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27 posts from June 2008

June 04, 2008

Michael Lehan hurt during OTA practice

Cornerback Michael Lehan was carried off the field today when he injured his left ankle area during a team-drill pass.

Receiver Derek Hagan jumped for pass along the sideline and Lehan came under him. I cannot tell you if he sprained the ankle, broke the ankle, or perhaps suffered an Achilles tendon injury.

Coach Tony Sparano is scheduled to speak at 1:30 so there should be an update then. Lehan had the area wrapped in ace when two trainers carried him back to the locker room. The practice was held inside the Nick Saban Memorial Bubble.

"All I know is I jumped in the air and when he came under me, he went down," Hagan said. "They say if you play fast you're less likely to get hurt but things happen."

This is not the first injury the Dolphins suffer during offseason training. Last week receiver Tab Perry suffered an Achilles injury.

So are the Dolphins getting too physical during these workouts? Didn't look that way to me. It's just tough luck.

"We're players," cornerback Andre' Goodman said. "People are going to compete, pads or no pads. And unfortunately it will lead to some negative things. You saw Michael going down, but you can't be careful. We always say to each other, 'Let's keep each other off the ground.' But it is football and you can't change your mentality. It's an unfortunate incident."

After Lehan left practice, Travis Daniels and rookie free agent Will Bilingsley worked with the second team. The first-team corners today were Goodman and Will Allen.

Dolphins OTA open for inspection today

The Dolphins are making today's OTA session open to the media and here's what's going on so far:

The team is practicing in the Nick Saban Memorial Bubble today. I've been told working outside the last couple of days has taken its toll and the coaching staff wants the players fresh for the weekend's minicamp.

Several players are back at practice after being out earlier in the offseason. Paul Soliai, who was on the sideline last we saw, is in drills today. So are cornerback Andre' Goodman and tight end Anthony Fasano.

Guard Steve McKinney is still not working.

Speaking of guards, rookie Shawn Murphy is working with the first team today. Doesn't mean he's a first-teamer, but he's lining up at left guard next to fellow rookie Jake Long. Justin Smiley is at right guard with Vernon Carey at right tackle. Samson Satele is the center.

Very interesting to me: Matt Roth is getting individual work with the linebackers. Perhaps the new staff has decided to see if he shows more promise as something of a standup guy than a two-gap DE, which he struggled playing last year. Goodman, by the way, is working with the starting unit replacing Mike Lehan.

Check back in a couple of hours and I'll have a post-practice update.

June 02, 2008

Live blog of "Clock" game on NFL network

Even if it's me and Harricane, I figured this is a chance to exchange ideas and spend some time with my peeps.

So the live blog starts at 8 p.m.

Tune in to NFL Network and let's watch the Dolphins vs. Jets from Nov. 27, 1994.

Yeah, that was the clock game. See you in the comments section.

Relive "clock" play tonight on NFL Network

If you have no idea the significance of November 27, 1994 and you get the NFL Network, you are in for a treat.

Tonight at 8 p.m. you will have the opportunity to relive that amazing day nearly 14 years ago when the Dolphins not only came from behind to beat the New York Jets, but did it by executing the classic "Clock" play.

Thank you, Dan Marino.

Thank you, Bernie Kosar.

The game played at the Meadowlands proved to be the turning point in both teams’ seasons. The Dolphins won the AFC East while the Jets lost their remaining four games to finish 6-10.

By the way, why am I thanking Bernie Kosar? Well, you know Marino faked the spike and threw the TD. But did you know Kosar suggested the play from the sideline? It was his idea!

What a good time ...

Tell me what other great games/moments from Dolphins history stick in your minds. Do not give me Super Bowl victories. Those don't count for our purposes here. Besides most of us weren't adults when they happened anyway.

[Late breaking idea: If at least 10 of you promise to get on here with me at 8 p.m., I will live blog the game that was played in '94. You guys can share your comments and memories. I covered that game and that team, so I think I can draw on some of that as a resource. We'll have fun ... But only if there's enough interest.]

JT for Greg Ellis a deal that makes sense?

The Dallas Cowboys and the Dolphins have a connection as evidenced by the trades the teams made during free agency and the draft, the fact each has signed the other's discards, and the fact part of the Dallas coaching and personnel staff is now working in Miami.

So doesn't it make sense for the Cowboys and Dolphins to swap Greg Ellis for Jason Taylor?

Absolutely.

Although Taylor lies states he would be happy playing for the Dolphins in 2008, the fact remains he wants to play for a winner. The Cowboys fit that bill. Taylor, I am told, would happily adjust his contract to make a move to Dallas for the one more year he says he's going to play. This is not a money issue for him, it is about the chance to go out with a ring and he doesn't think he has that chance in Miami no matter what he lies says to protect his image.

Ellis?

He will be 33 years old before the season and is reportedly unhappy in Dallas because the Cowboys are trying to find more playing and practice time for 2007 first-round pick Anthony Spencer. Ellis is so disturbed by this he didn't show up to some OTA work the last couple of weeks.

Taylor is clearly the more accomplished pass-rusher but last year struggled against the run. Ellis is the better run-stopper but not as efficient rushing the passer. He did have 12.5 sackes last year, but he's helped by the fact the Cowboys have other pass-rush threats (read DeMarcus Ware) helping him out.

