There comes a point in every professional athlete's career where he realizes he can't live on potential alone.
At that point productivity is the only currency that counts. Paul Soliai, and a number of Dolphins, have reached that landmark in their NFL careers.
The Dolphins' coaches see some promise in Soliai, the former fourth-round pick. But if he doesn't start maximizing on his physical ability, accompanying it with what coach Tony Sparano desires, which is some "professionalism," the overweight nose tackle will find himself churned soon.
During next month's training camp the Dolphins are hoping Soliai, the last Samoan standing, will prove he's more than just another fat guy. The offensive linemen claim he's the most difficult defender to move, but will he improve his work ethic enough to prove he deserves to spend another season as Jason Ferguson's understudy, and can potentially serve as Ferguson's replacement.
Here's a look at a couple more Dolphins who are entering a poop or get off the pot season.
CB Jason Allen - This former first-round pick has finally run out of excuses. Superior athletic ability has taken him this far. It's now time for Allen, who has collectively spent an entire year at cornerback, to master the technique and assignments needed to become a reliable member of the secondary. Allen was decent when called on to serve as the nickel cornerback last season (just omit his lackluster performance against Randy Moss in the second Patriots game), but then he broke his hand and never resurfaced. He's presently playing behind the two rookie cornerbacks.
DE Phillip Merling - The former Clemson standout is presently penciled into the starting defensive end spot created by Vonnie Holliday's release this offseason. But does the 2008 second-round pick deserve it? His stats from last season certainly don't say so. The Dolphins are banking on the belief an elevated role for Merling will produce and elevated level of production. Merling's showing during training camp, and the exhibition season must be good enough to keep Randy Starks, one of last year's most productive players per snap, as a reserve.
CB Nate Jones - Jones was overlooked for much of last season, but when he was finally called on to serve as the nickel cornerback the former Cowboy excelled, contributing the bulk of his 23 tackles, three sacks and one interception in the final six games. Considering the Dolphins' stable of cornerbacks has gotten much younger, and more athletic through the addition of Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, Jones must prove he can still fill a role on the team to land the final cornerback spot.
WR Anthony Armstrong - The practice squad is designed to help young players develop so they can eventually contribute as a member of an NFL team's 53-man roster. Based on the buzz this Arena Football League veteran has created this offseason, the team's second fastest receiver might be at that point. If he continues to contribute in a way that can't be overlooked by the coaches (and finds a special teams role) Armstrong might get the promotion he seeks. He's presently pushing Brandon London for that final receiver spot.