08/18/2014

Monday 5:30 p.m. Dolphins report; Race allegations and how law enforcement mishandled the Ray Allen case

Two days after Dallas Thomas was overwhelmed by Tampa Bay All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the Dolphins tinkered with their offensive line on Monday, giving another look to the veteran free agent addition they originally expected would emerge as a starter.

Shelley Smith replaced Thomas with the starters at right guard during Monday’s practice, returning to the position he held throughout May and June practices.

But coach Joe Philbin said afterward that Smith has not been anointed the starter, the job remains an open competition and he does not know who will start at right guard in Saturday’s third preseason game against Dallas at Sun Life Stadium.

“We don’t have a first-team right guard right now,” Philbin said.

Philbin said left guard also remains open and he doesn’t know who will start at that spot, either. Daryn Colledge has started at left guard for the first two preseason games and played most of the first-team snaps at practice.

“We don’t have clarity at those two positions yet,” Philbin said. “We are going to have a good week of practice and make the determination of who that’s going to be. Just because that person starts, he may start the next week, may not.”

There is also some measure of uncertainty at center, where a timetable on Mike Pouncey’s return from hip surgery remains undetermined. Pouncey, who hasn’t been cleared for practice, said Monday he hopes to return by the fourth game of the season, Sept. 28 against London in Oakland, a game that is followed by a bye week.

One thing is clear: The Dolphins need much better blocking in the running game. The Dolphins, who averaged 4.1 yards per rush last season, averaged 2.5 yards per carry in their preseason opener at Atlanta and 1.8 in the Tampa game.

“There was too much penetration,” Philbin said. “That was problem number one. Problem two is we didn’t break a lot of tackles.”

The Dolphins had entrusted Thomas with first-team right guard duties before Saturday’s disaster, when he allowed a strip/sack, a quarterback pressure, committed two penalties and also was beaten on two negative running plays.

On Monday, Thomas took snaps at backup right guard. Rookie third-round pick Billy Turner, who had been the backup right guard, played behind Colledge at left guard.

Smith, signed to a two-year, $5.5 million contract in March, was the Dolphins’ first-team right guard throughout offseason workouts. He began training camp at center, filling in for Pouncey, but had several errant snaps.

After the Dolphins signed Samson Satele, Smith was shifted to second-team left guard. That finally changed Monday.

“Shelley is going to be a heck of a player for us,” Pouncey said. “He does a heck of a job in the zone scheme, gets underneath the defenders.”

Asked Monday if he was pleased to be with the starters again, Smith said: “You never know what’s going to happen. I’m ready to go wherever needed. We’ll see how it shakes out.”

Smith played left and right guard in his three seasons in St. Louis, which included eight starts.

“It will take some reps to get back in the swing of things on the right side, but I feel comfortable there,” he said.

As for Pouncey, he said Monday he’s “just praying that they don’t put me” on the physically unable to perform list to start the regular season, which would require sitting out the first six games and also would prohibit him from practicing during that time. He said he’s not sure when he will be cleared for practice.

“In my head, right now I feel I can [practice] because I’m a competitor,” he said. “But they’re taking the safe route and make sure I won’t have any relapses when I come back. I appreciate them letting me get stronger every week. I’m thinking I’m ahead of schedule. I feel really good. I can’t wait until they set me loose.”

KICKER ISSUES

The Dolphins’ kicking situation has become more interesting than anyone expected, to the point that Philbin said Monday he’s not sure who will be his kicker for the regular-season opener against New England.

Caleb Sturgis, who had been sidelined with a groin injury earlier in camp, re-aggravated the injury before Saturday’s game and will miss multiple practices. John Potter remains in contention to win the job after hitting 48- and 51-yard field goals against Tampa.

### Tight ends Charles Clay and Harold Hoskins, running back Daniel Thomas and offensive tackle Jason Fox returned to practice. Clay, who had missed two weeks with a knee injury, said “there was never any point in time where I thought it was bad.”

### Center Sam Brenner (shoulder), cornerback Jalil Brown (thigh), defensive end Terence Fede (knee), defensive tackle Anthony Johnson (shoulder) and receiver/returner Marcus Thipgen (thigh) will miss multiple practices.

Defensive tackle AJ Francis (knee) and running back Mike Gillislee (hamstring) remained sidelined with previous injuries.

