TRAINING CAMP UPDATE: OFFENSE

After three days in Nashville, Tenn., the Dolphins are taking Sunday off before going back to work on Monday. The team has completed its first full week of training camp, and there have been the usual assortment of highlights and lowlights. What follows is a quick position-by-position look at the first week of camp and where the Dolphins stand heading into Week 2, starting with the offense.

QUARTERBACK

The big story here was the return of starter Jay Fiedler after he missed the start of camp after undergoing hip surgery. Fiedler has did little except thrown some passes, but it's enough that he has returned.

In Fiedler's absence, Ray Lucas got a lot of work and he has looked good, for the most part. The Dolphins have reason to feel good about having him as the backup.

The competition as this position is for the No. 3 job, and Coach Dave Wannstedt has praised the work of both Zak Kustok and Tim Levcik.

Because of his superior size and arm strength, Levcik would appear to have the edge, but it's still too close a battle to call.

RUNNING BACK

Ricky, Ricky, Ricky.

Ricky Williams obviously been the focal point at this position, and he hasn't disappointed so far. He's running well, he's catching the ball, and he has even shown he has the ability to pick up the blitz.

Also good news here is the fact that the Dolphins have so much more depth than last season.

In fact, Wannstedt will have a hard time deciding which players to keep if he goes with three halfbacks. Travis Minor quietly has gone about his job in camp, and while he hasn't done anything spectacular, he has looked as good as he did last year.

Robert Edwards has opened a lot of eyes with his performance, but he was sidelined on Saturday because of a hamstring problem.

Finally, there's rookie Leonard Henry, who has done everything asked of him, including good work on special teams.

FULLBACK

Wannstedt created a little bit of a stir early in camp when he said this was an open competition following the arrival of former Baltimore Raven Obafemi Ayanbadejo.

Ayanbadejo has looked good in camp, but so have returning starter Rob Konrad and Deon Dyer.

Dyer has caught the ball well in camp, but he's not nearly as gifted in that department as either Konrad or Ayanbadejo, so he might become the odd man out if the Dolphins go with two fullbacks, as expected, because of the need for a pass-catching FB in Norv Turner's offense.

As for the starting job, Turner said this weekend he expected Konrad to be the guy. But Wannstedt hasn't yet made the same declaration.

WIDE RECEIVER

Chris Chambers has picked up where he left off last year, which means he has looked great. Oronde Gadsden is Oronde Gadsden, which means you've got a dependable receiver who will catch everything thrown his way.

The Dolphins appear set with their first four with Chambers, Gadsden, James McKnight and Dedric Ward, who gave the Dolphins a scare when he went to see his doctor to have his foot checked out (everything is fine).

Among the young players trying to impress the coaches, Albert Johnson is one guy who has stood out perhaps more than the others.

But it will difficult for any young player to crack a unit that also figures to include Jeff Ogden and/or rookie Sam Simmons.

TIGHT END

The story here has been the play of rookie Randy McMichael, who has been everything the Dolphins had hoped and then some.

He has been so impressive, in fact, that there have been whispers he could wind up starting on opening day.

That's no knock on Jed Weaver, who has done everything asked of him in camp and is a solid receiver. It's just that McMichael flashes more athletic ability when he's running routes and after the catch.

As for Alonzo Mayes, he still remains inconsistent, looking great one play, dropping a pass the next.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Mark Dixon said it was a vastly improved unit from last year, and he certainly is right.

There are several reasons for that, including Dixon's return from a leg injury, the great improvement from massive Jamie Nails, the return of Brent Smith, and the arrival of Leon Searcy.

Wannstedt has said he would establish a top five early in camp and work with those as his starting unit.

From this vantage point, it's difficult to gauge who those five would be among Smith, Dixon, Nails, Tim Ruddy, Todd Perry, Searcy, Todd Wade, Seth McKinney and Marcus Spriggs.

It certainly would figure that Dixon, Ruddy and Wade will start, but nothing appears obvious beyond that.


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