« November 2012 | Main | January 2013 »

73 posts from December 2012

December 31, 2012

Joe Philbin: Free agency on the table

There is a false narrative in the Dolfan community that because coach Joe Philbin came from the Green Bay Packers, he wants the Dolphins run like the Green Bay Packers, particularly when it comes to building the team.

The idea is that because Green Bay rarely dips toes in free agency, with few exceptions, Philbin wants the same in Miami.

That is not true.

"I'm not opposed to improving the football team in any way shape or form, by any method we can -- whether that's a trade whether that's free agency, draft obviously," Philbin said Monday in his end-of-season press conference. "I'm not opposed to any of that."

Philbin says player acquisition is a "collaborative" effort that includes general manager Jeff Ireland and his staff and Philbin and his staff. So free agency is on the table.

And that ties perfectly with what I tell you in my column today about the Dolphins being willing to attack the high end of free agency this offseason as they have not done since probably 2010.

As I've said before, the man in charge of personnel for the Dolphins will  continue to be general manager Jeff Ireland. Owner Stephen Ross will speak with the media later this week, but a source repeated to me again today that Ireland is absolutely safe in his job. So no change is coming there for this offseason.

This offseason is about improving everywhere -- particularly on offense.

"We certainly need to get better production and performance out of the offensive unit," Philbin said.

The coach wants to see massive improvement in the team's turnover margin. It was minus 10 this year which was in the bottom quarter of the league. And he wants to see more plays on both offense and defense relative to the passing game.

"I think these guys performed well," Philbin said. "We have to do a better job of putting points on the board. This is not a complicated game. We have to do a better job there. Part of the takeway issue is getting interceptions and fumble recoveries. But I don't know it's isolated to the receiver or DB positions.

"We need to address the explosive play element on both sides of the ball. We got to create more, we have to eliminate more from our opponent's play."

Well, if that doesn't speak to receivers (including TEs on offense) and DBs (particularly corners on defense) I don't know who it speaks to.

Among the things Philbin wants to improve is himself.

"I definitely need to improve like anybody else, no question about it," he said. "That's what the offseason is all about. I haven't had time to reflect necessarily going through the exit process today and meeting with the players. Obviously we had a plan in place for this season. I thought it was a good plan. However, obviously you have to make changes and adjustments and learn and make improvements. And we'll do that. We'll listen to the suggestions of some of the guys you work with on a consistent basis and see if they have ideas that may or may not benefit the program."

Improvement is the order of the day all around this franchise, folks. The Dolphins finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs. That's 7-9, 7-9, 6-10, and 7-9 in the last four seasons. And none of those seasons included a postseason berth.

"7-9 is not good enough," Philbin said. "... We have a lot of work to do. That's really where we are."


Losing season over, winning offseason must begin

 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Reggie Bush sumed it up best: “We just didn’t make enough plays, that pretty much sums up our season.”

Indeed, the Dolphins are a team of players that don't make enough plays. The team lacks playmakers. And that, I write in my column today must be Job One for general manager Jeff Ireland this offseason. He needs to be aggressive. He needs to spend money. He needs to add stars to a team that doesn't have enough of them.

I know many of you believe the Dolphins will not be a big player in free agency this offseason because that hasn't been the case in recent years. That is not what I've been told the approach will be.

Look, the Dolphins need to add big names to win more games. They also need to add big names to fill the stands because the home attendance this year was the lowest since 1989. They need to add proven stars at wide receiver and cornerback because the NFL is a passing league and the Dolphins are not good enough throwing the ball or defending the pass.

On defending the pass, let me share something about Sean Smith. Another publication "reported" Sunday that Miami might use the franchise tag on Sean Smith. That is not accurate. The Dolphins have no intention of using the franchise tag on Smith.

Smith''s a contributor. He's solid against taller, bulkier wide receivers. But he is not elite and not consistent enough to merit the $10 million tag for corners. The Dolphins will have to think long and hard before they even offer Smith half that amount on an annual basis.

Miami needs playmakers and Smith has not been that the past four seasons.

Speaking of playmakers, I am extremely, extremely disappointed with tight end Michael Egnew's rookie season. And based on what I've seen, I find it hard to believe he will simply turn it completely around and become a star in the next couple of years.

He has given no clue of being capable of that so far.

