The triumvirate has been busy piecing together the 09 Fins, and have updated the roster. Signing free agents, the draft and a trade or two, more free agents, returning a legend, and even a guy from the great white north. Everyone being brought in to compete for positions on this team. Its the never ending process of making a team better.
There is a big difference this year however, they're not overhauling the team. Last year at this time, they were one step up from an expansion team. This year they're looking to upgrade a few positions, and win a playoff game.
Last year at this time they did not know what they had, with only 26 players from the previous year making the team, thats fully half of a team they brought in, this year they'll have 35 or more returning players make the team.
Last year they brought in new offensive and defensive schemes and philosophies that everyone had to learn, except a few players they brought in that played in their system, this year everyone coming back has a year in the system, and will be more familiar with it.
For this team that one year made a tremendous difference, last year at this time I think most of us would have signed up for 6 wins, would have given blood for 8 wins, but thats because we were an unknown entity, with a rookie head coach, new offense, new defense and a group of players put together from all over, to join what was left from a squad that had gone 1-15.
This year its completely different, they know what they have, what there strengths and weaknesses are, and they want to compliment that.
The big free agents J Grove, C Wake, G Wilson and JT, now these guys, you know are making the team, they were brought in to make an impact.
The next tier down FAs, E Green, J Berger, J Cohen and the trade for T McDaniel, now these guys are "expected" to make the team, Green, Cohen and McDaniel have tremendous physical upsides, and Berger has managed to stick around the NFL, because he has potential.
The draft brought us V Davis, P White and S Smith in the first 2 rounds, so no matter what, they will make the team. Something to remember is, the better a team is, the harder it is for rookies to make an impact or even make the team, with that said lets say that P Turner, J Nalbone and C Clemons make the team thats 6 out of 9, which is not bad, but what about the O-Lineman, Gardner to make it 7 out of 9, or the URFA Quinn? And what about Ellis the URFA NT that looked so good?
This year right now we have 50 players that were a part of this organization last year, combined with the players I just mentioned above thats 67, It sneaks right up on ya doesn't it, that means you have to clear 13 or so spots from the 50 returning players, and I haven't mentioned the other 18 guys who will be trying to win a spot in their own Position Battles.
There are 82 players on the roster, 53 guys will make the squad. Here is a look at each position and where we stand.
The Chads , one is now the other is the future, but then they drafted White.
I'll be the first to admit I never thought they would, either way its doubtful he'll see much playing time this year in any capacity, because just like any other rookie he has a lot to learn, and he will be behind CP and CH. He also has to learn the WR position if they're going to use him in that capacity, so for those of you who think White is gonna make some noise, anything is possible, but realistically it probably wont be until at least next year. That has nothing to do with him personally, it is a universal assessment of anybody in his situation.
Unless some one does something spectacular, the QB depth chart won't change, unless they put White at WR.
Ronnie and Ricky stud city, and they love Cobbs.
Most likely no change here, we are set at RB.
Lousaka Polite emerged as the starter last year.
L. Polite and Chris Brown (no not that Chris Brown) will slug it out for perhaps just 1 spot, starter, they only kept 1 most of the year.
Polite is the favorite, will they keep 1 or 2?
Fasano and Martin were great last year, and made the Fins one of the most productive teams in the NFL at the TE position.
Haynos showed flashes, but 2 others have been brought in to compete, John Nalbone and Jared Bronson. Haynos, Nalbone and Bronson will most likely compete for 1 spot, possibly 2, they kept 3 last year but if they really like a couple of these young guys they may keep 4.
This may be a very entertaining position battle, probably just for depth this year, but they are looking for new blood with free agency looming next year, perhaps they keep 4.
Bess, Camarillo and Ginn are 3 of the 5 they will likely keep.
London showed flashes, Wilford did not. London and Wilford will compete with, Anthony Armstrong, Brennan Marion, Brian Hartline, Patrick Turner and Chris Williams for 2 or maybe 3 spots. They kept 5 last year, 3 have proven they can be productive in our offense, but the rest is kind of a jumble isn't it, London is promising, Wilford was a decent NFL WR until last year, rookies drafted and un, and practice squad type players. There's a myriad of possibilities and heres one; what if this last season was a huge wake up call for Wilford and he's rededicated himself to being the best that he can be, and London takes that next step, and becomes a WR threat, It may sound hard to believe but there is a real chance that we have the same WR group next year, I'm not predicting it, its just one of many possibilities.
