Armando Salguero

The Miami Dolphins plan at DL and for the specialists leading up to final preseason game and roster cuts

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (97) celebrates with teammates and has something to celebrate after a solid training camp with the team.
Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (97) celebrates with teammates and has something to celebrate after a solid training camp with the team. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Eighth in a series

I know you’re waiting for Thursday night’s Miami Dolphins game against the Minnesota Vikings to begin so you don’t have a lot of time for my tortured prose. I’ll make it easy on you:

We’ve covered almost every position group for the Dolphins in this series and broken down who makes this team when NFL rosters are cut to 53 on Saturday afternoon. I still haven’t covered the specialists and the defensive line. Let’s do that.

The three specialists making this team are punter Matt Haack, beating out Matt Darr. Long snapper John Denney, beating out Father Time, and getting ready for his 13th NFL season. And kicker Andrew Franks, beating out Ndamukong Suh, who apparently stays on the roster as the backup.

Those are your three specialists.

The defensive line?

Not hard to figure out most of it. Indeed, not a ton about picking this roster is exactly agonizing to figure out.

Defensive ends: Cameron Wake, Andre Branch, Charles Harris, William Hayes, and Terrence Fede. The only one that was questionable outside the confines of the team was Fede because he is lesser known than the others. But within the building where the Dolphins train, everyone understands Fede has had a very good camp. Plus, you don’t cut a 6-4, 270 pound defensive end coming into his prime after he has a good training camp.

So five defensive ends.

Defensive tackles: Fine, Suh can play here if he’s not kicking. Indeed, he’s going to play here about 85-88 percent of the snaps. Jordan Phillips makes it after rallying late in camp and showing coaches he can be pretty good when he’s motivated. Both rookies -- Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor -- make it.

So that’s four defensive tackles.

The question is what to do with Nick Williams. He can play either tackle or end. The problem is he’s solid but not great at either. This one requires perhaps a good outing tonight (or not) for a final decision to be rendered.

I am not in Minnesota tonight but rather watching from home because, well, fourth preseason game. But I’ll be on Twitter providing insights. If something interesting happens, I’ll post about it after the game.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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