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Thursday, August 30, 2007

On the fifth receiver and other things

NEW ORLEANS -- Seems everywhere I turn the question du jour -- that's French from the French Quarter -- is which player will take the No. 5 receiver role for the Dolphins.

We know, following yesterday's chaos with Chris Chambers, the Dolphins have four receivers who are virtual locks to make the roster. They are: Marty Booker, Chambers, Ted Ginn Jr., and Derek Hagan.

So everyone is wondering whether P.K. Sam, Az-Zahir Hakim, Kerry Reed, or Michael Malone will earn the alleged final spot that remains. If indeed a fifth spot remains, seems to me Hakim would be the guy to get it based on his experience in the system.

But I'm telling you don't be so sure the Dolphins will go with five receivers. Several teams around the NFL are going with four receivers these days and it makes a lot of sense for the Dolphins to do the same.

First, none of the guys vying for that fifth spot have really wowed anyone so far. Maybe someone breaks out tonight, but this has otherwise been a just-OK group.

Second, if you keep only four receivers, you can add a roster spot at another spot -- like at tight end where both Aaron Halterman and Courtney Anderson have impressed coaches at times or at RB where Patrick Cobbs could be kept along with Jesse Chatman, Ronnie Brown, and Lorenzo Booker.

I know some of you are concerned that keeping only four receivers leaves Miami open to depth problems should injury befall one of the top four. Well, the shield against that is putting Reed, or Malone, or both on the practice squad. If an injury happens, you just sign one of them to the active roster.

It's something to keep in mind as the Dolphins trim their roster in the coming days.

On another matter: John Beck will make his first preseason start tonight. None of the starters are expected to play so neither Trent Green nor backup Cleo Lemon are going to be exposed behind Miami's second-string offensive line.

Beck is scheduled to play up to three quarters with Gibran Hamdan taking the rest of the duty.

Also, as you've probably seen elsewhere on The Herald website, Cam Cameron is not coaching the team tonight. Dom Capers will act as head coach. Mike Mularkey will call the offensive plays and George Edwards will be the defensive coordinator.

The team is giving a couple of ridiculous reasons for this happening, but I refuse to place them here. I'm too busy coming up with mocking jokes for my game column.

(By the way, check back before the game for pregame updates, and I'll have a post-game wrap. You can also leave your comments during the game so everyone can know what you're thinking.)

Discuss ....


Blogger lacesoutdan said...

Armando - When you put players on your practice squad, do they have the opportunity to sign with other teams? In other words, do we risk losing Reed or Malone if we don't put them on the roster?

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Log Cabin Republican said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

lacesoutdan, yes. A practice squad player can be signed by another team. But it doesn't really happen a lot because it's tough to bring in a player who hasn't been in your camp or your system, particularly a marginal player, which practice squaders all are by definition.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey if Cam and Randy say we don't need a fifth then so be it!!! These guys could say lets trade Jason Taylor and Zach and the dumbass fans on this blog would be all for it!!!!!!

11:13 AM  
Blogger mitchell said...

It will be interesting to see how Chambers and Booker play this year in the new system. Seems like both are talented guys who have had the misfortune to be part of a lame offense.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dolphins dont need a fifth reciever when they have booker

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Armando,

I agree, but I'd also like to see Sutton on the practice squad. Any word on what happened to him after being cut? I like Sam, Reed, and Sutton. Malone hasn't shown me anything, and Az's ages eliminates him from practice squad material.

I'm with you in that...I'd much rather Cobbs get a roster spot than any of the 5th receivers mentioned.


1:21 PM  
Blogger hawk said...

I think this would be a wise move. I know the Chiefs are considering it b/c they told Rod Gardner their plans when they cut him on 'Hard Knocks' (BTW, bet they still wish they had TG or even John Beck).

Anyway, apparently PK Sam and Reed aren't doing much on STs. Bryan and Tuff Harris have been the back-up flyers that I've seen. I'd like to keep Cobbs, Fifita, Chase Page among others including Harris over a 5th WR. Maybe they keep 8 LBS. Also, the new DE/LB Mike player they signed from Jags is a good ST'er from I can tell.

