« Ten nuggets from UM's football spring practice opener Saturday; Dolphins staff change; UM hoops win | Main | Postscripts on LeBron's historic night; Two-fold reason for Dolphins' interest in Jackson; TV notes »

10 a.m. Monday: Grimes re-signs; More from Riley, UM; Criticism from ex-Canes follows D'Onofrio; Fins, Heat, Marlins

Cornerback Brent Grimes, perhaps the Dolphins’ best player last season, has signed a four-year, $32 million contract to remain with the team -- the first significant move made by new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey.

The deal includes $16 million in guaranteed money.

The agreement was reached hours before Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline to apply the franchise tag on unrestricted free agents.

"I wanted to be back but you never know in this business," Grimes told ESPN. "When it all worked out, I was happy."

Neither the Dolphins nor Grimes wanted to use the franchise tag on the veteran cornerback. The tag would have come with a huge cap hit ($11.8 million), and Grimes wanted a multiyear contract.

Grimes, 30, signed with the Dolphins last offseason after missing 15 games for Atlanta in 2012 because of an Achilles’ injury. Grimes immediately returned to his previous Pro Bowl form, finishing the season with 60 tackles and four interceptions. He did not allow a touchdown to be caught against him.

Pro Football Focus rated him the NFL’s second-best cornerback last season, and opposing quarterbacks had a 66.3 rating in his coverage area.

Grimes said Hickey made a point to tell him recently how much he values him.

Grimes joins Dimitri Patterson, Jamar Taylor and Will Davis as the team’s top cornerbacks under contract. But Patterson, who’s due to earn $5.4 million, might be asked to take a pay cut – a subject that already has been seriously discussed internally.

The Dolphins have interest in signing free agent Nolan Carroll, but he reportedly is expected to test the free agent market.

The Dolphins also are mulling what to do at the safety position that was filled last season by free agent Chris Clemons.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus, on his weekly WSVN-Fox 7 segment, said Sunday night that negotiations with the Dolphins regarding safety Louis Delmas have not started but believes Miami's interest in his client is "significant."

Rosenhaus said: "There's enough interest that hopefully we can get some negotiations going."

If Miami signs Delmas, it likely would part ways with Clemons.

Delmas, who attended North Miami Beach High, has six interceptions in five NFL seasons, all with Detroit. He visited the Dolphins on Friday after visiting the Saints on Thursday.

The Dolphins have not ruled out re-signing Clemons but have told him they are comfortable with him testing the free agent market.

 

################################################################################

Some quick Sunday 3 p.m. notes:

### At the Heat's annual Family Festival today (a terrific event that raises money for charity), president Pat Riley spoke briefly to reporters for the first time in several months and said the Heat "reached out" to Caron Butler before he signed with Oklahoma City but that Butler "wanted a meaningful role" and "it wasn't something we could have promised."

But he said he does NOT "blame" Butler or his agent for wanting that type of role. There are good feelings between the Heat and Butler.

Riley said: "We're pretty deep. When you've got James Jones and Udonis Haslem and Rashard Lewis in those positions, they're waiting, and Mike [Beasley] and Greg Oden are getting minutes from nine and 10 [on the roster]."

### Riley, on Greg Oden: "I'm happy for him. I root for him more than I ever rooted for anybody. Last night he played big. We need that from him. I knock on wood and cross my fingers every day he stays healthy."

### Riley, on LeBron James: "He wants to win. And that's all it's about. All the other stuff that's flying around like butterflies, they're just things. And he deals with it as well as anybody. I'm so proud of him and Chris and Dwyane, that they're able to subjugate, really subjugate their games, and look what it's brought them. And I think it can only get better."

### Riley, on his team: "They are so fun to watch. They're on a mission. I'm so proud of what Erik [Spoelstra] has done.... Right now, you've just got to keep in mind: We've got a long way to go. Everybody thinks it's right around the corner. No, a lot of stuff can happen. We're in homecourt-advantage races not only in the West but in the East. That not an objective. I think for Coach Spo it is to stay on track with the defense and the rebounding and I think we'll be OK."

### Riley said Dwyane Wade is now even "smarter and more efficient and uses his energy." Riley noted: "He puts a lot of time into it. So, he's like a son to me."

### For those who wondered, guard Ben Gordon - cut by Charlotte today - is not playoff-eligible because he was released after March 1.

### UM coach Al Golden said today that Walter Tucker will play both tailback and fullback... Receiver Garrett Kidd is now on scholarship. "Garrett has done everything we've asked," Golden said... Early enrollee Trent Harris, a defensive end with pass rush skills, hasn't been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse to begin practicing with the team.

