ESPN is running a competition right now to name America’s best sports bar and while Third & Long didn’t make the cut, our neighbors to the South did.
The season before Short Michelle and I started Dolfans NYC we visited Miami Mike’s in New Jersey for a game. It was amazing. We watched the game with 100 Phins fans and they played the fight song after every score and Miami Mike ran around like a manaic with his Dolphins poncho on high fiving everyone. It was an amazing experience.
So when Michelle and I started DolfansNYC Miami Mike’s was and continues to be a huge inspiration. We will not stop until we are as big of a Dolphins home base as they are. With two huge Dolphins bars in Jets territory Dolfans will not be stopped.
According to multiple reports, the Dolphins have traded fan favorite Greg Camarillo toÂ the Minnesota Vikings, who wereÂ in desperate need of a wide receiver after losing Pro-Bowler Sidney Rice for the next eight weeks.Â Â A hard-worker and one of the most sure-handed players in the league, Camarillo will always be remembered for his 64-yard game-winning score from the immortal Cleo Lemon in Miami’s lone victoryÂ of theÂ 2007 season.
Ah, good times.Â Â It’ll go down in Dolphins history as the team’s version of the improbable “David Tyree catch”Â in Super Bowl XLII.Â But much like Tyree, who suffered a season-endingÂ knee injury the following and wasn’t resigned by the New York Giants despite his heroics, Camarillo lost much of his speed after tearing his ACL in 2008 and was set to enter the 2010 season as theÂ team’s fourth receiver, at best.Â
In return, Miami will receive defensive back Benny Sapp, who’s started only 17 of 86 career games, recording 140 tackles, 4 interceptions, and six fumble recoveries.Â He’sÂ not likely to significantly help the Dolphins’ secondary, aside from adding a little depth and injury insurance while Will Allen recovers from knee surgery.Â Hell, 37-year-old Warren Sapp would’ve been a more exciting pick up, but alas.
The bigger outcome, is thatÂ Patrick Turner, last year’s third-round pick, will now almost certainly make the final roster.Â Â Turner, whoÂ was active for only twoÂ games and failed to register a catch in 2009, wasn’t a lock to make the team going into training camp.Â Â While his sizeÂ (6’5″, 220 pounds)Â and athleticism make him a tough cover, the former USC standout had trouble grasping the fundamentals and getting off the line of scrimmage.Â Turner certainly didn’t help matters by missing time with a back injury and reportedly notÂ exhibitingÂ a strong work ethic or sense of urgency during training camp.Â He was evenÂ listed behind undrafted rookie Marlon Moore on Miami’s initial depth chart.
But Turner has shown some notable improvement inÂ the first two preseason games,Â tyingÂ for the team-lead in catches (4) and ranking fourth in receiving yards (51)Â behind Anthony Fasano, Marshall, and Moore.Â Â At this point, he’s far more likely to make the team than Moore, as well as fellow undrafted rookies Julius Pruitt (3 catches for 31 yards)Â and Roberto Wallace (2 catches for 14 yards), if only because the Dolphins will be moreÂ reluctant to cut ties with a former high draft pick.Â Or two for that matter, with the all-but-inevitable release of 2009 second-round selection Pat White.
The Dolphins won’t have to wait too long to find out how much Camarillo has left in the tank –Â Miami will travel toÂ Minnesota forÂ a Week 2 match-up on September 19.
One of the staff writers over at PhinPhanatic, Chris Leeuw, recently broke his neck and is paralyzed from the neck down. Â This is obviously an horrible thing to happen to anyone, but having it happen to a member of our Dolphins family makes it even worse. Our good friend Brian Millar over at PhinPhanatic reached out to us asking if we would post something on DolfansNYC asking our members to reach out to Chris and leave him a message of support.
In 2008, with Chad Pennington at quarterback, the Dolphins’ two primary Tight Ends, Anthony Fasano and David Martin, caught a combined 65 passes for 904 yards and 10 touchdowns — half of the team’s total receiving TDs. In 2009, Martin missed the entire season with a knee injury, and Fasano and backup Joey Haynos had 50 receptions for just 504 yards and four TDs between them. WillÂ any ofÂ the Dolphins Tight Ends regain fantasy relevance with Chad Henne under center, or is no player worth a roster spot?
Anthony Fasano, TEÂ – Fasano’s drop in production last season was largely due to a different role in the offense, as he was asked to provide more pass protection at the expense of running routes.Â While he wasÂ the second-bestÂ run-blocker in the league, his yards per catch dropped from 13.4 to 10.9,Â heÂ had onlyÂ two scores a year after catching seven, and he led all TEs in fumbles (3), including two in the season opener.
Although he doesn’t possess theÂ downfield receiving ability of the elite TEs, with anÂ improved offensive line and the addition of star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, Fasano should see more opportunities to work the middle of the field and get open in the end zone.Â He’s being drafted in only 2.7% of ESPN leagues as the 25th playerÂ atÂ his position, but makes for a solid second TE who should be in for a niceÂ bounce-back season in 2010.
Joey Haynos, TEÂ – After catching only two passes in seven games in 2008, Haynos was used in more two tight end sets and played 51 percent of Miami’s offensive snaps in 2009.Â But while the 6’8, 270-pound TE showed flashes of future potential, he was far too inconsistent and had only three totalÂ receptions for 17Â yards in the two games that Fasano missed with a hip injury.Â Although he’s an intregral cog in the Dolphins’ offense, Haynos isn’t likely to see a significantly increased pass-catching role or threaten Fasano forÂ the starting job anytime soon, makingÂ him largely irrelevant in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues.
