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Inside look at some of Dolphins' young players and Ross' decisions; Golden's defense of D'Onofrio; Heat


Among many things new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey needs to get a handle on is what he has in his young players and what he can realistically expect from them in 2014. He’ll review tape but also rely on the evaluation of Joe Philbin and his staff.

Before Hickey draws his own conclusions, here's some feedback on some of those young players that we've received from inside the building:

### Young cornerbacks: Evaluations must be made quickly, because Brent Grimes is a free agent (Hickey will try to keep him), Nolan Carroll is a free agent and Dimitri Patterson, who was limited to six games by injury, is under contract at $4.5 million, but has no cap hit if he’s cut.

The coaching staff likes 2013 second-round pick Jamar Taylor and attributes his lack of playing time (45 defensive snaps) to two factors --- injuries “that were debilitating,” largely the result of May hernia surgery; and the fact that Carroll offered a more polished, experienced option when Patterson was injured.

But coaches like Taylor’s skill set. “We’re going to see better dividends from him in 2014,” one Dolphins football staffer predicted.

As for 2013 third-round pick Will Davis, “the lack of special teams value hurt him,” the Dolphins source said. “He has a lot of upside but needs to develop physically and mentally. He doesn’t have the knowledge and savvy of Carroll. We like him. He makes a lot of plays in practice, and that needs to translate to games. He needs a year in the weight room.”

### Dion Jordan: The coaching staff loves his tools but believes he needs to add more muscle mass to play the run more effectively (he intends to) and shore up his pass rush moves. He would not project as a 2014 starter.

Some inside the Dolphins believe he might be better at linebacker, but defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle has said he prefers him at end because he loves having Koa Misi on the field on first down. And Misi’s spot is the only linebacker position that some evaluators believe he would be well suited if he doesn’t play defensive end.

“When we drafted Jordan, nobody expected Olivier Vernon to develop like he did,” a Dolphins source said. “My concern is [Jordan] will have struggles playing against bigger tackles. If you play him at linebacker, he has far more range and speed and explosiveness than Misi. But Koa is more consistent and steady. Jordan gives you great flexibility because he can cover and rush the passer. This is a huge offseason for him.”

### Lamar Miller/Daniel Thomas: Hickey likely will receive mixed reviews.

“They’re a good complement to each other, and we like Miller’s speed and explosiveness,” the Dolphins staffer said. “Miller has the higher ceiling, but you wish he ran with a more physical [style]. And both have to improve as blockers.”

Most believe the Dolphins will add a running back, with LeGarrette Blount and Donald Brown among free agents available. ESPN's Mel Kiper said no running back might be selected in the first round, with Ohio State's Carlos Hyde a borderline first-rounder.

### Guard/tackle Dallas Thomas: Last season’s third-round pick didn’t show nearly enough to earn playing time (just two snaps all season), despite the offensive line’s deficiencies.

“He’s got a lot of physical upside but needs to mature as a professional,” a team source said. “He can be a quality backup at least. I don’t know if he has the intangibles to be a starter. It was disappointing that he didn’t [show enough] to play.”

### Dion Sims: He doesn’t offer the downfield threat Miami prefers in its starting tight end. But the Dolphins believe he improved considerably overall since arriving.

“You needed a guy who could compete at the point of attack and he does that,” a Dolphins football staffer said. “He’s versatile, athletic, will be a very good No. 2 tight end.”

### Jelani Jenkins: The staff likes his ability in pass coverage. He took 29 snaps away from Phillip Wheeler in the Week 15 Patriots game but played just five and four defensive snaps to close the season against the run-heavy Bills and Jets.

“He has the potential to be a weakside linebacker starter and can be a starter when you open in a nickel package,” the Dolphins official said. “Finding a good cover linebacker is easier said than done, and he can do that.” His development could allow the Dolphins to part ways with Wheeler and add a linebacker that excels against the run.


