The Miami Dolphins are just about halfway through the preseason. So we thought it would be a good time to take a look at where the Dolphins position battles stand just 26 days before the team heads to Cleveland for the season opener. The Dolphins have a number of position battles taking place, including a number of starting positions. Injuries have certainly played a part in the position battles, leaving some players behind, while at the same time opening up opportunities for others.
Starting Defensive Tackle (Jared Odrick vs. Randy Starks)
We didn’t really think this was going to be a battle, considering Randy Starks signed his franchise tender worth $8.45 million for the 2013 season. However, Jared Odrick has had a good camp, holding down the starting defensive tackle spot next to Paul Soliai. Odrick was the Dolphins starting defensive end last season, but has practiced solely at defensive tackle this preseason. It hasn’t helped that Randy Starks has been hurt and hasn’t practiced in 11 days. If Starks can get back to 100%, the Dolphins will have a very solid defensive tackle rotation with these 3 players. Current Leader: Jared Odrick
4th and 5th Wide Receiver (Rishard Matthews, Marvin McNutt, Jeff Fuller, Chad Bumphis, Brian Tyms)
This race is still wide open. The Dolphins have their top 3 wide receivers set, Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and Brandon Gibson. However, the race for the #4 and #5 spot is still wide open. Rishard Matthews missed 2 weeks of camp with a knee injury, but has performed well since returning. Chad Bumphis and Marvin McNutt have each had their exciting moments. Jeff Fuller and Brian Tyms have flashed, but not as much as Bumphis and McNutt. Armon Binns was almost a certainty to lock down one of these positions, but his season-ending injury created a spot for another young receiver.
Right now, I think Matthews has the inside track for the #4 spot, if he stays healthy. After that, I think Bumphis has a slight edge on the rest of the field given his ability to make a play in space. However, this is certainly a battle to keep an eye on, as the next 3 preseason games will ultimately decide who makes the final 53. Current Leaders: Matthews and Bumphis
Starting Cornerback (Richard Marshall vs. Dmitri Patterson)
The Dolphins might have caught lightening in a bottle when they signed Brent Grimes this offseason. He looks to be 100% healthy and fully recovered from his season-ending injury last season. Grimes looks to be in his Pro-Bowl form, which is great news. The big question is: Who will start on the opposite side of the field? Richard Marshall and Dmitri Patterson have been splitting first team snaps for the last few weeks.
In my opinion, this is a great problem to have, considering both Marshall and Patterson have been practicing and playing well. This is a tight battle, but going into the season with 3 solid cornerbacks would be a good thing. Why? Because the NFL has become a passing league when 3 wide receiver sets are used more and more. However, from what I’ve seen, I’ll give the slight edge at this point to Dmitri Patterson. Current Leader: Dmitri Patterson. (continued on page 2, CLICK HERE)