Miami Dolphins: 5 Players Who Must Shine Against the Carolina Panthers

Mark LeskoCorrespondent IIAugust 18, 2011

Miami Dolphins: 5 Players Who Must Shine Against the Carolina Panthers

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    The Miami Dolphins are just a little more than two weeks away (Sept. 3 to be exact) from the final roster cuts and several players are on the hot seat.

    Just two games to decide their future with the Miami Dolphins and, for some, their NFL careers.

    The players need strong performances to try and make the Dolphins but also to put some plays on film for other teams to possibly sign them after being released.

    Here is a look at five current Dolphins who need to step up tomorrow night against Carolina.

Will Allen, CB

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    I respect a guy who took less money and restructured his contract to help the team and his chances to make the team.

    However, if Allen cannot show he can be healthy and contribute then he is not going to make this team.

    It does not help that the competition around Allen has really shined while he has been on the sideline with an injury.

    Benny Sapp is Allen's main competition. Sapp helped his cause in Atlanta with an INT and has looked strong so far in camp.

    Also, factor in the emergence of rookie Jimmy Wilson and Allen has to show against Carolina that he deserves a roster spot.

John Jerry, OG

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    Another waste of a third-round pick seems apparent with John Jerry.

    His pass blocking skills are decent but his run blocking skills are horrible.

    A strong performance on Friday could save his job. However, that is because the Dolphins interior line is dreadful.

    His competition of Ray Feinga and Nate Garner for the reserve OG position is pretty weak.

    Garner brings versatility which will probably keep him around. Therefore, Jerry must beat out Feinga to keep a roster spot.

    That is not impossible but he will need to turn some heads on Friday.

Kory Sheets, RB

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    I was excited to finally see Sheets play this preseason after he missed all of last year with a torn Achilles.

    He had a lackluster performance against Atlanta. Granted, not all of it was his fault because of the poor play by the OL.

    However, I did not see anything that really excited me about him.

    The new kickoff rules also hurt his chances of making the team because the idea of a KR is a waste of a roster spot. For the preseason, teams are kicking short on purpose to practice coverage but once regular season starts there will be no kick returns.

    Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas are the top two backs and Lex Hilliard brings a lot to special teams, so Sheets is already starting out fourth on the depth chart.

    Rookie undrafted free agent Nic Grigsby is also showing some flashes of good potential, so Sheets is firmly on the chopping block.

Tyrone Culver, S

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    The Dolphins' lack of depth at the safety position will mostly like save Culver's job.

    However, Culver looked terrible in Atlanta. He was physically slow and slow to read plays as well.

    His only competition is rookie free agent Mark Restelli. Restelli had a nice play against Atlanta but it is unlikely he will unseat Culver.

    If an experienced safety becomes available at the minimum price tag then Culver could be let go if he does not impress over the next two preseason games.

Lousaka Polite, FB

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    The drafting of Charles Clay in the sixth round instantly put Polite on notice that his job could be in jeopardy.

    I love Polite as a player and really do not want to see him go.

    However, his blocking skills have diminished significantly.

    Now head coach Tony Sparano is saying that Lex Hilliard could be used as a FB as well.

    The increased competition is not going to help Polite.

    Sparano is saying all the right things about Polite but that does not mean he is safe from being cut. Polite needs to bring more to the table than just converting short yardage third downs.