After a crazy week of trying to keep up with all the news and reports coming out of the Miami Dolphins training camp, we have reached the first rest day. It's a day for players to sleep, soak in ice baths, and study their playbook. Meanwhile, for us at the Phinsider, it's a day to look at some of the storylines already emerging from camp.
The first is the safety position. In the video below, I previewed the safety position as one of the top five storylines heading into camp, and already, it is becoming a fascinating watch. Last year, the Dolphins featured Reshad Jones and Yeremiah Bell in the secondary for most of the season. However, Tyrone Culver did start four games last year, while Chris Clemons started next to Bell two years ago before a hamstring injury limited him throughout most of last year. Now, with Jones remaining the starter on one side, logic dictates the position battle of the other safety position should come down to Culver or Clemons.
Right now, though, it's sophomore Jimmy Wilson who appears to be starting with Jones. Clemons has spent the last few days at camp rehabbing an injury. Culver seems to have disappeared early in camp. And Wilson, who is converting to safety after playing cornerback his rookie season, has started each of the last three days of practice.
Wilson showed flashes of ability last year, and the conversion from cornerback to safety should play straight into his strengths. Wilson is a ball attacking type of player, who loves contact. Playing safety, especially if he is given a role similar the one Bell held for the team, Wilson should be able to help support run defense, while also allowing him to make a break on passes, and either break up the play, or use his cornerback nature to come down with the interception.
While it is interesting to note that Wilson has been handed the starting position over the last few days, what happens when the team returns to practice tomorrow could be key to solving the safety position battle puzzle. Clemons came back to practice yesterday, and could reclaim the starting position on Tuesday. Or, Wilson could continue to start ahead of everyone.
Dolphins beat writer Omar Kelly posted on his Twitter/Sulia account yesterday his impression of Wilson at safety:
"I've been disappointed that Jimmy Wilson has been in the starting safety spot for three days now and hasn't flashed once, unlike last season. I totally expected he'd make something happen at least once per day when given the opportunity. He's not performing poorly, just not making things happen, which will probably open up the door for Tyrone Culver to make a push while Chris Clemons is sidelined. I KNOW Culver brings the communication the Dolphins seek."
Once Clemons is back up to full speed, I would expect the position battle to tighten. Culver should get back into the mix, while Clemons and Wilson also will be fighting for the job. The fact that Wilson has started the last three practices at safety is interesting, and could be foreshadowing the future, but I still believe Clemons wins the job, while Wilson continues to develop, eventually taking the starting position either late this year, or to start 2013.
Then again, if things continue like this, maybe Wilson will claim his starting role a little ahead of schedule.
[Training Camp Battles Video Scorecard: Kansas City Chiefs 4,900 - Miami Dolphins 3,200. We are closing on them. Keep it up guys....and thank you!]