineman Dimitri Tsoumpas from the deferred list. A CFL All-Star in 2009, Tsoumpas signed with the Dolphins in January but was waived in late July.
    • Aug. 3 — The Arizona Rattlers (AFL) placed wide receiver Todd Devoe on injured reserve. Devoe spent two weeks on the Dolphins' practice squad in Sept. 2004.
    • Aug. 4 — The Orlando Predators (AFL) placed offensive lineman Julius Wilson on the suspended list. Wilson signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2007 and spent the entire season on the practice squad. He was waived in July 2008 after failing his conditioning test.
    • Aug. 5 — The Toronto Argonauts (CFL) re-signed wide receiver James Robinson to the practice roster. Robinson spent part of the 2009 season on the Dolphins' practice squad before being released on Nov. 4.
    • Aug. 6 — The St. Louis Rams place guard Mark Lewis on injured reserve. Lewis attended 2009 training camp with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon, and also spent time on the team's practice squad.
    • Aug. 7 — The New York Giants waived/injured offensive tackle Rueben Riley. Riley was with the Dolphins in training camp in 2008, joining the team on July 26 and being waived Aug. 3.
    • Aug. 8 — The New York Giants placed offensive tackle Rueben Riley on injured reserve.
    • Aug. 8 — The Pittsburgh Steelers waived/injured safety Tuff Harris. Harris signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of Montana in 2007 and appeared in one game for the team as a rookie, although he spent most of the season on the practice squad. He was waived in April 2008.
    • Aug. 8 — The Calgary Stampeders activated defensive end Tearrius George from the reserve list and transferred guard Dimitri Tsoumas to the reserve list. George spent the 2009 offseason with the Dolphins before being released in August.
    • Aug. 9 — The Arizona Cardinals re-signed fullback Reagan Maui'a to a contract. A sixth-round pick by the Dolphins in 2007, Maui'a started nine of 16 games as a rookie before being released in August 2008.
    • Aug. 9 — The Indianapolis Colts placed guard Andy Alleman on waivers. Alleman appeared in 15 games for the Dolphins in 2008, including four starts, before being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs prior to the 2009 season.
    • Aug. 9 — The Pittsburgh Steelers placed safety Tuff Harris on injured reserve.
    • Aug. 10 — The Detroit Lions placed defensive tackle Joe Cohen on injured reserve. Cohen spent part of the 2008 season on the Dolphins' practice squad and attended training camp with the team in 2009.
    • Aug. 11 — The Chicago Bears signed linebacker Kelvin Smith to a contract. The Dolphins' seventh-round pick in 2007, Smith played in four games for the Dolphins as a rookie and spent the entire 2008 season with the team on injured reserve with a knee injury.
    • Aug. 11 — The St. Louis Rams released Mark Lewis with an injury settlement.
    • Aug. 13 — The Cleveland Browns released cornerback Chris Roberson with an injury settlement.
    • Aug. 13 — The New York Giants released Rueben Riley with an injury settlement.
    • Aug. 16 — The Cleveland Browns signed wide receiver Taurus Johnson to a contract. Johnson spent part of the 2009 season on the Dolphins' practice squad and was waived during the 2010 preseason.
    • Aug. 16 — The Calgary Stampeders (CFL) activated guard Dimitri Tsoumpas from the reserve list.
    • Aug. 17 — The Tennessee Titans signed running back Samkon Gado to a contract. Gado spent part of the 2007 season with the Dolphins after multiple injuries at the running back position, rushing for 104 yards and three touchdowns in five games.
    • Aug. 21 — The Omaha Nighthawks signed wide receiver David Kircus, offensive lineman Matt Spanos, and offensive lineman Julius Wilson to contracts. Kircus joined the Dolphins during the 2008 offseason and was waived that August. Spanos spent 2008 training camp with the Dolphins after signing as an undrafted free agent from USC.
    • Aug. 23 — The Denver Broncos waived offensive lineman Kirk Barton. Barton spent time on the Dolphins' active roster early in the 2008 regular season but did not appear in the game, and also spent time on the team's practice squad later in the year.
    • Aug. 24 — The Cleveland Browns claimed nose tackle Travis Ivey off waivers. Ivey signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and was waived on Aug. 23.
    • Aug. 24 — The Denver Broncos terminated the contract of linebacker Akin Ayodele and claimed tight end Kory Sperry off waivers. Acquired from the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, Ayodele totaled 145 tackles, one forced fumble, and two interceptions in 32 games for the Dolphins before his release in March. Sperry spent time on the Dolphins' practice squad in 2009 and also appeared in eight games, catching three passes and one touchdown. He was waived on Aug. 23.
    • Aug. 24 — The Sacramento Mountain Lions (UFL) terminated the contracts of wide receiver Chris Hannon and tight end Teyo Johnson. Signed off the 49ers' practice squad, Hannon spent two games inactive for the Dolphins before being waived in December 2008. Johnson attended training camp with the Dolphins in 2006.
    • Aug. 25 — The Carolina Panthers claimed offensive lineman Kirk Barton off waivers.
    • Aug. 25 — The New Orleans Saints signed linebacker K. C. Asiodu to a contract. Asiodu spent a week on the Dolphins' practice squad between September and October 2009.
    • Aug. 26 — The Carolina Panthers waived offensive lineman Kirk Barton. Barton has decided to retire from the NFL.
    • Aug. 30 — The Cincinnati Bengals placed safety Gibril Wilson on injured reserve. Wilson totaled 93 tackles and eight pass deflections in one season for the Dolphins after signing a five-year, $27.5 million contract in 2009. He was released in March 2010.
    • Aug. 30 — The New York Jets waived defensive end Rodrique Wright. A seventh-round pick by the Dolphins out of Texas in 2006, Wright appeared in 13 games (nine starts) over three seasons with the team, recording 28 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
    • Aug. 31 — The Cleveland Browns waived wide receiver Taurus Johnson.
    • Aug. 31 — The Tennessee Titans activated defensive tackle Tony Brown from the PUP list. Brown spent three games on the Dolphins' active roster as a rookie in 2003, but did not appear in a game.
    • Aug. 31 — The Toronto Argonauts signed defensive end Ben Ishola to their practice roster. Ishola was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2006, but waived during final cuts on Sept. 2.

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    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Dolphins waive Micah Johnson; make practice squad moves

    In need of one more roster spot with the additions of Erik Walden and Lionel Dotson, the Miami Dolphins waived rookie linebacker Micah Johnson.

    Defensive end Clifton Geathers was waived Monday to make room for Walden, but another move was needed when the team signed Dotson off the Broncos' practice squad Tuesday.

    An undrafted rookie out of Kentucky, Johnson joined the Dolphins in August after a brief stint with the New York Giants during the offseason.

    Johnson was able to impress during his short time with the team, beating out competition J. D. Folsom and Austin Spitler with good play on defense and special teams to earn the No. 4 linebacker job.

    Making his NFL debut in last week's season opener against the Bills, Johnson recorded one assisted tackle.

    The Dolphins also made a handful of practice squad moves, releasing offensive lineman Andrew Hartline and tight end Nathan Overbay, while signing tight end Dedrick Epps.

    With one spot open on the practice squad, it's likely Geathers or Johnson will fill it once they clear waivers.


    Dedrick Epps

    One of the top high school tight ends in the nation, Epps attended the University of Miami on a football scholarship.

    After backing up Greg Olsen as a freshman in 2007 and Chris Zellner in 2008, Epps served years as the Hurricanes' starting tight end during his junior and senior seasons alongside Jimmy Graham.

    Epps caught 22 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns as a junior, while adding 19 receptions for 247 yards and three scores during his senior campaign. He finished his career with 49 receptions, 634 yards, and six touchdowns.

    Selected by the San Diego Chargers in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Epps (6-4, 253) appeared to be headed for the team's No. 3 tight end job before the signing of veteran Randy McMichael in June.

    After appearing in all four of the team's preseason games and catching two passes for 24 yards, Epps was waived by the Chargers during final cuts.

    Coincidentally, while a former Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael kicked Epps off the active roster, another former Dolphins tight end—Kory Sperry—took a Chargers' practice squad spot that could have been his.

    In Miami, Epps will join fellow rookie Jeron Mastrud as one of two tight ends on the Dolphins' practice squad—assuming Mastrud sticks around.


    Analysis

    It doesn't surprise me to see Johnson get the ax here, as Bobby Carpenter had leap-frogged him at inside linebacker and newly re-signed Erik Walden can take his spot on special teams.

    Johnson has limited upside, but he's done well during his time in Miami. He should clear waivers and be re-signed to the practice squad.

    While there is only one practice squad spot currently available for either Geathers or Johnson, I'd prefer to see both re-signed and another player let go—perhaps linebacker Austin Spitler.

    I like the Epps signing, as he has more upside than Overbay and is an intriguing prospect for the developmental squad. He's not a totally reliable receiver, but he's shown the ability to make tough catches.

    Epps is also known for having a mean streak as a blocker, and gives 100% effort in that facet of his game despite not possessing all the bulk for the role.

    There is a bit of an injury concern, as he tore his ACL during the Emerald Bowl last year. However, he appears to be fully recovered given his participation with the Chargers, so it might be past him.

    As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Report: Jared Odrick out six weeks with broken fibula

    The Miami Dolphins came out of their season opener against the Buffalo Bills with a victory, but the win did not come without a price.