So what have I seen to give me pause? Forget that Egnew was inactive for 14 of 16 games. Forget that. But he was active last week and this week and in this one when Anthony Fasano went out with a concussion, he was replaced by Jeron Mastrud.

No disrespect to Mastrud who is a solid blocker, but he's Miami's next best tight end in the season-finale? What does that say about Egnew? 

Remember, Egnew was active last week for the first time this season. And after playing a handful of inconsequential plays early in the game last week, Egnew earned fewer important snaps this week. Last week he played early in the game. This week he was thrown in as almost an afterthought.

That is not the kind of return the Dolphins need from a third-round pick, especially not late in the year when he's had plenty of time to "get it" and understand the offense and his role and, you know, actually make some plays.

I cannot tell you the future is bright for this kid. I simply haven't seen it.

So about that big push in the offseason, including making a splash in free agency? Add tight end to that list of positions where the Dolphins should search.

One more thing: The Dolphins will have the No. 12 overall selection in the first round of the NFL draft, according to the NFL.

December 30, 2012

Patriots blow out Dolphins 28-0

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If you wondered how wide the gulf between the Dolphins and a playoff team is, now you know.

The Dolphins are seemingly an ocean apart from the Patriots. And today's 28-0 loss here is proof.

Joe Philbin's team was never really in it. Never really fought. Never really seemed capable of staying with New England.

The Patriots offense dominated in every imaginable category -- first downs, time of possession, passing yards, rushing yards.

The Patriots defense set a team single-game high for the season with six sacks. And after establishing that mark, they added a seventh sack on the very next play.

And not only did Miami get beat but it got beat up.

Richie Incognito (neck), Kevin Burnett (concussion), Anthony Fasano (concussion) and Dimitri Patterson (ankle) all left the game and did not return.

Doesn't matter, however. The Dolphins season is over.

Patriots holding on to 21-0 lead in fourth quarter

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. --It was an "almost" third quarter for the Dolphins.

They almost scored a TD on offense ... but Reggie Bush and Ryan Tannehill mishandled the handoff inside the five-yard line and the Patriots recovered at their own 1-yard line.

The Dolphins almost got an interception return TD from Chris Clemons, but the pass he snatched from Wes Welker was ruled incomplete because it hit the turf.

So the score remains 21-0 as we go to the fourth quarter.

The live blog continues in the comments section. See you there.

Patriots blowing out Dolphins 21-0 going to third quarter

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots have something to play for and the Dolphins are playing for pride. Well, playing for something is kicking pride's behind.

The Patriots have two touchdown runs by Stevan Ridley, including one on fourth down, and Tom Brady has that TD pass to Wes Welker.

The Dolphins?

They've got a lot of work to do --in many different ways.

The live blog continues in the comments section.

Patriots lead Dolphins 7-0

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Partiots have been churning yards and moving the chains but it wasn't until Ryan Tannehill threw an interception to open the door that they got on the scoreboard.

Ryan Tannehill threw his first interception in 136 passes (four games) and that gave New England the football inside the Dolphins 20 yard line.

Tom Brady threw a 9 yard pass to Wes Welker a couple of plays later.

That's not all the bad news.

Starting corner Dimitri Patterson came off the field late in the first quarter with an ankle injury. The Dolphins were already without Nolan Carroll. That thrust Bryan McCann into starting duty.

The live blog continues in the comments section. Join me there.

Live blog: Dolphins at Patriots

The season-finale ... can you believe it?

The Colts beat the Houston Texans today so if the Patriots win, they can secure a first-round bye. That means they are unlikely to rest their starters. With the Bills beating the Jets, the Dolphins will finish second in the AFC East.

The inactives for the Dolphins against the Patriots today are Pat Devlin, Davone Bess, Nolan Carroll, Josh Kaddu, Patrick Brown, Kyle Miller and Kheeston Randall.

Koa Misi is back in his starting job. The starting corners are Dimitri Patterson and Sean Smith.

The Patriots are activating TE Rob Gronkowski today and planning to play him some. Their inactives are Markus Zusevics, Alfronzo Dennard, Nate Ebner, Jake Bequette, Nick McDonald, Kamar Aiken, and Marquice Cole.

We have a live blog brewing today. It begins in the comments section below. See you there soon.

Stability offers the Dolphins ... stability but no stars yet

ESPN is reporting the New York Jets are soon going to fire offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, the former Dolphins coach fired last year from Miami. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, will be fired on Monday.

