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71 posts from August 2012

August 06, 2012

Dolphins release depth chart: Garrard happy, Jerry not

David Garrard is your starting quarterback today. One of your starting cornerbacks is Richard Marshall, who is listed ahead of Vontae Davis on first-team. And offensive lineman John Jerry seems to be in trouble.

Those are some highlights -- some expected, some not -- from today's release of the preseason's first Dolphins depth chart.

It should come as no surprise that Garrard is listed with the starters. He's been the most consistent quarterback in camp. And although coach Joe Philbin said putting him on first team is no guarantee he'll start Friday's preseason-opner versus Tampa Bay, it would take a mighty collapse in practice for that to change.

Matt Moore is listed as the second-team QB while rookie Ryan Tannehill is listed as the third-teamer. Pat Devlin is listed fourth-team.

"I'm confident we're going to get good quarterback play out of that group," coach Joe Philbin said. "I could not be happier about the four men in that room. I told them this is a starting point. This is what we're going to do right now -- today. It's a fluid situation and things could change. But this is what we're going to do today."

Davis, who has been a starter most of the last three seasons, is behind Marshall at this point. That's a surprise if you haven't been paying attention but the truth is Davis needs to get more serious about his craft because while he is more gifted than Marshall, he hasn't been getting consistently better results.

Understand: Marshall hasn't won the job. And Davis hasn't lost it. But this seems like a competition the coaches are intent on letting play out -- with hopes either Davis elevates with the challenge or Marshall rewards them for giving him the opportunity.

Either way, the team is better for it.

Davis is not in the doghouse. The Dolphins want him to succeed. And it must be said he has played better lately, including today when he picked off a David Garrard pass in the end zone on goal-line repetitions.

"I think he's actually practiced well the last couple of days, he made a couple of plays again today," Philbin said. "But there's good competition there. That's a good thing right now. It's early, but I don't anybody should be concerned. The whole ballclub needs to show a lot of improvment and he's no different right now."

Right guard John Jerry is going in the wrong direction on the depth chart -- sliding instead of improving with each practice.

He was vying for the starting job in the offseason, then started this training camp with the second unit. Today he slipped to third team behind Nate Garner and Philbin explained what Jerry needs to improve on to reverse the trend.

"Consistency in sustaining blocks whether it be run or pass, finishing on an aiming point in the running game," Philbin said. "Pass protection is pretty simple ... Our completion percentage increases if (defenders) are far away from our quarterbacks. So whether it's in the running game -- staying on his feet, finishing on an aiming point -- or the passing game -- handling those twists and being able to redirect against second moves or the defender and being able to keep his body in front -- those are the areas we're looking at right now."

So basically Jerry is having trouble staying on his feet and properly identifying the rusher he's supposed to block. That is some seriously fundamental stuff right there. Terrible.

Other nuggets from the depth chart release:

  • Marcus Thigpen is listed as the first-team kick returner, ahead of Lamar Miller, Steve Slaton and finally Clyde Gates, who did the job last year.
  • Davone Bess is the first-team punt returner ahead of Thigpen, Gates and Rishard Matthews.
  • Chris Clemons is ahead of Jimmy Wilson at safety.
  • Roberto Wallace is listed fourth-team right now.
  • Jorvorskie Lane is listed first-team fullback.
  • The starting wide receivers are Legedu Naanee and Chad Johnson.
  • Jamaal Westerman, something of a (some) media darling, is listed third-team behind Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon.

It is interesting perhaps only to me that Brian Hartline is listed second team despite practicing only a couple of times this training camp after he suffered a calf injury. He did not practice today, either. I reported on my twitter feed, Hartline's calf injury is truly day-to-day. There is a chance he could try to practice this week but more likely next week.







August 05, 2012

Joe Philbin understands Andy Reid's pain

Joe Philbin can relate to Andy Reid's pain.

The Dolphins' coach this evening released a statement as a way of standing with the Philadelphia Eagles coach who today lost his son Garrett. Garrett Reid was found dead in a dorm room at Eagles camp. He typically spent his summers with the Eagles (and his father) when they went away to training camp.

In January one of Philbin's sons, Michael, drowned in a river in Oshkosh, Wis. Michael was taken too young at 21. Garrett Reid, whose cause of death has not yet been determined, was taken too young at 29. 

“The loss of a child and a sibling is absolutely devastating to a family," Philbin said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to Andy and Tammy Reid as they mourn the loss of their precious son, Garrett.  We will keep them and their other children, Britt, Spencer, Crosby and Drew Ann, in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time."


Garrard leads quarterback competition, Tannehill closing

The coming week will lead the Dolphins into Friday's preseason-opener against Tampa Bay at Sun Life Stadium.

