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25 posts from June 2009

June 29, 2009

Get your FREE training camp schedule here

As one of my followers on twitter wrote earlier today, July is going to be a "loooong month," until the Dolphins report for the opening of training camp Aug. 1.

The first day in pads will be Aug. 2 and the Dolphins will hit the field with two practices that day. But coach Tony Sparano obviously is not intent on seeing his players wilt, as the team will practice twice a day only two times the first eight days of camp, with the eighth day a time for rest.

Don Shula worked his team in three-a-day practices his first year. Not saying that's what Sparano should do but that should give you some historical perspective.

So below is the schedule. The pratices are open to the public with capacity for 2,000 folks to watch. There is no admission charge, meaning it is free. Practices will be closed after Aug. 22.

 

Date Morning Afternoon

Aug. 1   Sat.    PLAYERS REPORT TO CAMP

Aug. 2   Sun. 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m.

Aug. 3   Mon.                            2:00 p.m.

Aug. 4   Tues.      9:00 a.m.                     

Aug. 5   Wed.                            2:00 p.m.                                            

Aug. 6   Thurs.     9:00 a.m.       5:00 p.m.

Aug. 7   Fri  .                            2:00 p.m.                                

Aug. 8   Sat .                            2:00 p.m.                    

Aug. 9   Sun.        PLAYERS OFF

Aug. 10   Mon.     9:00 a.m.       5:00 p.m.

Aug. 11   Tues.                         2:00 p.m.

Aug. 12   Wed.     9:00 a.m.                                                              

Aug. 13   Thurs.                        2:00 p.m.        

Aug. 14   Fri.        9:00 a.m.       5:00 p.m.                                

Aug. 15   Sat.       10:15 a.m.                                                                      

Aug. 17   Mon.      VS. JAGUARS AT LAND SHARK STADIUM, 7:30 P.M. (EDT), WFOR-TV         

Aug. 18   Tues.     PLAYERS OFF

Aug. 19   Wed.      9:00 a.m.      5:00 p.m.

Aug. 20   Thurs.    9:00 a.m.      5:00 p.m.

Aug. 22   Sat.       VS. PANTHERS AT LAND SHARK STADIUM, 7:30 P.M. (EDT), WFOR-TV      

June 25, 2009

Searching for diverse ownership [Updated]

On April 16th, hours before Dolphins owner Stephen Ross declined to answer a direct question from me regarding the possible inclusion of Jimmy Buffett and Emilio Estefan in his team's plans for 2009, I posted a blog item that included the following sentence:

"Singer Jimmy Buffett, a Key West resident, and Miami Sound Machine founder Emilio Estefan are among the entertainment people Ross has discussed including in his ownership group."

Today we know that Ross has indeed invited Buffett to join the Dolphins as a minority stakes owner and, although no concrete deal has come of that invitation, the men have forged a relationship that includes a temporary naming rights deal for Land Shark Stadium.

And on Thursday morning Ross is expected to announce Estefan and his wife, Gloria Estefan -- founding members of Miami Sound Machine and respected music moguls -- are joining the team, so to speak, as minority stake owners.

So what's the point of this aside from me tooting my own horn? To give you perspective for what now follows.

Ross continues to search for more so-called stars that might join his group and might add to the diverse nature of the Dolphins' appeal to fans. Ross has also reached out to musician and member of the songwriter Hall of Fame John Francis Bongiovi Jr, more commonly known to fans of rock music as Jon Bon Jovi.

Aside from having sold 120 million albums worldwide, Bon Jovi is known for his love of football. He is owner of an Arena League team in Philadelphia and is quite friendly with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Ross has not been able to convince Bon Jovi to invest in the Dolphins, according to a source. But that can always change and one shouldn't discount Ross continuing his efforts. Also do not be surprised when, not if, Ross finds a black partner to join his ownership group.

I'm told Ross has reached out to at least one "rap artist of considerable wealth," as he's trying to round out the diverse nature of his group and team's appeal. It also wouldn't surprise if Ross approaches some black former athlete such as Alonzo Mourning about buying a stake in the Dolphins. 

South Florida is a melting pot consisting primarily of Anglo, Hispanic, and black non-Hispanic people. Dolphins fans may all bleed aqua and orange, but their faces span the rainbow of colors and their ethnicities, religions and backgrounds cover much of the spectrum of humanity.

[Update: At the press conference that ended around 11:05 a.m., Ross said, "I want to bring ownership to this team that represents the community."]

And today's expected announcement with the Estefans is, in part, just one step in that attempt.

[Twitter update: I appreciate the 500 or so of you who are now following me on Twitter over there on the left hand column of this blog. My updates post there and you can get them on your phone. If you have not signed up to follow me yet, please do so. This will be extremely valuable during training camp when I give you real time updates of what's happening throughout the day. Yes, it's extreme, but most Dolphins fans are pretty extreme. So follow me at twitter.com/armandosalguero]

June 24, 2009

Vontae Davis story smells of identity theft

The Dolphins are conducting an investigation into the fake Vontae Davis arrest now as the team tries to get to the bottom of what actually happened in this bizarre episode that smells of mistaken or stolen identity.

For the record, Davis contends he was absolutely, positively not arrested in Champaign, Ill., on June 9 despite police reports that someone with that name and giving the address of Davis's grandmother was arrested for vehicular noise and not having a valid license.

Davis has sworn to the team it wasn't him. And the club, which keeps attendence of OTA and weight lifting attendance by players, believes Davis was in South Florida for that work that day. Secondary coach Todd Bowles knows Davis worked at camp that day and the weight lifting coaches also have vouched that he was present.

Davis left the facility around 3:30 p.m. (EDT) and the only way he might have been in Illinois at the time of 6:40 p.m. arrest, the team believes, is if he had chartered a jet to get there ...

... and back, because he was at work at 7 a.m. on June 10.

Davis, meanwhile, has spoken with the team and asked point-blank to tell the truth. Some folks in Miami still remember that Alfred Oglesby once claimed to be kidnapped and taken out to the Everglades when he failed to show up for practice one day. Oglesby had actually been at a strip club the night before and had overslept the next morning so he fabricated the entire tale, which of course, fell apart when he was informed authorities look unkindly on false police reports.

Davis's story has been consistent that he was not arrested. He also is giving that version on his blog.

"The only explanation I have is that my wallet was stolen while I was still in school and someone might be impersonating me," Davis said.