So....put Reed, Malone and/or Sutton on the PS. Nobody is likely going to pick them and sign them to a 53 man roster...they aren't that good. And, as Mando points out they will not be familiar with the QB or possibly even the system on a new team. Plus, they don't excel @ STs for the Dolphins so they are just perfect for P.Squad.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I think it would depend on the offensive scheme. If Cameron rarely uses a 4 wide scheme then it would make sense. The jeopardy, as I see it, would be if we use the 4 WOs frequently and during the game someone goes down, then we would have no one to insert.

There could some thought of using L. Booker if someone goes down, but that's asking a lot of a rookie. He would have to learn both the RB and WR positions to be affective.

It will probably come down to the Cameron quote about keeping the best "football players." Having only 4 WOs seems risky to me.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

Patrick, thank you for always contributing to this blog. As to having a WR go down during a game, I would ask you to consider that the team would only have 4 WRs active for the game anyway. So even if they had a fifth on the roster, he wouldn't be active for the game.

You are right to suggest Booker and even David Martin are going to be used out wide of the formation in some plays.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Armando, I didn't realize they only had 4 WRs active during a game. Then it might make sense because they could hide the 5th on the practice squad.

I'm actually looking forward to this game tonight because I think we will see a lot of John Beck. The guy has a knack for making things happen. I don't realistically see him playing this year but if he keeps coming on there could be a chance.

On the deep out passes he seems to drop it right in there where only the receiver has a chance to catch the ball. He doesn't have the pure Marino release but his passes look a lot like John Elway.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous John123 said...

Losing a WR during the middle of the game if we had 4 wouldn't really be that big of a blow. I don't believe the Phins will be running a spread offense so most of the 4 WR sets will probably come on a 3rd and long. (Although I think you may see some 3 WR sets where booker motions to the slot or starts out in the slot) During the game it would be pretty easy to fix by throwing Martin and Booker in as the 4th WR in those situations. Not to mention that both Martin/Booker are probably better options than any of the 5th wrs mentioned.

The Way I see it going down is this: If Cameron decides that his 5th best WR is Reed or Sams we won't see the phins keep 5 WR because he can be cut put on the practice squad and called up in case of injury. I think the only chance the Phins keep 5 WR is if they decide that Hakim is their best option.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous John123 said...


I think there is actually a pretty good chance we could see Beck in a few games this year. If (and i'm pretty sure most can agree this will happen) the Phins are out of the playoffs near the end of the season I think you will see the Phins get Beck into a few games like Leinart/Cutler(Although I don't think as soon as them). The pressure of losses costing the Phins a chance at the playoffs would be gone and those games would give him something to look at in the offseason. It would give him an idea of what a real NFL game is like and what he struggled with and what he did well.

Also my other reason for thinking this is that if the Phins are out of the playoffs it is because Trent Green and the O isn't getting it done. We all know we won't be losing games because of our D.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous scott alderson said...

if a team claims a player off of another teams practice squad - then that team has to place that player immediately on it's active roster and under the appropriate contract. they can't go from practice squad to practice squad.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

John123, I don't know about keeping Hakim. I can't even remember if he has had a catch the whole preseason. He was a decent WO back in the greatest show on turf days but he has had injury issues in recent years.

Remember back a couple days Cameron said Will Allen could start at WR... Wonder if he could be an option as well if Goodman comes back healthy.

I agree on your Beck comment if we are out of the playoffs why not give the guy some reps. One thing I've noticed over the years is that when a QB is rushed into starting and then plays poorly it seems to ruin his confidence.

It's just like superbowl QBs who lose one. They seem to never win one afterwards. The only two I can think of who have overcome a loss are Bob Griese and John Elway. Marino couldn't do, Kelly couldn't do it, to name a couple. So the point is, if the guy is not ready don't throw him to the wolves or you might just ruin him for life.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...


