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31 posts from July 2012

July 31, 2012

UM assesses state of its defense; Dolphins training camp notes; Dolphin faces surgery; Marlins, Heat

The most dominant UM defenses were run-stuffing, ball-hawking machines, with a knack for forcing turnovers. Coach Al Golden and coordinator Mark D’Onofrio want to construct that type of unit, but it’s going to take time, considering UM lost Sean Spence and four key linemen and now must break in a talented freshman class.

Here’s the good news: Only 17 of 120 teams allowed fewer points per game than UM’s 20.1 last season. UM was a respectable 45th in average yards allowed (359).

But here’s the problem: Not enough game-changing plays. UM’s six interceptions were the nation’s 10th-fewest and tied with Duke for worst in the conference, well behind North Carolina State’s 27. This has been a problem much of the past five years here, and it must change.

Also, 70 teams recovered more fumbles than UM’s nine. And UM recovered 40.9 percent of the opponent’s 22 fumbles -- 91st in the country.

“This spring, we were stripping balls better, making interceptions better, than any point since I’ve been here,” D’Onofrio said. Before 2011, “the defenses I’ve coached had takeaways in high numbers.” Assessing UM’s defense, with practice starting Friday:

### Defensive line: Darius Smith is the front-runner to start alongside Curtis Porter at tackle (“those two distanced themselves,” D’Onofrio said), and Shayon Green and former linebacker Kelvin Cain will compete for the end spot opposite Anthony Chickillo.

“Shayon had the best spring of any defensive end,” D’Onofrio said. “He hasn’t played as much as we want because of injury, but we can count on him. I want Chickillo to be more physical at the point of attack, be as strong at the end of the season as the beginning, and not get worn down. He’s 20 pounds heavier.”

UM finished 68th with 24 sacks but lost Olivier Vernon and Marcus Robinson. So the Canes need immediate pass rush help from at least two of four freshmen ends, with Tyriq McCord and Jelani Hamilton the most likely. Among four freshmen and redshirt freshman Ricardo Williams, “we’ll have to get two of those five to play now,” D’Onofrio said.

Jalen Grimble, Olsen Pierre, Luther Robinson, Corey King and well-regarded newcomers Earl Moore, Jacoby Briscoe and Dequan Ivery give UM the defensive tackle depth it lacked in 2011.  “That’s nine guys, so it’s some pretty stiff competition,” D’Onofrio said.

### Linebacker: UM feels good about how Denzel Perryman has seized the middle linebacker spot. “He’s got great instincts, tremendous burst,” D’Onofrio said. But “Sean Spence knew where it was going before it went. That’s the challenge for Denzel. He’s got all the tools to be a great one. But talent isn’t enough.”

Ramon Buchanan (who missed the last eight games after a season-ending knee injury last year) also will start, likely opposite Jimmy Gaines, who blamed a lull in his play for losing his starting job last November.

D’Onofrio envisions potential third-down roles for Eddie Johnson (very good speed) and Tyrone Cornelius (“fast guy who can blitz or cover”). UM expects Raphael Kirby and Gionni Paul will be factors, and freshman Gabe Terry “was a great pass rusher in high school and another option on third down,” D’Onofrio said. Thurston Armbrister will get a look; Josh Witt has quit football because of concussions.

### Safety: UM isn’t fretting about losing Ray-Ray Armstrong because of a growing confidence in Kacy Rodgers and AJ Highsmith, who have more speed than Armstrong. Even before Armstrong was booted, “AJ and Kacy closed the gap,” D’Onofrio said.

Starter Vaughn Telemaque’s inconsistent spring concerned coaches, but they say he finished strong. Though UM said it originally planned to use highly-regarded freshman Deon Bush at cornerback, his father said he has been moved to safety.

### Cornerback: D’Onofrio said he expects Brandon McGee, Thomas Finnie and Ladarius Gunter “to be three of the six who will play, with the young guys fighting it out for the other three.” Elite recruit Tracy Howard assuredly will be one: “A great player who understands the game as well as any kid I’ve been around,” D’Onofrio said.

Senior McGee, a likely starter, “is definitely ahead of Finnie and Gunter but not where he needs to be,” defensive backs coach Paul Williams said. “I tell him he needs to be productive.” Larry Hope, Vernon Davis and Nate Dortch figure to compete for the fifth and sixth jobs.


### Former Hurricanes Lamar Miller and Olivier Vernon have made strong early impressions on Dolphins teammates. “Lamar’s burst is unreal,” cornerback Sean Smith said. “Every day he’s had at least one 15, 20 yard-run. The guy has great vision.”

Vernon has had at least two sacks in training camp, and Cam Wake said there’s no dropoff when he replaces a veteran: “I’m really excited [about him]. He has a lot of spunk.”

Said defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers (father of the UM safety): “Oliver has a long way to go technique-wise, but he plays with the right temperament.”… The Dolphins auditioned former UM guard Joel Figueroa on Monday but opted not to sign him.

#### If David Garrard wins the starting quarterback job – and he has a slight lead through four days – the hope internally is he can do what Chad Pennington did for them in 2008. “David is a little bit like Chad,” tight end Anthony Fasano said. “They’re both very smart and savvy.”… Count receiver Jeff Fuller (Texas A&M) and defensive ends Jarrell Root (Boise State) and Derrick Shelby (Utah) among undrafted rookies that have made an early impression in camp... Rookie safety Kelcie McCray, who was in the mix for a roster spot, tweeted that he broke his foot and will undergo surgery.

### Among the Marlins’ many problems is they back-loaded so many contracts. Jose Reyes, due $10 million in 2012 and 2013, will pocket $16 million in 2014 and $22 million each of the following three years, when his deal becomes an albatross. Ricky Nolasco jumps from $9 million to $11.5 million next year; Heath Bell from $6 million to $9 million each of the next two; and Mark Buehrle from $6 million to $11 million in 2013 and then $18 million and $19 million.

### Unless they decide Justin Ruggiano is a full-time player, the Marlins will enter the off-season needing at least three reasonably-priced starting position players to join Jose Reyes, Giancarlo Stanton, Emilio Bonifacio, Logan Morrison (Marlins want him to play first base next year) and a potential Rob Brantly/John Buck catcher platoon.

The Marlins love the offensive potential of Zack Cox, acquired in Tuesday's Edward Mujica trade with St. Louis, but it may be a stretch to envision him as Miami's starting third baseman to start next year. Cox, a first-round pick in 2010, was hitting .254 with nine homers, 30 RBI for the Cardinals' Triple A team.

### Though his agent said nothing has been decided,  Heat assistant coach and summer league coach David Fizdale said “all things point toward [free agent] Terrel Harris being back. He has some gifts we really like. You can’t teach that speed and tenacity.”… The Heat has put a decision on Darko Milicic on hold while evaluating developmental centers such as rookie Justin Hamilton, who has been working with Heat coaches this week.

### Marc Hochman and Jonathan Zaslow are expected to be named 790 The Ticket's new morning team, barring something unforseen.      

