The preseason finale game won’t mean anything to the starters, but it will mean everything to so many players desperately wanting to show enough to secure a roster spot. The Dolphins at this moment have 90 players on the roster and they must cut that down to 53 by Saturday. Think about that, 37 players will be removed from the roster. There are a couple that may end up on the 8 game IR, and still others will eligible to be placed on the practice squad. For all the others, this is at least temporarily, the end of their quest to be on an NFL roster. Some will get picked up by other teams quickly, and others may get picked up when a need arises.
Another factor involved in the cut downs is the strategy by the FO and coaches as to how many players they want to carry at certain positions. I’ll start on offense with the QB’s. Historically, we have carried only 2 QB’s, and I expect that to continue. I think David Fales will get the #2 spot, and Brock Osweiler will be cut. At WR, it depends on whether we carry 5 or 6WR’s, but last year it was 5. If we stretch it to 6, then it’s between Leonte Carroo, Francis Owusu, Rashawn Scott and Malcolm Lewis. When we drafted LC3, and tried to look at the bright side, I hoped maybe he would be like Anquan Boldin lite and maybe push Parker for a starting job. Now, LCIII is on the cusp of getting removed from the roster, and it’s real. My hope is if we do carry 6, Owusu gets the nod.
The RB’s will most likely be 4, and I expect those to be Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake, Kalen Ballage and Senorise Perry. I know Langford has history with Gase, but Perry plays ST’s as a KR and he has shown some ability to make some tough runs, so he gets the edge.
At TE, the obvious 2 are the recent draft picks Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe, and I personally like Gray for his ability to block both in line and also as an H-back/FB, and I believe they like Derby’s potential, so that makes 4 TE’s.
On the O-line, the injury to Ted Larsen will probably open a roster spot, unless he’ll be OK for the opener. We know it’s probably not serious, but still may keep him out for a weeks. Guys that were on the bubble like C Mike Matthews and OG Connor Hilland may get a shot if Larsen will be out for a while. Asiata definitely just moved up and should make the roster.
On the D-line, there will definitely be some tough cuts. With the trade that brought us Robert Quinn, and the draft pick of Charles Harris last season, we have a lot of DE’s, but at least one of them (William Hayes) can slide inside in rush packages, which gives us more flexibility, and may bump a potential DT off the roster. We know Quinn, Wake, Phillips, Godchaux, Spence, Hayes, Branch, and Taylor are in, that’s 8, which leaves maybe 2 more spots for any combo of Malveaux, Langford, Pittman and Woodard. Tough cuts indeed!
In the secondary, it won’t be easy either, and ST’s may play a big part as to who gets to stay. X and Good Ole Bobby are IN, Reshad Jones, T.J. McDonald, Minkah Fitzpatrick IN, and then I’d have to think Maurice Smith and probably Cordrea Tankersley and Torry McTyer, but Tony Lippett’s health may put him on the IR (8 game), and Walt Aikens and Jordan Lucas are both excellent ST’s players, so that’s maybe one or 2 more roster spots for guys like Cornell Armstrong, Jalen Davis and Tavese Calhoun.
At LB, it’s a little muddled, with Stephone Anthony not really showing up, he could be in danger of getting cut. We know Kiko Alonso, Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker are starters, but Mike Hull’s availability, or lack thereof may open up an opportunity for someone else. Garvin is a solid vet who is a ST’s ace, so he’s in, Chase Allen was a former starter for us due to injuries, and he showed well enough, but the injury to Hull could possibly open the door for either Frank Ginda or Quentin Poling.
The final battle is ST’s, where kickers Jason Sanders and Greg Joseph have squared off all during TC and the preseason. I think Sanders is in, and then we have P Matt Haack, LS God John Denney.
So that’s what I think about the roster, and Preseason Game IV is tomorrow against the Falcons in Atlanta at 7PM, the game will be replayed on NFL Network on Saturday morning at 6AM.