################################################################################

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN 

UM defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio sits inside his cocoon, focused solely on improving his unit while ignoring searing criticism from fans and former Hurricanes players.

Over the past three months, D'Onofrio has been subjected to scathing attacks from Warren Sapp, Eric Winston and Duane Starks, and subtle shots from others, including former cornerback Phillip Buchanon.

Buchanon thanked Sapp for ripping D'Onofrio on Twitter and then tweeted: "The truth about Al Folden."

D'Onofrio said Saturday he hadn't known about any of this. He said he wasn't aware any of these players had said anything about him.

"I'm not going to worry about that," he said. "The guys in the building understand what we're doing. I can only worry about coaching the guys here and trying to get them to execute at a higher level."

To refresh, here's what the former UM standouts have said:

### Sapp: "The D coordinator is killing my school. That looks like no Miami defense in the history of our school... Don't talk to me about Al Golden and whatever the d-coordinator's name is. You don't ever hire someone you can't fire. That's the golden rule."

### Starks: “Miami is being outcoached [defensively] every week. They’re predictable. There’s no disguising. It’s embarrassing. I would get rid of some people. If you can’t coach good talent, there’s a problem.”

### Winston said D’Onofrio’s “scheme is brutal. Too bland, too vanilla. No imagination on his part.”

He said UM’s defense looks unprepared and “I don’t think it’s completely a personnel problem. There are some X’s and O’s things that aren’t smart. Al better be willing to ride or die with the guy. You will get to a point where your assistants will take you down. It upsets a lot of people knowing how close [friends] they are. If [D’Onofrio] was a hell of a coach, nobody would care. That’s not the case.”

Do Golden and UM athletic director Blake James dismiss this D’Onofrio criticism from former players as irrelevant or does it genuinely both them? They answered this way:

### Golden: "They played here. They have a right to say what they want to say. But at the same time, we've had a lot of coaches and players here that have been through a very difficult period. I know they are passionate about the program and the defense, but we are equally as passionate."

### James: “We all want our team to continue to improve in all phases… I love the passion that our former student athletes have for their program and at the same time recognize no one wants to play championship football more than our coaches and current student athletes.”

Keep in mind D’Onofrio is running the system Golden wants. And Golden remains committed to that system and to D’Onofrio, who said Saturday that UM will run both a 4-3 and 3-4 this season. Linebacker Denzel Perryman said UM "may change a little something" in its defensive approach but "I don't think it's going to be anything major."

Some former and current Hurricanes praise D'Onofrio publicly and privately, saying they’re well prepared and that he’s not responsible for the avalanche of defensive breakdowns over the past two seasons.

But some players wish D'Onofrio would play more man-to-man defense, blitz more and be more receptive to player suggestions.

Some Board of Trustees members are unhappy with D’Onofrio, according to a high-ranking trustee, but the UM administration never asked Golden to consider replacing him. A person who has coached on UM’s staff during D’Onofrio’s tenure said he believes D’Onofrio’s system should be simplified.

Give D’Onofrio credit for being more creative and bold in the Russell Athletic Bowl, including a blitz from Deon Bush that resulted in a safety. But UM still allowed 554 yards in a 36-9 loss to Louisville.

And despite a strong start, UM finished in the bottom half of the country in every key statistical category in 2013: 65th of 123 teams in scoring defense (26.8), 77th in run defense (176 yards per game), 88th in third-down conversion defense (31.9 percent success rate for opposing offenses, 45 percent in the final month), 89th in total defense (426.4 yards per game), 90th in pass defense (249.8), and 108th in fourth-down conversion defense (14 of 21 successful).

Former UM assistant coach Don Soldinger said he sees nothing wrong with D’Onofrio’s system. What bothers him is this: “You don’t see guys swarming to the football. Guys are hesitant. Sometimes, they’re not taking the right angles. I question if the effort was there for all 11 guys. Al will fix it; I think the guy is special.”

But Soldinger said “criticism that will come after this year or next will be justified” because these are Golden’s players.

Said former UM center Brett Romberg: “Seeing the same mistakes and not being able to correct it is 100 percent coaching. Either [D’Onofrio] needs to adjust or he needs to go.”

CHATTER

Cornerback Dimitri Patterson ($5.3 million) and linebacker Philip Wheeler ($5 million) are due to earn the fourth-highest and fifth-highest salaries on the Dolphins next season, leaving both in question as free agency nears. The Dolphins have discussed a pay cut with at least one of them. One Dolphins source said Wheeler seemed to become complacent last season after getting a big contract, and general manager Dennis Hickey has tap-danced when asked about his linebackers.