"During the time I was "supposedly arrested," I was actually here in Florida at OTA's. I am fully dedicated to my football career and learning the playbook so that I can be affective this season. As I said before, I am very thankful to be a part of the Miami Dolphins and I do not want to do anything that would bring any negative publicity to me or the team."

So I think it's fair to believe Davis.

[Twitter update: I appreciate the 500 or so of you who are now following me on Twitter.com and over there on the left hand column of this blog. My updates post there and you can get them on your phone. If you have not signed up to follow me yet, please do so. This will be extremely valuable during training camp when I give you real time updates of what's happening throughout the day. Yes, it's extreme, but most Dolphins fans are pretty extreme. So follow me at twitter.com/armandosalguero]


 

June 20, 2009

The Dolphins' most competitive positions

One sure mark of a good team is its record. Another sign of a good team before the wins and losses start getting hung in the standings is the level of competition for jobs.

The Dolphins coaching staff will have some tough decisions picking starters and filling roster spots when training camp begins. And that's a really good thing.

Three positions in particular stand out as offering coach Tony Sparano some difficult choices based on an abundance of good players vying for spots: Cornerback. Outside linebacker. Wide Receiver.

At the cornerback spot the Dolphins must find a starter opposite Will Allen. The candidates are Eric Green, whom you read about in a previous post, and rookies Sean Smith and Vontae Davis. One of these three guys should be the starter.

But none of these three guys has distinguished himself enough in the offseason to be called the favorite for the job. It is wide open.

“None of them have really stood out to me as consistent or inconsistent at this time," Sparano said during the team's minicamp. "Watching the three of them, they have all had opportunities to make plays. They have not made all the plays that were presented. They made some of them. They have gotten beat in some situations. I guess that is probably a good problem. A little give and take that way. Nobody has really jumped out to me as of yet.”

Frankly, that's bad news for Green. He is the veteran and the most experienced of the group. But if he is running about even with rookies in the race for the starting job at this point, it tells me he's going to fall behind once the rookies start getting comfortable with the speed of the game and the new techniques they're learning.

A tie also should probably go to the younger player because he's got more upside potential, in my opinion. Also interesting in the competition is that Davis has not been appreciably better than Smith even though he was taken one round ahead of his rookie teammate. In fact, in many practices, Smith has flashed more than Davis.

The wide receiver position will offer a certain amount of drama because the Dolphins have a lot of bodies competing for five job, perhaps six if one of those players is a extraordinary special teams contributor.

It is clear Ted Ginn Jr. is on the team. The OTAs and minicamp also proved Greg Camarillo continues to be the most technically sound receiver on the roster. So those two are safe. Davone Bess is likely on the roster, also.

And it seems unlikely the Dolphins will simply give up on draft picks Patrick Turner and Brian Hartline after one training camp looksee. I predict the youngsters will get the benefit of the doubt unless they totally collapse by dropping passes or becoming problem children. And neither has given even a hint of that being a possibility.

So those two guys probably have spots on the roster. That's five guys, people.

And we haven't even discussed Anthony Armstrong and Brandon London and Ernest Wilford. My take? Wilford isn't making this team. I know it would cost a bundle to cut him. I know he's not easy to trade. But unless he steps up his game a couple of notches, he's simply not one of the best five guys.

His hands still aren't reliable. He doesn't have explosion off the line of scrimmage.

Armstrong offers intriguing speed. He has made plays in the offseason. He's got to show it in pads and in games. London is a better special teams player than anything else. He's working to get open quicker and get his head around quicker, but it's a process and time for him is short.

 “One of the challenges for any of the receivers, Brandon included, is that it is a position right now where some hard decisions are going to have to be made," Sparano said. "I think that reps and opportunities are really the biggest challenge, meaning the opportunities that you have, you have to make plays, you need to really make these plays. Not every ball goes to you every time you are out there. That’s just the way it works. Especially at that position. The number of opportunities that he gets when his number is called…He needs to make those plays."

The Dolphins expect more plays out of the outside linebacker spot this year because Matt Roth isn't hurt and has one year's experience at the postion. Jason Taylor has also been added to the mix, as has Cameron Wake to improve the pass-rush.

The club will carry either five or six OLBs. Roth is on the team as is Joey Porter. Taylor seems to be on the team, assuming he shows some of the old skills in preseason. Wake is going to have to play special teams but he seems like a project that makes the team. Charlie Anderson was on the team last year and is a special teams staple.

That's five right there. It'll be a great uphill battle for all those guys. It'll be a Mount Everest climb for everyone else.

"Bottom line is if that position doesn’t get to the quarterback or doesn’t set the edge of the defense to stop the run, then they aren’t doing their job," Sparano said. "If the ball is getting outside on us, it is usually a result of not setting the edge on defense and if you are not getting pressure on the passer with those people as your pass rushers, you got a little bit of a problem. When you put pads on, you will have a pretty good idea, but as of right now, I like the possibilities. There are a lot of combinations out there in several of our packages that can be used to help us get better rushers on the field.”

Competition -- it's a wonderful thing.

[BLOG NOTE: I keep telling you I'm on vacation but as you've seen, I'm still updating the blog. Don't lose the habit of coming here. And if you want even more frequent updates while I'm away, follow me on Twitter. The way to do that is by clicking over there on the left of the screen under Twitter or simply go to twitter.com and search for Armando Salguero. I appreciate you guys following and it will be very much worth your while once training camp opens.] 

June 19, 2009

Salguero on radio 9 a.m. to noon Saturday

My first week of vacation has come and gone so I guess it's a good time to work ... on the radio, at least.

I will be on the box Saturday morning so if you want to torture your ears, feel free to listen. If you want to torture me, you can actually take part in the show.

I should warn you, the early part of the show will center on the Yankees vs. Marlins baseball series here in South Florida. But you know the Dolphins are always on my mind, so I'll be more than glad to talk to you about your favorite NFL team.

You can listen if you're in South Florida as 790 The Ticket is on 790-AM on your dial. You can also listen if you're nowhere near South Florida. Just click on 790theticket.com. And as always, you can call in toll free from anywhere in the United States at 1-888-790-3776.

June 17, 2009

Man to man coverage of Eric Green

I had the opportunity to speak with Dolphins cornerback Eric Green in a manner any cornerback would welcome -- one on one -- during a break in last weekend's mandatory minicamp.

I came away impressed that this guy has a solid head on his shoulders and isn't much for sugarcoating truth. He has struggled at times this offseason, particularly on deep sideline passes, but he has nonetheless been the guy running with the first-team most of the offseason.