July 30, 2012

Monday update: Eighteen notes and observations from Dolphins camp

### Ryan Tannehill’s second day of training camp was pretty good, but not quite as good as his first. After completing more than 40 passes in 53 attempts Sunday, Tannehill struggled at times with the blitz Monday.

He did make some sharp throws, including a long TD throw to Roberto Wallace, a dart to Jeff Fuller for a long gain and a beautiful 40-yard throw to Marlon Moore during drills involving only the quarterback, receiver and defensive back.

Tannehill worked almost exclusively with backups, while David Garrard got the majority of snaps with the first team.

Joe Philbin’s assessment of his rookie QB? “He threw the ball well yesterday,” Philbin said. “Today, we missed a couple plays early. We had a couple opportunities for big plays we didn’t convert on. For a rookie quarterback, he’s doing very well.”

###  Garrard, as usual, was solid Monday, including two touchdown throws to Davone Bess in red zone drills. Matt Moore had some good moments, and the play of the two veterans was comparable. Still, Garrard has had the overall edge through four days. Garrard took the majority of first team snaps on Monday, as he did on Saturday. Moore has gotten the majority of first-team work on Friday and Sunday.

### The Dolphins have found some measure of stability on the right side of the offensive line, a big question mark coming into camp. Rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin and veteran right guard Artis Hicks worked with the first team for a fourth consecutive day.

The Dolphins clearly want Martin to play immediately. Hicks has maintained a comfortable lead over disappointing John Jerry but eventually will face competition from Eric Steinbach, who worked as a backup right guard Monday but has never played on the right side in an NFL game.

Martin, who played left tackle at Stanford, “has made a good transition to right tackle,” coach Joe Philbin said. “He’s very intelligent. He’s a work in progress. That’s probably not going to change for a while.

“When you have a rookie, when you’re [watching] the tape in the coach’s meetings, a lot of times their name pops up, and sometimes that’s not a good thing. It’s, ‘Smith did this, Jones did that, or my God, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.’ His name doesn’t come up a lot. Did he get beat a couple times by Cam Wake? Sure he has. But that’s practice. That’s what we’re correcting, and minimizing those.”

Martin said Wake “whipped my butt a bit” Sunday, “but that’s good. I got a little faster today. I haven’t had a problem with the mental part of the game. I’m showing them they made the right decision to let me start out as the starting right tackle.” Martin has had some false starts but hasn't seemed overwhelmed, which is encouraging.

### As for Hicks, “I like Artis a lot,” Philbin said. “I like what he’s done since the day he’s got here. A real pro.” Hicks, has started 71 NFL games in 10 seasons, including three last year for Cleveland.

### The Dolphins experimented with Ray Feinga at backup left tackle on Monday, a day after using Nate Garner there, but that went about as well as the Marlins’ season has.

### With Brian Hartline still sidelined by a calf injury, Legedu Naanee continues to work with the first team, opposite Chad Johnson and Davone Bess in three-receiver sets. On Monday, he caught a 20-yard touchdown from Garrard.

“We thought Naanee had a productive spring and earned an opportunity to get a bunch of reps,” Philbin said. “We’re a little bit of a right-handed team so he hasn’t had a ton of activity. He would probably like to see the ball a little more often.”

### Jeff Fuller looked very good at times Monday – his second impressive day through four days of camp. He should make the practice squad, but it’s tough to see him sticking on the 53-man.

### Sixth-rounder B.J. Cunningham caught several balls from Ryan Tannehill and Pat Devlin, but also had a ball stripped by Vincent Agnew. In May and June workouts, Cunningham had too many drops for a player whose strength is considered his hands, not speed. His chances of making the final roster? Not good.

### Jamaal Westerman has excelled in the first two days in pads, producing at least four sacks. Jets coach Rex Ryan said New York liked him  – he had 3.5 sacks last season  – but clearly not enough to tender him at $1.6 million this past offseason.

“He’s been impressive,” Philbin said. “He seems to be a good, instinctive player. Good special teams player. You might be able to move him around a little bit.”

Backup tackle Tony McDaniel also was disruptive Monday, sacking Matt Moore and batting away a pass from Tannehill.

### Defensive backs couldn’t handle several potential interceptions Sunday. On Sunday, Vontae Davis dropped one from Matt Moore and had another ball bounce off his helmet; Sean Smith had a chance to leap to grab a pass from Moore but couldn’t haul it in; and Tyrone Culver dropped a pass from David Garrard. On Monday, Tyrell Johnson couldn’t haul in a poorly thrown pass from Pat Devlin.

“We’ve got to get more interceptions,” defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle lamented Monday. “We left a couple out there today. We’re constantly trying to work on the strip aspect of things.”

### Coyle strongly disputed the observation of another local reporter who told him that only one starting job on his side of the ball is open (the safety spot opposite Chris Clemons).

“We have competition at safety, corner, at the linebacker position,” Coyle said. “You may have 13, 14, 15 guys [considered] starters” depending on the formation.

Realistically, though, it would be surprising if there are any changes to the starting front seven or at cornerback (Vontae Davis, Sean Smith), though Richard Marshall took some of Davis’ snaps each of the past two days.

### Even though Chris Clemons returned from a knee injury after missing two days, Jimmy Wilson remained with the first team a third day in a row. He hasn’t done anything terribly wrong, but didn’t make any memorable plays, either. Tyrone Culver also got some snaps.

### With Clyde Gates sidelined by a hamstring injury, Lamar Miller, Steve Slaton, Rishard Matthews, Quinten Lawrence, and Marcus Thigpen got work as kickoff returners. Miller showed the best burst and seems the most serious competition to Gates for that role.   

### The Dolphins and Marlins are both the subjects of reality shows this summer, and NFL Films’ cameras have been more noticeable with the Dolphins than Showtime’s have been with the Marlins.

When Tannehill arrived at team headquarters late Saturday night to sign his contract, he had forgotten about the ever-present cameras of HBO and NFL Films, which are taping hundreds of hours in preparation for the Aug. 7 season debut of Hard Knocks.

“I get to the building and I guess I kind of dipped them because they were out at a different entrance and I came in the front,” he said. “But I get in the locker-room and turn around and there was like eight guys with cameras, and I was like, ‘Whoa!’ It’s definitely different, but I’m going to make the best of it.”

### Besides Tannehill, two other players who played for offensive coordinator Mike Sherman at Texas A&M also are in camp: receiver Fuller and fullback Jovorskie Lane, who scored 49 touchdowns in 49 games before graduating in 2009.

“Jorvorskie was a tailback in college, gained a bunch of weight, got his weight down,” Sherman said. “He had some pretty good blocks [Sunday]. He’s hungry, has got three kids. He needs a job. We’re going to see a lot of good things out of him, I hope.”