The Chiefs will have changes and are looking for a starting QB. The Bills are looking for a starting QB. The Cardinals are looking for a starting QB. The Eagles will have change and are getting rid of starting quarterback Michael Vick.

But the Dolphins will remain stable at general manager, coach and starting quarterback. That is a state of affairs, which I looked at and found hasn't been the case for the Dolphins at all since 2003. That's 10 seasons.

But ...

What does that tell us? Seriously.

The Dolphins have stability. But do they have a star coach? A star GM? A star quarterback?

We may have opinions about where those three men are going but in my column today I give you an honest assessment of where those men are now. I also offer where those men seem headed. Please check out the column.

Later today, we'll have a live blog of the Patriots and Dolphins game.

Randy Starks will play. Davone Bess will not. Koa Misi is expected back.

Talk to you later.

There are changes coming throughout the NFL

December 29, 2012

Dolphins do Trusnik extension, in great 2013 cap situation

It's not about this year anymore, as you know. It's about next year, and particularly next offseason for the Dolphins. And the team has been preparing for that mega-offseason in which it will have five picks in the first 100 picks of the NFL draft and approximately $46,840,000 million in salary cap space, assuming certain things happen.

First of all, the club has done only one contract extension this season. Jason Trusnik last month quietly signed a two-year extension on his original two year deal signed in 2011. That means Trusnik is signed through 2014 now. The extension is worth $2.17 million. It included a $600,000 bonus with base salaries of $715,000 in 2013 and $855,000 in 2014. Trusnik is making $700,000 this season.

It is the only contract extension the Dolphins did during this season. And it adds Trusnik to the list of players under contract to the team in 2013. Those players represent $75,060,751 in salary cap space already taken up for 2013.

Now, the salary cap has been estimated by various sources, including NFL.com, to come in at approximately $121 million for 2013.

So how much cap space will the Dolphins have?

Well, you have to add approximately $1.6 million in dead money to the Dolphins total to bring it to $76,660,751. That tells you the Dolphins will have $44,340,000 for next year.

But there are other machinations.

The club will sign perhaps 7-9 players to future contracts within days after the season. That will take up approximately $2.5-$3.3 million of space. So we're down to around $41,840,000 of available cap space for 2013. The team also has approximately $5 in unused cap space from this year. It can elect to carry over that cap space and use it next year (as most teams do) or not.

If the Dolphins carry over their space -- and I stress that most teams do -- they'd be at approximately $46,840,000 in available salary cap space for next season -- give or take $1 million. Use that as the working figure for available cap space in 2013 as the Dolphins enter free agency.

Free agency, you must remember, will include the 15 or so players Miami has unsigned.

Here is the team breakdown:

Player Name



Cap value

Davone Bess




Armon Binns




Kevin Burnett




Dan Carpenter




Nolan Carroll




Charles Clay




Karlos Dansby




John Denney




Michael Egnew




Brandon Fields




Jonathan Freeny




Jonas Gray




Richie Incognito




John Jerry




Reshad Jones




Josh Kaddu




Jovorskie Lane




Richard Marshall




Jonathan Martin




Rishard Matthews




Kelcie McCray




Kyle Miller




Lamar Miller




Koa Misi




Jared Odrick




Dimitri Patterson




Julian Posey




Mike Pouncey




Kheeston Randall




Josh Samuda




Derrick Shelby




Paul Soliai




Ryan Tannehill




Marcus Thigpen




Daniel Thomas




Jason Trusnik




Olivier Vernon




Cameron Wake




Jimmy Wilson




Will Yeatman




December 28, 2012

Matt Moore at a crossroads this offseason

Look around the NFL games this weekend and you'll see teams that need quarterbacks or intend to go to camp next year with a competition to see who starts at quarterback.

This list is long:

Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Arizona, Kansas City, probably Buffalo, maybe Minnesota and Cleveland.

And that brings me to Dolphins backup quarterback Matt Moore. He will likely have a decision to make this offseason because he is unsigned and because he still believes he can start in the NFL and because that won't be in Miami and because it might be some place else.

"Do I think I can play in this league? Yeah," Moore said Thursday. "Whether it's here or somewhere else, you need to be given that shot and it's hard to look at other places and put yourself in other people's shoes. Situations are what they are everywhere. There's different situations and issues everywhere. I don't worry about what's going on right now."

