« Updated with Heat Sat. night result: Heat free agent, summer league notes; UM nuggets | Main | Heat releases Mike Miller and free agent replacement options; Fis, Canes quick hits »

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


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.)


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.)


### 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.”


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Steve B isn't like call the pot call the kettle black when say LA stole other teams players. Where do you think LBJ, Bosh, Miller, Allen came from........Heaven. You can't steal player, both the Heat and Laker abbided by the NBA CBA. Come be smarter than that.

Jorge Zimmerman

u wanted "over" charges to be filed... u got it.

u wanted a trial by jury... u got it.

u got ur verdict...

see u on the beach.


A black man sees a white man following him, he takes out his gun (legally licensed) and kills the white man because he felt scared..No witnesses, no 911 calls..The black man has scars in his head, would he be not-charged for 6 weeks and then found not guilty??

Who was the witness for Tyson and Ms Washington??


@thirtybuzzardcane wthf do you think that you are telling dwade and the um players to sthfup they have a right to voice there opinion just like you. If the sho was on the other foot travon martin would be in jail. Its open season on african american males. Mr. Zimmerman to you and your brother " we reap what we sow longer than we sow"


The law is the law. Florida says I/you can use deadly force if I believe my life is in eminent danger. I carry and if some idiot comes at me and/or my wife to do us great harm I will use deadly force. I'm not looking at the color of someone's skin before I do. Just the possibility of dying or my wife dying or worse. I train for these situations. Why ? Because our world is filled w/idiots. If idiots only knew how close to the gates of hell they are when their behavior threatens my life or my wife's.

Real talk

kager seems to be a typical baby d*ck weakling, "training" to be a big man with a gun in case he ever has the chance to shoot someone and be a hero for once instead of the zero he is in real life.

What a loser.

Sunny Dee

I am about as liberal as they come, but the State did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt against Zimmerman and the jury's verdict was correct under the law. The key issue in the case was that they could not prove the voice shouting for help was Martin's. If they have been able to offer scientific evidence that it was Martin's, the outcome would have been different.

What is unfortunate about all of this is that Martin did nothing wrong and probably reacted the same way many people would react if some strange man was following you down the street. I believe Zimmerman targeted Martin because he stereotyped him on account of his age, clothing, and, yes, race. The police told him not to follow Martin and he ingnored them. Had Zimmerman just let the police handle it, Martin would still be alive. Zimmerman's decision to ignore the request that he not follow Martin led to the shooting. Although this may make him liable in a wrongful death case, there was nothing criminal about what Zimmerman did. Assuming Zimmerman was getting beaten up by Martin to the extent he claims(the State was unable to show that he was not), he was justified under Florida law in using deadly force (by the way, the Jury did not receive the "Stand Your Ground" instruction, only the self defense instruction).

Perhaps the exceptions that currently exist for when someone intially provokes the use of force should be removed or limited. This is the current instruction that exists:

However, the use of deadly force is not justifiable if you find:

2. (Defendant) initially provoked the use of force against [himself] [herself], unless:

a. The force asserted toward the defendant was so great that [he] [she] reasonably believed that [he] [she] was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and had exhausted every reasonable means to escape the danger, other than using deadly force on (assailant).

b. In good faith, the defendant withdrew from physical contact with (assailant) and clearly indicated to (assailant) that [he] [she] wanted to withdraw and stop the use of deadly force, but (assailant) continued or resumed the use of force.

In sum, Zimmerman's stereotype of Martin, his decision to play cop, carry a gun, and ignore requests not to follow Martin were all terrible mistakes, but do not, by themselves, make him guilty of murder or manslaughter. The State was unable to overcome the claim of self-defense due to a lack of evidence. The decision is unfortunate, but nobody should blame the jury for following the law.

Many people now are claiming that if Zimmerman were black and the victim were white, that the outcome would be different. While that may be true, that does not mean that Zimmerman should be found guilty under the law. Two wrongs do not make a right....

