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Assessing Dolphins' battles; Zimmerman verdict reax; UM facing lawsuit; Heat, Canes, Marlins

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

The five positions/competitions we’re most eager to see play out when Dolphins training camp opens next Sunday:

### Front seven on defense: This is where Miami is deepest, and interesting decisions loom about playing time.

The Dolphins remain inclined to use Jared Odrick at defensive end in the base defense – like last season – with Cam Wake, Randy Starks and Paul Soliai alongside.

On obvious passing downs, Odrick likely will move to tackle, Soliai will exit, and Olivier Vernon and Dion Jordan will enter, complementing the pass-rush of Wake, Odrick and Starks.

When he’s not playing end in passing situations, the Dolphins have discussed using the 244-pound Jordan as an outside linebacker at times (strong side preferably) in the base defense --- though it would be surprising if he plays much in the base initially. It wouldn’t seem to make sense yet to use Jordan ahead of Odrick or Koa Misi in situations where running plays are anticipated.

But no firm decisions will be made until they see Jordan in pads. Bottom line: If Jordan looks dominant in preseason, the Dolphins will need to consider playing him more than merely in passing situations. As for Vernon, the Dolphins love his versatility, upside as a pass rusher and ability to drop back in coverage.

The other question is which starting linebacker (Dannell Ellerbe, Philip Wheeler, Misi) proves most worthy of staying on the field on third downs. Ellerbe would seem to make the most sense. Wheeler is considered above average in coverage, though his metrics last season did not support that notion.

Keep in mind that coach Joe Philbin likes linebacker Josh Kaddu’s potential as a pass rusher, and rookie linebacker Jelani Jenkins has the skill set to play on passing downs eventually. At defensive end, impressive undrafted Louisiana-Lafayette rookie end Emeka Onyenekwu could challenge Derrick Shelby (who had three sacks on the final day of mini-camp) and others for a roster spot.

Veteran tackle pickup Vaughn Martin – signed to replace Seattle-bound Tony McDaniel -- is a favorite to stick, but with Odrick’s ability to play tackle, Martin needs at least a decent preseason to remove any doubt. Tackle Kheeston Randall, who impressed the Dolphins last season, will try to hold off rookies Chris Burnette and A.J. Francis.

### Right guard: The Dolphins signed Lance Louis with the plan to make him a starter, considering he was Chicago’s best lineman in 2012 and considering the Dolphins weren’t entirely thrilled with John Jerry’s work. But Louis needs to be fully recovered from last November’s knee injury. He’s close, but not there yet as of last week.

### The No. 2 through No. 5 cornerback jobs: Richard Marshall enters as the favorite to start opposite No. 1 corner Brent Grimes, but he needs a solid preseason to fend off Dimitri Patterson and rookies Will Davis and Jamar Taylor. More likely, those three and Nolan Carroll will compete for the top two backup jobs.

Patterson, earning $4.6 million, could be deemed expendable if Marshall, Davis, Taylor and Carroll are very good in camp. But everything with this team is about winning now, and Miami will keep Patterson if they’re convinced he will help a lot. D’Andre Presley had some good moments in camp, but it’s hard to envision him, veteran returnee RJ Stanford or Julian Posey having much of a shot barring an injury to one of the top six.

### Backup tight end, behind Dustin Keller: Rookie Dion Sims closed the offseason program with momentum and has a good chance to win the job. Tight end/H-back Charles Clay will factor in, unless he continues his penchant for drops. Michael Egnew has improved, but his blocking remains questionable and he faded late in the offseason program. Players tell us not to overlook Kyle Miller.

### Kicker: Caleb Sturgis, younger and cheaper than Dan Carpenter, remains the favorite. In sessions open to reporters, the two were comparable in accuracy this offseason, with Sturgis showing more range as expected, including a 58-yard field goal. Carpenter has a far bigger cap hit if he sticks ($3 million to Sturgis' $442,000).

