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17 posts from April 2012

April 10, 2012

Dolphins zone in on quarterbacks; Sid Rosenberg fired; UM, Heat, Canes


Of the consensus five best quarterbacks expected to be available to the Dolphins in the draft, they have spent clearly the most time with Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill and Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler. Though there are mild concerns internally about his lack of experience (19 starts at quarterback), the Dolphins have told people they like Tannehill  and they left with a good impression after their recent private visit with him.

Some chatter on the five as we streamroll toward draft day:

### Tannehill (29 touchdowns, 15 picks): He’s riding media momentum, thanks to Mike Mayock and Todd McShay touting him. But know this: CBS’ Charley Casserley said that eight teams told him after the college season that Tannehill should be a late-first or early second round pick.

Here’s what else should concern you: He threw three interceptions against each of the top defenses he faced in 2011 (Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State). “The Texas game was kind of a red flag,” Kiper said. “He didn’t look like the quarterback he was in other games against lesser defenses.” He completed 20 of 49 passes in that game.

Fox’s Brian Billick said Tannehill "scares the hell out of me" as a high pick. “He has potential to be very good, but he made a lot of mistakes,” Sports Illustrated’s Tony Pauline said. “There’s too much risk” at No. 8.

But here’s the flipside: Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak said: “The upside on him is tremendous. That’s something everyone is going to take into account.” Seahawks GM John Schneider: “He has this natural toughness that players really rallied around.”

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan: “I like Tannehill an awful lot. I watched every catch he had as a receiver the first 2 ½ years, every throw as a quarterback. He’s got the ability to roam, good feet, big upside,… anticipation.” Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman loves his “poise” and said he makes players around him better, drawing comparisons to Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in that regard.

Casserly said, “I like him better than Jake Locker and Christian Ponder. He’s more accurate and a better decision maker than Josh Freeman. I see vision and progression reading. He’s been in a pro offense. He’ll pat the ball before he throws it, telegraphs it a little. But he’s not the first guy who’s done that. Is eight too high? If you want to get him, you get him.”

### Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden (37, 13): “A beautiful thrower, one of the real pure passers in the draft,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told us. “But the age does factor in. He’s going to be” 29 in October.

But it’s not just the age issue. “There were some games he was making some bad throws, some bad decisions,” Kiper said, who projects him to go 37th. “He had three interceptions against Louisiana Lafeyette, a couple picks against Tulsa and Kansas State, three in a loss to Iowa State. He has a big-time arm, can beat you over the top. We know he’s got the leadership and maturity.”

### Arizona’s Nick Foles (28, 14): An option at 72 or 73 for Miami, but his stock is falling. “You can’t argue with the arm strength and size,” Kiper said. “He can throw on the move very effectively, so there’s a lot to like.” But… “He’s not as precise as you need to be throwing into those tighter windows in the NFL that he’ll see,” Kiper said. “He may be more of a developmental quarterback.”

### Osweiler (26, 13): Casserly said he’s no better than a fourth-rounder; Kiper has him in the early third. “The big thing is the bad decisions,” Kiper said, noting he completed only 45.5 percent of his passes in the red zone. “He forced a lot of balls into coverage last year. He had six games with multiple interceptions, and five of them were losses. The delivery is going to bother some. It’s a little unorthodox, but I don’t worry about that because he’s 6-7, and it didn’t hamper Phillip Rivers. He did look real good against USC, outdueling Matt Barkley.”

McShay said Osweiler, who visited Dolphins camp Monday, “has first-round natural tools but he’s not ready” to play.

### Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins (25, 10): Strong leader and good accuracy. The Dolphins have spoken favorably of Cousins, Weeden and Tannehill to NFL people.

“Amazing character and competitiveness, real chip on his shoulder,” Carroll said of Cousins. “He’s very, very impressive.”

But Pauline said even though “he has the ability to develop into a starting quarterback, he’s very indecisive and makes poor throws on occasion.” NFL Films’ Greg Cosell said he watched five of Cousins’ games and was “disappointed. Saw a limited passer with average arm strength.” He could go in round three or four.

All the others, including Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson, San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley and Boise State’s Kellen Moore, are projected for the fifth through seventh rounds, with none projecting as more than a backup.

### The Dolphins have been spending a lot of time with under-the-radar Southern California defensive end/tackle Armond Armstead, considered a first- or second-rounder before he experienced chest pains last spring. USC doctors didn’t give him clearance to play last season, but Armstead – who was summoned to Dolphins offices last week – said he’s fine and has no heart issue... For Dolphins news on Cameron Wake and the four free agent linebackers who visited Tuesday, see my story on the home page or my previous post.


WQAM fired afternoon host Sid Rosenberg on Tuesday afternoon because of his arrest last week for DUI and driving with a suspended license. The station immediately hired former University of Miami defensive lineman Dan Sileo to replace him on the 3 to 7 p.m. show, beginning immediately.

Sileo was fired by a Tampa station last month after referring to three black players - Vincent Jackson, Jonathan Vilma and Cortland Finnegan - as "monkeys." Sileo generated high ratings during his time as a morning sports talk host in Tampa.

Rosenberg, who has spoken of his problems with addictions, declined to comment Tuesday. WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to discuss Rosenberg's dismissal beyond calling him "a friend." But a source said the station simply lost patience with Rosenberg because of past indiscretions, and this was the last straw.

Of Sileo, Bell said, "I'm confident Dan will do a great job."

It was tumultuous day in local radio, with Jorge Sedano leaving 790 The Ticket to concentrate on his job doing a fantasy sports show for CBSSports.com. That show might move to CBS Sports Network.

### If you want to make a case for why the Heat’s James Jones should play more, here's something to consider: Jones, whose shooting allows Miami to spread the floor, has logged 25 minutes all season with the Big Three, and Miami has outscored teams, 86-52, during that time (a pace of 165 points per game).

### Though the Marlins spoke with Major League Baseball, the decision to suspend Ozzie Guillen was made entirely by Jeffrey Loria. A spokesman for the owner said Loria was “appalled and very disappointed” by Guillen’s comments….

NBC’s Bob Costas, calling Thursday’s Marlins-Phillies game for MLB Network, applauded the suspension on a conference call: “The Marlins had to react forcefully without any ambiguity. There is no reason to respect or admire Castro. Five games seems equitable and reasonable to me.” The lesson for Guillen, Costas said, is this: “Regardless of Ozzie’s shoot from the hip history, he better keep it holstered on anything that goes outside baseball. The other stuff, I don’t think he has much wiggle room any more. [White Sox chairman] Jerry Reinsdorf was pretty indulgent through the years, but Ozzie has painted himself into a corner now.”

