The Miami Dolphins are closing in on the end of their 2012 training camp. While some of the big, familiar names are making news with the team, it's the newcomers to the Dolphins roster who hold the keys to success for Miami this season. Here's a look at ten players who are standing out in camp, for either good or bad reasons.
1. Ryan Tannehill - Seems like every post on players who are doing well, or players of note, or story lines, start the same way - with Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill suddenly has a clear path to the starting quarterback position, with David Garrard, another new member of the Dolphins, out for at least 2-4 weeks following knee surgery. Tannehill is now battling with just incumbent Dolphins' starter Matt Moore, who it seems like the coaches don't want to name the starter. Tannehill could seal the job for himself with a solid week of camp and another good performance on Friday against the Carolina Panthers.
2. Rishard Matthews - Matthews is buried on the wide receiver depth chart, and is on the bubble for making the team, but after last week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has proven he has a role as a return man. That could easily sneak him onto the roster, even if it means the Dolphins have to carry seven wide receivers.
3. Richard Marshall - Marshall was brought in to be the Dolphins' nickel cornerback, and somehow ended up the starter, at least for now. Marshall has established himself as the corner opposite Sean Smith, moving inside as the nickel corner when needed, with Vonate Davis then coming into the game to play the boundary. Marshall has clearly outplayed an out-of-shape Davis, who has all the skills, but lacks the focus to turn into a great cornerback.
4. Derrick Shelby - The Undrafted Free Agent is playing like the third round draft pick he is battling as the primary backup defensive end. While Olivier Vernon has been working behind Cameron Wake, Shelby has been slotted on the opposite side, behind Jared Odrick. Shelby got some work with the ones earlier this camp period when Odrick was unavailable, and he has been looking good throughout camp. He could be the surprise of the year for the Dolphins.
5. B.J. Cunningham - Cunningham is on this list for the wrong reasons. The sixth round draft pick has been dropping the ball throughout training camp, and could be in danger of not making the roster, and possibly not even a practice squad slot.
6. Michael Egnew - Like Cunningham, Egnew has struggled in training camp. He has the speed and the agility to run up the seam and be a threat, but he has not put it together yet. He will probably make the roster, but will be buried in the depth chart if he does.
7. Jonathan Martin - Martin was drafted in the second round, and is already getting praise saying he is better than the coaches thought. He is having to transition to the right tackle slot, a position he hasn't played since high school, and he is a rookie, being abused every day by Cameron Wake in practice, so he is going to have his struggles. But, Martin looks to be the real deal for the Dolphins.
8. Legedu Naanee - Okay, I'm ready to admit it. I was completely wrong about Naanee. The video which I have been pimping on the site for a couple of weeks now had Naanee missing the cut because Chad Johnson was on the roster now. I don't know why, but I have never thought Naanee could be the solid wide receiver he has become here with the Dolphins. Maybe this system just fits him perfectly, but the six year veteran is playing outstanding football right now, and is clearly among the starters at wide receiver for the Dolphins.
9. Artis Hicks - Let's face it, most of us have not noticed Hicks much this year. But, that's the good thing. He wasn't noticed in the preseason game on Friday. He hasn't been a target for news or tweets out of camp. Hicks has quietly established himself as the right guard for the Dolphins, one of the two biggest trouble spots on offense for the Dolphins last year, along with the hole Martin is filling at right tackle.
10. Chad Johnson - Maybe no one has had a more sudden crash in just 62 days with a team than Johnson had over the past three days. Johnson had come into Miami looking to reignite his career with his hometown team after a disaster of a season with New England in 2011. Johnson was heralded by his teammates and coaches early this training camp, looking fast and having good hands. He was elevated on the depth chart into a starting position, and was looking like a surefire member of the 53-man roster. Instead, he's already gone from the team after being arrested this weekend for domestic violence after allegedly headbutting his wife. The Dolphins released Johnson yesterday.
Bonus: Joe Philbin - The new head coach in Miami has already had an impact. He called out Johnson for cursing during his introductory press conference, then turned around and released him with no hesitation after his arrest. Philbin is completely reworking everything about the Dolphins - from the playbook to the personal accountability of the players. Philbin has a ways to go to solidify himself as an NFL head coach, but he is on the right track right now.