### The Dolphins signed undrafted Villanova defensive end Rakim Cox and released running back Cameron Marshall.

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

Until the Coral Gables police files charges against the seven 18- and 19-year olds who walked uninvited into Ray Allen's home late Wednesday, expect to hear comments like this one posted on Facebook by Miami criminal defense attorney David Edelstein:

"When black teenagers sneak into a white person's house in the middle of the night, it's called burglary. But when well off white kids sneak into a black person's home, it's a silly prank."

None of the seven people who entered Allen's home are black. According to the Coral Gables PD, six are Hispanic males and one is an Hispanic woman.

After studying Florida Statutes on Sunday, I suspected Coral Gables police were making a mistake by deciding not to level a burglary charge against the seven young adults who entered Allen’s home.

That view has been reinforced when I spoke with a couple of credible people today.

Police spokeswoman Kelly Denham had said the state attorney’s office initially advised detectives that elements of a burglary had not been met and that the appropriate charge was trespassing. Denham said today that trespassing is the likely charge but would not rule out a burglary charge, either, after saying earlier that burglary would not be the charge.

Originally, Coral Gables police said they did not intend to charge the teenagers with anything, but that apparently has changed in the wake of Ray Allen complaining and hiring an attorney.

Despite what the Gables police are saying, a former captain for the Miami-Dade County police department and a former Miami-Dade County prosecutor said a burglary charge would be justified in this case.

“In my opinion, they should have been charged with felony burglary,” said Charlie Miller, a former captain with the Miami-Dade police who ran the division’s burglary unit during a 30-year career before retiring 10 years.

“Let it go through the system. We would always charge in this case and later plea bargain or reduce if they made restitution, apologized, did community service. These are adults. These are not juveniles. This is a felony burglary. It was an occupied residence. They knew right from wrong. It doesn’t matter whether the Allens are home or not.”

Allen’s wife and their four children were home at the time.

Antonio Jimenez, a Miami-based criminal defense attorney who previously worked as a prosecutor for Miami-Dade, said the teenagers “should have all been arrested for burglary and at that point let the prosecutor decide whether to file formal charges or reduce it to a trespass.”

Denham said the teenagers explained to the officers that they merely were curious to see what the home looked like. She said there was no burglary charge because there was no intent.

But Florida Statute 810.07 said “proof of entering… a structure… stealthily and without consent of the owner or occupant is… evidence of entering with intent to commit a crime.”

And using the Coral Gables PD's initial reasoning (remember, they originally planned to file no charges against the teenagers), someone who tries to break into your home, walks in, and then changes their mind because the alarm went off would be charged with nothing? That's preposterous.

Said Jimenez: “You are inside the home, there is an assumption in the law that you are intending to commit a crime. The crime can be anything. You can even make the argument that the crime itself is trespassing. If you are in there, that’s a burglary, which is a second-degree felony.”

Jimenez said prosecutors then would have had 21 days to determine if there’s enough evidence to file a charge of burglary or reduce it to trespassing or take no action.

Police said Allen’s door was unlocked; Allen’s attorney said it was locked. Denham said in the police report that Allen’s wife, Shannon, said the door that was entered had a “problem with the lock and easily [could] be opened.”

But Jimenez said that “makes no difference’ in determining whether a burglary charge is warranted.

Jimenez said “black clients don’t get away with things as much as wealthy, white juveniles might. If they [the seven teenagers] were in a mansion next to Ray Allen, they were friends with someone wealthy or someone with a wealthy family.

“You have that dynamic. I’ve seen how Gables PD treat wealthy residents. They would arrest them sometimes but said, ‘Let’s all move on.’ Cases would get resolved a lot easier than other residents.

“If you have a case involving resident with the parents [having] real money, it’s not that difficult to get case to go away. You just notice there are certain cases in Pinecrest, Gables, Miami Beach, certain cases easier to resolve than others. A lot of times it comes down to money.”

Denham said he had no response to Jimenez’s comments and she knew nothing about the socio-economic status of the seven teenagers because “it’s not pertinent to the investigation.”

By the way, Denham said that Shannon Allen never called 9-1-1 when the teenagers walked into their home but instead called the Tahiti Beach guard shack, who contacted the police.

Please see the last post for lots of Heat chatter, plus UM, Dolphins and Marlins.    