There’s a big difference in their situations: Patterson has a $5.4 million cap hit if he stays, no cap hit if he’s cut. Wheeler has a $6.4 million hit whether he stays or goes, meaning it would be pointless to cut him unless Hickey finds an affordable and clearly better player.

Also, the Dolphins already have substantial cap space --- $39 million, fifth-most behind only Oakland, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Indianapolis.

By the way, backup quarterback Matt Moore, due $4 million in 2014, hasn’t been asked to take a cut. Tampa Bay pursued Moore last spring when Hickey was in the Buccaneers’ front office.

### Former Lions safety Louis Delmas visited the Dolphins on Friday and is an option to replace Chris Clemons. The Dolphins have some interest in Clemons but have given him their blessing to check out the free agent market and get back to them.

### Shane Battier dropped his longtime basketball agent and hired a broadcasting representative but said that doesn’t mean he’s definitely retiring. (He is definitely considering it, though.) Ray Allen said he’s also on the fence about whether this will be his final season.

A few weeks ago, a Heat official privately conceded Battier and Allen needed to play better for the Heat to start playing up to its potential. That has happened.  Spoelstra said “the majority” of what Battier does, fans “can’t see. The stats look pedestrian. But the impact on winning is anything but.”

Said Battier: “I don’t expect the average fan to understand what I do. Teammates can’t explain what the hell I do, either. But when I’m on the court, good things happen.” Consider: Per 48 minutes, Miami has outscored teams by more points with Battier in the lineup than any other player except Chris Bosh.

Allen, better now after shooting 32.6 percent in January, insists: “Defensively is more important. My shooting isn't necessary at this point for us to win.” (Check back in Game 6 of the Finals.)

### TNT's Steve Kerr, on the Heat: I feel like if they are healthy in May, I don't see anyone in the West beating them. The West is incredible deep and they are going to beat each other up in the playoffs. I don't see any team in the West beating them four times. If you look at the East, the only team standing in their way is Indiana, which we know can give Miami a lot of trouble. I really believe that if healthy, Indiana is the only team standing in their way of a third straight ring."

### Marlins president David Samson, the first of 18 contestants voted off CBS’ Survivor, said in retrospect: "It was much harder than I thought it would be. Much more lonely. I felt much older than I feel on a daily basis, surrounded by 22-year-olds. I grew up in New York City. I've never slept outside. I've never gone camping. I never had to start a fire. I've never had to do anything other than order food in a restaurant.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Lee

Calgal,
Your comments on this blog were the only ones worth reading. Actually the defense did quite well against FSU's national champion team for the first half, but once Duke got hurt it became no contest. People also seem to forget that Teddy Bridgewater will probably be the first pick in the draft and it is no shame to give up yards and TD's to Teddy. We true Miami fans can't wait for the new season.

hswalden@gmail.com

The board and trustees will have to make a big decision about coachs and AD, they will see poor results with same excuses from Golden protecting the dofornio girl. We will be beat like a dog and lose to Duke again, still we must give them this year, no more bull Al your at the point of put up and improve or get your BFF and yourself out of Miami. There are many excellent coachs around to replace both of you, your over your head, Blake needs to get a set and Donna needs to do whats best for the schools football team, no games, fans are tired of the Golden BS.

hswalden@gmail.com

By the way, a current player cant complain at all cause Al will run them off the team, who is kidding who, but most dont like DC and have little respect for HC both are jokes they have done nothing like other schools with violation issues, just playing games, stupid moves like holding back scholarships but dont inform NCAA, DUMB. We need a head coach who knows football Al doesnt only Temple, and bring a strong support team. It should not take years, thats a wxcuse by Goldie to protect his ass and Dofornio.

