Miami Dolphins reach roster limit but more moves likely

The Dolphins’ 53-man roster included a few surprises, including the decision to keep 11 defensive backs, but Miami likely will be scanning the waiver wire.

09/01/2013 12:10 AM

09/01/2013 12:22 AM

Three quarterbacks. Four receivers. And five running backs.

Nine on the offensive line. Eight on the defensive side.

Seven linebackers. Three tight ends. And, of course, three specialists.

None of that was a major surprise for the Miami Dolphins, as they released their 53-man roster late Saturday.

Here’s something that was: They’re carrying, at least as of now, 11 defensive backs.

Add it all together, and that’s how the Dolphins assembled their team ahead of Saturday’s 6 p.m. cutdown deadline – but write that roster in pencil, not in ink.

It’s surely going to change in the coming days, as the front office sifts through the available pool of talent after some 700 players have been cut loose.

The Dolphins trimmed 22 players off their roster to get to their prescribed limit, and – at least for now – have gone heavy in the secondary.

Offensive players cut Saturday: T Jeff Adams, G Chris Barker, C Sam Brenner, WR Chad Bumphis, QB Aaron Corp, WR Keenan Davis, RB Jonas Gray, T Andrew McDonald, WR Marvin McNutt, TE Kyle Miller and WR Brian Tyms.

And of defense, the Dolphins released: LB Antwan Applewhite, DT A.J. Francis, S Keelan Johnson, S Jordan Kovacs, DE Tristan Okpalaugo, CB Julian Posey, CB De’Andre Presley, DT Kheeston Randall, DT Tracy Robertson, LB Lee Robinson and LB Austin Spitler.

The cuts, while again not a final product, reflect what the Dolphins want to look like when they open the season in Cleveland on Sept. 8.

• They’ll carry three quarterbacks, including Pat Devlin, who threw a winning touchdown against the Saints on Thursday. The performance prompted coach Joe Philbin to say Devlin had a “mastery of the system.”
• Mike Gillislee beat out Jonas Gray for the team’s third running back job, but Evan Rodriguez is on the team as a fullback. Marcus Thigpen, though listed as a back, can also play in the slot. His primary responsibility will be to return kicks.
• The Dolphins will go young at linebacker, releasing Spitler in favor of Josh Kaddu, Jonathan Freeny and Jelani Jenkins.
• No surprises on the offensive line, although a player to watch is Nate Garner. The team still views him as a possible starter – most logically at right guard, a position in flux.
• Michael Engew, the second-year tight end, earned his spot on the roster in 2013 after sliding through on draft pedigree the year before.

Still, the biggest surprises came in the secondary and at receiver.

By releasing McNutt, Bumphis and Tyms, the Dolphins indicated they were comfortable going with just with Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and Rishard Matthews – at least for now.

Matthews missed much of the preseason with a knee injury. The Miami Herald has learned he had a minor procedure on the knee during training camp but has made a strong recovery.

Then there’s the defensive backfield. The two biggest surprises to make the team: safety Don Jones and corner R.J. Stanford.

Often times, such decisions are made based on special teams value and injury. With Will Davis ailing and Richard Marshall cut last week, the Dolphins thought it prudent to keep Stanford, their sixth corner.

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