### UM offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Tuesday that receiver Rashawn Scott has had “the most consistent spring of anyone on offense” and that receiver Kendal Thompkins has been a pleasant surprise... Al Golden, asked why having so many NFL prospects did not equate to more wins last season: “There’s clearly a talent pool we have to get more out of. It's my problem. It's something I have to fix.'' …

Safety Rayshawn Jenkins, a summer arrival, said he has been told he also might play receiver, and Golden said he's "all for" players playing both ways if they can handle it. He mentioned linebacker Gionni Paul got some work Tuesday at fullback, where UM is depleted.... UM said center Reggie Johnson still hasn't informed them if he's going to the NBA or returning for his senior season, according to a UM spokesperson. Every other player has committed to return.

April 09, 2012

Four LBs visit Fins; Rosenberg fired; Cam Wake AWOL

Quick notes:


### WQAM fired Sid Rosenberg on Tuesday afternoon after his recent DUI arrest. Former UM defensive lineman Dan Sileo, who has worked in Tampa and Orlando, will replace him from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays. See our new post, on the left, side for more details.

### For news on four free agents who visited Dolphins camp Tuesday, please scroll to the "DOLPHINS TUESDAY UPDATE" below.

### Jorge Sedano, 790 The Ticket's morning host since 2009, left the station on Tuesday to concentrate on his daily sports fantasy show on CBSSports.com. An industry source said that program might move to cable's CBS Sports Network.

"At this stage of my career, I need to focus on the TV side," Sedano said, noting that the station produced its highest morning show ratings ever during his tenure.

Sedano, 34, has been at 790 since 2007 and morning host since May of 2009. He will continue his association with WFOR-CBS 4, where he's the freelance No. 3 sportscaster.

Brandon Guzio will replace Sedano on an interim basis, effective immediately.  Station program director Tod Castleberry said there are "a tremendous number of candidates" to replace Sedano but the station won't rush a decision and he doesn't know if he will hire one host or two. 

### Dolphins linebacker Cam Wake skipped the start of the team's voluntary offseason program on Tuesday in an attempt to pressure the Dolphins to do something with his contract, according to a source.

Wake is due to earn $615,000 next season in the final year of his contract - a salary which ranks 30th on the team. Wake, who has 32 sacks in three seasons, has been told several times that the team would address his contractual situation, but nothing has happened, and Wake's camp hopes this move applies pressure on Miami to act.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has said the team wants to keep Wake longterm.

### WQAM on Monday suspended afternoon drive host Sid Rosenberg for a week following his arrest last week on charges of DUI and driving with a suspended license.

The station permitted Rosenberg to go back on the air Friday after he spent much of Thursday in jail. But on Monday, the station decided to suspend him for the week while investigating the matter further, general manager Joe Bell said.

The station did not definitively say that he will return to the air after this week, though that's quite possible. A decision on his longterm status has not been made but will be made by the end of the week, Bell said. Bell denied an Internet report that Rosenberg has been fired.

Bell declined to comment further on Rosenberg's future or whether Rosenberg might receive treatment for his issues.

Rosenberg was arrested early Thursday morning in Hollywood. According to officer Jon Cooke, police found him “laying on the ground behind his vehicle in the fetal position with his fingers in his mouth. He appeared to be attempting to induce himself to vomit…. I noticed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from his mouth. His speech was extremely slurred and he was crying.”

Rosenberg has spoken in the past of his battles with addictions, including alcohol, drugs and gambling. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Steve White was expected to fill in on Monday. Channing Crowder is an interesting option as a fill-in, but he has been busy preparing for a return to the NFL, according to the station.


### The Dolphins confirmed our report from the past several days that linebackers Gary Guyton, Bryan Kehl and Quentin Groves visited on Tuesday. Also visiting: linebacker Jonathan Goff.

Goff started at middle linebacker for the Giants in 2010 and had 80 tackles and a sack. But he missed last season when he tore an ACL prior to the regular season opener. Goff, a former fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt, has been with the Giants all four seasons.

Guyton started 30 games for the Patriots over the past three seasons and had 47 tackles last year.

Kehl played two seasons (plus one game in 2010) for the Giants and then spent most of 2010 and all of 2011 with the Rams. He had 15 tackles as a backup last season and has started five games in four NFL seasons.

Kehl, a former fourth-round pick out of BYU, and Guyton, who went undrafted out of Georgia Tech, can play both inside and outside linebacker.

Groves started 12 games for the Raiders in 2010, three last season. He had 26 sacks at Auburn but 2.5 in four NFL seasons.

The Dolphins are looking for another linebacker to both provide depth and potentially compete with Koa Misi to start. Former Dolphins Backup linebacker Marvin Mitchell signed with Minnesota on Tuesday.

### Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler arrived in Miami on Monday and will visit with the Dolphins on Tuesday. He's a potential late-second or early-third-round draft choice. 

### Dwyane Wade, who missed Sunday’s win against Detroit, with an ankle injury said he expects to play Tuesday against Boston. He said both of his ankles are hurting.

### Chris Bosh had this explanation for the Heat’s 10-1 record without Wade this season: “The urgency goes up a lot more when you don’t have Dwyane in there. We know the responsibility is higher.”

Bosh then admitted the challenge is playing with the same urgency with Wade playing. “That’s the last frontier for us,” he said. “To win a title, that’s the level we’re going to have to play at.”

### Erik Spoelstra said LeBron James will defend at least four positions Tuesday against Boston. He did not disclose whether Terrel Harris or James Jones would continue to get minutes when Wade returns. Harris was playing before Wade’s injury; Jones was not playing but scored 18 points in his absence Sunday.

April 07, 2012

Y. Bell/Dolphins update; Dolphins examine pass-rushers; Heat, Marlins, Canes

Sunday night update: Agent Drew Rosenhaus said on his weekly segment on WSVN-Fox 7 that it's unlikely Yeremiah Bell will return to the Dolphins.

The Dolphins and Rosenhaus had discussions about Bell re-signing with Miami after he was released last month, but those talks did not work out, Rosenhaus said. Instead, the Dolphins signed former Vikings free agent strong safety Tyrell Johnson.

