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NFL people weigh in on OchoCinco signing; NBA Finals Game 1 postscripts, reaction; UM, Marlins

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN

The Dolphins’ signing of Chad OchoCinco elicited a wide range of reaction around the NFL Tuesday. We’ll start with the positive:

“Watching the Patriots practice three times for the Super Bowl, I was really impressed with Chad,” NBC’s Cris Collinsworth said. “He was much sharper physically than I anticipated. The key is to find things he does well and stick to basic routes.

“I was impressed how Chad handled himself in New England; he was very much a team player. I might have shied away from him after he left Cincinnati, but that experience did him a lot of good. I wouldn’t be worried about him having a negative influence over younger players the way I might have been [when he played with] Terrell Owens in Cincinnati. There’s no downside to this, and if I’m in Miami’s situation, I would have done it, too. If he can’t do it, you can get rid of him. Physically, he has something left. He has this non-stop brain that would call [Bengals coach] Marvin Lewis at 3 in the morning and suggest a play.”

Said CBS’ Phil Simms: “I have no doubt physically, he is still capable of being a solid NFL receiver and have an impact. It’s a really good signing, especially with the situation they are in with receivers. The energy I saw at Bengals practices [before 2011] was awesome, and it was driven by one guy: Chad. Full speed every play.”   

After OchoCinco’s first Dolphins practice Tuesday, Sean Smith tweeted, “[No.] 85 still got it!”

OchoCinco encouraged people to "tweet Vontae Davis and ask him how I look. They wont [sugar] coat." Davis, asked how he looked on a scale of 1 to 10, tweeted: "10; for not knowing the playbook, he still got it."

As for concerns: “He was overwhelmed by the complexity of New England’s offense,” CBS’ Rich Gannon said. “Tom Brady didn’t have a lot of trust he would be in the right place and do the right thing. You would think a veteran guy could learn a game plan. They kept him around in the offseason program this year and he was still struggling. Now, going to a West Coast offense, he may struggle there.”

Patriots receiver Deion Branch had to tell OchoCinco where to line up during a May 24 practice witnessed by reporters. The Patriots cut him last week.

Gannon once asked former Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski why they didn’t move OchoCinco around more, and “Bob said, ‘We don’t want to overload him.’ That tells you right there. He’s not a bad guy. But his extra curricular activities take away from his focus on the game.” But Gannon said in spite of all that, there's no risk to signing him because it's a low-risk, low-money move.

Former Texans general manager Charley Casserly, of NFL Network, said: “He still has enough physical skills to be productive, but route discipline has always been a question. Does Chad get it, at the end of his career, that he has to be a good soldier and it has to be about the team, not him?”

NFL Network’s Joe Thiesmann, noting his problems against Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, said: “He’s got great feet, but when it comes to being physical, he can’t do it. He’s physically not strong enough to get off jams. With OchoCinco, [Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Legedu Naanee], you have four guys who can be functional.”

One longtime NFL executive told us Tuesday: “The guy ran the wrong route on the first play of a game last year, after you practice it all week. How can you screw that up? With Ryan Tannehill, you want a receiver to be in the right spot to help your young quarterback, and that would concern me with Chad. You’re a new coach trying to build a program there; I wouldn’t have touched him.”

### OchoCinco’s former teammate, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who reportedly needed to sometimes tell OchoCinco where to line up, told Bengals.com: “If I went with Tom Brady and didn’t produce, I’d hang it up. Are you kidding me?”

### OchoCinco, 34, is in great shape and showed quickness during his Dolphins workout Monday. Though he had just 15 catches for 276 yards last season, he is one year removed from a 67-catch, 831-yard season with Cincinnati in 2010, when he also dropped eight passes. If he makes the team, he will earn the veteran’s minimum $925,000, with potential to push that to more than $2 million if he meets incentives such as catching 80 passes, according to Peter King.

### Chad's best tweet from Day One as a Dolphin? He said anyone attending fiancee Evelyn Lozada's book-signing in the Bronx should "tell her to wire me my allowance."