So as to the all-important daily gauge of the quarterback competition I tell you David Garrard has earned the opportunity to start the preseason as Miami's starter. I'm not saying that's how it will be. Truth is Matt Moore was the first to go with the first-team on the first-day of practice and Ryan Tannehill will eventually be Miami's starting quarterback.

But Garrard has been consistently the best quarterback in camp so far. Tannehill, it must be said, was the most impressive quarterback at Saturday's scrimmage.

That should not discount a solid week's worth of practices.

And all this calls into question what to do with Matt Moore. Well, he needs to get on his horse if he's going to stay viable in this competition. Folks around training camp keep saying he's a "gamer" who often plays better than he practices.

Well, he better show that in the preseason because he's been lagging behind more than probably he would be satisfied with during practice.

Until then, I believe Garrard has earned the privilege of starting the preseason-opener against Tampa Bay.

August 04, 2012

Dolphins scrimmage, Tannehill impresses

The Dolphins just completed their first scrimmage of training camp before approximately 8,721 (I don't believe it but whatever).

Ryan Tannehill was the most impressive quarterback of the three with a chance to win the starting job. Unofficial stats have him completing 10 of 13 passes for 114 yards and one TD without an interception. Tannehill took snaps with the third-team offense against both second-team and third-team defense.

To understand the context of this outing, recognize that Tannehill missed on his first two passes. So he completed 10 of his next 11 if the unofficial stats are to be believed.

David Garrard completed 9 of 17 passes for 57 yards and a TD. He worked primarily with the first-team offense against the second team defense.

Matt Moore struggled. He completed 10 of 20 passes for 65 yards with a touchdown pass. He had the tough task of working primarily with the backup offense versus the starting defense.

Here is some play-by-play to give you a taste of what happened. 

This is not comprehensive play-by-play. I am not including the snaps Pat Devlin got toward the end of the scrimmage because he does not have a legitimate chance to win the starting job.

So here it is ...

First-team O versus second-team D:

1-10-30 - David Garrard pass to Davone Bess for 7 yards.

2-3-37 - Reggie Bush gains 4 yards.

1-10-41 - Garrard incomplete (ball batted by Tony McDaniel).

2-10-41 - False start.

2-15-36 - (Bad shotgun snap) Garrard to Bush for 6 yards.

3-9-42 - Garrard to Legedu Naanee 19 yards (Nolan Carroll beaten).

1-10-39 - Bush gains 2 yards.

2-8-37 - Daniel Thomas gains 7 yards.

3-1-30 - Thomas gains 8 yards.

1-10-22 - Steve Slaton gains 2 yards.

2-8-24 - Missed the play.

3-4-17 -- Garrard incomplete (Chad Johnson dropped pass inside the 5 yard line).

Second team O vs. First-team D

1-10-30 - Lamar Miller gains 4.

2-6-34 - Matt Moore incomplete.

3-6-34 -- Moore incomplete.

Fourth down -- Punt.


1-10-30 - Moore incomplete.

2-10-30 - Moore complete to Michael Egnew for 9 yards.

3-1-31 - Moore to Jeron Mastrud for 2 yards.

1-10-41 - Jerome Messam gains 2 yards.

2-8-43 - Koa Misi sack on blitz (unblocked).

3-8-43 -- Moore complete to Messam gains 4 yards.



1-10-30 - Moore incomplete.

2-10-30 - Moore screen pass complete to Lamar Marcus Thigpen gains 6.

3-4-36 - Moore incomplete.


Third team O vs. Second team D

1-10-30 - Ryan Tannehill incomplete (overthrew open Naanee on post).

2-10-30 - Tannehill incomplete.

3-10-30 - Offside defense.

3-5-35 - Tannehill to Davone Bess for 1 yard.



1-10-30 - Tannehill complete to Chad Johnson for 9 yards.

2-1-39 - Tannehill to Charles Clay for 8 yards.

1-10-47 - Tannehill to Davone Bess for 6 yards.

2-4-46 - Tannehill to Bess for 18 yards.

1-10-28 - Tannehill to Anthony Fasano for TD.

Two minute drill ...

First team O vs. first-team D

1-10-30 - Moore to Naanee for 6 yards.

2-4-36 -Moore to Fasano for 6 yards.

1-10-42 - Moore to Naanee for 8 yards.

2-2-45 - Moore incomplete.

3-2-45 -- Moore incomplete.

4-2-45 - Moore complete to Chad Johnson gains 16.

1-10-34 - Spike.

2-10-34 - Moore incomplete.

3-10-34 -Cameron Wake sack.