### Before we turn the page, some final postscripts from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ organizational tinkering the past month: Ross asked GM candidates their opinion of random players (some Dolphins, some from Michigan, some others) and loved the thoroughness of Hickey’s answers. One Dolphins official insists of all the candidates, Hickey displayed the most encyclopedic knowledge of players. Ross also liked his lack of ego and commitment to innovation.….

Even if Carl Peterson hadn’t criticized Scott Pioli, Ross had no interest in Pioli or most other former GMs because he liked the idea of hiring someone who hadn’t done it before. Former Denver GM Brian Xanders got an interview only because he’s considered analytic and innovative, and Ross loves those qualities….

What perplexed the Dolphins as much as anything the past month was Cleveland’s Ray Farmer refusing to specifically explain what his problem was with the organizational structure. “I assume they would’ve given me the job,” Farmer said last week. “That’s the way it was articulated to me. But it wasn’t the right time for me.”

The Dolphins also didn’t like that Tennessee’s Lake Dawson announced he turned the job down; the Dolphins insist no formal offer was made, unlike with the Patriots’ Nick Caserio. But in conversations, they did ask Dawson if he would take the job under certain scenarios, and Dawson considered that an offer. But the Dolphins didn't view Dawson as substantially better than Hickey.…

Considering Ross was wowed by Caserio’s presentation, did he seriously consider agreeing to Caserio’s demand to be given the authority to overhaul the organization “from the ground up," including the coach? No, a close friend of Ross insisted, because Ross is “loyal to his people,” and loves Philbin’s "intelligence" and "how he handled" the locker-room crisis. Caserio might have hired Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels as Dolphins coach but never told the Dolphins that….

Biggest problem between Ireland and Philbin? “Lack of respect,” one Dolphins official said, noting it reached the point that working together became untenable. So now Ross has a coach and GM who like each other. That's a start, but player evaluation is the far more important issue.

### Encouraging news for those who want to see UM blitz more and play more man coverage: Al Golden said last week UM will be more aggressive in its defensive approach this season.

Here's how Golden answered when WQAM’s Channing Crowder asked Golden what he says to people who criticize him about his loyalty to defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio

"It doesn't have anything to do with my loyalty to D'Onofrio," he said. "It has to do with: We were better this year than last year. And two seasons ago we played 14 or 15 freshmen on defense. Now we're
better. We've been trying to add to that and improve on defense during a very difficult time.

"Here's what our defense was good enough to do last year: They were good enough to win nine. Now we've got to get better and win more games. The offense wasn't good on third down [or] time of possession. Both of those directly impact defense.

"Anybody who wants to blitz and play cover 1, who wouldn't want to do that? We feel we have a group here that is going to allow us to be more aggressive. The deeper you are, the more athletic you are, the more things you can do.       

"You can call all the pressers you want. If your fourth and fifth [rushers] aren't getting there, someone is hung out to dry down the field. We've made a lot of progress there, adding 14 guys [on defense] that can help us. Most of our guys that had interceptions, sacks, caused fumbles are returning. Why would we abort right now?"

### Please see the post from earlier Saturday for more Dolphins and Canes items.

### Very unusual game Saturday for LeBron James, who tied a season low with 13 points, shot just 4 for 13 and committed five turnovers. His four third-quarter "turnovers were careless ones, got me out of rhythm," he said. Even against a weak Jazz team, Miami couldn't overcome a rare LeBron off night partly because Chris Bosh also scored 13, on 3 for 12 shooting.

"It's just one of those days," Erik Spoelstra said of LeBron. "You're not going to play great every single night."

### Losing in Utah is nothing new for Miami, which has dropped four of its past five in Salt Lake City. But this was a disappointing effort against a lottery-bound Utah team that's 17-33 and the worst team in the Western Conference. 

What's more, Miami lost for the ninth time against a sub-.500 team, a bad habit that is seriously damaging its chances of catching Indiana for the No. 1 seed. "We don't take anybody light," LeBron insisted.

### Even on a night when the Heat struggled for offense and failed to reach 90 points for only the third time, Erik Spoelstra still wasn't motivated to use Michael Beasley, whose minutes have dropped dramatically in recent weeks. He might have helped during a third quarter drought.

