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76 posts from April 2010

April 30, 2010

Owner: No punishment for Ireland, case closed

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has just released a statement on the Dez Bryant matter.

In this statement there is no mention of punishment of general manager Jeff Ireland because, I am told, there is none. Furthermore, Ross considers the matter closed.

Ireland, you may recall, asked Bryant if his mother is a prostitute during a pre-draft interview with the player.

The statement:

"I have looked into the matter of Jeff Ireland and the questions asked of former Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant and I have spoken to many people in and outside our organization who were directly involved and indirectly involved.

"Jeff Ireland has apologized personally and publicly to Dez Bryant.

"We are going to take a hard look at our interview practices and we will make improvements that will allow us to get the important information we need about players in whom we are making a major investment, but without being insensitive.

"Jeff Ireland is a man of great capability and integrity and he is well deserving of my continued confidence. I consider the matter closed." 

Owner: No punishment for Ireland, matter closed

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has just released a statement on the Dez Bryant matter.

In this statement there is no mention of punishment of general manager Jeff Ireland because, I am told, there is none. Furthermore, Ross considers the matter closed.

Ireland, you may recall, asked Bryant if his mother is a prostitute during a pre-draft interview with the player.

The statement:

"I have looked int the matter of Jeff Ireland and the questions asked of former Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant and I have spoken to many people in and outside our organization who were directly involved and indirectly involved.

"Jeff Ireland has apologized personally and publicly to Dez Bryant.

We are going to take a hard look at our interview practices and we will make improvement that will allow us to get the important information we need about player in whom we are making a major investment, but without being insensitive.

"Jeff Ireland is a man of great capability and integrity and he is well deserving of my continued confidence. I consider the matter closed." 

Introducing A.J. Edds -- No. 49!

Getting ready to go out to the first practice of this rookie minicamp and I have one thing to report before taking that walk:

A.J. Edds has been reassigned to No. 49. Originally, he was slated to wear No. 54, which in my humble opinion would have been a mistake. The team is avoiding any issue with this now. Good for them! 

Let me share really quickly some of the names here today. No time to tell you about them so google them:

K Parker Douglas, P Aaron Perez, WR Ryan Grice-Mullen, WR Julius Pruitt, WR Marlon Moore, RB Tristan Davis, FB Mick Turner, S Nate Ness, DB Jonathan Amaya, FB Rolly Lumbala, T Dan Ryan, LS Andy Huffman, LS Andy Leavine, OL Kris Doura, DT, Vince Oghobasse, WR Isaiah Williams, DE Alex Field.

The guys whose names are in italics are tryout guys.

Football returns to the front burner today

At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Friday the Dolphins can get back to thinking about football. Thank you, Jesus!

After a couple of weeks that weren't necessarily all about football, but rather raised issues about sensitivity and arrogance and vision, we get back discussing football today. Dolphins coaches this afternoon will take eight draft picks, maybe eight or nine undrafted free agents, maybe a dozen tryout players, and some others onto the field for an afternoon practice.

So let's discuss football, shall we?

First thing to look for today? Mike Nolan, the Dolphins new defensive coordinator.

I'll be interested to hear about his style on the field ... Is he a yeller or a mild-mannered teacher? I'll be eager to hear what position he pays closest attention to on defense. Remember Nick Saban used to concentrate almost exclusively on the defensive backs?

I'll be interested to hear how exactly the Dolphins line up on defense. Yes, I know it's just a rookie camp but the alignments should be the same as the ones Nolan will or has already installed for the veterans.

As so many of Miami's draft picks were defensive players, the focus is going to have to be on defense.

Can Koa Misi cover? After playing mostly defensive end in college, is he really a fine OLB candidate like the Dolphins believe he is? (Let's hope!)

Is Reshad Jones instinctive enough, smart enough, agile enough, fast enough to play free safety? Or is he more of a strong safety?

Is A.J. Edds really as good in coverage as everyone says. Remember he had like 78 interceptions in college (actually 7) so this is supposed to be his ticket to plays in the nickel package.

Does weakside linebacker Chris McCoy have the explosive ability to pass-rush that the Dolphins say he does? Where does he get it from? Is it strength, an amazing first step, great technique, what?

Can Nolan Carroll stay healthy? And is he a viable candidate to compete for spot on the roster as a fourth cornerback or perhaps a special teams contributor? Can he catch punts and kickoffs well enough that he might become a return option?