4-18-43 -- Moore spikes the ball. (Can't believe he did that on fourth down.)

Second team O vs. Second team D

1-10-30 - Garrard incomplete.

2-10-30 - Ryan Baker sack.

3-15-25 - Garrard to Les Brown for no gain.

4-15-25 - Garrard incomplete when Rishard Matthews bobbles first-down catch along the sideline and goes out of bounds.

Third team O vs. Third team D

1-10-20 - Tannehill incomplete

2-10-20 - Cameron Collins with a sack.

3-16-14 - Tannehill to Messam for 12 yards.

4-4-26 -- Tannehill to B.J. Cunningham for 24 yards.

1-10-50 - Time runs out.

Chad Johnson caught five passes for 42 yards. Legedu Naanee had five receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown. I thought he was the most effective receiver today. Anthony Fasano caught three passes for 39 yards and two touchdowns.

Koa Misi, Jared Odrick and Cameron Wake were credited with sacks. I had Ryan Baker also getting one.

Afterward Joe Philbin talked to the media. A snippet:


Scrimmage moved up an hour for weather

The Dolphins may have to play in thunderstorms and heat this season.

But scrimmage in it?

They will avoid the storms if they can, which is what is happening today. The team just changed the time of today's scheduled 9:15 scrimmage to 8:15 a.m. in order to avoid a forecast 10 a.m. thunderstorm.

Coach Joe Philbin decided it would be better to go early, and get ahead of the storm, than cancel today's work at Sun Life altogether and work in the Nick Saban Memorial Bubble (NSMB) instead. But it also hurts fans that may not be aware of the last minute change which hurts the team on select-a-seat day. Tough deal.

What is important in this scrimamge?

I don't have time to tell you ... gotta get to the scrimmage.

Let Richie Incognito give you a taste.

August 03, 2012

Excellent training camp update right here

The quarterbacks were solid today at Dolphins camp.

Matt Moore, working with the starters most of the day, did nice work in Inside-the-30 team drills today, finding Davone Bess for a TD against the starting defense. It took Moore seven plays to get in the end zone from 28 yards out.

Ryan Tannehill, who took mostly second-team snaps, also threw a 13-yard TD pass to Marlon Moore over Nolan Carroll. It took Tannehill three plays to get in the end zone.

Working with the third-team offense, David Garard got his unit in the end zone in one play. He threw a 28-yard strike to Chris Hogan. Done. It was as if Garrard, the best QB in camp so far, was making a point.

(Meanwhile, let me say that Hogan has impressed the heck out of me. All he does is make plays. He doesn't drop passes. He's simply productive. Having said that, it hasn't translated to him getting more than third-team reps so far so he's not quite a factor yet. But did I mention that I love the guy? Keep an eye out.)

Here is the play-by-play of the Inside-the-30 work today:

First team

1-10-28: Reggie Bush 4-rush.

2-4-24: Bush 1-yard on sweep.

3-3-23: Matt Moore scramble for 5.

1-10-18: Moore pass to Charles Clay on misdirection play gains 4 yards.

2-6-14: Moore incomplete.

3-6-14: Moore incomplete.

4-6-14: Moore TD to Bess.

Second team

1-10-28: Lamar Miller gains 10 yards on a pitch left.

1-10-18: Ryan Tannehill scrambles for 5 yards (tight end was supposed to be in flat but wasn't).

2-5-13: Tannehill to Marlon Moore for TD.

Third team

1-10-28: David Garrard to Chris Hogan for TD.

Fourth team

1-10-28: Miller no gain.

2-10-28: Pat Devlin incomplete.

3-10-28: Delay of game.

3-15-33: Andrew Mcdonald false start.

3-20-38: Devlin to Marcus Thigpen for 14 yards.

The first-team offensive line has been stable since the start of training camp with LT Jake Long, LG Richie Incognito, C Mike Pouncey, RG Artis Hicks, and RT Jonathan Martin.

As I said on twitter during practice, coach Joe Philbin obviously believes more in cohesiveness and cohesion along the line than the previous regime which often experimented with varying combinations of linemen in the name of finding position flexibility.

I suppose it could be argued that the previous regime was always making changes because the players ultimately never locked down spots. That is true.

But do you believe Artis Hicks has locked down the right guard spot? No way.

And yet he has been locked at the starting RG position since camp began. There has been no experimentation.

One thing that did change on second team today was that Lydon Murtha did not take his usual reps as the second-team RT. Those went to Andrew McDonald, a rookie from Indiana. For Murtha, who was supposed to be the starter last year before getting hurt and was supposed to challenge for the job this year before Martin basically took the job, this is not good news. If today is an indication, he's heading in the wrong direction.