"We didn't have a lot of rhtyhm offensively," said Spoelstra, who previously hasn't offered any substantive reason for Beasley's reduced role when I've asked. "There wasn't a great flow."

### Entering Saturday, the Heat had outscored teams by 12 in 39 minutes when Greg Oden and Chris Bosh play together but had been outscored by 20 in 20 minutes when Oden plays without Bosh.

Considering Shane Battier's difficulties defending David West, the hope is Oden progresses enough to play a lot of big lineups against the Pacers, with Oden or Chris Andersen paired with Bosh.

Seven of Oden’s nine baskets so far this season have been dunks, and he said he has more he wants to show offensively, including a hook shot.

Oden logged 11 scoreless minutes Saturday night (one off his season high), and had four rebounds and a block and a plus-four plus/minus. Many of those minutes were without Bosh, and he was the first player off the Heat bench in the third quarter, which is unusual.

### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz


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Al Golden is lost. Won nine games, but we all know this was the easiest schedule in the history of the Canes football and he still managed to give up an average of 500 yards per game. The statistics mean nothing to the eyeball. You have all this talent but fail to develop and put these young men in a position to win. You blame the players but remember, we have watch enough Hurricanes' football in our life time to know it isn't the players. It is the coaches and schemes. I see teams with far less talent but better coaches play competitive football. Your team did no better in the bowl game than Randy Shannon's in the bowl game against Notre Dame. NCAA sanctions have nothing to do with coaching!

 u  are  u ... D.T. P-[]_[]

Addressed DT with two JUCO's and COURTELL JENKINS?????? You're F'ing kidding me right? Golden is a joke.

Posted by: Marble Mouf | February 08, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Uh, marble mouf? We got one of the best dt's from juco and sec teams were trying to get him also. An sec team would have gotten him if they didnt have the same transfer rule tha ACC has. He could have waited to go to the sec but chose to wait for the ACC . Plus we picked up Moten, another player the sec was after jard and heavy. Yes we adressed the dt position. We definitely need more ,but thats a good start.

Posted by: GeorThe ACC owns the gators;) | February 08, 2014 at 12:09 PM


OK Cane fan, let's go over this sllloooowwwwly so even U can understand. U addressed the DT position up to EXACTLY where it has been the last 4 Seasons. First off, the last 3 recruiting classes, 2011-2012-2013 Golden was only able to sign 5 total DT's. FIVE ! And NONE were or have been difference makers. This last 2013 Season, there were ONLY 6 TRUE DT's on the roster (not True Big 270-280lb Strong-side DE's like Chic has been ballooned up to because of desperate need at that u could move n pinch down in short yardage situations only). Pretty much 5 of those 6 DT's rotated in for the bulk of the minutes during the Season right? RIGHT now, check the roster as 3 of those 5 that did play have GRADUATED and are GONE (Shannon's final guys). So the DT #'s were down to just 3-THREE LIVE DT bodies, and one never or never will play, on the roster prior to last weeks Signing day... U following ?

U speak of the JUCO DT Michael Wyche that U believe that SEC teams offered. Well pal, they didn't offer. The kid went out to Cali for JUCO and was offered by USC (who recended their offer) for depth only. RIVALS.com has his only other offers as Wash. St. and Arky St. which are his only true offer besides U. SCOUT.com has the exact same offers plus Troy and Auburn as a preferred walkon that would qualify for Financial aid (who has need for someone to play 3rd. team DT in their unique 8-EIGHTMAN DT rotation is all). That's 1-ONE SEC offer and that's it due to the loss of DT's and scheme only for a fat body to play 8-10 plays a game. NOT Start for U and be an integral cog to ur A n B gap D-No scheme. ESPN.com has Arky St., Wash St., Troy, USC n U as his ONLY offers. Now someone, who's been smoking some seriously good chiba at 247Sports.com, has him FULL offered by Alabama n Florida and no other SEC School ! NOT A CHANCE ! Saban has no need and wouldn't even offer as a walkon. Florida NEVER offered, even though they still have 3-4 schollies to give, but did say, once he finished his next semester of JUCO they might talk about a preferred walkon. Why do U think this kid decommitted then when he found out there was no other options and came crawling back to U because Ur so desperate for even AVERAGE DT help ? So that's that story. U got an unranked 3-star DT that had nowhere else to go... Let's go on to the other 3 DT's (actually 2 true DT's) that U are so fired up about shall we ?