Rosenhaus said he could see a scenario in which Johnson and Reshad Jones compete at strong safety (Bell's former position with Miami), and Chris Clemons and Jimmy Wilson compete at free safety. Jones started 12 games at free safety last season, but his skill set is well-suited for strong safety. Wilson played cornerback last season but has experience playing safety at Montana, and the Dolphins have given thought to moving him there.

The Eagles, Jets and Patriots reportedly have expressed interest in Bell. If he signs with the Patriots, he would be the second member of last year's Dolphins secondary to sign there, joining Will Allen.

# # #

Now on to the Sunday buzz column...

With the Dolphins failing to add a premier free agent pass rusher, there’s more urgency now to draft at least one – someone who can play defensive end, outside linebacker or both on a team that finished 13th in sacks per pass play and lost its second-leading sacker in Jason Taylor, who had seven.

In this draft, “there’s a good group that can turn up the field athletically,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. Some buzz on Miami’s options:

### Possibilities at No. 8 --- North Carolina’s Quinton Coples: If he’s there, it will be tempting because of the physical gifts. But several scouts said Coples is too risky because of inconsistent effort and performance last season, when four of his 7.5 sacks came against James Madison and Duke.

Coples said he understands why some people did not believe he was giving full effort: “I take long strides. It’s the gift and the curse.” One scout laughed at that, saying he simply didn’t bother chasing some plays to the opposite side.

“Coaches told scouts that he was playing not to get injured as a senior,” Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline said, adding he would take Coples at No. 8 because “he’s a top five talent, and you have to role the dice and look at the potential value and upside. You could have a dominant defensive lineman for a long time. You might look back with regret, but it’s a Randy Moss situation. At the Senior Bowl, when Coples wanted to be, he was dominant. He’s a game-changer.”…

South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram (10 sacks): Ingram said what sets himself apart is “my relentless effort to get after the ball.” That can’t be disputed, nor can his athleticism and versatility; he was star basketball player in high school and scored a touchdown on a fake punt last year.

The only concern is his size (6-1, 31 ½ inch arms), which makes him a bit of a linebacker/end tweener. “He has quickness and explosion, but I would not play him at defensive end,” CBS’ Charley Casserly said. “There are not many successful 6-1 defensive ends.” NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said: “The key to Ingram is moving him around. He’ll be disruptive as long as you’re creative.” ESPN's Mel Kiper has Ingram going seventh and Coples 12th in his latest mock draft.

Coples and Ingram will both visit the Dolphins.

### Options if Miami trades down in the first round --- Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw (8.5 sacks): No. 8 “is early for him,” Pauline said. Kiper has him going 16th and said “there are fair questions about whether he’s a tweener – too small to handle 4-3 defensive end and too big to be an every-down 3-4 outside linebacker.”…

Southern California’s Nick Perry (9.5 sacks): He’s “a little bit of an athletic freak,” Mayock said. His 4.51 in the 40 was impressive for a 271-pounder. Concerns? “Some games, I thought first-round pick,” Mayock said. “Others, I thought second or third.” Kiper, who has him going 28th, said he’s “a good pass rusher but might not be an every-down guy.” Casserly said he's inconsistent against the run....

Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus (16 sacks, nine forced fumbles): “He’s a little bit of a one-year wonder,” Mayock said. “I don’t think he’s stout at the point of attack. Borderline late one to mid-two.” Kiper has him going 19th.

Mercilus had just one sack in 17 games before last season but said, “I was learning before last year. Sixteen sacks is 16 sacks! You can’t just fall into a sack!”…

Syracuse’s Chandler Jones: His stock has soared; Kiper raised him all the way to 18th in his mock draft, even though he has just 10 career sacks (4.5 in seven games last year). “A phenomenal athlete and the most underrated player in the draft,” ESPN's Todd McShay said.

### Possible options at 41: Boise State’s Shea McClellin (seven sacks). There's a decent chance he will be gone before that; Kiper has him going 27th. “The more tape I watch of him, the more I like him,” Mayock said. “A playmaker with a nose for the football. Second round pick who could move into the first.”…

Marshall’s Vinny Curry (11 sacks, plus two in the Senior Bowl): “He would be a tremendous bargain if he’s there at that spot for Miami,” Pauline said. “Curry has a more well-rounded game than Mercilus. Stopping the run isn’t a strong suit for either. Curry is actually a better pass rusher than Coples, but Coples is a more complete guy.”

McShay said, “He will never be an elite player, but I don’t see any way he doesn’t succeed at the next level.” Kiper has him going 52nd

Clemson’s Andre Branch (10.5 sacks): Came on strong at the end of last season; Kiper has Miami picking him at 41. “But there are questions about his personality and character,” Pauline said…. Oklahoma’s Ronnell Lewis (5.5 in 10 games).  “I have him as a solid second-round pick and his ability might be higher than that,” Mayock said, voicing concerns about his durability. He has good quickness but he's under 6-2 and has had knee problem.

Bottom line, from Pauline: “You could get a good pass rusher at 41 and could probably get better value there.”

### Potential third-round options at 72 or 73: Nebraska’s Jared Crick (one sack in five games before a pectoral injury last year, but 9.5 each of the previous two), Virginia’s Cam Johnson (underachieved a bit; 12.5 sacks in four years), West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin (8.5 and 14 sacks the past two years; the Dolphins like him), Troy’s Jonathan Massaquoi (six sacks as a junior, 13 as a sophomore), UM's Olivier Vernon ("not a fluid guy but a speed and power guy,'' Mayock said), Boise State's Tyrone Crawford (6.5)  and Arkansas’ Jake Bequette (10 sacks, All-SEC).

### Later-round sleepers: Pittsburgh end/linebacker Brandon Lindsey (10, 8.5 sacks past two years), Prairie View A&M’s Adrian Hamilton (22 sacks last year against weak competition); California's Trevor Guyton (5.5); and Nevada’s Brett Roy, SMU’s Taylor Thompson and San Diego State’s Miles Burris (8 sacks apiece in 2011).


### Here’s what stands out to us about the Heat’s play in clutch moments this season, which is measured by the NBA as the final five minutes with a margin of five or less: Aside from Norris Cole (2 for 2), Chris Bosh is the only Heat player shooting above 44 percent in those spots, and he’s well above that at 58. (Bosh's rebounding since the All-Star break remains exasperating, but that's another story.)

