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The skinny following Sunday afternoon practice

Pool Let's dive in because it is hot up in here and I have the pool at home on my mind:

Today's afternoon practice was interesting in that we saw a rookie cornerback make a play, we saw an embattled wide receiver make a play, we saw Jason Allen struggle, and we saw more good work from Brandon Marshall.

Along the chemistry lab everyone else calls the offensive line, Donald Thomas took the first-team snaps at left guard for the first time this training camp, replacing Cory Procter, whose been manning the spot on previous days. Joe Berger worked with the first-teamers at center while Jake Grove worked with the second team.

Rookie John Jerry, a rookie puppy, continues to run with the big dogs on first team as the Dolphins continue to see if he has any bite, as Bill Parcells likes to say. ("If they don't bite when they're pups, they don't bite.")

Receiver Ryan Grice-Mullen sat out practice. It is not serious.

Patrick Turner update. Finally!

Many of you have been begging for a Patrick Turner update but I haven't provided one because, frankly, he hadn't really done anything of note until Sunday afternoon that I believed merited attention. He is, after all, a fifth or sixth receiver right now.

But Sunday afternoon Turner turned in a hopeful sign of what might be on the horizon when he caught a leaping, twisting pass in traffic. It was a highlight moment for a guy who was a terrible disappointment a year ago and needs much improvement to even make the team now.

Afterward, Turner spoke of how he's been watching Brandon Marshall, he of a very similar body type, and trying to absorb everything he can from the veteran.

"Brandon has been successful in the league, he's a Pro Bowler." Turner said. "You can't help but learn something from the guy every day. Brandon being sort of the same size and the same body type, I can go ask him questions and pick his mind a little bit."

Turner spent the entire offseason recovering from an injury and wasn't able to participate in any camps. But Turner downplays that he failed to make up ground during a time everyone else was trying to get better.

"I rehabbed hard, worked hard and the trainers did a great job and I feel they put me in a spot where I can come out and compete and show my skills," he said. "It can be a setback for you not being out here and not getting reps, but with any injury, it's your job to battle back and fight that."

So how does Turner climb the ladder fom 2009 disappointment to 2010 relevance?

"Coming out every day and showing them what I can do," he said.

Dansby makes calls

I told you in the earlier post that coach Tony Sparano gave a shoutout to Karlos Dansby as the most eye-popping player so far in camp.

Well, part of the outgrowth of that is that Dansby has been calling the defensive plays for the defense so far in camp. That would mean he'll probably wear the helmet with the coach-to-helmet equipment in games unless things change.

Channing Crowder called the defensive plays last year in games he played.

Allen struggles, Nolan doesn't

A couple of years ago it would have been news that first-round pick Jason Allen was having issues in coverage during practice. But we know better now.

That doesn't change the fact Allen got used by Julius Pruitt on one 60-yard bomb during practice and then eaten up by Marshall two repetitions later. Allen has had one or two good moments so far in these practices. Unfortunately, he's had just as many bad.

Rookie Nolan Carroll, meanwhile, got his first turnover in practice when he jumped a route and picked off a Tyler Thigpen sideline pass that he then took to the house. I must say, I've been very, very impressed with the rookie's speed.

Patrick Cobbs, Will Allen can move

Patrick Cobbs, coming off ACL surgery a year ago, is moving great! He sped down the left sideline midway through Sunday's drills and caught a TD pass behind a cornerback. That's motoring for a running back.

Will Allen, also coming back from knee surgery, looks much better than he did in  the offseason and maybe even better than he looked in camp last year.

He's moving great.

"I was impressed watching Will Allen change directions," coach Tony Sparano said. "Will wasn’t quite ready in the spring. He was ready to get some of the reps and get in there and do it, but right now I’m watching him run around out here, I see a completely different guy.”

Merling on non-football injury list

Despite Tony Sparano saying twice (once on Friday and once on Sunday) that no roster decision had been made on Phillip Merling, the Dolphins are now confirming Merling was placed Friday on the active non-football injury list.

As you know, I have reported the Dolphins are not likely to pay Merling's full $600,000 salary this season. They will attempt to work out an agreement with Merling's agent, which I think is a good bet considering that is Jimmy Sexton. Sexton also represents Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano. This will not be a problem. The side will get an amicable agreement.