Posts Tagged ‘Pat White’

The Tyler Thigpen Era Begins

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

tyler-thigpenWith a short week and injuries to both Chad Pennigton and Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen is in line to make his first start as a Miami Dolphin.

It’s probably safe to assume that most Fins fans don’t know all that much about the team’s newest quarterback.  He’s been the third-stringer behind Pennington, Henne, and (sigh) Pat White ever since he was acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in September 2009, and had throw only one touchdown and three interceptions for Miami prior to last week.  In his most extensive game action to date, he threw two costly picks in a winnable game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17 of 2009.

A mistake-prone QB going up against the Chicago Bears’ fourth-ranked defense that’s tied for the NFL lead with 14 interceptions on the season isn’t exactly a recipe for success, but that doesn’t mean that Thigpen can’t get the job done.

In 2008, Thigpen wasn’t just good in his final ten games for the Chiefs (we’ll conveniently ignore his first career start) — he was one of the best QBs in the NFL.  No seriously, take a look at these numbers from Weeks 7 through 17 of that season.

Player Comp % Pass Yds Pass TD INT Total TD
Drew Brees 63.5% 3,396 25 11 25
Philip Rivers 67.1% 2,826 23 7 23
Aaron Rodgers 63.8% 2,764 19 9 21
Kurt Warner 66.0% 3,111 20 10 20
Peyton Manning 68.6% 2,700 19 7 20
Matt Cassel 62.8% 2,783 18 7 20
Tyler Thigpen 57.8% 2,292 16 8 20
Donovan McNabb 58.8% 2,620 17 9 19
Jay Cutler 60.9% 3,024 15 14 17
Tony Romo 59.7% 2,080 15 9 15
Chad Pennington 67.0% 2,552 14 5 15
Eli Manning 58.6% 2,010 14 6 14
Joe Flacco 58.8% 2,127 13 5 14
David Garrard 61.7% 2,637 12 9 13
Matt Ryan 64.0% 2,577 12 8 13

Only five perennial Pro-Bowlers and a QB playing with Randy Moss and Wes Welker at his disposal found the enzone more times.  The aggressive Thigpen threw the eighth-most TDs — three fewer than Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers — rushed for 386 yards and three more scores, and even caught a 37-yard TD pass.  Of course, the second-year player made his share of errors, and Kansas City lost 10 of the 11 games he started (though six of those contests were decided by seven points or less).  The spectacular numbers apparenty weren’t good enough for the Chiefs, who opted to trade for the marginally-better Matt Cassel and keep the legendary Brodie Croyle as the backup QB.

Last week, I speculated that Thigpen would get an extended look towards the end of the season to see if he can be the Dolphins latest QB of the future.  Miami hung on to him during the offseason despite getting plenty of offers, and instead cut ties with White, a 2009 second-round pick.  Don’t be surprised if the underrated Thigpen seizes the opportunity and establishes an immediate rapport with Brandon Marshall on Thursday night. 

At the very least, let’s hope he can make it through the game — I really don’t want to have to write anything positive about Patrick Ramsey.

Dolphins Waive the White Flag

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

By now, you’ve probably heard that much-maligned Dolphins quarterback Pat White has been shown his walking papers after one disastrous season in which he became just the fourth QB to not complete a single pass with at least five attempts since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.  It’s hard to argue that it was the wrong decision, especially with three better-qualified players ahead of him on the depth chart, but I’m a little dismayed by how the situation was handled by the coaching staff.

Pat was White trash to the Dolphins... <em>(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)</em>
Pat was White trash to the Dolphins... (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Dolphins never gave White much of a chance to succeed.  During the regular season, he was inserted into the occasional “Wildcat” formation in which he could never fully show what he had to offer aside from scrambling on the ground.  In the final game, he was thrown into the fire against a stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense in the thick of the Playoff hunt.  And then, in the 2010 preseason, White took nine total snaps (none in the fourth game), kneeling down three times and throwing (and completing!) four short passes in garbage time.

