AFC East: David Kircus
|Richard C. Lewis/Icon SMI|
|Greg Camarillo might not be the prototypical NFL receiver, but he leads the Dolphins with 372 receiving yards.|
He is listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds. He ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash at his pro workout day before the draft. He wears size medium gloves.
Drive toward the illuminated light stanchions in your town on a Friday night and look through the chain-link fence. You'll see high school players who fit Camarillo's general description.
Those kids could play in the NFL, too. They almost certainly won't. If it was that easy, then Camarillo's story wouldn't be considered exceptional.
"I'm still amazed by it sometimes," Camarillo said while hunkered over a plastic plate of barbeque chicken, rice and beans at his stall in the Miami Dolphins locker room. "I wasn't supposed to be here.
"Pretty much every step of my journey I wasn't supposed to take the next step. Odds were against me. That's how my athletic career has been. I've always been the underdog, and I kind of like that."
Unrecruited, unable to score in college, not invited to the scouting combine and undrafted is not a good formula for becoming a go-to NFL target.
Yet Camarillo, who forever will be remembered as the hero who saved the Dolphins from the embarrassment of a winless season last year, leads them with 32 catches for 372 yards and a touchdown.
He has more catches than last year's ninth overall draft pick (Ted Ginn) and has started every game, while a handsomely paid offseason acquisition (Ernest Wilford) and a 2006 third-round pick (Derek Hagan) watch in street clothes.
"He's a guy that from the day that I walked in the door here has done nothing but make plays," Dolphins first-year head coach Tony Sparano said. "Every practice that I'm out there, Camarillo separates from somebody, makes a play, dives for a ball, makes a great catch, beats somebody that he's not maybe on paper not supposed to beat in man-to-man coverage."
Here it is, as promised: your non-Favre mailbag.
Granted, the trade of the legendary quarterback to the New York Jets will ripple through the AFC East and couldn't be avoided when discussing how his presence will affect the Buffalo Bills' playoff chances or Chad Pennington's release.
But from this point downward, you won't read his name.
Enjoy the respite.
Dylan in Bardonia, N.Y., writes: After watching the Jets, which of the WRs do you think will make the team? Also, who looks like the favorite to start at CB across from Darrelle Revis and at safety?
Tim Graham: The top five receivers I've seen are (in order) Jerricho Cotchery, Laveranues Coles, Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith and Wallace Wright.
It looks like Justin Miller has the edge in the CB battle opposite Revis, but Dwight Lowery has played well. Kerry Rhodes will be the free safety, while Eric Smith is ahead of Abram Elam in the strong safety battle.
Vinnie from Parts Unknown writes: What chance does S John Lynch have to become a Patriot. He would like to go with a strong contender. Hell, he even looks like a Patriot.
Tim Graham: The Patriots are trying to get younger, not get a vanload of guys together for the Early Bird Special. Besides, the Patriots already have Rodney Harrison and James Sanders, who is injured but they really like him. Sanders took the job from Eugene Wilson. Young Brandon Meriweather has been filling in admirably for Sanders.
Ryan in Port St. Lucie, Fla., writes: I love Davone Bess as a receiver for the Dolphins. Barring a Terry Glenn pickup, who are the favorites to make the team at WR? I've been hearing Derek Hagan, Ernest Wilford and Ted Ginn are locks, with Greg Camarillo and David Kircus making up the second tier.
Tim Graham: Bess has been sensational in some practices, and just OK in others. The three guarantees are Wilford, Ginn and Hagan. After that, the competition could go down to the final cuts. Kircus and Camarillo are bigger than the 5-foot-10 Bess and line up on multiple special-teams units.
Matt in Rochester, N.Y., writes: What are the chances that Bills T Jason Peters will hold out through the entire preseason and maybe into the regular season?
Tim Graham: This showdown could get ugly. I don't know how resolute the Peters camp is because they've been silent. But I do know the Bills plan to dig in their heels. The front office doesn't want to set a precedent for rewarding players who go MIA. For example, they are renegotiating WR Lee Evans' contract. He came to camp.
|Joel Auerbach/US Presswire|
|Dolphins Coach Tony Sparano on his receivers' performance in camp: "We have to keep the ball off of the ground."|
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins went into training camp with an ambiguous outlook at receiver.
There's uncertainty whether Ted Ginn Jr. or Ernest Wilford can handle the No. 1 role. Derek Hagan has questions to answer entering his third season. Free agents David Kircus, Greg Camarillo and Davone Bess are fighting to make the roster.
To hear Dolphins coach Tony Sparano tell it, the position isn't sorting itself out so far in training camp.
Sparano sounded off Wednesday about the recent abundance of drops, stimulating speculation the Dolphins will sign free agent Terry Glenn if his knee's healthy.
"To be honest with you, there were too many dropped passes [Tuesday]," Sparano said. "There were 10 in [Tuesday's] practice, and there's too many dropped passes today. Individual period today, we didn't catch the ball. I mean, we're running routes on air and we're not catching the ball.
"We go to the game [Saturday's preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers] and we don't catch the ball ... I can get anybody to do that. We really need to make sure that we're concentrating on catching the ball.
"I have not been happy with that end of the deal right now. We have to keep the ball off of the ground."
Sparano is vexed because he's making his receivers do extra work on the JUGS machines, but "at the end of the day, it's throwing and catching. Some of these guys have been doing it since they were six years old," he said.
"They've been working with these quarterbacks since the day they got here," Sparano said. "It's not like we have different quarterbacks rolling in and out of here that you have to worry about the velocity or any of those things, the ball coming out different.
"We just need to concentrate better on catching the ball. ... We need to catch the ball."
Speculation the Miami Dolphins were pursuing free-agent WR Terry Glenn didn't pan out today.
That doesn't mean the Dolphins aren't interested.
Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, at his daily news conference, went out of his way to praise the receivers already on the roster. The top three are Ernest Wilford, Ted Ginn and Derek Hagan. Free agents such as David Kircus and undrafted rookie Davone Bess also have received high marks through the offseason.
Sparano's applause notwithstanding, there's room for Glenn on that roster.
And if any staff outside of the Dallas Cowboys is aware of what Glenn can do, it would be the Dolphins. Bill Parcells raided the Cowboys football operations department in the winter.
"I'm sure it makes sense that you'd be interested because we know the guy," said Sparano, the former Dallas offensive line coach and running game coordinator. "We know him. We've coached him. Bill's coached him for years. I've had him for four or five years down there in Dallas. So I know the guy."
Sparano, however, noted once he left the Cowboys in January he didn't know what happened to Glenn or what information was used when the Cowboys opted to cut him. Glenn had two surgeries on his right knee last year and missed 15 games.
But it's a safe bet Parcells and GM Jeff Ireland, another Cowboys emigre, have checked into Glenn's health for him.
"The thing that I do know, I have two people upstairs that do their due diligence on any player out there. Any player," Sparano said. "So I'm sure that Terry Glenn or anybody else would be treated the same that way.
"Jeff and Bill will do their due diligence that way. They'll turn over every stone one way or the other to try to make this football team better."
Nobody asked Sparano the obvious follow-up question:
Have the Dolphins contacted the Green Bay Packers about Brett Favre?