by Brian Biggane http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/thedaily ... omecoming/
1. Wide receiver Davone Bess returns home to Oakland.
We wrote last spring about how Bess, the former undrafted free agent out of Hawaii who has earned himself and his family security with a solid first three years of his career, had a rough childhood in Oakland, at one point watching an uncle be gunned down at a family barbecue.
This weekend, Bess gets a homecoming of sorts, when the Dolphins travel to his hometown for a game against the Raiders.
Bess caught more passes in his first two seasons than any receiver in Dolphin history, and with 49 catches in 10 games is on track to surpass last year’s team-high 76. But he’ll need better than last week’s one-catch, 9-yard performance for the Dolphins to beat the Raiders and give him the homecoming he desires.
3. Time to make a decision on the status of Phillip Merling.
Widely believed to be out for the season when he tore his Achilles tendon back in July, Merling has returned to the practice field and the Dolphins now have less than a week to decide whether to bring him back to the active roster.
The positives in such a move are obvious: Merling is a former starter, and while he has always fallen short of his potential, he certainly could contribute to a defensive line that needs depth after losing rookie Jared Odrick and young vet Lionel Dotson to injury.
But there’s also the other side. Ryan Baker, who might be the odd man out on the D-line as a result, is a hard worker who would run through a wall to stay on the team and has made steady improvement. Tony McDaniel has played well, and the starters - Paul Soliai, Randy Starks and Kendall Langford - are not an option. So while it seems an easy call to activate Merling for the home stretch, it’s actually anything but.