You need to learn the rules before you write about pro football.

If a player is signed off another team's practice squad they must be placed on the active roster. That is why it is rarely done, not because it is hard for them to learn a new system.

11:13 PM  
Anonymous edswood said...

Interesting game tonight. Cobbs better make the team that guy worked his ass off and has serious heart. Not to mention excellent acceleration. I felt bad for Beck though. He looked like David Carr in the early Houston days running for his life. That line was simply awful tonight. Awful, awful, awful. It makes Cobbs performance even more impressive gaining positive yardage out of nothing. Booker looked terrible trying to run through those non-existant holes and dancing way to much behind the line. I know he is a rookie but it shows why the team needs to keep Cobbs. Especially the way he catches everything thrown to him.

Back to the OL. I am aware those were the second string guys but rarely do the starters make it a whole year without injuries. The Fins and Trent Green's head are in serious trouble. Cam and Mueller have to make some moves for veteran depth when cuts are made this weekend. The regular season starts in a week and the OL is making me very nervous.

On a more positive note after all the razzing myself and other posters have given to Jason Allen he had a fantastic game. I know it is against second stringers but there might be some hope for him after all. That shoestring tackle and jumping interception really showed his athleticism. John 123 that elevator might be going up. He is reminding me a little bit like Quentin Jammer. It took him several years to figure it all out but wth his athleticism he has turned into an above average corner. So there might be hope for JA after all. My favorite whipping boy Tavares Tillman even had a decent night but trust me he will always give up the big play when it counts most.

One final observation, with the way our backup linebackers are playing why again did we overpay for Joey Porter? Couldnt that money have been used to pay for one of the many good OLmen that were available on the free agent market this year? In my mind this has been the biggest mistake so far of the Cam, Mueller regime. Way bigger than passing on Quinn, the drafting of Ginn, cutting McMichael etc... Winning football starts in the trenches. No OL, no offensive weapon or genius coordinator can score points. To all the great posters out there lets get ready for a great season. As with any Dolphin season I am sure there will be lots of anxiety, some heartbreak, but hopefully some cause for optimism. Go fins

11:41 PM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

Hey Dan, you are right. A PS player must go on the other team's active roster and must stay there. But it is rarely done because you're talking about marginal players to begin with and players that have not been with in a team's camp and are not familiar with a team's system.

Furthermore, a practice squad cannot be gathered until all the cuts are made. So the Dolphins must trim to 53 by Saturday, then establish the practice squad with players that clear waivers. Said another way, the Dolphins will cut a bunch of players but other teams will have the opportunity to claim them first, before Miami can re-sign them to the practice squad.

OK Dan?

12:30 AM  
Anonymous John123 said...

Edswood: Good to hear about Allen. I am definitely not on the cut Allen boat. We have already made the investment so we might as well ride it out and hope he catches on. I only heard a few of the drives on the radio and it sounded like he struggled in the beginning (they mentioned that it looked like he mixed up a defensive call and ran man coverage when everyone else was playing Zone) But its good to see he finished strong.

I'm not sure what to make of Beck's performance or the rest of the offense really.. I mean Mularky was calling the plays and we all know how bad that turned out last year. Then you add in that they flew in the day of the game and well I don't really think anyone should be surprised that they played sloppy. I know Miami to NO isn't a long flight but I can't imagine flying somewhere then playing a game hours later and doing it well.

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I couldn't get the game over here in Tampa because the Bucs were playing, and from the sounds of it, I didn't miss much. Very curious Cameron handing over the reins to Capers... Cam definitely has an unorthodox approach but he clearly does not have an idea of who the final roster spots belong to.

Just the decision to sit all the starters is an indication that beyond the 1st team the Fins have serious depth issues. I wouldn't be surprised to see a slew of waiver signings after Sunday. The guys who make the cut should not relax because they could find themselves out of a job come Monday morning.

WooHoo!!! Let the games begin! Finally the smoke and mirrors are over and we get to see if there is life in Dolphindom.

9:23 AM  

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