NBA FINALS GAME 1 POSTSCRIPTS

### Comparison of fourth-quarter numbers: LeBron James - seven points, 2 for 6 shooting; Kevin Durant - 17 points (tied for most in a fourth quarter of a Finals game in 15 years), on 6 for 10 shooting.  According to ESPN's Stats and Information, James scored 17 of his 30 and shot 58 percent on Durant, but scored just six on 29 percent shooting (2 for 7) against Thabo Sefolosha.

### Durant (36) closed with more points in his first NBA Finals game than any player except Allen Iverson (48). James guarded Durant "quite a bit," Erik Spoelstra noted, but notably, Shane Battier started the game on Durant. James said that was Spoelstra's suggestion and James added that he thought it was a good idea. "Obviously, we have to do a much better job [on Durant] collectively," Spoelstra said.

### This was critical: The Heat managed only four points in transition - 20 fewer than OKC. "They beat us at their game - and a game that's very similar to us when we're playing well," Spoelstra said. "Loose balls - they were quicker to every single one of those.'' Said Battier: "We had way too many careless turnovers. They were in the paint all night long."

And as Chris Bosh noted, the Heat didn't do nearly a good enough job getting back on defense in transition. The good news, Bosh added, "is we're the best team at making adjustments in the league."

### Dwyane Wade (19 points, just 7 for 19 shooting) disputed a reporter's assertion that he wasn't attacking enough: "I was attacking. Some nights I have big nights scoring, some nights I don't. That's the way it's designed for me. I thought we had good shots. We just have to make more of them.... I'm a winner. I'm not going to sit up here worrying about scoring 30 points. I don't know if that will make you guys feel better."

### To expand on Wade's point about missing shots: Wade, James and Bosh were a combined 9 for 35 on shots beyond 10 feet, according to ESPN. Miami opened 9 for 15 on such shots, then went 7 for 31 the rest of the game.

### Though Russell Westbrook  wasn't consistent with his jumper, he created all sorts of problems with his penetrations. "We can live with him shooting 10 for 24 from the field," James said. "K.D. got a couple looks we don't like - he had two transition threes and a couple jumpers we didn't like with nobody on him." Durant and Westbrook outscored the Heat on their own in the second half, 41-40. OKC had 58 in the second half.

### Spoelstra played only eight players, and just six who got significant minutes. (Mike Miller played 10, Joel Anthony two.) James Jones was unavailable because of a migrane. "I'll probably try to go a little deeper in Game 2," Spoelstra said.

James said, "We have to have more guys in there to give me and D-Wade a rest, and Shane. Spo will figure that out."

### Though Battier and Udonis Haslem played well, a strong case can be made for starting Bosh, to maximize his minutes. He played 34 Tuesday but needs to be in the 40 range. "You have to open up lanes for Wade and LeBron," Magic Johnson said. 

### Teams that win the first game of the NBA Finals have gone on to win the series 72.3 percent of the time.

### NBA's TV Chris Webber asked, "Why is Mike Miller in the game? He doesn't play defense, can't rebound." Well, he can rebound, but less so now because of back problems.

CHATTER

### With this week’s addition of three-star St. Petersburg-based 6-6 tight end Jeremy Kerr, UM has seven oral commitments for 2013, including four in ESPN’s top 200: New Jersey quarterback Kevin Olsen (67), Delray Beach Atlantic defensive tackle Keith Bryant (134), New Orleans-based tight end Standish Dobard (135) and South Plantation running back Alex Collins (200/Wisconsin is making a strong push for him). UM says it expects to have in the range of 20 scholarships.

### Though the Marlins are 11th in the National League in runs and 12th in batting average, hitting coach Eduardo Perez said, “I don’t see it as frustrating. You can’t evaluate after two months. I have to listen to the players and make suggestions. If I don’t, I’m not doing what I’m supposed to.”  It’s notable three of the Marlins who have struggled most (Gaby Sanchez, Chris Coghlan, Logan Morrison) are protégés and huge supporters of John Malee, who was fired as hitting coach last June.

### At what point do you say it’s not a slump and that the Marlins simply overestimated their offensive talent? “You can’t say that because two weeks ago, we were good,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “But they’re not hitting the way they’re supposed to.”…. Sanchez made slight adjustments during his Triple A stint that he believes will help. The message delivered to him by owner Jeffrey Loria? “Just relax, which is what he always says.”