It’s clear that the Dolphins front office was convinced that White wasn’t part of the team’s future plans before the preseason started and didn’t bother to give him an extended look or attempt to increase his trade value for QB-needy teams.  And that’s the part that I’ll never understand.  The Dolphins are hardly the first team to give up on an early-round draft pick — hell, the Arizona Cardinals released Matt Leinart, the 10th overall selection in 2006 — but the fact that White wasn’t on the field for even a single quarter at the expense of injury-prone veteran Chad Pennington, who hardly needed the extra work, or given the opportunity to battle Tyler Thigpen for the third QB spot doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Of course, White isn’t without fault himself.  There have been indications that his heart wasn’t fully into football after he took a vicious hit that knocked him unconscious during last year’s finale.  Despite possessing the quickness (4.44 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine) and shiftiness that would make him well-suited to play part-time wide receiver, a la Brad Smith and Joshua Cribbs, White refused to switch positions and indicated that he’d rather play baseball.  Those aren’t exactly the kind of words that management wants to hear out of players on the roster bubble.

Be that as it may, White is gone and somewhat surprisingly, wasn’t claimed off waivers despite having most of his 2010 salary paid by the Dolphins.  I asked Sun-Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly to do some NFL Betting on where White will end up — the CFL, the New England Patriots, or the New York Yankees.  Kelly didn’t even rule out a full retirement from football to be a “regular Joe” in White’s hometown.

Other News and Notes:

*Did the Dolphins think they could save some money by releasing TE David Martin and then re-signing him after the first week?  It’s hard to believe Miami was prepared to rely on John Nalbone, who entered training camp fourth on the depth chart and didn’t blow anyone away during preseason, in its two tight end packages.  Martin ended up signing with the Buffalo Bills, who quite coincidentally, I’m sure, happen to play the Dolphins in Week 1.  The Dolphins could quickly end up regretting their decision.

*In a less surprising move, last year’s third-round pick, WR Patrick Turner, was released over the weekend and signed with the division-rival New York Jets.  Undrafted rookies Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace must have extremely impressive during practice for the team to keep them at Turner’s expense, because there isn’t a glaring difference in the preseason numbers.

Player Rec Yards YPC Long TD
Marlon Moore 9 106 11.8 34 1
Roberto Wallace 8 101 12.6 31 1
Patrick Turner 5 90 18.0 34 0

Turner could revive his career with the Jets while playing alongside his former USC QB Mark Sanchez, but chances are slim after he couldn’t get on the field last season and was beaten out by a pair of undrafted rookies in camp.

UPDATE: Yep, Turner has already been cut and is now on the Jets’ practice squad.  So the Dolphins paid him a $714,000 signing bonus and $310,000 in salary to make zero regular season catches and become a practice squad player on a division rival a year later. Awesome.  (more…)

Dolphins Toss and Turner

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

According to multiple reports, the Dolphins have traded fan favorite Greg Camarillo to the Minnesota Vikings, who were in desperate need of a wide receiver after losing Pro-Bowler Sidney Rice for the next eight weeks.  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 victory of the 2007 season.

Ah, good times.  It’ll go down in Dolphins history as the team’s version of the improbable “David Tyree catch” in Super Bowl XLII.  But much like Tyree, who suffered a season-ending 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 the team’s fourth receiver, at best. 

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.  He’s not likely to significantly help the Dolphins’ secondary, aside from adding a little depth and injury insurance while Will Allen recovers from knee surgery.  Hell, 37-year-old Warren Sapp would’ve been a more exciting pick up, but alas.

The bigger outcome, is that Patrick Turner, last year’s third-round pick, will now almost certainly make the final roster.  Turner, who was active for only two games and failed to register a catch in 2009, wasn’t a lock to make the team going into training camp.  While his size (6’5″, 220 pounds) and athleticism make him a tough cover, the former USC standout had trouble grasping the fundamentals and getting off the line of scrimmage.  Turner certainly didn’t help matters by missing time with a back injury and reportedly not exhibiting a strong work ethic or sense of urgency during training camp.  He was even listed behind undrafted rookie Marlon Moore on Miami’s initial depth chart.

But Turner has shown some notable improvement in the first two preseason games, tying  for the team-lead in catches (4) and ranking fourth in receiving yards (51) behind Anthony Fasano, Marshall, and Moore.  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) and Roberto Wallace (2 catches for 14 yards), if only because the Dolphins will be more reluctant to cut ties with a former high draft pick.  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 – Miami will travel to Minnesota for a Week 2 match-up on September 19.

Phins Fantasy Football: QBs and WRs

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

With the NFL season right around the corner, and fantasy football drafts already in full-swing, it’s time to take a look at what to expect from the Miami Dolphins’ skill players in 2010.  Today, we’ll cover the quarterbacks and wide receivers, with running backs, tight ends, and the defense to be posted in the coming weeks.

Sorry, Chad!
Sorry, Penny!

