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4 posts from August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

The Pat Devlin lovefest ends

In the end, all the jokes about how much Joe Philbin loved Pat Devlin and how players viewed Devlin as the coach's adopted son matter little because the Dolphins are moving on from their fourth-year quarterback.

The team which signed Brady Quinn Monday evening made room for the new backup quarterback by releasing their third-stringer of the past three seasons.

Devlin's release was first reported by FoxSports1's Mike Garafolo.

And it wasn't so much Devlin's inability to mount a challenge for the No. 2 quarterback job that doomed him with the Dolphins but rather his inability to get on the field. Devlin had not practiced since the Aug. 2 scrimmage in which he injured a hamstring.

Marginal player. Not practicing for 10 days.

Bad things, man.

"I think he's definitely developed," Philbin said of Devlin. "I like his play speed. That's one of the great strengths that I think he has. He plays the game fast, he's decisive when he's back there. But again, let's call it what it is, and he has to come out there on a more consistent basis to get a good, thorough evaluation."

There had been rumors that the Monday quarterback tryouts the Dolphins staged could affect Moore's status as the No. 2. The thinking was Moore is costing $5.5 million against the cap this year and cutting or trading him would save $4 million.

Not likely to happen.

The tryouts were to replace Devlin.

Brady Quinn is an experienced veteran but he's not likely to displace Moore -- barring a total collapse by Moore the remainder of the preseason.

Matt Moore is the Dolphins' No. 2 quarterback unless something significant changes. Signing Brady Quinn and cutting Pat Devlin was not that something.

 

Dolphins begin prep for Reshad Jones suspension

We know that starting safety Reshad Jones, who has started 44 of the past 47 games for the Dolphins, is going to be no where in the team's vicinity the first four games of 2014 because he must serve an NFL mandated four-game suspension for violating the league policy on performance enhancing drugs.

And so eventually the Dolphins have to prepare for not having their starter in the lineup.

Well, the preparation started today as Jones was bounced to second-team safety throughout practice while Jimmy Wilson took all his repetitions with the first team in Jones's former spot.

"We lose an experience player but we feel we have capable backups. Every team in the NFL is going to deal with situations that arise, whether it be injuries whether it be off the field issues. And the teams that deal with them the best are the teams that end up competing at the end of the season for the playoffs and for championships. We don't treat this any different than knowing we're going to be without a player for a couple of games. You have to adjust, move forward, and that's what we plan to do. That's why I'm glad we still have three more preseason games to continue to assess the entire group both at the safety position and the nickel."

Coyle is very confident about Wilson as his safety. The defensive coordinator believes Wilson has plenty of experience and will play hard and rally to the football. (I have my reservations and believe this is a step backward for the defense but that's for another day).

"He's one of the best communicators on the team," Coyle said. "When he's been in big situations, he's come up big for us."

The problem is the Dolphins aren't just replacing one "starter" back there. They're replacing a player in Wilson who has been the starting nickel for two seasons and done the job well.

So the Dolphins must identify a replacement for Wilson as the nickely from among the goup of Cortland Finnegan, Jamar Taylor or Will Davis, or Michael Thomas. Taylor and Davis both worked at nickel today. Finnegan was absent for the second consecutive day after posting on Instagram that there had been a death in his family.

"We have options," Coyle said.

The question is whether those options will be good enough to defend the New England Patriots passing game which has in the past has been very good at picking out weak links in the Miami defense and attacking them.

"It's a work in progress," Coyle saidl, "but when we line up against New England I'm going to be confident we have a group out there that's going to give us the best chance to win."

Grossman, Skelton, Quinn work out for Dolphins [Updated]

It was an interesting scene watching the entire Dolphins brass -- including general manager Dennis Hickey, head coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and others -- emerge from the practice bubble moments ago after conducting workouts for three quarterbacks.

The Dolphins worked out Rex Grossman, John Skelton and Brady Quinn. Sources say the team is now planning to give each player a physical before deciding which player (if any) to add to the roster.

[Update: Grossman is not likely to sign with the Dolphins, according to a source. He has another visit set up already with another team. Skelton and Quinn are still in the running.]]

[Update 2: Skelton is not likely to sign with the Dolphins, Brady Quinn remains a possibility and the team is considering "other options," according to a source.]

This much is certain: The team is not happy with the situation behind Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore and perhaps it's too early to include Moore in that group, too.

Today, neither Pat Devlin nor Seth Lobato took any seven-on-seven or team drill snaps. This after the Dolphins cut Brock Jensen yesterday.

And so the Dolphins clearly want to see if they can improve their No. 3 QB competition.

But here's the rub: As all three players worked out today have experience starting in the NFL it is possible the team might be trying out players to increase the competition for the No. 2 QB spot. So perhaps Moore is about to get a run.

That hasn't been the case so far this year and, really, not been the case since Joe Philbin became coach in 2012. While Moore has not been able to win the starting job, Pat Devlin has offered little by way of competition to push Moore for the No. 2 job.

Perhaps the Dolphins want that competition in the form of one of the three QBs worked out today.

Rex Grossman, other QBs to audition for Dolphins

The Dolphins are auditioning several quarterbacks on Monday and former Florida Gators quarterback Rex Grossman will be one of those, agent Drew Rosenhaus said on WSVN-7 in South Florida Sunday evening.

The idea that the Dolphins need quarterback help goes beyond the fact the team released Brock Jensen, the fifth quarterback on the roster, on Sunday.

It goes to the idea that behind Ryan Tannehill everyone else is either nursing some physical ailment or dealing with a significant lack of ability.

Matt Moore has missed much of practice for most of the past five days -- including Friday's preseason game at Atlanta -- because he's had a sore throwing shoulder. Moore did throw more in practice on Sunday but is still not 100 percent.

Third-stringer Pat Devlin hasn't competed since the team scrimmage Aug. 2. He has a hamstring injury. And there is this:

Although Devlin is a favorite of coach Joe Philbin, the shine on him is starting to fade because, frankly, he shows no signs of challenging Moore for backup status entering his fourth season, and the idea of keeping only two quarterbacks on the roster has to be considered because the Dolphins have more talent at other positions that might be worthy of a roster spot ahead of Devlin.

Seth Lobato? He got three quarters of work against Atlanta in the preseason game and although he wasn't terrible, the fumbled shotgun snap in the Atlanta red zone late in the game was disappointing to coaches. The Dolphins also did not score a TD while Lobato was in the game.

His days on the roster seem numbered.

So the Dolphins are looking to add a live arm in camp that perhaps might increase the competition in the quarterback room. Grossman, who turns 34 later this month, might be that player.

He has played nine years and thrown 63 TDs and 60 interceptions in 54 games (with 47 starts). He was the starting quarterback when the Chicago Bears went to the Super Bowl in 2006.

By the way, am I advocating signing Grossman?

No. I'm advocating looking around for possible answers. Turn over rocks. Look for possibilities.

And here it is: I wish the Dolphins would work out Tim Tebow. He's been working out and working with a quarterback coach. He does have NFL experience. He did help take the Denver Broncos to the playoffs in 2011 and was 7-4 as a starter and even won a playoff game against Pittsburgh.

Is Tebow a great prospect?

No, but he's more accomplished than either Pat Devlin or Seth Lobato.

So why not?

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The team signed running back Cameron Marshall to take Jensen's roster spot.

Daniel Thomas, nursing a hamstring, continues to miss practice. The Dolphins announced that Jason Fox (chest), Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and Micajah Reynolds (knee) would miss extended practice time.

Tight end Michael Egnew (concussion) returned to practice today.