David Martin, TE -Martin, an eight-year veteran who’s familiar with the Dolphins’ system after spending two seasons in Miami, was unexpectedly re-signed last Friday.Â While he averaged 14.5 yards per catch in 2008, it’s hard to imagineÂ the 31-year-old has much left after spending last year on Injured Reserve.Â Â If he’s fully healthy, Martin would allow FasanoÂ to catch more passes by taking over someÂ blocking duties,Â and could prove to be an effective situationalÂ downfield threat.Â His signing means veryÂ little in fantasy cirticles, butÂ certainlyÂ signals the coaching staff’s unhappines with the progress ofÂ their young Tight Ends.
2009 Statistics:Â None – missed season (knee injury) 2010 Prediction:Â Â 12 catches, 180 yards,Â 1 TD
John Nalbone / Kory Sperry, TEÂ – Both Nalbone, a fifth-round pick in 2009, and Sperry, who was signed as an undrafted free agent after attending the San Diego Chargers’ training camp, spent most of the 2009Â season on the practice squad.Â While Nalbone didn’t play a single snap in the regular season, Sperry made the most of his lone start, catching three passes for 31 yards and a TD in a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Â The more-experienced Martin likely has theÂ inside track on the third (and perhaps final) TE spot, and barring an injury, Nablone and Sperry wouldÂ only provide blocking and special teams help.
The addition of Brandon Marshall shouldÂ help open the run game for the Dolphins, who ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing yards in 2009 and sport a strong offensive line.Â The bigÂ question is whether Ronnie Brown, who’ll be motivated to earn a new contract, or the ageless Ricky Williams will reap the mostÂ benefits this season.
Ronnie Brown, RB – Brown has been feast-or-famine over the last four years, capable of single-handedly winning any gameÂ or crushing your season.Â In 2006, he had his onlyÂ 1,000-yard rushing campaign (1,008 in 13 games), and in 2008, he made the Pro Bowl while amassing 1,170Â yards from scrimmageÂ and 10 rushing TDs (eighth in the league).Â But in 2007, BrownÂ suffered aÂ knee injury thatÂ cost him the final eight gamesÂ of the season, right asÂ he was leadingÂ the NFL in yards from scrimmage.Â Â Last year, heÂ was fourth in the league in rushing TDs (8)Â andÂ 11th in rushing yards until a Lisfranc fracture ended his season in Week 10.Â Consider that the last star running back who suffered a similar foot injury was Larry Johnson in 2007, who made the Pro Bowl the previous year butÂ hasn’t been the same sinceÂ (3.3 yards per carry in 2009).
AÂ consensus second-round pick in 2009, Brown is being draftedÂ as the 22rd RB and 45th overall (10 spots ahead of Williams) in ESPN leagues.Â Â While he can no longer be counted upon as a number one RB, he’s a solid second back or flex option because he’s always a threat score out of the Wildcat.Â He could evenÂ end up beingÂ the steal of the draft if he can manage to stay healthy — the key word, of course, being “if.”Â Â As someone who’s been burnedÂ by Brown, who will turn 29 in December,Â on two occasions, I’m leaving him on the boardÂ for the bigger risk-takers anywhere beforeÂ the fifth round.
Ricky Williams, RB – Last season, WilliamsÂ improbablyÂ rushed for 1,121 yards, setting an NFL record for longestÂ time-span between 1,000-yard seasons (6 years), and totaledÂ 13 TDs.Â Â With Brown out of the picture, heÂ averaged 99.8 rushing yards per game in Weeks 10 through 15 before getting slowed down by minor injuries.Â Yes, he’s 33 years old, but thanks to Ricky’s “extra-curricular activities,” he has onlyÂ 575 carries in the NFL over the last five years –Â about a third as many as Ladanian Thomlinson, Clinton Portis, Steven Jackson, and Thomas Jones.
Still, expectations need to be held in check.Â In 2005 and 2008, his previous two full seasons, Williams had 168 and 160 carries, respectively, and isn’t likely to approach the 241 he had on a heavily run-oriented Dolphins teamÂ in 2009.Â Â He’s won’t reach 1,000 yardsÂ in what’s supposedly his final NFL season, but given Brown’s injury history, it’ll be impossible for MiamiÂ to not give Williams significant work all year long. It wouldn’t be a stretch to take Ricky as the first Dolphins RB off the board, and ahead far less consistent players such as Pierre Thomas, Matt Forte, and Joseph Addai.
Patrick Cobbs, RB – Cobbs began the season as Miami’s third running back, but suffered a knee injury in Week 5 that cost him the rest of the season.Â In 2008, Cobbs averaged an impressive 7.3 yards per carry and caught 19 passes for 275 yards and two TDs, and is a deep sleeper in 2010 if he’s fully healthy.Â Cobbs could replace Pat White in Wildcat formations, giving him more scoring opportunities, and has even more value in leagues that count punt and kickoff returnÂ yards since he’ll see increased special teams work with Ted Ginn Jr. in San Francisco.Â Cobbs is worth a late-round flier, especially as a handcuff for owners of either Brown or Williams (or both).
Lex Hilliard, RB -Â As Williams’ primary backup, HilliardÂ totaledÂ more than twice as many receiving yards (158) than rushing yards (89), catching a team-high nine passes for 74 yards in Week 16, and vultured a couple of goal-line TDs.Â Â But as the team’s number four RB, his role in the offense will be far too limited to justify a fantasy roster spot.
Kory Sheets, RB – Both the Dolphins and your fantasy team are in serious trouble if they’re counting on fifth-stringer Sheets, who had one carry for five yards last season and should only be a factor on special teams in 2010.
Coming soon:Â The biggest fantasy question of the year: which Dolphins’ Tight End is worth drafting as your team’s backup?