Miami Dolphins Top Training Camp Battles, No. 8: Starting Center

Chris J. NelsonSenior Writer IJuly 28, 2010

MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 21:  Center Jake Grove #64 of the Miami Dolphins yells back to defensive back Kelvin Hayden #26 of the Indianapolis Colts after having his helmet knocked off during a play at Land Shark Stadium on September 21, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Colts defeated the Dolphins 27-23.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Looking to replace Samson Satele with a tougher, stronger center, the Miami Dolphins signed center Jake Grove to a five-year, $29 million contract last offseason.

Despite playing in just 12 games, Grove was the second-most productive run-blocking center in the National Football League in 2009, trailing only the New York Jets' Nick Mangold.

Nevertheless, the Dolphins have said that Grove won't be handed the starting job in 2010, due in large part to the great play of backup Joe Berger.

A former Dolphin and Dallas Cowboys, Berger was brought in last year as a versatile backup interior lineman. Despite starting just six of 16 games, Berger ranked as the 12th best center in the NFL.

While both players were highly productive in 2009, I don't consider this much of a battle in all honesty.

The important thing is that Grove played well, and he's given no reason for the Dolphins to take away his job.

The Dolphins have equally no reason to remove Grove from the starting lineup, given his high productivity and the large amount of money invested in him.

Grove's durability has always been a concern and was again in his first season with the Dolphins, but he's the team's best option and is getting paid serious starter money.

Meanwhile Berger, while a pleasant surprise in 2009, is still better suited for a top backup role.

Discuss this article on the forum here !

Chris J. Nelson is a journalism major at Georgia State University. He operates his own Miami Dolphins Web site, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight , and can be followed on Twitter here .