Right now all Dolphins players have been warned about thinking ahead to the offseason. I wrote a day or so ago that coach Joe Philbin told players to concentrate on the Patriots and nothing else. It's the reason cornerback Sean Smith and other pending free agents have hesitated to talk about their upcoming free agency.

But free agency is staring all of them in the face and that includes Moore, who will not get a shot to win the job in Miami next year but might elsewhere. And that possible chance to compete elsewhere seems appealing to him.

"I'm just looking for an opportunity," he said. "I'd love to be a starter. But we'll figure all that out in the offseason."

Don't get Moore wrong. He's a great teammate and he proved in the Jets game this year that he can come off the bench and play at a high level and lead his team to victory. So he can be a fine backup and re-sign with the Dolphins to do that if he wishes.

That's not a bad gig.

"I'm not unhappy doing that," he said. "But as a player and a competitor I'd love the chance to start somewhere. I think I can. I think I'm capable. Playing and the right situation is something you definitely have to look for."

Obviously someone is going to have to first offer the chance. And so Moore will hit free agency hoping for that chance. That's the priority. Even then, he's going to have to weigh location and situation because he has a family now and his next contract will likely permanently seal him as either a guy with a chance to start or a backup.

And if someone makes the offer, Moore is gone and the Dolphins will be searching for a backup QB. Otherwise, Moore will be offered a contract to be Miami's backup.

"I need to figure all that out in the offseason," he said. "Maybe it doesn't happen and I might be here."

December 27, 2012

Hartline, Fields, others are Pro Bowl alternates

Talked to Reshad Jones in the lockerroom today. We all know he is not a Pro Bowl pick this year. But he tells me that despite his breakout season he is not an alternate, either.

Wide receiver Brian Hartline, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career, tells me he is an alternate at the position.

Punter Bradon Fields is also an alternate at punter.

Of all these, Hartline has the greatest opportunity to play in the game because players such as New England's Wes Welker or Houston's Andre Johnson might not be able to play because their teams might be in the Super Bowl.

Fields has little chance of playing unless Dustin Colquitt, who made the team for the first time, somehow injures himself this weekend. Otherwise, Colquitt is not going to pass on the trip to Hawaii.

[Update: Mike Pouncey, Reggie Bush, Paul Soliai and Randy Starks are also alternates.]

Dimitri Patterson is a starter, could be a find

The Dolphins are clearly pleased with the work Dimitri Patterson did last weekend when he was thrust into a starter role against Buffalo because the cornerback is on course for his second consecutive start Sunday -- even as Nolan Carroll is practicing and probably capable of playing against the Patriots.

Patterson is at his post with the starters today and he's teamming with Sean Smith, who is back practicing at his usual starting cornerback spot after missing practice Wednesday.

I, for one, am not prepared to annoint Patterson a find yet. He played one game. The Cleveland Browns knew him much better and for a greater period of time before deciding to waive him.

But Patterson was very good against the Bills. And if he performs on the same level against the Patriots, who happen to have a top 5 passing attack, then the Dolphins can go into the offseason confident that they have a candidate for a starting job next year that they didn't have only two weeks ago.

In other practice news:

Randy Starks was absent against today, presumably as he continues to deal with the passing of his mom.

Davone Bess (back) missed practice again today and his chances to play Sunday seem grim.

Koa Misi, who missed practice Wednesday, worked at least on a limited basis Thursday.

December 26, 2012

What Cameron Wake says about going to the Pro Bowl

Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has been selected as a starter to the 2013 AFC Pro Bowl squad. The annual contest matching the AFC and NFC will be played on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

No other Dolphins player was named a starter or backup.

So what does Wake think about being names?


(On how satisfying it is to be voted to the Pro Bowl for a second time) –“It’s truly amazing, truly an honor and I’m really blessed to be here in Miami, be surrounded by the kind of guys, the type of team, especially on this defense. (We have a) band of brothers and it kind of feels like an honor I’m accepting on behalf of a lot of other guys because I think they’re a lot of other guys who are obviously deserving. Obviously, I wouldn’t be here in this situation if it wasn’t for a lot of the plays they made throughout the season."

