Some Tuesday night notes:
### During his hour-long meeting with reporters at the NFL owners meetings earlier today, here’s what Joe Philbin had to say about some of his new players:
On Branden Albert: “We’ve been studying him for a couple years. We feel like he’s a good fit schematically, will be good in the locker-room. All the research we did is he’s a good person. There are good clips of him on the back side and front side on outside zone plays that you want an outside tackle to do.” (And the Dolphins will remain a zone blocking team in their running game, incidentally.)
On guard Shelley Smith, who started just two of the 14 games he appeared in last season: “Really liked his ability to pull and run and move. He’s schematically a good fit for what we do.”
On cornerback Cortland Finnegan: “We studied the tape extensively. We liked what we saw on film. He will have to earn play time just like anybody else. The one thing he does give us is some position flexibility. He played some inside (slot); he can play outside.”
On safety Louis Delmas: “He’s very aggressive and he doesn’t hesitate. That play speed, that tempo he brings to the defense are things we feel he can add.”
On defensive tackle Earl Mitchell: “He runs to the football every single snap and plays hard. He’s only missed one game in four years. He’s been durable and available.”
Philbin said he and Dennis Hickey watched tape of all the free agents the Dolphins signed “so we both would have a comfort level. It’s not good if only one person has a comfort level.”
### The Dolphins will add a right tackle in the draft and possibly a guard, as well. They also will monitor the free agent market at guard.
“We still have some unsettled pieces we’re not certain of,” Philbin said. “We expect to have a competitive, competent offensive line when we open the season. There’s work to be done but there’s time to do it. We have a plan to address it and we will.”
Philbin said there are starting guard possibilities on the roster, including potentially Dallas Thomas, Nate Garner and Sam Brenner (“he made a lot of strides,” Philbin said).
### On balls thrown 20 yards or more, Ryan Tannehill completed only 6 of 36 such passes to Mike Wallace last season and Philbin said that's “going to be a focal point for us moving forward. We’ve got to connect more on the vertical throws down the field.
“Some of it’s timing between the guys. Some is ball location. Some is the receiver being in the exact right spot. We’ve got to increase our explosive plays. We’ve got to score more points. We just have to. [Deep balls are] a part of it. It’s not the only part. We’ve sliced up those routes and studied why and how. We definitely addressed that.”
### Philbin also wants Tannehill to improve his accuracy (his 60.4 percent completion percentage was 22nd-best) and throw fewer picks (he had 17, compared with 24 touchdowns).
### Philbin said “one of the things that was attractive to me” about new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor “is he’s been around some excellent coaches: Joe Gibbs, Dan Reeves, Chip Kelly, Mike Holmgren. He played quarterback [at Cornell], worked with a lot of quarterbacks.”
### How is Lazor’s offense going to be different than Sherman’s?
Here’s how Philbin responded: “The things I’m interested in seeing is, and Bill and I have discussed, is… we have to protect the quarterback better. The starting point of any deep ball or three-step drop, the focus has been on protection. The reason we haven’t scored the points you need to score to consistently win is we haven’t protected the quarterback well enough.
“We’re going to have a variety of formations. I don’t know that it’s going to be all that different. We will have multiple formations like we have in the past. What I am most interested in is the execution and protection of the quarterback, more explosive plays and protection of the football. We’ve turned the ball over too much. We had 26 last year. It’s too many.”
He said “it was not very easy at all” to part ways with Sherman.
### Philbin and Dennis Hickey wouldn’t rule out moving Ellerbe from middle to outside linebacker. Philbin, asked how the linebackers played last season, conceded: “There were some inconsistency there. There was a lot of productivity there but we’re looking for more consistency from the linebacker position, without a doubt.”
### Reshad Jones appeared to play worse in 2013 than in 2012. Asked about that, Philbin said he doesn’t necessarily agree. “We thought he played well, but there are still some things we can see him doing better --- playing a little faster, a little more decisively at times. We’re counting on him to do that this year.”
### Philbin said Jimmy Wilson will remain at safety instead of moving to cornerback.
### Philbin wouldn’t rule out re-signing Dustin Keller. Hickey said he has spoken to Keller’s agent (Eugene Parker) but wouldn’t say if he wants Keller back.
“He’s one of those guys we’re evaluating and considering like a lot of other free agents out there,” Philbin said. “We’ll see.”
### The Dolphins tendered receiver Armon Binns, who missed last season after a training camp knee injury. “He’s been in [the facility] every day diligently working to improve,” Philbin said. “He’s a big body type. We don’t have a lot of those 6-3 guys. He’s a little different. We like that about him. He’s a guy worth working with.”
### The Dolphins are happy with their three quarterbacks: Tannehill, Matt Moore (“We’re very confident in Matt as a backup. We like him a lot, Philbin said”) and Pat Devlin. “There is a chance we’ll add somebody,” Philbin added.
### Please see the last post for a lot more from Philbin from earlier in the day, including his plans for Dion Jordan and his thoughts on the rest of the under-utilized 2013 draft class.
### It will be interesting to see Heat center Greg Oden match up against Roy Hibbert and the Pacers Wednesday in an expected Eastern Conference Finals preview.
Memphis point guard Mike Conley, Oden's workout buddy and former Ohio State teammate, said: "He's not going to be back to where he was [previously]."
He said you will know Oden is all the way back when he is "not being as passive offensively, when he takes the pick-and-roll pop shots. He can make a jumper from the free throw line."
### The Heat (48-21) will pull even with Indiana (51-20) in the loss column if it wins Wednesday night’s game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
### Dwyane Wade (strained Achilles) practiced Tuesday and expects to play Wednesday. The Heat said he will be a game-time decision.
### With the Marlins’ roster moves today, the bullpen could end up being Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, Carlos Marmol, AJ Ramos, Brad Hand, Henry Rodriguez and Kevin Slowey. But don't rule out lefty Dan Jennings making it. The Marlins had hoped Carter Capps, acquired from Seattle Logan Morrison, would make the team, but he needs more work at Triple A. Two scouts said they expected he would throw better this spring.
### Please see the last post for a lot more Dolphins from earlier in the day.... Twitter:@flasportsbuzz