2022 Dolphins position preview: Breaking down specialists ahead of camp

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The Miami Dolphins had an extremely busy offseason between the firings and hirings of head coaches, game-changing trades and impactful free agency signings.

This time in between minicamps/OTAs and training camp is a great opportunity to assess the state of Miami’s roster at each position before they hold true competitions at the end of this month and into August under new coach Mike McDaniel.

We’ve talked about quarterbacksrunning backswide receiverstight ends, offensive linemen, defensive linemen and linebackers, but now it’s time to jump to the third phase of the game and discuss the specialists on the roster.

List

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa leads impromptu mini practice

K Jason Sanders

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After being named a First-Team All-Pro in 2020, the Dolphins awarded Sanders with a five-year extension worth $22 million. He then went on to have his worst season statistically, making just 74.2% of his field goals and 97.1% of his extra points.

Miami didn’t bring any competition for the kicker this offseason, so he’s a lock to make the roster. On top of that, if he were to be cut, the team would incur a $3.68 million dead cap penalty.

The team needs to see more out of him.

P Thomas Morstead

Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Miami opted to move on from Michael Palardy this offseason, who was inconsistent at best in 2021. Instead, they brought in Morstead as their veteran candidate for the job.

The 36-year-old spent 12 seasons in New Orleans before splitting 2021 between the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons. Last year, he averaged 47.2 yards per attempt and a 42-yard net average.

He’s been a much more consistent punter in his career than Palardy, so this should be an upgrade at the position.

P Tommy Heatherly

AP Photo/Matthew Hinton

Heatherly went undrafted this year, after a collegiate career that included three years at FIU and two years at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. He averaged 46.82 yards per attempt in 2021, and 39.8 net yards per attempt.

He’ll be in competition with Morstead during training camp, but the veteran has the clear leg up at this point.

LS Blake Ferguson

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

It’s hard to talk about the intricacies of long snapping. Ferguson is decent at his job, and he’s following a line of strong Dolphins players at the position. With no obvious competition this season, heading into the second-to-last year of his rookie deal, he’ll be able to continue snapping to whoever’s holding or punting in 2023.

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