Dolphins offensive linemen Jake Grove and Joe Berger are both gunning to be the Dolphins’ starting center come the regular season, but they aren’t letting that get in the way of helping each other out in training camp.
The two are working together and sharing information despite the fact that they’re in direct competition, according to the Miami Herald.
"Me and Jake are good friends," Berger told the Herald. "He helped me out a ton when I had to start. We're all professionals. I don't want Jake to be bad. It's my job to do the best I can and let the coaches decide from there."
Grove agreed, but didn’t shy away from wanting that starting spot.
"There's no animosity. I want to try to help him as much as I can. I want him to be the best player he can be. I just hope I'm a little better."
The two both signed with the Dolphins as free agents prior to the 2009 offseason. Grove was brought in to replace starter Samson Satele, who had a hard time handling big, powerful nose tackles. Berger, from the Cowboys, was a guard who could also play center. He had minimal experience, however, and was active for just 11 games in the previous four seasons.
Last season, Grove got the nod in Miami’s first 10 games, but an ankle injury sidelined him and made room for Berger to come in and take his place.
In Grove’s 10 starts, the line allowed 23 sacks, while in Berger’s six starts, the offense only allowed 11. However, the Dolphins were trailing by two or more scores early in four of Berger’s six starts, so opposing defenses may not have been giving it their all.
The running game averaged 156 yards per game in Grove’s starts, and 111.8 in Berger’s.
"I think the transition went well. I think, mentally, I was prepared,'' Berger said. "Throughout the year, coaches and Jake helped me when it was my turn."
Head coach Tony Sparano said a frontrunner will become apparent as training camp continues.
"There's different strengths to these two guys [Grove and Berger], there really is," Sparano said. "The more you see them out here, the more you see the strengths. I think what's going to be important in their evaluations is which one of these guys can turn some of these weaknesses into strengths."