Weekend Roundup: Talking rookie cornerbacks, Chad Pennington & more

Well we've officially entered the heart of the "dead zone" - the time period between the final OTA day and the beginning of training camp.  It's a time where the only bit of news you will find (other than Brett Favre news, of course) has to do with either the signing of your draft picks or the arrest of one of your players.

But I'll do my best to make this slow period as interesting as possible.  Let's get caught up on some nuggets you might have missed this past Father's Day weekend.

ESPN'S TIM GRAHAM DISCUSSES AFC EAST IN CHAT
Former Palm Beach Post writer and current AFC East blogger Tim Graham held a chat on Friday.  Of course, his opinion isn't really any more important than yours or mine.  But it's at least some food for thought.  Allow me to highlight some of the Dolphins-related talk.

Q: Sean Smith is a boss, but will everyone else view Vontae as a bust since Will Allen and Smith will be the probable starting cb's? I think his tackling would be excellent as a nickel in run support. Whatcha think?

A: I'm not sure where you're getting your info that Smith will be the starter. It's only June. All players, but especially cornerbacks, prove themselves at training camp and in preseason games. That's where they earn a coach's trust. On the last day of minicamp, Davis was getting first-team reps. So let's wait a while to see how that battle shakes out.

First off, Graham is exactly right here.  We need to see how these young corners play once the pads go on.  But I highlighted this question because I think it brings up an interesting point.

I really hope that if Sean Smith does continue to impress once the pads come on and wins the starting cornerback job opposite Will Allen that fans don't jump on Vontae Davis and call him a "bust" because he was the 1st round pick and he didn't beat our 2nd round pick to start.  Sadly, it's a situation I could see unfolding among some Dolphin fans - and it would be very unfair.  Davis and Smith have very different skill sets.  Smith is an ideal edge corner and wouldn't be a good fit as a nickel covering the slot.  Davis could play anywhere on the field.  And Smith's size would allow him to matchup with the bigger receivers that the Dolphins will face this year.

Q: Hey Tim - What kind of quarterback do you expect Henne to be? One that can win games on his own or a game manager type?

A: Game manager is a roundabout way of saying he wins with his head and not his skills. The Dolphins see him as complete quarterback with an arm and intelligence. Having Chad Pennington as Henne's mentor for a couple years could prove more valuable for the Dolphins in the long run than having Pennington at quarterback.

I'm sure those "Henne-ites" out there will simply disregard this - as usual.  But here's the thing: it's one thing if we're only hearing this idea that Pennington's mentoring is going to have big dividends for Henne in the long run from one source or just a handful of people.  However, we are hearing this know from many, many different sources.  That has to mean something, doesn't it?

But, as surely as it rains in Miami every summer afternoon, those who are in favor of benching Pennington for Henne will just continue to write this off as total BS.

Q: Timothy, Did you see in Ginn what Sparano sees in Ginn lately? That is confidence, crisper route running, DOMINANCE??

A: Dominance? In all caps, no less? I haven't heard Sparano say anything in the neighborhood of that.

The above statement by Graham is proof here that perhaps ESPN should reconsider who they have covering the AFC East for them.  So Graham hasn't heard Tony Sparano say anything in terms of Ginn looking "dominant" in practice?  Perhaps Timmy boy should read The Phinsider - because then he'd know that Sparano did in fact use that word, saying, "I've seen him in some situations be pretty dominant...I've been impressed with what Ted Ginn has done."

Perhaps I'm nuts - but that quote from Tony is in the neighborhood of "dominance."  Of course, it's in just helmets and shorts.  But still - I just wanted to point out that even the guys who get paid "the big bucks" for ESPN aren't as thorough as you would expect.

Q: I've heard nothing but great news about Patrick Turner supposively human vacuum cleaner. But does he have the speed to be a starter?

A: Turner does have sensational hands. I couldn't stop watching him at rookie camp. Speed and separation will be an issue, but he should be on the field on obvious passing downs and in the red zone.

The "human vacuum."  Not there's a potential nickname for Turner.

The question all along for Turner has been his ability to create separation.  His inability to do that at times at the collegiate level was evident when watching some of his tape in the weeks before and after the NFL Draft.  But what jumped out at me when watching his highlights was how he managed to make the catch despite having corners draped all over him.  Granted - at the NFL level, the corners are far better and Turner won't be able to rely on his superior size and hands consistently.  And that's why it'll be interesting to see how Turner does in camp and in the preseason in terms of creating that separation that is necessary to be consistent at the NFL level.

QUICK HITS
-There was an excellent (but heart-breaking) piece in the Sun-Sentinel by Ethan Skolnick about former Dolphins RB David Overstreet that I highly recommend.  And I especially recommend it to younger Dolphin fans who might not even know who Overstreet was or how his life came to a tragic end.

-Armando Salguero took a look at some of the competitive position battles the Dolphins will have once camp does kick off in what seems like an eternity from now.  Cornerback, receiver, and linebacker are highlighted.  And I agree that those three positions will be the ones to watch come August.  But we'll have more on those battles - and every roster battle - as camp nears.

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