So how much of a stretch is it to think the teams could swap aging but productive defensive players? Not much when you think that Dallas may not be scared away by Taylor's desire (or lack thereof) to play only one more year. Again, I remind you they have Spencer on deck.

This trade, by the way, is not something I've been told will happen. Just want to clear that up. But the Cowboys interest in Taylor is quite poorly veiled. Adam Schefter, of the NFL Network, has reported the Cowboys have had "internal discussions" about adding Taylor.

Finally, this trade makes more sense than some of the ones you guys have previously proposed on this blog or on my weekend radio show. The most notable of those is trading Taylor to the Bengals for Chad Johnson, which will NEVER happen.

Let me address this one once and for all. Johnson is not on the trade block. That is proven by the fact the Bengals turned down two first round picks from Washington in exchange for Johnson. If they turned down two first round picks for Johnson, they are not going to turn around and give him up for a player that will play only one more season.

June 01, 2008

What game is Jason Taylor playing here?

A colleague I was just speaking with said it best after witnessing Jason Taylor's press conference today: He said he witnessed Taylor's first acting job.

Taylor got in front of the assembled press and, apparently trying to keep his reputation intact or for whatever other reason, danced around the issue of wanting to be traded. Which is interesting because, well, he wants to be traded.

So some of the stories about to be published on the Jason Taylor matter may make an issue of Taylor's desire to play only one more year -- that's not news to anyone, least of all the Dolphins -- and that Taylor actually hasn't requested a trade.

Which would be news to the Dolphins.

During today's press conference Taylor was asked if he wants to be traded from the Dolphins -- something that he definitely wants because that's what everyone associated with him is saying he wants and what his agent told the Dolphins in January.

So publicly Taylor answered the question this way: "I want to win in '08, that's what I want to do," Taylor said. "I told the Dolphins from Day One about my intentions. My intentions are to play one more year. I would like to try to give the Dolphins the opportunity that if they wanted to do something and move me, that I was OK with that. If they can get value for me, then do that. That was the conversation we had a long time ago."

So Taylor would have us believe he went to the Dolphins and basically said, "Hey guys, if you want to trade me, and you can get value, I just want you to know I'm good with that."

Who does that mean? The Dolphins don't need permission to trade Jason Taylor. He brought it up because he wants out. And his agent made the case to the team that keeping Taylor simply doesn't make sense and that Taylor has earned a chance to play for a winner.

So what's this stuff about, 'if you get value for me, then do that."

Moreover, Taylor said during today's press conference that he's OK with playing for the Dolphins in 2008. Of course, he declined to commit to reporting to training camp. So again, he's OK with saying playing for the Dolphins is fine, but he can't commit to actually proving that by showing up to mandatory camps, including training camp?

He's OK with playing for the Dolphins but he's not showing up for the mandatory minicamp next week? [He said he's attending his brother's graduation and handling legal matters instead.]

I have said for some time that this story has more layers and is more complicated than just about any I've covered since I started covering the Dolphins. That certainly isn't helped by the fact Jason Taylor is wanting one thing and sometimes saying something else.

But I guess that's what makes a good actor.

Even after Taylor speaks, this is not over, folks

So Jason Taylor is today going to say what we all know. He would like to be traded to a contending team.

I write about this incredible revelation in an awesome column that appears in Sunday's Miami Herald. Yeah, I'm kidding about it being awesome. Frankly, it only tells you that Taylor will today finally utter words we already knew he was thinking.

Yippie!!!! Big deal, right?

The part that intrigues me, however, is that even this good-bye of sorts will come with a caveat. Taylor will leave the door ajar for reporting to the team's training camp if that move can somehow grease the skids for helping the Dolphins work out a trade.

Talk about an awkward situation.

But I have to tell you, even though my friend Adam Schefter of the NFL Network writes teams such as Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Dallas, New Orleans and yes, San Diego, may have interest in Taylor after showing varying degrees of interest in the past, I cannot see the Dolphins getting very much for him.

The fact of the matter is the Dolphins know and Taylor will probably admit he only wants to play for one more year -- that being 2008.

Now, I just anointed you the GM for any of those teams already mentioned. Do you give up a third-round pick to rent Jason Taylor for only one year?

I would not.

And the Dolphins simply aren't going to give him away. [Miami defines giving him away as trading him for anything less than a third-round pick.] I know many of you are saying, 'Get rid of him, take a seventh-round pick if that's the price, release him if you have to.'

Again, I anoint you a GM, this time of the Dolphins. Your job is to make Miami as good as quickly as you possibly can. You do this by getting good return for your moves. You DO NOT trade your most proven player cheaply and you certainly DO NOT release him. The funny thing is I expect that emotional reaction from fans, but I've actually read it in local opinion pieces from sportswriters who are supposed to know better. "Get rid of him and get it over with."

NO. Those are the same sportswriters, by the way, who later would rail on Bill Parcells if Taylor goes on to have a great year for another team. No wonder Parcells doesn't talk to the media down here.

Anyway, regardless of what Taylor says today, regardless of whether he gets up on table and dances salsa to an old time Cuban Son -- which, by the way, I'm sure I can do better than him -- it won't mean this situation is resolved.

Not by a long shot. It is simply out of his hands.

Discuss...

[Yeah, I said it, I can dance better than JT.]