### Others: Tough to see anyone beating out Armon Binns and Rishard Matthews for the fourth and fifth receiver jobs, though Brian Tyms and Jeff Fuller could push Matthews. And the Dolphins will give a long look to former Big 10 standout Marvin McNutt, who spent last season with the Eagles and played at Iowa when Dolphins receivers coach Ken O’Keefe was offensive coordinator with the Hawkeyes…

Vonta Leach will become the starting fullback if he signs. There were no negotiations last week between Leach and the Dolphins, but that could change this coming week with Jeff Ireland returning from vacation. Leach wants a multiyear deal, which could be an issue. If Leach passes on Miami, Jorvorskie Lane will try to hold off Evan Rodriguez. Miami wants to upgrade over Lane….

Daniel Thomas so far clearly has held off Mike Gillislee for the No. 2 running back job, with Marcus Thigpen being incorporated more than last season. The Dolphins like Jonas Gray, the former Notre Dame back who missed all of last season with an injury, but he’s a long shot, as is Arizona State’s Cameron Marshall, who had his moments in the offseason program….

Aaron Corp showed nothing in the offseason program to suggest he can beat out Pat Devlin for the No. 3 quarterback job….

Jimmy Wilson is the heavy favorite for the No. 3 safety job, with Kelcie McCray, rookie Don Jones and long shot Jordan Kovacs competing for one spot….

Jenkins, Jason Trusnik, Austin Spitler and Kaddu are favorites for backup linebacker jobs, but former CFL-er Lee Robinson (impressive at times in OTAs), Alonzo Highsmith, veteran Jonathan Freeny and others will push them…. The Dolphins will continue looking at several options, including Hartline, to share punt return duties with Thigpen.

Two of the backup offensive line jobs should go to Dallas Thomas (who is being used at left tackle and left guard and could emerge as a starting guard in 2014 or beyond) and jack-of-all-trades Nate Garner, with Jerry trying to grab another roster spot if he loses the starting job to Louis. Josh Samuda and Will Yeatman will compete with Andrew McDonald and a bunch of others for one or two remaining backup o-line jobs. (There’s nothing quite as exciting as talking about backup o-line positions.)

ZIMMERMAN REACTION FROM LOCAL ATHLETES

We digress from the fun and games of sports for a minute for something far more serious -- the George Zimmerman not-guilty jury verdict Saturday night. Several South Florida athletes weighed in on Twitter. Dwyane Wade wrote: "Wow! Stunned!! Saddened as a father!! Som1 make sense of this verdict for me right now please!!!... How do I explain this to my boys."

Among reaction from Dolphins players: Mike Wallace - "Wowwwwwww. (Expletive) crazy.".... Clay: "Dats some bull [expletive]."... Shelby: "There might be riots."... Binns: "The justice system failed today. My prayers go out to Trayvon's family." 

And from UM's Duke Johnson: "Heavy heart right now for the [Trayvon Martin] family, and I just want everyone to say a prayer for the Martin family." UM's Deon Bush tweeted: "Straight b.s.! Reverse the sides and Trayvon would of had a life sentence. Maybe death sentence." (Bush deleted most of that comment a few hours later.)

CHATTER

### While the NCAA case nears a conclusion, UM has yet another off-field issue to deal with. Jimmy Goins -- who purchased human growth hormone and other drugs from Anthony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic, according to a Miami New Times report in January -- is suing UM for firing him as the baseball team’s strength and conditioning coach, asserting the university breached his contract by dismissing him “without following rules laid out in the UM employee handbook.”

UM filed a motion to dismiss the case on Friday, with UM attorney Eric Isicoff writing in the motion that Goins “does not point to a specific provision” in the UM handbook that UM “has allegedly breached.”

Goins, who was fired in March after more than nine years on the job, also is suing Biogenesis, New Times, The Miami Herald and The New York Times.

Goins’ attorney said in the suit that he went to Biogenesis with the belief the clinic “was properly licensed and that Bosch was a medical doctor – neither of which was true.”