Here's our cornerback to dorky reporter man to man:

Q. How do you think you're doing so far?

A. "It's been a little shaky. Up and down. But for the most part I think I'm doing pretty well. I have to be a little more consistent from one practice to the next. But as far as scheme and learning the system, I have that down pretty pat."

Q. What happened in Arizona?

A. "The past is behind me but the thing that happened there is I had an injury, against the Dolphins actually, in Week 2. And I tried to play through it but I was playing at 70 percent -- 65 to 70 percent -- and I hurt myself more than helped myself going through that. It got to the point where it was so bad I had to sit out and a young guy came in. He had a lot of talent and, being a great athlete, he made plays. And once that happened, I don't care who you are, you can't bring the old guy back in. And he helped us make it to the Super Bowl."

Q. Did you hurt your reputation by playing injured?

A. "I know I did. I know I hurt myself. In this league it's too hard to not play at 100 percent when you're at corner. You got guys who can run and are blazers out there and can make plays and corner is tough enough a position to play as it is. Doing it at 70 percent is almost impossible to do."

Q. How much of your struggles on the field were due to your injury?

A. "Besides one game, 100 percent of it. And that was the Jets. That was more of a mental breakdown. We came out from the west coast and stayed out in D.C. when we were playing the Jets and Redskins. And I think everybody, not only myself, we all got out of our daily routine as far as film study, taking care of your body, doing that. It was just way out of routine for everybody and it was more of a team mental breakdown, so that's what happened."

Q. So what do you take away from the Arizona experience?

A. "To be part of an organization out in Arizona, it was great, they helped me and my family tremendously. But to put in so much work and be thrown aside ... especially in the playoffs where I didn't dress for one playoff game ... I was really upset about that. It hurt and I kind of lost respect for certain people. That's behind me but I have something to prove because we made it to the playoffs and Super Bowl -- an NFL player's dream -- and I wasn't part of it. On paper I was part of it, but in my heart, deep down inside I felt I wasn't part of it. I really feel like I have something to prove because a lot of people, even here, question, 'What happened to Eric Green? What happened to the Eric that played in the '07 season and then what happened in '08?' To not make excuses, I have to go back out and show people what I can do. Point blank."

Q. So do you feel comfortable here?

A. "Trust me, even if I wanted to relax here, I doubt I could, otherwise I'd probably be out of here if I did. There's nothing [sewn] up. Everybody's saying the young guys are coming in and starting or that I'm starting ahead of the young guys. Trust me, there are no starting positions just yet. Until that first game against Atlanta, that will tell who the starter is."

Q. But you're starting now ...

A. "I'm a veteran guy who has experience in this league and does know what to expect in this league. I think that's why I'm lined up as a starter right now. But I still have to come out here and compete and make plays and if I don't do that, I won't be."

Q. What do you think of your new team?

A. "I look at the roster, I look at practice, I look at the way guys work and coaches coach and, I'm not saying this because I'm part of this team, but we have if not more, just as much talent as we had with the Cardinals."

[BLOG NOTE: I will be updating the blog even while on vacation. I can't stay away from you, darnit! But for more frequent updates, you should begin to follow me on Twitter. Go to twitter.com/armandosalguero and join the legions (40 or so folks) already getting the latest news, insights, news, analysis, news, and opinion, on the Dolphins available anywhere. Yeah, I said it.]

June 15, 2009

Armando Salguero is now on Twitter

Yeah, I'm officially on vacation as of Monday. Didn't think that would keep me from posting to the blog did you?

Actually, this is not an actual Dolphins post. I will have one of those coming Tuesday or Wednesday about a conversation I had with one of the defense's newsest starters -- assuming he can keep his job coming out of training camp.

This post is to simply tell you that I am now on Twitter. You can follow me by heading over to twitter.com and looking for me. My username is ArmandoSalguero. Pretty innovative, huh? Took me a long time to come up with that username.

Anyway, as we speak I have four (4) whole followers. The goal is to get every single Dolphins fans with a computer following me, and thereby the team. I promise not to bore you with stupid "tweets" such as "I'm driving to training camp now."

That's ridiculous. You want news. Analysis. Opinion. And more news.

And that's what I aim to give you. So that's it's for now. And I'll tweet you when the post I promised you is up.

June 14, 2009

Minicamp over, next up ... August training camp

The Dolphins have completed what coach Tony Sparano called an "excellent minicamp" with a morning practice Sunday.

During this camp the team covered repetitions in the red area, inside the tight red area (10-yard line), third-down packages on offense, sub packages on defense, and coming-out work from the two-yard line. Out of all that work, the only work Sparano wasn't happy with was the red area work.

"Didn't feel tremendous about that,"  Sparano said. The team has one more OTA session on Wednesday (closed to the media) and will address the red area issues again then.

I asked Sparano if any of the three guys who missed the minicamp with injuries -- G Andy Alleman, TE David Martin and G Donald Thomas -- would not be ready for the start of training camp. "I have no timetable on it at this time," he responded.

Sounds like guarded coachspeak to me. I get the feeling if all three were expected back for the start of training camp Aug. 1, Sparano would have probably just said that. So don't be surprised if one or more of these guys is not ready to go for the first day in pads.

The rookies will remain around the training facility through July, lifting and getting in some film work on their own, according to cornerback Vontae Davis.

Speaking of work on their own, you probably know quarterback Chad Pennington worked with his receivers twice a week this Spring inside the Nick Saban Memorial Bubble (NSMB) to help get everyone on the same page. Pennington, brilliant on the field and off, gave excellent insight into the areas some of his receivers are trying to improve upon.

On Anthony Armstrong: "I think his offseason work that he put in from March 30 until May 18, with the bubble work that we did two days a week, you can really tell the difference in his route-running from a year ago until now. He understands his speed is his weapon but only when he uses it appropriately. He can't just outrun everybody. He has to have proper technique getting off the jam and getting good, clean releases and he's done a really good job this spring of working on his releases so now he can use his speed. Otherwise the cornerbacks are good enough to wall him to the outside and not let him use his speed and now he's ineffective."

On Ted Ginn Jr.: "He's on a similar track as Anthony Armstrong is on. Because of his offseason work he's done in the weight room and the work we've done in the bubble, his confidence level is really up right now. He's another guy that's understanding how to use his spped effectively. He's understanding his body position is really important and then his speed comes next because no one can run with him."