It was interesting to see rookie Lamar Miller get first-team snaps today. If you're a loyal reader of this blog or my columns, you know I really liked the Miller draft selection by Miami. Well, today he got the repetitions with the first team in team drills at the end of practice.

He didn't do antyhing in those eight plays but did a nice job with the second-team on Inside-the-30 work earlier in practice when he took a pitch and went around right end for 10 yards. A defender had the angle on him and he simply outran him to the edge. A safety was the only player between Miller and a TD.

Miller's speed has made him a candidate for kick and punt return duties since camp began. He's running second- or third-team on kick returns today (depending on the day) behind Steve Slaton with Marcus Thigpen also getting second-team work.

Here's what Miller thinks of his status:

Week in camp and Dolphins aren't hitting ... much

The Dolphins will conduct practice at Sun Life Stadium Saturday morning and part of that session will include an intra-squad scrimmage that I am assuming and hoping will include some actual hitting.

Why am I looking for tackling?

Well, because there's been precious little of it so far in training camp. The Dolphins have been in camp for a week and I've yet to see goal-line work. I've yet to see an Oklahoma drill. I've yet to see full-speed contact.

I've seen slow-speed contact. But in watching the coverage of other camps on the various networks, and having covered 24 previous training camps in Miami and around the NFL, I've been seen a lot of hitting going on by this stage. I haven't seen that much with the Dolphins so far.

It must be said that less contact typically means fewer injuries. But eventually, a team has to hit to prepare for the coming preseason and then the regular season. You don't want to go into the preseason without having hit and have the hitting in preseason be the introduction to contact.

One certain sign of Miami's low-contact camp so far has been the absence of fights among players. Obviously no coach encourages that sort of stuff, but it is a yearly fact of life in the NFL that training camp breeds a scuffle or two.

Not this camp. Not so far.

[UPDATE: Not today, either, as the team is in shorts today.]

I'm not saying this is a poor or wrong approach. I am simply reporting that so far, this is definitely the approach for Joe Philbin's Dolphins. It is interesting to me.

And it'll be more interesting to see if there is any fallout resulting from the minimal contact -- be it a team not prepared for hitting and rife with poor tackling or a team that is healthy and fresh for the start of the season.

It can, after all, go either way.

[BLOG NOTE: Come back this afternoon for the practice and interview update. And follow me on twitter for real-time updates.]

August 02, 2012

Coach Joe Philbin talks Bess, Tannehill, Steinbach, Davis

In this version of Joe Philbin's talk with the press, you find out that ..

... the quarterback competition is thisclose, according to the coach although by all measurements of MY EYES the competition is being won by David Garrard with no one else all that close.

The coach also entertains the question of why the club is giving Vontae Davis some snaps off from his first-team duties although it is clear as day that Davis is the team's best cornerback.

Coach also gives receiver Davone Bess his propers, explains the thinking behind giving Ryan Tannehill first-team snaps on Thursday and more ...

(On where he is in the quarterback evaluation process) –“I think it is very close. We’re keeping our eye on it and monitoring reps, we’re getting guys with different groups and we’re, I’d say, probably 75% of the way through installing our offense. We certainly don’t want to make any decisions before we have our offense in which is probably not going to be completed until early next week. We’re going to add some more tomorrow but then won’t add any more until after our scrimmage on Saturday, let the guys play a little bit so to speak. Probably cut back just a little bit of what we’re doing schematically on Saturday just to get the execution that we’re looking for. I’m not into trick ‘em schemes or anything like that. And then next week we have a little bit more install to do and then we have a game to get ready for. So I think that our guys are, and I’ve said it before, are an excellent room, and I believe that. They’re professional, they love the game, they’re supportive of one another, and they’ve had some moments that were better than others, for all of the candidates, but it’s a good group. I think we’re going to have good quarterback play.” 

(On how Ryan Tannehill looked practicing with the first team offense for the first time) –“I thought he was good. I told the players at the end of the practice that my gut tells me that none of the staff are going to be disappointed with the effort that the players put forth out there. I think it was very good. I think though, there were a lot of things from a fundamental standpoint, that we didn’t translate from the meeting room to the practice field very well in a lot of areas today. One illustration; we did a fumble recovery presentation in one of our team meetings. That’s not a huge play, but it’s something that we are going to drill later on and it’s something that we presented to the team how we are going to do that. But unfortunately, the ball was on the ground a number of times, and yet we didn’t see a carryover from the meeting room to the practice field today. Obviously our center-quarterback (shotgun) snaps, a couple of those got messed up, which you guys know, you can’t function effectively if those things are happening. I think there are a lot of detail things that need to get cleaned up, and Ryan I’m sure was part of that as well. But I thought that, I think it was the last play of practice, he was rolled out to the left and he gunned the ball in there. It looked like a pretty good ball from where I was standing outside the right hash, but I think he did some good things.” 