    

08/17/2014

Sunday buzz column: Exploring Heat's longterm future; Dolphins, UM, Marlins chatter

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Now that the dust has settled after LeBron James’ move to Cleveland, a few points to consider on the Heat’s future:

### Everyone is pointing to Kevin Durant’s free agency in the summer of 2016. What's encouraging is that the Heat has only about $29 million in guaranteed cap commitments for 2016-17, with the prospect of an $80 million cap, according to ESPN projections.

But Durant easily could stay in Oklahoma City (“I love it here,” he said recently) or go to his hometown Washington (he admired James for returning to his roots) or sign with another marquee-market team with a lot of cap space that summer (Lakers, Bulls, Knicks).

So even though Durant owns a condo in Miami --- he’s remodeling it but hasn’t decided whether to sell it --- Durant would be more wishful thinking than a likelihood for the Heat. So if not Durant, then what could Miami do to build a team to genuinely compete with the James/Kevin Love/Kyrie Irving troika in Cleveland?

The hope in that scenario would be to land blue-chippers from among a 2016 free agent class potentially including centers Dwight Howard (if he opts out of $23.2 million), Joakim Noah, Al Horford and David Lee, and wing players Mike Conley, DeMar DeRozan, Danilo Galinari, Nicolas Batum and Chandler Parsons (opt out), Brandon Jennings, Joe Johnson and declining Deron Williams. Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade will be free agents that summer but look like lifers with their franchises.

That’s not a long list of quality players considering most teams will have at least $10 million in 2016 cap space, as Pat Riley noted. But here’s the big caveat: The list of 2016 free agents will grow if some of the top players in a deep 2015 class take contracts with player options after one season, which is very likely.

That 2015 class, some of which will be available again in 2016, includes DeAndre Jordan, Rajon Rondo, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Danny Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Goran Dragic, Marc Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler, Thaddeus Young, Wesley Matthews, Rudy Gay, Corey Brewer, Amir Johnson, Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez and potentially, Love, Greg Monroe, Eric Bledsoe, Roy Hibbert and David West.

### If the cap rises as much as projected, the Heat would have enough to sign one max-caliber player and a pretty good player (or two good but not max players) in 2016 to complement Chris Bosh and Wade. But signing two new max-caliber players would be unrealistic because max contracts would rise significantly if the cap rises.

Cap expert Larry Coon said max contracts will increase from $3.8 million to $5.3 million per year (depending on years of experience) if the cap jumps by $15 million in 2016. That would make James and Howard eligible for potentially $27 million in 2016-17.

And with teams flush with cap space in 2016, there would be little incentive for a Horford or DeRozan to take substantially less to sign anywhere.

Besides Bosh at $23.7 million and Josh McRoberts at $5.7 million, the Heat’s only other cap commitments for 2016-17 are Shabazz Napier (team option at $1.3 million) and James Ennis, if still around, with a non-guaranteed $980,431.

The Heat’s flexibility will depend, to an extent, on whether Miami adds any long-term salary next summer (probably not much, if any) and whether Wade --- who’s curious to see what he can command with a higher cap --- would take another big cut from the $16.1 million he’s due in 2015-16.

Another factor: Will Bosh and Wade still be top players at that point, to the point that other stars want to join them here?

### What about accelerating the plan a year and making major upgrades next summer? That’s not how the Heat has positioned itself; Miami already has $74.3 million in 2015-16 commitments, with the cap projected to fall at $66.3 million.

That commitment number would fall if Luol Deng opts out of his $10.1 salary for 2015-16, if the Heat parts with Norris Cole (restricted free agent with a $3 million qualifying number next summer) and if Danny Granger ($2.2 million) opts out.

But that still wouldn’t be enough to be a major player in free agency next summer unless Wade opts out, which he sounds disinclined to do.

Riley could be tempted to blow it up a year earlier if this team flops. But he wouldn’t have the space to sign another star and he seems resolute about waiting to 2016.

The Heat will have a midlevel exception of close to $6 million next summer, with Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer among those potentially shopping in that mid-level market.

### High-level Heat people have been telling people this team will surprise people and will be better than people think. We’ll see. One pointed to defensive deficiencies in Cleveland’s roster.

“There are a lot of people counting us out,” Udonis Haslem said last week. “We still think we can compete for the Eastern Conference title.”

### The Heat lost out in its pursuit of free agent forward Shawn Marion, who reportedly has agreed to terms with Cleveland.

### Ray Allen is understandably peeved that the Coral Gables police filed no criminal charges against the teenagers who walked univited into his home late Wednesday night. If you missed it, please see our post from Friday night to read Allen's comments and remarks from his attorney.