And then came this insight that should help you understand why Pennington and Ginn weren't a good match last year but might become one. Pennington is not a strong-armed guy while Ginn has been the type of receiver who gets open, but usually it happens waaaay downfield.

So this Spring Ginn has been working on getting open earlier.

"He'll outrun every quarterback's arm, it doesn't matter who it is. If you're getting open 50 yards down the field, John Elway can't get it to you. But if he's getting open 15-20 yards down the field, then we can put the ball up early and let you go run and get it."

On Brandon London: "What I think he's worked on and is doing a good job is getting in and out of his breaks faster. As a a taller guy, it's harder for the taller guys to get in and out of breaks as opposed to the Davone Bess types, who are shorter in stature and have the quicks and agility. He's worked hard this offseason to get in and out of his breaks and get his head around and making plays. Anytime you can have a guy that's that physical and can get in and out of breaks and get open ... you have a very valuable asset."

So what has Pennington worked on for himself?

"Number one, I got to stay healthy. When I stay healthy, I give my team a pretty good chance to win. History has proven things go pretty well when I stay healthy. Number two, is putting two consistent years back to back. And building on this offense, it's my tenth year, but it's my tenth month in the offense so every day I'm learning something new and everyday I'm figuring something out.

"It's not just knowing what we're doing now. It's knowing why we're doing it and how to do it better and how to do my job better."

Some observations from today's practice:

*Joe Berger, who is expected to be the team's second-team center, took some snaps at right guard with the starting unit. The right guard spot continues to be a hole on the offensive line. The club has used no less than four players in the spot with the starting unit this offseason. And that's with prospective starter Donald Thomas not being one of them. I know Sparano has said he's not concerned about the position. Didn't he also say he was happy with the OLBs and pass-rushers on the roster before the team signed Jason Taylor?

*TE John Nalbone needs to get in front of a jugs gun and catch 100 passes a day between now and training camp because I've seen him drop too many routine passes this offseason. He whiffed on another one in the end zone Sunday.

*The base first-team secondary during the final minicamp practice: CB Eric Green, CB Will Allen, SS Yeremiah Bell, FS Gibril Wilson.

*The base second-team secondary during the final minicamp practice: CB Vontae Davis, CB Sean Smith, FS Chris Clemons, SS Tyrone Culver.

*Salguero prediction: All eight guys make the roster along with Jason Allen and Nathan Jones.

*Sparano continues to include WR as a "position where hard decisions will have to be made." Not looking too difficult to me. I see Ted Ginn Jr., Greg Camarillo, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, and Patrick Turner on the team. That leaves room for maybe one more guy. Today that guy would be Armstrong, but we'll see what happens when the pads come on.

*Pat White returned to third-string QB duties today and didn't seem as wild high as he's been the previous two days.

*Pennington on his sister's wedding, which he attended Saturday before returning to practice Sunday: "She's on her own now. Can't help her."

*Football Czar Bill Parcells, who rarely misses a practice, was not present at practice Sunday. Word is he's back at his summer home in Saratoga, N.Y.

[RADIO NOTE: I'll be on the air between 4:30 and 7 p.m. today on 790 The Ticket. That's 790theticket.com in case you want to listen to the streaming live broadcast. If you want to call in with a question or comment the toll free number from anywhere in the universe is 1-888-790-3776.]

June 13, 2009

Saturday's second practice in the NSMB

Inside the Nick Saban Memorial Bubble (NSMB) for the second consecutive afternoon workout, the Dolphins offense once again made the bomb down the left sideline seem like it's a staple of the offense.

Except that rather than Anthony Armstrong or Ted Ginn Jr. getting by (usually) cornerback Eric Green, this time it was running back Ronnie Brown running behind the cornerback. That's great for Brown. And not so great for Green.

Brown had lined up wide and just streaked down the sideline before making the finger-tip grab just as he crossed the goal line. Touchdown Dolphins!

And for those of you familiar with Dolphins radio calls, "Touchdown Dolphins, against them!"

Other notable observations from the afternoon practice:

The team worked kick coverage again this afternoon and I was just blown away by how fast Cameron Wake can run. He got down that field as quickly as a couple of defensive backs. No exaggeration here. He was flying! And he'll have to play special teams to earn his keep, at least initially, if Jason Taylor is playing ahead of him in passing downs.

Chris Clemons, by the way, also looks like a special teams beast in the making, assuming he's a hitter (which is his reputation) once the pads go on.

Will Allen has been impressive in the manner he's taken some of the young corners -- particularly Vontae Davis -- under his wings. With Allen on the sideline and Davis in the game, you could hear Allen telling Davis what to do.

"Press, press, press, Vontae," Allen implored.

And then, "Now, come off."

Davis followed orders and showed good coverage.

Joey Thomas had a highlight interception and started high-stepping as he returned the pick, but I looked over to Bill Parcells, who was watching the action, and he didn't seem too pleased with the showboating. Note to Thomas: Intercept the ball, score the ball, don't celebrate on the way to scoring until you know you're definitely on the team.

Jason Allen also had a good afternoon in the NSMB. The more I think about it, the more I think this kid will make the team. Won't be a starter as you've read from other outlets. But he should be on the team unless his game collapses in the preseason or training camp.

Finally, my column for The Herald Sunday is right here. In it, I make the point that the Dolphins are much better today than they were a year ago at this point. I give you reasons why that is true. But I'm not so sure that will translate to a better W-L record in 2009.

Read the column (please) and tell me what you think. Agree? Think I'm crazy?  

[BLOG AND RADIO NOTE: We'll finish up minicamp with a Sunday morning practice. I'll update following the practice and then be on the radio 4:30-7 p.m. on 790 The Ticket here in So. Fla. If you're not in paradise, you can listen live at 790theticket.com. You can also call in toll free from anywhere in the country at 1-888-790-3776. And yeah, I'll be talking Dolphins.]

Saturday morning minicamp practice review

Chad Pennington missed today's practice because he is attending his sister's wedding, according to a team spokesman.

So Chad Henne took the first-team snaps while Pat White took the second-team snaps.

Henne was alright during his work -- not spectacular but not terrible. White was bad for the second consecutive morning practice. His throws sailed and were seldom accurate. As 790 The Ticket program director and afternoon show host Steve White said, "He's giving a new meaning to WildPat."

White was wild high most of the practice. On one throw, he hit the golf cart carry Dolphins football czar Bill Parcells. The cart was parked five yards behind the end zone. Parcells realized he was in the line of fire and moved the cart.

