For my two Heat stories in today's newspaper (including one on LeBron James, potentially on the eve of his first NBA title), please look on the sports home page next to this blog. In the meantime, here's a brief update from the second day of the Dolphins' three-day minicamp:
Matt Moore took the majority of the first-team snaps Wednesday and was better, overall, than David Garrard. Ryan Tannehill, continuing to play primarily with young players and backups, made some strong throws but also threw a pick to undrafted rookie linebacker Cameron Collins. Olivier Vernon had a couple of sacks, Davone Bess was the best receiver on the day, and there were two altercations: between Vernon and Jake Long and Richie Incognito and Ryan Baker.
After Rashad Jones hit Garrard on a blitz (which defensive players are told not to do), Long ran on the field cursing and said: "Rashad, don't [bleeping] punch the quarterback, [bleep-hole]." Jones responded with an obscenity. Splendid.
Long's eventful day also included two false-starting penalties.
Rookie Jonathan Martin was first-team right tackle and Artis Hicks first-team right guard. Martin had difficulty blocking Cam Wake, which is to be expected.
Here's everything Joe Philbin had to say afterward:
(On Brian Hartline missing the Minicamp) – “He’s got a personal situation that’s working itself out that he’s attending to that at this point in time.”
(On the last play of the two minute drill) – “(Laughing). The defensive coaches had the advantage and were over working the official a little bit. I didn’t have a good look and haven’t had a chance to watch the tape yet, but I was giving Kevin Coyle and George (Edwards) a hard time in the lunch line. I guess I would be doing the same thing too, but that’s what’s nice about being a Head Coach. I told Jimmy Turner, you can yell at the offense for giving up a sack, but then congratulate the defense. That’s the first time I’ve been able to do that. So on one hand I can’t win, but on the other hand I can’t lose either, so it’s been good.”
(On the energy level at today’s practice) – “I thought it was good. There was a little lull there during the two minute drill. Obviously you’re trying to create the thing and get it moving fast with first downs and clock plays. The defense has to communicate. We had a couple of procedure penalties in a row, which created a little bit of a lull, but fortunately we got through that and it ended up being a good drill. Then we had a down by two score drill, which wasn’t a two minute necessarily because there were eight minutes on the clock, but that was great because both coordinators had to make calls. So one time your down by ten but on the other side you’re up by seven, so for Kevin (Coyle) , Mike (Sherman) and Darren (Rizzi) it was good for them to be in that situation. It was good for us too, from a clock management standpoint. You know we have three (timeouts), we can use the two minute warning, do we want to take one here? You know just good discussion that provokes a lot of thought and conversation. They can have conversations in the quarterback room and go over all of that stuff, because you want your quarterbacks to be involved in clock management to a certain degree. So I think there will be a lot of good learning from it.”
(On the competition level during practice) – “Again I haven’t watched the film, but obviously I wasn’t very happy that we lost two players in a drill. That could be a critical play in a game, so you have to be able to keep your poise and play. It’s great to be tough and it’s great to be physical. I went up to the defensive staff room briefly and told them I want to watch the film and have them tell me what they thought happened, but you can’t lose a player. Obviously 15 yards lost, loss of down and the clock, all those things (come into play). There was good competitiveness, but you have to be smart.”
(On skirmishes happening during practice) – “It happens. It’s not one thing that I generally kept track of (frequency of skirmishes), but you obviously want good competition. You want the guys to play hard, but be smart. You have to protect one another at all times. It’s not like we have the luxury of importing guys left and right, so I think we have to be smart, use good judgment, play hard. It’s a physical game and there’s going to be injuries in practice. You don’t want them to happen but they are going to happen, but I think our guys have done an excellent job overall. I’ll have to watch the tape to see maybe who provoked the situation that happened today.”
(On Matt Moore’s comfort level in the new offense) – “I think he’s doing well. He has a good feel for the game and I thought he did a good job in those situations today. In the eight minute situation I thought he did a good job and I thought that he threw a couple of very catchable passes in the two minute drill that weren’t caught, so I thought he had a good day. I like the way he has caught onto the system. The good thing, and this happens at times, where you get so competitive and the staffs get competitive and they start game planning against one another by spending their walkthrough time on what they will see in practice, as opposed to what we’ve been stressing, which is let’s teach these guys our system. The concepts of how to play cover two or a six man slide protection and don’t worry about what the look is and what the other side does. Then we’ll see if our (system) rules stand up and see if our system needs tweaking. Because I’ve been there, I’ve been coaching a while and sometimes the assistants want to look good and they want their unit to look good because they want their guys to have confidence. For me, in the spring, especially when you’re new as a staff, you need to teach the system and let that sink in for the players.”
(On Matt Moore’s leadership qualities) – “Yeah I think he has definite leadership qualities. The thing we look for in a leader is the guy that sets a great example, a guy that sits in the front row in the team meetings, attentive, takes notes, listens. We want a guy that can communicate in a positive fashion, and I think he does that very well with his teammates. I think you want a guy that cares about winning, cares about other people and not just himself, not just Matt Moore being the starting quarterback. Obviously you want to be selfish to a certain degree, but at the same point in time he’s interested in making the guys around him better. I think if you can find that kind of leader within the program, at any position, we want all our guys to set a great example and communicate positively and care more about winning than themselves, a big statistic or a big contract.”