In response to Allen's comments, the Coral Gables PD said it's now working with the Allen family and the State Attorney's Office regarding the possible filing of charges.

Here's how the Gables PD responded this weekend to Allen's comments:

"After further investigation and completion of the suspect interviews, the detectives, following established procedure, consulted with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office.  Upon learning from the detectives that, although the individuals had entered the residence, there was no proof that they had the intent to commit any crimes inside, the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office advised the detectives that no arrests should be made at that time, in that, the elements of a Burglary had not been met. 

"The Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office advised that the appropriate charge in this case was the crime of Trespass in an occupied structure, a misdemeanor.  Law enforcement officers are not permitted by Florida law to make an arrest for a Trespass of this nature unless the crime occurs in their presence. Accordingly, the Coral Gables Police Department is continuing to work with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office and will work with the Allen Family regarding the filing of criminal charges."

CHATTER

### What if Jake Heaps (a former starter for BYU and Kansas) and freshman Brad Kaaya end up about even in the UM quarterback competition? “If it’s dead even, then the experience probably overrides not having it,” offensive coordinator James Coley said Friday.

Besides his ability to see the field, coaches love Kaaya’s instincts, accuracy and knack for escaping pressure with his feet. UM people cite Heaps’ pre-snap recognition among his greatest strengths.

Kaaya’s high school coach said he’s not a typical teenager. As Kaaya noted Friday: “I would stay up until 1 a.m. on school nights watching film in high school. I sacrificed having that social life and going out a lot.”

He was very superstitious earlier in his life --- he felt he needed to knock on wood four times before he put on his helmet --- but stopped doing that last year because “I figured I don’t need it. Let my talent just win games.”

Kaaya has established relationships with two Heisman Trophy winning UM quarterbacks: Vinny Testaverde (“I’ve talked to him a whole bunch”) and Gino Torretta (“he gave me good advice”). He studies New England’s Tom Brady a lot on tape because the Patriots “run a lot of our play fakes, play actions and protections.”

### As for Kevin Olsen, we hear his suspension was not an extension of last year’s bowl suspension but a new one for a new failed drug test.

For now, I’m definitely here longterm,” Olsen responded when I asked him about possibly transferring. An associate say Olsen was discouraged when Heaps was brought aboard, though Olsen insists he never viewed it as “a bad thing.”

### The representation for tight end Charles Clay, the Dolphins’ most important 2015 unrestricted free agent, has spoken to the team about a new deal, but said nothing has materialized. The Dolphins are holding off for now, though that could change at any time. Waiting, should they choose to continue to take that approach, would allow them to make sure his surgically-repaired knee (which was aggravated two weeks ago) holds up and that he repeats last season's breakout year.

Clay had much better numbers last year (69 catches for 759 yards) than Kyle Rudolph (30-313), who recently landed a five-year, $36 million deal with Minnesota.

Clay told The Palm Beach Post in Tampa on Saturday night that he definitely will be ready to play in the Dolphins' regular-season opener against New England.

### One Dolphins player said one reason the move of Koa Misi to middle linebacker was needed was that Dannell Ellerbe, now playing weakside, made mental errors and wasn’t quick enough in diagnosing plays and changing the calls at middle linebacker last season.

### Please see the last post for postscripts from the Dolphins-Tampa Bay preseason game.

### Perhaps the Marlins need to stop signing American League catchers coming off career seasons. They were convinced that Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 29, wouldn’t be anything like the John Buck disaster of 2011, but Saltalamacchia’s first season here (.219, 10 homers, 34 RBI and an MLB-catcher-high 12 errors) has been even worse than Buck’s first year here (.227, 16, 57, five errors).

What's more, Saltalamacchia is hitting just .165 with runners in scoring position. There also have been grumblings internally about his defense, but the Marlins believe he will be better next season after a full year in the National League.

If he’s not, they could eventually trade him back to an AL team (he’s due $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016), especially if well-regarded prospect J.T. Realmuto (.295, 6, 51 at Double A) keeps emerging. Realmuto easily has surpassed Rob Brantly (.259, 3, 31 at Triple A) as a prospect. “I would have expected better,” a National League scout said of Saltalamacchia. “His swing is too long.”

### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... And again, please see last night's post for a lot more Dolphins chatter.

