Catch-22 Situation

There has been a ton of attention focused on the quarterback position since the start of training camp, but it's no longer the biggest area of concern for the Dolphins. That distinction now belongs to the receiving corps.

It's not that the Dolphins don't have a lot of receivers on the roster, they just don't have many who have distinguished themselves so far this summer.

On the contrary, there have been several disappointments.

You can start with Ernest Wilford. He was signed in the offseason as a free agent from the Jacksonville Jaguars and was expected to provide great size and sure hands to the offense.

Well, Wilford is still tall, but his hands have been nowhere as good as advertised so far. He has dropped passes in practice and failed to come down with a slightly high pass from Chad Henne in Saturday's preseason opener against Tampa Bay.

Wilford was demoted from first to second team on the depth chart, and Coach Tony Sparano said he moved Derek Hagan ahead of Wilford based on performance.

Hagan, the former third-round pick now in his third year, has had a pretty good camp, but his moving to the first team is more a reflection on Wilford than on him.

The truth is until Hagan catches the ball consistently in games, there will always be questions. For instance, he failed to come up with a low throw from John Beck in the first quarter.

Yes, it would have been a tough catch, but it's the type of catches he needs to start making to become more than just another receiver.

The other starter at the moment is 2007 first-round pick Ted Ginn Jr. He has drawn praise from Sparano and his teammates for his improve route-running, but the reality is he still looks like a work in progress as a receiver. Remember, he made big plays on offense at Ohio State not because of his receiver skills, but rather because he was faster than anybody else.

That doesn't wash in the NFL.

The most impressive receiver on the roster, really, is Davone Bess. And, no offense to him, but it's probably not a good sign when that distinction goes to an undrafted rookie free agent.

Unlike Ginn, Bess just looks like a natural receiver. But he's small and he's also not that fast, so whether he can ever become truly successful in the NFL is debatable.

David Kircus had his moments in the opener against the Bucs, but he's a guy who has bounced around in his short NFL career. Then there's 2007 hero Greg Camarillo, who's a nice story but realistically nothing more than a No. 4 or No. 5 receiver.

The other receivers on the roster are rookies or first-year players simply trying to stick. That group includes the likes of Jayson Foster, Anthony Armstrong and Selwyn Lymon.

The Dolphins got themselves a solid starter at quarterback in Chad Pennington, but he's going to be hamstrung if the Dolphins go into the regular season with this wide receiver corps.

It's actually impossible to imagine the Dolphins not picking up a veteran at some point, someone who immediately could challenge for a starting job.

The Terry Glenn talk has died down, which probably has more to do with his ailing knee than the Dolphins' feelings about their receivers.

Sparano said Wednesday he has seen improvement in the pass-catching department in recent days, but it's still a stretch to call this group of wideouts "mediocre."

The Dolphins needed help at quarterback and signed Pennington.

Now, it's time to add help at wide receiver.


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