LeBron James is shooting 41 percent in the clutch (well below what he usually did in Cleveland, but still scoring a decent amont - 26.4 points if projected over 48 minutes), and Wade is at 38 percent, because he has shot mid-range jumpers poorly in crunch time (5 for 18). During those clutch minutes, Mario Chalmers has missed way too many threes (2 for 14) and Shane Battier is 1 for 7 from the field. Udonis Haslem is 6 for 14 in the clutch.

### Once Mike Miller returns, a tough decision awaiting Erik Spoelstra is whether to use slumping Cole (just 2 for his past 21) when Chalmers is off the floor or whether instead to play more without a natural point guard. Entering Friday, the Heat was plus-21 in 84 minutes without Chalmers or Cole. “There is no downside at all” to that lineup, James said.

But Spoelstra doesn’t exactly agree and said he prefers to go without a point guard only for three or four minute bursts at most: “Everyone feels more comfortable when we have a point guard on the floor,” he insisted. “We’re more efficient.” Spoelstra went 12 minutes without a point guard in Friday's debacle against Memphis, giving more work to emerging Terrel Harris and less to Cole.

The lineup of the Big Three, Haslem and Miller has been a lethal unit since last year’s playoffs but has logged only 15 minutes together this year, during which Miami has outscored teams 42-18. Less effective has been the Big Three with Haslem and Battier, a unit that has been outscored by 11 in 33 minutes.

### Not only was Friday's embarrassing loss the first home game that Miami never led a single time since James signed here, but Elias reports it was the first game in James' career in which his team was outshot (field, threes and from the line) and had the worse numbers in rebounds, assists, blocks and turnovers. Otherwise, everything went great!

### Yankees star Alex Rodriguez called the Marlins Park aquarium “genius” and said, “I love everything about this place.” But player reaction hasn’t been all positive. “I’m not crazy about the color of the wall or the distracting piece of art,” Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman said of the home run sculpture. “It’s a good looking park, but the [outfield] is too big and the outfield walls are too high. Standing here by the dugout, our center fielder looks like a midget.”

### On Opening Day, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria couldn’t resist taking a verbal poke at those who fought the stadium. “People who tried to bully us haven’t gotten away with it!” he said, unprompted. “There were plenty of naysayers, people who can’t stop shooting their mouths off.” Did he get tired of Norman Braman’s attempts to torpedo it? “I don’t listen to big mouths,” he said. OK then…. No team had managed as few hits as the Marlins did in their first two games (seven) since Detroit in 2003.

### Cane-on-Cane crime: Jeremy Shockey reportedly wants an apology and is considering legal action against fellow Warren Sapp, whose accused Shockey of being “the snitch” who revealed the Saints’ bounty program. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Shockey wasn’t the source. “Warren should not have done that,” ex-Cane Bryant McKinnie said. “It wasn’t accurate, and I wouldn’t expect him to throw another Cane under the bus.”

Sapp, who filed for bankruptcy last week, likely will not be retained by NFL Network, according to a Boston Globe report on Sunday. A Showtime executive said last week that no decision had been made on whether Sapp will return to Inside the NFL.

### Miami is "at the top of the list" for Kevin Olsen, the seventh-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2013,  with Auburn, Wisconsin and South Carolina the other contenders, according to his father and New Jersey high school coach, Chris Olsen. Kevin's brother is former UM tight end Greg Olsen.

April 05, 2012

Full details on Sid Rosenberg's arrest; Dolphins and Canes news

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: For news on Isiah Thomas' firing from FIU, see our story on the sports home page.

Here's the latest on WQAM host Sid Rosenberg, who was arrested Thursday morning:

Rosenberg was back on the air Friday after spending much of Thursday in jail after being charged with DUI and driving with a suspended license. A check of his license revealed it has been suspended three times.

Asked if he will be suspended, WQAM program director Lee Feldman said, "Not as of right now." WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to comment beyond saying he would be back on the air.

According to the police report, Rosenberg was arrested at 1:48 a.m. Wednesday morning. He told officers he was coming from Tootsie's gentleman's club and was en route north to Boca Raton, where he lives.

The police report said an officer was called to the scene after Rosenberg was spotted sitting in the driver's side of his vehicle with the door open and the engine running. His car was in the center through lane of 63rd Avenue, obstructing traffic.

Officer Jon Cooke said when he arrived, "I discovered [Rosenberg] laying on the ground behind his vehicle in the fetal position with his fingers in his mouth. He appeared to be attempting to induce himself to vomit. I noticed vomit on his clotches as well as inside and next to the driver door of the vehicle. I noticed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath. His speech was extremely slurred and he was crying. His face was flush and his eyes were bloodshot."

Cooke said two officers assisted him to his feet and walked him to a police vehicle. "He was very uneasy on his feet and had extreme difficulty keeping his balance." Cooke said he advised Rosenberg he was conducting a criminal investigation and asked him to perform some voluntary field sobriety exercises.

"He first agreed but then stated he knew he would fail," Cooke said in the police report. "He then refused to perform them." He then was taken to Broward County Jail, where he spent much of Thurday before being released.

Rosenberg has spoken in the past of his battles with addictions. He has mentioned alcohol, drugs and gambling in his book and previous interviews. He did not mention the arrest during the early stages of his program on Friday and did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment.



The Dolphins, sources say, have made plans to fly in three marquee prospects that warrant consideration with their first-round pick: LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, South Carolina outside linebacker Melvin Ingram and Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd. Among a handful of other players in the mix at No. 8, Miami already has met extensively with Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill and is bringing in North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Claiborne going fifth, Ingram seventh, Tannehill eighth to Miami and Floyd 13th. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland puts a high premium on defensive backs, and Claiborne would be very tempting if he falls to Miami’s spot.

Ingram (10 sacks last year) is one of the draft’s premier pass rushers; CBS’ Charley Casserly compares him to standout NFL pass-rushers Elvis Dumervil and Tamba Hali.

Though most project Floyd for the teens, NFL Network analysts Mike Mayock and Ted Sundquist (the former Broncos general manager) said Miami should consider him at No. 8. “His explosion off the line is exceptional – I would compare it to Justin Blackmon’s,” Mayock said. Sundquist said Miami could do what Cincinnati did last year - taking a receiver in the first round (A.J. Green) and quarterback in the second (Andy Dalton).

Floyd (100 catches, 1147 yards, nine touchdowns last season) has three alcohol-related incidents in his past, including a March 2011 DUI, but has eased concerns by showing maturity last season and during pre-draft interviews. He’s a physical receiver with very good hands and leaping ability.

