Earlier today, the Miami Dolphins released their first depth chart of training camp. While the depth chart is, of course, a fluid, living document and will likely change 1,000 times between now and the actual start of the season, one portion of the depth chart immediately grabbed the headlines and everyone's attention. Vontae Davis, the Dolphins' top cornerback and 2009 first round draft pick, was now listed as a reserve cornerback behind Richard Marshall.
Now, for most of us, that would signal something strange happening in Davie, Florida, the Dolphins' training camp home. But, lucky for all of us, we have Sun-Sentinel Dolphins beat writer Omar Kelly to explain to all of us that we are wrong, and that, despite Davis' name clearly being behind Marshall in black-and-white print on a Dolphins released depth chart, Davis is clearly the starter and the rest of us don't understand football enough.
"You do realize it would be ideal for the team to actually have a backup nickel trained in case Marshall tears a knee early in the season?" Kelly asks in his article. "NFL coaches are experts at playing the 'what if' game, and preparing for it."
Oh, okay Kelly. So it's clearly just a matter of Davis taking a few reps at nickel corner for the Dolphins, and nothing that will put him behind Marshall on the depth chart, right? Wait, isn't Davis behind Marshall on the depth chart right now? But, clearly, I don't realize it would be ideal for the Dolphins to have a backup nickel corner. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways.
If only the Dolphins organization were smart enough to separate special positions that should be considered a "starter" on the depth chart. You know, like right above where they clearly have a separate slot wide receiver position for Davone Bess, even though that shows 12 starting positions now (add in the fullback with Javorskie Lane). If only they had thought about doing something like that, maybe we would all be smart enough to understand the game of football better.
"I've watched this supposed competition for a week and I don't see a demotion. I also don't see an issue."
Maybe you need to run over to Joe Philbin and let him know what you see, because, apparently, the coaching staff - you know, the guys who actually make the depth chart - see things a little differently than your expert eyes see in the week you've been watching.
But, wait. There's more expert analysis Kelly has to share with us commoners:
"A nickel is a very specific position to play, one that's hard to learn, and the position remains a starter. Miami's nickel cornerbacks started seven games last year, and are on the field at least 60 percent of most snaps."
Oh, now I get it. Davis is not demoted to the second team, he's a starter in a position that "started" less than half the games last year. That shows just how much of a non-story this is. Thank you so much for that.
"I'm seriously getting TIRED of the Vontae Davis-gate. It is not a demotion considering he's never worked with the second team. John Jerry, who spent OTAs with the first-team and is now working with the third-team, was demoted."
I'm sorry you are getting tired of the cornerback "gate." Maybe we can turn back to the quarterback position and ask some questions there.....oh wait, you hate quarterbacks - as you have clearly stated repeatedly on Twitter - so that's out too. Is there any position on the football field you would like to discuss? Maybe you would like to focus on John Denney, since there seems to be no doubt about his roster position. Then again, I am reading him as the long snapper on the same black-and-white depth chart that does not have Davis listed as a starter, so maybe Denney needs to watch out.
To be fair to Kelly, the Dolphins did play Davis opposite Smith today as the starting cornerback. And, as I said in my posts about the depth chart - they are simply a snapshot in time at this point. But, for a guy who refused to call a player by his name until he "proved" something on the field by getting a sack (Koa Misi, who he only would call #55), trying to explain to fans - and presumably the media who has been writing the stories about Davis as well - that the depth chart they are looking at does not show exactly what it shows, once again comes across as arrogant and condescending.
But, maybe that's because Kelly knows more than everyone else.