Training camp has reached the halfway point for Miami as storylines and roles are starting to develop. Soon, there will be roster cuts for players who didn't do enough to impress Miami's coaching staff.
With that in mind, here are five Dolphins players currently on the roster bubble who must step up in preseason games:
No. 1: TE Michael Egnew
Analysis: After showing a few flashes in organized team activities, Egnew has been a non-factor in the first two weeks of training camp. The 2012 third-round pick is showing some of the same struggles he had last year as a rookie. Egnew isn’t making plays, he's fumbled in camp and his blocking is still poor. On top of that, the other tight ends -- free agent pickup Dustin Keller, rookie Dion Sims and backup Kyle Miller -- are consistently making plays. Egnew must have a good preseason or his chances of making the team are looking bleak. Miami general manager Jeff Ireland might want to hold onto a third-round draft pick from a year ago regardless, but Egnew hasn't shown enough up to this point.
Hot seat meter (1-to-10): 9
No. 2: K Dan Carpenter
Analysis: Carpenter had a clear lead in Miami’s kicking battle after one week of camp. But Carpenter’s struggles in a scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium pulled him back to even with rookie fifth-round pick Caleb Sturgis. Carpenter missed two 49-yard field goal attempts and had an extra point blocked Monday night. It was reminiscent of last year’s struggles for Carpenter. If you go purely by competition, Carpenter probably has a 50-50 shot. But when you factor in that Sturgis was a high pick for a kicker and makes a fraction ($405,000) of what Carpenter ($2.68 million) makes this year, the writing could be on the wall for Carpenter.
Hot seat meter: 7.5
No. 3: FB Jorvorskie Lane
Analysis: Lane's stock has fallen for a couple of reasons. First, Miami is going with more three-receiver sets this year after signing both Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson in free agency to join with Brian Hartline. The pure fullback is being phased out in camp, and there are limited reps for Lane. Second, Miami has been using more versatile players like Charles Clay and the athletic Evan Rodriguez as H-backs who can play both roles at fullback and tight end. Lane is a one-dimensional fullback. He needs these preseason games to show that he still adds value to the Dolphins.
Hot seat meter: 6.5
No. 4: WR Jeff Fuller
Analysis: This is Fuller’s second training camp with the Dolphins. He is a former college teammate of quarterback Ryan Tannehill at Texas A&M but needs to make more plays to join his former quarterback on Miami’s 53-man roster. Fuller has NFL size, but he’s disappeared too often in practice. An opportunity opened for Fuller to make the team when backup receiver Armon Binns went down with a torn ACL injury in the first week of camp and the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 receiver spots are wide open, but Fuller has to show something in the preseason that catches the eye of Miami’s coaching staff.
Hot seat meter: 6
No. 5: CB Nolan Carroll
Analysis: Carroll is an interesting four th-year veteran. He doesn’t make many mistakes in training camp, but he also doesn’t make big plays. The Dolphins, who are looking for playmakers, have to decide if that’s enough to keep Carroll on the team this year. Miami already has three veteran corners (Brent Grimes, Richard Marshall, Dimitri Patterson) and two rookies (Will Davis, Jamar Taylor) who have a strong chance to make the team. Patterson is the only wild card due to his high salary this year ($4.9 million), but he’s been one of the better corners in camp. Carroll has done his job for the most part. But right now Carroll would be the fifth or sixth corner Miami would keep, and it could come down to a numbers game.
Hot seat meter: 5.5