That's right. The Dolphins had a rookie minicamp a couple of weeks ago. But this week, the Dolphins will hold their first organized team activities of the 2010 offseason. The Dolphins have two OTA days this week on Tuesday and Wednesday and then have two more next week (Monday and Wednesday) before a Memorial Day Weekend three day veteran minicamp May 28th to the 30th.
With that to look forward to, let me just highlight some of this weekend's news.
Smiley situation to come to a resolution soon
The Sun-Sentinel's Ethan Skolnick learned this weekend that guard Justin Smiley will not be a Dolphin for much longer. We've known since Miami's offseason training program began this year that Smiley was no longer in the team's long-term plans when they asked him to stay away from the facility while the team looked to trade him. Now we now that Smiley is expected to be traded or released prior to the team's minicamp scheduled for May 28.
I’ve been told that other media reports — about the state of Smiley’s shoulder — have been "overstated." Yes, it is a chronic problem, and it does require maintenance, but he isn’t close to retirement or anything like that. He should still have a chance to be a functional player somewhere.
I can't help but wonder how much of this info is spin from Smiley's camp, hoping to find a suitor for the 28 year old. However, my question remains: is Smiley's shoulder really the reason the Dolphins are looking to get rid of Smiley?
The man has only missed 5 games in two years in Miami, though there were three games last season that Smiley wasn't able to start in because of injury. Still, I think Smiley's eventual trade or release is more about the Dolphins wanting to get bigger and more physical up front than anything.
Smiley is a very good player, don't get me wrong. But he's more of a pulling guard than a straight up bulldozer. He only tips the scales at 310 (did I really just say only?). And if you look at the guys who will compete to replace him, it's easy to see the difference. Nate Garner measures in at 325. Richie Incognito weighs 324. John Jerry is listed at 328.
Like Smiley, Donald Thomas only comes in at 310. But he might just be the strongest player on the team. And he's a better point-of-attack blocker than Smiley - which gives Thomas a chance to win a starting job in 2010.
Bottom line? Smiley isn't going to be a Dolphin for much longer. And I'm not buying the idea that it's all because of his problematic shoulder.
JT hosts charity event in South Florida
It hasn't even been a month since Jason Taylor signed with the Jets. But here he was back in South Florida at a charity event. And while he wasn't flaunting the fact that he's a member of an enemy now, he was seen signing a Jets' mini helmet.
Taylor, to his credit, still has a soft spot for the city of Miami:
"It's like chasing a girl that doesn't want to date you anymore," Taylor said. "It's time to move on and find the next one that appreciates you. … There's no hard feelings. I still love Miami."
You can't argue with that logic. But I'm not bringing this up to debate about whether or not Taylor was right or wrong by signing with the Jets. Instead I just want to highlight how even though Jason isn't a member of the Dolphins anymore, he's still very much a member of the South Florida community. And that's a great thing.
I'm not saying we should cheer for him now during his tenure in NY. And I think Zach Thomas, Jason's brother-in-law, summed it up best:
"I'm happy for him. I hope he has a great year himself, especially with his health, but I'm not cheering for him versus the Dolphins or any other team."
Well said, Zach.
Most importantly, though, the Dolphins will get to work this week on figuring who on this roster will replace Taylor at outside linebacker. Needless to say, this story line will last all through the summer and is just one of the many battles that we'll be monitoring closely during OTAs - but more importantly once training camp begins.
- Will Allen said on Sunday night that he's feeling good as he recovers from knee surgery and the should be "ready to go when the time comes." And what about switching to free safety if the coaches asked him? Allen said that he "just likes playing football" and would do "whatever it is." Hmmm...something to keep an eye on?
- Just how similar are the Dolphins and Jets on the field? Armando Salguero believes they're quite similar. And as often as Armando takes crap, he does make good points. These two teams are very much on the same level - despite NY's ridiculously lucky playoff run last season.
The Dolphins are hoping the addition of Jared Odrick creates a sense of urgency and motivates underachieving Phillip Merling. Merling has become a notoriously disappointing practice player and the addition of a high draft pick with tons of talent should be just what he needs to light a fire under his ass. Or else he could see his playing time dwindle.