Goins’ attorney said blood work determined Goins needed testosterone, and his Biogenesis treatment included HGH. He alleged the medical records published by New Times – and media reports in the other publications – led to his termination from UM.

### One tweak in UM’s offense from Jedd Fisch to James Coley: Expect, on occasion, more of a power running element, with guards pulling and extra tight ends. Al Golden is so appreciative of Coley using the terminology already in place with Fisch, so the players wouldn’t have to learn an entirely new system.... Please check the last post for more Hurricanes tidbits from Saturday.

### The Marlins have been lampooned nationally for offering, on their web site, an “exclusive discount” for Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez’s family and friends for this weekend’s Nationals series, even though he wasn’t scheduled to pitch. But the ridicule is unfair; Gonzalez’s family asked the Marlins to do that. 

### The Marlins are thrilled with the progress of the three minor-leagues acquired in the Toronto trade: outfielder Jake Marisnick (.286, 10 homers, 41 RBI in Double A), and pitchers Justin Nicolino (5-1, 2.18 at Single A) and Anthony DiSclafani (6-3, 2.40 at Single A and Double A). “They came as advertised,” Marlins executive Larry Beinfest said, adding Marisnick might be promoted in September. 

### With ESPN already speculating about the possibility of LeBron James joining the Lakers next summer, keep this in mind: ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said that James “doesn’t really like L.A… L.A. isn’t really his flavor.” And a friend of James told us he couldn’t envision James signing with the Lakers.

Smith – who predicted the Big Three would come together in 2010 – kept saying last week there’s at least a 50 percent chance James will leave the Heat next summer. But James’ friend still makes the Heat a strong favorite, with Cleveland a possibility. James said he won’t give it any thought until after next season but said keeping this group together is the “goal.”

### Please check the last post for Heat summer league/free agency chatter, including details from their Las Vegas Summer League opener late Saturday night.

### Sightings: James’ party at The Venetian in Las Vegas last weekend included a chariot carrying a pair of gold-painted women through the crowd, confetti showers, a cake shaped as two championship rings, and James telling the crowd he should be referred to only as “King James.”

Comments

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Steve B

La has made a habit of stealing players from other teams. This time its time for the Lakers to rot from within. With an aging Kobe Bryant they have nobody to attract the better free agents. Couldnt happen to a better set of guys.
Schadenfreude baby Schadenfreude

TK SWANN

NOT GUILTY VERDICT IS A DISGRACEFUL MARK ON RACE RELATIONS IN THIS COUNTRY AND I THANK GOD FOR SPORTS BECAUSE IT ALLOWS ME TO GET AWAY FROM SOME OF THE WRONGS IN THIS COUNTRY. I PULL FOR ALL MY MIAMI SPORTS TEAMS BUT TONIGHT I AM PRAYING THAT ALL CANE,DOLPHIN,HEAT,MARLIN AND OTHER SPORTS FANS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY PRAY THAT WE AS AMERICANS CAN SOME DAY COME TOGETHER AS A COUNTRY JUST AS WE COME TOGETHER TO CHEER FOR OUR TEAMS TO WIN. THIS IS OUR COUNTRY AND WE DESERVE "JUSTICE FOR ALL". PLEASE PRAY FOR BOTH FAMILIES AND PLEASE PRAY THAT ONE DAY AMERICA GETS IT RIGHT. NOT GUILTY!! SORRY BUT THIS TIME IT'S STRAIGHT BULL ...T!!.

Bobby Luie

sick racist country.

lame-ass wannabe cop a Tea Party Hero.
Trayvon a villain cuz he wore droopy drawers.

Fla a cracker cesspool

johnny

shut up with your racist accusations, had trayvon martin been white i'm sure you wouldn't care if zimmerman was guilty or not.

Reread jones

Barry,
UM likes Jonas Gray? Is he going back to school?

