So the final mini-camp of the 1007 off-season has come and gone. Next up, thankfully, will be training camp, the real deal. It's hard to really judge players in mini-camps because there's no contact, but there are a few nuggets that I think you can take out of this past weekend's camp.
GINN AND THE RECEIVERS
First and foremost, I'm sure many Dolphin fans were relieved to see first round pick Ted Ginn Jr. out there on the field participating in both return drills and receiver drills. And he wasn't even wearing a "no contact" red jersey. There were some reports that he was walking with a minor limp, but that's to be expected and is probably more of a strength issue than a pain issue. In fact, Ginn said that he did not feel any pain in the foot. Coach Cameron wouldn't say that Ginn was 100%, but he was about 90%. I fully expect Ginn to be 100% by the time camp starts. And even with a slight limp and only being "90%," many camp reports said that Ginn definitely seemed like the fastest player on the field, which is a great sign. He was apparently able to get open often, but did drop a few balls. I wouldn't worry too much, though, since this weekend was really the first time since the game against Florida in January in which Ginn was probably playing any football. So a little rust was to be expected. The inportant thing is that he got open and was able to get off the line fairly well. I can't wait to see him at 100%. He might be something special.
As far as the other receivers go, it seemed that Derek Hagan stood out. He apparently made some "highlight-reel" catches and was able to consistently get open. Chris Chambers also reportedly played well. One report I read stated that Chambers looked like "the best athlete on the field," with very smooth route running. And David Sutton, the 6'6 undrafted free agent also turned some heads. He'll likely be a project, but he could very well turn into a great redzone threat, much like Cam used Vincent Jackson in San Diego.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE
It's hard to judge the offensive line in these camps because of the lack of physicality. However, it seemed that they were having trouble often in the 11-on-11 drills. But the good news is that it seems Samson Satele, who worked with the 1st team all camp long, will be the team's starting center heading into training camp and, hopefully, the season. The other interesting offensive line news is that Drew Mormino was working as the first team LG until he was called for a false start. He then was moved down to the second team and Chris Liwienski worked with the first team. But it's likely Mormino is going to have every opportunity to win that starting spot in camp, which would be a pleasant surprise for a 6th round pick. He is the type of player, as far as size and speed, that Hudson Houck likes to have. And Liwienski would make a very good back-up, as he can play various positions. This should be one of the best competitions to watch once training camp gets underway in late July.
ODDS & ENDS
A couple of other things caught my attention. One was the struggles of Jason Allen at the cornerback spot. It seems he was victimized often this past weekend. However, he's still learning the position and needs more work. But he's such a gifted athlete that I would be comfortable with Allen as the team's dimeback. Of course, that stresses the importance of getting Andre Goodman healthy. We'll learn more on his progress once camp starts.
The other thing that surprised me was the success Abraham Wright was having as Jason Taylor's backup. It seems as though he's going to have a very good shot at making this team as a DE/OLB type player, backing up Taylor. He's got a good combination of size and speed to play that hybrid position. How much speed? One reporter made this observation:
So that's that for mini-camps in 2007. Next up, they strap the pads on for real, sort of, when training camp gets underway in late July. It will surely be an exciting time. Until then, though, let's all hope this Daunte Culpepper saga comes to a close and we can all focus on what's really important: football, the game; not football, the business.