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Good cop/bad cop playing out with two key Fins and agents; Fins, Canes, Heat chatter

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN

An amusing good cop/bad cop dynamic is playing out among two of the Dolphins’ best defensive players --- both potential 2014 free agents --- and their representation. While Randy Starks and Paul Soliai have said this week they’re not upset, their agents have publicly blasted the Dolphins’ treatment of their clients.

After Soliai’s agent, David Canter, criticized the Dolphins on Twitter for very recently giving Soliai a “lowball offer” and “ultimatum” and refusing to negotiate further, Starks’ agent, Tony Paige, lashed out at the team this week about Starks losing his starting job (to Jared Odrick).

Paige said he intends to call general manager Jeff Ireland to discuss it.

“Randy is not happy about not being a starter,” Paige said. “He’s not going to complain, but believe me, he’s not happy.

“Your starter that went to the Pro Bowl is in competition for his job? It makes absolutely no sense. We’re talking about a guy who’s 29 who has been your most versatile linemen and one of your most productive linemen the last five years.

“They don’t make Paul Soliai have a competition! They don’t make Cameron Wake have a competition! Randy is a big-time player and it blows my mind they would do this and mess up the relationship with a guy like Randy.”

Paige said he believes the Dolphins are “angry he didn’t come to OTAs” after being slapped with the $8.4 million franchise tag and are “punishing” Starks by playing him less.

If the Dolphins can’t work out a new deal with Soliai, they might make another offer to Starks. Paige said the Dolphins haven’t made a new offer to Starks since he turned down a multiyear deal in the spring that wasn’t close to what he’s seeking. They then slapped him with the tag.

“He will be here for this year. Beyond that, I don’t know,” Paige said. “There will be a market for him.”

Paige and Canter, savvy agents, are doing what they feel is necessary by staunchly defending their clients, even if it irks the team. And Starks and Soliai are playing it smart by publicly denying what associates believe are their true feelings.

That’s why Starks said Tuesday with a straight face: “I’m happy with my role, and my role is to be a backup.” And why he said “there is no point in being upset” about his contract.

And Starks wisely said he regrets flashing the middle finger at the Dolphins sideline Sunday. (Joe Philbin scolded Starks this week and told him that behavior is not acceptable.)

Starks said he and his teammates “were making some jokes about getting sacks” and his gesture, intended for them, “came out the wrong way. I didn’t think it would get blown up like that. I accept full responsibility for it.”

He said he hasn’t been fined. (Asked if the league had fined him, an NFL spokesman told our Adam Beasley that it's the team's decision.)

As for Soliai, he said he will not fret about the Dolphins’ take-it-or-leave-it offer, though a friend said he is disappointed and prepared for the possibility of moving on after this season if it comes to that. 

“I’m not going to let this bring me down, not going to let one little thing bother me,” Soliai said. “I’m going to keep playing and show people what Paul Soliai can do."

He said he still holds out hope he can remain here beyond this season: "I started here, so why not end my career here?”

The Dolphins badly need to re-sign Soliai or Starks to maintain one of the team’s greatest strengths. But doing that has become messier than they thought.

### The Dolphins, meanwhile, remain confident they made the right move by switching Odrick to defensive tackle (“it’s a spot most advantageous to my career”) and starting Olivier Vernon at defensive end.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said he was “particularly impressed” with Vernon Sunday. “He did a great job rushing on their best offensive lineman all day long [Joe Thomas] and had constant pressure. It helped other guys get sacks.”

CHATTER

### Dolphins players love what Coyle calls the “speed” package featuring three defensive ends (Cam Wake, Vernon, Dion Jordan) plus linebacker Koa Misi, with all of them able to rush or drop into coverage. Vernon said he could see the confusion “in the eyes” of Cleveland players when Miami unleashed that package on some third downs.

Coyle has so many choices among pass-rush packages that he compares it to going to Baskin Robbins, with their 33 flavors.