### Plays of the day Monday? Two especially violent hits on defense, both resulting in losses: Paul Soliai blew up Daniel Thomas on one play, and Ryan Baker knocked Jerome Messam into Palm Beach County on the other. Also notable: Jared Odrick’s sack of Moore, resulting in a fumble, and Garrard’s 20-yd TD pass to Naanee.

###  Dolphins players have taken a liking to Coyle, who sometimes runs sprints with them after practice.

“He keeps it light,” Philbin said. “You can’t sit in a room as a coordinator any more and put up a power point picture of a play and act like you know every answer and sit up there and talk for 50 minutes. Those guys will be asleep in two seconds. He engages the room, does an outstanding job of that.” 

### The final word from Philbin, on his offensive line: “Do we have a lot of cohesiveness yet? I would say no. Not yet.”





July 29, 2012

Lots of tidbits on the Dolphins and Canes offenses; UM/NCAA news; Marlins trade chatter


Chatter on the Dolphins’ and Hurricanes’ offenses:

### Whether the Dolphins’ no-huddle attack will boost their 22nd-ranked offense will be an interesting 2012 storyline. Dolphins players and coaches seem increasingly confident it will.

“This will definitely wear defenses down,” linebacker Karlos Dansby insists. “The tempo, the scheme, how they attack the defense, I’m impressed. We’ve got the most complex offense I’ve ever seen.”

Tight end Charles Clay expects Miami to use no-huddle all the time, as offensive coordinator Mike Sherman did last year when he coached Texas A&M. But coach Joe Philbin said, “I’m not saying we’re going to be no-huddle every single play.”

### The Dolphins want their no-huddle to be a hurry-up at times but not always, tight end Anthony Fasano tells us. Playing for Sherman at Texas A&M, Ryan Tannehill often stood at the line and took his time before taking the snap.

“Last year, we were having trouble getting the ball snapped before the end of the [45-second] play clock," center Mike Pouncey said. "This year, we're trying to snap it at 24 seconds."

Reggie Bush noted, “The offense is perfect for guys like me because we can use our speed and have them chase us around all day. And guard Richie Incognito vows "defenses will be back on their heels and will be winded." 

### Besides tiring out defenders and helping the Dolphins from a conditioning standpoint, there are other advantages to the Dolphins' up-tempo pace, provided they execute their offense efficiently (and that's a big if).

"We feel like the more plays run, the more opportunities you have to score points," Philbin said. Plus, "you've got to believe with all of that time you invest doing the no-huddle that your two-minute offense should hopefully not create such anxiety in the players because they're kind of used to it."

And don't overlook the fact that opponents won't be able to substitute as much against a no-huddle.

### To prepare for the fast tempo, the Dolphins are practicing at the fastest pace we've seen from a Dolphins team, with David Garrard mentioning, only partly in jest, that Miami leads the league in practice snaps. (The Dolphins are running two 11-on-11 drills at once, with one group waiting until the other group has run a play.)

The Dolphins are so serious about maintaining a fast tempo that Sherman wants players to be in “Miami Heat condition."

### For perspective, the Dolphins averaged 61.9 offensive plays last season (comparable to the Packers’ 61.7) but well below the Patriots’ 67.6. Sherman’s Texas A&M offense averaged 80.3 in 2011, but there are more clock stoppages in college.

### The Dolphins had the same number of rushing and passing attempts last season, while the Packers – where Philbin was offensive coordinator but didn’t call the plays – had far more passes (553 to 395). That degree of imbalance is unlikely here because there’s no Aaron Rodgers.

But Bush expects “a lot more passing. I’m going to be split out wide a little more, playing more receiver.”

### Sherman said the Dolphins will probably run more often and throw more play-action passes than most West Coast offense. During minicamps, we saw some stacking of receivers, with one sometimes lining up a foot behind another. We also saw a lot of quick, short passes to receivers.

Philbin wants the quarterback “to get the ball out [quickly], not sit back there and take a lot of hits.”... For three more of my Dolphins stories from Saturday, see our three previous posts.

### UM offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said “what we’re going to do on offense is going to be special.” Problem is, the Canes lost an elite tailback, their top receiver and two key offensive linemen from a unit that finished 70th of 120 teams in total yards and 63rd in scoring (26.5). Plus, they’re breaking in a new quarterback.

### UM had 398 rushes and 339 passes last season, but one official who spoke to Hurricanes coaches expects the Canes to throw and spread the field a bit more. That would take advantage of their personnel, provided Stephen Morris plays at peak efficiency and the offensive line finally plays to its potential.

### One AFC scout who has watched both players said Morris is a much better quarterback than Ryan Williams and added: "If you have to play Williams, you’re not going to win many games.” It would be shocking if Morris is not the starter.

### Even though he missed nearly all of spring ball because of back surgery, Morris actually helped himself this offseason because, as Fisch told us: “Mentally, he has grown tremendously, how quickly he process information. It’s like having a coach back there.”

### Mike James, the favorite to start over Eduardo Clements at running back, said his 3.8 yards per carry average last season was “unacceptable,” but coach Al Golden said a toe injury was partly to blame. UM doesn’t want to overload Duke Johnson early, but “we’re going to find ways to get him the ball – in the slot, in the backfield, motion him out,” Fisch said. “He’s going to run routes and get handoffs because he’s elite.”

### Fisch plan to use Dallas Crawford selectively as a receiver, lined up wide and in the backfield…. Look for tight ends Asante Cleveland and Clive Walford “to be paired together every time we send in two tight ends,” Fisch said. “They’re going to be elite players and cause matchup problems.”

### The sense here is freshmen Malcolm Lewis and Robert Lockhart have the best chance to crack’s UM’s top-five receiver rotation, with returnees Allen Hurns, Phillip Dorsett (“our fastest player,” Fisch said) and Rashawn Scott.

“Malcolm is really, really good,” Fisch said. “Great speed, strong hands. He caught a ball in the state championship game with three defenders holding on. Robert Lockhart is a stud - very polished route runner, explosive.”

### Four spots on the offensive line are set: Malcolm Bunche and Seantrel Henderson at left and right tackle; Brandon Linder at right guard and Shane McDermott at center. At left guard, “it will be a nice battle between Jon Feliciano and Jermaine Johnson, with Jeremy Lewis involved, too,” Fisch said.


### In one of the most notable claims in last week's Yahoo story alleging more UM recruiting violations, Yahoo writer Charles Robinson quoted an unidentified former Canes staffer as saying Sean Allen arranged for Olivier Vernon and Anthony Chickillo to gain entrance to a strip club in Coral Gables Jan. 22, 2011 on Chickillo’s recruiting visit, and that Allen paid for drinks and entertainment that night.

Vernon on Friday vehemently denied that he went to a strip club with Chickillo and said he would be willing to say that under oath. He said Allen “wasn’t with us” and paid for nothing that night.

“It’s not true,” Vernon said, repeating it twice. "We took him out for bowling in Sunset Place. Al Golden and all the coaches stress not to take [recruits] to strip clubs.”

