Two quick local radio notes tonight:
• Entercom-owned 790 The Ticket is keeping the Miami Heat; the station signed a new five-year contract today, extending an association that began in 2010. Mike Inglis and John Crotty will continue to call the games.
• CBS-owned WQAM-560, which grabbed Dolphins radio rights away from iHeart Radio this offseason (WINZ), has firmed up its pre- and postgame talent.
Pre-game: Curtis Stevenson and Channing Crowder
Halftime: Kevin Rogers
Postgame: Orlando Alzugaray and Troy Stradford
Alzugaray's inclusion is notable. The Dolphins have made no attempt to silence or limit the involvement of Alzugaray, a self-professed Dolphins fan who has been highly critical of the team (Ryan Tannehill and others) and Dolphins management.
As we've reported, Jimmy Cefalo, Joe Rose and Bob Griese will call regular-season games on WQAM.
Jason Taylor will replace Griese on four preseason games on WQAM because Griese will be working on the TV preseason package, as usual.
The Dolphins and CBS-4 retained Dick Stockton, Griese and Nat Moore to call three of the four preseason games.
NBC has the Aug. 25 Dolphins-Falcons preseason game in Orlando. That will be the first NBC NFL assignment for Mike Tirico, who left ESPN (where he called Monday Night Football and the NBA, among other things) for a package of assignments at NBC, including Thursday night NFL, golf and Olympics.
Cris Collinsworth is expected to work every NBC NFL telecast (preseason and Thursdays with Tirico, Sundays with Al Michaels).
• Couple other items on Dolphins coverage: Kim Bokamper will handle sideline coverage for WFOR-4 in preseason and for WQAM during the regular season... WQAM will simulcast Dolphins games on WKIS-99.9 FM and the Dolphins have assembled a 12-station radio network stretching as far north as Orlando... WNMA 1210 will carry the games in Spanish.
A BUFFET OF DOLPHINS NEWS
Twenty news nuggets from Day 4 of Dolphins camp:
• What’s the next best thing to Peyton Manning playing for the Dolphins? Imparting his wealth of knowledge on Dolphins players.
Manning, the future Hall of Fame quarterback who retired this offseason, has visited Dolphins camp multiple times in recent months, largely because of his friendship with coach Adam Gase.
And Manning took his involvement to another level over the past two days: He addressed the entire team for seven minutes on Sunday night, then spent 40 minutes meeting with the quarterbacks and then attended practice on Monday.
“It was good; I had seen him a couple weeks ago at his retirement party,” said Gase, who coached Manning in Denver. “For him to swing by was great, and for him come by and talk to the team for about seven minutes last night, he always has a good message to deliver to the guys.”
During the Sunday address to the entire team, Manning emphasized “to stay in your playbook, the importance of studying and not taking things for granted, putting your phone away at night and getting into the playbook, even if it’s 30 minutes, an hour,” quarterback Brandon Doughty said.
When he met with the quarterbacks separately on Sunday, “He was in our mind about protections and stuff and how we do things," Doughty said, "how we’re going to change this and change that. It was cool.”
Doughty said the quarterbacks asked Manning “a lot of questions. Ryan [Tannehill] picked his mind. It was kind of more talking to Ryan than he was with me, but it was cool just hearing the questions and me kind of just writing things down and jotting things and just kind of observing this whole thing.”
Manning’s advice to the quarterbacks? “Trying to working on our hot [reads], understanding what everyone is doing and just taking it one play at a time,” Doughty said.
Doughty was impressed.
"Peyton Manning, holy cow, I mean, this is like a star-studded performance here," Doughty said. "It’s pretty cool. Getting to pick his mind on these protections, he walked through some of the stuff that they did. It’s very similar to what we’re doing, so being able to pick at that guy’s mind, it’s unbelievable. He’s a future Hall of Famer.”
Tannehill didn’t speak to reporters Monday, but in May he shared his thoughts on the topic in this post of mine after Manning’s first visit to camp.
Manning’s presence also carries weight with defensive players.
“When he came in the offseason and worked out in the back of our weight room, running on our treadmill, I would go back there and say he’s my favorite player,” Chris McCain said. “Every time I talk to him, he talks to me like he’s known me for years. I’m honored to shake his hand and be around him.”
MORE DOLPHINS TALK
• Everyone worried when we learned Jay Ajayi would miss practice with a knee injury Monday.
Turned it, it was only a bone bruise to his left knee, which was sustained when he collided with linebacker Jelani Jenkins during Sunday’s practice. But he said he expects to return in a couple of days.
Ajayi had chronic knee issues in college, with a lack of cartilage in the joint of his right knee. The latest issue was to his left knee.
“I think he was worried it was more than what it was, which [is natural] when you’ve had a previous injury before,” Gase said. “Thankfully it was on the other leg and we had him checked out and it turns out he’s going to be day to day and we’ll see when we can get him back.”
• Running back Isaiah Pead opened with the starters in team drills on Monday but left with an unspecified leg issue. Before departing, he made a bunch of nice plays, including several catches out of the backfield.
“Pead did a good a job,” Gase said. “I’m not really sure what happened to him. What he has done from the time he’s been here in the spring, lot of improvement. He’s done everything we asked him to do.”