###  Lamar Miller received words of encouragement by phone from Frank Gore after Miller’s poor opener Sunday (10 carries, 3 yards). “He said things will work out," Miller said. "I could have run harder. [But] it doesn’t affect my confidence because I know what I’m capable of.” 

### Sherman said Charles Clay’s 64 snaps (in 70 offensive plays) were probably too much. The Dolphins hope to work in more of Dion Sims (15 snaps), if he continues to improve. They believe he has a chance to be a complete tight end, and he's the best blocker of the group. Michael Egnew had 21 snaps.

### A veteran player said rookie offensive lineman Dallas Thomas has struggled in practice and coaches have been hard on him.

### UM denied when Bernie Kosar said the Hurricanes self-imposed punishment by withholding 10 scholarships in the last recruiting class. A UM person said the number ended up being around five.

### UM badly wants to add another elite receiver in the 2014 recruiting class, and Palm Beach Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said Miami is the front-runner –- “Alabama a close second” -- for four-star Johnnie Dixon, rated No. 16 among receivers by rivals.com. UM also is in the mix for North Carolina-based Braxton Berrios, the No. 39 receiver, but isn't terribly optimistic about Palm Beach Cardinal Newman's Travis Rudolph (No. 11). Rudolph is said to like the Gators.

### Internally, one of the biggest disappointments Saturday was the offensive line play -– Seantrel Henderson especially struggled, according to a UM staffer -– despite the high-level talent. Brandon Linder was the best of the group, that UM person said. Mel Kiper said UM has at least three NFL linemen.

### With 13 players under guaranteed contracts and three non-guaranteed (Justin Hamilton, Jarvis Varnado, Eric Griffin), the Heat is auditioning a slew of players this week to try to fill out a training camp roster, including Vander Blue (Marquette), Larry Drew II (UCLA), Je’Kel Foster (Ohio State), Justin Holiday (Washington) and ex-Heat swingman Yakhouba Diawara.

Comments

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Juan

Love the honesty of the agents. Philbin should have known the problems it would create by not starting Starks. But he wasn't smart enough to figure that out.

IMAWriter

Barry, you'd have thought we LOST Sunday. Not to be lost in all of this was the lack of imagination by Sherman. Why not use Miller like Bush. Throw him the ball in space, maybe a 2 back package. Play action to Thomas, swing it to Miller.
The run game should be going through Icognito/Pouncey territory. cMartin couldn't move my daughter on a run play.

That was a GREAT Florida defense, especially against the run, and their speed on the ends was greater than ours. Coley didn't adjust, and had Duke in a no win situation. Clements had burst and it should have been HIS day. It's a team game.

Ed

What kind of idiot team doesn't start its highest paid player who went to the Pro Bowl?

NaplesCane

UM hasn't done enough to punish itself. No more penalties are deserved.

Coral Gables'81

Well they will retain one of the defensive tackles based upon performance.

Freddie

Miami hasnt done nearly enough to punish itself. 114 players, My God. They deserve 2 more bowls and 40 scholarships.

Keepin it real always

Though it was disappointing to see the Canes Offensive line struggle big-time last Saturday......it was great to see the receivers hold onto the ball in the red zone.Seems Dorsett still has mental breakdowns running some of his routes as it s an every game problem now that you see him and Morris squabbling after being very far off on his passes.Dorsett has had a history of poor route running since Day 1 and he still HAS NOT CORRECTED IT.Can t say enough of how great it was to see the DL players stay disciplined and limit big plays by the Gators.Guess I was wrong on D Onofrio and the fellas really were too young and inexperienced last year.They look MUCH IMPROVED but of course giving up over 400 yards shows there s still much work to be done.The Florida win though will give their team/their defense a huge shot of confidence....which they greatly needed.Big win and great effort.Hopefully the Canes stay hungry.Offense and defense need to improve and I expect they will but being 2-0 at this juncture is a good spot to be in.GO CANES.

Cual?