Yahoo cited phone records showing 12 calls between Vernon and Allen that night, but without proof of where they were or whether Allen paid for anything. The question is whether Robinson's anonymous "former UM staffer" has an ax to grind against the program.

### A Marlins official said there's a 50/50 chance the team will trade Josh Johnson before Tuesday's trade deadline. The Marlins want a lot, but they will carefully consider any offer. Texas, considered a likely suitor, reportedly has concerns about Johnson's health history and may be reluctant to deal top third base prospect Mike Olt.

### Impending free agents Carlos Lee and Carlos Zambrano are very much available in trades. The Marlins can't expect to get much for either - perhaps a mediocre prospect.

### An official with another team that made an offer for Hanley Ramirez told us: “We offered better prospects, but [the Dodgers] were going to pay his salary. New stadium and you trade so much money away in less than four months? Worst opening of a stadium we’ve ever seen.” Well, at least right-hander Nathan Eovaldi - acquired in the Ramirez trade - pitched well in his Marlins debut Saturday night. 

### Dissatisfaction with Ramirez extended beyond teammates. One Marlins official said he’s simply not a winner; the coaching staff strongly pushed for this move.

### The Marlins badly need a third baseman (there’s nobody close to ready in the system), but the free agent class is dreadful. Assuming the Mets keep David Wright (player option), the Marlins’ best potential free agent options would be past-their-prime Kevin Youkilis ($13 million White Sox option), Placido Polanco or Eric Chavez.

There are six legitimate starting center fielders due to hit free agency: Michael Bourn, Melky Cabrera, BJ Upton, Angel Pagan, Cody Ross and Shane Victorino. Most will be costly, and the Marlins might be more cautious spenders this winter.

### One Marlins executive said he still believes Larry Beinfest still has good job security, though Jeffrey Loria could easily change his mind. Remember that it was Loria who wanted John Buck, Jose Reyes and Heath Bell. And the scouting department shoulders much of the blame for numerous first-round picks that flopped, though Beinfest has final say.

### The Marlins are optimistic they have filled their longterm catcher void in the Tigers trade with left-handed hitting Rob Brantly, who’s hitting .293 this year between Double A and Triple A. “Offensively, he projects as a frontline catcher,” Tigers scout Mike Russell said. “Left-handed hitting catching is very difficult to find. He has a plus arm but his offense is ahead of his defense.”

Regrettably, Buck has one year left on his deal at $6 million. And Kyle Skipworth, drafted sixth overall by the Marlins in 2008, is hitting .213 at Double A, though he has five home runs in his past eight games and .

Sunday afternoon report on Tannehill's first day and reaction; Sunday buzz column: Lots of Fins, Canes, Marlins news

Note: I'm putting my main Dolphins Sunday story here for a few hours today because of the newsy nature of Ryan Tannehill's first day of practice. If you haven't yet seen the Sunday buzz column (with lots of news on the Dolphins' and Canes' offenses, plus UM/NCAA news, and Marlins buzz, please click on my last post):

# # #

Ryan Tannehill left Dolphins headquarters close to midnight Saturday, the ink still drying on his contract, was awake by 5:30 Sunday morning, back to work as the sun rose over Davie, and then tantalized adoring fans with a string of 11 completions in 12 attempts during one stretch of practice, mostly on short-to-medium range throws.

All in all, it was a productive first day of training camp for the Dolphins’ first-round draft choice, aside from two interceptions, both off deflections, in 7-on-7 drills.

“It was a good starting point,” Tannehill said, relieved to be in camp after missing the first two days in a contract dispute. “It’s been a long couple of days for me. To be finally out there and competing, it felt great.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman gave his rookie quarterback a thumbs up: “He was ahead of where I thought he would be.”

Now the question is whether Tannehill can become a serious factor in the battle for the starting job. His erratic performance in May/June practices, combined with the fact he received very few first-team snaps in the offseason program, left the impression he likely would begin his rookie season on the bench. Even Reggie Bush said, in June, that he agreed with that assessment.

But the Dolphins want to base the quarterback decision on training camp, and especially preseason games. So while Tannehill remains a clear underdog behind veterans David Garrard and Matt Moore, he will give himself a chance if he plays exceptionally well the next two weeks.

“I feel like I’m in it,” he said. “I may be naïve, but coach hasn’t given me any indication I’m not. I’m going to go out there every day and… hopefully win the job.”

Tannehill never took the majority of first-team snaps on any day this offseason except the final one (June 21).

Asked if Tannehill will now get first-team snaps similar to what Garrard and Moore are receiving, Sherman said, “He got more reps than anybody [Sunday]. He was primarily with the second group.

“Eventually, we’re going to work him in with the first group once he gets caught up to snuff, which I think will be sooner rather than later. You still want to get the veteran guys their reps they’ve earned and they deserve.”

Tannehill said he believes coaches are “going to work me in a little more” with the starters but “I’m not 100 percent sure. Leaving the spring, that was the indication.”

Tannehill made several nifty throws Sunday, including deft touch on a 25-yarder to Marlon Moore near the sideline, a 15-yard strike to Rishard Matthews and a dart to Roberto Wallace, which was delivered with impeccable timing, before Wallace turned around for the pass. Several of Tannehill’s completions were short throws.

Tannehill threw two interceptions, but both came on catchable balls that were tipped by offensive players -– one grabbed by Jason Trusnik (after Jerome Messam got a hand on it) and another by Gary Guyton, off a deflection from Wallace.

 Overall, “Ryan did a real nice job,” Sherman said. “I thought he would be a little rusty today, but he was pretty much on task on just about everything he did. He didn’t seem to miss a beat. He’s made a lot of progress.”

Philbin said defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle had 20 blitz packages available Sunday “and I was a little concerned Tannehill was walking into a buzzsaw, so to speak. He threw the ball pretty well.”

Tannehill’s decision-making seemed too slow, at times, in May and June, but Philbin said he made faster decisions “a couple times” on Sunday. “I still think in general that’s something we need to improve upon for all our guys.”

Tannehill said he is “trying to get the ball out faster” and worked on that by studying film and summoning Dolphins’ receivers for informal workouts several times in the past five weeks before camp opened Friday. He took only one week off, for his honeymoon in St. Lucia.

“I definitely have some things to work on, getting better with my feet, stepping up in the pocket a little faster in my drops,” he said. “I thought it was a good starting point.”

While agent Pat Dye negotiated with the Dolphins, Tannehill spent the first two days of training camp working with former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

“I didn’t want to lose conditioning and not be throwing the ball,” he said. “I didn’t want to hold out. It’s not really my style. It was a long two days, sitting around waiting. But I also wanted a fair deal. I wanted to be treated like the guys that were drafted around me were drafted. We worked a good deal out for both sides.”

Though the Dolphins made compromises, Tannehill reportedly accepted some offset language in his contract, which will reduce the amount of guaranteed money that Miami must pay him if he is cut during the length of his contract, which runs four years with a team option for a fifth.

Asked how much he now knows about offset language, Tannehill cracked: “Way too much. Hopefully it will be a null point in four years, but you never know….

