Here's the quickie report from the Joe Philbin breakfast presser at the NFL annual meetings in Palm Beach:
To begin with and perhaps most importantly, Philbin isn't buying into the idea the Dolphins are a rebuilding team. "I think it would be a disservice to the players to say we're in a rebuilding mode."
That is probably true. And a fair point. But sometimes, folks, the truth is the truth. (More on that later today).
I asked Phibin what football reason he could give for the trading of Brandon Marshall. He called Marshall a "very talented player," but mostly he dogdged the question. In other words, he didn't give a reason.
It's been speculatated that the Miami offense doesn't have a No. 1 receiver that must get the ball a majority of the time. That idea has been put forth by folks diminishing the Marshall loss. But the idea the Dolphins don't need or want a No. 1 receiver is only partially true.
"Part of the philosophy of the offense is to have balance," Philbin said. "We want our quarterbacks to typically have what we call progression reads, where they're not necessarily isolated on one specific individual. With that being said, we're going to play to our hot hand and we're certainly going to strive to create mismatches and take advantage of the guys we do have.
"But the offense isn't necessarily built upon, 'Ok, you're the No. 1 guy, you're the No. 2 guy, you're the No. 3 guy.' As we put the plays together for the quarterback in his mind, there's a progression of who's the first receiver, who's the second receiver, who's the third receiver. But it's more multiple. We're looking at a variety of guys to line up in that spot. It's not necessarily that there isn't a one, but it's not that there is one, either. We're going to do whatever we have to do to move the ball effectively."
Confused? Moving on ...
The quarterback spot is always hugely important to the Dolphins primarily because they don't really have a proven one. Philbin said he spoke with Matt Moore and promised that he and David Garrard would be locked in an open competition before the season's start.
Philbin on Matt Moore based on tape study: "I thought he managed the game relatively well. Good arm strength. He has the knack. He moved the team."
Philbin said the biggest part of his visit with Garrard was for the medical staff to make sure he'd made complete recovery from last year's bulging disc that required surgery. Garrard worked out for the team before signing. "He moved well ... He spins the ball well ... I like his personality. He carries himself well."
Philbin had Jermichael Finley in Green Bay. He has Anthony Fasano in Miami. He "played well last year," Philbin said of Fasano. "He caught the ball well."
Philbin is a former offensive line coach. I asked him his thought of the Buffalo Bills signing Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. "Every team has good players. Last time I checked our left tackle is a pretty good player."
(Yeah, but what about the other side?)
Philbin says he's visited with left tackle Jake Long a couple of times. "I think he's ready to take on a more active leadership role in the ballclub."
On the right side, I asked Philbin if John Jerry will play guard or tackle. He said that was a good question and that the truth is, he's not sure yet.
Defensively, Philbin had a couple of interesting things to say.
Philbin says the defense will show the Bear (46) defense, three-man line, four-man line. He said Miami would be "multiple on defense."
Philbin said new signee Richard Marshall will get a chance to win one of the starting cornerback jobs.
Philbin said while not totally interchangeable, strong safety and free safety players could do one or the other. That means Tyrone Culver, Chris Clemons, and Reshad Jones will all be fighting for the strong and free safety spots rather than just the free safety spot all are more familiar with.
Philbin put a figurative target on third-year player Jared Odrick. He mentioned Odrick several times and made it clear he's hoping for bigger things. "In year three you'd like to see a guy really progress." The Dolphins don't have No. 2 pass-rusher Jason Taylor any more. They need Odrick to be a goods pass-rusher.Overall, Philbin said he expects his team will develop week to week. He believes they will be better at the end of the year than they were early in the year: "We're going to get better week in and week out, year in and year out."
Philbin promised a "sound football team. High effort. Smart football team. You're going to see a team that's tough physically and mentally.""