Freddie, what do you mean by 114 players?

green

https://twitter.com/michaelirvin88/status/377595153709821952/photo/1/large

is this a recruiting violation when I dress like this at my sons practice? sorry NCAA! I AM LAUD AND PROUD! Go U
-- Michael Irvin ‏@michaelirvin88

lawdy, lawdy miss clawdy ...

U SURE LOOK GOOD TO ME

green

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=812437441978&set=vb.267308740034747&type=2&theater

The NFL Network debuted a new segment ...
Sapp & Irvin: "U Know It"
-- facebook.com/CanesFootball

NEED NO INTRO

green

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=813162893168&set=vb.267308740034747&type=2&theater

I didn't think the Miami Hurricanes were ready. ... I'm happy to say I'm wrong. College football is better when Miami is not intimidated by the SEC.
- Colin Cowherd

THE HERD MENTALITY

green

http://www.pageqsports.com/2013/09/erik-spoelstra-attends-gators-canes-with-girlfriend-nikki-sapp/

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra witnessed the Hurricanes level the Gators in person at Sun Life stadium.

The two-time defending NBA champion appears to be sporting some Miami orange from the comfort of some club-level seats with girlfriend Nikki Sapp. Are the Heat rubbing off on those baby Canes?
-- pageqsports

RUB IT IN RUB IT IN

AnonymousCane

Jury still out on Philbin as an NFL head coach. Ireland is still the same inept GM he was last year too! Ross as an owner is incompetent when it comes to managing the team as an owner. Yeah he is super smart in real estate and other areas but being wealthy does not translate into being a savy owner! JMO

green

Why mention the World Cup? There will never be a World Cup game played at JRS

Posted by: TInSouthMiami | 09/09/2013 at 02:58 PM

Eddie

Henderson stinks keyhole needs to get these guys tougher

Barry Jackson

Green, if you have any questions, please send me an email: bjackson@miamiherald.com. You will get an answer that way.

green

PARANOIA WILL DESTROY YA

GatorClaws

UM should be given 4 bowls, 50 scholarships. They're scum.

RafainSC

Gatorclaw, you refer to UM as scum. How many arrest has UF had over the last couple of years?? Also you had a bigot, a player that thinks he can play quarterback and yes a murderer, well alleged and you say UM is scum. Typical Gator; self righteous and pious.

The SEC is overrated and top heavy

Gatorclaws- If UM is scum, what is serial killer Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes, and the master enabler Urban the Liar? Check yourself, gator boy, you have proven why UM fans hate you all so much. and why we want UM to play you soft annies more often.

But I agree- the O line was part of the problem. There was literally no pUSH for Duke. I watched thegame again on ESPNU last night and 3 things struck me:

1) Stephen Morris and the receivers are way out of sync. Both are to blame. Morris overthrew Hurns on a 3rd and long but Hurns was way open and it killed the drive. Plus it could have gotten picked off. They need to fix this. Morris needs to be given an initial flats and dump passes to Duke and others then pump the long ones occasionally.

2) The O line needs to give better holes to Duke and Duke needs to take them quicker. He runs sideways and gets slammed too often. Starting to remind me of Lamar Miller. But the O line had no push against the D line of UF. Our running game blew. And thats a shame given the fact that Morris had fairly good protection and our O linemen are huge.

3) Dumb mistakes such as Holding and personal foul penalties- like the one against Rashawn Jenkins after Tracy intercepted and the one against Duke (clipping) when we were trying to run the clock out.


rboud

If UM's offense had played worth a lick after the 1st quarter, UM's defense would not have been on the field so much and UF would not have gained so many yards. Memo to UM offensive coaches: Figure out how UF knew UM would run or pass the ball before the ball was snapped from the end of the 1st quarter onward. Morris is the one who said this happened. If UM had lost this game, there'd be a lot of explaining to do. Once UM knew this was happening during the game, the coaches should have figured out how UM was giving plays away and made the adjustments.

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