Finally, Jared Odrick will be on display. It's hard to judge what a lineman can do in a minicamp setting. I'm not that sophisticated. Tony Sparano is that sophisticated. He'll find something interesting about Odrick, learn something, tweak something.

How about that? Football. 

April 29, 2010

Another PR black eye on the horizon? Maybe

It's been a long offseason for the Dolphins, one filled with more perceived flubs and miscues than last year's four-turnover afternoon at Buffalo.

Trying to be a postive, glass-half-full person, I guess I can look past the fumbled termination of Joey Porter's contract, which had other teams and agents snickering because it was proof someone on the Dolphins simply cannot do math.

Then there was the poorly strategized manner in which the Jason Taylor situation was handled and the failure to celebrate a free agency victory by holding a press conference when a player of Karlos Dansby's stature was signed.

I can even -- eventually -- move past the Dez Bryant "is your mother a prostitute" fiasco because folks have apologized, other folks have accepted the apology, and an internal investigation into the matter is underway.

We can get past all those errors -- assuming more errors aren't on the horizon.

But at least one more possible error in judgment will be unveiled as early as Friday.

On Friday the Dolphins will conduct a three-day rookie minicamp and right there, among the rookie linebackers, A.J. Edds will be on the field wearing No. 54 -- the number worn from 1996-2007 by Zach Thomas.

It must be noted that on its face this isn't a bad thing. The Dolphins have many linebackers on the roster and every number in the 50s including 54 has been assigned. The Dolphins have also held back No. 54 for two years until now. The number is not retired.

I also recall the Dolphins in the past gave away Mark Clayton's number the year after he left via free agency. Clayton was a great player like Thomas, although not as beloved by fans.

But none of that changes the fact that the timing of this is terrible. The context of giving out that number now is bad.

You see, Zach Thomas is one of the most beloved players ever to play for the Dolphins. He lived right, played hard, and gave the Dolphins everything he had (including some brain cells following a handful of concussions).

The guy is an all-timer down here.

But only a couple of weeks ago, Thomas took the Dolphins to task for their treatment of brother-in-law Jason Taylor. He did it publicly on the radio and in print interviews and it made people notice. When you've torqued off Zach Thomas, you've probably made a mistake.

Thomas also rolled back the curtain on his feelings regarding his own dismissal from the Dolphins years ago.

He talked about how all he wanted to do the day he got waived in 2008 was say good-bye to his fans by talking to the media at the team training facility in a press conference. The Dolphins did allow Thomas to make phone calls to various media from the facility but told him if he wanted to do a press conference, he'd have to do it elsewhere. Thomas obviously feels hurt by that to this day.

And he said as much in recent weeks.

Well, the awarding of No. 54 on the heels of the former player's comments looks bad. I'm sure it is pure coincidence. I know there were several internal conversations about this very subject in recent days going all the way up the ladder to include coach Tony Sparano.

But that doesn't change the fact that it looks bad.

The timing of this makes it look like retribution.

It looks like: You criticize us, we give away your number.

Edds wore No. 49 at Iowa. The Dolphins should have given him that number for this coming rookie mini-camp. They should have let him wear it through training camp. And if, if, Edds earned a spot on the roster after training camp, they could have changed his number into the 50s. After all, a couple of the numbers currently taken such as No. 59 (J.D. Folsom) and No. 57 (Brian Johnson) might or might not be around for the start of the regular-season anyway.

Edds Moreover, if the Dolphins absolutely needed to give Edds No. 54, they could have turned a potential flub into a touchdown if they wanted. They could have called Thomas in, let him sign a contract for a day, and promptly allowed him to retire a Dolphin. He could have then handed that No. 54 jersey to Edds, and gotten his farewell press conference in one fell swoop.

Is there anyone who thinks that would not have been a feel-good moment?

It would have sown seeds of good will. It would have diffused an issue that might leave a bad taste in the mouth of some fans during a time they're deciding whether or not to buy tickets for 2010. (It also would have saved me from having to write this post.)

The point is the Dolphins are lately showing they do not have clear vision about what some fans, the rest of the NFL, the NFLPA, the media, or their alumni are thinking. They seem to be somewhat out of touch in that regard.

Thankfully, none of this has to do with actual football. From a football standpoint these guys are nails. They got it right from A to Z.

