Miami Dolphins 2014 Minicamp is officially in the books and there was some surprising news that made big headlines for this time of year.
Cover32’s Jake Mendel (@Mendel_Cover32) and Joe Scumaci (@jscum13) took part in a Q & A that discusses Dolphins minicamp, injuries, the coaching staff and position battles to watch as training camp starts July 20, 2014.
1) With news of Mike Pouncey’s injury and imminent hip surgery, what would be the best course of action for the Dolphins to make up for the loss of their Pro Bowl center?
Jake: Go with the guys they have on the roster now. The Dolphins went 1-1 without Pouncey last year and Nate Garner did a solid job at center in which he didn’t give up a sack. It wouldn’t be worth it to sign a random center. Move Brenner or Smith inside and make due.
Joe: The silver lining with the timing of Pouncey’s injury is that the Dolphins don’t play a meaningful game for nine more weeks. So the time is there to get the cohesiveness the five new linemen will need Week 1 verse New England. Insert Nate Garner into center, he played there last year and played well as Jake mentioned and hopefully Pouncey can get back by the bye week (week 5).
2) Knowshon Moreno is also going under the knife. Arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss at least a month. If this signing already looking like a bust or can we expect Moreno to be healthy and productive this season?
Jake: Coming in many thought Moreno could fight for the starting job. I pictured him more of a 3rd down back, or being in with Lamar Miller. This just means we get to enjoy Daniel Thomas a little while long, sadly.
Joe: YAY DANIEL THOMAS!! In all seriousness, I hope Moreno can bounce back from this knee injury. He’s dealt with worse injuries in his knee before and there isn’t a lot of tread on his “tires” because of it. But he came into minicamp slightly out-of-shape as most reported and now he’ll be off his feet for 4-5 weeks. I’m a Lamar Miller believer, apologist, or fan. Whatever you want to call it. The job is his and he needs to seize it.
3) With news from the players and writers that the Dolphins are moving Mike Wallace around and running a fast paced offense, what are your early opinions on Bill Lazor’s influence?
Jake: No more “Go-Go” is easily the best part of Lazor being the new OC. No one has had anything bad to say about this guy. He gets the most out of his players by playing to their strengths, instead of making them fit a different system. A team that scores an average of 23 or so points on average can usually lock themselves into the playoffs. I think the Dolphins can get close to that mark under Lazor.
Joe: “Playing to their strengths.” You nailed it Jake. Sticking Mike Wallace to one side of the field for an entire game is not playing to a dynamic speedster’s strength. Moving him around, making him accounted for and developing mismatches are what can make Wallace turn the clock back circa 2011-2012 with Pittsburgh.
Fully expect Lazor to be creative at times to mask the deficiencies his offensive line may have.
4) Which player made the most noise during minicamp in your opinion?
Joe: Jarvis Landry. Even Brent Grimes was impressed with the rookie. Landry showed out in his first NFL minicamp, showing strong hands with a variety of one-handed receptions. He may be able to push Brandon Gibson and Rishard Matthews for snaps and if he can produce as the third receiver, the Dolphins have a great chance to be a dynamic offense.
Jake: Jamar Taylor. I know the pads aren’t on, but he has impressed me all camp. Before the draft Taylor was a first round talent that fell because of injury problems. If he can overcome them this season, Miami may have a very dangerous secondary.
5) How important are the renovations of Sun Life Stadium going to be for the franchise going forward?
Joe: Huge. Very huge. If they get a Super Bowl to Miami great, but that’s not the most important thing to me. Developing a home field advantage is essential in my mind. Too many times we see pictures tweeted from the beat writers 20 minutes before kick off with a half empty stadium and thousands of orange seats blinding the viewer’s eyes. Taking seats out and moving them closer to the field should finally help make Sun Life an advantage to the Dolphins, not just somewhere for fans to work on their tan.
Jake: Stephen Ross may not be the best owner, but he wants a good franchise, especially in Miami. He wants to keep the team in Miami and is willing to pay whatever he has to for Sun Life Stadium to be Super Bowl worthy.
6) Which position battle are you most interested in as we turn our attention to training camp later this summer?
Jake: The wide receiver battle will be very fun. Last year Chad Bumphis and Marvin McNutt made for some interesting preseason games, this year it will be even better. The Dolphins have very solid depth at receiver and players with talent will be cut. In my opinion, only Wallace, Hartline and Landry are safe at the moment.
Joe: You stole mine, so I’ll say the cornerback opposite of Brent Grimes. You mentioned Jamar Taylor earlier and how he caught your attention in minicamp. He caught mine too and even though he is a Jeff Ireland guy, I think he can be more than just a “nice compliment” to Grimes. I think he can be a force. He’ll push veteran Cortland Finnegan and fellow sophomore Will Davis for the starting job. Here’s to hoping he wins it.