A Look at the Final Roster Going Into the Season
Written by Rich Rodriguez
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Now that the smoke has cleared and the fat has been trimmed off the roster, here is what I see from this team.
Quarterback - If he remains healthy, Chad Pennington will offer steady play. He will take care of the ball, keep the chains moving and provide leadership and grit to this offense. That being said, he isn't going to take over games or carry the team on his back by himself. A caretaker QB who won't lose you games and has enough savvy to make plays in crunch time.
Running back - More questions about health here, but both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown appear to be in midseason form. This one-two punch will be the core of the offense, will keep the defense off the field, make plays in the passing game and wear out opposing defenses.
Wide Receiver - This unit is all potential right now. But one could see the difference in the preseason once Pennington came in. What a difference an accurate QB can make for a wide receiver. All they need to do is get open and catch the passes thrown their way. But can they? I can see guys like Ginn, Hagan, and Camarillo taking the next step as NFL wide receivers. Ernest Wilford needs to get his act together to round out this unit.
Tight End - More unrealized potential here. None of the tight ends on the Dolphins rosters have established themselves. But they have shown glimpses this preseason, especially Anthony Fasano.
Offensive Line - As this unit goes, so will the offense. They seem capable of providing a good push in the ground game. Pass protection will take longer to develop, but if the offense can run the ball consistently, it will help keep the QB's jersey clean.
Defensive Line - A rejuvenated unit. Size, strength and surprising athletic ability makes Kendall Langford the player to watch this season. Ferguson immediately gives the run defense credibility. And there is actually good depth if you look at Holliday, Merling, Starks, Langford and Wright as rotational players at this position.
Linebackers - Size is the calling card here. Channing Crowder appears to be ready to step into his own. Akin Ayodele is a thumper who can clean up any mess. Matt Roth has surprised with his play at OLB. The biggest question is Joey Porter, who has had back problems hinder him during the preseason. His fire, presence and play will be huge in determining what type of success this defense will have.
Secondary - The secondary will benefit from a better front seven. The biggest question is whether they will be able to hold onto interceptions. If they can, it will be a huge factor toward reversing the turnover ratio for this team.
Special Teams - The front office paid special attention to special teams. Many of the players signed were signed because of their special teams ability.
Overall, this team is improved. How improved is the question. I feel there are a lot of pieces in place for this team to not only improve, but surprise with a quick turnaround. What Pennington brings to the quarterback position should not be diminished.
CB Will Billingsley
LB Titus Brown
S Courtney Bryan
C Mike Byrne
WR Jayson Foster
LB Maurice Fountain
LB Junior Glymph
T Daren Heerspink
RB Lex Hilliard
FB Reagan Mauia
LB Edmond Miles
TE Matthew Mulligan
LB Kelly Poppinga
G/T Pedro Sosa
C Matt Spanos
DT Anthony Toribio
TE Justin Peelle