But when you blow stuff like the JT saga, or this little No. 54 issue, or prostitutegate, it affects the way the football team is viewed and respected. And the respect and good name of the Miami Dolphins is very, very, very, very important.

It is sad that tomorrow when the rookie camp opens, some focus that should be on how great this draft class might be will veer toward why A.J. Edds is wearing Zach Thomas's jersey. That alone shows you it's a mistake.

None of this is rocket science. But how many perceived black eyes can folks take in one offseason?

[Evening update: The link to the roster on the Dolphins website above has been altered by the team. It orginally showed Edds having been awarded No. 54, Koa Misi wearing No. 55, and John Jerry wearing No. 74. But that roster has been changed out. The Dolphins took down the roster they had on their website that showed the numbers for Edds and all the other rookies and substituted this roster instead. I would say the team felt some pressure from folks seeing Edds wearing No. 54 before it was ready to announce the move. It is also possible the team, after consideration or reading this blog, might have changed its mind and not give Edds No. 54 tomorrow after all. Maybe the Dolphins don't have a desire to create more PR problems. We'll see tomorrow when the rookie minicamp kicks off.] 

April 28, 2010

Ross also issues statement re: Bryant incident

You read the statement from Rob Konrad in the last post defending Jeff Ireland. Now Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is also joining the statement releasing fray.

In his statement Ross does not condone Ireland asking Dez Bryant if his mother is a prostitute. But it should be noted Ross is also not exactly publicly reprimanding Ireland.

The statement:

"As an owner of many companies and organizations, including the Miami Dolphins, I have always strived to comply with the highest standards in all aspects of my businesses including recruiting.

"In interviewing employees we always look to obtain relevant and appropriate information in adherence with the best industry practices.

"Jeff Ireland has already apologized for questions asked of former Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant.

"I will be looking into this matter personally and will take appropriate actions if necessary."

Don't ask me what all this means. Frankly, I'm getting a little vexed by so many people saying, well, nothing.

Look, it was bad for Ireland to ask Dez Bryant if his mom is a prostitute. Ireland admitted as much by apologizing. If Bryant is not good with the apology, Ireland has a lingering problem. If Bryant accepts the apology, what else is there to talk about assuming Ireland doesn't do it any more?

Former RB Rob Konrad defends Jeff Ireland

The following is an e-mail former Dolphins running back Rob Konrad sent The Miami Herald and other media outlets concerning Jeff Ireland following the incident in which the general manager admittedly asked Dez Bryant whether his mother is a prostitute and then apologized publicly to Bryant for the question:

"Use any adjective you’d like to describe Jeff Ireland, but those in the media claiming he’s “without class” are simply misinformed. Jeff’s a regular guy, whose attention to detail and no-nonsense approach has defined his success in the industry. More than any member of the Dolphins front office in recent history, Jeff and his family have been regularly engaged with the Miami Dolphins Foundation and community outreach programs.

"Jeff is one of the true good guys in the industry. To see his name being tarnished in the media as the result of (a) single question during a team interview seems to me entirely unjust. It’s important to keep in mind the context of these interviews -- the prospect of guaranteeing a 22-year-old stranger millions of dollars to enter one of the most competitive, intolerant and insensitive professional work environments around.

"I’m not attempting to defend the question asked, but rather the person and the process. Having been through those interviews, in the locker room, and on the field, I can tell you that the work environment in the NFL is unique, one that would be unacceptable in virtually any other industry. The questions asked by teams in pre-draft interviews usually have the dual purpose of getting to know the player and testing their mindset.

"By way of example, one of the common questions asked by teams is as follows: "If you had the choice of being reborn as a cat or a dog, which would you choose and why?" There is no correct answer, there may be preferable responses depending on your position, but the question is meant to generate a response from the player which can be analyzed in any number of ways.

"When I was coming out of Syracuse University, I remember being asked 'if I thought I could succeed as a white running back in the NFL?' and 'why I thought a kid who attended a suburban Massachusetts private high school was tough enough to play in the NFL?'  If one (sic) we’re interviewing a prospective executive for private industry, this line of questioning likely wouldn’t be acceptable.

