** Lamar Thomas Wins Starting Job **
This morning's Miami Herald is reporting that wide receiver
Lamar Thomas will replace Fred Barnett as one of the Dolphins'
starting wide receivers. Barnett had been the starter since the end
of last season, but despite being 2nd on the team in number of catches
so far this year, he hasn't produced nearly as well as was expected.
Barnett was originally signed to be the Dolphins' deep threat,
but a series of injuries, as well as a lack of concentration this fall
has caused his production to drop well off of what was expected of
Lamar Thomas, on the other hand, joined the team last year as
an afterthought after being dumped by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He
has been in repeated trouble with the police for domestic abuse and
even missed some of spring training camp while in jail.
Thomas was inactive for the first 4 games this year, but over
the last 3 weeks has apparently had a change of heart that impressed
coaches enough to earn him a spot in the receiver rotation this Sunday
against the Chiefs. He took advantage of his first playing time of
the year by catching 3 passes for 43 yards despite dislocating his
finger before the game.
In contrast, Barnett only caught 1 pass for 10 yards and had
at least one drop that should have been an easy catch.
The irony of all this is that Barnett and Thomas are good
friends and Barnett has been a steadying influence on Thomas this
summer and fall. Thomas reportedly spends much of his free time at
Barnett's house and Barnett has encouraged Thomas to better
** Richardson May be Waived **
The Herald is further reporting this morning that punter Kyle
Richardson, whom the Dolphins signed several weeks ago to fill in for
John Kidd, may be waived today while Kidd is brought back. Richardson
did not punt very well in Sunday's win over the Chiefs and his net
average so far is 4 yards less than Kidd's.
Kidd was waived last week to make room for Joe Nedney after
Olindo Mare' injured his hamstring. Kidd has spent most of the season
with nagging injuries and was not punting as well as last season, when
he was able to punt at all.
When healthy, Kidd can punt with the best punters in the
league and many felt that he was unfairly denied a pro-bowl berth last
** Jim Kitts May Play **
Newly acquired fullback Jim Kitts may see action against the
Jets on Sunday in a special teams role. The Dolphins have lost a
number of key special teams players this year to injuries and Kitts
was signed off the Packers' practice squad to act as both a backup
fullback and a special teams player.
Last year, the Dolphins tried a rotating set of wide receivers
while Fred Barnett healed his knee. That experiment didn't work out
well as none of the receivers (which included Lamar Thomas) were able
to keep the starting job.
When Fred Barnett came back, he played well enough that he
secured the starting job for himself. I thought that Barnett would
build on last year's success and play even better this year. However,
as has become painfully obvious, Barnett is not playing well at all.
This, of course, has opened the door for another receiver - in
this case, Lamar Thomas - to come in and take the starting job.
The irony of this change should be lost on no one. Barnett
has been Thomas' mentor and friend and this spring, it looked like
Thomas would be let go after he got into more trouble with the law.
Barnett, on the other hand, ran the fastest time he has ever run in
the 40 and looked like he might produce in a big way.
Now the tables are turned and it's Thomas who is performing
well and Barnett who is having problems.
I just hope that this change is best for the team. While a
change at wide receiver is definitely needed, it remains to be seen if
Thomas is the man to fill that need.
HeraldLink: 'New' Thomas Replaces Barnett
HeraldLink: Dolphins Notebook
Sun-Sentinel: Kidd likely to be back
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