« Sunday 6 p.m. update: Heat calls Camby; Lots of Fins camp news; More UM recruiting | Main | Heat meets with Oden; Notes, quotes, musings from Tuesday's Dolphins practice »

Marlins make big late-night roster moves; Fins notes; Al Golden speaks out; Heat

The Marlins, late Monday night, made roster moves with four players they hope will be a major part of their future, demoting center fielder Marcell Ozuna and second baseman Derek Dietrich to Double A and promoting top outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick to the big-league team.

Marisnick, acquired with several others in the big trade with Toronto in November, was hitting .294 with 12 homers, 46 RBI and 11 steals in 67 games at Double A Jacksonville. Yelich, who returned from an injury earlier this month, was hitting .280 with seven homers and 29 RBI in 49 games at Jacksonville, and was 11 for his last 22.

Manager Mike Redmond said both outfielders will start Tuesday night in Colorado, with Yelich in left field and Marisnick in center.

Ozuna (three homers, 32 RBI) had been mired in a prolonged slump and was hitting .138 in July (9 for 65), which dropped his average to .265. The Marlins remain hopeful he can be a longterm big-league starter.

Dietrich was tied for eighth in home runs among all big-league second basemen, with nine, but was hitting .214, including .204 in July (11 for 54). Donovan Solano and Ed Lucas likely will handle second base for now.

###############################################################################################

 If Ryan Tannehill is the player whose performance this season is most tied to the Dolphins’ success, Jonathan Martin might be No. 2.

In shifting from right to left tackle to replace Jake Long, Martin will be responsible for protecting Tannehill’s blind side, often against the premier pass rusher on the opposing team, as well as helping open holes in the run game.

This much is clear: If Martin again leads the league in most quarterback hurries allowed, as he did last season with 47, that would be quite problematic.

But the Dolphins believe Martin will be more effective back at left tackle, where he played at Stanford, especially after adding 15 pounds to boost his weight above 312.

“That [weight gain] will help a lot,” Martin said after Monday’s practice. “You have a better anchor, more power in the run game. I’ve felt really good so far. I played there in college, feel really comfortable there. Confident what I can do.”

The Dolphins decided to shift Martin to left tackle in May after Bryant McKinnie rejected their offer in free agency. Though it’s difficult to judge offensive line play when the players aren’t in pads, Martin has been decent – but hardly perfect – early in camp. Olivier Vernon beat him with a nifty inside move during a drill on Monday.

After Long suffered a season-ending injury, Martin’s play at left tackle was rocky during his five games at left tackle.

The Dolphins were pleased with his work against Jacksonville, but he had difficulties in two games against New England (allowing one sack and four hurries in one of them, six hurries in the other) and against San Francisco (one sack, four hurries while often matched up against Aldon Smith, who had 19.5 sacks last season).

Martin played very well for stretches at left tackle against Buffalo but also had a role in allowing two quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Focus.

Martin said he watched all of his games at left tackle “a bunch of times.” He admitted becoming angry while reviewing tape of the 49ers and Patriots games. “I definitely paid a lot more attention to what I did wrong than right,” he said.

Including his 11 games on the right side, Pro Football Focus rated Martin 76th among 80 tackles last season, with six sacks allowed.

“I played solid at times, not so good other times,” he said. “It’s about being consistent.”

Left guard Richie Incognito, who will play alongside Martin, said Martin is “at his best” when he is given a challenge.

Even without hearing Incognito say that, Martin expressed the same sentiment.

“I like having the pressure on myself. It makes me perform better,” he said. “It’s something I wanted my entire life – to play left tackle in the NFL.”

### With Long moving on to St. Louis, Incognito said: “I’m the vet on the o-line, the vet on offense. It’s my time to lead, my time to pick people up… I’m in charge of tempo and hard work and making sure we’re on track.”         

### Coach Joe Philbin said Lamar Miller “appears a lot more comfortable in what he’s doing. There doesn't appear to be much indecision in his play.”

And Incognito said Miller “has got a great feel for the zone game. I’m excited to block for him.”

