Early Camp Observations

It's still ridiculously early in training camp, so it very well might be unfair to try to form some opinions based on what we've seen through four practices. But that's not going to stop us from offering some thoughts based on what we've seen so far.

-- Wide receiver Davone Bess impressed me from the start of training camp last year by the way he was running routes and always seemed to be open. This year, it's the way he looks. Bess was a really small receiver as a rookie, but this year his upper body looks much bigger and much stronger. That's only going to help him. There might be competition for some roster spots at wide receiver, but it would be a shock if Bess didn't make this team. And a big mistake.

-- Former first-round pick Jason Allen clearly is at a crossroads, and he better get better as camp progresses or he might find himself looking for work. He hasn't looked good in coverage and got confused about his assignment in a seven-on-seven drill, forcing Will Allen to call a timeout. Allen has some physical ability and can help on special teams, but the Dolphins have a lot of cornerbacks. If Jason Allen makes the team, it will be barely.

-- It's very, very early, but Patrick Turner looks like a find at wide receiver. He moves very smoothly for a guy who's 6-5 and already has made a few catches where he had to dive for the ball. Don't be surprised if he plays a big role as a rookie.

-- Speaking of wide receivers, Ernest Wilford has been working so far at tight end/H-back, but Coach Tony Sparano said Tuesday he'll eventually play wide receiver as well. Probably won't matter, though, because it's tough to see Wilford making this team. At tight end, he's just not big enough to be an effective blocker, at wide receiver he's not fast enough, and at both positions his hands just aren't good enough.

-- Just like in the offseason practices, Chad Henne is throwing the ball with an awfully lot of zip. But in case you get any ideas, Sparano already has said this is Chad Pennington's team.

-- We keep hearing about several young defensive linemen who could make contributions, and Lionel Dotson had a good practice on Tuesday morning, but one guy who has been virtually invisible early on is former seventh-round pick Rodrique Wright. He has flashed at times in the past, but his time on the team might be coming to an end soon.

-- Interesting that Shawn Murphy could go from being inactive for every game as a rookie last season to lining up at right guard with the first team at the start of this training camp. Murphy does look stronger than he did last year, but making that kind of jump would be incredible. Maybe the Dolphins are trying to build his confidence. He's definitely a guy we'll be watching closely once the preseason starts, but either way this is Donald Thomas' job once he's healthy enough to practice on a full-time basis.

-- Looking for Cameron Wake to make some kind of impression in camp considering the big contract the Dolphins gave him coming out of the CFL. Maybe it will have to wait until the preseason.

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