(On  Ryan Tannehill’s first team reps going forward) –“I think that it’s kind of an as earned type of basis. Certainly he’s throwing the ball well enough in the couple of days that he’s been practicing that deserves some opportunities with those guys, to work with different receivers and different linemen. So it’s definitely earned, and as we go forward, you know we have to take a look at the tape later today, and it’s kind of a fluid process Izzy. It’s not something that, while I said something to you in June that we had written down on a piece of paper all the snaps we foresaw these guys getting in the four preseason games, now that’s a fluid process too. Again, we’re going to evaluate everything and we probably won’t make final decisions as to the play snaps until we get through next Wednesday’s practice, so we can get an idea of whose, we may have injuries between now and then, but hopefully not, but it can change every day. I laid out all the practice schedules from the minute we got here until the training camp and through Dallas, but we’ve tweaked a couple. You know we need a little more one-on-one here; we don’t need as much of that here. It was a good idea back then, but let’s change this up. That’s something that we just, that’s why we meet so people can just chip in ideas and I take some of them and I don’t take others, but it’s been good.” 

(On whether he values practice reps or game reps more) –“Not necessarily, but again I don’t know about the weighted scale, but as we said Ben, some of it is going to be from the gut I think, because there’s not a huge statistical difference at this point in time. Again we’ll add today’s numbers, I don’t think we had great numbers today because we put in the bear (4-6) defense, which is a unique scheme for the offense to deal with, and both sides of the ball need practice on it. So it’s just kind of one of those days historically as I’ve been associated with it that the offense doesn’t do as well as they would like, but we’re going to take into every bit of information that we have; how they interact with teammates, what type of leadership traits do they have, how productive have they been, what’s their completion percentage. I think we’re going to look at everything and use the information that we have to make the best decision moving forward.” 

(On what he looks for in a rookie quarterback aside from performance) –“I think poise. Does it look natural for him (Tannehill) to be sitting back there and executing, and can he redirect a couple of things? Like I said that front that we played against today and the concept, sometimes defense forces adjustments in the protection. You know can he change a route? If he has two receivers outside and one guy’s got press and one guy’s got off (coverage), can he change the route and get us into a little better concept pass wise than what we had called? That’s what we need to, again we’re just installing the offense we’re not playing games yet, but that’s what we need to get to, common sense football. You’re quarterback needs to be able to look at things and understand the offense well enough to say ‘hey, we can adjust this,’ or ‘look they’re coming over here with the blitz, let’s move the back here and point the center over this way.’ Those are all things that I think are in the realm of (his ability). He’s a bright guy and even though he only had 19 starts, he knows football and he’s a football player. He contributed to his team as a wide receiver, and the guy is a football player.” 

(On how Tannehill’s familiarity with the offense puts him ahead of other rookie quarterbacks he has coached) –“I think it’s helpful right now in the installation phase. I think because he’s spitting out the formation, communicating the route concepts that are a little bit easier for him. Again, Matt and David have been in it for a little while now too, as well as Pat, but once you get into games, I’m not sure how much that is going to play into it. I think that with installation, which is what we’re in right now, it’s a benefit, but once that’s over with, the field levels out so to speak.” 

(On Karlos Dansby’s transition from the 3-4 to the 4-3 defense) –“I think he has a chance to play well in the scheme, no question about it. I think it fits his talents very well. We’ve played against him, when I was at another spot, a number of different times and he’s a very productive player. We used to think he was kind of slippery, you know he’s a hard guy to get your hands on at times, which is good because he slip off a block and get around a block and run well enough to make a play, so I think this defense is going to fit his talents well. He’s done a good job communication wise as you know. We’ve talked about the strength of a team up the middle; center-quarterback play, mike linebacker safety play is all important. I think he has a chance to perform well.” 

(On how much he would like to use the fullback in this offense) –“Well part of it…why we’ve done it the past couple days is because we want to get a sense of, they’re times where I’ve been a on a team where they’ve kept three fullbacks. I’ve seen teams in this league keep zero fullbacks. It’s all about gathering information and seeing if we can figure out what these guys do well, who’s the most physical blocker, who’s the most instinctive blocker, who can stay on his feet and block, and also who can sneak out into the flat and catch the ball, make a guy miss or break a tackle, those type of things. So I think we have made a conscience effort to get a little bit of more two back in there, as much of an evaluation tool as anything else. The scheme is negotiable week in and week out. Some weeks it might be empty, other weeks it might be two tight ends and two backs, whatever we have to do to move the ball.” 