As he was coming off the field Parcells looked at the media gathered on the edge of the field and said to everyone, "Piranha swimming freely, I see."

Chomp!

One thing I've been saying and will continue repeating until somebody listens: These OTAs and minicamps are learning tools. This is not football. This is no time to judge White one way or another. It's not great he's struggling, but it's not the end of the world. We'll see what this kid is really about when training camp opens and scrimmages and preseason games are played.

Not until then.

Anyway, the Dolphins worked in a handful of Wildcat plays into the practice, with Ronnie Brown as triggerman. Pat White was in the package. Patrick Cobbs scored twice from 20 yards out. Not telling you how, specifically, the plays unfolded because that is breaking a team trust, but it was good stuff.

The Dolphins worked on a lot of red zone,  tight red zone and minus-2-yard line situations. That means the offense started drives at the 2 yard line for the minus-2 situations. Coach Tony Sparano said the fact Pennington missed the day worked out perfectly because Henne has not had much experience getting out of such bad field position.

On the red zone work, the quarterbacks must follow some very simple rules: No sacks. No turnovers. No penalties. No "exotic snap counts," Sparano said.

The Dolphins had a period in which they ran the offense in check-with-me drills. In those drills, the quarterback has two plays in the huddle and must pick the right one based on what he sees at the line of scrimmage.

"They did a great job," Sparano said, adding, "There were no bad decisions."

But the coach was honest, saying that although the decisions were good, the execution of the play was not always good. 

Paul Soliai continues to get lots of work as a first-team nose tackle even though Jason Ferguson is not injured. The kid can use the work so this is a good time for him to get it.

Receiver Anthony Armstrong continues to impress. Nearly as fast as Ted Ginn, Armstrong has been wearing out some corners with the 9 route. He caught a long pass on one today over Eric Green. I asked Sparano if my observation was carrying over to practices when the media is not present.

"That has been the case," he said. "It's to the point where cornerbacks are trying to fin him a little bit now. I need to see that in a game. I need to see him take that from the practice field to the game."

Jason Allen flashed with an interception. It was a bad throw along the sideline by White.

The injured players -- David Martin, Andy Alleman and Donald Thomas -- continue to miss time.

The Dolphins worked on some kickoff returns. Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Armstrong were used as returners.

I talked to rookie cornerback Sean Smith and he is a very confident kid. I asked him what he's had most trouble picking up and he talked about recognizing formations and relaying information back and forth with the rest of the secondary.

I asked him physically what his biggest issue was and he seemed stumped. "Physically?"

So I asked him if he ever has felt like he doesn't belong on the field with the veterans. "No. Never. I feel like I belong. I'm ready to go. I better feel that way. The team feels like I belong because they took me the first day [of the draft] And I feel I belong, too."

Speaking of the cornerback battle, Sparano said none of the players trying to win the starting job opposite Will Allen has "stood out as consistent or inconsistent." It's a wide open battle for the starting job right now, folks.

June 12, 2009

Friday afternoon practice in the books

The situation: There is 1:59 left to play in the game. The Dolphins offense has the ball at midfield with only one timeout and they need a touchdown to win.

With the starters going against each other here's what happened at the end of practice Friday afternoon:

Chad Pennington throws a sideline pass on first down that should have been intercepted but was not. It is second down. With Jason Taylor, Joey Porter, Phillip Merling and Randy Starks manning the defensive front, the ball is snapped.

Pennington fires a sideline pass to Ted Ginn Jr. who is behind cornerback Eric Green down the left sideline. Safety Gibril Wilson is late to come over. Ginn catches the ball in stride and scores. TD from 50 yards out.

Dolphins offense wins!

I must tell you, however, that there is controversy back upfield because Taylor easily slipped under a Vernon Carey block and might have collected a sack where this not just practice.

The story gets better for the second-team defense against the second-team offense.

On first down, Ricky Williams gains nine yards. On second-and-1, Chad Henne completes a pass to Patrick Cobbs for a first down.

Then Henne overthrows a wide open Brian Hartline down the seam for what would have been a TD. Then there's an incomplete pass on second down and another on third down. A fourth down completion to Patrick Turner keeps the offense alive at the 22 yard line.

And then Henne overthrows Cobbs on first down and throws another incomplete pass on second down. A third-down completion to Joey Haynos gains six yards. On fourth-and-4 from the 16 yard line, Henne throws the ball incomplete through the heart of the defense.

Defense wins.

Those were the highlight moments of Friday's afternoon workout.

The practice showed Miami's initial plans for rushing the passer on passing downs. It would be Taylor and Porter standing up at the ends with Starks and Merling in the middle. On one of those downs, however, Merling was out and Cameron Wake was standing up inside of Porter.

Interesting.

It's also interesting that Starks got some work at nose tackle in base defense. Anthony Armstrong had a nice long TD catch over Eric Green down the sideline.

And yes, Green didn't look great out there.

The team also worked on punt returns. Ginn, Davone Bess and Chris Williams worked as returners.

Finally, coach Tony Sparano talked to the team Friday about not believing their own hype. In other words, he told them winning the AFC East last year means squat this year. I wrote a column on the topic for The Herald. Please read it if you want to find out what 2008 accomplishments Sparano says do carry over to 2009.

[BLOG NOTE: Two practices Saturday. Salguero serving as your eyes and ears. Updates to follow. You must return here later today.]

Intrigue and inefficiency at morning practice

The Dolphins have finished what I would tell you was an unspectacular practice this morning.

I saw way too many dropped passes. I saw a lot of passes to running backs. I saw very little inspiring work. Just my opinion.

And during interviews following the practice, it became apparent coach Tony Sparano had a talk with the team and ordered players not to comment on the offseason banter between linebacker Channing Crowder and Jets coach Rex Ryan.

Sparano told Crowder on Thursday not to speak with the media unless it was cleared by the team's media relations staff. He also told him to tone down the rhetoric. Then he shared the same message with other players.

Crowder was not made available to the media although several TV stations requested to speak with him. He evaded reporters and cameras by entering the locker room through a back door rather than the door the other players went through.

"No comment on that," Pat White said when asked about the back-and-forth.

Joey Porter, perhaps the most outspoken of Dolphins, actually said he wasn't paying attention to the taunting. Yeah, right.

Sparano was asked about the issue during his post-practice presser. He clearly wanted nothing to do with the subject.

"We're in June right now," he said when asked why Crowder walked in the back door.

