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1 posts from March 29, 2013

March 29, 2013

Saturday update: Notes on new Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes; Media column

Quick Saturday update: The Dolphins have addressed one of their two most dubious positions by agreeing to a one-year deal with former Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes.

Grimes, 29, was a Pro Bowler for Atlanta in 2010 but suffered a season-ending Achilles' injury in the first game last season.

### Don't underestimate how solid Grimes was before the injury. In 2011, Pro Football Focus ranked his play third among cornerbacks, behind only Darrelle Revis and Cortland Finnegan.

Quarterbacks had only a 62.9 rating when throwing into his coverage area, completing just 44.6 percent of the passes thrown against him (25 for 56) for a 10.3 average yards per completion. He allowed two touchdowns and had one interception.

Sean Smith, whom Grimes is essentially replacing, was ranked 105th by PFF in 2011 and 74th last year.

### In 2010, Grimes was ranked 10th among all cornerbacks by PFF, with quarterbacks producing only a 61.3 rating when throwing in his coverage area. He allowed four TDs but also had five picks.

### Grimes' addition means the Dolphins' top four cornerbacks, for now, are Grimes, Dimtri Patterson, Richard Marshall and Nolan Carroll. But Patterson or perhaps Marshall could be at risk if the Dolphins add at least one more cornerback that they feel is ready to step in and play immediately.

### The Dolphins like Patterson, but cutting him would save $4.6 million against the cap. But it also would leave Miami in the predicament of starting Marshall opposite Grimes (not ideal) or assuming a draft pick at picks 12, 42 or 54 would come in and start immediately.

The most prudent approach might be taking Patterson to training camp and see how the competition plays out. Remember, the Dolphins aren't in desperate need of cap space. They also could ask Patterson to restructure his contract.

### ProFootballTalk.com says Grimes' one-year deal is worth $5.5 million, of which $3 million is guaranteed.

### Grimes, coming off the Achilles', said he's not sure when he will be 100 percent, but said "I'll be able to practice soon." The Dolphins expect he will be fine for training camp. "I don't have any restrictions," he said, adding he's still "getting the strength back."

### Asked his strengths, he said: "I play the ball in the air well. That's why they wanted me here - because of my ability to make plays."

### Grimes said he likes coordinator Kevin Coyle's scheme. "They are building something great here and I would like to be a part of it.... They really wanted me here."

### He said he did not meeting with Joe Philbin but spoke to him on the phone and "he seems like a no-nonsense [guy], keeps everybody in line."

### The 5-10 Grimes signed with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent out of Shippensburg in 2006.

### There's a good chance the Dolphins take at least one corner with one of their five picks in the first three rounds of the draft. They are intrigued by FSU's Xavier Rhodes, Washington's Desmond Trufant, Oregon State's Jordan Poyer and several others.


When Marlins radio announcer Glenn Geffner hosted a few “Hot Stove League” talk shows last month, several fans vented angrily about the team’s payroll purge and “more than one” asked Geffner, as Geffner politely phrased it, to do something anatomically impossible.

Marlins TV announcers Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton and 790 The Ticket announcers Geffner and Dave Van Horne clearly don’t deserve to be the target of any hostility – they had nothing to do with the payroll slashing – but they will become easy targets for some fans if they say anything that suggests support for Marlins ownership.

When Geffner defended the Marlins’ decisions this winter, some posted on his Facebook page: “You work for the team -- you have to say that.”

But Geffner said: “You don’t have to say anything. We have a little bit more perspective or information” than some fans do. “I’m in an awkward position because I make myself accessible.”

That dynamic – people expecting the team’s announcers to bash management - makes their job more difficult this season, as does the prospect of calling games for an offensively-challenged, pitching-thin team with one of baseball’s lowest payroll and no realistic playoff expectations.

“If fans are unhappy, does it make the job more challenging? Absolutely,” Waltz said, looking ahead to Monday’s 1 p.m. opener at Washington. “For everybody in the Marlins organization and at Fox, the Toronto trade was a gut punch. We were stunned the first few days. A lot of people have said, ‘Boy, I feel sorry for you and Tommy.’

“My answer is: Don’t feel sorry for us. We have a great job and we’re going to do the best we can. The quality of the team you’re following shouldn’t impact your quality of performance as a broadcaster.”

Hutton agrees. Asked if the offseason moves make the job more difficult, he said: “It’s a little harder because it’s research on more players. Our job is to attract the fan and keep them with us.

“You can have a horrible broadcast, but if you’re [a team with heavy fan support], people are going to watch anyway.”

Hutton said he won’t discuss fan anger about the offseason, on the air, because “by the time April comes around, that’s old news. People hear enough of that. We’re not talk radio.”

Because the Marlins now have several highly-regarded prospects, “we’ll focus more on things like minor league prospects,” Hutton said. “We’ll have polls and e-mail Tuesdays.”

Waltz and Hutton are paid by Fox Sports, but the Marlins are consulted on announcer hires. By contrast, Geffner and Van Horne were hired by the Marlins, who also pay their salaries.

So it’s unreasonable to expect any of them to rant against Loria’s decisions, because they would run the risk of the meddlesome Loria dumping them if they did.

There are plenty of others – Joe Rose, Jorge Sedano, newspaper columnists – who can handle the anti-Loria ranting.

Fox Sports Florida’s ratings likely will drop because of the payroll-slashing, but FS-Florida general manager Steve Tello declined to answer when asked if Fox officials were angered by the Marlins’ trades.

Another Fox official said even though Fox obviously wasn’t pleased, it wasn’t outraged either, because networks know they have no say about the quality of the teams they’re broadcasting.


### Former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent said among Loria’s biggest mistakes was “he sold off his TV rights in a [15-year deal through 2020] which was questionable on his part” because they could eventually be worth a lot more than he extracted. “He sold off the most valuable product he has because he needed it to generate a lot of cash,” Vincent said. Some other teams also signed undervalued long term deals, including Atlanta.

The Marlins’ annual TV revenue is now among the bottom five in baseball, meaning less money for payroll.    

### Three Marlins games will be Fox (non-cable) regional telecasts, and two others will be broadcast statewide as part of the Tampa Bay Rays’ cable package.

That leaves only seven no-TV games this season: April 20 at Cincinnati, April 27 vs. the Cubs, May 24 at the White Sox, Aug. 8 at Pittsburgh, Sept. 7 against Washington, Sept. 12 against Atlanta and Sept. 21 at Washington.  

### Considering the Heat's streak and UM's NCAA Tournament appearance, this was an odd and questionable week for 790 The Ticket to go without live programming during most of its morning and afternoon drive shows. Both the morning and afternoon hosts had pre-scheduled vacations, but live programming during either one of those slots, every day, would have been appropriate.

### In case you missed it, lead baseball analyst Tim McCarver announced Wednesday he will leave Fox after the World Series. But McCarver, who has worked postseason games on network TV for 28 years in a row, said he is not retiring.