(On the meaning behind the rotation of cornerbacks in practice, in particular Vontae Davis) –“I thouthg he made a couple real nice plays on the ball today. He’s locating the ball better when it’s down the field, but again there is nothing locked in stone here. It’s early, six practices in. We have heavy practices in the morning, we’ve had five walk thrus as well and we’ll have another one today, but we’re looking at guys who can execute what the coaches want done the best. It’s not a reflection that he hasn’t done well. We talked personnel after we practiced for four days. We’re going to have a scrimmage over at Sun Life Stadium and the coaches will immediately watch the film and meet with the players to correct the scrimmage, and then we’re going to meet again and talk about where everyone is at. Things can change quickly, but certainly we want to look at some other guys and create competition everywhere.” 

(On what he is looking for from Davone Bess) –“I’ve been really pleased with his camp. I think he’s had an excellent camp and I think he has tremendous leadership qualities; that’s important to us. There’s that saying ‘you lead from where you are,’ and I don’t think you have to be a quarterback to be a good leader. I love the leadership example that he sets for the other guys. He just makes plays. The thing we really want to get a sense of is who can win those one-on-one matchups, who can beat press coverage, who can make a play on the ball down the field, who can separate, who can create space underneath, among other things? It’s not all about a vertical shot down the field. And who can catch the ball consistently? It looked to me like we didn’t catch the ball as consistently well today as we have in the past, but I love his leadership. I think he’s having a good camp and I think he’s being productive. We’re looking forward to him contributing in a major way.” 

(On defensive end Olivier Vernon) –“The thing I like about him is the leverage that he is able to play with. He has very, very good pad level for a young player. I think, sometimes, young players tend to peak and get high and expose their numbers and their chest to the offense. I think he’s a guy that’s got very good leverage and appears that he’s very competitive with a good motor. That’s a good place to start. He needs some scheme work, some technique work obviously as does everybody else on the ball club, but those are the things that kind of jump out at me. I think he has strong hands. I think he has an ability to separate form blockers, but I would say his leverage is one thing that really, really you like about the guy. I think he’s competitive. I think he’s got that football, natural strength. I have no idea what he can bench press, couldn’t tell you what he did at the, I don’t even know if he went to the combine, but he’s strong. He can come off the ball and stick his nose and keep his elbows in and find the football.” 

(On how daunting the learning curve is for tight end Les Brown) – “It’s tough. It’s a tough job. I think we sat in the room a couple of days ago and talked about the pictures of him looking like a football player and then the picture of him looking like a real novice at the profession. His challenge is to get the novice ones, cut those down so he can get rid of those. It’s not easy. At times, I’ve stood up here and said, ‘The transition from right tackle to left tackle isn’t that big of a deal. You’re still blocking a defensive end. I know you’ve got the other hand down, but you’re blocking a defensive end or right  guard or left guard, same thing or if you’re Inside receiver or outside receiver, they can play man-to-man whether you’re inside or outside.’ You’ve still got to beat a guy. Where he’s coming from is a little bit different. It’s a little bit different. It’s tough. He’s learning well. The nice thing about Les Brown is you’ve got to give him his credit. I’d come in in the summer, poke around my office and catch a workout, and it happens that Les would be around watching the tape or working out. You’ve got to feel good about guys like that that are giving a great effort and they’re hungry. They want to do it, but, yeah, it’s going to be a challenge.” 

(On if he has a timetable for seeing what guard Eric Steinbach can do physically after being injured last year) –“He hasn’t had a whole lot of limitations. We talked to him earlier that look, ‘You’re, you’ve got 120-something starts under your belt. I know you want to get in here and jump right in with both feet, learn the system, get as many reps, prove yourself, fight for a job, all that stuff.’ And that’s all good. We want the same things. However, you also have to realize that you haven’t played in a year and you had a back issue, you had a knee issue in years past. I don’t think he’s really been limited a whole lot. He’s kind of like anybody else on the club where we’re going to give him an opportunity and see what he can make of it.”

Audio and visual edition of Thursday camp update

Rookie qarterback Ryan Tannehill got his opportunity to take a few snaps with the first-team offense today, marking the first time he's done so as a profressional.

He didn't seem overmatched. But neither did he look like the second-coming of Dan Marino. It was simply snaps in a practice in which Tannehill did some things well and some not so well. He had, for instance, a fine pass to Chad Johnson on an in-cut on a play that Johnson beat cornerback Jonathan Wade.

Tannehill also had first-down completions to Davone Bess and Marlon Moore.

All this was done as the Dolphins defense was installing the Bear or 46 front today, meaning they had lots of personnel at the line of scrimmage and they were attacking.