Chad Henne, QB - All things considered, Henne had a solid 2009 after being thrown into the fire following Chad Pennington’s shoulder injury in Week 3.  (As a sidenote, I still feel responsible for causing that to happen, because I spontaneously decided to pick up Henne in my fantasy league minutes before that game started).  Henne completed 60.8% of his passes and had 12 TD passes in 14 games despite having one of the weaker WR corps in the league.  He threw for over 300 yards in three of his last five games, and should have no problem continuing that trend with the Dolphins’ acquisition of two-time Pro-Bowler Brandon Marshall.  Considering that Kyle Orton threw for over 3,800 yards and 21 TDs last season with Marshall as his top receiver, Henne could be in line for a spectacular year if he can improve his decision-making (10 INTs in the final six games).  He’s a borderline number-one QB, and has more potential than the likes of Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, and Matt Ryan, all of whom are all  being drafted ahead of him in ESPN leagues.

2009 Statistics:  2,878 passing yards, 12 TDs, 14 INT
2010 Prediction:  4,161 passing yards, 25 TDs, 13 INT

Chad Pennington / Tyler Thigpen / Pat White, QB – Unless you’re in a 14-team, two-QB league (like me), none of the Dolphins’ backups should be on your radar.  Thigpen is likely to begin the year second on the official depth chart, though it wouldn’t be surprising if Miami turned to the veteran Pennington if Henne were to miss any games.  White, who didn’t complete a single pass last year, is, um, still on the team as of this writing.

Brandon Marshall, WR – Marshall, who set the NFL record with 21 receptions to go along with 200 yards and two TDs in Week 14, will catch more passes by Week 3 than the Dolphins’ previous #19 did all year (38).  The problem is that the volatile WR has been arrested at least four times on charges of assault, domestic violence, and DUI, and was suspended by the Denver Broncos for the final week of 2009 for exaggerating an injury.  Still, Marshall’s talents are undeniable — he’s caught over 100 passes and totaled over 1,100 receiving yards in three straight seasons and has averaged the fourth-most receiving yards per game (80.7) in the NFL since 2007. His off-the-field problems, combined with playing for a new team and a different offense, make him a somewhat risky pick in the second round (currently being drafted 19th overall), but you could talk me into taking Marshall ahead of the aging Randy Moss and the Kurt Warner-less Larry Fitzgerald (especially in Point Per Reception leagues). 

2009 Statistics:  101 catches, 1,120 receiving yards, 10 TDs
2010 Prediction:  107 catches, 1,250 receiving yards, 8 TDs

Predicting Bess' 2010 output can get a little hairy...
Predicting Bess' 2010 output can get a little hairy...

Davone Bess, WR – Bess had a fantastic sophomore campaign, leading the Dolphins in catches (76; 22nd in NFL), receiving yards (758), and punt return yards (209).   His stats are bound to take a serious hit with Marshall firmly entrenched as the top receiver, but Bess should still get his fair share of targets out of the slot.  Bess is a decent fourth WR in PPR leagues with some upside, and at the very least, is a smart insurance policy if Marshall gets in Coach Sparano’s doghouse.

2009 Statistics:  76 catches, 758 receiving yards, 2 TDs
2010 Prediction:  57 catches, 570 receiving yards, 4 TDs

Brian Hartline, WR – Hartline led the Dolphins in TDs (3) and yards per catch (16.3; 11th in NFL) , and finished third on the team in receiving yards (506) as a rookie.  He dropped only three passes in 54 targets,  and could end up being the beneficiary of Marshall’s double-teams if he wins the number two receiver spot in training camp.  Still, with Bess expected to see more targets and Greg Camarillo also in the picture, Hartline is only worth a late-round flier in standard leagues.

2009 Statistics:  31 catches, 506 receiving yards, 3 TDs
2010 Prediction:  43 catches, 660 receiving yards, 3 TDs

Greg Camarillo, WR – Camarillo, who should be fully recovered from a torn ACL he suffered in November 2008, was one of the most sure-handed receivers in the NFL last season, catching the highest number of passes without a drop and a stellar 70% of his total targets.  He quietly placed second on the team in both receptions (50) and receiving yards (552) in 2009, but stands to see a reduced role behind the quicker and younger Hartline in 2010.

2009 Statistics:  50 catches, 552 receiving yards, 0 TDs
2010 Prediction:  38 catches, 414 receiving yards, 1 TDs

Coming soon:  How will Ronnie “The Wildcat” Brown and Ricky Williams share the backfield?

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