Mr. Titman

Well all the bleeding heart liberals will be out in force over the not guilty verdict for Zimmerman,and of course it is made into a race issue. Freakin idiots! It is a fact that ninety percent of blacks that are killed every year,are killed by other blacks,not whites. But as long as they are killing each other it is ok,huh? Look at Atlanta news sometime and it is an every day accurance. Martin,at the time of his death,was not the cute kid he was at ten or twelve years old that the stupid media keeps showing us. He was six feet- two inchs tall,tatooed punk. That could have run away but chose to attack a guy asking questions,but if he were white,none of this would have even made the news.

lee

FYI - TK SWANN, Bobby Luie

Racism works both ways....

The true colors (and no, that doesn't refer to race) will show now.....the true racist will reveal themselves with their comments.

Calling the Kettle Black?

I hate that D-Wade has to explain this to his kids.....maybe he can help me explain what a crazy ass cracker is to my 6 year old. Racism goes both ways and the fact that people can't see that is the real problem. One of the last things Martin said on this earth was a racial comment. Just a sad story all around.

thirstybuzzardcane

As a big time canes fan the players need to say nothing about trayvon case, every black is of course going to support trayvon....justice was served and the jury got it right!!!! Wade needs to keep his tweets to himself.....I really don't like the guy now!!!!

thirstybuzzardcane

The number one problem is al sharaton and Jesse Jackson.....they are the biggest race baiters out there and it needs to stop.

Darell

It's funny that the same people who were happy with OJ getting off are upset that Zimmerman got off. This country has turned into a country of racist. Those who are the racist call everyone else the racist, and don't see that they are the ones that are the true racist. Bottom line is the Treyvon killing was a bad thing, but had Zimmerman and Martin both been white this would have NEVER went to trial. Just like if they had both been black it would have never went to trial. The media tried to make this something it wasn't. There simply wasn't enough evidence to convict, no matter the color.

thirstybuzzardcane

Everyone has the right to defend themselves black, white, Hispanic, Asian and if the roles where reversed I would absolutely side with Trayvon. My prayers go out to the Martin family. It was a unfortunate situation!!!

9>5>2

Al Golden better tell Bush and Duke to stfu on the twitter

They dont know whatthey are talking about

The jury of six women (one black woman) heard the detail after painful detail in the courtroom- Were all youbig mouths in the court 24/7 or did youhear it from CNN?

And these 6 women proved what most legal analysts have said:

THE STATE DID NOT PROVE THEIR CASE! PERIOD. END OF STORY

FURTHERMORE, THEOUTCRY ON THIS IS RIDIDCULOUS. Where are you angry upset african americans on the Chicago situation? Just last week 9 black youngmen were killed- how? By young black men. Over thelast 3 years hundreds have died /

Where is Al Sharpton and Jesse JAckson on that issue? Wheres the media?

I'm not saying one way or another whether he was guilty. But to see youall talk stuff thatyou dont know about just bc he was black is racist in and of itself. I bet you all celebrated when OJ SImpson was found innocent right?

That proves my point

thirstybuzzardcane

All these tweets from high profile people about the Trayvon case are only going to make things worst....please keep your comments to yourself.

thirstybuzzardcane

Great post Darell and 9>5>2.....couldn't say it any better

MC

As a father I am saddened by the death of a 17 year old son. However, as a lawyer, the decision was no surprise. Prosecution's case was terrible and there was reasonable doubt from the start. Zimmerman could have avoided everything by just calling the cops. Typical "condo commando" trying to play cop. Unfortunately proving he was a condo commando wannabe cop isnt enough for life in prison.

green

As a big time canes fan the players need to say nothing about Trayvon case

Posted by: thirstybuzzardcane | 07/14/2013 at 09:38 AM

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BPAV1HFCcAARdnB.jpg

Trayvon was a CANE

SPEAK NO ILL OF THE DEAD

Phinking

If he had killed someone in MY family, he or a member of HIS family would have been taken care of a long time ago. Where I come from we don't depend on a BS justice system to get justice.

green

like casey anthony, george zimmerman will spend the rest of his life in hiding ....

PRISONER OF THE MIND

Tennessee Stryker Hip Recall Lawyers

This seems to have happened allot with some liberals lately on Twitter. When confronted about it, they say "That's not what I meant/I was joking/You people need to lighten up", etc.