08/16/2014

Postscripts, notes, quotes, thoughts from Dolphins' preseason victory against Tampa

Postscripts from the Dolphins’ 20-14 win at Tampa Bay in their second preseason game:

Yes, there was a lot to like, and we’ll get to that in a minute. First, five issues that should concern you:

### Has this team given any indication – ANY – that it’s capable of running the ball consistently? Last week, Miami averaged 2.5 yards per carry against Atlanta. On Saturday, the Dolphins lost five yards on nine first half carries (admittedly against a team that’s stout against the run), and finished with 46 yards on 26 attempts (1.8 per carry).

Yes, you would like to see Lamar Miller, Damien Williams and others break more tackles. The same obviously can be said for Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee, who both missed the game with hamstring issues.

But Buccaneers defensive players (primarily Gerald McCoy, but others too) too often shook blocks quickly, and too easily, on running plays. This happened during last season's game at Tampa, when the Dolphins mustered a humiliating two yards on 14 rushing attempts. And we saw it again tonight.

Perhaps Knowshon Moreno will make a difference. But the blocking needs to be better, especially from Thomas and Ja'Wuan James.

It’s worth noting that Shelley Smith, who cannot crack the starting lineup, is considered one of Miami’s best run-blockers. But he was partly to blame on a six-yard loss by Damien Williams on one running play.

Here were the final numbers from the Dolphins’ running backs: Miller 3 for 3; Cameron Marshall 4 for 11; Orleans Darkwa 6 for 11; Williams 11 for 20.

"We had way too many negative yardage plays in the running game," Joe Philbin said. "A lot of penetration. Guys in the backfield. Didn't establish an edge, got in our backfield way too much, way too much. I thought we would have more production in our run game. I know it's a very good front and well coached defense. But I thought we'd be better."

### You don’t want to overreact to Dallas Thomas’ horrific night because he isn’t going to face players of McCoy’s quality all that often. And yes, it was horrific --- beaten for a strip sack (Samson Satele provided no help), beaten for a quarterback hurry, beaten on at least two running plays for losses, and two penalties thrown in for good measure.

"There are a couple plays he has to block better on," Philbin understated.

But at the very least, Saturday’s developments should make the Dolphins reconsider their decision to move Smith to the second team. And Billy Turner played well at right guard tonight, with the major caveat that he wasn’t going up against McCoy. The Dolphins need to consider all three options. We assume they will. Philbin indicated afterward that the right guard job remains open.

### Can the starting linebackers ever make it through a half without doing something exasperating? On Saturday, defensive end Derrick Shelby’s third down sack was negated by a downfield holding penalty on linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, resulting in an automatic first down. It brought to mind Philip Wheeler's senseless and costly penalty in the fourth quarter of last year's game in Tampa.

### We agree with Armando Salguero’s assessment today that there has been no discernable improvement in Ryan Tannehill’s ability to connect with Mike Wallace on deep balls. Wallace said he cannot practice deep balls with Tannehill repeatedly after practice because it wouldn’t be healthy for his legs.

“I’m not about to sit out here and run 20 deep balls back-to-back to try to get timing," Wallace, who has battled occasional hamstring issues, said Aug. 5. I’m just not about to do it. Not that I don’t want to do it. It’s not healthy for my leg just to keep running deep balls trying to get a feel for it.

But how about just a few after every practice? That would be better than nothing, which is what they’re doing now.

Tannehill overthrew Wallace on their one deep ball attempt Saturday.

### The Dolphins love Jimmy Wilson as their nickel back. Not sure they’ll love him so much filling in for Reshad Jones during Jones’ four-game suspension.

After allowing a catch and missing a tackle against Mike Evans (resulting in another 30 yards of YAC), Wilson was very fortunate that Evans fumbled out of bounds (thanks to Brent Grimes hustling and dislodging the ball), negating a long touchdown.

But enough doom and gloom. Now the good news, and there was a lot of it:

### Aside from deep balls, Tannehill has been terrific this preseason. He followed last week’s 6 for 6 opener by going 9 for 14 for 110 yards and an 88.4 QB rating. The big blemish: fumbling on the McCoy sack, leading to Tampa’s first touchdown.

### Matt Moore solidified his hold on the backup quarterback job, leading the Dolphins’ offense to 17 points, including an impressive 9-play, 71-yard drive to close the first half. Moore’s final numbers: 13 for 19, 158 yards, one touchdown and a 111.3 rating.

"Matt threw the ball well," Philbin said.

### Brandon Gibson has regained his pre-injury form. He had two receptions for 28 yards and remains a clutch target on third down.

Others who caught more than one pass: Damian Williams (3-46); Rishard Matthews (3-43), Armon Binns (2-28), Kevin Cone (2-30), Lamar Miller (2-20), Brett Brackett (2-12).

### Will Davis played ahead of Jamar Taylor and impressed for the second consecutive week, with two pass breakups and generally tight coverage. When Davis entered, Cortland Finnegan moved inside to cover the slot receiver.

### Besides Davis, the work of some of the other young defenders was VERY encouraging. Jordan Tripp had a couple of tackles for very short gains.

Chris McCain got early work at linebacker (playing at one point alongside Ellerbe and Koa Misi) and made a few plays, including a stop on a running play for no gain.

Anthony Johnson drew a holding penalty.

Terence Fede had a sack and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be on the team.

Dion Jordan forced a fumble and had a sack.

### The Dolphins had five sacks, from Olivier Vernon, Jordan, Fede, Jared Odrick and Kemal Johnson.

### Misi had six tackles and played pretty well at middle linebacker.

### Caleb Sturgis re-aggravated his groin injury before the game, but the Dolphins might have found a capable replacement in John Potter, who nailed 48- and 51-yard field goals. This job has suddenly become a toss-up.

COUPLE OTHER NOTES

### Philbin said: "I didn't think our tackling was very good in the first half. We tackled better in the second half. Looked more like a football team. We threw the ball well. Thought we had some guys open."

### Charles Clay, Arthur Lynch, Moreno, Daniel Thomas, Gillislee, Harold Hoskins, Jason Fox, A.J. Francis and of course, Mike Pouncey all sat out.

### Nothing was learned in the kickoff and punt return battles. Marcus Thigpen left with a hamstring injury.

Damian Williams (the receiver) had Miami’s only punt return, for no yards. Jarvis Landry had the only kickoff return, for 25 yards.

### Brady Quinn played the fourth quarter, completing all four of his passes for 22 yards. "We felt very good about what he knew going into the game," Philbin said. "It didn't make a lot of sense to start chucking it a whole lot."

Please check back Sunday afternoon for the Sunday buzz column.

08/15/2014

Midnight update: Ray Allen, wife speak out about home invasion; Notes, quotes, tidbits from UM's Media Day

Midnight update: Ray Allen, who is still deciding whether to play next season, and his wife are unhappy how local authorities and media reports have characterized what happened at his Coral Gable home very, very late Wednesday night/Thursday morning, when seven 18- and 19-year olds walked into their home.

Coral Gables police spokeswoman Kelly Denham said police did not charge the teenagers with burglary because there was no forced entry, no intent and nothing taken. The teenagers, who had been attending a party next door,, told police they were curious to see Allen's home and didn't believe anyone was inside.

Allen, who was not home at the time, has hired an attorney to handle the matter. Here's what Allen and his wife said late tonight in a joint statement:

“We want to correct the erroneous information being reported about the crime committed in our home this week. On Thursday morning at 2:30 a.m., my wife Shannon was awakened by loud voices in our bedroom where she had been sleeping with our four young children. 

"She heard male voices loudly discussing our personal property and sat up in a state of alarm to find at least five people inside our bedroom with large flashlights. She was immediately fearful for the safety of her own life, but more importantly the lives of our young children. When she screamed at them, the intruders quickly fled the scene and laughter was heard as they made their way out of our bedroom, down the stairs and out of our house.
 
"As these individuals were fleeing our house, Shannon immediately called security and the police for help. Shannon and I believe that a number of the public statements made through media outlets have mischaracterized certain important facts and what we believe to be the seriousness of this potentially devastating invasion upon our lives, home and family. 

"The suggestion that anyone can unlawfully enter into someone’s locked home and then into an occupied bedroom in the middle of the night without consequences is unsettling, regardless of the stated or actual reason for such unlawful entry. We are very fortunate that no one involved was physically harmed during this ordeal. Miami is our home and we are proud to be active members in this community. We pray that no one else has to endure this kind of intrusion on their home or their families' safety. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own homes.  We have hired attorney Gregory Victor for representation in this matter.”