naplescane

Callgallhariet you are a fool. Solinger was being politically correct for one and how could you bring your delusional .ss to think he knowa more than guys who actually played the game man. Am i in the twilight zone or some ..it. look zombie fan... the offense as well as stephen did regress last yr under coley for sure who im no big fan of. But the offense is the offense and the d is the d. If the D takes the field on the first posssions of games last year they still allowed yards and points before the sorry bland coley offense ever took the field. As bad as our offense was they still outplayed our D look up the stats Zombie fan. Your one of those fans that refuse to see weakness in your on team Zombie. Oh by the way i was happy to get Al here cuz Randy Shannon was trash. Now i see Al Golden is too. Thats all. But according to you all is well and the 600 yards a game we allow. Argue with the stats not me Zombie fan. I just call a spade a spade and not get smooth talked like a ..tch by a Al Golden. Zomie Fan callgallhariet

naplescane

Sapp is in the hall of fame Zombie. But you know more about football than he does. At leasts Al knows he is full of it. He ia trying to buy time and fix things so he can keep his job. What are you Zombie fans excuse for not saying what you eyes clearly see. The D was garbage even the year bwfore when we had Jed Fisch and puting up monster numbwrs and points. We went backwarda under this new clown Coley though. But the one thing that has been consistantly bad is the D. How many low scoring games have we won huh? We cant win any cuz the D suck. And for all you Zombie fans that wants to blame the offense.. think about it. Our D aint the only D in history thats played behind a bad or average offense. Callgallharriet your one of those Zombie that sita in the stands with your foam fingwr saying we are #1 and your team is terrible and hasnt won ..it in a 100 yrs. Zombie Fan

naplescane

Hswalden... let some of our fans tell Golden is the best ever. He just lost 4 games and blown out in a bowl game. This was on of the weakest schedules in our schools history and Al still lost 4 games. And against the two very good teams on the schedule we got blew off the field. The only team we beat that was over 500 was Ga Tech. So keep that in mind when your screaming 9 wins and improving.

Reality Bites

Golden has been compared to a young Nick Saban in the recruiting world

What an insult to Saban, only a delusional fool would believe this. More cane make believe.
The only way Golden and Saban can be used in the same sentence is if you are talking about an amateur and a master, in that order.

Lil green pea with the ACC fetish
So what that the ACC is no longer a two team basketball conference? It has to be good at least at one sport. Everyone knows in football it's FSU and no one else, now in basketball they have more than the 2 usual teams.
Most other conferences have several elite football teams, so what you are still behind.

Darrell

Coach Soldinger has forgotten more about football than the whining ex, and I do mean ex, Canes combined. These fools like Sapp are just as bad at the entitled kids they have had to replace, thinking just because we are the Hurricanes we have more talent than everyone else. I notice a definite lack of UM defensive players invited to the combine or showing up in all conference and all America teams. We are finally, this year, getting back close to the talent level Miami is use to. I can't wait to see this defense step up and shut those former whiners up.

johnnie j

Ummmmm..but fellas.....the U isn t UCF or anywhere near them now.In other words,,,our defense and offense hasn t been good enough.There s simply no defending an average team,lack of coaching,lack of talent,lack of effort,lack of whatever.The U has been barely above average for 3 years.Tell Duke s fans that,tell Maryland s fans that.They and UCF aren t big time schools.They all do have at least a decent defense or offense or both.Funny how many bloggers (well a couple) think Al s just so peachy good.Delusional optimists who see through rose-colored glasses.Whatever they wish to be true...they just blindly believe.He s coddled his DC too long.

Calgallharriet leave this blog

Naples maybe ypu should start going to fiu games bc your stupid a55 ssounds nothing like a cane fan

No effn cane fan should come here and say the garbage you all post here

Especially this no football knowledge mowron who claims he knows what soldy "meant"

What does soldy have to gain to say what he did?

Sapp, buchanon and others should stfu

Say what you say in private

Do you here edgerrin james, clinton portis, gore, ray lewis, or dorsey mouthing off like these dumba55es?

No

You too naples, or imookallee, whatever farm youre writing from, stf

naplescane

Your right johnie j... these type fans kill me man. Im not a real fan because i dont want to see our D give up 500 or 600 hundred yards a game. Ill get like you Zombies..everything is all good and the D will be smoking this year. Whoooo!!! This is our year Al and No D are taking us to the top this season yea!!!! Whoooo. Our coaches are the best ever. Were going all the way Callgall. #1 whooo. Best defense in the nation.

naplescane

Try reality sometime soon callgal.... by the way Edge think the D stinks too. Shut up huh. The facts are holy water too you. Let the D stink but dont say it. Zombie....

mike

Eric Winston defensive genius...u can only play up to the ability of the guys you have out there. No depth, not enough talent. Defense too plain???? well if guys are hesitant and not swarming, maybe even that too plaid defense is too complicated for the talent that has been out there. just saying....great players make great coaches, not the other way around, 99% of the time.

