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Dolphins, Canes, Heat notes; Philbin mulls options; Beasley "petrified"

Some quick tidbits:

### With Baltimore visiting Sunday, expect to hear a lot this week about Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe facing his former team, which he said made only a “bottom of the barrel” offer to keep him last spring. By “bottom of the barrel,” Ellerbe apparently meant less than $5 million a year, according to The Baltimore Sun. The Dolphins are paying him $7 million a year.

Ellerbe has been productive – he’s tied for third in the league with 38 tackles, one more than the man he replaced, Karlos Dansby – and the Dolphins’ shift to Ellerbe is understandable because he’s younger and faster than Dansby, and still has upside.

But it’s notable that PFF.com ranks Ellerbe 68th of 79 inside linebackers this season; Dansby, with Arizona, is 59th.

What’s more, Ellerbe is 74th against the run, Dansby 21st. Ellerbe’s pass coverage has been merely average (15 of 22 completed, 99 yards).

“I know I can play a whole lot better,” he said.

### Baltimore media asked Joe Philbin today about the Dolphins’ deplorable pass protection --- only Jacksonville has allowed as many sacks as Miami’s 18 – and Philbin said it has reached the point where “we are going to have to consider every option. There are a lot of things we can do – more three-step drops, sprint out pass, you name it…. The whole spectrum of things have gone wrong.”

### The Dolphins are on pace to allow 72 sacks, a franchise record, and left guard Richie Incognito said: "If we give up 72 sacks, everyone should be fired, the whole offensive line. That [would be] atrocious... We're sick of hearing about it."

### Though many clamored for the Dolphins to sign Vonta Leach in June and July, you can understand their decision against it, in retrospect. The Dolphins have ended up rarely using a fullback (Tyler Clutts was cut this week), and PFF ranks Leach only 19th among 20 fullbacks this season, with a poor grade as a blocker.

### We mentioned this past offseason that UM players were expecting more use of the 3-4 defense this season. And though nobody has discussed it publicly until this week, Al Golden said on WQAM Tuesday: “We’re moving to a 3-4 team. It’s no secret. We’re a 3-4 team.”

UM wants to recruit more athletic outside linebacker types in the mold of Tyriq McCord.

### Georgia Tech visits Saturday, and Golden said Wednesday he believes receiver Malcolm Lewis, who suffered his gruesome ankle injury against Georgia Tech last year, finally “looks like Malcolm. The last couple of days he's starting to play fast again. He's slayed that demon in terms of going out and competing."

### Tracy Howard has been UM’s best cornerback so far, and Golden said one key is he has become more “coachable.” He’s paying more attention to what his defensive coaches tell him.

### Michael Beasley had some interesting comments during a chat with Marc Hochman and Jonathan Zaslow on 790/104.3 The Ticket on Wednesday.

He admitted: “My whole career is built on me scoring. My one niche, where I know no one can do this better than me...they don't need it. So I'm petrified. I’ve got to start from scratch.”

He said he lives across the street from AmericanAirlines Arena and marvels at “the amount of people I get yelling my name, beeping the [car] horn, happy to have me back. Just that feeling of somewhere in the world I can still call home, where people still care about me.”

He said he was “surprised and anxious” when Pat Riley called him a few weeks ago.

 And for the two games against each other when the Heat and Nets likely will be allowed to place nicknames on the back of their jerseys, Beasley said he will go with “Easy.” (B-Easy has been his nickname for years.)

### LeBron James said Wednesday that “we’re trying to make [Beasley] as comfortable as possible. [In practice], he shouldn’t be afraid to mess up.” 

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