4 p.m.. Tuesday: Fallout on Dolphins' roster moves today; Dolphins chatter; Injuries create issues; UM notes
2:45 p.m. Tuesday update: The Dolphins got down to 75 players by today's 4 p.m. deadline and they did that not only by cutting eight, but placing three on injured reserve: AJ Francis, who had knee surgery recently; Mike Gillislee, the 2013 fifth-round draft pick who hasn't recovered from a hamstring injury; and tight end Arthur Lynch, who ultimately was doomed by an offseason back injury.
All three will miss the entire 2014 season. One player placed on IR can be designated as a player who can return after six games, but the Dolphins didn't use that designation on any of the three.
The eight cuts: quarterback Brady Quinn, receiver Armon Binns, tight end Brett Brackett, cornerback Steven Clarke, defensive end Rakim Cox, defensive tackle Cory Grissom, center Tyler Larsen and receiver Ryan Spadola.
### Quinn, one of the bigger first-round quarterback busts in recent years, didn't even make it to the last preseason game after signing Aug. 11.
Quinn threw six interceptions over his past five practices, including one today.
That means Thursday's game against the Rams could turn into The Seth Lobato Show, for the most part. The Dolphins want another look at Lobato before deciding whether to put him on the practice squad or perhaps bring back Pat Devlin for the practice squad instead.
Matt Moore might play some on Thursday.
### Binns got caught up in a numbers game. Receiver is Miami's deepest position and Rishard Matthews and Damian Williams made more plays throughout camp than Binns, who missed all of last season after a training camp injury. He figures to draw interest elsewhere.
### Putting Francis on IR increases the chances of the Dolphins keeping at least one undrafted defensive tackle; Anthony Johnson is the front-runner, but Kemal Johnson and Garrison Smith are still in the mix.
### Gilislee's move to IR leaves Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams competing for the No. 3 running back job.
### Lynch said the back injury happened this past summer and he kept thinking doctors would clear him to play. But doctors didn't feel he was ready, and thus, his season ends in late August.
The best news so far in Dolphins training camp? No season-ending injuries.
But reasons for consternation, or at least mild irritation, have emerged less than two weeks before the Patriots visit Sun Life Stadium on Sept. 7. Among them:
The starting offense has played with neither the pace nor productivity that everybody hoped.
Because of injuries, Miami is already on its third kicker.
And injuries have complicated several roster decisions.
Though the running game was very good Saturday, coach Joe Philbin on Monday bemoaned the first-team offense’s inability to score more than three points in six possessions against Dallas.
“Our offensive first group has to score more points,” he said.
When offensive coordinator Bill Lazor arrived from Philadelphia, numerous players noted in May and June that the team was practicing at a faster pace, not quite at the breakneck speed that the Eagles played with under Chip Kelly to begin last season, but quicker than Miami's attack under Mike Sherman.
But Miami’s offense hasn’t been up-tempo all that much recently, to the point that Philbin and Lazor “talked on the sidelines a couple times that we thought we could have been pushing the pace a little faster [Saturday],” Philbin said. “It’s something that has to get a little quicker.”
Mike Wallace agrees: "You feel like you’re going fast,” Wallace said, “and then you realize you aren’t going that fast, and by that time, it’s time to come out. [But] we will play faster once the season starts, when we have a concrete game plan. We will definitely be playing faster in a week and a half.”
Quarterback Matt Moore said the offense is “definitely not as fast as [Philadelphia] was doing it. When [Lazor] sees he’s ready to use [high-tempo offense], he will.”
And Lamar Miller said “we have to get in good condition so tempo can be much faster.”
Philbin was non-committal about how much no-huddle the Dolphins will use --- they haven’t done a lot of it in preseason games --- but Ryan Tannehill has done generally good work in no-huddle situations his first two seasons.
Also Monday, Wallace again was put in the uncomfortable position of having to explain why he and Tannehill can’t consistently connect on deep balls.
“Until we hit it, people have a right to ask that question,” Wallace said. “And it’s not going to be one time. We have to continually do it everyday. “[Overall], we’re doing pretty well. The deep ball was the only thing we didn’t hit [Saturday against Dallas]. We have to hit that… I’ve got to get better.”
Wallace dropped four intermediate passes from Tannehill during Monday’s practice but also caught at least three and worked with Tannehill on routes after practice.