### If the Dolphins don’t take Floyd (or if Blackmon doesn’t fall to them), there are several potential receiver options at No. 41, and more than a dozen with Miami's picks at 72 or 73.

ESPN’s Todd McShay said the only receivers who would be good value at 41 are LSU’s Rueben Randle (“deceptive speed, but a lot of areas he needs to improve”) and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery (“don’t like his route-running, but rare ball skills. If the ball’s in the air, he gets it.”) But Kiper lists two other receivers who belong in that range: Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins and Appalachian State’s Brian Quick. Kiper said Quick, 6-3 1/2, "has big-time size and can stretch the field."

Iowa’s Marvin McNutt, UM’s Tommy Streeter, Michigan State’s Keshawn Martin and Wake Forest’s Chris Givens are among numerous receivers in the mix for Miami’s two third-rounders.

###  For all the early talk of the Dolphins taking Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff at No. 8, it’s not good value. Mayock now says he deserves to be drafted in the 20s.

A three-time South Dakota state wrestling champion, Reiff had one odd incident, in 2009: Officers reportedly found him undressing and acting disoriented in an alley when he ran into a nearby kitchen. The pursuit lasted 20 minutes and involved eight officers. He pleaded guilty to intoxication and interference with official acts, but teams aren’t concerned about his character. Regardless, it's tough for Miami to justify taking another offensive lineman in the first round, with so many other needs.

### Ireland said he would love to add a tight end in the Rob Gronkowski mold, but he and Joe Philbin are comfortable with Anthony Fasano and Charles Clay if they cannot. Of the draft’s clear-cut top three tight ends, Stanford’s Coby Fleener is expected to be gone by 41, Clemson’s 6-4 Dwayne Allen might be there, and Georgia’s Orson Charles likely will be there. But Miami has bigger needs at 41 than taking Allen or Charles.

Keep an eye on Louisiana-Lafeyette’s Ladarius Green (51 catches, 606 yards last year) and Missouri’s Michael Egnew (50, 523) as mid-round Dolphins options. Green has good speed and size (6-6); Egnew, a converted receiver, has strong hands, speed and leaping ability. The Dolphins also have been inquiring about North Central (Ill.) tight end Kyle Fiedorowicz, a Division III All-American.

### Besides working out UM and FIU and FAU players this week, sources say these were some of the other players with local ties that were brought to Dolphins camp: receivers LaVon Brazill (Ohio) and Donovan Varner (Duke), linebacker Lavonte David (Nebraska, a potential first-rounder) and Ronnie Thornton (Southern Mississippi), Wake Forest guard Joe Looney, UCF cornerback Josh Robinson, Wisconsin cornerback Antonio Fenelus, Pittsburgh running back Zach Brown and Appalachian State running back Travaris Cadet.

### The Dolphins can invite an unlimited number of local players for workouts. But for non-local players, they are limited - by NFL rule - to 30 visits, and those can include only interviews and medical tests. If Miami wants to work out any of those players, it must be out of town, typically on their campus. Among the 30 non-local vists, Miami is using some on potential first-rounders (such as Claiborne and Ingram), several on second-to-fourth rounders (such as Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler and West Virginia linebacker Bruce Irvin) and some on under-the-radar late-rounders such as Cincinnati tight end Adrien Robinson.


### The Dolphins plan to bring veteran free agent linebackers Gary Guyton and Quentin Groves to team headquarters for visits in the coming days, sources said. Both have good speed and position versatility.

Guyton, signed by the Patriots in 2008 after going undrafted out of Georgia Tech, has started 16, 8 and 6 games the past three years and had 47 tackles and an interception last season. He has played both inside and outside linebacker, can fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, and posted the best 40 time of any linebacker at the '08 NFL Combine. The Dolphins say they plan to use both the 4-3 and 3-4.

Groves, selected 52nd overall by Jacksonville in 2008, started 12 games for the Raiders in 2010 and three last season. An outside linebacker/defensive end, he had 26 sacks at Auburn but 2.5 in four years in the NFL (all in his rookie season).

 ### UM quarterback Stephen Morris, recovering from back surgery, participated in throwing drills for the first time all spring Thursday (without shoulder pads) and looked sharp. Ryan Williams has had some good and not so good moments this spring, and Morris remains the clear-cut favorite to start… New Orleans-based Standish Dobard, rated the nation’s No. 8 tight end by rivals.com, became UM’s fifth oral commitment for the Class of 2013 on Thursday, choosing the Canes over LSU, Alabama and UF, among others. Dobard, who topped 600 receiving yards last season, told Canesport.com that he grew up a UM fan and won’t take visits to any other schools.

### Other notes from UM’s practice Thursday, its third-to-last of the spring: Gray Crow remains ahead of Preston Dewey on the depth chart, but behind Williams; he completed a deep ball to Phillip Dorsett during Thursday’s session… Gionni Paul had two diving pass deflections, something he has done several times this spring… Ladarius Gunter remains first-team at cornerback and had an interception off a tip by Raphael Kirby.

### Quick broadcast note: Locally, far more viewers watched Wednesday’s Heat-Oklahoma City game (12.1 percent of Miami-Fort Lauderdale homes) than the Marlins-Cardinals opener (5.4). One ratings point equals 15,838 homes. The Heat game was on two networks (ESPN2 and Sun); the Marlins game was on one (ESPN). Nationally, ESPN2 got a higher rating for Heat-Thunder (2.3) than ESPN got for Marlins-Cardinals (1.8). The Heat rating was ESPN2's highest NBA rating in its history (spanning 54 games, including some playoff games).

### MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told us Wednesday that he’s surprised the Marlins’ payroll has gone as high as it has ($93.3 million). That payroll would rank ninth in baseball counting the $6 million salary of Juan Carlos Oviedo, who will not be paid until he resolves his visa issues and serves his suspension. Otherwise, it would be 13th, ahead of the Cubs and Braves.

### In examining the difference between the Heat’s play at home (23-2, 102.4 points per game) and the road (16-12, 99 points per game), keep in mind that two players, in particular, have had a dramatic fall-off away from AmericanAirlines Arena: Chris Bosh shoots 53.2 percent at home, 44.7 on the road, and his scoring average drops from 19.8 to 16.3. Point guard Norris Cole, who is now losing minutes to shooting guard Terrel Harris, drops from 45 percent at home to 34 on the road. Conversely, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier have shot much better on the road. 

