Panthers owner set; Special matchup for Mike Wallace; Analyst musings on Fins; UM, Heat; Marlins sign player
Some quick notes:
### The Panthers will introduce New York businessman Vinnie Viola as their new owner at a 10 a.m. Friday news conference. Viola is purchasing the team from Cliff Viner. Michael Yormark will stay on as team president.
### One of the interesting matchups in Monday’s Dolphins-Saints game will be Mike Wallace against New Orleans cornerback Keenan Lewis, his friend since childhood --- both grew up in the New Orleans area -- and a former teammate both in high school and with the Pittsburgh Steelers until both left as free agents this past spring.
Wallace was asked -- no joke -- 15 questions about Lewis in a conference call with New Orleans media today.
He said he and Lewis speak “at least five times a week. I talked to him yesterday. I’m pretty sure I’m going to talk to him again tonight.
“We are going to continue to talk every day. Every single day, almost, we talk to each other. We’ve been talking about this day since the day we signed, since March 12. I told him to get ready and he told me the same thing, so we’re excited about it. It’s all love. Like I keep telling y’all, that’s my brother. I wish the best for him, just not on Monday night.
“He’s my best friend. Just having him with me all the time, we are going through the same things. Our families are real close. We are going to joke all day long (and) clown. I need to get me somebody like that around here, because I don’t have it right now. That’s my brother, so it’s going to take a while to get on the level with another guy like that. Even in college I had a guy who we played in high school with who I went to college with. This is my first time being on a team by myself.”
Wallace said he expects to be matched against Lewis a lot on Monday night.
### ESPN’s Trent Dilfer, studying the Dolphins’ film, unleashed a series of tweets tonight. Among them: “I am concerned with how they handle inside blitzes & add on rushers in pass game, especially on action passes….
"O-Line isn't super talented, but is works together well. Their movements are in sync & ball is out quick in pass game….
"If Charles Clay #42 is listed as a FB, pencil him in for the Pro Bowl. Dude is as versatile as any player in NFL.
"Scheme helps get WR's open quickly. Run game is simple, but backs run hard.
"First thing that jumped out was diverse play calling. Multiple formations, personnel groupings.”
### Ryan Tannehill, who knows he needs to cut down on fumbles, says he was more likely to tuck the ball and run last year than this season.
“I think last year I was quick to escape. (I was) not hanging in there quite as long, not trusting the protection, trusting your eyes and escaping the pocket, moving out to my right most of the time, and then you cut the field in half. So then you really limit yourself that way. Something I worked on this offseason is really hanging in there and keeping my eyes downfield.”
### Interesting that NBA commissioner-in-waiting Adam Silver, who will succeed David Stern next spring, told The Wall Street Journal today that it was the Heat -– not the NBA –- that came up with the idea to put nicknames on the back of player jerseys for two Heat-Brooklyn games this season.
### Most improved UM players on defense? Anthony Chickillo said Tracy Howard and Thurston Armbrister.
### Though Stephen Morris' ankle isn't 100 percent, Al Golden said today that Morris was only 75 percent because of an ankle injury on the day of last year's FSU game and still played. Golden said he expects him to play.
### St. Thomas Aquinas defensive tackle Anthony Moten, one of UM's top remaining targets, has set up a visit to Michigan State in a couple of weeks, according to the Detroit Free Press. Some consider Miami a favorite for Moten -- who decommitted from Florida --- but FSU and South Carolina remain very much in the mix, and Notre Dame can't be discounted. Moten, ranked the 163rd best player by rivals.com, plays a position of need for UM.
### The Marlins have decided to bring back infielder/pinch hitter Greg Dobbs in 2014, according to a source. Dobbs confirmed it tonight, saying that his agent and Jeffrey Loria have struck a deal.
Dobbs, whose two-year, $3 million contract is expiring, is batting .229 this season but hit .275 and .285 in his previous two years with the Marlins.
Dobbs’ signing leaves Placido Polanco, pitcher Chad Qualls and outfielders Juan Pierre and Austin Kearns as the Marlins’ free agents. Kearns has missed most of the season because his parents have been ill. Dobbs, catcher Jeff Mathis (due $1.5 million in 2014) and pitcher Jacob Turner ($1 million team option) are now under contract for next season, and everyone else is under team control for 2014.
The arbitration eligible Marlins are outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who could see his salary jump from $537,000 to between $6 million and $8 million, first baseman Logan Morrison, infielder/outfielder Chris Coghlan, outfielder Justin Ruggiano and pitchers Ryan Webb, Mike Dunn and Kevin Slowey.
### Jose Fernandez, who hasn’t pitched in two weeks because the Marlins imposed a pitch limit on him, admits he has been bored. Told Fernandez would be appearing for an inning on Fox Sports Florida’s broadcast Wednesday, Redmond said: “That’s great. It’ll give him something to do.”
Fernandez chatted with Redmond during Tuesday’s game, but Redmond told him: “Hey man, I’ve got to kind of pay attention in case something comes up.”