Sunny Dee

By the way, the State made several mistakes in the case, the biggest being that they introduced all of Zimmerman's statements for him so that he did not have to testify. The statements would have been hearsay if offered by the defense, so Zimmerman would have been forced to testify and then they could have impeached him with the prior inconsistent statements that he made to the police and to the media. He would have also had to tell the jury that the voice screaming for help was his, and the jury would have been able to see his face on the stand when making the claim (which does not seem believable). I don't think this would have changed the outcome, but the State did a poor job overall in my opinion. They probably also should have just charged him with manslaughter and argued that Martin's death was caused by the culpable negligence of Zimmerman. They could have still gotten life if they charged it as manslaughter with possession of a firearm (discharge).



It's becoming more likely by the minute that #Canes vs. #Gators will SELLOUT before public single game on sale on Aug. 5.

And no single game tickets have been sold to Gator fans besides their game contract allotment (12,500).
-- @ChrisFreet




scouting guru Mike Mayock attended the Manning Passing Academy this past weekend, and Monday morning on NFL Network's "NFL AM" he broke down some of the juniors and seniors we one day could see playing on Sundays.

Stephen Morris, Miami Hurricanes:

Mayock called Morris "the guy I really enjoyed" watching at the Manning camp and then raved about the senior.

"I thought he threw a beautiful football," Mayock said. "He's got a big arm. He won the 'Air It Out' challenge, which they do on the final night there, which is a test of accuracy. Stephen Morris has got great mechanics. He was coached by Jedd Fisch at Miami, who is now the offensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and you can see that Morris has really been developed well the last couple of years."
-- nfl.com


Dave in WPB

Why on earth does this Zimmerman case have to be a racial thing ?? If this was 2 bros in the projects, would there be a case ? Why in the world can the influential, black athletes, not look past the race thing and only at the facts here. Although Zimmerman made MANY mistakes; 1 not letting the police handle it. 2. Passing judgment on how TM looked. 3. being a "wanna be". Bottom Line...If somebody if giving you a beaten, and you are too pathetic to fight back, but you are armed, you WILL SHOOT !! He meant to shoot him, and rightfully so. His death was an accident. Why not manslaughter you say ? Again, he MEANT to shoot him to stop the beating. This is what we call self-defense!!I am white, from the projects, and have many black friends throughout the country. JUST SAYIN.



Jay Larranaga may have only spent one season as an NBA assistant coach. But that's not stopping the 76ers from considering him as their head coach.

The Celtics assistant will interview for the Sixers coaching job
-- philly.com




Stephen Morris might be the most talented quarterback in college football.
-- nfl.com



THAnks green. Didnt know he was a cane- still I tsnad by what I said- I didntattack TM (RIP) I criticized the race baitingand outcry and the Al Sharpton wanna bes here.

Of course no one wanted to see a young man killed like that. And I am not defending Zimmerman. I AM defending the justice system. I hate to see if one of you was in court accused of something and theprosecution had NO case and youall still got convicted.

This is the best system in the world period. What is wrong is the peopele. We a55holes who cant get along, whites thathate blacks, blacks that kill their own, rapists pedoiphiles. The justice system is there to defend the truth



Still SMH Golden starting the Jacory over the more talented QB in Morris.
-- CaneAlmighty




ESPNU is counting down the top 25 college football games of 2012 ... Check out the schedule for catching the airing of each game

No. 20 - Miami 44, North Carolina State 37 July 18 10 p.m.
-- espn.com



THAnks green. Didnt know he was a cane- still I tsnad by what I said- I didntattack TM (RIP)

Posted by: 9>5>2 | 07/15/2013 at 04:14 PM

This is what we call self-defense!!

Posted by: Dave in WPB | 07/15/2013 at 02:55 PM


perhaps Trayvon acted in self-defense after being followed at night by a gun-toting wannabee who disobeyed an order to stand clear ...


Mr Y

As I read the post on here I see misguided attempts to hide their feelings about race. It is pretty evident that people can not remove race from the situation.

Here i'll help: Person A is an outstanding citizen and takes the time to go above and beyond his civil duties to patrol the neighborhood.

