WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
Mike Sherman -- honest, secure and self-aware -- admitted Tuesday what few offensive coordinators probably would:
“Last year, based on our situation, we were predictable at times,” the Dolphins’ play-caller conceded. “We want to be less predictable.”
With more weapons at his disposal, Sherman spoke Tuesday of his vision for a more "explosive" offense, one that potentially will take more chances in short-yardage situations and will throw more on first down.
Last year, the Dolphins ran 78.7 percent of the time on second and one or third and one –- well above the 68.5 league average. They also ran 55 percent of the time on first down -– five points above the league average.
“It was our first year together, and we were fairly conservative,” Sherman said. “Handing off to Reggie Bush felt like it would be a fair first down for us with a young quarterback, to avoid as many [necessary] throw down situations as possible. This year, with the quarterback and his experience, we’ll probably be a little more aggressive there.”
He likes the lineup with Dustin Keller and Charles Clay together because “we can do a lot of different formations. There’s not a play in our playbook we couldn’t use” with that tandem.
But he said he also likes the grouping with Brandon Gibson as a third receiver and one tight end. And don’t be surprised to see tight ends in the backfield and running backs in the slot at times.
“We’ll mix it up quite a bit,” he said. “If we can get all our guys on the field, we can be explosive. We didn’t get into the end zone nearly enough last year. We still have a long way to go.
“We need to get Mike Wallace healthy and get him some work…. I feel very fortunate to be offensive coordinator of this team under Joe Philbin, who I think can be one of the great head coaches.”
Sherman admitted he “might have thrown too much too soon” at his players last year. “If I look back at it, I would have done less, not more.”
That shouldn’t be an issue this season. He wants to play faster, with variation among a two-minute offense, a more deliberate no-huddle approach and lots of huddling, too.
Keller loves how Sherman “exposes matchup” advantages. And “I like that he spreads it out,” Wallace said.
Yes, Tuesday's practice was ugly offensively. And the results of Sunday's 10-play cameo by much of the Dolphins' first-team offense against the second-team Dallas defense was disappointing. But it's way premature for serious concern at this point, because this offense cannot be expected to operate at full efficiency until Wallace and Brian Hartline are back -- Hartline returned Tuesday -- and Sunday's first-team performance without them was too small a sample size for any big-picture conclusions anyway.
But this is also true: On a day Tannehill threw four picks Tuesday, Tom Brady was 44 for 48 and Andrew Luck was 26 for 35 with six TDs and no picks.
### More Sherman nuggets: He predicted Jonathan Martin “will be a fine left tackle in this league” but has a “ways to go.”... He said rookie tight end Dion Sims was “light years away” during rookie mini-camp but "he has made phenomenal progress. We knew he would be a good blocker. Really has improved as a receiver. He’s on target to play a lot this year.”... And he said tight end Michael Egnew “has made drastic improvement from a year ago. He’s a lot more physical. His blocking has really improved. Still has to show more consistency. His peaks and valleys aren’t quite as [dramatic].”
### Of all the receivers competing for jobs, Philbin singled out two on Tuesday: Chad Bumphis and Keenan Davis. He's clearly concerned about Marvin McNutt's drops. But don't discount Jeff Fuller, who has come on strong in recent days, or Brian Tyms, who makes enough plays to stay on the radar... Davis, on his debut: "It was crazy! My first NFL game I've ever seen and I played in it!"
### With Clay taking snaps now as a first-team fullback, Jorvorskie Lane's job appears highly, highly precarious.
### Several Dolphins players will tell you they like Josh Samuda’s physicality and toughness, and his rise to first-team right guard is even more notable considering Miami had to be persuaded to give him a tryout, let alone sign him.
Agent Marty Magid said he implored the Dolphins to invite Samuda to their local workout, then called the Dolphins after the 2012 draft to persuade them to sign him. Fortunately, offensive line coach Jim Turner liked him.
Samuda left practice for a while Tuesday with what appeared to be a leg injury. Lance Louis took first team snaps when he exited.
### By the way, the Dolphins again decided to pass on free agent Brandon Moore, who visited them earlier this year and graded out as the fourth-best NFL guard in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus. Why is that just as well? Because just six hours after agreeing to terms with the Cowboys late last night, Moore retired this morning.
### Every day, another story surfaces about cornerback Brent Grimes’ incredible athleticism. First, Grimes told us this summer how he would jump over cars as a teenager. And Grimes and Dolphins people said he recently jumped on and off boxes stacked 48 inches in the air, doing it on one leg.
“Most athletic person I’ve ever seen on a football field,” said Dolphins right tackle Tyson Clabo, his former Atlanta Falcons teammate.
### More evidence that Dolphins interest has increased a bit: Sunday’s game was viewed in 11 percent of Dade/Broward homes with TV sets – higher than the 7.1, 8.7 and 7.9 ratings for the first three preseason games last season. If you’re curious, several regular-season Heat games last season topped Sunday’s Dolphins rating, including a 17.5 for a Heat-Celtics game during Miami’s 27-game win streak.
### Bovada.com has UM with a higher over/under for wins (8.5) than the Dolphins (8). But Bovada increased the Dolphins’ number from 7.5 to 8 because 88 percent of people were betting they would win more than 7.5.
### Several summer freshman arrivals already have UM coach Al Golden excited through four days of camp. Defensive end Alquadin Mohammad “has made an impression,” Golden said Tuesday. “High energy, very explosive. [Cornerback] Artie Burns and [receiver] Stacy Coley – every day they rise to the occasion. We keep pushing them… because they can help us. [Running back] Gus Edwards looks like a guy that’s going to help us.”
### A UM official who has been at closed practices said cornerbacks Antonio Crawford and Nate Dortch appear especially improved; freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen looks polished and is very coach-able; Seantrel Henderson seems more receptive to coaching; Eduardo Clements is not running tentatively as he comes back from his neck injury; and Coley is too good to keep off the field this season.
### In fact, many players cite Coley when asked the most impressive freshman. “He runs so smooth, it doesn’t look like he’s really running fast,” cornerback Tracy Howard said. Coley and Herb Waters had the second best 40-yard times on the team, behind Philip Dorsett.
### Gionni Paul, among five defensive players not invited to return to the team this season, enrolled at Utah. Linebacker Jimmy Gaines said the departed players’ talents are missed but added: “They’re distractions. That’s something we don’t need.”... As for Gaines – who’s the front-runner over Raphael Kirby at middle linebacker -- Duke Johnson said: “He’s playing the best football I’ve ever seen him play.”
### Offensive coordinator James Coley cited receivers Waters and Allen Hurns, tight end Beau Sandland, Stephen Morris and guard Brandon Linder as particularly impressive early in camp.
### The Heat, eager to downplay expectations for Greg Oden, appear disinclined to hold a news conference for him, unlike Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis last year. But they likely will make him available to reporters via a conference call. Oden passed his physical Tuesday. "He's looked really good in workouts," Ohio State assistant coach Jeff Boals told Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy. "His weight looks great."
### The Marlins are leaning toward going with another stopgap at third base next season while waiting on first-round pick Colin Moran to develop; Moran is hitting .237 in 17 games at Single A Greensboro. Chris Coghlan is one option. Zack Cox, acquired in the Edward Mujica deal with St. Louis, isn’t viewed as an everyday prospect because of lack of power and defensive limitations.
## Marlins second baseman Derek Dietrich – told he needed to work on making contact against off speed pitches --- has struggled since being demoted to Double A: 6 for 33 with 17 strikeouts in his past 11 games.