### In the wake of Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy saying publicly Thursday that Dwight Howard wants him to be fired, TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal was disappointly vague in discussing the mystery surrounding Van Gundy resigning as Heat coach early in the 2005-06 season. Van Gundy and the Heat have insisted publicly for years that Van Gundy quit to spend more time with his family, a claim that has long met with great skepticism.

O'Neal said Thursday that though he would not divulge some details of what happened, he suggested Pat Riley took over that year "because he knew we were not responding" to Van Gundy. Shaq said he did not ask for Van Gundy to be fired - which has long been suspected - but added that he would never admit it if that were true. Riley guided the Heat to a title - something O'Neal said would not have happened if Riley hadn't taken over.  

Shaq - who previously dubbed Van Gundy "the master of panic" - said Thursday, "He's not good enough to get [a team] to the next level.''

As for the Magic soap opera, Shaq blamed both Van Gundy and Howard for acting unprofessionally, and said Van Gundy should have asked Howard, in private, what changes he should make in his coaching style to make Howard more comfortable with him.

April 03, 2012

Dolphins lowering prices; Selig hits Miami; Marlins, Heat, UM chatter

Wednesday afternoon update:

With several thousand club seats up for renewal this off-season, the Dolphins plan to announce that they are lowering the price for all 9800 of them, even for fans who are currently in the middle of their lease agreements. Most are declining in price from 11 percent to 60 percent.

The team also is reducing the number of club-seat pricing areas from 11 to four, with the cheapest costing $160 per game on a season-ticket basis. A new "Dolphins Prime" area is being created between the 40s on the vistors side and between the 20s on the home side. Those range prices range from $460 to $600 per game, on a season ticket basis, and the cost includes parking, a buffet, a massage (if you want it), field game passes and other perks.

Also, all club seat members that commit for two years can buy a ticket to the BCS national championship game Jan. 7 at Sun Life Stadium.

About 60 percent of the 9800 club seats were filled on a season-ticket basis last year, with leases spanning one, two three or five years. The remaining seats are available on a per-game basis, but prices have not been set.

The Dolphins had discussed a price reduction for club seats long before the team drew criticism for some of its moves in free agency.

The team also has reduced prices for some of its 160 suites at Sun Life Stadium. As for general seating, most season-ticket prices remain the same, with a few reduced in price.

 ### MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, in town for the opening of the new Marlins ballpark, spoke to a group of Miami businessmen on Wednesday and said of the stadium opening, "It's truly a cause for celebration. This franchise is now positioned to sustain long-term success. There are great moments ahead for this franchise. This is our 21st new ballpark under our regime. Everyone of them was a struggle and painful.''

He said the Marlins are "in a very good position" to get an All-Star Game in the coming years.

# # #



So many meaty storylines percolate as the Marlins open their most fascinating season ever Wednesday. Here’s one that intrigues us: What’s the ceiling for their gifted No. 4, 5 and 6 hitters?

Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez enter, essentially, their third big-league seasons. All have impressed. But all expect more from themselves – whether it’s Morrison’s average, Stanton’s clutch hitting or Sanchez’s post-All Star break efficiency.

Stanton was fifth in the league with 34 homers in 2011, and his 56 in 250 games are fifth-most by a player before he turns 22. (Mel Ott was first at 86.) “How strong he is, I’ve never been close to a player like that,” Jose Reyes marveled this spring.

His average home run distance of 417 feet was third-highest in the majors last season, which Stanton dismisses: “No more how far can I hit it, please,” he told another reporter this spring. “Who cares?”

But here’s what you should admire about Stanton: Instead of basking in what he has done, he mentions what he has not. “A lot of my homers [25 of 34 last year] are solo,” he said, making clear he's determined to change that. “And if the damage is done with us leading by eight, it’s good on paper but what does that do?”

His 87 RBI ranked 18th in the league (Sanchez was 26th, Morrison 30th), but that doesn’t impress him. “I should be up there with the top of the league,” he said.

Stanton had 82 cleanup at-bats last year and will bat there full-time this year. “Any fourth-place hitter should drive in 100,” Marlins special assistant Jeff Conine said. “And if he’s patient in RBI situations, he could get to 120 or 130.”

One reason he didn’t reach 100, besides the penchant for solo homers, was his .235 average with runners on base, compared with .283 with none on. He was 3 for 18 with the bases loaded and .226 with runners in scoring position and two outs. Oddly, he hit .333 leading off an inning. “I have to be smarter with runners on base,” he said, “and I have to improve in situational and timely hitting.”

Stanton, who hit .176 with two strikes but .262 overall, will always strike out a lot, as most prolific power hitters do. He struck out in 27.6 percent of at-bats last season, third most in baseball.

As for Morrison, the Marlins were surprised last year not only that he smacked 23 homers - or one every 20 at-bats after hitting one every 34 previously in the minors and majors - but also that his average slipped to .247, down from .292 in the minors and .283 as a Marlins rookie.

“He was a hitting machine in the minors without as much power,” Marlins executive Larry Beinfest said. “He should be a high average, high on-base guy. You couple that with the power, he could be the complete package.”

Conine strongly believes that will happen. Morrison said he has worked on hitting to the opposite field to boost his average without sacrificing power and believes he can hit in the .300 range while maintaining pop.

Meanwhile, if you ask Marlins special assistant Andre Dawson what he’s most curious to see on this team, the first thing he mentions is whether Sanchez, an All-Star in 2011, can play as well after the All-Star break as before.

In his first two full seasons, Sanchez hit .307 and .293 before the break, and .237 and .225 after, though his knee was an issue in the second half last year. He closed last year at .266, with 19 homers and 78 RBI. “Playing in the heat and rain delays can wear on guys,” Beinfest said. “Let’s get him in the air conditioning and see how it goes.” The dome is expected to be closed for nearly every game after the break.

### Fox’s Tim McCarver said Tuesday he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Marlins win the National League East, and “if they did, the biggest reason would be Jose Reyes. A lot depends on whether Hanley Ramirez accepts the move to third base and the minute he goes 1 for 22, doesn’t sulk and say, 'The reason I did that is I moved to third base.' They’re a very, very good team.”


### This shouldn’t happen over an extended stretch when your starting lineup features LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but consider: Entering Tuesday, the Heat’s starters, as a group, had been outscored by 12 points over the past 11 games. And this is hard to explain, too: The starting lineups of Phoenix (plus 208) and Indiana (plus 166) have outscored teams by much larger margins than Miami’s has.

