I hope everyone had a good weekend. There are some things to talk about today, so let's get to it:
We'll begin with the most important position on the field. This will be, by far, the most watched position battle once camp kicks off. And on Sunday, Barry Jackson offered up this tidbit in his latest "Buzz" column:
Feedback from a few players is that Josh McCown was the sharpest of the quarterbacks the past month and appears the most ready to play, and strong-armed Chad Henne flashed impressive skills but needs seasoning.
Well this is certainly different than what I've read and from what I've been told. Most camp reports say that both McCown and John Beck have been equally impressive. It also seems like John has led more touchdown drives in team drills up to this point in the offseason. However, I'll certainly trust that the writer, Barry Jackson, has some good sources. I guess this QB competition won't be as cut-and-dry as I thought it would be, with Beck winning the starting job by mid-August. But I do still think John will indeed get first crack at the starting spot in week one.
Adding to the QB talk is SI.com's Ross Tucker. Tucker recently wrote an article that lists 32 players (1 per team) that is on the "hot seat." For the Dolphins, Tucker says that player is John Beck. He writes:
Just like the tie goes to the runner in baseball, a tie goes to the player brought in by the current regime in the NFL. That could spell trouble for Beck if he doesn't have an outstanding preseason as the Dolphins signed Josh McCown and drafted Chad Henne.
Generally, I would agree with Tucker here. But a shining example of how this line of logic isn't always accurate is actually one that involves Bill Parcells, and his name is Phil Simms. I'd say that situation worked out pretty well for all parties involved.
With that said, I would say that if Beck was to struggle, he could very easily loose any shot to be this team's week one starter. But I just don't see it happening. I don't think McCown will beat him out. I will say this, though: If there is a "tie" between Beck and McCown, then there's a good chance Josh could start in week one - but it's because he has more experience, not because he's this regime's "guy."
THOSE WHO HAVE IMPRESSED
In the same article by Barry Jackson as referenced above, there's another interesting note about our Dolphins:
Who excelled in on-field work? Though May/June performance shouldn't be overstated, Dolphins players and officials cited these names: Yeremiah Bell (the new regime loves him); Derek Hagan (was the best of the receivers the past month, one team official asserted) and Ricky Williams (''back in rare form -- 1,000 yards easy'' this season, Bell said).
This isn't the first time we've heard that Bell is really impressing people. Many media camp reports have said the same thing. And so has tony Sparano.
The impact that a healthy Yeremiah Bell can have on this defense is almost immeasurable. Will Allen might be the team's best player in the secondary, but Bell is the best playmaker, something this defense lacks. Perhaps even more importantly, though, is that the depth behind Bell is a question mark, meaning it's even more important that Bell can make it through a full season. I'll have more on Bell in the coming days, but to hear more and more people rave about him this offseason is encouraging.
This also isn't the first time that we're hearing great things about Ricky. Pretty much all the camp reports claim that Williams has been the team's best offensive player up to this point - claiming that his burst is back. If Ricky's head is in the right place, there's no doubt that he and a (hopefully) healthy Ronnie can eclipse the 1,650 combined rushing yards that they totaled in '05.
But this is the first time anyone has ever been able to say that Derek Hagan has looked just good - let alone looking like the best WR up to this point. Should this be troubling news about our WRs? No. And here's why: Hagan was probably one of the hardest working Dolphins this offseason. One article I recall reading said that he was working hard on improving his consistency catching the ball. He seems to have taken it personally to be labeled as a player with "drop issues." And truth be told, if he could become more reliable catching the ball, he has the ability to really become a key player for this offense. He's got good size and strength and runs good routes. So might '08 be Hagan's breakthrough season? Stranger things have happened.
-Joey Porter vows to be better in 2008 than he was in 2007. He's officially put his money where his mouth is.
-PFW claims Jake Long is struggling with his pass protection, especially against speed rushers. Note to PFW: this drills are "non-contact," meaning they are really "minimal contact," which limits how much offensive lineman can really block. So chill and give the kid some time before putting any labels on him. Damn.
-Various reports claim the Dolphins are one team interested in LeCharles Bentley. Bentley would prefer to play guard with his new team and the Dolphins obviously have a glaring hole at the guard spot opposite of Justin Smiley. I wouldn't overpay for him, but with plenty of room under the cap, it would be hard for me to say not to make a play for him.