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4 Miami Dolphins

Sept. 03, 2007
Sept. 03, 2007

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Sept. 3, 2007

SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
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4 Miami Dolphins

A somewhat, ahem, looser atmosphere under Cam Cameron will extend to the field, where versatility will be the watchword

WHAT'S NEW

This is an article from the Sept. 3, 2007 issue

> After formerChargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron replaced Nick Saban as Dolphinscoach last January, one of the priorities was to create a more open andcollegial environment--starting with the locker room at the team's Davie, Fla.,practice facility. Before this summer, a maze of walls and locker stallssegregated players by position, like office clones in (somewhat smelly)cubicles. Now the walls are gone, the positions are intermingled, and couches,chairs and flat-screen TVs in the center of the room see regular use. Therenovations made for a more welcoming atmosphere, just in time for the arrivalsof quarterback Trent Green, a Chiefs castoff; free-agent linebacker JoeyPorter, late of the Steelers; and rookie wideout Ted Ginn Jr., theNo. 9 pick, out of Ohio State. But don't think the new approach meansCameron is soft. "When we first reported," says receiver Marty Booker,"he gave us a test where we had to know running plays, protections, passplays--all that stuff."

Versatility will beespecially important on defense, as the Dolphins continue to work in a hybrid3-4/4-3 scheme meant to take advantage of athletic front-seven players such asPorter and All-Pro end Jason Taylor, who drops into coverage as effortlessly ashe rushes the passer. What's more, Taylor's cameo in a pass-catching drill thatalso included second-year defensive back Will Allen indicates that Cameronmight play around with personnel combinations on both sides of the ball. Ginnas a cornerback? Booker at QB? "Everybody," says Booker, "has toknow everything."

WHERE THEY'REHEADED

>Miami'swillingness to experiment is borne of necessity, and nowhere is the needgreater than on the offensive line. That the Week 1 unit could featurerookies Samson Satele (Hawaii) at center and Drew Mormino (Central Michigan) atright guard doesn't bode well for the 37-year-old Green, who missed eight gameswith a concussion caused by a devastating hit in last year's season opener. Butit's worth noting that Cameron's line in San Diego was similarly inexperiencedbefore coalescing into one of the league's most impregnable units. TheDolphins' blockers have to do likewise--only more quickly.

The first coach inMiami history whose expertise is on offense, Cameron, who'll pull double dutyas offensive coordinator and play-caller, brings a Don Coryell-style downfieldpassing attack from San Diego in hopes of sparking an offense that rankedfourth to last in scoring in the NFL last year. Green, who was acquired in aJune trade with Kansas City, already has considerable experience in the system;he learned it in Washington, where Cameron was his position coach, and excelledin it in St. Louis and K.C. The only major adjustment will be new terminology."In Kansas City we'd call a 50 Bob; here it's a 50 Slant,"says Green. "[Otherwise] it's the same exact concept."

Like the Chiefs'Tony Gonzalez and the Chargers' Antonio Gates, Pro Bowl tight ends who havethrived in the system, the Dolphins' David Martin should become a primarytarget. The free-agent pickup from Green Bay is big (6' 4", 265 pounds) andnimble--and like the other two, was once more interested in basketball. InMartin's case his high school hoops coach insisted that all his players take upanother sport in the off-season. After a breathless stint on the cross-countryteam as a sophomore, Martin switched to football in his junior year, figuringhe'd "sit on the bench and get through it until basketball season."

Instead hedeveloped into one of the most sought-after receiver prospects in the nation,signing with Tennessee and starring at wideout. After being drafted in thesixth round by the Packers in 2001, Martin was plagued by an assortment ofinjuries, which prevented him from unseating Bubba Franks as the starter. Whenhe was healthy, Martin proved adept in the Packers' West Coast scheme; when hewas hurt, he spent a lot of time studying Franks's blocking technique."That was the one part of Gonzalez's game where he improved," saysGreen, "but David is a lot more comfortable with it."

And if Cameronwants players who can do it all, Martin's eager to fulfill the coach's wish."A lot people wonder, Is he a blocking tight end or is he a receiver?"the 28-year-old Martin says. "I don't want to be the guy they take out atthe goal line when it's time to block, or the guy they take out on third downwhen it's time to pass. I want to be the whole package."