“Now I’ve got the business aspect out of it the next few years, and I’m ready to play football.”

### The Dolphins said Tannehill cannot practice in full pads until Wednesday, because the NFL requires a three-day waiting period from the time a player signs a contract.


Please see our last post if you're looking for the Sunday buzz column, including a prominent former Cane vehemently disputing Yahoo's claim of additional UM recruiting violations.







July 28, 2012

Tannehill agrees to terms; receivers emerging; Johnson wants the ball; position switches on defense

Note: I am posting four of my Saturday Dolphins stories here. This one includes Saturday notes from training camp. Please click on the last post for more Saturday notes, including the latest developments on Chad Johnson. Please click on the post before that for my story on Karlos Dansby and Cam Wake changing positions.


Ryan Tannehill has agreed to terms with the Dolphins, a source said. He will sign a four year contract worth $12.6 million, with a team option for a fifth year. The agreement was first reported by ESPN.

The Dolphins made some concessions but Tannehill did not get the offset language fully removed from his deal. That offset language would allow the Dolphins to avoid guaranteeing all of his money if he's cut during the length of the contract. Tannehill did not want to continue missing practice time.

Tannehill had missed the first two days of camp.

### Among Dolphins receivers who lack a large body of work, Roberto Wallace and Julius Pruitt consistently have received the most praise from teammates the past two months.

The Dolphins coaching staff apparently agrees.

With Brian Hartline missing practice because of a calf injury, Pruitt received playing time with the first team Saturday when the Dolphins went to a four-receiver set, along with Chad Johnson, Davone Bess and Legedu Naanee.

“I’m expecting this to be a big year for me,” Pruitt said. “I’ve improved a lot.”

Wallace received some work with the starters during the team’s offseason program, and Pruitt and Wallace appear to be running fifth and sixth among Dolphins’ receivers. It’s difficult to envision Miami keeping more than six, if that many.

But it’s still early, and Clyde Gates and others have a chance.

Of Pruitt and Wallace, coach Joe Philbin said: “You like their body types. They’ve caught the ball very well. You watch them run around the field, they’re the first guys in their drills and they’re hustling.

“I love their attitude. I think they have good skill. I think they run well. I think they have good hands. I think those two guys definitely have a future and I’m excited to see what they’re going to do during training camp.”

Hartline declined to discuss his injury but said he feels “pretty good.” Asked about Hartline’s chances of being a No. 1 receiver, Philbin said: “I can’t tell you right now… if he’s the No. 1 receiver or not.”


David Garrard outplayed Matt Moore for the second consecutive day. Moore had a pass batted down (his third in two days) and made at least seven poorly-thrown passes, including four overthrows. Garrard wasn’t perfect but threw several pinpoint passes.

### Safety Chris Clemons sat out practice with a bruised knee, and Jimmy Wilson replaced him in 11-on-11 drills. Also in the secondary, cornerback Richard Marshall replaced Vontae Davis with the first team for a few reps during those drills, opposite Sean Smith.

### Eric Steinbach, who signed with the Dolphins on Thursday, said he worked out for Baltimore and Miami this past week but the Ravens didn’t offer him a contract because of concerns about last year’s back injury, which required surgery and forced him to miss the season.

“These guys didn’t have a problem with it here, and they figured I’m recovered 100 percent from the surgery, which I have,” he said.

Steinbach again played with the second team at left guard, behind Richie Incognito, and said he has never played an NFL down at right guard, where Artis Hicks continues to run with the first team.

Asked whether he might shift to right guard, Steinbach said, “Not much was said about that. They said… ‘Since you’ve been a left guard throughout your career, start there and we’ll figure it out.’ I have to chip away at some rust…. As long as I’m healthy and getting the system down, I feel confident I’m one of the best five.”

Philbin was Steinbach’s offensive line coach at the University of Iowa and “that’s the reason I’m here,” Steinbach said. “Coach Philbin was such a great offensive line technician. I owe a big part of my NFL success to him.”

Saturday Dolphins report Part 2: Johnson calling for the ball; Dansby, Wake change positions

This is the second of four of my Saturday Dolphins stories that I'm posting here. Please click on our last post for details on the Karlos Dansby and Cam Wake position switches and how they're adjusting.




Daniel Thomas remains in the lead in the competition for the No. 2 running back job behind Reggie Bush, with Steve Slaton currently running ahead of Lamar Miller for the No. 3 job. Slaton limped off at the end of Saturday’s practice.

Thomas, Bush and Miller have all had good moments in the first two days of camp. Miller has flashed dynamic skills in the open field throughout the offseason program. Thomas ripped off two long runs Saturday but also dropped a pass.

Asked if he prefers a featured back or running back by committee, coach Joe Philbin said: “I’m not locked into one guy carrying the ball 23 times and the next guy carrying it seven. You want a guy to touch the football X-amount of times because those guys have a higher chance of getting yourself a big play, but I’m not locked into any one formula.”

### Bush reiterated he wants to lead the league in rushing, which seems unlikely. "I think it's very possible," he said.



### Philbin said receiver Chad Johnson “has been impressive. He’s very serious. He’s very passionate about what he does. We like his work ethic, the energy, the enthusiasm that he brings.”

### Some defensive highlights from Saturday: There has finally been a Tyrell Johnson sighting. The former Minnesota Vikings safety, who has done little of note since being signed in the spring, made an impressive breakup of a pass from David Garrard to Charles Clay…. Linebacker Jason Trusnik had an interception when Pat Devlin’s pass bounced off the hands of Michael Egnew…. Cornerback Nolan Carroll forced a drop by Legedu Naanee on a pass from Matt Moore…. A reverse to Johnson was stopped by Jared Odrick for a loss.

### The Dolphins say they will start practicing in pads on Sunday, though Philbin added: “We’re going to pick our spots.”

### The Dolphins and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce will host a 2012 Kickoff Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 28 at Jungle Island. The $125 admission includes lunch with a Dolphins player, alum or coach (at least one will be seated at each table) and a lower-level ticket to the Sept. 16 home opener against Oakland.

Philbin will give the keynote address, and the event also includes player question and answer sessions and a silent auction. To purchase a ticket, call 305-577-5451.



Two passes, both involving Garrard. One was a bullet to Julius Pruitt, who made a terrific 25-yard catch against double coverage (Vontae Davis, Tyrone Culver). On another, Garrard showed terrific touch by lofting a pass over Jimmy Wilson and into the hands of Clay.



Philbin on Chad Johnson: “He certainly wants to let the quarterback know when he’s open. I saw a couple of those today. There was actually one or two where I agreed with him. I’m anxious to see the film. I mentioned one play to David Garrard in particular.”

### FYI: The Dolphins have 13 remaining training camp practices, all open to the public. Ten of the 13 will be held at 8:40 a.m. at the team’s Nova Southeastern University training facility in Davie, including Sunday’s session.