    Despite initial reports of a "deep bone bruise," rookie first-round defensive end Jared Odrick is expected to miss six weeks with a broken fibula, according to a report on NFL.com.

    Selected 28th overall out of Penn State in April's draft, Odrick secured the Dolphins' starting right defensive end job after a season-ending Achilles' injury to Phillip Merling.

    After a largely uneventful preseason, Odrick recorded a tackled for a loss against the Bills and was highly disruptive during the game. He suffered the leg injury during the third quarter of action.

    The Dolphins re-signed defensive end Lionel Dotson off the Denver Broncos' practice squad for depth on Wednesday, although no corresponding roster move has been announced.

    Dotson has played four games for the Dolphins over the past two seasons after being drafted in the seventh round in 2008. He was waived during final cuts.


    Analysis

    This is a tough blow to the Dolphins' defensive line if true, as the team is not nearly as deep as it was with Merling's injury and the release of veterans Marques Douglas and Charles Grant last week.

    While Dotson does add some experience and familiarity, he's not a legitimate starter and I'd prefer to not even have him play much at all.

    Although it's possible the Dolphins could move nose tackle Randy Starks back to right end and start Paul Soliai, which would probably give them the most overall talent up front, I'd expect Starks to stay put and for Tony McDaniel and Dotson to work in Odrick's place.

    The Dolphins can probably get by with McDaniel starting for a month and a half due to the rest of the talent on the line, but personally, I think the team is crazy if they don't re-sign at least one of Douglas or Grant.

    Both players played well in the preseason and have the experience and talent to rotate in at defensive end. Neither would have their salary guaranteed either, since they weren't on the team's roster for Week One.

    The Dolphins' defense is ranked first in the league after playing a lowly Bills opponent in the opener, but they'll need all the help they can get heading into the meat of their schedule.

    [Update: Armando Salguero reports Odrick has only a "slight fracture" and will miss a maximum of two weeks.]


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    Dolphins re-sign Lionel Dotson, Erik Walden

    The Miami Dolphins brought back two familiar faces today, re-signing defensive end Lionel Dotson and outside linebacker Erik Walden.

    Walden has been a free agent since being waived by the Dolphins during final cuts, while Dotson spent the first week of the regular season on the practice squad of the Denver Broncos.

    Because Dotson was signed directly off Denver's practice squad, Miami must keep him on the active roster at least three weeks.

    The Dolphins also waived rookie defensive end Clifton Geathers today, just 10 days after claiming him off waivers from the Cleveland Browns. One more move needs to be made to make room for both signings.

    Interestingly, both players' jersey numbers from their previous tenures in Miami have been taken since their release 10 days ago. Offensive lineman Cory Procter switched from No. 61 to Dotson's 71, while linebacker Bobby Carpenter donned Walden's No. 50 in the season opener against Buffalo.


    Lionel Dotson

    A seventh-round pick by the Dolphins out of Arizona in 2008, Dotson appeared in two games his rookie season and recorded one tackle.

    Dotson was a reserve defensive end once again in 2009, totaling two tackles in two games played.

    After recording three tackles in the four preseason games of 2010, Dotson was waived by the team during final cuts.


    Erik Walden

    A standout pass rusher at Middle Tennessee State, Walden was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. However, he was waived by the team during final cuts.

    The Kansas City Chiefs claimed Walden off waivers from Dallas, adding him to their active roster. He appeared in nine games and recorded 10 tackles before being waived on Nov. 19.

    After being claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins, Walden appeared in six games on special teams and totaled five tackles.

    A reserve outside linebacker, Walden was primarily limited to special teams again in 2009, totaling eight tackles in 11 games.

    Despite recording six tackles and a sack in the 2010 preseason, Walden was waived during final cuts in favor of fellow reserve linebacker Quentin Moses.


    Analysis

    It's no surprise to see either play back, as Walden is an excellent special teams player and Dotson is a familiar face capable of playing in a reserve role in the wake of Jared Odrick's leg injury.

    While I've never been high on Dotson and don't feel like he has much upside, he's obviously more NFL-ready than rookies Clifton Geathers or Rob Rose, who were both claimed off waivers a week ago.

    I'm particularly glad to see Walden re-signed, as he is a quality special teams player. In fact, I expected Walden to make the team over Moses simply because of that fact. Neither is much of an asset on defense, so I think it makes more sense to keep Walden because of his other abilities.

    One thing I am a little surprised about is the fact that Geathers was waived and not Rose. Geathers has the more appealing physical attributes and seemingly more upside.

    It's possible Rose could be cut too with another roster move needing to be made, but cutting two defensive ends while adding one after Odrick's injury doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

    Instead, I'd expect wide receiver Roberto Wallace, offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, or linebacker Micah Johnson to get the ax to make room for Dotson. All three are eligible for the practice squad.

    As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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