(On if there was much doubt in his mind that he would make the Pro Bowl) – “Well, I’m definitely one of those guys that I don’t count my chickens until they hatch. Growing up, I didn’t have chickens at home. It’s one of those things in the back of your mind you hope for. Throughout this season, I’ve kind of been concentrating on making sure week-in and week-out we get the job done. Those numbers and those kind of things kind of just take care of itself."

(On taking a teammate to the Pro Bowl two years ago when he made it and if there is anyone this year that will be going along with him) – “Well, I’m definitely going to take anybody who’s willing to go. A lot like I said earlier, I have a lot of guys to thank to even be in the situation I’m in – Coach (Kevin) Coyle on down to (Defensive Line) Coach Kacy (Rodgers) and then the guys I play with, play next to every Sunday. So there’s a lot of tickets I’m probably going to have to look into because there’s a lot of guys who helped me get where I am.”

(On if it’s a fair assessment that some players are not enthusiastic about playing in the Pro Bowl, but that is not the case with him) – “Definitely… To be able to selected is an amazing honor, an amazing accomplishment. You guys know my story – it wasn’t a walk in the park. It wasn’t a smooth road for me. I took the back roads to get where I am. I had to fight for everything and then to get this honor and kind of turn it down is something that I would never do. Not only am I excited to be representing the Miami Dolphins, but the icing on the cake was the story that I’ve had and, if you believe in yourself and you can fight and scratch and claw for dreams, anything can happen. I think that all kind of sums it up."

(On whether he would like to see the Pro Bowl continued) – “Of course, 100%. I’m 100% for it. I know there are a lot of guys who think about it that’s that part of their goals at the start of the season, and I just try to be one of those guys. It’s a total honor to be selected by the coaches and your fellow players, guys that you play against. So guys are saying, ‘you know what, I have a lot of respect for the way this guy plays the game.’ Obviously, this is someone who you’ve been trying to kill, and who has been trying to kill you all game, but at the end day, you should able to say, ‘you’re a heck of a competitor and I respect the way you play.’ Coaches are the same way. I think that’s something that you really can’t get anywhere else, and I’m all for keeping the game to honor and reward guys who go out there and do it the right way all season.”

(On the Arizona game where he had 4.5 sacks after not having a sack through the first three games) – “It’s always interesting, I mean I think back to that little stint and the fact is there is nothing more glorious and more glamorous than the sack in the pass rushing business, and I think it was something that you guys probably paid more attention to than I did. I went out there every play and gave it my all, and that’s the way pass rushing is. If you think about it, a great season is 15, 12 , 20 sacks or whatever it may be, but you think about how many times you don’t get there, how many times you’re not necessarily making a play. As a pass rusher you have to go out every time with that mentality that you’re going to make the play. It’s one of those situations if you’re getting the pressure, getting the hit, you’re getting the hurry or whatever it may be, people don’t talk about those as much, but at the end of the day it’s part of your job. I go out there and I don’t look at the stats or try to figure out how many tackles I have. I don’t care about any of that stuff. I just go out and say this play, I’m going to bring my best on this play and when it’s over I’m going to move on and do the same thing the next time."

(On how he feels about being among Dolphins’ greats like Bill Stanfill and Jason Taylor in terms of making multiple Pro Bowls as a defensive end) – “You’re the first to tell me about that. I didn’t even realize that, but I mean it’s one of the things that I guess for later on with the grand kids or whatever it may be down the line to say, ‘you know what, this is what I was,’ but I don’t even want to think about those things right now. I just go out there like I said, and to even be mentioned in the same company with those guys, obviously I know Jason Taylor pretty well playing with the guy, he’s an amazing player and an amazing person, and like I said just being in that situation and being able to play the game that I love and to be able to even step on the field. If you think about it, three or four years ago whoever thought I’d be sitting where I am now. In 2006 I was sitting on the couch watching the games, so to go from there to here is really an amazing feeling.”

Pats have something to play for, Philbin wants to make sure Dolphins do also

Some Dolfans that had a wide view of the season-finale against New England figured the Dolphins might be playing for a playoff spot while the Patriots wouldn't really have much to play for as they had already qualified for the playoffs and perhaps a rest for the postseason beckoned.

Well, it turns out the Patriots have a lot more to play for than Miami. So forget the idea of Tom Brady taking the day off or the Patriots laying down against Miami.