"The 'all-ball' and 'no-nonsense' approach incorporated by the current regime at the Dolphins has been consistent since they arrived. I believe this philosophy has resonated throughout the organization and is one of the main factors for the team's return to playing winning fundamental football. Jeff may be demanding and thorough, and maybe a question was asked in poor judgment, but he’s one of the good guys in the NFL, he’s been a great asset to the Dolphins and a good friend to South Florida."

--Robert Konrad 


Adalius Thomas a possibility Dolphins will consider

Adalius Thomas is on the free agent market and the talk league-wide now is that he wants to get paid.

If that is true, scratch the Dolphins from the list of teams that might be interested in him.

But if Thomas indeed wants to play the New England Patriots twice this season as is rumored, and if he is willing to play for a reasonable salary, he might make sense for the Dolphins.

I'm not saying the Dolphins must absolutely chase Thomas. But will they investigate the possibility? Will they make calls on him? Study his tape? Discuss the idea?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Thomas could be an "acorn" the Dolphins often discuss. The discussion would include the question whether he would be a "progress-stopper."

Simply, Thomas could be an insurance policy at strong side outside linebacker in case second-round pick Koa Misi isn't ready to start right away. But what if Misi is solid enough, as hoped, to play right away? Would Thomas become a problem?

Obviously the Dolphins have to weigh what Thomas might do in the locker room. He made no bones about complaining and showing his displeasure last season when Bill Belichick benched him. I'm certain he would not be happy coming to the Dolphins and then finding himself on the bench again.

But he can still be productive. At 32 years old he is not beyond an age the would cause the Dolphins to dismiss the possibility out of hand.

In fact, nothing about Thomas would cause the Dolphins to dismiss the idea out of hand. So stay tuned.

April 27, 2010

Jeff Ireland apologizes to Dez Bryant

Yes, Jeff Ireland asked the question. And he is sorry he did.

The Dolphins general manager has called receiver Dez Bryant in the last hour and apologized for asking the player if his mother was ever a prostitute. The question came during a pre-draft interview at the Dolphins training facility earlier this month.

Bryant has apparently accepted the apology.

"My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I'm considering drafting," Ireland said in a statement. "Sometimes that leads to asking in-depth questions.

"Having said that, I talked to Dez Bryant and told him I used poor judgment in one of the questions I asked him. I certainly meant no disrespect and apologized to him.

"I appreciate his acceptance of that apology and I told him I wished him well as he embarks on his NFL career."

This apology follows two reports by Yahoo!Sports' Mike Silver in which Bryant claimed he was asked by an unnamed team if his mom was a prostitue. Silver followed with an ensuing report claiming the Dolphins were the unnamed team and that Ireland was the person asking the question, according to a source.

Both reports were correct. And Ireland is hoping to put the issue to bed by issuing this apology. 

Brown, Williams in final Miami year together?

Since the topic of Dolphins running backs has been all the rage of late -- with one being constantly whispered about as trade bait and the other as a documentary star and possible retiree after 2010 -- I wanted to appraoch the topic from a different direction today.

From the team's perspective.

You see, seemingly lost in all the draft coverage over the weekend, Jeff Ireland's words while addressing the running back situation seem to have gotten short shrift. And they beg more attention.

Ireland was asked Saturday evening if he might have liked to add a running back in the draft and he said that 2010 is the last year for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

"Again, when you put a board together, sometimes the chips fall differently in certain drafts," Ireland said. "Obviously we’re aware of the situation on our team. You have Ricky [Williams] and Ronnie [Brown] kind of in their last year. We’re aware of all those things. We have them for another year, so anything can happen that way. The draft falls certain ways and you can’t help the way it falls. We’re not ignoring those positions by any means, but I felt like we stuck to our board pretty good and stayed the course."

I'm not going to leap to the assumption that Brown and Williams are indeed done with the Dolphins after 2010. The truth is no one knows what will happen after 2010. The NFL may not even play in 2011 for all we know.

But weighing Ireland's words with the facts currently before us, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Miami will be searching for running backs after this year because one or both of its top backs will be gone.

As far as Brown is concerned, he has yet to sign his restricted free agent tender. He would like a long-term deal but that doesn't seem imminent because, well, the Dolphins don't really have to offer one right now.

Brown, 28, has yet to prove he's 100 percent back from last year's fractured foot and has never proven that he is exceedingly durable. The Dolphins own his rights this year via the restricted tender they placed on him and can extend after June 1st if Brown doesn't sign by then. Trust me, Brown is not going to sit out this year if he doesn't get a new contract so he will eventually sign that tender if the Dolphins don't give him a new deal -- and as we just discussed their motivation for doing so is not high.