(On Reggie Bush’s skill set in the new offense) – “Well obviously time will tell how good of a fit it is, but we like the skills that he has, we like his running ability. He has good vision, good explosiveness, quickness, and I think he has some elusiveness as well. So obviously we like the way he runs the football, and he also has great hands, and he’s good in space. If you’re good in space, you can break and tackle and maybe turn an easy six yard catch into a longer run, which is one of the better plays in football. You know it’s tough to design 20 yard completion passes all the time in the air, so if we can get him the ball in space a little bit, and if we can hand him the ball and get some defenses to spread out so we can get him the football in different ways, I think that will help us.”
(On whether Reggie Bush will get enough carries in this offense to allow him a chance to lead the league in rushing) – “We haven’t given any thought to that obviously. We’re not at the game plan stage yet, but that wouldn’t be the thing we will be up on Monday nights worried about, an individual player leading the league in rushing attempts. We’d be concerned about getting first downs, getting into field position and scoring points.”
(On his vision for the tight ends in this offense) – “Well, part of coaching is using the people that you have, and featuring what they do best. One of things that our guys have to have is versatility. You’d love a guy to be able to put his hand down on the ground and block a defensive end in the run game, and at the same point in time, be effective in the passing game as a threat down the middle of the field, as a guy that can win matchups against safeties and linebackers in match coverage underneath. You’d love to see a guy be able to do all those three things. A guys has to pass block as well, that’s another thing you’d love to see. Now, are those very many of those animals in the National Football League that do all four of those things really well? There are not a whole lot of those guys, but that’s part of coaching is putting guys in a position to be successful and featuring what they can do well, as opposed to our tight ends in Miami doing those four things come hell or high water. If they can’t block a defensive end, and we’re asking them to block a great pass rusher, I don’t care what the down is, that bad coaching by us. We could complain that the player isn’t a good pass blocker, but we shouldn’t jam it down his throat if that’s not what he does.”
(On Anthony Fasano’s role in the offense) – “When I interviewed for the job, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I watched 1000 plays of the Miami Dolphins, because I didn’t, but I watched some football and I liked what I saw out of Anthony (Fasano). I thought he caught the ball well and found a way to get open. I don’t know what his forty time is, but he found a way to find seams in the coverage and he has some instincts as a route runner. I think he has very good hands, we like the way he catches the football and finds a way to get open. I think that he’s a guy that can block on the line of scrimmage, but again we may decide that one week we like the matchup where we feel like he can knock the heck out of their sub defensive end, we might run a bunch of plays with him on the line of scrimmage in a three point stance. If they keep a guy in on second down, and we don’t like the matchup, we might do some other things with him. So I think he’s going to be a good player, and I’m looking forward to watching his development.”
(On Charles Clay’s ability) – “Some of the same things (as Fasano). He doesn’t have as much experience with his hand in the ground on the line of scrimmage, but he can line up in the backfield and give you some versatility. He can give you some two-back attack when really you are in two tight ends and one back, so that’s a nice thing. I think we can play him in space as well by lining him up outside so you can get a true one-back look. Hopefully, we can use him in two tight end sets where we will have two tight ends have their hands on the ground. There’s some versatility there and I like his skills. He’s a young player, a developing player and I like the way he came back and made a catch on the last drive, I think he dropped a couple of passes in the two minute drill but he came back and made a nice play down at the end of practice.”
(On inspiration from the Miami Heat) – “I think it’s fantastic. I mean it’s a big enough city for everybody to do well and be successful. I actually stayed up last night till there was about 30 seconds left (in the Heat’s game 4 win), which is a late night for me. I’m delighted for them, and I wish them all the best and I don’t want to put any undue pressure on them, so I’ll just leave it at that.”
(On the state of the right side of the offensive line) – “We’re kind of fiddling around, which I guess is the best way to put it. We’ve rolled some guys in there and I don’t think we’re done with that process because we still need to get a look at some different people. We want to see how they respond in game-like situations and who can be the most effective, consistent player for us and execute the best. I don’t know if we have a great answer (at this point), but that’s okay. We’ve looked at some different combinations, and I don’t know that we’re done looking yet.”
(On Jonathan Martin’s progress at right tackle) – “I think it’s an adjustment, there’s no doubt about it. I’m going to sit here and say that on the one hand, football is football and it’s not a complicated game. Blocking is blocking and pass blocking is pass blocking. The fundamentals don’t change whether you are on the right side or the left side, and I believe in that 100%. I think a difference today in the NFL from when I came into the league nine years ago is that nine years ago almost every good pass rusher was over on the quarterback’s blind side, and I don’t think that’s the case today. I think it is more matchup driven, where if defensive coordinators think your right tackle is weaker than your left tackle, they will put their best guy over there. My point is that the fundamentals of pass protection, the set, the punch, the mirror, is all the same whether you’re playing left or right (tackle). I also think we have to take into consideration Jonathan Martin, and I’m throwing out a figure here I don’t know any specific numbers, has 3400 snaps at left tackle in college, but he only has 197 at right tackle with the Miami Dolphins. So there is an adjustment period that he is going through. Does he look as smooth at right tackle as he does at left tackle? No. Do I believe he can make the transition effectively? Yes.”
(On getting Martin extra reps at right tackle) – “He’s getting a bunch. Obviously he missed some so we’re trying to catch him up a little bit, but he’ll catch up. I don’t know that it’s a whole lot more, yesterday I thought we had 143 competitive snaps out on the field, now that wasn’t all eleven on eleven, and I don’t know how many we had today, but that’s a lot of work. He’s getting his fair share.”
(On Martin facing Cameron Wake in practice) – “That’s great stuff. You know, Coach Turner can sit in a meeting room and talk about how you pass set and I can tell you to time up your punch and that it’s a six inch punch and act real smart, but until you get out there and do it, it’s a different animal going up against that type of athlete. It’s great experience for him.”