Fins will end year short-handed; Saban sets record straight; Fins' unlikely playoff scenario; UM news
A few quick hits from Monday:
### Tight end Charles Clay tore a knee ligament in Sunday's win against Jacksonville and will undergo season-ending surgery this week, according to his agent, Harold Lewis. Clay finished the season with 18 catches for 212 yards. It will be interesting to see if Miami now gives playing time to rookie third-rounder Michael Egnew or Kyle Miller (who was claimed off waivers from the Colts last month.)
Running back Daniel Thomas also suffered a knee injury Sunday, and though it is not as serious as Clay's injury, he might miss a game or two. As a result, the Dolphins on Monday were considering whether to place him on injured reserve.
Joe Philbin said he's hopeful Nolan Carroll's knee injury will not sideline him for the rest of the season, but that's uncertain.
### Nearly six years after leaving the Dolphins, Alabama coach Nick Saban tried to set the record straight during a radio interview Monday, saying he feels badly about the manner he left and insisting that contrary to reports over the years, the Dolphins offered Drew Brees a contract during 2006 free agency.
It has been widely reported that the Dolphins offered a contract to Daunte Culpepper, who ultimately signed with them, and not to Brees because team doctors decided that Brees was more of a medical risk because of his surgically repaired throwing shoulder. That decision has haunted the Dolphins for years.
But Saban told Dan LeBatard on 790 The Ticket on Monday that the Dolphins first made an offer to Brees but "quite frankly, he didn’t pass the physical. And we were forced to go in another direction."
Saban also discussed leaving the Dolphins job after the 2006 season - his second year in the job - despite saying he was not going to take the Alabama job. "The big thing with me is not handling the way I left well," he said. "That’s always been a thing with me I’ve never felt good about. I’ll probably never feel good about it."
### An NFL spokesman said Monday afternoon the league is still reviewing playoff scenarios and could not yet confirm how the Dolphins could make the playoffs, though they are mathematically alive. Yes, it's highly unlikely Miami would make it, and it's probably a waste of everyone's time to discuss it. But just so you know so you can impress (or bore) friends at dinner parties:
To achieve a three-way tie at 8-8 for the last wild card spot, the Dolphins would need to beat Buffalo and New England; Pittsburgh would need to beat Cincinnati but lose at home against Cleveland (good luck with that); and Cincinnati would need to lose to the Steelers and Baltimore. The Dolphins appear to have the tiebreaker edge in that 3-team scenario (based on conference games), though the NFL said it's still checking.
The Jets' loss Monday eliminated them from playoff contention, according to ESPN, though they could still finish in a tie with the Dolphins.
### Biggest statistical surprise from Monday; Ryan Tannehill now ranks ahead of Andrew Luck in quarterback rating, 75.9 to 75.5. Most anyone who has seen the two rookie this season would agree Luck has had the better season. But here's what's encouraging from a Dolphins perspective in the comparison with Luck: Tannehill has the better completion percentage (58.7 to 54.6) and has thrown fewer interceptions (18 to 12).
Tannehill ranks 29th of 35 quarterbacks in rating.
### With Carroll limited to 16 plays Sunday because of injury, "Bryan McCann stepped in and did a nice job,” Philbin said. “RJ Stanford had some good contributions as well." He said the Dolphins wanted to use the young defensive backs “to have some better information.”
### I asked Philbin to point to two things that leave him most encouraged that Ryan Tannehill will be a good quarterback longterm. "Decision making and awareness," he said.
### The Dolphins, with 12 takeaways, are on pace to break the franchise record for fewest in a season (19), and Philbin is clearly frustrated about it. "We had our hands on a couple. We have to keep working on it."
### Philbin liked how Marlon Moore and Rishard Matthews played with expanded roles in Davone Bess' absence and made a point to credit their blocking.
### Retiring Wayne Hills football coach Chris Olsen, father of ballyhooed UM quarterback recruit Kevin Olsen, said the family is exploring the possibility of Kevin enrolling in January instead of next summer --- something UM didn't think was even a possibility. "It's 50/50," Chris Olsen said.
Chris Olsen said UM told him that Kevin likely would redshirt next season but would have a chance to compete with Ryan Williams, Preston Dewey and Gray Crow to start in 2014, after Stephen Morris graduates.
Olsen, who has been a solid UM oral commitment for several months, is the nation's No. 6 overall quarterback prospect, according to rivals.com. He will play in the UnderArmour All America game at 5 p.m. Feb. 4 in St. Petersburg, where he will be coached by former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci.