Training Camp Notes: Smith, Sanders, Bowe

Carolina Panthers:
Receiver Steve Smith is expected to miss at least two weeks with a strained shoulder after suffering the injury in practice on Monday. Dwayne Jarrett is expected to fill in for Smith while he’s out, which is kind of like going from a corvette to a station wagon. (Charlotte Observer)

Indianapolis Colts:
Safety Bob Sanders is expected to meet with orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews soon. Sanders had another clean up procedure done on his knee this offseason and the Colts don’t know when he’ll be healthy again. He hasn’t practiced or played in game since Week 16 of last year. (Indianapolis Star)

Kansas City Chiefs:
Receiver Dwayne Bowe isn’t currently practicing with the Chiefs’ starters and apparently is in new head coach Todd Haley’s doghouse. Haley appears to be making an example of Bowe, who hasn’t responded well to KC’s new disciplined training habits. (Kansas City Star)

New England Patriots:
Tom Brady has yet to miss one practice since returning to action following ACL and MCL surgery. Brady continues to work out with a brace on his knee, although he’ll likely have to play with the brace the rest of his career. (Boston Globe)

Tampa Bay Bucs:
Receiver Antonio Bryant will be out for the next 3-4 weeks with a torn meniscus in his knee. Bryant could miss the entire preseason, but is expected to be healthy by Week 1. Still, the Bucs are thin at receiver and are implementing a new offense so Bryant’s injury is of concern. (Pewter Report)

Earnest Graham is listed ahead of Derrick Ward on Tampa’s depth chart, but considering the Bucs paid Ward like a starter this offseason, it’s wise not to read too much into this. (

Miami Dolphins:
Former Hawaii product Davone Bess has been starting ahead of Greg Camarillo in Miami. Carmarillo appears to be completely recovered from ACL surgery, but Miami likes Bess’ speed and playmaking ability and see him as a starting flanker. (Miami Herald)

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Turnovers, costly mistakes doom Dolphins

Chad PenningtonThe Miami Dolphins’ blue print for success in 2008 was rather simple when you think about it: Play good defense, keep opposing teams off-balance and don’t turn the ball over. Those three facets helped the Fins go from 1-15 to 11-5 in just one offseason and propelled them to their first playoff appearance since 2001.

The last time the Dolphins were in the playoffs, they were stifled by a Baltimore Ravens team that held them to only three points in a 20-3 loss in the Wild Card round. Déjà vu struck for the Dolphins again on Sunday, as the Ravens’ defense once again played a huge role in shutting Miami down in their 27-9 Wild Card victory.

The Dolphins did just two of the three things that helped get them to the postseason. They limited the Ravens to just 286 total yards, but five turnovers and one costly mistake by second-year receiver Ted Ginn Jr. doomed them over the course of the game.

Chad Pennington was at the center of Miami’s turnover parade, tossing four interceptions – one of which was returned for a 64-yard touchdown by Baltimore safety Ed Reed. It looked as if Pennington was trying to erase the perception that he lacks arm strength by throwing the ball down field and forcing passes into coverage. His fourth and final interception came in the red zone while the game was still somewhat close at 20-3 late in the third quarter. Patrick Cobbs also fumbled early in the second half, which led to an 8-yard Le’Ron McLain touchdown, while Ginn fumbled the hand off on an end-around and while he eventually recovered the mistake, it eventually killed a potential scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter.

This was a frustrating loss for the Dolphins because they played so out of character. It’s hard enough to beat the Ravens, let alone beat them when you turn the ball over five times. One bad loss doesn’t erase what a great season Pennington or the Dolphins had, but this was a game that highlighted the team’s need for more playmakers on offense. Ginn, Ronnie Brown and Davone Bess can make plays in the open field, but the Dolphins will need to keep adding more pieces to their offense before they can move any further.

Still, what an amazing ride for Miami. Nobody expected this team to be in the playoffs this year and it’ll be interesting to see what they do in the offseason in efforts to keep improving. It’ll also be interesting to see whether or not Bill Parcells stays with the team, or returns to the sidelines like rumor has it.

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