Camp observations

The Dolphins have just about completed two full weeks of training camp and the first preseason game is right around the corner. So we'll take this opportunity to offer some thoughts on what has transpired so far this summer.

To make things simpler, we'll go by position group.

Quarterbacks -- Unfortunately, what we've seen at this position is the Dolphins have two guys who haven't created any separation between themselves. A.J. Feeley and Gus Frerotte both have looked good times and both have looked bad at times. The other observation here is Brock Berlin simply doesn't appear to have an NFL-caliber arm.

Running backs -- Of course, everybody wants to know about Ricky and the truth is he has looked very impressive. There's just something about the way he runs. We've said it before and we're going to stick to it: This guy will play a lot bigger role on this year's team than many might think. Ronnie Brown not being in camp isn't that big of a deal because of the position he plays. One thing for sure, the Dolphins sure do have a lot of depth at running back, with Ricky, Brown, Sammy Morris, Lamar Gordon, Travis Minor and rookie free agent Kay-Jay Harris.

Receivers -- Man, has Chris Chambers looked good so far in camp. Wow! The guy seemingly makes a spectacular catch every practice. David Boston, on the other hand, says he's 100 percent but just doesn't show a lot of explosiveness and the fact he doesn't play special teams might wind up leading to him getting cut. Derrius Thompson has looked good in camp, but Marty Booker hasn't done a whole lot to stand out.

Offensive line -- Love the pick-up of Frank Middleton. Not only will he bring some much-needed nastiness to the O-line, his arrival also allows Rex Hadnot to start at center, where he will be a better option than Seth McKinney. Middleton is a guy who's been around and he should start at right guard. The other big news up front is the major improvement of Vernon Carey, who looks eons better than he did last year. And Stockar McDougle on the right side looks like a pretty impressive pick-up as well. Yes, there definitely is reason for hope on the offensive line.

Defensive line -- Few players have really stood out here one way or another, although veteran Kevin Carter looks very impressive out there. Rookie Matt Roth is small and he has short arms, which is why you wonder how effective he can be as a lineman right now. Manuel Wright and Kevin Vickerson both show flashes of massive potential, but they're also inconsistent. Wright has got some kind of quickness, but he doesn't look very strong physically and will get manhandled if his first step doesn't give him an immediate advantage.

Linebacker -- It's rather troubling to see Junior Seau hobbled at the start of camp considering his age. Zach Thomas also has quite frankly not looked very good in coverage from what we've seen. The one guy who has looked very impressive is rookie Channing Crowder, who will be a starter for the Dolphins for a long time and starting pretty soon.

Defensive backs -- The big story here, of course, is the play of rookie Travis Daniels, who probably will wind up starting opposite Sam Madison. The truth is, however, that the Dolphins still could use a more experienced and accomplished cornerback to start because Daniels will get beat at times. Reggie Howard has looked much better of late after a slow start at camp. We very much like the pick-up of Lance Schulters, who should be in the starting lineup. Also don't be surprised if Yeremiah Bell starts. He has bulked up since last year and is totally ripped. He also shows good ability in coveragel.

Punter -- When Donnie Jones was claimed off waivers from Seattle, it was thought he very well could unseat veteran Matt Turk considering he played for Nick Saban at LSU. But from what we've observed, Turk has punted much better in training camp.


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