We're in June right now," he said when asked if he thought the banter was funny.

"You guys must be running out of questions," he said when asked if he's addressed the subject with the team.

Linebacker Akin Ayodele offered this nugget initially: "I just don't think it was necessary for a head coach to be bickering with a player," he said.

Asked another question on the subject, Ayodele said, "I want to move on. I don't want to be talking about those things."

Ok, let's talk football.

Yuck!

Pat White had a tough practice. He overthrew tight end Joey Haynos on one sideline attempt. Haynos is listed at 6-foot-8. He followed that by skipping a pass Patrick Turner. And he completed his day by chucking a sideline toss over the 10-foot fence that runs parallel to the field the team was working on today.

I have never seen a pass tossed over the fence.

"Just throwing it away," White said of the throw. "It went a little far, huh? I wanted to get it out of the field of play and not give anyone a chance to touch it. I guess I put a little too much on it."

I guess if he had more accuracy on his other throws his intentions to throw this one across the street might have been more readily understood and not been mistaken for just another errant pass. White was asked about the accuracy that Sparano descried as, "hit and miss."

"Just got to keep working," White said. "Never stop. Never give up. Never give in."

I must remind you this is one practice. White can easily come back in stellar fashion for the afternoon work. And he would need some company to raise the team's level of performance.

Ernest Wilford dropped two passes this morning, although one would have been an excellent catch had he executed it. Brian Hartline had a drop. White had a pass batted at the line of scrimmage by Quentin Moses. Chad Pennington had a pass batted at the line of scrimmage as well.

It wasn't all bad.

Greg Camarillo, recovering from ACL surgery, is running quite well. He is now completing a full practice -- approximately 52 repetitions --- for the first time. He stuck out during the practice for the right reasons, catching every pass thrown his way and getting open. Camarillo will not take every repetition in the afternoon practice, according to Sparano.

Joey Haynos had a one-handed catch in the end zone during 7 on 7 drills.

Paul Soliai got a lot of work with the first team defense today as Jason Ferguson was apparently resting. Soliai looked quite active, but these are not a live or full-speed drills so it's hard to tell.

Sparano said Soliai's weight is still "not where it needs to be," but added he has every confidence, "it will be where it needs to be."

First (of many) minicamp updates today

The Dolphins are on the field. There's nothing like the smell of victory in the morning!

Not a ton of news yet. Eric Green is working as a first-team cornerback opposite Will Allen. Shawn Murphy is working as a first-team right guard while Brandon Frye, who has taken a majority of the first-team snaps at the position during practices open to the media, is working as a second-team left guard.

The rest of the lineups remain pretty much the same.

Three players remain out while nursing injuries: Tight end David Martin (sports hernia), guard Donald Thomas (pectoral), and guard Andy Alleman (back) are doing rehab work off to the side.

This is not a full-contact practice. In fact, the guys aren't even wearing pads.

I'll report back to you after practice.

From behind Iron Curtain: Minicamp opens

The Dolphins open minicamp Friday morning, so for the next three days I will detail for you all the ins and outs of everything Dolphins.

And you'll love it!

Third-string quarterback Pat White is expected to be present despite his opportunity to join the New York Yankees as The Charleston Gazette has reported White was a 48th-round pick of the Yanks in the recent amatuer draft.

Let's see ... second round with the Dolphins .... 48th round with the Yankees ... I bet he sticks with the Dolphins. 

Obviously this ain't my first rodeo so I know what I'll be looking for. But tell me what you'd like to know about and I'll check your comments before I go out on the field. Then I'll report back to you in personal reporter-slash-waterboy fashion.

One thing I have to ask you first: The Jets had a minicamp open to their fans. The Dolphins used to do that as well.

Then the Iron Curtain dropped and now you, the fans, don't get to attend. Do you care? Or do you miss going out to practice and watching for yourself what your team is doing?

And remember to check back throughout the day and the weekend for updates.

June 11, 2009

Live blog chat at noon Thursday

The Dolphins open their three-day mandatory minicamp on Friday. They will practice twice on Friday and Saturday,  and once on Sunday.

And that, of course, can mean nothing other than a live blog chat today.

So from noon until about 2 p.m., I'll be on here and available for your abuse input. We can discuss all things Dolphins. We can discuss the AFC East. We can discuss the recent blah-blah-blah going on between Channing Crowder and Rex Ryan.

We can discuss how you are going to survive the next several weeks while I'm away on vacation starting Monday.

If you cannot be here Thursday, you can pick one of several options:

No. 1: Leave your questions or comments now and I'll answer them. You can come back at your convenience and see the community's reaction.

No. 2: You can forgot about today's live chat and hang out with me during the minicamp updates on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

And C, as Dave Wannstedt would say in his warped intelligence:: You can forgot about Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning and simply call my radio show Sunday afternoon 4:30-7 p.m. (I'll give you the digits and streaming address over the weekend).

No. 4: You can do none of the above, which makes you, like me, ready for a vacation.

Talk to you guys (universal use, AO) at noon.

June 10, 2009

Dolphins, Dolfans should monitor Waters saga

All Dolphins fans should monitor the situation between the Kansas City Chiefs and Brian Waters.

We all know the Dolphins are lately not in the business of being interested in 30-year-old-plus veteran players who are unhappy on other teams. But there are exceptions to every rule and, while nothing is imminent or certain, the Waters situation might eventually qualify as such an exception.

Waters is the 32-year-old veteran guard for the Chiefs. Acting as his own agent and in his own best-interest, he has requested the Chiefs trade him. The Chiefs, acting in their best business interest, have told Waters they will consider that option as long as the right opportunity to upgrade their team (read acceptable compensation) becomes available.

Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli, who happens to be son-in-law to Miami football czar Bill Parcells, shares this philosophical mantra with his father-in-law: Everybody's available for the right price.

Kansas City is in full-fledged reconstruction mode with a new coach, new general manager, new quarterback, new offensive and defensive system, and new way of doing things. This new day brought about the trade of tight end Tony Gonzalez. And it promises much, much more change that could include Waters.

So why are we discussing this on a Dolphins blog?

Well, because even as they have shown no public interest in Waters, the Dolphins are keenly aware he's dangling out there as a possible training camp "acorn," as general manager Jeff Ireland likes to call them. Waters as an option has not been ruled out by the Dolphins.

Yes, Waters is older than the profile of a player the Dolphins might like.

But so was Chad Pennington. And so was Jason Taylor.

