We work very hard in this space to make sure Miami Dolphins fans don't miss a thing, but sometimes stuff falls through the cracks.
Well, here is a breakdown of what we should have learned from the first week of training camp with the Dolphins, who have the day off on Tuesday.
The action resumes on Wednesday, and if this is like past Dolphins training camps I've covered there will be minor depth chart alterations based on today's coaches meetings.
Some of the material you'll read below could provide some hints.
1. Legedu Naanee, whom the team initially envisioned as a camp body, is holding onto a starting spot he EARNED in the offseason. That comes straight from head coach Joe Philbin.
"We thought he had a productive spring. We thought he earned an opportunity to get a bunch of reps," Philbin said. "I don’t know that he had a lot of touches quite yet, but he’s certainly deserving of a lot of opportunities.”
Naanee is Miami's second biggest receiver (Robert Wallace is No. 1). He's the best blocking receiver. He has deep speed (beat Vontae Davis on a touchdown from Matt Moore on Sunday), and he runs fairly crisp routes so far. I'm curious to see if he can keep this up.
2. Jamaal Westerman has been a force. He's dominated practice for the past two days, consistently applying pressure to the quarterbacks. At his present sack rate he's probably doubled the output of the team's second best pass rusher. At this point it is hard to tell if Westerman is that good, or if the second-team offensive linemen he's going against are that bad.
The truth could be found somewhere in the middle. I'd love to see him work against the starters. Stay tuned.
"We’ll put him in some different situations and different spots. He’s been impressive," Philbin said. "We thought he had a really good offseason. We thought he showed some flashes of doing the things that your talking about, albeit without pads, but I like the kid. He seems to be a good, instinctive football player. He has some good special teams value. I think he likes the game, he’s smart. I think we might be able to move him around a little bit and create some of those mismatches that you might want to take advantage of."
3. Jonathan Martin and Artis Hicks are the front runners to earn the starting spots on the right side, but Eric Steinbach could push Hicks for the starting right guard spot. Steinbach worked at left guard earlier in the week because the coaches wanted him to feel comfortable and settle in since he hadn't played football in a year. But on Monday Steinbach was moved to the right side, which is where he'll likely push for playing time. The Dolphins need to see him go against Paul Soliai and Randy Starks to get an accurate assessment.
4. John Jerry isn't in the mix at all for a starting spot on the offensive line. In fact, I suspect it won't be long before he disappears from the roster unless he gets his act together (then again, I said that last year). Jerry showed up to camp at 345 pounds, which is about 25 pounds heavier than his target weight. While he passed his conditioning test, Jerry moves like a snail at practice. That doesn't work in a zone blocking scheme that requires athleticism. I have a hard time believing it wouldn't be better for him to move to tackle.
5. Lamar Miller is a game-changing talent. Every time he touches the ball I'm on pins and needles because it is obvious to everyone - including the blind - that he moves at a different speed than the rest of the players on it. I have a hard time thinking he won't leapfrog Daniel Thomas if he learns how to pass protect, which is his Achilles heel. If Miller stays healthy he could be a force in coming years.
6. Ryan Tannehill has looked A LOT better his first two training camp practices than he looked in the OTA and minicamp sessions the media watched this summer. But that still doesn't mean he's even close to David Garrard's level. Tannehill is still taking too many sacks (he typically spazes out at the sight of a blitz), and he sparingly throws the ball over the middle of the field. He trusts his arm a lot, and attacks the outside zones of the field. He has the arm to deliver those throws. But once teams catch on and take that away from him he'll be forced to adjust.
The biggest thing I've learned about new quarterbacks is how they play immediately is fools gold. Chad Henne looks good early. How they adjust to defensive adjustments is the real indicator. That's when most get exposed.
7. Brian Hartline and Chris Clemons injuries could put both at jeopardy of losing their starting spot (saying a roster spot would be going too far right now). Neither was on solid footing considering both haven't proven they are anything better than average NFL starters since joining the team in 2009. Being sidelined has opened the door for Jimmy Wilson and Tyrone Culver to settle in as the safety opposite Reshad Jones, and it could allow Chad Johnson the window he needs to prove he's back to being a upper echelon NFL receiver.
8. Based on last season's performance, when Culver's sure-handed performance was what made Miami's defense a force, he's the safety I predict will work the best with this young secondary. Culver has the brains to run the operation. However, I'm waiting to see if Wilson can reproduce his training camp performance from last year, where he was the top player on the entire team. He hasn't flashed so far, but I'm a patient man.
9. Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle challenged me when I told him there's only one starting spot (safety) up for grabs. According to Coyle, there are roles that are like starting spots to him that are up for grabs.
We're splitting hairs on that subject, but I am curious to see who becomes the situational pass rusher (Olivier Vernon), the pressure pass rusher that replaces Koa Misi (Westerman) and the third safety on the field in quarters scheme (Wilson). I also need to know the fourth cornerback, and the third (Tony McDaniel) and fourth defensive tackle. Those are all important battles, but they aren't starter battles.
10. Everyone on the team keeps talking up Julius Pruitt. It is getting to the point where it has become overkill. While I have indeed seen improvement from Pruitt, who is working as the second-team slot, I haven't seen him dominant practice like he did on the final day of minicamp, when he scored three touchdowns. I'm still waiting on that type of performance.
But the praise from Pruitt keeps coming because everyone on the team, especially those who have been around for a couple of seasons, respects his hustle. Right now Pruitt is the sixth receiver to beat for the final spot on the 53-man roster.
G.G.G.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun