Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dolphins release second depth chart of preseason

The Miami Dolphins released their second depth chart of the 2012 preseason on Monday, and in most ways it is similar to the first. Major changes include the removal of wide receiver Chad Johnson following his arrest for domestic assault, as well as injuries relocating players to the bottom of their positions.

Just as I did with the first depth chart the team released a week ago, I'm breaking down this version for hints at what kind of roster we'll be looking at come September.

(depth chart formatting courtesy Ben Volin/Palm Beach Post)

WRLegedu NaaneeJulius PruittJeff Fuller*Rishard Matthews*
BJ CunninghamChris Hogan
Clyde Gates
LTJake LongLydon MurthaRay FeingaWill Yeatman
LGRichie IncognitoEric SteinbachChandler Burden
CMike PounceyJosh Samuda*Ryan Cook
RGArtis HicksNate GarnerJohn Jerry
RTJonathan Martin*Andrew McDonald*Will Barker
TEAnthony FasanoCharles ClayJeron MastrudMichael Egnew*Les Brown*
WRDavone BessMarlone MooreRoberto WallaceBrian Hartline
QBMatt MooreRyan Tannehill*Pat DevlinDavid Garrard
FBJorvorskie Lane*Ryan MahaffeyJerome Messam*
RBReggie BushDaniel ThomasSteve SlatonLamar Miller*Marcus ThigpenJonas Gray*

  • David Garrard (out 2-4 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery) drops to the bottom of the depth chart due to injury. It's hard to know who the starting will be to open the regular season, as Garrard's availability is in doubt but the team doesn't seem to like Matt Moore all that much. I'm still a little leery of Ryan Tannehill opening the season as starter given his lack of starting experience in college.
  • Nevertheless, Tannehill appears to be right in the mix to start and could do just that in Friday at Carolina. Moore being atop the depth chart here could simply be to avoid giving anyone the indication that Tannehill has been named the team's starter.
  • Jorvorskie Lane remains the "starting" fullback for the second straight depth chart, though I still don't see much talent at this position and I'm curious what kind of role it will have in the team's offense. Lane being above Ryan Mahaffey and Jerome Messam here doesn't bode well for those two, however.
  • With Chad Johnson gone, the Dolphins' thin receiving corps gets even thinner. Legedu Naanee remains a starter almost by default, although he seems to be having a good camp. It's interesting that Brian Hartline doesn't drop down the depth chart like other injured players have and that seems to indicate his roster spot is safe even though he hasn't been on the field for a few weeks. But while he may be safe for now, he really needs to get back as soon as possible and take advantage of this wide open position.
  • Roberto Wallace is reportedly having a great camp. Combine that with his nice preseason opener (four catches, 71 yards) and the fact that he worked with the starters in practice Monday after Johnson's release, and it seems odd that he's still listed as a third-teamer here behind a guy that he's clearly ahead of in Marlon Moore. Perhaps the Dolphins are trying to keep Wallace motivated, but it certainly seems like he's got a roster spot waiting for him.
  • Unlike Hartline, Clyde Gates does fall to the bottom of the depth chart with his hamstring injury. Johnson's release is the perfect opportunity for Gates to seize a spot in this team's offense.
  • Undrafted Josh Samuda has been listed as the second-team center on both depth charts and that was reflected in the preseason opener as well when Samuda did indeed work with the backups. While I didn't give Samuda much of a chance to make the roster upon signing, it seems like he's done a nice job working out a spot as Mike Pouncey's backup. Veteran Ryan Cook now seems extremely unlikely to make the team and earn that $1 million base salary.
  • With the starting offensive line pretty much set unless Eric Steinbach makes a late push for the right guard job, what has me interested here is how the backups will shake out. Although Ray Feinga is listed as a third-string left tackle, the Dolphins already know he can play guard and I get the feeling he's simply adding to his versatility rather than being buried on the depth chart.

LEJared OdrickDerrick Shelby*Jarrell Root*
DTRandy StarksTony McDanielChas Alecxih*
DTPaul SoliaiKheeston Randall*Isaako AaituiRyan Baker
RECameron WakeOlivier Vernon*Jamaal WestermanJaquies Smith*
SLBKevin BurnettGary GuytonJonathan FreenyShelly Lyons*
MLBKarlos DansbyAustin SpitlerCameron Collins*
WLBKoa MisiJason TrusnikJosh Kaddu*
CBSean SmithNolan CarrollJonathan WadeTrenton Hughes*Marcus Brown
CBRichard MarshallVontae DavisQuinten LawrenceKevyn Scott*
SChris ClemonsJimmy WilsonTyrell JohnsonKelcie McCray
SReshad JonesTyrone CulverAnderson Russell

  • Undrafted rookie Derrick Shelby made some nice plays in the preseason opener and might have a good grasp on a roster spot, which is something I predicted in my initial 53-man roster projection in July. The question now is whether Jamaal Westerman can secure a fifth defensive end roster spot, although things aren't promising considering he's buried behind two rookies.
  • It doesn't bode well for Ryan Baker that he's at the bottom of the depth chart, as the three-year veteran doesn't have an injury that I'm aware of. With seventh-round Kheeston Randall having an impressive debut performance and looking like the only one of the backup bunch ready to contribute in the NFL, I'd be shocked if he doesn't win the job as the fourth defensive tackle.
  • Jason Trusnik should have a roster spot locked up considering how well he played on Friday, as should Austin Spitler as a backup in the middle and on special teams. The question here is whether or not veteran Gary Guyton makes the team purely as a backup. I could see the team keeping Guyton and trying to slip Josh Kaddu to the practice squad, but that might be risky.
  • No movement here for Vontae Davis, who isn't close to being shipped out of town but clearly hasn't regained a starting job just yet. If Sean Smith continues to play like he did against the Buccaneers, however, Davis could be back in the starting lineup well before September.
  • Tyrell Johnson still hasn't done anything to make this roster, so I think the real question at safety is whether or not a fifth one is kept at all. Anderson Russell still has life, while Kelcie McCray is an unknown because of a fractured foot. I suspect McCray could be a candidate to be stashed on injured reserve and the Dolphins are just waiting until the first round of cuts so they can move him without first exposing him to waivers.

Special Teams
PBrandon Fields
KDan Carpenter
KODan Carpenter
HBrandon Fields
KORMarcus ThigpenLamar Miller*Steve SlatonClyde Gates
PRDavone BessRishard Matthews*Marcus ThigpenClyde Gates
LSJohn Denney

  • Kickoff returner has easily been the most inaccurate part of these first two depth charts. Roster longshot Marcus Thigpen remains atop the position despite not playing in the preseason opener and rookie Lamar Miller, who did return kicks against Tampa Bay, being a lock to make the team. I find it extremely hard to believe that Thigpen has done and/or will do enough to make the Dolphins solely as a specialist.
  • Rookie Rishard Matthews returned all three punts against Tampa Bay, but he remains firmly on the roster bubble as do fellow listed punt returners Thigpen and Gates. Considering Davone Bess is the only player here that's a lock to make the team, we have to assume we'll be seeing a lot of fair catches and his patented "run seven yards and fall forward" method.

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