With 11 players on the roster, on the surface it would seem to be one of the big candidates for huge position battles, but that depends on what the 6 players who were not on this squad last year, bring to the table this year, lets hope its a real knock down, drag out, donnybrook.
Long and Carey are rocks.
Garner and Frye will try to keep their jobs as back ups, battling Andrew Gardner and SirVincent Rogers. Obviously this is a back up battle, but it would be nice to have some one emerge as the clear #1 back up.
This could be a feisty little back up battle and some depth would be nice, they kept 4 last year.
Smiley and Thomas were opening day starters, both were on IR at the end.
Smiley says he is way ahead of schedule, will miss OTAs but be ready for camp, Thomas will be at OTAs. A Alleman, S Murphy , I Ndukwe, Joe Berger, Mark Lewis and JD Quinn will possibly compete for ALL spots. Given the uncertainty of Smiley and youth of Thomas, although they will both make the team, barring anything unforeseen, this position could be wide open at least for the early part of the season, and may be the fiercest position battle, it should be interesting.
This was a turbulent position last year due to injury and I could see them keeping 5, the extra guy serving as back up C as well, the ability to play C may be the key to making this squad for a couple of guys.
Jake Grove is the only C listed on the roster.
Ndukwe and Berger can play some C, and that fact may win them jobs this year.
The position battle here is at G, for back up.
* O line note; they will keep 9 or 10 players on the roster.
* D line note; P Soliai is listed as DE on the roster, T McDaniel is listed as DT, now the FO has already said to us and McDaniel that he will work at DE, and we know Soliai is a NT, so I'm going to assume its a typo. It happens to the best of us.
Langford, Merling and Starks got most of the reps last year, and are returning.
L Dotson and R Wright will compete with Orion Martin, Tony McDaniel and Ryan Baker for 1 to 3 spots. This may be a fun battle to watch unfold, McDaniel is the guy to watch most likely, and may even be the starter. But there will be a battle to see who gets in the regular rotation.
Due to the fact they have JT and M Roth as LBs maybe they only keep 4, 5 is more likely, 6 a possibility.
Ferguson is a stud, but aged and near the end of his career.
They kept 2 last year they may keep 3 this year to be safe, Fergusons age makes it a bit uncertain as to when you will need a starter to move into his place, also they may be thinking of using a couple of our DEs to log some mins here.
Porter, Ayodele, Crowder and Roth were the starters last year.
Torbor, Anderson, Walden and Moses all saw some action. Tearrius George, William Kershaw, JD Folsom and of course the freak Cameron Wake were added to the roster. And the legend returns Jason Taylor, it feels good to say that. But there is a real math problem here, Porter, Ayodele, Crowder, Taylor, Wake, Roth, Torbor, and Anderson makes 8, they kept 7 guys on the roster most of the year, This will be a tough unit to get a job, this will be a strong position for us next year, can't wait!
It seems to me that Torbor and Anderson are going to have to fight just to stay on the squad, will they keep 7 or 8?
Bell and Wilson will start.
They will keep 4 or 5 here, which means T Culver, C Bryan, Ethan Kilmer and Chris Clemons will compete for 2 or 3 spots. Clemons seems to be the Xfactor here, very Impressive physical tools, can he challenge for some playing time?
Interesting spot to keep your eyes on.
W. Allen is the only starter we have.
E Green, J Thomas, J. Allen, N Jones, Will Billingsley, will compete with high draft picks Sean Smith and Vontae Davis for the other 5 spots, since they will likely keep 6. This is obviously the position battle that will take center stage during camp and beyond, there are so many possibilities here it boggles the mind, what if this is the defense that fits Green to a T, what if J Allen or Babers takes the next step, and how will the young lions Davis and Smith progress this year. Without a doubt this looks to be the most competitive position heading into OTAs, hopefully that helps bring these guys along even faster, because this position is our biggest ? right now.
There is some good talent in this group and it will have us all glued.
We don't know which positions will have the extra guys this year but it will probably be guys who are versatile enough to play multiple positions, what are your opinions on our position battles, predictions for certain spots, big battles at certain spots, how many projected starters do you think will lose their jobs?
Any and all comments are welcome and appreciated as usual :>)