We've all known all offseason, and throughout training camp, that the Miami Dolphins free safety position would be a competition between Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones. Clemons got the start in Friday's preseason game, and is currently listed as the starter on the Dolphins' depth chart, but Jones rotated in and out with Clemons, and both players have their strengths and weaknesses.
Clemons is a highly intelligent player, always recognizing plays and putting himself in the right position to make a play. However, he has a problem making the play. Last year, Clemons only had 1 interception and 5 passes defensed, while dropping 3 picks. But, as the free safety, Clemons serves as the last resort for the Dolphins defense, and he plays that role well, finishing the year with 61 tackles, third on the team behind strong safety Yeremiah Bell and linebacker Karlos Dansby.
Jones, however, is seen as a play maker. He will make the big sack or interception when it's needed. The problem, though, is he focuses too much on the big defensive play, and it results in him being out of position. Until the Dolphins coaching staff can trust Jones to be in the right position, they cannot risk letting him be the play maker he naturally is.
Both players are young. This is Clemons' third year in the league, while it's Jones' second year. Both players have time to develop the weaknesses in their game, and both players have shown the ability to step up. But, as of now, Clemons' ability to be in the right place at the right time ensures he gets the start over Jones.
But, through the next three preseason games, this could change, as Head Coach Tony Sparano has already mentioned that Jones' performance in training camp has improved. It will be interesting to watch the battle between these two as camp, and the season, progresses.