Comments

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make it happen

we want FIU coverage!!!

SassyFrass

No one wants FIU coverage.

SimonH

FIU is of interest to a very, very, very small segment of the population. If anybody wants to read about FIU, they can read the FIU blog.

TInSouthMiami

Bron Bron got worked.

Matt

The better team won. Durant is amazing to watch

Estate Attorney

I attended FIU for undergrad and UM for law school. I'd love to see more FIU coverage. You're incorrect in saying FIU's reach is a small proportion of the population, after all there's a reason Conference USA invited FIU and not FAU and others. Its their soon to be 60k enrollment, and alumni family which just recently surpassed UM's and will compound accordingly. Don't increase FIU's coverage at the expense of UM's, but they certainly deserve more than what the Herald is providing. Often, ESPN's front page provides more FIU insight than our homegrown newspaper... that's kinda sad.

Jacob

FIU???? Hahahahahaha!!!!

More University of Phoenix coverage!

Yes Florida International is a glorified community college that churns hundreds of thousands of diplomas but that doesn't mean that anyone wants to read about their god awful sports programs (quick - name a team in Conference USA! Sorry, all the ones you've heard of have moved).

And that includes their alumni and even their student body, who still live at home with their parents. 60,000 strong and you can't even fill a 20,000 capacity stadium.

George S

It was only game 1 of the Finals yesterday, and a game that the Heat were supposed to lose, but what a squandered opportunity that was yesterday. Our Big 3 have been in the league since 2003 and were just in this same spot last season. Why did a duo of 23 year old's outscore the Heat by themselves in the second half? What a joke. Wade needs to be a STAR if the Heat are going to win, but as of the last 8 games, including yesterday, he's played like an average role player. We talk about Westbrook taking shots away from Durant and shooting a bad percentage but at least the dude got 24 points and was a menace all night penatrating. When's Wade gonna show up consistently and play 48 minutes of basketball?

dolfanSF

LBJ looked gassed by the fourth quarter. coach Spo has got to manage him better. by the end of the game he should be as fresh as possible and covering durant.

should put Dwade on westbrook similiar to how we did on Rondo.

rboud

Wade is playing with a bum knee and is not himself. This will take a toll on the Heat and lessen their chances of winning this series. The Heat let one get away last night. You can't squander these opportunities.

Ray Finkle

George S. - to me it seemed the game didn't match the scouting report.

Heat were supposed to have better players 1 through 3 than their OKC counterparts but Westbrook outplayed Wade by far.

Thunder turn the ball over more than any team in the league and the Heat are the best transition offense. Thunder turned it over a ton in the first half but no points came of it. 4 fast break points for the entire game.

For 2 years the Heat defense has only been beaten by teams that swing the ball and get open looks. Thunder have the least assists in the league but Westbrook, Durant, and the supporting players got points as individuals.

I don't see why the Heat should have lost that game - unless Dwyane Wade is truly broken I don't see how the Miami can lose this series. Remember 2006, the 3 game home stand for the underdog is huge. Sweep and all you have to do is win one of two away at the beginning or end of the series.

I think the Heat will be 2-1 in their home stand - if they win game 2 they'll be in very good shape, if they lose I think they'll have to win the last two games at OKC.

green

we want FIU coverage!!!
Posted by: make it happen (Quijote) | 06/13/2012 at 12:00 AM

http://www.fiugoldenpanthers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3651

it's only Quijote with the same tripe gripe ...
a cowardly, oxyMORONic f-i-u-don't-matter fan assUMes various aliases to conceal obsession ...

LOOK WHO'S (S)TALKING

green

we want FIU coverage!!!
Posted by: make it happen (Quijote) | 06/13/2012 at 12:00 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/30/sports/30colleges.html

Universities where students recently voted down fee increases seem to have a couple of things in common: They are primarily commuter colleges, where students may be less invested in sports; and they do not compete in major football conferences
-- nytimes

f-i-u-don't-matter don't rate a mention ...
for the umpteenth time ...
minor-league college athletics with a make-believe fan base subsidized by the strong-arm of an unsuspecting student body warrants scant attention from a major-league metropolitan newspaper ...

