Later on, the Dolphins will take the field in Jacksonville for their 2nd preseason game. And while it is expected that the starters will get some prolonged playing time together, it's also a very big day for those players who are on the "bubble" - battling for roster spots on the 53-man roster. And while the Dolphins still have plenty of time to decide who they will indeed keep, this game could still be the last for some players who are on the fringe.
Tony Sparano understands this. And he's going to try and balance the playing time for the starters compared to the "bubble" guys. Says Tony:
"I need to see some of these bubble guys. The way you get your question answered is to see them play against the best people. I need to see some of that. At the same time, there's just some guys who need to play. In the second half of that game there's going to be some people that we're going to need to see play a little bit longer that way, too."
So who might just some of these "bubble" players be? Let's discuss.
Wide Receivers - Following the release of two UDFA receivers, the Dolphins currently have 8 receivers on their roster. Four of them are likely locks to make the roster, being Ted Ginn, Derek Hagan, Ernest Wilford, and UDFA rookie Davone Bess, who has impressed coaches all camp and who will be working as the slot receiver with the starters (yes, I'm going to toot my own horn for a second). So that means David Kircus, Greg Camarillo, Jayson Foster, and Anthony Armstrong are likely battling for one roster spot (possibly two - but that's probably unlikely at this point). And it's likely going to come down to who can also contribute on special teams. Kircus, who had a standout game last week, needs to prove he can also cover kicks/punts. Camarillo could also go a long way towards solidifying his roster spot if he can prove to be an asset on kick/punt coverage.
Cornerbacks - This is becoming an interesting battle as well. While Will Allen, Andre Goodman, and Michael Lehan (if he ever gets healthy) are locks to make the roster, everyone else needs to prove they belong. Those other roster spots at CB will cone down to 5 players (at least, that are currently on the roster): Nate Jones, Travis Daniels, Joey Thomas, Will Billingsley, and Chris Roberson. Jones has a history, coming from Dallas, with Paul Pasqualoni and Todd Bowles. Daniels has been a Dolphin since being drafted by "some guy" in 2005. But after a surprising rookie season, he's been a disappointment. Joey Thomas is a guy who has been getting some work with the 2nd team and who could really get a step closer to making this team with a good showing. Roberson and Billingsley could very well be battling for one practice squad spot. All could really use good showings tonight.
Now, to be sure I don't ramble on and on here (because I certainly could), below is just a list of players who are also very much "on the bubble" and whose days could easily be numbered in Miami, especially with a bad outing later on tonight:
OL - Mike Byrne, Matt Spanos
DL - Rod Wright, Anthony Toribio, Lionel Dotson
LB - Kelly Poppinga, Rob Ninkovich, Junior Glymph, Edmond Miles, Titus Brown
So let's hear it. Which players do you think are clearly "dead men walking" and which do you all think could still play themselves onto the 53-man roster?