Posted by Josh Katzowitz
Two interesting moves at Dolphins training camp today.
1) Coach Tony Sparano moved third-string C Andrew Hartline to the first team and dropped Jake Grove and Joe Berger, both going for the starting spot, to the second and third-string, respectively.
2) CB Sean Smith, who started all 16 games as a rookie last year, was dropped to the second team while Jason Allen took first-string snaps.
The significance in all this? As the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero suggests, Smith has had a bad training camp, taking a beating from WR Brandon Marshall and other Dolphins receivers and looking disinterested at times, while Hartline – an undrafted rookie free agent from last year (pictured, right) – has a chance to win a spot somewhere on the squad.
The interesting part about Allen is that he’s been such a disappointment since the team took him in the first round of the 2006 draft. Salguero wrote that he doesn’t expect Allen to take Smith’s starting spot, and it’s hard to argue that point, because Allen has never given a reason for anybody to believe he can be a successful first-team player.
As for Hartline, we probably shouldn’t make too much of the move. As Dolphins Rapid Reporter Chris Perkins writes, Sparano had talked about wanting to move around some of his players.
"I feel like I'm a pretty athletic guy," Hartline told the Herald. "I feel like I can play multiple positions. I think I can play guard-center-guard so maybe they feel like they can take me instead of two guys. But I can't speak for them."
At this point, it seems unlikely Hartline could take the starting spot from Grove and Berger. Grove started 12 games last year before an ankle injury knocked him out and he run-blocks very well. Berger is better in pass-protection, but he’s also not quite as strong. Hartline is more mobile, but he’s less-experienced and spent some of last year on the practice squad.
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