BUSH

green

you can't even fill a 20,000 capacity stadium.
Posted by: More University of Phoenix coverage! | 06/13/2012 at 08:19 AM

http://yfrog.com/nuiotltj:tw1

The stadium currently has a capacity of 18,000
-- fiusports.com

f-i-u-don't-matter draws flies ...
exaggerates crowd size to appear larger & meet D1 requirements ...
but for strong-arming an unsuspecting student body through obscene activity fees ..
their unwanted athletic program would die a lonely death ...

ORPHAN'S PARADOX

green

doesn't mean that anyone wants to read about their god awful sports programs
Posted by: More University of Phoenix coverage! | 06/13/2012 at 08:19 AM

When you are taking over a program that has had just seven winning seasons in its 31-year basketball history, that has been to a single NCAA Tournament and has an aggregate record of 326-527, decorating is not the highest priority. Richard Pitino knows you might be thinking that he has signed a six-year, $250,000-per-year deal to take his talents to a basketball black hole.
-- nydailynews

THE ABYSS

green

(quick - name a team in Conference USA! Sorry, all the ones you've heard of have moved).
Posted by: More University of Phoenix coverage! | 06/13/2012 at 08:19 AM

University of Alabama at Birmingham
East Carolina University
Marshall University
University of Southern Mississippi
Rice University
University of Texas at El Paso
Tulane University
University of Tulsa
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Florida International University
Louisiana Tech University
University of North Texas
Old Dominion University
University of Texas at San Antonio

DREK

green

(quick - name a team in Conference USA! Sorry, all the ones you've heard of have moved).
Posted by: More University of Phoenix coverage! | 06/13/2012 at 08:19 AM

it is important to remember that the remnants of the Mountain West and Conference USA are not attractive alternatives. The potential money differential is so drastic that Boise State’s television deal in the Big East could end up being in the same financial ballpark as virtually the entire Mountain West contract.

Consider that the best football program remaining in the Mountain West is Nevada and the best Conference USA school is either East Carolina or Southern Miss. The reality in the new Big East is that its football schools may not sizzle on television, but they have found the comparable stability of higher ground. For now, anyway.
-- nytimes

C-USA IN YOUR CHEVROLET

green

Its their soon to be 60k enrollment, and alumni family which just recently surpassed UM's and will compound accordingly.
Posted by: Estate Attorney (Quijote)| 06/13/2012 at 07:47 AM

you employ specious logic ...
neither alumnus nor student necessarily equals fan ...
FAN = FAN
case in point: me
I attended uf undergrad & law ...
don't give a flying f_ck 'bout that school ...
a C-A-N-E to the core ...

SOUL MATE

green

Its their soon to be 60k enrollment, and alumni family which just recently surpassed UM's and will compound accordingly.
Posted by: Estate Attorney (Quijote)| 06/13/2012 at 07:47 AM

pray tell, how many are fans ...
to be or not to be ...
that is the question ...
in a nutshell ...
take no for an answer ...

NUMBNUT

green

Don't increase FIU's coverage at the expense of UM's Posted by: Estate Attorney (Quijote)| 06/13/2012 at 07:47 AM

UM has had far superior teams, having won many national championships in football and baseball. That means that there is more to write about. Far more fans, moreover, go to Hurricane games. The followers of the Hurricane blog at MiamiHerald.com outnumber those following the Golden Panthers one by about 10-1, sports editor Jorge Rojas says.

There is, in other words, much more readership demand for coverage of the Hurricanes than of the Golden Panthers.
-- miami herald ombudsman 8/1/10

UM does and should get the greater share of sports coverage
-- miami herald ombudsman 8/8/10

this isn’t The Miami Herald’s fault. Until FIU starts to matter in a big way, in a way that UM matters, there will never be that same coverage, at least not in the sports page.
-- fiu student media 8/25/10

scream & shout ...
jump up & down ...
but you're not on par with the University of Miami ...
unequal interest ...
unequal accomplishment ...
unequal league ...
know your place ...

BENEATH U

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