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Who’s In, Who’s Out?: Several Tough Decisions Facing Dolphins

It’s been nearly three weeks since my first installment of “Who’s In, Who’s Out?”, and it’s fair to say things have drastically changed after two preseason games, a few injuries, and a trade. The Camarillo deal obviously opens the door for Marlon Moore or Roberto Wallace to make the team, and likely solidifies Patrick Turner’s spot. Will Allen’s unknown recovery time-table from recent knee surgery complicates the matter at corner, and Nate Garner likely missing the first four or so games puts a wrench in the team’s O-line plans.

These are just some of the issues that face the Dolphins as we inch closer and closer to the final cutdown deadline. Let’s try and clear up the mess a little bit. Just remember, though, this isn’t a roster prediction, just my take on what the team would look like if cuts were made right now.


Projected Possible Cuts: Pat White

Last year’s second-round draft pick hasn’t thrown a pass yet this preseason. It may not seem fair that White isn’t getting any opportunities to try and play his way back on this team, but I think that speaks volumes about how far from an NFL quarterback he currently is, and how much Sparano values winning- yes, even in the preseason.
Out: Pat White

Running Back
Projected Possible Cuts: Lex Hilliard
I think people are assuming that the Dolphins will keep four running backs, just because they did so a year ago. And while they probably would like to keep all four again, simply because Cobbs and Hilliard are both very solid football players, keeping an extra offensive lineman may be of more value with Nate Garner’s injury.
In: Lex Hilliard

Projected Possible Cuts: Rolly Lumbala

Lumbala never had a chance to make this team, with Lousaka Polite’s emergence as one of the best fullbacks in football, and getting stuffed on fourth and short inside the Jags’ 20-yard line last week was more proof that the automatic Polite is irreplaceable.
Out: Rolly Lumbala

Tight End
Projected Possible Cuts: David Martin, Joey Haynos, John Nalbone
Outside of Anthony Fasano’s monster two touchdown game in Jacksonville, we haven’t seen much of anything from any of the tight ends. Judging by what we already knew heading into camp and the preseason, though, Martin has probably already clinched the No. 2 spot, and will play a pretty big role in two tight end sets. That leaves Joey Haynos and John Nalbone the candidates for that third and final job opening. Haynos is undoubtedly leading that battle as of now, and probably has a pretty wide margin to tell the truth.
In: David Martin, Joey Haynos
Out: John Nalbone

Wide Receiver
Projected Possible Cuts: Patrick Turner, Marlon Moore, Roberto Wallace, Julius Pruitt
It’s almost safe to say Turner is now a lock, but if Moore and Wallace were to completely tear it up in the next two weeks, I guess you could still make a case for Turner getting the axe. But as of right now, Turner is apart of this team’s 2010 plans, and with no Camarillo in town, he should have a fairly decent role as the 4th receiver on the depth chart. Marlon Moore currently has the lead for the fifth receiver job, with Wallace needing back-to-back stellar performances to be reconsidered. In the likely event that Moore continues to hold off Wallace, however, he’s still not completely safe because the Dolphins could also delve into the waiver wire to find their fifth guy. But Moore has had an outstanding preseason so far, and is in complete control of his own destiny.
In: Patrick Turner, Marlon Moore
Out: Roberto Wallace, Julius Pruitt

Offensive Tackle
Projected Possible Cuts: Nate Garner, Lydon Murtha, Andrew Gardner
Before Garner underwent yet another foot surgery, it was a safe bet to assume the Dolphins would only keep nine offensive lineman. And while some may still argue that that’s the case, it’s certainly no longer a guarantee. With Garner likely out the first four weeks, the Dolphins could either continue to let him count toward the roster and sacrifice a healthy player in the process, shelve him for the entire year on injured reserve, or go ahead and cut him and keep someone who will be ready to contribute come Week 1. Considering, Garner is a quality starting offensive lineman, and he’s as versatile as they come, I’m pretty confident that Miami will keep him on the team. Because he’s out for the first quarter of the season, though, another tackle is almost a must. All indications are pointing to Lydon Murtha edging out Andrew Gardner.
In: Nate Garner, Lydon Murtha
Out: Andrew Gardner

Projected Possible Cuts: Jake Grove, Andrew Hartline
If Grove lost his battle with Joe Berger for starting center, I would have said go ahead and cut Grove and save some cash while your at it. The only problem is Grove appears to be running away with the competition for the time being, starting every practice this week after clearly outplaying Berger on Saturday night.
Out: Andrew Hartline

Offensive Guard
Projected Possible Cuts: Cory Procter, Ray Feinga
Feinga has been cut once already this year and missed some time this week due to a broken finger. Bottom line is, there’s no way he makes it through the final cuts. Procter appears to be running out of time in a hurry. Garner’s injury likely forfeits Procter’s spot up to Murtha, and Procter’s mediocre play so far nealry makes tha ta done deal.
Out: Cory Procter, Ray Feinga


Defensive End
Projected Possible Cuts: Tony McDaniel, Lionel Dotson, Ryan Baker
Dotson had himself a pretty solid preseason opener, but outside of that there hasn’t been much shown from these guys. McDaniel’s the most proven of the bunch, having seen adequate playing time a year ago, but Dotson had that strong showing and Ryan Baker can play both defensive end and nose tackle.
In: Tony McDaniel
Out: Lionel Dotson, Ryan Baker

Nose Tackle
Projected Possible Cuts: Montavious Stanley

I don’t envision the Dolphins even considering keeping three nose tackles at this point, and unfortunately for Stanley, that’s what it would take for him to make the squad.
Out: Montavious Stanley

Outside Linebacker
Projected Possible Cuts: Quentin Moses, Chris McCoy, Erik Walden
Quentin Moses’ run as a Miami Dolphin may finally be coming to an end. After three consecutive seasons of surviving the roster bubble, the team being forced to keep six corners could lead to Miami only being able to keep four outside linebackers, which would come at the expense of Moses.
Out: Quentin Moses, Chris McCoy, Erik Walden

Inside Linebacker
Projected Possible Cuts: Austin Spitler, Micah Johnson, J.D. Folsom

Iv’e been impressed with what Spitler has been able to do after spending about the entire first week of training camp in the hospital, but Micah Johnson almost jumps off the screen at you. He may lack in the speed department, but he always seems to gravitate toward the ball, which is exactly what you look for from your inside linebackers.
In: Micah Johnson
Out: Austin Spitler, J.D. Folsom

Projected Possible Cuts: Jason Allen, Nate Ness, Kevin Hobbs, Ross Weaver

Last year it was Chris Williams, this year it’s Nate Ness. Just like Williams did a year ago, Ness had one outstanding game. Then, things went back to normal the following week, and we were reminded of why Ness is a roster fringe player in the first place. With the uncertainty of Will Allen’s knee, though, and with Benny Sapp being brought in on Wednesday, keeping six corners looks realistic. Nate Ness would surely help his cause if he could make a few more plays in the final two preseason games, but still, I see Allen’s superior special-teams contribution winning out in the end.
In: Jason Allen
Out: Nate Ness, Kevin Hobbs, Ross Weaver

Projected Possible Cuts: Reshad Jones, Jonathan Amaya

Amaya let his presence be known on Saturday night with a crucial second-half interception. Even though he hasn’t put up a fight battling Clemons, Jones’ upside keeps him around for awhile. Amaya is a solid practice squad prospect if he can build off last week’s pick, though.
In: Reshad Jones
Out: Jonathan Amaya