Dolphins' Wake, Dansby adjust to position switches

For Karlos Dansby, moving to middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense has left him “feeling like a kid in a candy store.”

For Cameron Wake, shifting from a 3-4 outside linebacker to a 4-3 defensive end feels as comfortable as sliding into an old pair of slippers - “it’s like going back to my roots” – because that’s the position he played when he became a pass-rushing menace in the Canadian Football League.   

For the two highest-paid and most accomplished members of the Dolphins’ defense, training camp – which entered day two Saturday - isn’t quite so mundane because of the challenges of switching positions and learning new coordinator Kevin Coyle’s system.

The transition is greater for Dansby than Wake, because Dansby has never played middle linebacker in a 4-3. Wake not only played as a 4-3 end in the CFL, but reminded reporters that he played with his hand on the ground about half the time for the Dolphins last season.

For Dansby, the position switch is “a huge adjustment, a very big difference,” he said Friday. “New techniques, everything is brand new. It feels good to get out there and soak it up.”

Dansby, 30, has been an asset in his two seasons here: 95 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles in 2010 and 103 tackles, two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in 2011. But he hasn’t made quite as many impact plays here as he produced during his best years in Arizona.

He’s eager to see the personal impact of moving from an inside linebacker in a 3-4 to the middle in a 4-3. The biggest difference, he said, will be playing the run.

“It’s being able to read certain keys,” he explained. “You have to see the guards, tackles, running backs. You have to see it all in a 4-3 being in the middle. I’ve got enough height [at 6-4].

“It’s a perfect scheme for me. It gives me the opportunity to be versatile. Play the run fast. Get back in pass coverage.”

Dansby reported overweight to camp after last year’s lockout, but dropped from 270 pounds to 248 by the end of the season and reported Thursday at “247, 248.”

The weight loss improved his mobility, and that will help him in pass coverage; he allowed 35 of 52 passes thrown against him to be completed last season, for an average of 11 yards per reception.

Dansby weighs only six pounds more than the listed playing weight of retired former Dolphins star Zach Thomas, who held down the middle linebacker position for 12 years here, until 2007. But Dansby is five inches taller than Thomas.

“I have watched Zach’s tape and he’s on my to-do list to get in contact with,” Dansby said.

He also has studied tapes of London Fletcher, Jon Beason and Brian Urlacher – “guys that played natural 4-3 middle linebacker. You’ve got to see what they do well and emulate it.”

CBS-4 sportscaster and former Dolphins linebacker Kim Bokamper said Dansby’s position switch should be seamless.

“To me, he’s better suited as a 4-3 linebacker than a 3-4 guy,” Bokamper said. “It gives him the opportunity to make more plays.”

The shift in defenses, to a 4-3 base, means Wake will be playing a natural end spot full-time for the first time since 2008, when he parlayed a 23-sack season with the British Columbia Lions into an opportunity with the Dolphins.

His 22.5 sacks over the past two seasons resulted in a multiyear extension from the Dolphins this past offseason – a deal that will pay him $17 million guaranteed.

“I enjoy putting my hand on the ground,” he said of his new role. “Being able to have that versatility, I’m all for it. I want to be a jack of all trades.”

Though his sacks declined from 14 to 8.5 last season, a deeper analysis reveals this:

### Wake drew 13 holding penalties last season, six more than any other NFL player.

### Pro Football Focus rated him the league’s 16th best player for 2011, and first among 28 qualifying 3-4 outside linebackers. He also was second against the run, displayed huge growth in an area that was considered a shortcoming when he entered the league.

### His 80.5 combined sacks, hits and hurries were second most among all defensive players for 2011, and his 52 quarterback hurries were the league’s most – eight ahead of second-place DeMarcus Ware.

The difference for Wake in 2011, compared with 2010, is that a far lower percentage of his hurries resulted in sacks.

### Wake went out in pass coverage 53 times last season, something that won’t happen in his new defensive end role.

Wake, 30, said he faced more double teams last season, as teams focused more on stopping him.

In Miami’s new 4-3 base, “you’ve got two big boys in there who can hold their own,” Wake said of tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks. “It gives the two guys on the outside [Wake and Jared Odrick] a little more [opportunity] to go get it.”

July 27, 2012

What Joe Philbin said after first day of training camp; Steve Ross hopes he has playoff-caliber talent


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Dolphins coach Joe Philbin began his first Dolphins press conference by saying "we are under no obligation to talk about injuries" during training camp and asking reporters "to refrain from questions about that."

OK then.

Here's what else he said:

(On whether he was nervous for the first practice) -"I was very excited. I told the team yesterday in the meeting, if you're not excited about coming to work when the team reconvenes in the training camp atmosphere, then you're in the wrong profession. I told the players the story yesterday in the meeting that I'm nervous before every single practice, and when I'm not nervous before every single practice, then I think it's time to put my whistle away. Not nervous like oh my God I'm going to make a mistake, but nervous in that you want the practice to be perfect, you want the organization of it to be perfect, you want to see players making plays and doing things the right way. So I think if you lose that, we all know this is a competitive business, then you should probably start looking for another occupation. So I was excited about it. I thought it got off to a relatively good start."


(On how Ryan Tannehill missing practice today will affect the quarterback competition) - "I think Jeff (Ireland) made a statement in regards to where the status of that situation is, and I'll let that stand. I would be remiss to say that, with the 31 other colleagues that I have, if you plan a practice as a coach, you want to have every single player at practice, and I'm certainly no different in that regard. But again, I'll talk about the players that are here. I think we've stated out position on that, and I'll let it rest at that. "


(On his impressions of Matt Moore and David Garrard after the first practice) -  "Well, it's the first day. Once we finish this I'm going to go upstairs and sit down with the offensive staff and watch the practice tape and evaluate a little bit closer. You know, obviously you never like to see a couple interceptions out there, but once again, we are emphasizing play speed and tempo so that we can get that as fast as we possibly can. We're throwing them a 40 second clock to see if we are really playing the way we say we want to play. I'm not sure we're there yet, but again it's the first day. It looked like, at times, at team that hasn't practiced in four and a half weeks."


(On if Matt Moore taking the majority of first team snaps is symbolic of anything) -  "Not really. I mean David took some snaps there as well, and we're going to provide opportunities to see how this thing shakes itself out. We're going to study the tape and watch the tape and evaluate there and see. I know a lot has been written and there has been a lot of speculation about who is ahead, and whether this guy is behind and he's not ready, but that is news to me. We are still evaluating all quarterbacks, Pat Devlin included, and we'll make a decision when it becomes evident.


(On how the Hard Knocks cameras affected practice) - "Aside from this thing stuck on my on my chest here (points to microphone), the cameras I wasn't even aware of to be honest with you. We told our coaches in the meetings and we told the players that we have to be ourselves. We have a job to do, as does NFL Films I'm sure. As I said before, these guys are extremely professional, and they know what they're doing. I thought all the cameras were just here to watch the first practice. (laughing) It wasn't a big deal."


