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10 p.m.: Fins add QB; Arison's letter to Heat fans; Heaps ready for UM battle; Dolphins' OL signing; 20 more notes, quotes, thoughts from Dolphins camp

10 p.m. update: We hear the Dolphins are expected to announce they're signing undrafted Northern Colorado rookie QB Seth Lobato to replace Brock Jensen, who was cut earlier today.

Lobato will be Pat Devlin's newest challenger for the Dolphins' No. 3 quarterback job, with Devlin still the front-runner.

The Dolphins liked Lobato before the draft but ended up signing North Dakota State's Jensen, who failed to impress through three days of camp. The Colts signed Lobato after the draft before cutting him in June.

Lobato, 6-6, started three years at Northern Colorado after transferring from Colorado. He threw for 2725 yards, 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season and completed 56.8 percent of his passes.

The Dolphins originally wanted UM's Stephen Morris to be Devlin's competition for the No. 3 job, but Morris accepted an offer from Jacksonville instead of an offer from the Dolphins immediately after the draft.

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On Twitter today, Heat owner Micky Arison sent an open letter to Heat fans, avoiding a reference to LeBron James' departure but making clear his optimism for the future. "We are not done, not even close," Arison wrote in a letter dated last Thursday.

Here is his letter, which is obviously far classier than Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's letter when LeBron left Cleveland:

"While what your Miami HEAT has accomplished in the last four years has been historic, there’s a bigger picture that more clearly defines the success we have enjoyed as a franchise.  Since I took control of the team in 1995 and brought Pat Riley in to run our Basketball Operations, the HEAT has made the Playoffs in 16 of those 19 full seasons, with five Eastern Conference titles and three NBA championships highlighting those Playoff appearances. The HEAT are one of only seven teams to have won a championship during that span and, of those seven teams, we are one of only four teams to win multiple championships. To get an even better idea of our record of excellence, consider that of the six NBA franchises established at or around the time the HEAT joined the NBA, only one other team has even appeared in the NBA Finals, with only the HEAT winning an NBA title.

"From blockbuster trades for Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal, to drafting Dwyane Wade, all of whom are future Hall of Famers, to executing the most significant free agency acquisitions in league history when we acquired Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, your Miami HEAT have established themselves as an elite NBA franchise and have maintained a consistent level of on-court excellence, defining our legacy as a championship organization.  The fact that we have done all of this before celebrating our 30th Anniversary points out that we are the youngest NBA franchise to achieve this type of success and one of only 15 NBA franchises to win an NBA championship in the league’s 68-year history. And while those accomplishments speak for themselves, I’m here to tell you something else:  we are not done; not even close.

"Pat Riley is fond of saying that the only thing you can count on in life is change and those that embrace change are best prepared to emerge successfully.  So while the names on the back of the jersey may change from time to time, the constant presence of the name “Miami” or “HEAT” on the front guarantees that our goal remains the same: to put a competitive team on the floor capable of competing for the ultimate prize. As a Miami HEAT fan, this is what you have come to expect from us. We are laser-focused on the present and the task at hand of defending our Eastern Conference championship with the East being described as “wide open,” while also positioning ourselves for maximum flexibility and maneuverability in the future. 

"Our returning core, led by three-time NBA champions Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, two-time champion and nine-time NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, two-time champions Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole and NBA champion and fan-favorite Chris “Birdman” Andersen have once again shown their commitment to winning by doing what is necessary for the benefit of the team.  In addition, we welcome NBA All-Stars Luol Deng and Danny Granger, versatile veteran big man Josh McRoberts, two-time NCAA champion Shabazz Napier and exciting young talents like James Ennis and Justin Hamilton, who are coming off of very impressive showings at both the Orlando and Las Vegas NBA Summer Leagues.  Our roster is comprised of players capable of versatility and who are out to prove something to the rest of the league.

"Like Dwyane said when he announced his return to the HEAT, I am a #HEATLifer.  That’s how I want you to feel about your role as a Miami HEAT fan -- that you are a #HEATLifer – “all in” with us for what is sure to be an exciting 2014-15 season and an incredibly bright future where we will look to add to our three NBA championships. 

 Micky Arison
#HEATLifer

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The Jake Heaps/Kevin Olsen quarterback battle will be the most fascinating story of UM camp, with Heaps' starting experience at BYU and Kansas giving him one clear advantage.

Freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier will be given a chance when practice starts Aug. 5, but it would be very surprising if either starts Labor Day night in Louisville. Al Golden will cut the quarterback competition from four to two fairly early in camp, and Heaps and Olsen are front-runners to be those two.

UM expects Ryan Williams to be back at some point this season but genuinely doesn't know when that will happen. Williams keeps saying he's targeting September, but that would be far sooner than players typically return from ACL injuries. 

Some comments from Heaps from today's conference call:

### Heaps said "it's absolutely vital" he wins the quarterback job. "I didn't come here to be the backup. You have to come and earn that. Nobody is going to give that to you. I have the ability to perform to the level this team needs."

### "I'm a pro style quarterback, a drop back quarterback. I can read defenses extremely well, manage the game. My strengths fit really well with what we're trying to do here. [Offensive coordinator James] Coley's offense is a true pro-style offense. I feel good about who I am, feel very confident in my abilities as a passer."

### Heaps, who transferred from Kansas this off-season after the Jayhawks changed quarterbacks and offensive style, said: "It's been vital to show [UM teammates] what a hard worker I am. The only way I can gain their respect is" through work ethic and "show these guys how much I love the game and be out here every single day." 

### What does he need to improve on? "When the pressure is coming on, making sure I'm making the right decision. I'm definitely not a runner, but I'm confident in my abilities in being mobile and moving around in the pocket."

### UM "was a situation it was too good to turn down [with] the personnel here and how talented they are. This receiver corps is extremely strong."

### "I've been here since the end of June and engrossed myself in football. I've stayed in the dorms, studying football 24/7. I feel very comfortable with where I'm at. I've been here [in the football building] as much as I possibly can. The only time I go back to my dorm room is to sleep."

### Heaps, on Al Golden: "I wouldn't say it's a disciplinary style. But doing things the right way is how I would describe it."

### Heaps, on UM's freshmen quarterbacks: "Brad is more of your true drop-back passer. Malik is more throwing and running. Those guys are going to be good here."

The good news on Heaps: He has a strong arm, is very bright, set several freshman passing records at BYU and has experience starting 28 games combined for two schools (BYU and Kansas).

The bad news: ESPN’s quarterback rating system ranked him 126th of 127 qualifiers last season. His completion percentage (49) ranked 123rd of 127, though he was hurt by a ton of drops. He twice has left schools after being beaten out, at BYU in 2011 and Kansas after last season.


The hunch here is if Heaps and Olsen are comparable in August, Heaps would have the edge because of experience, especially with such a difficult opening game. But Olsen could win it by clearly outplaying Heaps in August. We'll see.

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SUNDAY DOLPHINS POST

Koa Misi’s adjustment to middle linebacker, a transition that had been progressing smoothly, was put on hold Sunday when he left midway through practice with a foot injury.

Trainers worked for a while on Misi before he walked barefoot to the locker-room, holding his left shoe. Misi later told associates that somebody stepped on his foot but he will be fine.

Before that setback, the Dolphins had been encouraged by the results of their linebacker shuffling early in camp and during the team’s offseason program.

Misi has shown promise at middle linebacker, a position he hadn’t played before for the Dolphins, and Dannell Ellerbe has looked comfortable in his move back from middle linebacker (which he played inconsistently for Miami last season) to weak side linebacker (the position he played a lot for Baltimore) .

Early in Sunday’s practice --- the third overall and first in pads --- Misi wrapped up Lamar Miller for a negligible gain, and Ellerbe smacked Miller for no gain.

Misi wasn’t made available to speak to reporters after his injury Sunday, but he said Friday that middle linebacker is a good fit for him because “I can see plays unfold a little bit better. I feel pretty good, a lot better than I did at OTAs.”

Of Misi, coach Joe Philbin said: “I don’t know if there’s a guy on the team that has worked harder since April 21 in terms of studying and putting in extra time.”

Ellerbe likes playing weakside linebacker because “I played weakside four years before I came here. I’m more natural at that spot. I’m used to not letting things get outside of me. As long as I get to stay in one position and master that position, I feel like I’ll be good.”

And Ellerbe said Misi should thrive at middle linebacker because “he’s just so aggressive. He’s fast, explosive, has everything to be a great mike.”

Though the Dolphins have the same three starting linebackers as a year ago --- Ellerbe, Misi and Philip Wheeler --- they hope the shuffling will bolster a run defense that ranked 24th and allowed 124.9 yards per game. Philbin said the linebackers are playing faster than they did last season.

“We’re doing good [but] still have too many mental errors,” Ellerbe said. “We’re getting to the ball. We just have to get our hands on the ball.”

Wheeler said “we look more comfortable because we’ve been here another year. Dannell and I are getting familiar with things.”

Misi has missed games (four, two and one) in each of the past three seasons.

After Misi’s injury Sunday, Ellerbe shifted back to middle linebacker, with Wheeler and backup Jelani Jenkins alongside. But Jason Trusnik also has received considerable work at middle linebacker.

### The Dolphins are signing offensive tackle Steven Baker, who has played for four teams but appeared in no NFL regular-season games since being undrafted out of East Carolina in 2012. The Dolphins will need to release a player before adding him to the 90-man roster.

### Besides Misi, receiver Brandon Gibson and running back Mike Gillislee also left practice early.

Gibson, who had knee surgery to repair a torn patella tendon last October, went inside the team’s training facility midway through practice. He later changed from pads to shorts and then walked off the field with an ice pack on his knees.

### Cortland Finnegan finished practice but sat out a good chunk of team drills, with Jamar Taylor replacing him on the first team.

### Deep throws to Mike Wallace remain problematic; through three days of camp, quarterbacks have connected with Wallace on one of six long balls. Matt Moore threw the only deep balls to Wallace on Sunday, misfiring on both.

### Right tackle Ja’Wuan James gave up another sack to Cameron Wake but said he will benefit in the longterm from battling with Wake throughout camp. Wake said when he beats James on a play, James will ask him what happened and how he can improve.

“He does a good job schooling me,” James said. “This is the best situation for me, going against that every day.”

James said he was “excited” when he was told Dallas Thomas was being shifted from left guard to right guard, which allows the former Tennessee teammates and roommates to play alongside each other.

### Backup guard Billy Turner, the team’s third round pick, “is far ahead of where he was in the OTAs, but there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Philbin said. “He has good movement skill but he… really needs to learn the concept of leverage.”

### Two pick-sixes Sunday: Dion Jordan intercepted Ryan Tannehill’s screen pass and would have returned it for a touchdown if the play had continued… Trusnik intercepted Matt Moore in 7 on 7 drills and would have returned that for a touchdown, too.

### Good to see Lamar Miller slither through a hole in the second-team defense for what likely would have been a long touchdown run if the play had been allowed to continue. What the Dolphins want to see from Miller is hitting holes quickly and also making something of plays where the blocking isn’t necessarily great. Adam Beasley will have a story on Miller posted on the home page later.

### Rishard Matthews nearly made a diving one-handed catch of a deep ball from Tannehill, but it was ruled incomplete. Matthews, who took Gibson’s spot, was impressive Sunday. He’s going to play somewhere in the league this year, even if it isn’t here. (And it still might be here.)

### In 7-on-7 drills, Tannehill delivered a beautiful deep ball to Jarvis Landry, who beat Will Davis and would have scored a touchdown if the play had continued. So don’t be concerned with Landry’s disappointing 40-time at the Combine; his play speed is very good. Plus, Landry catches everything thrown to him.

### Rookie cornerback Walt Aikens is being used at safety, which seems to suit his skill set. He broke up a poorly thrown deep ball from Matt Moore to Brian Hartline.

### Like what I’m seeing from AJ Francis, who makes a notable play or two every practice. Francis looks like Miami’s fourth-best defensive tackle.

### At times, Ryan Tannehill continues to take too long to throw, a point reinforced to him by an angry fan at Sunday’s invitation-only practice. Even on a play when Tannehill had lots of open territory to run, he seemed indecisive before taking off.

Tannehill generally has been accurate with passes over the middle and his deep ball to Landry was beautiful. But there have been a few poor decisions in every practice, including the Jordan pick and a near interception by Jimmy Wilson.

### Sunday’s embarrassing moment: Daniel Thomas tripping over grass and falling after getting a handoff, without a defender touching him.

### Rookie draft picks Jordan Tripp and Terrence Fede made a couple of impressive plays snuffing out running plays.

### Smart move by the Dolphins to use Jason Fox at backup left tackle Sunday for the first time in camp, with Nate Garner flipping over to backup right tackle. Fox would be the better option if Brandon Albert goes down (perish the thought).

### I asked Joe Philbin who has stood out among his backup tight ends. Here’s how he answered: “Dion Sims had the most reps out of any tight end yesterday on tape. You see a lot of potential there. The run game is something we want to really emphasize. We’re looking for guys that can really get moving at the point of the attack. His body type, his ability, lead us to believe he can be one of those type of players.

“Mike Egnew and Arthur Lynch have been solid. Gator Hoskins has shown he’s very bright. He’s got good poise, can adjust on the field. Kyle Miller came up with a couple nice catches yesterday.”

### Shelley Smith has performed competently at center through three days. “Shelley is doing a good job,” Albert said. And left guard Daryn Colledge looked good in Miami’s first day in pads.

“[Colledge] has played nine years, knows the game, been around the block,” Albert said. “You need that on your offensive line. [But] we’ve got to get better.”

 ### The Dolphins are giving Randy Starks, Earl Mitchell and Jared Odrick an equal chance to be the two starters. I would be surprised if Starks doesn’t start. Philbin said Starks “is finishing plays a little better. Really pleased with what I’ve seen.”

And with Mitchell, “I like the way he comes off the ball,” Philbin said. “Outstanding motor. I like his pursuit of the football. He has had some good pass rush plays early in camp. He’s a natural leverage player.”

### The Dolphins are off Monday, then practice five consecutive days, concluding with a 9:30 a.m. session at Sun Life Stadium next Saturday.

 

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