• Running back Arian Foster also got some first team work and “he is going to be working with the ones the whole training camp,” Gase said. “His resume speaks for itself. I don’t think there’s any question why we brought him in here. He’s playing this year. Whether he’s the guy that will be the first snap of the game, time will tell. He is going to be rolling with the ones.”
• As for Damien Williams, Gase expects the running back to come off the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday.
• Cornerback Xavien Howard, recovering from knee surgery, said he’s running and hopes to be back for some preseason games. “I feel good,” he said. “I’m waiting for coaches to clear me.”
Howard said he never had knee problems before and was injured when he was undercut on the final day of minicamp.
• Linebacker Zach Vigil remains out with a back problem. “We’re trying to figure out what the best plan is for him right now,” Gase said.
• Without Vigil, the second-team linebackers are Neville Hewitt, Mike Hull and Spencer Paysinger.
• Chris McCain has been disruptive through the first four days of camp – he had two sacks today – and he will be on the team if this continues.
“I see a guy getting off the ball with great speed,” Gase said. “He’s turning the edge quickly. Every time we seem to be in any kind of drill, whether 3rd down or 2 minute situation, he’s around the quarterback a lot. The more we can get him to do [the better]. He’s a guy that keeps putting that positive foot forward. The more chaos you cause on defense, the more interesting you are to us.”
One option: keeping McCain as a fifth defensive end and placing Dion Jordan on the NFI list, which would sideline him the first six games.
McCain is thrilled to be back at defensive end after a year at linebacker.
"I’m clear in my head, not thinking about too much,” he said. “I’m just going. Before we snap the ball on first and second down, you can basically do whatever you want to do. Coach says corners hang on three or four seconds and let us do what we do. Vance [Joseph] is a really good coach. We love him to death. They see that’s my strong suit, pass rush.”
• Keep hearing a lot of praise for longtime NFL assistant Jim Washburn, who is helping the linemen on pass rush moves, among other things.
“Washburn ain’t no joke,” McCain said. “He don’t put up with nothing. He respects us of course, cares about us. He coaches us a lot. You kind of have no choice but to do right with him in the room.”
• Quarterback Matt Moore was given a pre-planned day off to rest his arm, but Gase said he won’t do that with Tannehill.
Moore “was kind of irritated we did it,” Gase said. “I am not taking a chance of we’re two weeks into camp and all of a sudden my arm hurts. This will be the only day he misses practice. It should help the younger guys.”
• Michael Thomas worked ahead of Bobby McCain as the first team nickel back, with Isa Abdul-Quddus joining the starters at safety opposite Reshad Jones.
But Thomas, nor anybody else, could slow rookie receiver Jakeem Grant, who had several catches.
• Gase, on Grant: “I see a guy who has the skill set for a slot player we love. We love the quickness. We love the speed.
“Obviously has unique speed. We have to keep growing his route tree; he has to understand when we can go inside, when he can outside versus a guy’s leverage. He’s headed in the right direction. We’ve got to slow him down a little bit.”
• This was not a good day for the cornerbacks. Rookie seventh-rounder Jordan Lucas was beaten by DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry.
Even when the corners had a chance to make a play, they didn’t, with McCain dropping a pick that Tannehill threw right at him.
“Defense got their hands on some balls today; this is where it gets weird for me,” Gase said. “It’s like you’re split down the middle of you are glad the defense is getting hands on the ball. I start getting a little irritated the offense is throwing some balls that bothered me a little bit. Anytime the defense is touching the ball, it’s a good thing.”
• Laremy Tunsil did not open with the starters today but eventually got first-team work at left tackle and left guard. Dallas Thomas continues to start team drills as the first-team left guard.
Biggest adjustment moving from guard to tackle? “A lot of things are much faster at the guard position,” Tunsil said. “You've got your hand down and they (the defense) are close to you. I'm going to get into the meeting room and I'm going to rep it every day so it'll be fine."
• Undrafted kicker Marshall Koehn made 2 of 6 field goals, missing twice from the 35-yard range, and is clearly trailing in the kicking competition against incumbent Andrew Franks, who has been very consistent.
• Doughty got a ton of work Monday and had a nice throw to Leonte Carroo. Brandon Harris tipped another of his passes.
“I’d give my performance probably about a C,” Doughty said of camp. “I’ve got to get better. I gotta be quicker, I gotta be faster with my reads, faster with my feet, faster in everything I do.”
• After the Dolphins gave Jordan Phillips a long look with the starters in May/June practices, Earl Mitchell has consistently opened with the first team in training camp.
• Couple other highlights: Mario Williams destroyed Ja’Wuan James on one play… Spencer Paysinger deflected a pass… Andre Branch had a sack.. Terrence Fede destroyed Thomas Duarte for a sack…. Jason Jones had a sack.
• Tuesday will be Miami’s first night practice (6 p.m.) and also the first that will be open only to season-ticket holders.
Quick Marlins note: Because Colin Rea (acquired from the Padres) has an elbow issue, the Marlins were angry and traded him back to San Diego for the pitching prospect that they relinquished in last week's Andrew Cashner trade (Luis Castillo). The rest of the trade stands.