Bottom line is the Dolphins can keep Brown this year and decide to replace him with younger legs in 2011, if they wish. Bottom line is they have been willing to let him go at different intervals since 2008. Bottom line is his long-term future in Miami is by no means certain.

Williams is another matter, but one no less fraught with uncertainty. The Dolphins have shown a past desire to pass him Post-it note contract extensions, which is the reason he's signed through 2010. He has said in the past that he would retire following the 2010 season.

He said Monday he is "not sure" if he will retire in 2010 and that the hiring agent Drew Rosenhaus should not be interpreted as an intention to play into 2011. Whatever, the point is neither Williams nor the Dolphins know without doubt what is going to happen.

But we do know this: Williams will be 33 next month and so whether he's able to stretch his career beyond 2010 is not a certainty by any means.

So the Dolphins might be wise to take the approach that this could be the final year for both Brown and Williams. And if it doesn't work out that way, well, then something good happened that stretched the Miami career for one or both of the running backs.

Still, better to make the error on the side of caution.

April 26, 2010

Jeff Ireland: The interview, the Wilson flap

I got the opportunity to speak with Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland one-on-one Saturday night after his work was mostly done with the draft and the adding of priority free agents.

That conversation gave me a better understanding of exactly how it is the Dolphins attack the draft when Ireland and Bill Parcells are sitting in the war room together. I wrote about that as part of my column that appears in Monday's Miami Herald.

Another part of the column, by the way, tells you how Ireland seemed to be getting more comfortable even as this draft was proceeding. He actually made jokes when he was in front of the media. The guy was cool.

But we're not 100 percent there yet.

This interview gave me the opportunity to ask about a topic that's been bothering me for a while now:

I wanted to know why it was Ireland seemingly misled at the Indianapolis Combine on the subject of Gibril Wilson. As you know, everyone assumed Wilson was a goner after a season in which he played poorly and cost Miami chances to win at least two games -- Indianapolis and New Orleans.

But Ireland went to the Combine and in speaking with the media -- to his credit, against the wishes of Parcells -- defended Wilson so vehemently that it seemed like Wilson was coming back.

"We have our evaluation of Gibril Wilson," Ireland said at the time. "We know what kind of player he's capable of being. I think he's going to be a very good player for the future. He was disappointed in his play last year. He will tell you that. I think he can play better. We'll just have to see. I think he will."

Of course, everyone assumed Ireland meant Wilson would play better for the Dolphins. Bad assumption. The Dolphins cut Wilson when the new league year opened in March.

"I didn't say anything that was wrong," Ireland told me during our interview. "I didn't say anything that was false. If you read the transcript, I said he's going to be a good player in the future. I knew what I was saying. You know, he's a player on my team. And I'm going to defend a player on my team. I'm not going to say anything else bad out there. I do believe he's going to be a good player in the future. I like the kid. It was probably not the right position for him. That's obvious now. But I did believe what I was telling you. I was telling the truth.

"I just wasn't giving you every thought in my head."

Fair enough. It wasn't Ireland's fault that folks like me made an assumption. As Ireland told me in another part of the interview, every draft mistake his makes is a lesson he learns.

Count this a lesson learned for yours truly.

April 25, 2010

Undrafted free agents plus draft breakdown

The news first: I have six eight undrafted free agent names that sources say have agreed to join the Dolphins.

The players are:

Nevada DB Jonathon Amaya: 6-0, 203 pounds. Ran a 4.51 at the Combine. Benched 225 pounds only eight times.

Maryland DT Travis Ivey: 6-4, 325 pounds. No Combine results. Had 25 tackles including one sack in 2009.

Duke DL Vince Oghobaase: 6-5, 303 pounds. Ran a 5.48 at the Combine. Benched 225 pounds 27 times.

Penn State CB A.J. Wallace: 6-1, 201 pounds. No Combine results. Four career interceptions, three of those his senior year in 2009.

San Diego State WR Roberto Wallace: 6-4, 225 pounds. No Combine results. Caught 36 passes for 463 yards and three TDs in 2009 and that was his best of three seasons.

Michigan State DB Ross Weaver: 6-1, 203 pounds. No Combine results. Missed all of 2006 season. One career interception.

