Miami Dolphins Roster Cuts: 10 Players Who Are on the Bubble
Thursday night's final Preseason Game in Cowboy Stadium will feature a final audition of sorts. The Dolphins will give their starters little, if any playing time, leaving the rest of the game open for youngsters and journeymen to try and claim a spot on the 53-man roster.
Fortunately, the Dolphins have been blessed with an overstock of talent. As it stands, the team may have to part with one of their three promising young receivers, a Special Teams ace, and a young safety who has made a name for himself this summer.
However, these ten players' bubbles have not burst quite yet, and while some of theirs will by the September 5th roster cut deadline, others will stay afloat and become integral parts of this team.
Pat White's fate with the Dolphins appeared to have been sealed once he was held out of the team's first two Preseason games. Despite Tony Sparano's remarks earlier this summer praising White's progression, the sophomore quarterback has not shown enough promise or skill to earn a significant role in the offense's gameplan.
The Dolphins have probably been shopping White, who actually went 4 for 4 on passes in his sole Preseason game appearance, but at this point, there are very few suitors for a quarterback who has yet to show he even has an NFL arm.
Miami is definitely keeping Chad Henne, Chad Pennington, and Tyler Thigpen. White is the odd man out.
2008 7th round pick Lionel Dotson earned a multi-year contract with the Dolphins a year ago, but the signings of veterans Charles Grant and Marques Douglas leave Dotson on the outside looking in.
Dotson has shown potential, and could very well end up back on the team's practice squad, but as of now, there simply is not room for him on the roster.
Battling with Patrick Turner and Marlon Moore, undrafted free agent Roberto Wallace was making some noise earlier this summer. The 6-foot-4 receiver from San Diego State was thought to be pushing Patrick Turner for a roster spot.
However, Wallace has since been outplayed by both Turner and Moore, and despite Greg Camarillo's departure, he likely will be handed his walking papers on September 5th.
Jason Allen has slowly but surely made the most of his doomed NFL career. Allen was drafted with the 16th overall pick by Nick Saban in 2006, but was labeled a bust after atrocious play. Since then, Allen has established himself as one of the fiercest Special Teams players in the NFL.
Considering how poorly the Dolphins kickoff and punt coverage teams have been playing, it's very likely that the team will hold onto Allen. But, he has little value elsewhere, and rookie Reshad Jones has started to prove himself as a deadly Special Teamer as well, racking up five tackles this Preseason.
So, the Dolphins must decide if it is worth using a roster spot on Allen, who provides nothing more than Special Teams help.
The departure of Joey Haynos seemingly left John Nalbone with a path to a roster spot. However, upon further investigation, there might not really be room for him.
The Dolphins run an abundance of two tight end sets, but they will rely on David Martin and Anthony Fasano for those scenarios. Miami may be carrying an extra running, cornerback, defensive end, or linebacker, making Nalbone's status unknown.
Chances are, he will be cut and/or sent back down to the practice squad.
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In all likelihood, the Dolphins will keep both Lex Hilliard and Patrick Cobbs. But the possibility of one being cut does still exist.
Lex Hilliard has performed relatively well in the little regular season playing time he has received, and the 2008 sixth round pick has shown enough promise to stay on the roster for two years already.
Hilliard's Preseason play has been unspectacular thus far, but much of that can be attributed to the offensive line's struggles. Don't expect to see Hilliard cut.
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Again, in all likelihood, both Lex Hilliard and Patrick Cobbs will remain with the Dolphins. However, there is a small possibility that Cobbs is let go.
Cobbs is creeping up on age on age 28, and is recovering from a torn ACL. For a player who relies primarily on his speed, that could be a lethal combination.
Rookie Nolan Carroll usurped him from kickoff return duties, relegating Cobbs' role to nothing more than an occasional third down back. The Dolphins like to throw him into the Wildcat from time to time, and to his credit, Cobbs has proven himself to be one of the more dangerous players on the roster.
Like Hilliard, don't expect him to be cut, but the possibility does exist.
Practice squad safety Nate Ness became a fan favorite in Miami after a standout performance against the Buccaneers in the Dolphins' first Preseason game.
Since that first game, Ness has been a consistent performer, but has failed to reignite the spark that he showed against Tampa Bay. The Dolphins are going to develop rookie safety Reshad Jones, leaving little room for Ness on the roster.
Unless the team wants to keep five safeties, Ness will head elsewhere, or back to the practice squad.
Undrafted free agent Marlon Moore may be the most pleasant surprise of training camp next to linebacker Micah Johnson. Moore entered camp as a long-shot to make the team, but he now has a chance to claim the fourth wide receiver spot on the roster.
Moore is still entrenched in a tight battle with Roberto Wallace a roster spot, but his consistently productive play this Preseason should all but secure him a job with the Fins.
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The Dolphins used their final pick of the 2010 NFL Draft on Ohio State linebacker Austin Spitler in hopes that he could make a Special Teams impact, and perhaps prove himself worthy of a roster spot.
However, Spitler has been a ghost this Preseason, accumulating one lone tackle in three games. Spitler could find his way onto the practice squad, but if he can't shift into high gear, his NFL career will be over soon.