For perspective, consider that three years ago, a Cleveland lineup of James, Ben Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mo Williams and Delonte West outscored teams by 187 in 486 minutes. These Heat starters are plus 104 in 529, even though the Heat’s lineup seems clearly better, despite Joel Anthony’s limitations. Ronny Turiaf replaced Anthony as the starting center Tuesday against Philadelphia.

### Couldn’t the conflict have been avoided between Wednesday's Heat-Thunder game and Marlins-Cardinals, the first regular-season game in Marlins Park? When the lockout-shortened schedule was released, the Heat asked the NBA if it could move its game to another day. But the league said it could not accommodate that.

### Though impending free agent guards Steve Nash and Jason Terry expressed interest in the Heat last week, they stand to get far more elsewhere than Miami’s available $3 million exception. Same with big men Chris Kaman, Spencer Hawes, Kevin Garnett, Irsan Ilyasova and Kwame Brown. Among big men, perhaps Marcus Camby or Kenyon Martin are more realistic options, or the Heat could take a flier on injury-plagued Greg Oden.

### The Dolphins have been in contact with free agent guard Kyle Kosier, who has started every game he played for Dallas the past six years.... The Dolphins recently had a dinner meeting with LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne (expected to go before Miami's pick at No. 8) and defensive tackle/end Michael Brockers, who could go in Miami's range or soon after. Claiborne generated headlines Tuesday when news leaked that he scored just a four (out of 50) on the Wonderlic test.

### UM’s Denzel Perryman played so well at middle linebacker in Friday’s scrimmage that Al Golden said Tuesday he will leave him there permanently. "He sees it and he's instinctive," Golden said. "He has really been playing a high level." Perryman has been consulting with Jonathan Vilma and Sean Spence about playing that position. Both emphasized the need to be very physical...

Mike James remains ahead of Eduardo Clements at running back, but offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said the competition is close. Clements ran for just 17 yards on 14 carries in Friday's scrimmage, which Fisch attributed to myriad factors, including missed blocks and the fact UM fullback Maurice Hagens is injured. But "there were a couple he missed an opportunity to bust out,'' Fisch said. James (15 carries, 56 yards in the last scrimmage) has a higher per-carry average this spring. Expect Duke Johnson to get ample opportunities next fall....

There wasn't any great affection between Mario Cristobal and Randy Shannon in recent years, according to associates of both, but there is genuine respect between Cristobal and Al Golden. Cristobal and his staff attended UM's practice Tuesday.

April 02, 2012

Monday update: T. Johnson visits Dolphins, Heat players vent

The Dolphins, looking for help at safety, brought Vikings free agent Tyrell Johnson in for a visit. A second-round pick in 2008, Johnson has been a disappointment in four years in Minnesota, failing to hold onto a starting job.

He started 15 games in 2009 but just two in 2010 and three in 2011. He has only two career interceptions, none in the last two years. Johnson is a natural strong safety – a position vacated in Miami by the release of Yeremiah Bell.

As reported Sunday, Redskins free agent linebacker Rocky McIntosh also visited team headquarters.

Keep in mind that several of the players who visited the Dolphins have not signed here, including Matt Flynn, Mark Anderson and Philip Wheeler.

### Draft analysts (Mike Mayock, Todd McShay in particular) have gone from projecting Ryan Tannehill as to a mid-to-late first rounder, back in January, to now saying he’s someone who should be taken in the top five. And all of this has happened even though Tannehill went two months without throwing for teams because of a foot injury. He looked good at Texas A&M’s Pro Day last week, but he was throwing against air.

“I think Cleveland has to take him at No. 4,” Mayock said. “He’s not ready to play Day One, but to me, he’s a franchise quarterback.”

Former Colts executive Bill Polian said on ESPN said Tannehill throws very well on the run and is the ideal fit for a West Coast offense.

### The buzzwords at Heat practice on Monday were “unacceptable” (that’s what Erik Spoelstra said of his team’s performance against Boston) and taking ownership (Spoelstra and LeBron James repeated that cliche).

"It’s perplexing that it happened,” Spoelstra said of Sunday’s debacle. “We’re much better than that. We’re a tale of two teams sometimes. We’re going to change that.”

Spoelstra said the biggest fall-off has come defensively. But James said, “The improvement has to be at both ends. We scored 72 points yesterday.”

### James made clear Monday that he expects more from himself. “I have to be play better, be more aggressive. I had only two free throws” against Boston. “Chicago is probably the only team that hasn’t gone through a tough stretch. We have to play better basketball period. We own a lot of our mistakes. We’re not a team that hides behind it.” Is the team fatigued? "Everyone has fatigue," James said.

### Why has the intensity level dropped? Chris Bosh had no explanation, beyond saying, “We’re not bringing it right now. We have to start bringing it. We need our sense of urgency. If we have that, I feel we’re the best team in the league.”

### Dwyane Wade’s take: “I ain’t gonna point fingers. We just have to figure it out. Sometimes you get out of your habits. This game is all about habits. We’ve had bad third quarters. It’s nothing coach can do. It’s something players need to do. We’re going to continue to learn from our mistakes.” 

April 01, 2012

McIntosh visits Dolphins; suspension for Oviedo; Fins, Heat notes

Sunday night update: Redskins free agent linebacker Rocky McIntosh visited the Dolphins on Sunday night, agent Drew Rosenhaus said on his weekly segment on WSVN-Fox 7.

McIntosh, 29, has played all six of his NFL seasons with the Redskins, logging time at both inside and outside linebacker. At 6-2 and 242 pounds, he isn't much of a pass-rusher, with just eight career sacks.

A second-round pick out of the University of Miami in 2006, McIntosh had a career-high 110 tackles in 2010.

He started 59 of the 61 games that he appeared in from 2007 through 2010. But he lost his starting job to Perry Riley in Week 10 last season and finished the year with 65 tackles and one sack.

The Dolphins brought in free agent linebacker Philip Wheeler last weekend, but he signed with Oakland Friday night. If McIntosh signs, he likely would compete with Koa Misi for a starting job.

# # #


Good thing the Marlins signed Heath Bell this winter, because they will not be seeing Juan Carlos Oviedo (the closer formerly known as Leo Nunez) anytime soon.

Even when he’s finally able to resolve his visa issues, more bad news awaits Oviedo when he returns to the United States. According to a source, Major League Baseball intends to suspend him for six weeks after his removal from MLB’s restricted list. Several people already have been informed of the suspension.

