With their depth depleted by injuries to arguably their fourth and fifth best receivers, the Dolphins on Tuesday will audition former Cowboys receiver Laurent Robinson and potentially others.
The Dolphins pursued Robinson in March 2012 after a breakout season for the Cowboys in which he caught 54 passes, including 11 touchdowns. But the 6-2 Robinson suffered a concussion last season and was limited to seven games and 24 receptions. Teams want to make sure he’s healthy.
Robinson, 28, worked out for the Jets, Patriots and Lions in the past few weeks. He lives in Miami and would love to join the Dolphins, a source said.
Austin Collie also is believed to be on Miami's radar. Collie suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game last year and has had three concussions in his career.
Other free agent receivers still available include Randy Moss (highly unlikely), Chad Johnson (even more unlikely), Brandon Lloyd, Early Doucett, Donald Jones, Donald Driver, Brandon Stokley, Deion Branch and Ruvel Martin. Former Dolphins receiver Greg Camarillo also is looking for work.
"We’re always looking to improve, whether from within or without,” coach Joe Philbin said when asked about receiver. “We’re not afraid to do whatever we have to do to improve at any position.”
The Dolphins are looking for receiver help after losing Armon Binns for the season because of a knee injury and Rishard Matthews for at least several weeks because of an injury. Before their injuries, Binns and Matthews had been the favorites for the fourth and fifth receiver jobs behind Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson.
Meanwhile, Philbin said Monday he wants to take a longer look at the young receivers competing for spots, including Marvin McNutt, Brian Tyms and Jeff Fuller. “Those three guys -- we like the size of those guys,” Philbin said. “They have good length and speed and playmaking ability.
Philbin said undrafted rookie Chad Bumphis “has really come along a little bit. He’s a crafty receiver. Has found a way to get open. Has caught the ball better. Junior Collins has similar skills – is quick, goods hands. It’s a good crop of young guys we have to get further evaluation on.”
Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, permitted to speak to reporters on Monday for the first time during training camp, said he is emphasizing creating more turnovers “as hard as I’ve ever done in all my years of coaching.”
Coyle has been showed his players tapes of the fumbles forced last season by the Patriots, Bears and Bengals -- three of the best in the league at that. He also said players are encouraged to strip and punch footballs hanging from the walls in their defensive meeting rooms.
“Hopefully it will start to translate to our play,” Coyle said.
Coyle addressed other issues:
### He said Dion Jordan is working exclusively at defensive end “in the early stages of camp.” But the Dolphins see the possibility of using him some at linebacker eventually.
“He has a lot of position versatility,” Coyle said. “I see him a lot like Olivier Vernon in the sense there will be times we can use him in a lot of different spots. He’s very athletic, can cover, can certainly rush the passer, which is his strength. We’ve got to get him stronger and his shoulder comes back around from the injury.”
### Coyle said Vernon “has improved tremendously” and is “playing very consistently. We feel he is going to make a much stronger contribution to the defense.”
### On the decision to replace linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett with Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler: “We’ll determine if we were right as we go down the road. But what we’ve seen in practice is two guys that are very explosive, play physical, play an aggressive style of game.
“They’re both very good blitzers, which is something we felt going into the offseason we had to improve, to get our linebackers more productive in the blitz, because we do utilize them quite a bit.”
But Coyle said Ellerbe and Wheeler “are going to be difference makers for us. [But] there’s a level of consistency in both of their play we’re not at yet.”
### He said a big emphasis has been “to eliminate the deep balls, the plus 20 yard passes” and defensive players are making far fewer mental errors than a year ago at this time.
THIS AND THAT
### Philbin, on why he likes Lamar Miller: “He has good instincts as a runner. Has very, very good athletic ability. Has good speed. He can pass protect. It took him a little while to get the responsibilities down, the blitz adjustments down. At the end of the year, he was very sound in his pass protection. He has good hands, can catch the football.”
### Philbin said: “If you asked me, Joe, why were 7-9 last year? I would say minus 10.” That was the team’s turnover differential.
### Dan Carpenter enters Monday’s scrimmage 16 of 20 in field goals during training camp. “I’ve seen the same guy he’s been,” special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi said. “His approach has been outstanding.”
Meanwhile, rookie Caleb Sturgis, Carpenter’s competition, remains sidelined with a groin injury after making three of his first six field goals. Asked about Sturgis’ performance, Rizzi said: “Caleb has a very strong leg. Every kicker has got to continue to be accurate… It’s a matter of performing in the games.”
Rizzi said he will “give my honest opinion” when Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland ask his opinion on the kicker battle.
### Rizzi said the Dolphins are still evaluating whether to have Marcus Thigpen handle all punt returns or have him again share those responsibilities. Last season, Davone Bess – who was traded to Cleveland – handled punts close to Miami’s end zone.
Rizzi mentioned Brian Hartline, Brent Grimes and Brandon Gibson among players who could share punt return duties with Thigpen. But using Grimes in that role would seem risky.
Rizzi said Thigpen, who handles nearly all of the kickoffs, “had a great year” but left some plays “on the field” and can still improve in decision making.
By the way, Rizzi loves how Dion Jordan has embraced his role on special teams and hopes he can emerge as a force blocking field goals.
### Quotable: “I want to thank everyone for all the prayers and support. I’ll bounce back from this stronger than before! God bless.” --- Receiver Armon Binns on Monday, a day after he tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee, which will sideline him for the season.
### Please check my blog and Armando's Dolphins blog later for some thoughts from tonight's 7 p.m. scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium. And follow us all on Twitter -- @flasportsbuzz, @ArmandoSalguero and @AdamHBeasley.