Philbin on Monday also offered plaudits for quarterback Matt Moore, cornerback Brent Grimes (“very quick”), rookie tight end Dion Sims and receiver Brandon Gibson ("very good instincts" in his route running).

Receiver Brian Hartline said Gibson is well suited for the slot, where has been playing, because “he has a lot of body control, which you need a lot of times inside. He’s smart and can feel coverage.”

### In the ongoing kicking competition, Caleb Sturgis followed Dan Carpenter’s excellent work Sunday by hitting two of three field goals. He missed a 47-yarder but made a 48-yarder.

### Marcus Thigpen likely again will handle at least some of the punt returns, but the Dolphins are looking at a half dozen others to possibly share those duties. Brian Hartline, Lamar Miller, Nolan Carroll, Brandon Gibson, Brent Grimes and long shot receiver Jasper Collins have all taken turns. It would be risky to use Grimes, the Dolphins’ best cornerback, in that role.

Whereas Thigpen handles all the kickoff returns, the Dolphins had him share punt returns last season with Davone Bess, who was traded to Cleveland in April. Bess handled the punts that were backed up near the Dolphins’ goal line, and 18 of Bess’ 22 return opportunities were fair catches.

Thipgen averaged 12.2 yards on 26 punt returns, 27.4 yards on 38 kickoff returns.

PRACTICE HIGHLIGHTS

### Quarterback Matt Moore threw a beautiful deep ball to receiver Rishard Matthews, who beat cornerback Dimitri Patterson for a 70-yard scoring play.

### Linebacker Alonzo Highsmith stripped Moore and recovered a fumble. And defensive tackle Kheeston Randall knocked down a pass from Moore.

### Tight end Michael Egnew made a terrific catch in traffic. Egnew got work with the first and second team on Monday. Dustin Keller also looked good.

### Receiver Marvin McNutt followed his outstanding day Sunday with a lackluster one Monday, including a drop and fumble.

ALSO NOTABLE

### Olivier Vernon took the first-team snaps at defensive end, opposite Cameron Wake, for the second consecutive day. Randy Starks replaced Jared Odrick – alongside Paul Soliai – as the first-team defensive tackles, but Odrick rotated in and got plenty of work.

“We’ve been looking at a lot of different combinations,” coach Joe Philbin said of the defensive line. “Odrick, we’ll get him outside some as well. We’ll get him some looks there.”

Vaughn Martin, who played primarily defensive tackle in San Diego’s 3-4 defense, has been playing defensive end in the Dolphins’ 4-3, and Philbin said "we'll move him inside a bit... The more jobs [players] can master, the more valuable they become to us."

### In a change of pace, No. 3 quarterback Pat Devlin received the snaps with the second-team offensive players, with Moore working with the third- and fourth-teamers. Devlin handled the assignment competently, doing his best work on roll outs.

### Unlike Sunday, Richard Marshall lined up against slot receivers and Patterson played on the outside when the Dolphins went to a nickel package.

### The Dolphins run two 11-on-11 drills simultaneously, and Philbin has spent more of his time watching the third- and fourth-team players practice than the first- and second-teamers, because he wants to familiarize himself with the players toward the bottom of the roster, many of them rookies.

### The training camp crowd dropped from 2700 on Day 1 (Sunday) to 1220 on Day 2 (Monday), when more people obviously had to go to work.

### Dolphins players said they expect to practice in pads for the first time on Tuesday.

###  Quotable --  “We’ll be a more complete zone blocking team. [And] we’ll be a better pass protecting team.” --- Guard Richie Incognito, on the Dolphins’ offensive line, despite losing his buddy Jake Long to St. Louis

#################################################################################################

GOLDEN SPEAKS

Among the comments from Al Golden Monday during interviews at ACC media day Monday in Greensboro, N.C., and with WQAM's Joe Rose:

### On opponents running 173 more plays than UM did last season: "It's definitely a concern. [But] we're stronger, more mature, more experienced [on defense]. There's more poise and a calmness factor in our defense than there was any time last year. The whole [starting] defense comes back [except Brandon McGee]." 

