There’s a lot going on a Dolphins camp today. First, the Dolphins returned to practice today following their off day on Sunday. After practice, the Dolphins released their first draft of the team depth chart. The depth chart is very fluid and will change, but there are certainly some interesting things there that bear watching and we’ll get to those things a little later in this post.
First, the Dolphins practice, according to Omar Kelly, had the best intensity of all practices thus far in camp. That’s good news! Omar said that the offense seemed to win the day from the defense, which is also good news. The 2nd and 3rd week of camp is generally when the offense starts to ‘catch up’ to the defense. The reason for this is that the defense is more reactive, so things are picked up more quickly. Make no mistake, I don’t expect the Dolphins offense to be as good as their defense. If they get to a top 5 or top 10 ranking in the league (like the defense), we could be talking about the playoffs. I just don’t think they’re there right now…not yet.
Sean Smith continued his impressive training camp and has all but locked up one of the Dolphins starting CB positions. The QBs are said to have all played pretty well today, which is encouraging. Although, Garrard did have a couple of passes intercepted (Vontae and Richard Marshall). All Dolphins QBs stayed after practice and did some extra throwing. Good to see these guys staying late to try to get better. However, no other Dolphins player can out ‘hustle’ Reggie Bush in this area though. Reggie routinely stays after practice for 20-30 minutes and is almost always the last player on the field. He’s entering a contract year and is very determined, which is great news for the Dolphins.
There are two concerning areas from practice, but they are certainly fixable. The Dolphins are putting the ball on the ground too much. Shotgun snaps have been a problem recently and today the Dolphins ball carriers fumbled the ball at least 3 times. Again, these are fixable and I’m sure Joe Philbin is stressing the importance of ball security to the players.
The Dolphins released their first official depth chart this morning after practice. Please, please, please remember that this is the depth chart in the first week of August. This is by no means set in stone. So don’t adjust your fantasy football roster based on this!! It should come as no surprise that David Garrard is the 1st team QB listed on the depth charge. Matt Moore was listed 2nd and Ryan Tannehill 3rd.
As for the receivers, Legedu Naanee, Chad Johnson, and Davone Bess are the starters. Their top backups include Julius Pruitt, Jeff Fuller, Marlon Moore, and Roberto Wallace. The tight ends are ranked: Fasano, Clay Mastrud, and Egnew. Interestingly, Olivier Vernon is listed as the 2nd team right defensive end, ahead of Jamaal Westerman. Westerman shined early in camp, but perhaps Vernon has shown more to the coaches. The Dolphins running backs are ranked: Bush, Thomas, Slaton, Miller, Thigpen. I expect Miller to be the #2 back by midway through the season.
The most interesting name on the depth chart is Vontae Davis. He’s NOT listed as the Dolphins starting cornerback opposite Sean Smith. Richard Marshall is listed in that spot. The news that Davis was fighting for this job surfaced over the weekend and I had a hard time buying it. After all, Vontae was our best corner last year and the year before. How could he be in jeopardy of losing his starting spot? Well, the Dolphins signed Richard Marshall and expected him to fill in as the nickel CB.
As it turns out, Marshall has looked really good in camp and is pushing Vontae. I wonder if the Dolphins aren’t trying to motivate Vontae by putting him with the 2nd team on the depth chart…hoping to speed up his maturity and emphasize the importance of consistency. We’ll see. Vontae, to his credit, had a few pass breakups in practice today and picked off David Garrard. Stay tuned on this camp battle, one that we didn’t know was even going to be a battle!