He'll have plentyof opportunity to make his case to Green, especially now that their lockersadjoin. And while even a prolific effort from Martin isn't likely to elevatethe Dolphins much above last year's 6-10 record (they're tied for the league'seighth-toughest schedule), the changes on and off the field should set them upwell for the future.

PROJECTED STARTINGLINEUP

WITH 2006STATISTICS

COACH CAM CAMERON(0-0 in NFL), first season with Dolphins

OFFENSE

CHRIS CHAMBERS

POS WR

REC 59

YARDS 677

TD 4

RONNIE BROWN

POS RB

ATT 241

YARDS 1,008

AVG 4.2

REC 33

YARDS 276

AVG 8.4

TD 5

TRENT GREEN (NEWACQUISITION)

POS QB

ATT 198

COMP 121

PCT 60.7

YARDS 1,342

TD 7

INT 9

RATING 74.1

CORY SCHLESINGER(NEW ACQUISITION)

POS FB

ATT 0

YARDS 0

AVG --

REC 8

YARDS 36

AVG 4.5

TD 0

MARTY BOOKER

POS WR

REC 55

YARDS 747

TD 6

ANTHONY ALABI

POS RT

HT 6' 5"

WT 315

G 16

DREW MORMINO (R)(NEW ACQUISITION)

POS RG

HT 6' 3"

WT 299

G 12

SAMSON SATELE (R)(NEW ACQUISITION)

POS C

HT 6' 2"

WT 310

G 14

CHRIS LIWIENSKI(NEW ACQUISITION)

POS LG

HT 6' 5"

WT 325

G 16

VERNON CAREY

POS LT

HT 6' 5"

WT 335

G 16

DAVID MARTIN (NEWACQUISITION)

POS TE

REC 21

YARDS 198

TD 2


DEFENSE

CHANNINGCROWDER

POS WLB

TACKLES 60

SACKS 1

INT 0

MATT ROTH

POS LE

TACKLES 23

SACKS 3 1/2

VONNIEHOLLIDAY

POS LT

TACKLES 46

SACKS 7

KEITH TRAYLOR

POS NT

TACKLES 27

SACKS 4

JASON TAYLOR

POS RE

TACKLES 40

SACKS 13 1/2

JOEY PORTER (NEWACQUISITION)

POS SLB

TACKLES 40

SACKS 7

INT 2

TRAVIS DANIELS

POS CB

TACKLES 25

INT 1

RENALDO HILL

POS FS

TACKLES 64

SACKS 0

INT 2

ZACH THOMAS

POS MLB

TACKLES 103

SACKS 3

INT 1

YEREMIAH BELL

POS SS

TACKLES 44

SACKS 2

INT 0

WILL ALLEN

POS CB

TACKLES 42

SACKS 1

INT 1

JAY FEELY (NEWACQUISITION)

POS K

FG 23-27

POINTS 107

BRANDON FIELDS (R)(NEW ACQUISITION)

POS P

PUNTS 57

AVG 43.3

NEW ACQUISITION(R) Rookie (college statistics)

> 2006 RECORD6-10 NFL RANK (Rush/Pass/Total): OFFENSE 22/13/20 DEFENSE 8/5/4

2007 SCHEDULE

SEPTEMBER

9 at Washington

16 DALLAS

23 at N.Y. Jets

30 OAKLAND

OCTOBER

7 at Houston

14 at Cleveland

21 NEW ENGLAND

28 vs. N.Y. Giants

(London)

NOVEMBER

4 Bye

11 BUFFALO

18 at Philadelphia

26 at Pittsburgh (M)

DECEMBER

2 N.Y. JETS

9 at Buffalo

16 BALTIMORE

23 at New England

30 CINCINNATI

SCHEDULE STRENGTH

NFL rank ... T8

Opponents' 2006 winning percentage ... .512

Games against playoff teams ... 8

(M) MONDAY

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PHOTORICHARD C. LEWIS/ICON SMIFAMILIAR FEElThough 37, Green should produce in a system he knows well.PHOTOWARREN WIMMER/WIREIMAGE.COMILLUSTRATION