“It was good," Tannehill said. "I think I have a lot of things to learn from the tape, but it was good to get in there (and) see the first defense, see the different things that they bring as opposed to on the other end. (I) definitely have some things to work on, but I think it was a good start.”

Coach Joe Philbin said Tannehill "earned" his first-team snaps by throwing the ball well his first few days at practice. Tannehill split the first-team snaps with Matt Moore.

Watch other parts of the Tannehill interview below to get his reaction to how he did.

It was an interesting day for some Dolphins receivers today. In the Salguero dictionary, interesting can mean inconsistent.

Roberto Wallace, who finished Wednesday's practice with a 79-yard TD pass along the right sideline, started today's work on the field with a practicially identical play.

But ...

Then he dropped an easy deep pass later in practice that went through his hands, down his body and onto the ground. And He also dropped a slant pattern pass in traffic. If Wallace is going to take that next step from project and potential to production, he's got to catch those passes.

Chad Johnson had the catch of the day when a pass was underthrown and he stopped and dove back in front of a defender who expected to make a play on the ball. Johnson snatched the ball out of the air as he dove and foiled the turnover as well -- two negatives turned into a positive for the offense.

Afterward, by the way, receivers are trying to improve their catching skills. Ladies and gentlemen, Marlon Moore:


There was good news and bad news today. The bad news is receivers Brian Hartline (calf) and Clyde Gates (hamstring) missed another day of work. Hartline has practiced only two times this training camp. Gates has missed this entire week.

My opinion? Jake Long delivered the best news of the day today.

As you know, the Dolphins have shifted to a zone blocking scheme this season from the downhill power blocking team of the past few years. Long said he "loves" that. He said it is what Michigan did his final two seasons there and he believes it gives him the opportunity to use his altheticism.

"You get to run and get on guys and finish 'em and take them wherever they want to go," Long said.

That's good.

This is even better: Long said he is the "healthiest I've been in a long time." He added that it has been at least three years since he's been this healthy.

Listen to the interview:

Download Jake Long


August 01, 2012

Quickie camp post for Wednesday afternoon

Today was not exactly a stellar day for Miami's quarterbacks but if you're evaluating man versus man versus man, David Garrard versus Matt Moore versus Ryan Tannehill, the advantage again went to Garrard with Moore and Tannehill struggling behind him.

More on that in a few paragraphs ...

First the news: Brian Hartline (calf) and Clyde Gates (hamstring) did not practice today. Rookie Kelcie McCray (broken foot) was scheduled for surgery today.

The Good: The starting safety duo of Reshad Jones and Jimmy Wilson is being asked to come up with turnovers this season. They need to make plays, which the deep secondary for the Dolphins has done very little of in recent years. Wilson picked off Ryan Tannehill today and Jones picked off Matt Moore.

The Bad: Matt Moore threw two interceptions (by Reshad Jones and Anderson Russell) and fumbled on a strip sack by Randy Starks. I asked Moore how he's evaluating himself so far among the QBs. "I'm in the middle somewhere," he said ... Reggie Bush had two fumbles today, one on a rush and one after making a reception.  

The Ugly: Chad Johnson painted his fingernails black. Some of you may dig that kind of thing but I guess I'm not hip like that. Johnson said it had to do with him working with KISS rocker Gene Simmons on some song. I have no clue if he was being serious. Coach Joe Philbin? "In what was probably the wisest approach of the day, he said, "Certain things are important to me ... that's not one of them." Philbin then added, "He should have used light blue or something." 

Special teams note: Davone Bess, Marcus Thigpen and Reggie Bush are taking most of the punt return repetitions at this point. Thigpen is also taking kickoff return reps so the door is open for him to make the team on special teams if he can show that he's actually, you know, special at returning kicks.

The quarterback battle: If the season started tomorrow, I assume coaches, having seen the same thing everyone else has so far, would go with David Garrard as the starter. Obviously, the season does not begin tomorrow. Games will be important and Moore is a so-called "gamer." So we shall see.

Moore has been inconsistent and Ryan Tannehill, spectacular his first couple of days, came back to Earth today.

Let me give you a taste based on team drills.

First team offense versus first team defense:

Garrard complete to Reggie Bush who beats Vontae Davis one-on-one, but Davis strips the ball for a fumble.

Garrard complete to Legedu Naanee for 12 yards.

Garrard incomplete when Roberto Wallace drops a pass.

Garrard to Davone Bess for 8 yards.

Garrard incomplete

Third team offense versus second and third team defense:

Tannehill incomplete.

Tannehill to B.J. Cunningham in flat.

