Final Minicamp Observations

The Dolphins wrapped up their final minicamp of the year with a Sunday morning practice under the hot South Florida sun. Afterward, Coach Tony Sparano expressed his satisfaction, saying, "I thought it was an excellent minicamp. We got an awful lot accomplished in these three days."

While we continue to caution against reading too much, actually against reading almost anything, into what happens during minicamps, here are some of the things that caught our attention during the three days and five practices.

-- Let's get this out of the way imediately, Pat White didn't look impressive throwing the ball. His passes have a tendency to sail, although he did throw a strike to tight end John Nalbone on the run Sunday morning.

-- Quarterback Chad Henne's passes looked like they had a tremendous amount of zip behind them, although maybe that's because White and Chad Pennington don't have strong arms and it becomes an issue of relativity. Regardless, there's no denying Henne has a strong arm.

-- Based not just on the last two notes, we find it laughable to think Pat White is the next Dolphins quarterback once Pennington gives way. Barring something dramatic, that guy will be Chad Henne.

-- We said it at the time of the draft and we'll say it again, White's value will come as a multi-dimensional weapon, whether it be at receiver, returner or Wildcat quarterback.

-- At running back, absolutely nothing stood out during the weekend, which isn't necessarily a bad thing considering it's a very solid (and pretty much set) group with Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs and Lousaka Polite.

-- Sparano said Sunday the wide receiver position might feature some tough decisions come roster cutdown time, but it clearly wasn't an overly impressive weekend for Ernest Wilford or Brandon London. London simply has been invisible in the sessions open to the media, and he needs to make himself noticed because he's one of the many fringe candidates who will try to make the team at the position. As for Wilford, he lined up at both tight end and wide receiver over the weekend, but had two drops on Friday. On one hand, his versatility will be a plus, but on the other it's debatable whether he's good enough at either spot to make the roster. The one saving grace for Wilford is the cap hit (believed to be $4 million) the Dolphins would take by releasing him.

-- It has been a Ted Ginn Jr. love-fest this offseason, with anyone and everyone ranting about the way he has performed. And, yes, he has run very well and he has caught pretty much everything thrown in his direction. But Ginn always has run well and minicamps aren't the time to gauge him because toughness always has been the biggest issue with him. Yes, things look promising that maybe he can have a breakout season, but let's reserve judgment until there's some contact involved.

-- Joe Berger got some time with the first-team offense at right guard on Sunday, following Brandon Frye and Shawn Murphy. The idea is take a look at all the possibilities while Donald Thomas recovers from his chest injury. But it clearly was premature to anoint Frye as the front-runner to start just because the media saw him line up with the first team in June, just like it's too early to declare either Murphy or Berger the leading candidates. The reality is the Dolphins have a hole at the position until Thomas returns from his injury, and even then there's going to be some concern because of Thomas' problems with injuries since he joined the team last year.

-- On defense, one thing that jumped out at us was that Jason Taylor lined up on both the left and the right side of the defense at different times. The Dolphins no doubt have a plan for how Taylor will be used next season, and the best guess is he'll be a pass-rushing specialist. Taylor has made it clear he's not totally comfortable on the left side, but neither is Joey Porter and it's Porter who's coming off the big year, not Taylor.

-- In the secondary, free agent Eric Green and rookies Vontae Davis and Sean Smith all have taken turns working the first-team defense, and from the stands it looks like Smith has been the most impressive of the three while Green has been the least impressive.

-- Jason Allen is another guy who has flown under the radar this spring, although Sparano keeps talking about how good he is on special teams. Doesn't matter, we're looking at a guy who might have a hard time making the 53-man roster.

-- Finally, safety Yeremiah Bell always has had a strong upper body, but it looks even more impressive this spring. He looks simply huge on top.


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