(On playing in front of fans for the first time this year) - "Well the best part was, at the end of practice, I signed a couple autographs, and some fans said that I am the savior, so I kept them after and introduced them to my wife (laughing). I've been telling her that all along. No, but it was great. It's always good to have fans around. I think the players enjoy that, and it creates a good atmosphere for practice. I though the atmosphere was great, you know Ed (Lamour) and the grounds crew did a phenomenal job and the field looks great, the facility looks good, and it was good to get out there."


(On whether he feels settled in as the Miami Dolphins Head Coach) - "Yeah, yeah I do. This isn't the first practice I've been at, but it's obviously my first training camp practice as a head coach. I've been through this before, and I still certainly feel like there is a lot for me to learn, there's no doubt about that, but I don't think football is an overly complicated game. The process of developing players I don't think is overly complicated. We're going to do a great job, and I told the team that we are in what I refer to as a formative state. We are doing the best we can to select the right people for the right jobs for this football team. That's what we're doing right now. That's what our focus is, and there's a lot that goes into it in terms of fundamentals, scheme. There's a lot a variables, but at the end of the day, that's what you're doing. You're looking to identify 53 guys that you want to move forward with, and you want to get them in the right place to make them successful. That's what everything is designed to do."


(On the message he intends to send to the team during training camp) - "We talked to them (players) about the identity that we want to establish as a football team, how we want to start playing games. We think we really had a productive offseason, but that's over, and in the offseason we taught in practice and we corrected. We're still going to do that the first couple of weeks, but we're also going to add in our performance against the opponent, so it's a whole new phase that we haven't been through. We talked about our team identity, and we want to be a sound, smart and tough football team, and we want to lay a foundation for our fundamentals that will carry us through the season. We talked about having a challenging, competitive camp both from a mental and a physical standpoint. And the last thing we want is practice to performance, and then corrections and
more practice then performance, because we have four preseason opportunities. That's what we talked about. Four things: identity, fundamentals, competition and then adding the performance in there."


(On the players conditioning level at the start of training camp) - "The conditioning run was very good. Yesterday, with the testing that we did, we didn't have anybody fail theconditioning test, so I though the guys looked good. I thought that at the end of practice dragged a little bit dry today, but again it's the first time out and we have  progression in order. We didn't go out today for 180 minutes, but we're going to add a little bit tomorrow and then go a little longer Sunday and then a little longer Monday. We didn't think it was wise as a staff to just go out and throw them to the wolves unnecessarily for 175 minutes. We have a plan in place that we think is smart, but we will adjust as we go if need be."


(On the thinking behind signing G Eric Steinbach) - "We're looking at a guy that has started 120 something games, and he has been a productive player in the league. He's an athletic guy and we feel like he still has the ability to run. We think he is a good fit schematically, and he's a good locker room guy. He is a high character individual. And he's hungry. I think that many guys who sit out for a year can add a little bit of perspective to a room. Sometimes we get caught on a windmill and we just keep spinning around year after year and take things for granted. I think he's hungry, and we'll see. We didn't promise him anything. There's no guarantees that he's going to do this, that, or the other thing, but we did guarantee him an opportunity to compete for a position on the football team. We'll be excited to see what he's capable of doing."


(On moving Will Yeatman from TE to T) - "He's a guy that caught our eye with some of the things that he did in the spring. We like his physicality and the effort that he plays with. Just based on the position, we felt like we liked him as an in-line tight end. We thought he had excellent growth potential and has real good measurables, obviously his height and arm length, but he was kind of fighting to keep his weight down in the low to mid 270s, and we just felt like his best chance to make this football team would be if he had a position change with him. He was receptive to it, and we were receptive to it, and I
noticed that he did one or two things well. Obviously we're going to look a little bit closer, but we'll see."


(On Paul Soliai coloring the rookie's hair) - "I don't have the nice (hair) do. I don't know if I told you guys this, but when you become a head coach, you get your own bathroom. I've never had my own bathroom in my whole life, but anyway I'm in the bathroom, and there's a little cabinet underneath, and Joe Cimino (head equipment manager) put like eight bottles of hair gel underneath there. So I figure if I can work through all that hair gel, I can have a longer tenure than Coach Shula. But I don't have enough growing up there (hair) to have a nice hairdo."


(On sharing the first team reps between quarterbacks Matt Moore and David Garrard) -  "Yeah we (coaches) gather up and huddle up after every practice, but it's going to be fair to a certain degree early on so we can see how this thing unfolds. We have a plan in place, and I think it's fair to assume that we are going to give those guys an equal opportunity to play with different players and different offensive linemen and those types of things."


(On Mr. Ross' expectations for the upcoming season) - "Steve (Ross) talked to the team last night and I thought he did an excellent job. I think what happens is that we introduce Steve to the team in a formal fashion and let them know about all of things that he accomplished in his career and how he got to the point where he is in his life. One of the reasons that I was attracted to this job is Steve's work ethic. This guy is at a stage in his life where he doesn't need to be taking on challenges and he could be resting on a chair and doing whatever, but I told the ball club a story about the coaching staff being in Marco Island one weekend and I called Steve on Friday night at like seven. He answered the phone and said 'Joe I can't talk right now I'm in the middle of a meeting but I'll call you back,' and he called me back at like 10:30-11. So we're talking about a guy that likes a challenge, likes to compete, and wants to do well. He wants this organization to do well, and wants these guys to feel like a part of something special. He did a great job talking to the team. He obviously visited a little bit today and a little bit yesterday, but there has been nothing special about any mandates or about winning x amount of games or anything like that. Maybe he'll let you guys (media) know about that (laughing)."


For a look at what owner Steve Ross said, see our last post.

Stephen Ross expects to win, hopes he has playoff-caliber talent

For my report on the first day of camp, please see the story next to this blog.

Here's a quick look at what owner Stephen Ross said during a press conference Friday afternoon:

### On his expectations: "I always look at every season I want to win. It’s kind of like a fresh start. The coaching staff and all the parts we put together – I’m looking to win.... People can talk the talk, but we're walking the talk. Come to the games and you'll see it."

### Does he believe his team has playoff-caliber talent? "I sure hope so."

### On Ryan Tannehill remaining unsigned (as of 1 p.m. Friday) and missing the first day of camp: "It’s disappointing. I look at the players here. I can’t deal with what’s not there."

### On whether Jeff Ireland needs to win this year to keep his job: "You take it one year at a time. I think we have a great team here and that's what I'm looking for... I'm committed to him. If I had any doubts, he wouldn't be here."

### On what he likes about his team: "This is a much faster team. It’s a totally different tone than in the past – you see the enthusiasm. The up-tempo is what people want to see."

### He met with the players and told them "why I bought the team, what my vision was. Letting them know there’s a tradition in Miami; it’s a great place to play. There’s a responsibility to the team and the fan base."

### On David Garrard: "He is a personable guy. Very confident. I think he looks good out there. He adds an awful lot of insurance to the quarterback position. He will compete for the starting job."