And the Dolphins aren't so certain they won't have a hole along their offensive line that Waters, graded the 10th best guard in the NFL by Scouts Inc., could plug quite effectively.

The right guard spot has been something of a pain for the Dolphins in that Donald Thomas, the man who won the job in training camp last year, was injured in the season-opener and missed all but one game. Then this offseason he tore a pectoral muscle and his rehab time is between four and six months, which means he could be back before the end of training camp or sometime during the regular season, assuming the team opts to keep him on the active roster.

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact Andy Alleman, who was shuttling with Ikechuku Ndukwe at right guard before becoming the starter at left guard the final four games of 2008, has been hampered by a back condition that has forced him to miss OTA practices.

Coach Tony Sparano said the team is searching for a starting right guard by shuttling Brandon Frye, Ndukwe, and Shawn Murphy, among others, at the position. And while that might end up being the solution to the issue, no one would argue any of the players just mentioned have the resume Waters offers.

So what is likely to happen?

The situation in Kansas City has to reach critical mass and it is not there yet. There are dates that could trip some activity one way or the other. The start of training camp is one such date as the Chiefs might not want any drama or distractions in the locker room the day the new coach and new front office start their first training camp.

Waters was a good citizen at Kansas City's mandatory mini-camp over the weekend, saying the right things, albeit in a not-too-convincing tone. At one point during this interview, Waters is asked if he wants to play for the Chiefs and he answers, "Ah, you know what, yeah, today I do. That's why I'm here. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here. If that changes then the right people will be notified."

Not exactly a resounding commitment.

What if he decides on the first day of training camp that he doesn't? The point is the opening of training camp is one date that could trigger action. The next one is nearing the end of training camp and prior to the start of the season when teams are eager to improve themselves or make long-term decisions on players.

The Chiefs may decide they don't want to carry Waters into the season because that would automatically guarantee his $3.6 million base salary. And the next tripping point would be the midseason trade deadline in October.

The Dolphins will be searching for guard help throughout the remainder of this offseason and into training camp even though they will publicly say they are confident in the players already on the roster and are thrilled with what they have. (What else are they supposed to say?)

You should know that Waters is signed through the 2011 season, according the NFLPA. He is scheduled to make $2.9 million in 2010 and $3.9 million in 2011. You should also know the Chiefs and Dolphins have something of a relationship (as stated above between Parcells and Pioli) and in the fact Ireland and Pioli talked and even pulled off a minor trade during the past draft.

And finally, you should know that guards don't typically bring big compensation on the trade market. Yes, Waters is a three-time Pro Bowl player. But Pete Kendall, a disgruntled player for the New York Jets, cost the Redskins a fifth-round pick in 2007.

The timing of that Kendall trade was predictable -- in August's final week, just prior to the start of the season.

So monitor the Brian Waters news, Dolfan. The final chapter on what he has termed a "saga" has not yet been written.

[BLOG UPDATE: It's time for a live chat! Ok, maybe not quite yet. But Thursday from noon until about 2 p.m. (longer if there's enough feedback), I'll be on here to discuss Friday's opening of the team's only veteran mandatory offseason minicamp and just about anything else on your agenda.] 

June 09, 2009

Dan Marino struggles to score a home sale

Many of you grew up believing Dan Marino could do anything.

And he pretty much could, darnit!

But sell his Weston, Fla. house mansion compound for the $13.5 million asking price? According to Tim Graham's AFC East blog via The Wall Street Journal, Marino has been unable to unload his house, which he built in 1998 while he was still playing for the Dolphins. The place has been on the market nearly three years.

And this place is no starter home as you see from the slideshow.

The home sits on four acres and includes an indoor lap pool, a wine cellar, a couple of kitchens, and even the $1.5 million in furnishings the Marinos put into the place.  

The 5,000-yard home (celebrating Marino's passing skills by measuring the place in square yards rather than square feet) boasts 12 baths. I guess Marino had his go-to bath and his secondary and check-down baths.

Sale of the place also will come with an autographed Marino football.

June 07, 2009

Fins Sunday: Shared blame for Allen struggles

It's easy to play the blame game. If a running play doesn't work, fans often blame a running back but don't recognize that two offensive linemen used poor technique that blew the play.

If a pass is intercepted, it's always the quarterback's fault, except it really isn't when the receiver runs the wrong route or a running back doesn't pick up the blitz, causing the errant pass.

And when a player bombs, it's always his fault. Except that isn't always the case when the team he's on doesn't put him in the best position to succeed.

That, in part, is what's happened with Jason Allen.

In my column today, I walk you through the reasons the Dolphins must share blame for Jason Allen not producing to the level of everyone's expectations. Yes, he is responsible for learning the proper techniques and applying them during games. He has failed to do that so far.

But the Dolphins have been complicit in causing his problems. Read the column to find out the ways the team has hurt Allen. Then tell me if you agree he's not always been placed in the best position to succeed and whether you think he can still turn it around.

Discuss ... 

June 05, 2009

Pennington gets award, Porter gets busy

The Dolphins didn't hand out an MVP award last offseason because, among other things, the team didn't want to embarrass some player for being the best player on the NFL's worst team.

Things are different this year.

Moments ago, the Dolphins announced their 2008 award winners with quarterback Chad Pennington and linebacker Joey Porter sharing the Dan Marino Most Valuable Player Award.

Pennington, as you know, joined the Dolphins during preseason as a castoff from the New York Jets and only threw 19 touchdown passes with seven interceptions while completing 67.4 percent of his passes in leading the Dolphins offense.

Porter was the cornerstone of the defense, leading the team with 17.5 sacks for 96 yards in losses. He ranked first in the AFC and second in the NFL in the sacks category. Porter, by the way, had some thoughts about the coming season that shows what the Dolphins think of all the love the New England Patriots are getting from pundits:

"We proved that that the AFC East comes through Miami, and having that feeling, knowing that we're the champions until proven otherwise," Porter said, according to colleague David J. Neal. "Our mindset is to win the division, set ourselves up for a playoff spot and then anything can happen once we reach the playoffs."

But what about the Pats?

"I don't understand how you put someone in front of us and we were the AFC East champs," Porter said. "We won the championship. We're the AFC East champs. You gotta beat someone to be the champion."

Porter apparently isn't a lone voice in the wilderness on this thought. Neal asked general manager Jeff Ireland if he agreed with Porter's assessment that the division title runs through Miami. The general manager went into a bit about how Porter is known for speaking his mind and so forth before offering this endorsement of the idea:

"It does," Ireland agreed.