### On new offensive coordinator James Coley: "James will continue to make this offense his. James is so good at relationships, so genuine with student athletes and high school coaches, that sometimes he gets labeled a recruiter. James Coley is an excellent offensive coordinator. Has an excellent mind. He has scaled us down a lot. When he made the transition to UM, he adopted a lot of our language. That's seldom the case any more with coaches. They walk in, have a big ego, and say it's my way or the highway. He didn't do that."

### On how Duke Johnson will be used differently: "More. We wouldn't be able to do that if he hadn't made changes to his body [he's up to the mid 190s now]. He's stronger. It doesn't mean we're going to wear him out."

### He said running back Eduardo Clements (neck) hasn't yet been medically cleared but hopes he will be. He expects incoming freshmen defensive lineman Alquadin Muhammad and Ufomba Kamalu to qualify academically.

### Golden told CCS that he expects the NCAA will give UM its sanctions within two weeks. "It's been our coaches, everybody, that have been a victim of this for more than two years," Golden said. "There's going to be great days ahead. The worst is behind us."

Golden said "we're not going to forget" that a lot of people are taking shots at us" but added: "We've been operating with class, dignity and transparency and taken the high road. We're going to fight our way back to the top of college football and do it the right way."

### Corn Elder and Ray Lewis III were standout running backs in high school, but both will begin their freshmen years at cornerback.

### On defensive tackle: "I think we're going to be fine. We need to recruit really well and we started off well. Curtis Porter and Luther Robinson have had good summers. Olsen Pierre, we thought coming out of the spring, was ready to take that next step. Corey King has had a great summer."

### On UM getting 23 oral commitments for 2014: We've gotten great support from the high school community, the local high school coaches. It shows you who we really are. These kids want to build a program that will endure."

### By the way, UM still isn't sure if Wisconsin starting defensive end David Gilbert will transfer to UM. ESPN previously reported that he intends to and would be eligible to play immediately. Gilbert has a history of foot problems.

########################################################################################

Marcus Camby on Monday was still mulling whether to sign with the Heat, Bulls or Rockets. (Please see our last post from last night for more Heat news.)        

Comments

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

Reality Bites

Hope Martin works out as expected, ranked #76 out of #80 is very weak. Just like ranked #117 out of 128 is terrible. Time will tell.
Go Fins!

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Don't get it twisted Reality Bites, this is a Miami sports blog in Miami's local newspaper.

You're under no obligation to read about UM (to the point of knowing where our 2012 defense was ranked...) or trash talk the Miami sports fans who read this paper, which of course is the only purpose of your commenting on UM.

There's no reason for a Florida fan to care about Miami, we only play once every five years.

The infantile trash talking that overwhelms many of the sports blogs has nothing to do with the schools or college football.

We happen to play this year, and that game will come and go, maybe a handful of internet nerds on the losing end will take that week off, but you'll all be back to your e-war within the month and continue on with your childish bickering for the next five years.

Has nothing to do with football and everything to do with trying to make people feel bad on the internet.

Just a very low character activity.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Small wonder that Vernon looks like a star against Jonathan Martin.

The one position Jeff Ireland didn't try to buy a year of competency at may well end up costing him his job.

We can only hope.

Reality Bites

OK Lt Lois, what ever you say. I like all Miami teams, except the sorry canes of course, so I will be here since I also like Barry's style.
Everyone knows the cane defense was record setting, no secret there.
I do agree with you about Martin though.

Bobby Luie

Improv-worthy comedy: Martin becomes a starting-quality left tackle. Presto-chango.

Wishful thinking by an L.A. bound, skinflint franchise, whose talent is selected and "evaluated" by an incompetent former ball-boy.

The looming blackouts may be the only saving grace.

miamigolfpro

Bobby, you sir are an idiot!!!!

Octavio de Armas

Regardless I wish both The U & Dolphins much success this coming season

Marios

Reality Bites if you like and respect Barry's work then don't pollute this blog with your negative vibe on the Canes.
Doesn't mean one should not say what they feel if it isn't positive but you post crap all the time that is not true and are generally misinformed and bias toward a program like UM that is on the rise and has a coach that is doing things the right way.

The comments to this entry are closed.