To escape the restricted list, Oviedo first must get a visa, which is probably inevitable but hasn’t happened yet. Oviedo was banished to the Dominican Republic and placed on the restricted list last September when it was discovered he used a fake name and age. He said he falsified his identity when he was young so that he could play professionally.

When he recently tried to secure a visa, he was told he must first complete community service in the Dominican Republic. He eventually will be brought back for another interview as part of the visa application process.

If he had obtained the visa in March, MLB intended to suspend him for two weeks of spring training and six weeks of the regular season. The Marlins are off the hook for his $6 million salary as long as he’s on the restricted list or suspended. Without Oviedo, they will use Edward Mujica as their primary set-up man. Oviedo converted 36 of 42 save chances last year, with a 4.06 ERA.


###  A few Marlins observations raised during my discussion with two scouts and astute MLB Network analyst and former Indians GM John Hart: The scouts said Hanley Ramirez has looked good at third this spring and ultimately might profile better there than at shortstop. “If Hanley is engaged, he still falls into the elite talent category,” Hart said. “What he hasn’t proven is that he’s a real good team player.’’…

Hart said “Heath Bell’s stuff was a tick down last year,” but a scout said he has thrown well this spring. Both scouts raved about reliever Steve Cishek. “He was throwing 93, and under-handers don’t throw with that kind of velocity. Very impressive.”… Everyone expects more from Ricky Nolasco. One scout questioned his focus, and why he “falls in love with a certain pitch and ignores one of his others.” Said Hart: “He gave up way too many hits last year for the kind of stuff he has.”

Carlos Zambrano’s control issues have been troublesome, but his velocity has encouraged scouts. “He’s a risk worth taking; you live with the baggage,” Hart said, adding that “Mark Buehrle will pitch with below average stuff, but he does all the little things a winning pitcher does.’’…. Hart said the Phillies’ starting pitching gives them the edge in the division and ranks the Marlins’ rotation between 8th and 12th among the 30 teams….

“The thing I really like,” Hart said, “is how dynamic they are at the top of the order with Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio. It’s disruptive, game-changing speed. The Braves and Phillies don’t have that.” Marlins special assistant Jeff Conine said Reyes and Bonifacio “are faster and will potentially steal more bases than Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo did when they created havoc” on the 2003 World Series team.


The Dolphins will check out UM draft prospects on Wednesday and Thursday, which reminds us that they have selected only two Hurricanes in the past 20 drafts (Yatil Green in 1997 and Vernon Carey in 2004). “It’s mind-boggling,” Ed Reed said at UM’s Hall of Fame inductions Thursday. “We’re right here!” Bryant McKinnie said. “You would think they would know us better than anybody.”

If the Dolphins sign McIntosh, he would be the only Hurricanes player on the roster - for now - because Carey is not expected to return.

The Dolphins insist they have no objection to drafting UM players, and they are believed to like a few departing Canes, including receiver Tommy Streeter.

Keep in mind this is a franchise that took John Jerry at 73 over Jimmy Graham (who went 95th) in 2010 when Bill Parcells mistakenly thought he could draft Graham in the fourth round; Jamar Fletcher (26) over Reggie Wayne (30) in 2001; selected Jason Allen 16th and traded the 51st pick for Daunte Culpepper in 2006 (instead of signing Drew Brees), thus eliminating any chance of drafting Devin Hester (57) or Eric Winston (66); and took Anthony Alabi over Chris Myers in 2005, among other moves. Choosing solid pro Daryl Gardener at 20 instead of Ray Lewis (26) in 1996 would have been regrettable if Jimmy Johnson hadn’t found a gem in Zach Thomas at No. 154 that year.

McKinnie said he, Reed and Jeremy Shockey used to talk about finishing their careers with the Dolphins, but “the Dolphins wouldn’t do that. In college, we all said we would take pay cuts to come to the Dolphins.”

McKinnie said he doubts that would happen now. "I don't know what direction this team is going in," McKinnie said.

Miami didn’t try to sign McKinnie or Shockey when they were free agents last year, opting for Marc Colombo and Jeron Mastrud. Wayne would have considered the Dolphins last month, “but it didn’t seem like they wanted me.”

### Several coaches gave a strong endorsement to Dolphins draft possibility Ryan Tannehill at last week’s NFL owners meetings, and ESPN’s Todd McShay said Friday: “I don’t think the difference between Robert Griffin and Tannehill is all that big. He has everything you look for in a future franchise quarterback if you develop him properly and you’re patient.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tannehill “has shown NFL-style throws. You can make a good evaluation there. RG3 will really challenge the evaluations, because [Baylor was] not an NFL style offense.”… The Dolphins this week will resume talks with Titans free agent starting guard Jake Scott, who is very interested if Miami makes a decent offer.... GM Jeff Ireland told NFL.com that Miami made only one offer to a player who signed with another team: Matt Flynn. So why bring in Eric Winston, Mark Anderson, etc. and not even make offers? Unless there are health issues (and Winston was coming off an injury), why wouldn't you at least make an offer to proven quality players? Those two got big money elsewhere: Winston with the Chiefs, Anderson with the Bills.

### Even if Joel Anthony remains the Heat’s starting center, expect Ronny Turiaf to play comparable minutes on a lot of nights. Remember, the Heat played very well for a stretch with Turiaf alongside the four non-center starters against Dallas.

Turiaf, a solid defender, has shot 8-for-11 since signing here and also is a better rebounder than Anthony: 13.6 boards per 48 minutes so far, compared with Anthony’s 8.6. 

Of course, Erik Spoelstra loves Anthony’s skills as a screener and as a team and individual defender. With Anthony alongside the four other starters, that lineup ranks third in the league in plus/minus, behind – oddly enough – the Phoenix and Indiana starting units. But Anthony’s substandard rebounding numbers are difficult to overlook.

### And what about Eddy Curry? He hasn’t earned enough trust from the staff and said the lack of playing time (50 minutes all season) has been frustrating. “But I’m on a great team, so I can’t really complain. I still have a long way to go.” His offensive game “is still there” but coaches told him he must improve pick-and-roll defense.

### FIU’s Isiah Thomas, 26-65 in three seasons, told me he has no intention of giving up and trying another job. “You’re not going to come to a program like this and win in a year,” he said. “Normally it takes four or five years. The first year, I gave FIU my salary. Indiana’s Tom Crean is helping me a lot. I like what I’m doing and [athletic director] Pete Garcia has been great.”