Victor said: “A serious crime was committed under Florida law.  A large number of young adults knowingly broke into Mr. and Mrs. Allen’s locked home on Thursday, August 14 at 2:30 a.m. and absolutely terrified their family.  The crime was not only egregious, but the police characterization of this as a silly prank is completely inappropriate. Every family deserves privacy and to feel safe in their own home. This violation of the Allen family was offensive. The reported intentions of these perpetrators as being simply voyeuristic in nature does not justify their conduct nor excuse them from the reasonable consequences of their reprehensible actions.

"We plan to meet with authorities promptly in order to seek the appropriate intervention of the criminal justice system and discuss the specific actions to be taken so that such unlawful conduct is not ignored and tolerated.”

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

Chatter from UM's annual "Media Day" earlier Friday:

### In his first media availability since coming to UM, Brad Kaaya left an impression with his poise and maturity, much as he has on the field.

Kaaya, running neck and neck with Jake Heaps for the starting quarterback job, has been working with UM receivers since May, and that --- plus his impressive skill set and the fact he studies “a lot” --- have put him in this position to have a legitimate chance to win the job.

He studied UM’s offense before he got here --- “I’m about the action” ---  and “doing those [summer throwing sessions with UM players] really helped me, so now I don’t have any jitters,” he said. “If somebody picks me off, I’m OK. Next play. There are no true freshman jitters…. It feels like my fourth time around doing it.

“It gets pretty hectic [on the field] at times, but you have to calm yourself down. Stay focused on the play. Execute. [Make] the right decision.”

How important is being the starter? “For us, it’s how can I contribute? If it’s me starting, so be it. If it’s me giving the signals, so be it. If it’s me redshirting, so be it.”

Said offensive coordinator James Coley: “He’s a different type of freshman. He comes across like a junior, who has done this before. I’ve been on him like a dog the last two days. We put a lot of pressure on him. He doesn’t melt. He handles pressure really well.”

As Kaaya said: “I came here to play football. I wasn’t coming to Miami to just enjoy the extra stuff that Miami has.”

### Al Golden, on Kaaya: “The first thing that helped him is he came in at 228, is 206 now. He's lighter on his feet, better in the pocket. No. 2, he loves the game. This guy loves football and has devoted all his time to it. He's made that commitment. And he's blessed in terms of his ability to see and his arm down the field. The biggest thing with him is his ability to conceptualize the play. He knows where the H is going to be, the tight end, his checkdown is going to be. A little calmness you don't normally see (with a freshman).”

### Ryan Williams said he “definitely wants” to be back for the Nebraska game Sept. 20, if not sooner, but also understands he’s not going to be handed the job. (That obviously would depend on how his replacement and the team are playing.)

 “Hopefully I can play sooner [than Nebraska]," said Williams, who had knee surgery in April. "We don’t know what game I will be cleared for. It’s only been a little over four months, but I’m happy with my progress. I haven’t done full team reps yet, so I don’t know if I can escape the pocket and run from people yet. Everything else I’ve done is pretty good.”

### A year ago, UM people hoped Michael Wyche could come in and seize the starting nose tackle job, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen immediately, barring something unexpected. But he isn’t in the doghouse; UM knew the process of getting him into optimum condition would be delayed by the fact he couldn’t enroll here in the spring. 

Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio confirmed that Wyche and Courtel Jenkins are “batting for third” string. “Calvin Heurtelou is the leader right now. Earl Moore is second.”

Wyche, who came to UM at 360 pounds, said Friday he’s at 340 but needs to get to 335. He knew this would be a process. “I’ve got five more pounds in me,” he said. “Everything is falling into place.” He said he still expects to emerge as a starter at some point.

When will Wyche be able to make an impact? “This is no way to predict that,” D’Onofrio said. “We are trying to get him to his optimum weight, try to get him to understand the defense daily. It’s a long season. He’ll give us valuable reps when the time comes.”

Wyche and/or Heurtelou and Jenkins need to be as good as advertised, because UM was 78th against the run last season. “Unacceptable,” Chickillo said of that ranking. “We’ve got to be better in that category and I think we will be.”

### Who has exceeded D’Onofrio’s expectations? D’Onofrio mentioned end Trent Harris, linebacker Nantambu Akil Fentress (“he plays at a whole other level with speed; you see him passing people up all day”) and Heurtelou (“he got energy, he plays with emotion.”)

Harris, who has bulked up from 222 to 237, surprisingly remains first team at defense end, ahead of Tyriq McCord and Al-Quadin Muhammad.

“When I first got here, Tyriq took me under his wing and taught me a lot,” he said.  Coaches say he’s a quicker learner, follows his assignments and has been an effective pass-rusher.