Indeed, with the Dolphins season all but over, it is Miami coach Joe Philbin that is concerned about his players not going to the game with the same attention span and intensity that they normally carry. And he made that point to the team at their meeting today.

"Obviously it's a concern," Philbin said today. "When I signed on to coach the 2012 Miami Dolphins, I knew there were 16 regular season games to be coached. I have the same focus and our staff has the same focus and same sense of urgency we had when we opened the season in Houston. There shouldn't be guys talking about what I'm doing New Year's Eve or I'm doing this, that and the other thing. Because we know the task at hand is a large one. So absolutely it's a challenge."

Nope, Philbin doesn't want to see his players packing their golf clubs in the their trunks this week. And as for that happening in New England? Forget it.

The Patriots may be playing for a first-round bye if they win and get help elsewhere.

"I'm sure we’ll all be aware of that, yeah. No question," quarterback Tom Brady said. "But I don’t think that changes what our goal is for the weekend. I think we’re trying to win this game regardless. It could be different if some other teams win, but that’s really out of our control. We’re just going to go out and try to win.

And why is winning so important regardless of whether it means a first-round bye or not?

"We’re trying to build some confidence this week in what we’re doing, go out and have good practices, and go out and see if we can execute better than we have been," Brady said.

"I'm sure we’ll all be aware of that, yeah. No question. But I don’t think that changes what our goal is for the weekend. I think we’re trying to win this game regardless. It could be different if some other teams win, but that’s really out of our control. We’re just going to go out and try to win.

Pro Bowl announced today: Dolphins candidates

The Pro Bowl rosters for the AFC and NFC will be announced at 7 p.m. The Dolphins are bound to get some love from voters despite their 7-8 record.

So which players are viable Pro Bowl candidates?

Cameron Wake is a practical shoe-in. The defensive end is fourth in the NFL and third in the AFC (behind J.J. Watt and Von Miller) with 15 sacks this season.

Wake is the most explosive 4-3 defensive end in football right now. So he is going to get his props, I am assuming.

The field beyond Wake looks a little thin.

Punter Brandon Field leads the AFC with a 50.3 average per punt. His net average of 41.1 is fifth in the AFC so he has worthy and strong challengers in front of him.

Running back Reggie Bush?

I doubt it. He has 960 yards and that's good, but that's only ninth-best in the  AFC. And it's not as if Bush has any statistic, such as 20-yard runs or touchdowns, where he is atop the pack. Nope, don't see Bush getting the nod.

Wide receiver Brian Hartline is 15th in the NFL and sixth in the AFC with 1,014 yards. He has an outside, outside chance because his 14.7 yards per catch is second among AFC leaders, behind only Demaryius Thomas of Denver, who has a 15.0 average.

Mike Pouncey will get some votes but it'll be interesting because his brother Markice Pouncey siphons off a good number.

Reshad Jones will get some votes but I'm afraid his excellent game Sunday -- two fumble recoveries and an interception -- came days too late because players and coaches around the league concluded their voting on Thursday and Friday.

Middle linebacker Karlos Dansby leads the Dolphins with 121 tackles, but that's only 13th best in the NFL and sixth best in the AFC. Plus Dansby doesn't have too many highlight-type plays. The fact Ray Lewis missed most of the season will help Dansby.

So what does this all tell you?

Well, when Miami's top playmakers aren't even in the conversation of top playmakers around the league or conference it says Miami needs more and better playmakers.

Not a surprise to anyone.

December 24, 2012

Answers on Reggie Bush and Jake Long questions

The question of whether the Dolphins want to re-sign Reggie Bush after this season is no longer a question. I have learned the answer and wrote in my column for Monday's Miami Herald the Dolphins would like their leading rusher of the last two seasons to re-sign after this season is over.

Bush is scheduled to be a free agent after this season.

One caveat on that desire to keep Bush in Miami and it's an important one: The Dolphins have a price tag they are willing to pay for Bush. And if the Dolphins can get Bush for that price, then they'll be thrilled to have him.

If, however, Bush wants to break the bank and go to the highest bidder, the Dolphins will be equally happy to turn their lead running back duties to someone else. Who?

Well, again, I was told Sunday evening general manager Jeff Ireland is eager and excited about the possibility of Lamar Miller becoming a more vital part of the offense in 2013.

(Sorry, Daniel Thomas).

There's more.

What will the Dolphins do with long-time left tackle Jake Long after this season?