 ### On Joe Philbin: "Philbin wants to bring back the tradition of being a winning team. You can see his sincerity and his work ethic. You see how organized these practices are. I’m really impressed what he’s doing. [But] you’ve got to win games."





July 26, 2012

Dolphins sign Steinbach; Thursday Heat and UM recruiting update; and your Olympics TV primer

The Dolphins, worried about their situation at right guard, signed former All-Pro Eric Steinbach on Thursday.

He has started 124 of 125 NFL games but missed last season with a back injury. A friend said he's healthy but may need time to get rust off.

If healthy, he has a good chance to start ahead of Artis Hicks and John Jerry. But Steinbach has been given no indication if he will start. He also can play tackle and guard.

Steinbach, 32, played for Joe Philbin at Iowa and was Big 10 offensive lineman of the year in 2002, before being drafted 33rd overall in 2003. He played four years for the Bengals and spent the last five with the Browns. 

In his last season (2010), Pro Football Focus ranked his performance just 69th among 82 guards. He started all 16 games at left guard that season.

The Dolphins decided to sign him instead of Jake Scott, who PFF ranked seventh among all guards in 2011.

But the Dolphins were more impressed with Steinbach's workout than Scott's workout in June. And Steinbach fits well into Miami's zone blocking scheme.

Rookie guard Derek Dennis was waived to make room for him.


### Former Heat center Ronny Turiaf reportedly will sign with the Los Angeles Clippers for the $1.2 million minimum, furthering diminishing the available options if the Heat wants to add a veteran center as depth behind Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman.

Among power rotation players, here’s essentially what’s left on the unrestricted free agent market: Darko Milicic, Jermaine O’Neal (probably wouldn’t be happy with a very limited role), Chris Anderson, Mikki Moore, Jerome Jordan, Kyrylo Fesenko, Eddy Curry, Daniel Orton, Tony Battie, Erick Dampier, Dan Gadzuric, Joel Przybilla, Hassan Whiteside, Solomon Alabi, Jamaal Magloire and power forwards Andray Blatche, Carl Landry, Troy Murphy, Shelden Williams, Shawne Williams, Kenyon Martin, Donte Green, Craig Brackins and Yi Jianlian.

The Heat plans to have further internal discussions about whether to sign someone from that group, Mickell Gladness (who played for their summer league team after splitting last season between Miami and Golden State) or invite second-round rookie Justin Hamilton to training camp.

Milicic’s agent said Thursday there has been nothing new since an initial Heat inquiry more than a week ago.

### The NBA schedule will be announced at 7 p.m. Thursday. As you know, the Heat will open at home against Boston on Tuesday night, Oct. 30.


Southridge High standout defensive back Jamal Carter orally committed to UM Thursday afternoon. Carter is rated the nation’s 18th-best safety and the 211th overall prospect by rivals.com.

UM now has 10 oral commitments for 2013.



As far as pure volume and scope, no undertaking in television history rivals NBC Universal’s Olympic coverage that starts Friday across 10 platforms, including six TV networks.

The numbers are staggering: 5535 hours combined among NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, NBCOlympics.com, two specialty channels and the first-ever 3D platform.

Here’s some perspective: Sixteen years ago, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics were covered on just one channel, NBC, which aired 171 hours. By contrast, Spanish-language Telemundo will surpass that by two hours over the next 17 days.

The tonnage dwarfs NBC Universal’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by nearly 2000 hours.

“If you put those 5535 hours across a linear platform, it would be 7 ½ months of continuous coverage,” NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said. “It’s a tremendous undertaking, to a level that’s never been done before.”

But what’s most viewer-friendly is this: For the first time, all Olympic events will be streamed live on the Internet (NBCOlympics.com). And much of the daytime coverage on NBC and the cable networks will be live. But NBC’s prime-time show will air on tape, because London is five hours ahead of U.S. East Coast time.

NBC decided that airing all the events live on the Internet, but saving most of the marquee ones to air on tape in prime time, would not diminish ratings.

“What we have found over the years is the more content we make available on the more platforms and the more accessible it is, the more interest there is in the Olympic prime time,” NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said. “So we reached a conclusion we were going to make every event available on line.”

NBC, airing its seventh consecutive Olympics, expects more than 200 million viewers over the 17 days but doesn’t anticipate turning a profit on its $1.18 billion rights fee.

A quick primer on what to expect:

### NBC: Its 272.5 hours will include a prime-time show from 8 to 11:30 p.m. (longer on weekends); a late-night program (hosted by Mary Carillo, generally from midnight to 1 a.m.); and an expanded daytime show, which will start at 10 a.m. on weekdays and as early as 5 a.m. on weekends.

The prime time show, hosted for a ninth time by Bob Costas, will focus, as usual, on gymnastics, swimming, diving, track and field and beach volleyball.

Daytime coverage will feature those sports and others, including basketball, with Al Michaels and Dan Patrick sharing host duties.

### NBCOlympics.com:  All of the live broadcasts on NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo will be available on line, in addition to the world feed of all the live events not airing on any of the NBC networks. The Internet site also plans to carry the awarding of all 302 medals.

For the first time, there will be multiple concurrent streams for select sports, including gymnastics, track and field and tennis. At its peak, there will be 40 – 40! – simultaneous streams. Keep in mind that the on-line option will be available only to verified cable, satellite and telephone company customers.

The breadth of Internet coverage marks a shift for NBC, which sliced the number of live streams from 25 at the 2008 Beijing Games to two during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. But long-time former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol has left the network since the Vancouver Olympics, and the new Comcast management team seems more eager to embrace technology and live streaming.

Two apps – one focused on live streaming, the other on short-form highlights and schedules and results – will be available to mobile and tablet users.

### NBC Sports Network: The cable channel, previously known as “Versus” until Jan. 1, will offer 292.5 hours of coverage of U.S. team sports, generally from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., which covers the live Olympic day in London. The most prominent of the network’s three hosts: former ESPN personality Michelle Beadle, who handles overnights and mornings.   

### MSNBC: Will serve up 155.5 hours of long-form programming of 20 sports, including badminton, basketball, soccer and wrestling, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, longer on weekends. Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman anchors.

### CNBC: Will air 73 hours of boxing, including the debut of women’s boxing, from 5 to 8 p.m. daily, with longtime Los Angeles sportscaster Fred Roggin anchoring.

### Bravo: Will carry 56 hours of tennis from early mornings to mid-afternoons. Pat O’Brien was taken out of mothballs to host.

### Extras: Many cable, satellite and Telco providers will provide two specialty channels (one for men’s and women’s basketball and another for soccer, totaling 770 hours), as well as 242 hours of general Olympic coverage in 3-D.

### Telemundo: Its 173 hours will focus primarily on boxing, swimming, basketball and soccer. Popular soccer announcer Andres Cantor anchors.

### Final note: NBCOlympics.com will list what sports are available on what channels, and NBC’s cable channels promise to run that information on a scroll.