TK SWANN

WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENCE IN OPINIONS ABOUT RACE AND THE VERDICT THAT CAME DOWN BUT LET ME ASK EVERYONE A SIMPLE QUESTION? DOES ANYONE OF ANY RACE DESERVE TO BE SHOT JUST FOR WALKING HOME FROM THE STORE? IF YOU HAVE A SUSPICION ABOUT A PERSON AND YOU INVESTIGATE THE PERSON,GET HIT BY THE PERSON AND YOU HAVE A GUN THEN WHY NOT DRAW THE GUN AND ORDER THE SUSPECT TO FREEZE INSTEAD OF KILLING THEM. IF THE SHOOTER WAS BLACK/WHITE WHATEVER THEY ARE WRONG IN NOT EXERCISING PROPER "POLICE PROTOCOL" THAT RESULTED IN THE THE DEATH OF AN INDIVIDUAL. IN O.J. CASE ONCE AGAIN THE TERRIBLE JOB OF NOT DOING PROPER POLICE WORK RESULTED IN AN INDIVIDUAL GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER. IT'S TRUE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO CHEERED WHEN O.J. GOT FOUND "NOT GUILTY" (I WAS ONE) ARE THE SAME ONES CRYING FOUL NOW(VERY TRUE) BUT I ALSO SAID THAT WE SHOULD PRAY FOR BOTH FAMILIES AND THAT WE SHOULD PRAY THAT THIS COUNTRY ONE DAY GETS IT RIGHT ! GOD FORBID IF THIS BULL...T HAPPENS AGAIN/AGAIN. WHO WILL BE CRYING FOUL THEN. THIS IS OUR COUNTRY (DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS) REGARDLESS OF OUR DIFFERENCES WE DESERVE PROPER JUSTICE FOR ALL AND THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE OUR OWN POLITICAL AFFILIATION AND WHEN WE DIFFER WE SHOULD COME TOGETHER FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THIS COUNTRY. I'M A DEMOCRAT BUT I DO NOT HATE REPUBLICANS AND EVEN AGREE WITH SOME OF THERE IDEAS IF IT BENEFITS ALL AMERICANS AS A WHOLE. I AM AFRICAN AMERICAN BUT I DO NOT HATE MY WHITE BROTHERS/SISTERS OR ANY OTHER RACES. A BAD PERSON IS A BAD PERSON REGARDLESS OF RACE. C'MON GUYS LET'S DO WHATEVER WE CAN TO "GET IT RIGHT" AS FAR AS OUR RACE RELATIONS GO.

Reality check

He wasn't shot for walking home from from the store, he was shot because he physically attacked George Zimmerman.

And the fact you think Zimmerman could have drawn his weapon and told Martin to freeze shows you didn't follow the facts of this case at all. Zimmerman was on the ground with Martin on top of him punching him in the face and bashing his head on the concrete.

Yes, Zimmerman is an A-hole wannabe cop but Trayvon Martin is the only one who broke the law that night, when he escalated the verbal interaction to a physical confrontation.

Keepin it real always

Surprised that Daniel Thomas is working at the No 2 spot.He is just always so inconsistent as a player.I have to think that eventually Gillisee will get an opportunity to displace him.It s a potentially great pick though Gillisee is not projected to be All World....he still was a very productive RB in his final year at Florida.Excited to see what he may be able to bring to the Offense.

Canes

Dwayne Wade is such a fraud as are the rest. How about the 11 murders last weekend in Chicago in Wade's hometown. Where is his shock or how he is going to explain that to his kids? Also, how many of these frauds refuse to talk to Ray Lewis?

TInSouthMiami

PhinKing your internet tough guy act made me laugh.

As for Screaming A Smith predicting the Big 3 union, he also tried to hedge his bets at the last minute by tweeting

“Uh Oh……hearing some last minute things are unfolding. Holy #@$*. Stay Tuned!!!”

So yeah, nice call

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