JUCO DT Calvin Heurtelou is next... Unranked 3-star offered by Auburn, due to graduation and early future NFL enrollees for their 8 man rotational scheme. NOT as a starter. Mizzou, due to 4 DT graduates, Tenn., who like U offered over 80 kids due to the need for everything are the ONLY SEC schools offering. But Texas St. really went after him hard... Again, all just for non-stating depth. Not come and play right away like he'll need to do for U.

Another 6-0 315 Weeble that Wobbles New Jersey DT Freshman Courtel Jenkins 3-star (and in Cane fan language, a New Jersey 4-star is like a Florida unranked or 2-star.) JUST ONE other offer from PITT period. Not even the sorry D-1 programs offered, except U of course. He'll have to come in and be thrown right into the 5 man rotation and play crunch minutes after fatigue and injuries mount and will get steamrolled. Instead of Red-Shirting, playing limited as a Red-Shirt Fresh and MAYBE develop as a Red-Shirt Soph BACKUP... Kid will be beat up and worthless by 2014 mid-season.

Finally St. Thomas Aquinas TRUE STRONG-SIDE DEFENSIVE END Anthony Moten. Every Top-Program that stockpiles D-Linemen that offered this good long-lean player saw him as a Strong-Side DE that would REDSHIRT, lose 15 of his 280 babyfat pounds, gain 15lbs back in pure muscle strength while not losing but gaining QUICKNESS, then playing sparingly until his Red-Shirt Soph year and then be a major force with GREAT DT and OLB help around him. U know, exactly what Top-SEC Speed SEC Defenses do... But U and Golden will be spouting off how he's GAINED WEIGHT (while losing quickness) and be forced to play the vast majority of his snaps out of position in between the Offensive Tackles inside shoulders right away as a TRUE underdeveloped FRESHMAN !!! He's going to get absolutely broken in half before he's ever ready to compete and ever help as a fully developed Upper-Classmen in Golden's BFF's Penn. St. scheme.


Soooooo, let's review, shall we ?

Yes we addressed the dt position. We definitely need more ,but that's a good start.

Posted by: GeorThe ACC owns the gators;) | February 08, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Ur happy U got 4 ? DT's in the 2014 Class. With them, U now still only have at max 7-8 DT's on the ENTIRE roster and 3-4 of them aren't ready or much less D-1 talented. U need more ? U've always and will continue to always need more. Everyone does. U NEED MORE THAT CAN PLAY !!! And haven't been there, aren't there and aren't coming. Good start ? Son, Ur not even in the race much less the starting blocks... So good luck to U with that...




psssssttttttt ... if u could have pulled LOCALS Kahari Clark, Travonte Valentine and just one more of the many top 4 n 5 Star NONE JUCO DT's that were available Nationwide in this class, U'd just might be well on ur way to saying "WE'RE BACK" !!! in 2 or 3 years once they DEVELOPE and are then backed up with even more DT talent the next 2-3 Recruiting Classes n Cycles. Not 1 or 2 DT hits and JUCO scrub band aides every 4-5 years that Golden is pacifying U "ALL IS WELL" Homers ....

Ohhhh, btw, who are those LB's that U signed that will be backing up the D-Line moving forward ? Thought so.

Ur D is Ur D ... Under Golden n Co. always will be...

 u  are  u ...

### By the way, UM slid to 12th in Rivals.com’s final recruiting rankings, compared with 10th for ESPN. Both are very good but would have been better if Travonte Valentine, Nigel Bethel, Brandon Powell and Reilly Gibbons hadn’t bolted.