That's covered in the column as well. It is very telling that the Dolphins believe Jonathan Martin's first few days as an NFL left tackle were significantly better than his first few days as an NFL right tackle.

The team thought Martin to be an F-rated right tackle when he first showed up to training camp. He obviously got better from there and earned the starting job at the position. But when Long went down with a torn triceps injury and Martin was thrust into the starting job on the left side, the Dolphins actually thought Martin immediately performed like a C-plus left tackle.

And he's gotten better from there.

So what are the odds of Miami re-signing Long, who is a free agent after this season? Well, the Dolphins aren't against the notion if Long is going to sign a bargain contract. But the club recognizes someone without a viable answer at LT will be willing to pay Long probably more than the Dolphins are willing to pay.

So Long has one foot out the door.

The column also describes Ireland's plan for this offseason. It's all about adding playmakers. By the way, the best playmaker on defense Sunday was safety Reshad Jones. He recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass.

Jones is signed through next year so he's not going anywhere.

But he tells me that his agent Joel Segal and the team have talked about a contract extension and he hopes to get one done this offseason. "That's what I'd like to see," Jones said. "But I'm just playing and letting my agent and the team take care of the rest."

Please follow Armando Salguero on twitter.

December 23, 2012

Dimitri Patterson goes from waiver to starter in seven days

Dimitri Patterson got waived from the Cleveland Browns Monday night. The Dolphins claimed him Tuesday afternoon. He arrived Wednesday, took a physical and joined his first practice after it had already started.

And on Sunday he started for the Dolphins against the Buffalo Bills.

"It was definitely a busy week for me," Patterson said after the Dolphins beat the Bills 24-10. "I found out I was playing Tuesday night; I had to travel 4 o’clock in the morning Wednesday, coming in and trying to get the terminology down. It’s a whirlwind mentally, but I settled in after the first couple of series, and it was football again. It was a transition for me, but a good one, not a bad one, so I’m grateful for it.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I got the news Monday that I was being waived. I didn’t know what to expect beyond that. I was taking everything in stride at that point. When I came here, it was a matter of me learning as fast as I can. I had a good week of practice, and the coaches felt comfortable that I would make minimal mental mistakes, and they had enough confidence in me."

It was funny that during the game Sunday, Dolphins coaches were yelling instructions to Patterson from the sideline, telling him what the call was on defense.

Guess what? He's probably starting next week as well.

Although Nolan Carroll is nursing a knee injury, forcing Patterson to play Sunday, the replacement was seemingly as good as Carroll has been most of the season.

Sean Smith, by the way, left the game in the first half with a left knee injury. He will have an MRI Monday morning to determine the severity of the injury.

Dolphins beat Bills, 24-10, but playoff hopes over

The Dolphins have a multi-pronged assignment in trying to stay alive in the playoffs.

They accomplished the first, and likely easiest portion of that issue today with a 24-10 victory over the reeling Buffalo Bills.

But because the Bengals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10 on a last-second field goal, the Dolphins are out of the playoff hunt in 2012.

The season for Miami will end next week at New England.

In Miami, Reshad Jones had a career day. He recovered two fumbles. He intercepted a pass at the goal line.

Dolphins pounding Bills 24-3 going to fourth quarter

Dave Wannstedt's defense is playing like, well, a Dave Wannstedt defense late in the season.

The Dolphins have three TDs from Reggie Bush.

Young WRs Armon Binns and Rishard Matthews are showing flashes.

And the defense has swamped the Bills with multiple fumble recoveries in the third quarter alone.

It's a route.

And it continues for one more quarter as does this live blog. Go to the comments section now.

Dolphins lead Bills 14-3 going to third quarter

The Dolphins are playing a solid game so far and against the reeling Bills, that's been good enough so far.

The Dolphins have two touchdowns from Reggie Bush -- one via a reception, the other on a second-quarter 1 yard run. And the defense that has been solid much of the year has been solid today.

The Dolphins have held Buffalo to 1 of 6 on third down.

Stevie Johnson is having a nightmare day -- having dropped two passes including a TD and having fumbled his only catch of the game.

Michael Egnew has played two plays in the first half but the ball has not come his direction. Ryan Tannehill is not completing 50 percent of his throws but he's leading the team with 43 rushing yards.

The live blog continues in the comments section. Go there.