Person B is walking minding their own business.

both are within their legal rights to do so.

So here's what we have so far: one person unarmed on foot, and one armed in a vehicle on a dark rainy night in FL.

Person A calls the police to report a suspicious character and in turn is told that he does not have to pursue, and in the process is heard muttering these punks always get away.

Person B observes that someone is following him and is believed to have used a racial slur in his description. He also decides to attempt to run away from the person following him.

Person A: Continues to follow person B until they eventually engage in a struggle which ends in the death of person B.

Now those are the so called facts and everything else is speculation.

Some questions you should ask yourself are: why did person A call person B a punk and assumed that he would get away if not for his watchful eye? Can that be considered profiling?
Additionally, why get out of the car? Since he was armed he could have warned the suspect before they got physical?

You see the most important piece of information would be what led to confrontation. Obviously there is only one side to the story thanks to Mr Zimmerman.

Having a cwp is a privilege and not a right. Additionally that privilege comes with responsibility. A gun holder should be held accountable for the situations that they put themselves in. Mr Zimmerman was in his legal rights to follow Mr Martin, as well as it was in Mr Martins rights to run as a stranger approaches. However, Mr Zimmerman as a gun holder should not be able to follow people with a loaded weapon, when he does not have to. The situation should have never come to the point where Mr Zimmerman and Mr Martin were in striking distance, especially if Mr Zimmerman was in a vehicle and had a weapon.

It looks very strong to the side that Martin attempted to flee, Zimmerman ran after him and of naturally Martin would feel as if he had no where to go and fought back. Now he is a victim, because of his fear of a stranger following him. Its pretty clear that he tried to get away, was unable to, then fought back, and in the process of defended himself, he became the aggressor and is killed. This all could have been avoided if Mr Zimmerman stuck to what his position should have been in the first place....Neighborhood WATCH( with your eyes)!


All woman jury and they find him not guilty....perhaps the prosecution team was just horrible on this one.

Reality check

Mr Y, most reasonable people will disagree with your assessment.

There is no plausible scenario in which a neighborhood watch guy, carrying a gun, would initiate a physical confrontation with a 6 foot black guy who he was obviously nervous about.

The reason Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder or even manslaughter, is that there's no plausible scenario under which he initiated the physical confrontation, and therefore he was entitled to defend himself from his attacker.

Everyone knows how the law works in this country, you can follow people, you can talk to people, but where the line is drawn is with physical contact. What Zimmerman did up to that point may have been irresponsible or unnecessary or whatever else, but it was not illegal.

The scenario you just described, Zimmerman running after Trayvon Martin in the dark, with his gun still tucked away in its holster, initiating a physical struggle without pulling his weapon, just seems ridiculous to most reasonable people.

That's just not how it happened. Martin initiated the physical confrontation


not enough evidence. plain and simple. it was a long shot to begin with. they thought they could get the politics to take over with opinion instead of facts.

Fact was, there was no clear evidence.

Free Elian Gonzalez!

Jorge Zimmerman

Beautiful day at the beach today... Football in 45 DAYS !

Go Gators !

Keepin it real always

Pouncey brothers supporting Hernandez?I d not brag about that too loud.Makes people think maybe your judgement MAY be clouded.The FIU RB was arrested and kicked off the team?Hmmmmmm.Alcohol can make you do some real dumb things.....like shooting a gun on campus.Real smart.

how obout OJ

This is a shame that our country is divided. As a white male I am so very tired of reverse discrimination. I know George Zimmerman and spent a couple of weeks with him several years ago along with two of my black friends in Chicago. George is a loving, compassionate, soft spoken HISPANIC. He doesn't have a racist bone inside of him but the media along with Sharpton and Jackson portray him as a racist. Look in the mirror because these two men not only harbor bigotry and racism against white people but they are NO messenger of Jesus Christ. Also, please Wade, Duke, and Deon Bush STICK TO SPORTS. God Bless Trayvon's soul and peace to his Mom and Dad. I'm feel terrible for the Martin family and as a parent of three kids it must be heart wrenching.

The comments to this entry are closed.