What hurt UM in the rivals.com rankings was lack of four-star recruits (eight), compared with teams ahead of them, including FSU (13) and Florida (12). In Rivals.com’s top 18, only Clemson had fewer four-star recruits. UM had one five star recruit (Chad Thomas).


The pure definition of Quantity over Quality...

It was a "decent" oversigned class, but when combined with all the unranked, 2 and barely 3 star filled 2011, 2012 and 2013 classes, Ur roster is more than 1 third loaded with project type kids that Top-Programs don't even offer. And when more classes in the future have 12-14 of those types in them, over a 4-5 YEAR RECRUITING CYCLE, that's exactly why Ur mediocrity will continue as an 8-4/7-5 program that lingers outside the Top-25 year in and year out which Shalalala loves and Golden knows he can get away with without any pressure or accountabilty to keep he and his BFF in business. Then come mid Seasons, just like the last 10, when injuries, attrition and adversity arrives, you'll know the reason why U continue to have to ask, "Why don't we have any DEPTH", is because U had to play all these average players way to early before being even close to developed is the exact reason why. But, U in Ur in denial and delusional ways still won't get it. Because U Cane fans only see the uniforms, jerseys and helmets with that silly []_[] on it, instead of the level of talent and personel inside of them... Case in point, the idiots on Canespace have an ongoing debate as to wheather the U should go back to the Black shoes n Socks of the 2000 season as it will bring back the old Cane swag while others argue that the white socks n shoes of the 80's is better and more traditional.

But, that is Cane fan mentality at work at it's best ...

And why, u, are still u.

fed up

Spoelsta hates Beasley. Now's the time to let him play, see if he can help. Instead, Spo is running his vets into the ground. moronic.


Still dumb UM experts in here I see. Still looking at all the stars and agency rankings. If all this means anythting why is it that FSU is not the #1 class this year on paper they have the better recruits. Bama the #1 recruiting class the past two years, three if you count this year has struggled with all the A1 recruits. There not supposed to lose with all the talent they are getting. FSU would have really embarrassed them, had Auburn not beat them to it. Think our coaching is bad, who kicks a 60 yard field goal knowing that a miss can be returned and you have big bodies on the field that can't chase a return man. Now thats just dumb. UM offense was a major issue for the defense, because of lack of depth on the defense. Quick Strike offense or 3 and out. Defense was wore out by the time we reached Acc Scehdule.

who's UCF got at QB ?

If all this means anythting why is it that FSU is not the #1 class this year

they have a quarterback and they'll be just fine ?

who's UCF's QB ? S. FLA ? BULL ? that #14 White Kid is Good.

Maybe Kaaya and Driskel will be opposing QB's in a January Bowl Game in 2016 ?

Randy Shannons muttonchop sideburns

@u are u ... D.T. P-[]_[]

All you did was speculate on the intentions of the schools who offered him. This school offered him for depth and that school offered him for depth. You got no inside knowledge so quit it already. They offered the tackles because they wanted the kids to play for them simple as that. And your speculation that people wanted Moten to slim down to end size is ridiculous! Moten is 315lbs right now and has always, even in high school, played tackle! Nobody recruited him as an end.

Fact is that I thought we could have blitzed more last year to throw qb's off their rhythm but Al is promising that it will happen this year. So prepare to see an even better team. At 7-0, we we're going toe to toe with FSU and driving the ball down their throat before Duke got hurt. Everything came apart after that. This year he comes back an so does Gus and Joe Yearby. So its all sunny skies for UM and Smilin Al!

Keep lookin for reasons to hate. It lets us know that even our enemies know we are close.


It's interesting how some of the people commenting act like experts when they are nothing more than idiots with nothing to say.


HITTER: Follow FIU football....plain and simple.

SW 8th Street and 107th Avenue.

Poof, another know it all GONE!


The rest of you fairweather UM fans, head to FIU and follow the Golden Panthers...Quijote will love that...you know, "FIU IS ON THE RISE" lol...c-ya, losers!


The rest of you WANNABE CANES LIFERS are just phonies...get lost!


Spoelstra is a Joke as a Coach.

