WEIGHING IN

The Dolphins are contemplating using wide receiver Chris Chambers in the slot in three-wideout formations next season and they're also thinking about using defensive tackle Larry Chester as a wedge buster on special teams. They're certainly interesting ideas, but are they good ideas?

The quick answer is a big, fat "no."

Let's start with Chambers lining up in the slot. That one has no-brainer written all over it.

Come on, does Chris Chambers really strike anyone as being physical enough to be in the slot. The good slot receivers are guys who can quickly pick out the soft spots in a defense and don't mind dealing with the physical punishment that comes with the position.

Think of typical slot receivers, and you think of someone like O.J. McDuffie, a guy who was tough and smart and whose lack of breakaway speed made him anything but a deep threat.

Well, Chambers has the breakaway speed and he's always struck us as someone who operates better in space. Really, now, can you think back to many Chambers catches in tight quarters over the middle.

His forte, clearly, is using his great speed to beat defenders on the outside.

Chambers has the physical ability to outjump defenders, but he has never been known as someone who outwrestles them.

Maybe the Dolphins are thinking about this move because they really don't have anybody to play in the slot right now, but we're thinking Chambers as the lesser of many evils is not the way to go.

Keep him outside, and if nobody on the roster can get the job done inside, then go out and get someone or simply keep fullback Rob Konrad on the field on third down or use two-tight end formations.

As for Chester, we have only one problem with this idea: the injury factor.

Do you really want to take the chance of losing a starter on defense to an injury on special teams? Just think back to last year when both Ed Perry and Eddie Moore were lost for the season when they were injured in the preseason.

The Dolphins do have some work to do with their kickoff returning, which has been poor, but they did go out and get guys like tight end John Jones and fullback Sammy Morris in large part to help the special teams.

Let's just see if those guys can do the job before turning to Chester. The big defensive tackle is willing to do it because he wants to hit people, but we're thinking he should just focus on defense.


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