Pennington, who received NFL MVP votes last season, also captured the Don Shula Leadership Award, annointing him the voice of the Dolphins locker room.

The Nat Moore Community Service award goes to Akin Ayodele while the Ed Bock Courage Award has been awarded to running back Ronnie Brown. Ayodele has been indefatigable in his service to underprivileged young people while Brown made an eye-popping recovery from a scary knee injury that not only threatened his season but his career.

The awards were handed out at Joe's Stone Crab on Miami Beach. As we speak they are serving breakfast. Steak, eggs and crab cakes are on the menu.

As this is a blog and, more specifically, my blog, I am today officially expanding the list of awards winners. As late as 1995, the Dolphins would give out awards to every position and in other categories. Jimmy Johnson killed that tradition ...

... And Armando Salguero is unofficially reviving it. So here now are the unofficial Mandos:

Newcomer of the year: Pennington, of course. Were it not for his arrival, the Dolphins might have won more like seven games instead of 11.

Outstanding offensive back: Brown. The guy scored 10 touchdowns and averaged 4.3 yards per carry behind an offensive line that had a center team management didn't like, had a hole at RG team management was constantly trying to fill, and had two new starters on the left side.

Outstanding receiver: Greg Camarillo. He was leading the team in receptions and yards through the first 11 games and impressed the team so much, he earned a new contract. He missed the final five games after suffering a knee injury but still finished only one catch off the team lead for receptions.

Outstanding offensive lineman: Jake Long edges out Vernon Carey simply because his arrival not only improved the left side, but also allowed the Dolphins to put Carey back at his natural RT spot -- thus affecting two positions positively.

Outstanding defensive back: You guys know how much love I have for Yeremiah Bell. But Andre' Goodman was lockdown city the last half of the season and led the team with five interceptions.

Outstanding linebacker: Porter obviously gets the prize but you have to admire the work Matt Roth did in converting to a new position and playing with a torn groin muscle much of the season.

Outstanding defensive lineman: Jason Ferguson. He played only 35 plays or so per game, but he was an anchor in the middle and one reason the Dolphins went from last in the NFL against the run in 2007 to 10th in 2008.

Rookie of the Year: Long, but Davone Bess and Dan Carpenter deserve recognition.

Outstanding special teams performer: Carpenter. The kid did the improbable by beating out a veteran kicker despite not being drafted and then he didn't miss a field goal from 39-yards and in all year long. He was also 10 of 14 from 40 yards and beyond. And this year he's the only player on the roster with no one competing for his position.

Outstanding Media Relations person: Fitz Ollison came to the team as the No. 3 media relations guy and brought a depth of experience and expertise from his other NFL stops -- which included San Francisco and Detroit -- that added to Harvey Greene's capable staff. He is No. 2 on the media relations depth chart this year.

Outstanding team executive: He does not talk to the media but his moves speak volumes. Bill Parcells hired budding star GM Jeff Ireland, hired excellent head coach Tony Sparano, and retained outstanding college scouting director Chris Grier. Three excellent moves and there were about two dozen more after that.

Outstanding assistant coach: Quarterback coach David Lee had very little to work with midway through training camp, as both John Beck and Josh McCown struggled at times while rookie Chad Henne was, well, a rookie. Then Pennington shows up and Lee gets him ready to play in the span of about three weeks. Then the team is in desperation mode and Lee shows everyone the Wild Cat package that would surprise New England and become all the NFL rage. Good work.

By way of a prize, each award winner has the option of spending five minutes with me, spilling every team secret he knows, so I can pass them along to you.

So give me your award winners ... And what are your thoughts on the AFC East? Do you agree with Porter?

June 04, 2009

Dolphins using martial arts consultants

I have no idea whether the Dolphins will be able to defend their AFC East title in 2009. But defend themselves on and off the field?

No doubt.

The Dolphins this offseason are working with two martial arts consultants who basically are helping certain players with striking at opponents so as to escape blocks while keeping their feet active. Among Miami's karate kids are Jason Taylor, Joey Porter, Matt Roth and some receivers.

I assume offensive linemen wanting to perfect an unorthodox type of chop block might be helped also. (Hey, if you want really funny stuff go to a comedy club.)

Twice a week, Jared Tomich and Michael Storms fly to South Florida and work with players who have volunteered for their lessons. Neither man is considered a full-time member of the coaching staff but they are being paid as consultant types through the remainder of the offseason.

Tomich played at Nebraska and spent time with the New Orleans Saints. That's where he met current Miami strength and conditioning coach Evan Marcus and Storms, who is a full-fledged walking weapon as an eighth-degree black belt.

The story was first reported earlier today by the Munster Times in Northwest Indiana. I have confirmed the pair are consultants and not actually part of the coaching staff, as the story says. The pair are expected to work with players up until training camp, although that may lead to other opportunities if players request more help and the offseason work show results on the field.

"We have different drills for every position -- teaching running backs how to take on linemen, teaching linebackers how to shed offensive linemen, teaching DBs and wide receivers how to knock their guys' hands down and get around them," Tomich, who is a second-degree black belt in Okinawan karate, told nwi.com.

"It wasn't martial arts for the sake of martial arts when I started. I was trying to do something to improve my game and it helped me tremendously. Miami's players have taken our program and implemented what we do into their everyday practices, which has been a huge testament to us. Not only are they doing the stuff when we're there, but when we're not there. The coaches think that much of it."

This is not the first time an NFL team uses a martial arts consultant nor the first time the Dolphins think outside the box in bringing people aboard with a non-football expertise to help their players. The San Francisco 49ers used a martial arts coach for years to help their pass-rushers and well as their receivers, who use the techniques to fight off press coverage.

The Dolphins had a yoga coach in 2007. (I'm thinking that didn't work out so good.)

"We work on their hand quickness and teach 'em some pretty good drills that change how they think about using their hands on the football field," Tomich said. "When I've got guys like Jason Taylor and Joey Porter jumping up and excited to learn the stuff, then I know that I'm doing the right thing.

"It's mainly hand placement, teaching escapes and teaching hand efficiency while being able to use their feet at the same time. A lot of times, you see players, especially linemen, come off the ball, and the first thing they do is grab each other and nobody goes anywhere."

That's not what the Dolphins want. And perhaps using martial arts can help prevent that from happening.

Discuss ... After you check out the video of a well-known martial arts hero.