Tannehill to Cunninghamfor 20 yards.

Tannehill to Rishard Matthews for 18 yards.

Tannehill to Michael Egnew in the flat for 4 yards.

Two minute drills to end the practice ...

First teams:

1-10-40 -- Matt Moore to Anthony Fasano for 5 yards

2-5-45 -- Moore incomplete.

3-5-45 -- Moore to Davone Bess for 8 yards.

1-10-47 -- Moore to Marlon Moore for 9 yards against Vontae Davis.

2-1-38 -- Moore incomplete

3-1-38 -- Moore to Chad Johnson for 18 yards.

1-10-20 -- Moore incomplete.

2-10-20 -- Moore incomplete (Charles Clay drops a potential TD pass on skinny post)

3-10-30 -- Moore incomplete.

Second team two-minute:

1-10-40 -- False start.

1-15-35 -- False start.

1-20-30 -- Garrard incomplete when Clay drops a 20-yard gain.

2-20-24 -- Garrard scrambles for 6.

3-14-31 -- Garrard complete to Julius Pruitt for 8 yards.

3-24-21 -- (situational repetition) Garrard 79 yard pass to Roberto Wallace down right sideline for a TD.

Chad Johnson, by the way, spoke the media for the first time since camp opened. It was, shall we say, different. He's engaging, entertaining, enlightening and potty mouthed -- yeah, he uses curse words easily, I don't know if it's for effect or not.

Anyway, the audio is below. I must warn you, this is not suitable for youngsters. It is very much R-rated material. I do not recommend you listen to this at work. It contains foul language. It could be considered offensive to some.

Chad Johnson's first Dolphins presser




Things to look for as Dolphins camp starts Week 2

The Dolphins are back today after getting their first day off since the start of training camp. Some things to watch:

Brian Hartline: Will he return to practice? He's been nursing a calf injury and missed all but one day of practice. On Monday he said he wasn't going let the pressure of getting back prematurely bother him, but make no mistake, the pressure is there. Simply, the coaching staff wants to see him practice to get a comfort level with him because it hasn't seen him very much based on the fact they're new and Hartline missed much of the offseason work as well with the calf and appendectomy.

[Update 1: Hartline is not practicing.]

[Update 2: Safety Kelcie McCray, who left practice Monday, tweeted early this morning that he broke his foot and will have surgery today.]

Eric Steinbach: Will he see movement? He's played every one of this 124 NFL starts at LG. He was working at LG on the second unit all of last week except for a couple of periods on Monday. But as everyone knows, Miami's need is at right guard. So is the get acquainted period that coach Joe Philbin discussed over? Will Steinbach get more RG work today so that he can begin to mount a challenge to Artis Hicks for the starting job? Or does he stay at LG, get promoted to first team and Richie Incognito get moved to RG, which is his more natural position anyway?

[Update 3: Steinbach is working with the second unit and is still at LG.]

Ryan Tannehill: Today will be his first day in full pads. It doesn't really matter from a contact perspective because quarterbacks don't get hit in practice. But it could matter for the Dolphins if they're going to let him take first-team snaps and actually have an opportunity to mount a campaign to become the team's starter. If, if, if, if, the Dolphins are serious about letting Tannehill win the job, today could be key because today could be his day to get first-team snaps.

[Update 4: Not today. He's working primarily with the second unit.]

Clyde Gates: I have serious doubts about this cat. I don't know if he's tough. I don't know if he knows the plays. I don't know if his speed translates to this level. He missed a day of practice with a hamstring tweak. Does he shake it off and get right back into today? Or does he allow himself to cruise a little? We'll see.

[Update 5: Gates is not working during the early part of practice.]

Chad Johnson: He's scheduled to speak with the entire media corps for the first time since camp opened. Will he be humble? Will he be boastful? Will he throw the Patriots under the bus for his inability to get on the field last year? Will he have outlandish predictions? Will he even do the availability as promised? It's all unpredictable with Johnson.

Jamaal Westerman: Miami's vision for him initially was as a solid special teams contributor and backup defensive end. Except that the first four days of practice he showed impressive pass-rush skils -- albeit against mostly second-team personnel. So does the coaching staff react? Do they introduce Westerman into the competition for starting defensive end by letting him take some first-team snaps? Do they watch him more closely in the competition for pass-rush personnel? The competiton between Jared Odrick, Olivier Vernon and now Westerman got a lot more interesting last week. Let's see where it takes us this week because, after all, Westerman can't afford to let up as consistency is important.

[BLOG NOTE: I'll have the practice and interview update early this afternoon so make sure you come back for that. If you're looking for realtime updates, follow me on twitter. That's @armandosalguero.]