Steve B

Dinofrio was forced to work with a patchwork line. Without a pass rush no defensive coordinator looks good. That does not excuse the inability for linebackers to cover tight ends or running backs in pass coverage and numerous secondary breakdowns. Frankly the defense never adapted to anything.
This is a make or break season for Golden and Dinofrio.More of the same and the heat will be on both of them.

naplescane

Great post Steve... you sound like a reasonable Canes fan that wants to see us get back up. Not like these jokers that see only what they want to believe in. Our talent isnt the best and we have either underdeveloped some of these guys or just plain missed judged thier abilities. With that said i agree you need talent but its a chess match based on adjustments like you said. And thats where part of the problem lies. We have 4 and 5 star guys spinkled into the two deep and they as well as the weak links have to be better utilized and put in a system that best fits thier abilities. COACHNO D only has his gameplan and once the other team cracks it he is finished. Look at the adjustments FSU made on us at the half. As soon as they stoped trying tobeat us deep and work the tight ends and back like you said... we were blown out of there. Ive never seen a D that cant cover a crossing route or back out of the backfield.Alla Devontae Freeman.

RichmondHeightsCanes

The bottom line here is that we can only talk about what is going on with the existing players being coach. The main problem has been the production on the defensive side of the ball. Coaching has a lot to do with performance, regardless of star rating, stadium on campus, or age of the players.

Jed Fisch made a difference on offense with Jacory and Morris. Nix and Whipper were not effective.
Shannon coach the same players on defense, a year prior to Golden arrival, and they were more competitive. Strong coach inherited the same players at Louisville on defense, and look how much they have improved since his arrival. GT head coach fired Al Groh, and their defense improved with another coach. Boise State HC does not get the elite players, but his team are always prepared and competes. Duke played good football under the "Old Ball Coach" and now they are better under a new coaching leader. Look how NC defense change once Butch departed. USF and UCF have changed...based on the coaching staff. Stop throwing the players under the bus...and recognized their strengths and weaknesses when preparing a game plan.

Why put a defensive lineman out in coverage, when he cannot rush a passer? Tyriq came out of HS as a pass rusher...not covering RBs and TEs in the flat. Chic was aggressive and quick as a freshman...now he is being manhandle as a DT. MLB should be leading the team in tackles...not the OLB. Where is the strong safety?

The facts are on film...we have been out coach and played on defense over the past three years. Golden need to hire an OC and DC with experience. Due to our limited funds, there are HS coaches that could do a better job. All I can say... give this team to a coach like Charlie Strong, and we will see a major difference on defense.

Why I mentioned Strong, because he is a defensive coach, and his team plays to his identity. Jimmy Johnson was a defensive coach, and his team played to his philosophy. Jumbo Fisher is an offensive coach and his team plays to his scheme. Saban is a defensive coach and his offense does not allow a QB to make unnessary turnovers. Shannon was known for defense, and his team play better on that side of the ball. Shannon was fired, because he trusted Whipper, Nix, and a freshman QB who was not held accoutable.


Lt. Lois Einhorn
naplescane

Amen... richmondheights cane. You get it. Your not a foam finger fan who thinks everything is great and were #1. Thats all ive been saying... we are outschemed and outcoached. It doesnt take good coaches three yrs of having the worst defenses in the nation before they make changes. If we got the right guys here and chase these clowns out we could do special things again. I hope Al can fix it but he seems to be a foam finger coach. GOOD NEWS ICE HARRIS IS BACK THOUGH.

naplescane

And if your going to gush it up over a coach do it over a coaching staff thats won something. Not guys who can barely beat wake or carolina and make va tech look like a BCS contender.

Richard

Dear Miami Herald. Regardless if we like or not like Mark D'Onofrio , haven't you beat this subject to death. Enough is enough. This type of talk does nothing to help recruiting and just fuels the fire. Al is not replacing him. So lets talk about some positive news. There is plenty of it.

Dick

The Miami Herald is not a propaganda arm of the University of Miami.

Fans are interested in hearing about coach D'Onofrio and Al Golden hasn't addressed the problem to anyone's satisfaction.

Expect this story to remain at the fore throughout every one of the 500 yard embarrassments next season up until D'Onofrio and possibly Al Golden himself is terminated following next year.

naplescane

Lmao...

joe r

ireland was never this decisive except when making bad moves...good move hickey getting grimes in the fold; now let move on to some addition by subtraction which means cutting loose players and payroll and rebuild and they have to prepare for a new qb; tannehill isnt your guy; backup yes starter no; they need a real competition in pre season even if its only moore and tannehill and they could do something real crazy and draft a qb first round-not manziel

« 1 2

The comments to this entry are closed.