Tracking the Position Battles
K Dan Carpenter
K Dan Carpenter
@apoupartFins
Posted Aug 7, 2013


Throughout training camp, we'll keep updating the battles for starting positions. While it's still too early to make many definitive statements, it's clear a few players have been making a move, with guard Josh Samuda standing out as one of those.

Let's revisit the position battles as we presented them in the training camp preview issue of the Dolphin Digest magazine (to subscribe, call 1-800-932-4557) and examine what has transpired so far this summer.

HALFBACK

The contenders: Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas

Long shot: Mike Gillislee

2012 opening-day starter: Reggie Bush

Battle update: Miller drew a lot of attention for the wrong reason when he mis-handled a handoff from Ryan Tannehill on the first offensive snap for the Dolphins Sunday night, but he rebounded nicely with a pair of 10-plus-yard runs before leaving the game. Thomas, meanwhile, did little to stand out. The most productive running back on this night was Jonas Gray, who sat out all of last season recovering from a torn ACL, but he's facing a battle just to make the 53-man roster. This still appears to be Miller's job.

RIGHT GUARD

The contenders: John Jerry, Lance Louis, Josh Samuda

Long shot: Nate Garner

2012 opening-day starter: John Jerry

Battle update: You will notice I have added Josh Samuda to the list of contenders here, and he just might be in the lead after starting against Dallas and continuing to earn praise from his coaches. The big issue at this position remains the health of John Jerry, who hasn't practiced in over a week, and Lance Louis, who is just now getting first-team reps after trying to work his way back from a torn ACL sustained last November. This remains the most volative position on the team.

RIGHT DEFENSIVE END

The contenders: Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan, Jared Odrick

Long shot: Derrick Shelby

2012 opening-day starter: Jared Odrick

Battle update: The time may soon be approaching — if it's not already there — to take Odrick off this list because he continues to take reps exclusively at defensive tackle. Vernon sat out the game against Dallas, but remains the leader here, even though Jordan continues to flash big-play ability whenever he's given the chance. Shelby started against Dallas and came up with a big performance (two sacks), but he still doesn't figure to have much of a shot of beating out both Vernon and Jordan.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

The contenders: Randy Starks, Jared Odrick

Long shot: None

2012 opening-day starter: Randy Starks

Battle update: There can't be much of an update here because neither Starks nor Odrick suited up against Dallas as both were nursing what are believed to be minor injuries. Vaughn Martin started alongside Paul Soliai against Dallas. This remains a situation where Starks, Odrick and Soliai all figure to get a similar amount of playing time at the two defensive tackle spots.

CORNERBACK

The contenders: Richard Marshall, Dimitri Patterson, Nolan Carroll

Long shot: Will Davis

2012 opening-day starter: Richard Marshall

Battle update: Little of consequence happened Sunday night in terms of the starting candidates, although it should be noted it was Marshall who got the start and it's Marshall who remains listed first on the depth chart. The truth, though, is that Patterson has outplayed him in practice and has gotten most first-team reps. At this point, it still looks like Patterson will win this job. Of note, you might notice Jamar Taylor no longer being included as a long shot. That's because Taylor just hasn't been on the field enough this summer to make himself even a remote candidate.

KICKER

The contenders: Dan Carpenter, Caleb Sturgis

Long shot: None

2012 opening-day starter: Dan Carpenter

Battle update: Perhaps because the Dolphins didn't feel Sturgis was all the way back to 100 percent with his groin or perhaps because they want to give Carpenter a fair shot at keeping his job, it was the incumbent who got the kicking duties against Dallas. And Carpenter responded by doing what was asked of him. He was 2-of-2 on field goals, including a 45-yarder right down the middle, and two of his four kickoffs produced touchbacks. The feeling remains this battle will come down to what Sturgis does when given the kicking assignment.

To subscribe to Dolphin Digest, call 1-800-932-4557.


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