[Update: Florida International offensive lineman Andy Leavine has been signed as an undrafted free agent, according to my friends at www.draftday.dk. Leavine is listed at 6-5 and 292 pounds. He benched 225 pounds 31 times at his Pro Day.

Also, this morning I've learned Fresno State WR Marlon Moore is on Miami's undrafted FA list. Moore is 6-foot and 190 pounds. He had 15 catches for 317 yards and three TDs for the Bulldogs in 2009.]

Secondly, let me tell you what I thought of the Dolphins draft. Actually, it's late, I've slept five hours in two days and the wife is waiting for me so if you really want to know what I think click here.

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone! 

April 24, 2010

Surprise at FS coming for the Dolphins?

The Dolphins had a surprise plan at nose tackle. They didn't find a good one early enough in the draft to fill the spot so they simply moved defensive end Randy Starks there.

Well, they face a similar situation at free safety.

Today they didn't pick a free safety candidate until Reshad Jones was the pick at the bottom of the fifth round. Jones joins Chris Clemons and Tyrone Culver at the position.

Well, what if the team has a surprise here as well?

How about moving cornerback Will Allen to free safety? How about moving Sean Smith to free safety?

I would love to tell you moving Jason Allen, a former first-round pick, might be an idea. But that's been tried a time or two before. No one really believes that would resolve the search for a starting free safety.

Bottom line is Miami needs a Plan B at this position. Maybe that plan includes a free agent "acorn." But maybe that plan is already on the roster.

[Update: I asked Ireland if moving one player from another spot to safety: "I guess there's a thought there," Ireland said. "We haven't really talked it out in depth. We needed to get through this process and see what we have. But I probably would not bet on that."

LB Austin Spitler is Miami 's final pick

The Dolphins have selected Ohio State ILB Austin Spitler as their second pick of the seventh round.

Spitler is a 6-3, 234-pounder who was the backup for James Laurinaitis before the uppper classman went to the NFL.

"I learned so much," Spitler said of the competition with his former teammate. "It was a difficult situation at times, but we really pushed each other. I can't say enough about how much we both improved from the competition."

So how does Spitler describe himself?

"Physical guy," he said. "Smart player that really is going to get it done."

Pick No. 212 (7th round) WSLB Chris McCoy

The Dolphins have selected linebacker Chris McCoy of Middle Tennessee State.

McCoy is 6-3 and 261 pounds.

"I'm good with my hands and I'm explosive off the ball," McCoy said. "I'm very good setting the edge and coming off the edge." 

McCoy said the Dolphins told him he will be competing at weakside linebacker.

McCoy said Middle Tennessee State plays a base 4-3 scheme so he'll have to adjust to Miami 's 3-4.

Dolphins pick S Reshad Jones in fifth round

The Dolphins finally got their free safety -- I think -- as they just drafted Georgia safety Reshad Jones.

For Jones, this draft process had to be something of a tough time because he seemed poised to be a second or third round pick and instead dropped to the bottom of the fifth round.

"[I expected to go ] two to three, but everything worked out for the best," Jones said.

Jones has strong safety size at 6-0 and 214 pounds. But he does have free safety ball skills.

"I feel I can play strong and free," he said.

The Dolphins haven't told Jones which one they want him to play.

Dolphins select DB Nolan Carroll with No. 145

The Dolphins have selected defensive back Nolan Carroll with their fifth-round pick -- the one they got from San Francisco for Ted Ginn.

Carroll is 6-0 and 204 so he has the size to play safety, if that's what the Dolphins wish to do with him. But that would make him more of a position nomad than he has been so far.

Carroll played wide receiver before he moved to cornerback.

Carroll broke his right leg (tibia and fibia) the second game of the season in 2009 and didn't play thereafter. It happened on a running play in which he was supporting the run-defense. It was, ironically,

Carroll just said the Dolphins told him they want him to "come in and compete at corner." He also said he's played safety "some."

"If they want me to do that I'll do that," he said.

Carroll also returned kicks his freshman and sophomore years in college.

Dolphins add another LB -- A.J. Edds

The Dolphins have made their selection in the fourth round and after watching players they liked go off the board before their pick at No. 126, the Dolphins moved up to assure themselves of getting linebacker Andrew James Edds.