Any coach worth his weight would've already had 3 Titles with this team, and have the heat playing like a well oiled machine in year 4 of the big 3.










Funny how Golden seems to blame Coley more than D'Onofrio for bad defense. Scapegoating!

Carl Selmer's Ghost ?

### Encouraging news for those who want to see UM blitz more and play more man coverage: Al Golden said last week UM will be more aggressive in its defensive approach this season.

Here's how Golden answered when WQAM’s Channing Crowder asked Golden what he says to people who criticize him about his loyalty to defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio.

"It doesn't have anything to do with my loyalty


bullSHEET it don't Al

who you think you're fooling Al ?

Not our rival


That is amazing, this nerd writes a dissertation on UM's recruiting and is so proud of himself he posts it on every sports blog in the Miami Herald.

Newsflash nerd: you're only UM's rival on this website, in real life UM has beaten UF 7 out of the last 8 times we've played, beaten UF JUST LAST SEASON, and ARE NOT SCHEDULED TO PLAY AGAIN.

The Florida State Seminoles are our rival AND UF's rival, they're dominating recruiting and just won the ACC and the National Championship.

There are zero comments from Seminoles fans here and tons of comments by UF fans. That is proof positive that you nerds are just continuing a fake internet rivalry that has nothing to do with football.

Reality Bites

"not our rival" douche. How come you answer this guy with such a long response and only give me about 3 lines?
You still did not write anything about football, just the same tired responses of "nerd" and "fake internet rivalry". This dude spoke about recruiting, the difference between your sorry school and the SEC powers and clearly explained to you dummies why you never seem to have depth. Lots of football talk. On the other hand you the sorry blog policeman can only say he is a nerd.
When you reply to me at least give me more than 3 lines this time.
cane 4 ever you are some big time delusional idiot, Auburn came darn close to beating FSU, only team that did so all year. They were not so far apart in the end. Bama would have done the same.


It seems that Hickey was the best hire out of a cesspool of GM candidates. Joe Philbin with his 15-17 record is hardly exciting but he is better than Josh McDaniels who was a disaster at Denver and his poor evaluation of talent(drafting Tebow in the 1st round)would have doomed the Dolphins to last place for the rest of the decade.

Not our rival

Posted by: Reality Bites | 02/09/2014 at 02:40 PM

I'm not interested in what you have to say about your fake internet rivalry.


Al golden is feeling the heat trying to cover for his butt buddy. Maybe they will stop playing penn st defense and grow a pair. Al is terrified to give up the big play. Instead they choose to sit back a die a slow death of a thousand cuts. Grow a pair al.


It's true. UM still needs to get much better at the DT position. This DT recruiting class will not be the answer. It may help some, but UM has a ways to go. UM's offense needs to carry the load more next year and stop having so many 3 and outs. That, in itself, will help the defense.


Player developement not star rankings is needed to rebuild the U. Until we get a coaching staff that developes three and five star talent and send them to the nfl we will stay an average program.


Our defense didnt force a three and out seems like all year

[]_[] know it

My thoughts exactly naplescane! Why didn't Channing Crowder follow up with "your defense didn't have very many 3 and outs so that doesn't help the offense with field position either"!

Barry Chitwood

So now UM will only give up five yards on first down instead of ten.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

That DT argument rings hollow.

How many dominant NFL-physique defensive tackles come through college football every year?

If a college coordinator's scheme is reliant on having that guy every season or else giving up 400 yards and 40 points in embarrassing shootout losses, then is he really the right man for the job?


Of course not. Al is reaching for straws now. Hope for a miracle turnaround for his defense and save his buddy. With the current defensive scheme all the five star studs qont help. What kind of coaches would tell thier d tackles to man a gap and stand thier ground and shadow the offensive line instead of attacking every down. If trevontae valentine had chose to come here al and no d would turn him into a bust. Thats why we havnt turn out any first rounders lately. Mediocre coaching, player developement, poor scheming, gameplaning and coaching overall. I trulely pray im wrong but i have to call a spade a spade.

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