WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
Even though his team finished 0-4 in preseason and traded a key piece (Vontae Davis) for draft picks, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ expectations haven’t changed. Ross makes clear he does not expect a take-your-lumps rebuilding season, even though many of the team’s moves suggest otherwise and even though many observers expect lots of losses.
“At this point, I’m optimistic that we will be competitive and make the playoffs,” Ross told us in the past few days.
But what about the 0-4 preseason?
“We are a very young team with a first-year head coach and new coaching staff with a new philosophy and scheme,” Ross said. “They are developing the players’ fundamentals and technique during this preseason, so it is not surprising they haven’t stressed winning yet. I believe in this head coach and staff and am looking forward to the regular season, where winning will be emphasized.”
Jason Taylor and Dan Marino said this week that the Dolphins are rebuilding, but Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins dispute that. And based on Ross’ newest comments, he doesn’t seem inclined to cheerfully accept another losing season – even though many expect his general manager’s personnel moves will result in one.
Like Ireland, Ross has consistently believed the talent here is better than what many outsiders believe, which is why Tony Sparano was fired. But Ross has a strong conviction about Joe Philbin's ability to get more out of this team than Sparano did. We'll see.
Analysts and Las Vegas odds-makers aren’t nearly as optimistic as Ross. At the MGM Grand and 11 other Nevada casinos, the Dolphins over/under for wins recently dropped from seven to 6 ½. Miami’s odds for winning the Super Bowl have jumped to 50-to-1, better than only Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Arizona, Minnesota and Indianapolis.
### Marino, speaking by phone Tuesday, said the Dolphins face a philosophical “dilemma” because even though “they want to be that wide open West Coast offense,” more “power football” might be the better approach early on because they have a rookie quarterback and “some of the best players on their team are running backs.”….
The Dolphins have told people their roster is too imbalanced (27 offense, 22 defense after David Garrard’s release) and need to correct that.... Though the Dolphins worked out Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney, they have passed on looking at Plaxico Burress and Deion Branch.
### After placing Artis Hicks on injured reserve Tuesday, the Dolphins reached out to Titans free agent guard Jake Scott's representation to ask his weight. (He's at his usual playing weight of 295 to 300). No offer was made, but he's on a list under consideration. The Dolphins have brought Scott to team headquarters twice in the past six months but have never made an offer. Pro Football Focus ranked him ninth among all guards last season.
### Channing Crowder, cut by Miami 14 months ago, keeps ripping the Dolphins on WQAM-560, claiming Philbin “has got a lot of Cam Cameron in him” and that he is doing “too much micro-managing” by worrying about issues such as trash in the locker-room and players cursing. “They’re worried about rat poop when elephant crap is everywhere,” Crowder said.
### Should the Hurricanes use no-huddle most of the time because they were so successful with it Saturday? Coach Al Golden doesn’t sound inclined, expressing concern Tuesday that it would leave the Canes at a big deficit in time of possession. Boston College had the ball nearly 34 minutes.
Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch tells us he discussed the no-huddle with Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman during his visit to Dolphins camp this summer and watched tape of Sherman’s Texas A&M offense. “We’ll have to see how the game goes and see if it’s working,” Fisch said.
### Smart move: UM players sometimes had trouble understanding Stephen Morris in the huddle last season because he did not always project his voice or enunciate clearly. So the staff had all the quarterbacks work with a communications professor this offseason.
### Art Kehoe said right tackle Ereck Flowers is the most polished freshman offensive lineman he has coached in 28-plus years at UM…. Dyron Dye surprisingly beat out Asante Cleveland and Clive Walford for the starting tight end job partly because UM coaches like his physicality and blocking… Will we see more chances for Duke Johnson, who had 13 touches Saturday? “We’ll see what he can handle,” Fisch said. “I’d like to give it to the player with the hot hand.”
### Although Marlins people privately expected far more from manager Ozzie Guillen (in terms of impact on the on-field product), Guillen told 790 The Ticket Tuesday: “I can look in the mirror and say, ‘You did a good job.’ I’ve put guys in the right position.”… Guillen said his instinct is to stick with Steve Cishek as closer the final month but “I hope and wish that Heath Bell is our closer next year.” Bell, who has two years and $18 million left on his contract, was adamant: “I want to close. [But] I stopped asking a long time ago, so I’m not going to ask.” Bell then added that “I took less money to come here.”… Emilio Bonifacio (knee) ruled out playing again this season. He said the team has asked him not to play winter ball so as not to risk any more injuries.
### Dwyane Wade, appearing on The View Tuesday as part of his promotional tour for his new book on fatherhood, said his surgically-repaired knee is “OK” and “ahead of schedule.” He has said he will be ready for the Oct. 30 opener.… Wade told a Houston radio station: “I won’t say the Lakers are the favorite. On paper, they look great. But you can’t discredit what teams have done and the chemistry teams have built.”...
In his interview on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS tonight (taped early-evening today), Wade talks mostly about fatherhood and said his knee is "good to go." Letterman asked him about Jeremy Lin ("quickest jump to celebrity I've ever seen in my life," Wade said) and the Nets' move to Brooklyn (a question which wasn't interesting when Letterman asked the same thing to LeBron James two months ago). Does Letterman know of no other NBA questions to ask?...
Erik Spoelstra told WQAM's Jorge Sedano on Tuesday that he wants to play at an even faster tempo this season.