You can call him A.J. Edds. He's a 6-4 and 246 pounder out of Iowa. He ran a 4.62 time in the 40-yard dash. Like all of Miami's other picks, Edds played in the Senior Bowl.

The Dolphins traded up with Dallas to draft Edds. They gave up Nos. 126 (fourth-rounder) and 179 (a sixth-rounder) for the Cowboys pick at No. 118.

Edds will have to adjust from playing a 4-3 in college to a 3-4 in Miami. He was an outside linebacker in Iowa. It's unclear what the Dolphins plan to do with him -- playing him either outside or inside linebacker -- in the profs.

Will he be a big playmaker?

"I sure hope so," Edds said. "I think that's the reason coach Sparano and Mr. Ireland decided to take me."

Edds didn't make that many big-plays known as sacks at Iowa. He wasn't rushing the passer all the time.

"I'm more of an all-around player, rushing, covering, doing whatever the coaches ask me," Edds said.

Edds was satisfied with his place in this draft. He had a clue he'd probably be a fourth-rounder.

"It is about where I thought I would go. Talking to my agent, [we] felt I was a fourth round guy at best, maybe a third round guy, potentially going into the [fifth or sixth rounds] but this is really where I thought I would be. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you get drafted, it is about what you do when you get to a team and once you settle in. So it is good to go early, and better than going later, but at the same time it is not a whole lot of importance once the draft is over."

Day 3 about to start -- Get it!

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling fairly comfortable with what the Dolphins are doing so far in this draft -- assuming the players they are picking become instant contributors.

I expect Jared Odrick to be a starting DE in 2010. I expect Koa Misi to be a starting OLB in 2010 -- the Dolphins obviously do also based on the tact they've taken this offseason. I expect John Jerry to be the starting LG in 2010.

The Dolphins desperately need all three to be starters.

The Dolphins need to find one more starter today to make this draft a resounding success. They need to find a starting free safety somewhere in rounds 4-7. One guy in seven picks. That's all I'm asking for.

Six safeties were drafted in Day 2. Nate Allen, T.J. Ward, and Taylor Mays went in the second round. Morgan Burnett, Major Wright and Chad Jones went in the third round.

The fourth round begins in earnest at 10 a.m. The Dolphins can still land:

Reshad Jones (my prediction, if he's there), Robert Johnson (another Utah player whose selection wouldn't upset me).

After the fourth round, the value picks at safety are East Carolina's Van Eskeridge, Nebraska's Larry Asante, a former junior college linebacker who plays with that mentality. He seems more like a strong safety to me but, well, whatever.

The darkhorses? Virginia Tech's Kam Chancellor, a freak at 6-3 and 230 who has played some free safety for the Hokies or Gobblers or whatever they call themselves these days. He is thought to project as a strong safety but the Dolphins might have other plans. Michigan's Stevie Brown is a great hitter who actually played some linebacker for the Wolverines. He's another option.

April 23, 2010

Meet Dolphins new starting NT: Randy Starks

Dolphins general Jeff Ireland just announced that the Dolphins have resolved their nose tackle issues.

The team's new starting nose tackle is Randy Starks.

"[Coach] Tony [Sparano] talked to Randy about it today," Ireland said. "The quote he gave was, 'I'm at home there.' "

Not really certain I was hearing correctly that the team moved it's best defensive end to nose tackle, I asked Ireland if Starks had to compete for the starting NT job. He said Starks is indeed penciled in as the starter.

That has definite repercussions.

First-round pick Jared Odrick, Kendall Langford and Phillip Merling will compete for two starting jobs at defensive end.

Paul Soliai remains the team's backup nose tackle. And Jason Ferguson, out the first eight games of the season while serving a league-imposed suspension, can probably ease in and take fewer snaps per game than in the past. That, by the way, is a good way for Ferguson to stay healthy.

Also, the Dolphins are likely moving away from the classic 3-4 to a hybrid version where the nose tackle is often offset to one side or the other of the center. In the past, Miami's nose tackle was seemingly always over the center's helmet.  

Most importantly, the move puts the draft in a different light. Before this announcement, everyone believed the Dolphins needed to address the nose tackle and free safety position on Saturday.

Now we know they have a need at free safety, having addressed defensive end (Odrick), wide receiver (Brandon Marshall), nose tackle (Randy Starks), and outside linebacker (Koa Misi). That's a pretty awesome way to spackle holes on the roster.

I like it.