Some Dolphins news from Monday afternoon, including snippets from the coaches' press conferences:
### Joe Philbin sounded bullish on the franchise’s forecast: “We’re building a foundation that is going to deliver excellent football teams in the future. I like the foundation we have in place. I like the way they guys have competed virtually all season. I’m 51 years old. Hopefully, I’ll be a better coach next year.”
### An MRI showed Sean Smith suffered only a bruise and not any structural damage to his knee, which was injured during Sunday's win against Buffalo. There’s a chance he plays Sunday, depending on his recovery. “I’m BACK!!!,” Smith tweeted. “Other than my son being born, this is the happiest day of my life. GOD is GOOD.”
### Philbin, on Lamar Miller: “He’s got some natural instincts that enable him to find the open running lane. And he’s got some speed. He can move, he can scoot.”
### Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman: “Lamar is a very smooth back and he’s more powerful than you think.”
### Cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who was claimed off waivers last week, played every snap. “He did a really nice job," Philbin said. "He looks like he’s a bright guy. He looked good in practice. There are some things to work on and fine tune.”
### Sherman said Nate Garner has exceeded his expectations. Said Philbin: “You have to take your hat off to Nate Garner, the contributions he made. [Garner and Jonathan Martin] are not perfect. There’s a lot of room for improvement. There’s not any perfect players out there. Jon Martin has done well. He’s a serious, professional individual.”
### Philbin was asked if they should have used the read-option with Ryan Tannehill – and using Reggie Bush as a receiver – more earlier in the season. “This isn’t the time to evaluate that,” he said.
But Sherman did answer the question, saying: “Ryan already had a lot on his plate, and it takes its toll…. As soon as he gets hit and hurt, there will be a different thought about it. It doesn't do us any good to have our quarterback injured in his first season. So I kind of held back on that. But towards the end of the season, I thought it would be a good addition.”
### And Sherman gave a thoughtful answer about his philosophy of using players in different ways as a season evolves: "There is no question Reggie and Lamar are talented young men, but... as you go through the journey of a season, you put more and more on their plate and they are able to handle it and you can end up doing more with them... Part of it is our willingness to adapt to what guys do best. You would have liked to do some things earlier, but maybe we weren't quite ready for that. As we go into this game and next season, we have a better feel and understanding where we are at."
### Tight end Michael Egnew played eight snaps Sunday -– his first playing time of the season. “Thought Egnew did a good job in what we asked him to do,” Philbin said.
### Sherman said receiver Armon Binns is doing a "phenomenal" job. Looks like Miami might want to keep him around.
### Difficult motivational week? “I would hope not,” Philbin said.
### For an update on new NFL game times for Sunday - and Miami's 2013 schedule - please see our last post.
The Marlins signed veteran right-handed pitcher John Maine to a minor-league contract, with an invitation to spring training. Maine has a 41-36 record and 4.35 ERA in parts of seven seasons, including five with the Mets and two with Baltimore.
He last pitched in the majors in 2010, going 1-3 with a 6.13 ERA for the Mets. He had a 4.97 ERA in 79 2/3 innings for the Yankees' Triple A affiliate in 2012. He's a darkhorse candidate for the fifth rotation spot or a long relief job.