Friday, August 7, 2009

Why Pat White Works in Miami

If you look back to a post I had in March before the NFL Draft, I did suggest that picking Pat White would be in the best interests for the Miami Dolphins. I mentioned the "Wildcat" formation as the main reason why he would be a perfect fit in aqua and orange. Of course, I don't have any connections to Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland or Tony Sparano but they still thought along the same lines that I did and selected White.

Anybody that has seen him in the first few practices might be in a rush to panic because honestly, he hasn't looked overly impressive. However, you all need to calm down and there are reasons why:

-Despite the fact that he is being hailed as the messiah of the "WildPat" formation, people also have to keep in mind that a second round pick was spent on him. That also means second round money is being spent on him. Don't forget that the Dolphins have spent three second round picks in the last three years on quarterbacks. John Beck is reunited with Cam Cameron in Baltimore, and Chad Henne is the backup in Miami and is waiting to have the reigns handed to him.

White is the first "Wildcat" quarterback, but also the third-string regular quarterback. That means that a few plays here or there could put him into regular season action. He has to be ready for that, and the Dolphins coaching staff is putting him through situations in training camp that will make him uncomfortable so he can be ready to possibly step up if need be.

-He is coming from a spread offense in West Virginia where he is the NCAA record holder for rushing yards by a quarterback and also only the seventh player in NCAA history to pass and rush for more than 3,000 yards in his career.

At WVU he took all of his snaps from the shotgun, and he now transitions to having to take a majority of the snaps from under center. Some people might take it for granted that a quarterback has to do that but if you have been doing something, anything for four years, doing something you're not used to will take time to get used to. No quarterback has made an easy transition from a spread offense in college to the pros. If you don't believe me, look at Tennessee, where Vince Young is on the bench after being one of the best quarterbacks in NCAA history.

-He's a rookie! Not everyone will be able to experience the success with teams in their first year that Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco had last year. The coaches are tinkering with his throwing motions and getting him adjusted to running a pro-style offense like I mentioned earlier. He will be alright, just give him time to get used to everything. He sounds like a very respectful young man who wants to get better.

Maybe it's just me defending a prediction I made earlier this year, because there were definitely doubters to this pick when it initially happened. He will work out, give him time!

Until next time... Keep reading!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wide Receivers Looking to Make an Impact This Season

An issue that has followed the Miami Dolphins through last season into the offseason and into training camp has been about the wide receiver position. It is the area on the team that could end up with some of the most competition outside of cornerback, but it is also the area with the most questions.

You can look at the receivers and see a great variety of different receivers that are on the team. You need big receivers? There are three of them that are 6'2" or taller, and two of them were picked in April's draft. Patrick Turner, Brandon London, and Brian Hartline should all make the team. London is the one that may be the closest to being on the bubble as far as numbers are concerned, but I can't see him being but because he is a good talent that would be picked up by another team immediately.

The debate around Dolphins training camp is whether they will keep five receivers or six. They usually only keep four of them active on game day, but the intrigue is arising because of London's improvement. He adds a dimension to the team that could be very interesting. Just imagine London and Turner on the field at the same time. Most corners will have trouble because they will normally be giving up about three or four inches in height.

Turner has shown that he has very good speed for such a tall receiver, and his hands are very good but I think they could be just a bit more consistent. London is just showing impressive playmaking and athletic ability so far in camp. Hartline is solid, and he has the advantage of being a special teams ace which all but guarantees his spot on the team.

What other kinds of receivers would you be looking for? If you're looking for speed, you have Ted Ginn Jr. You want shiftiness and consistency? Davone Bess is your man. You just want a solid receiver with a point to prove? Did someone say Greg Camarillo?

Ginn is obviously expected to produce as a number one receiver in his third year after being drafted in the top 10 of the NFL Draft a few years ago. The third year for most receivers is when you see the biggest jump in production. He definitely showed signs of improvement last season and things seem to be coming a little bit simpler in the early stages of training camp.

Bess is solid, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if he has another 50-catch season. He's a smart and consistent player that you know works hard because he went from undrafted free agent out of Hawaii to lock for the 53-man roster for this season. Camarillo should be back from a knee injury and has so far looked good in practices.

There are no number one caliber receivers on the team right now, but that doesn't mean one won't step up during the season. It will be interesting to see what happens as the season progresses.

Next update will be after the next round of practices, so later folks!

Monday, August 3, 2009

1st Day of Two-a-days for Dolphins Training Camp

The first of two practices today is already done, and it was definitely one of those sessions that makes you glad the regular season is still about a month away. Looking at the first two practices, you would have thought that yesterday's practice would have been a mid-training camp practice. Yes, it was that sharp. Today's practice looked more like a first day should. Not necessarily a good thing, but you know Tony Sparano won't have too much more of that and he'll whip the boys into shape.


-Pat White has a long way to go before he can be a contributing quarterback in the NFL. There was only one Wildcat formation play during the morning session, and he was not involved in it. This might be because the coaches don't want to show everything right away, but it was reminiscent of last year with Ronnie Brown taking the snap and handing it off to Ricky Williams.

White is still very inconsistent when it comes to his throws. He has the arm to make pretty much all the passes, but he clearly has to work on his mechanics so he can make those throws more often. He also needs to develop the poise in the pocket, not to mention he still has to get used to taking snaps under center. As of right now, he has the potential to be a good backup in the NFL, but I don't see him being used as more than a Wildcat player until he can develop his game.

-The offense as a whole looked sluggish this morning. There were fumbles, mishandled handoffs, and other things that make you relieved that there are many more practices. This offense doesn't have too many playmakers, so to be effective this season it will have to be efficient and limit the mistakes. Thats what made Chad Pennington so good last year. Cornerback Will Allen intercepting him today wasn't terrible, but it's something to take note of from such a shaky offensive practice.

Well folks, I'll be back later today with another post. I should have some quotes from some players so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dolphins Training Camp: Day 1

It's that time of year folks! That's right, your favorite team is undefeated (even those Detroit Lions fans out there). Optimism is abound for all 32 NFL teams as training camp starts. The Miami Dolphins were the last team in the AFC to start camp, but they started today, and there is no better time in South Florida.

The expectations are high for the Dolphins this year, both on the team and in the stands. This is clear after seeing an announced crowd of 2,250 in the bleachers watching practice. That itself is impressive, but if you throw in the masses of fans watching from the parking garage across the street from the facility and lining up on the fence right outside the fields. I have been going to Dolphins training camps for over 10 years and I have never seen the crowds like they were today. I thought it was absolutely unbelievable. But enough with the sentimental off-field things.

The first day is always going to show signs of rust from all the players, but it was definitely good to see the team get out there and run around in shorts and shoulder pads.

My thoughts and observations from today's practice:

-The wide receivers have a long way to go before they find a true gamebreaker. The regular season is still over a month away, but there was no one that really stood out very much on the first day. Second year receiver Brandon London made the play of the day as he went up over two defensive backs and came down with a long pass down the sidelines.

As far as the big receivers go, he looked better than third round pick Patrick Turner did. Turner dropped a couple of easy passes during drills and looked like he was still adjusting, maybe to the heat and humidity of South Florida. This sure isn't mini-camp anymore.

-The rookie cornerbacks will definitely make a difference this season. Sean Smith is even bigger in person than I read when looking at his numbers. He is big and physical, which will help against the multiple great receivers that are in the AFC East. Vontae Davis also looks good, and is a physical specimen. Although not quite as tall as Smith, he is built very well and is also fast, showing his speed as he ran with Ted Ginn Jr. stride for stride in his deep routes. As of right now, free agent acquisition Eric Green is starting opposite Will Allen. However, Head Coach Tony Sparano said that the other starting corner could change in the coming days. In any event, when the nickel and dime packages are installed you will see all fo the talent on the field. My early prediction is Smith will end up the starter opposite Allen, at least right now. He is too big and too physical to not see action right away.

-LB Matt Roth was not in pads today, he was on the sidelines running for most of the practice. Coach Sparano said that he is currently on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and he failed his conditioning test. He should be on the field in the next few days according to the coach. That's not a good sign at all, and with Jason Taylor coming back he needs to show that he deserves to be on the field. He is supposed to add depth to the linebacker position and I'll be looking in the next few days to see when he gets out on to the field.

-There were a few gadget plays thrown into practice today, but no Wildcat formation. What I saw was a few reverse passes thrown by some of the receivers. I think that some of it was to please the fans on the first day, nothing that was going to shake up the playbook. Offensive Coordinator Dan Henning is definitely going to be keeping opposing defenses on their toes this year

Thats all for today, I'll be back with another post tomorrow after the morning practice. It is the Dolphins first two-a-day of training camp, so the information will be coming steadfastly. Be on the lookout!