Meanwhile, other issues bear monitoring:
### Kickers Caleb Sturgis (groin) and John Potter (hip) remain sidelined, and the Dolphins released Potter moments ago.
Newly signed Jake Rogers, who has played for several teams but never kicked in a regular-season game, missed from 44 yards during Monday’s practice but hit field goals from 41, 44 and 49 yards. The Dolphins hope Sturgis will be healthy for the opener.
But if Sturgis isn't healthy, and if Rogers flops, other free agent options include Jay Feely (cut by Arizona today), Rib Bironas, Rian Lindell, Garrett Hartley, David Akers and Neil Rackers.
### Besides the kickers, a few other players battling for roster spots have health issues, making roster decisions more difficult.
Among them: running back Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and defensive tackle A.J. Francis (knee) remain out; tight end Brett Brackett missed practice with a knee issue; and tight end Arthur Lynch (back) remains limited.
The Dolphins are unlikely to cut Lynch, a fifth-round pick, but could put him on injured reserve if they continue to have concerns about a back injury that happened this summer. Lynch has participated in some practice drills but hasn’t been cleared to participate in 11-on-11 work or play in games.
Lynch said he has been held out for precautionary reasons and hopes to be cleared to play Thursday against St. Louis at Sun Life Stadium. “I am healthy enough to do things,” he said. “I fully intend to play in games.”
Would Lynch object if the Dolphins put him on IR? "That's up to Dennis Hickey," he said. "My body is healing."
Francis is considered Miami’s fourth-best defensive tackle but has been unable to do anything on-field in three weeks.
While Gillislee was still on the bicycle Monday, Daniel Thomas returned to practice from a hamstring injury that has kept him out of all three preseason games.
Asked if Thomas needs to play well Thursday to keep his job, Philbin said: “It is important for his sake, our sake, to get him out on the field. We want to see what he can do.”
### Guard Billy Turner was wearing a walking boot on his left foot and will miss multiple practices. Defensive end Terrence Fede (knee) also remains out. Both rookies are expected to be on the 53-man roster… David Arkin replaced Turner as the backup left guard….
Linebacker Koa Misi (shoulder) and receiver Marcus Thigpen (hamstring) returned to practice… Linebacker Philip Wheeler practiced with his right thumb in a small cast, and safety Walt Aikens practiced with his left hand in a protective wrap. The Dolphins originally announced Wheeler would miss multiple practices, but Wheeler changed his mind.
### The Dolphins signed defensive tackle Cory Grissom, a former standout at South Florida who spent last season on injured reserve for the Patriots.
### Dan Marino, who joined the Dolphins as a special advisor on Sunday, visited Philbin in his office Monday. Marino’s job “will be something that evolves over time,” Philbin said. “He’s going to contribute to the organization in a lot of different areas.”
### How will UM replace No. 3 tight end Beau Sandland, who has left the program? Al Golden said on his WQAM show that Jake O'Donnell and freshman Christopher Herndon will compete for time behind Clive Walford and Standish Dobard. H-back Ronald Regula will also be in the mix, Golden said.
### Golden said two players who have gone under the radar are defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins and freshman safety Marques Gayot.
The starting quarterback job is settled but several starting jobs remain in question a week before the Louisville opener. Among them:
### The linebacker spot alongside Denzel Perryman and Raphael Kirby (when Miami plays a 4-3). Darrion Owens has impressed in recent days and was taking first-team reps ahead of Thurston Armbrister on Monday. But this battle is too close to call.
### Starting cornerback jobs. Ladarius Gunter and Corn Elder lined up with the starters on Monday, according to Canesport.com. But Tracy Howard and Artie Burns (who were with the second team) and Antonio Crawford are pushing them. UM has five very good cornerbacks and all should play Monday.
### Defensive end spot opposite Anthony Chickillo when Miami plays a 4-3. Al Quadin-Muhammad has lined up with the first team in the past week, with Tyriq McCord behind him (and Chad Thomas behind Chickillo). Trent Harris, who played with the starters early in camp, was with the third team on Monday.
### Defensive tackle: Calvin Heurteleou is holding off Courtel Jenkins and Earl Moore the job opposite Olsen Pierre. Michael Wyche, with the fourth team, continues to work on conditioning but should be able to contribute at some point, Mark D'Onofrio has said.
### Right tackle: Freshman KC McDermott remains with the first team, ahead of Taylor Gadbois, who lost ground during the summer.
### Punter: Walk-on Justin Vogel, the transfer from Florida, appears the favorite over Ricky Carroll.