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Weekend Roundup: Rookie minicamp concludes & talking the "spread" offense

I know it's only May and I know it was just a rookie minicamp, but I still can't help but be excited when our Dolphins take the field and football is played.  And if that makes me an "addict" - then so be it.

I'll highlight some closing thoughts on minicamp in a second, but first I wanted to address one little, possibly overlooked nugget.

I know I love to get on Armando Salguero's case here a lot (and usually for good reason).  But then comes a time when he throws us a nugget (thanks to his connections - not necessarily thanks to his ability) that you can't help but discuss.  Today, it's a little blurb about the "spread" offense:

I have been told the Dolphins will employ portions of the spread option in their offense this year.

Once again: The Dolphins coaches have been working this offseason on plucking portions of the spread option from the college ranks and adding that as part of the Wildcat (renamed by Salguero as WildPat) package.

Other than wrongly giving himself credit for the 'WildPat' nickname (one of the members of our community said that on draft day, if I recall correctly), Salguero really gives us some important information.  In particular, it's interesting that Armando refers to the new scheme as the "spread option" later in the article - which is essentially what Rich Rodriguez ran when he was head coach of West Virginia.

Will it work?  The Dolphins have two of the key elements for the offense - Pat White and Ronnie Brown.  But this doesn't necessarily gel with the "power running" offensive line that this regime has been building.  While Jake Long and Justin Smiley are athletic offensive linemen, Vernon Carey isn't particularly agile and we really don't know much about Donald Thomas and his abilities because there is limited tape on him at this level thanks to his injury last year.  And we basically swapped out the more agile and athletic center, Samson Satele, for the more powerful and stout center, Jake Grove.

Another key element to the "spread option" is having a receiving core that can block.  And I'm not so sure I'd call Ted Ginn and Davone Bess effective blockers.  Patrick Turner, despite his size, isn't a very good blocker, either, according to most scouting reports.  Brian Hartline, on the other hand, is a very good blocking receiver - as is Brandon London.  Perhaps this explains the selection of Hartline in round four - a player who could be an effective receiver or blocker when the Fins break out the 'WildPat' - our version of the "spread option."

Why the spread offense?  That's probably something a lot of people are wondering about.  I'd say there are two reasons.  One - we have a coach like David Lee who is innovative and creative (and likely our future offensive coordinator once Dan Henning retires).  And two - this is a Bill Parcells decision.  I think he envisions this idea - the 'WildPat' - as a way to bring the spread offense to the NFL effectively and to put his stamp on the NFL before he rides off into the sunset.  I think he would like to be forever known as the man who brought the spread offense to the NFL much like Bill Walsh is credited with bringing to "west coast offense" to the NFL.  This is Bill Parcells' legacy at stake here - at least in his mind.

-It's believed that Cameron Wake's progress is the key factor in the font office's decision on whether or not to chase after Jason Taylor.  But reports indicate that Wake has been a beast in the weight room, has looked good dropping into coverage, and has shown explosion when rushing the passer.  So don't count on JT returning to Miami as of now.

-Safety Chris Clemons turned heads this weekend - picking off two passes on Sunday and a few pass deflections.  He has great speed and range - and is supposed to be a big hitter, something we'll have to wait to see once hitting begins.

-Vontae Davis and Sean Smith impressed as well - being physical and moving their feet well.  Anthony Armstrong actually nicknamed Smith "AT&T" because "he can reach out and touch you" with his long arms.  Tony Sprano said Smith's "physical size" stuck out most.  He added that Vontae Davis is a physical guy and "is pretty smooth in his transitions."

-Pat White "improved each day throwing the ball," according to Sparano.

-Nose tackle Louis Ellis has been getting a lot of attention as well thanks to his ability to show a lot of "flashes" in practice.  At 6'2, 320, he's a big, strong guy who has the potential to develop into a starting nose tackle.  But he has to learn a lot of technique and might have to cut some weight to hold up better in the heat.  Ellis is also a smart guy, too.  He said he seven teams made him an offer after the draft but he chose Miami because they didn't take a nose tackle during the draft.