Alabama offered Harris, who was a three-star prospect out of Winter Park, but he said he didn’t seriously consider it.

### Players can’t say enough about Dallas Crawford, who will bring physicality and instinctive play to safety. He’s close to nailing down a starting job.

Crawford is glad he made the move from running back; he believes he’s better at safety, having played there in high school.

“We thought he could be a starting safety,” D’Onofrio said. “He has shown us he can be.”

Or, as Ladarius Gunter said, Dallas “has brought excitement to [our secondary]. He can do it all.”

Where does Crawford excel? “Recognizing the formations and tackling,” he said. Don’t underestimate the second--- tackling has been an issue for UM’s defense.

### Prized five-star recruit Chad Thomas, who’s backing up Anthony Chickillo, said he hoped to start as a freshman, and still does. But what if he only ends up playing on third down?

“That would be a blessing just playing on third down," he answered. "I would like to get in more plays but I’ve got to wait my turn. I’m acting like a starter even though I’m not.”

Al Golden said he’s still in the mix for first and second down reps, besides an expected role on third down.

Since leaving Booker T. Washington, Thomas has gained 20 pounds and is now 260. “I’m way faster than high school. I have more power than I had in high school. I’m moving at a faster pace.”

Thomas said he’s comfortable when UM shifts him from end to tackle. “My whole senior year of high school, I played tackle.  I know how to rush against a guard or center…. It’s been a great learning experience, competing against the older guys with the second team.”

One lesson he has learned: “Don’t use my high school tendencies. Don’t use the same moves. I’ve got to rely on more moves.”

### UM wants to spot in speedy Trayone Gray, but only if he can pick up the system. “He’s behind but he’s definitely talented enough,” James Coley said. “Kind of like Gus Edwards was last year, because he wasn’t here throughout the summer. The moment it starts clicking, where you don’t have coach behind him telling him where to go every play, then he’s definitely talented enough” to contribute right away.

### Keep hearing lots of positive feedback on freshman receivers; Braxton Berrios is “as advertised,” James Coley said. And Tyre Brady, 6-3, has flashed an interesting skill set. One could get in the rotation with Rashawn Scott out indefinitely with an upper body injury (though not for the season, Golden said).

Receivers coach Brennan Carroll said Berrios’ return “is about as quick as you can get a kid back from that injury. He’s done a phenomenal job with his preparation and made the most of his opportunities. He’s quick, has got really good hands, has a great feel for routes, spacing, being in the right place. We’re going to try to find the best ways to use him.”

And Tyre Brady? “Big receiver,” Carroll said. "He’s done a good job. We’ve been a smaller unit, so he lengthens us out a little bit.”

### Muhammed expects to be a better rusher because “I’m definitely a lot stronger. Maybe 15 pounds heavier. I learned a lot. It wasn’t a bad year. Could I have done better in some aspects? Yes. But it wasn’t a bad year. I definitely think I’m going to be a better player.”

### I asked a bunch of defensive players for tangible reasons their unit will be better. Among reasons cited: Crawford, the new defensive tackles, strong secondary, the new pass rushers.

Plus, “we’re a lot more mature,” Anthony Chickillo said. “A lot stronger up front. Guys are understanding the defense and why we do things in certain situations.” Chickillo, who arrived at UM at 240 pounds, is now 280 but “I’m running the best I’ve run.”

### Joe Yearby said his surgically-repaired ankle is 90 percent. He already has surpassed Gus Edwards on the depth chart.

We'll run more tidbits from media day in buzz columns over the next week or two.          

08/14/2014

A dozen notes from Dolphins' final training camp practice; Lots of Thursday broadcast news

Nuggets from the Dolphins' final training camp practice:

### Mike Pouncey, making good progress in his recovery from June hip surgery, said Thursday he prefers not to begin the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list because that would eliminate any chance of playing before the seventh game of the season.

Pouncey said there’s “no question” that playing at some point in the first six games is realistic, though he declined to give a target date.

“We had a couple discussions about it,” he said of the PUP possibility. “I’m just letting them make the decision. I hope I’m not on PUP, but it’s not up to me. I want to play.”

Pouncey said his recovery has gone as well as can be expected. Privately, Dolphins officials also are encouraged by his progress.

“I’m going to keep doing my rehab and letting it get stronger each week and just waiting for the coaches to tell me when to play,” he said.

###  The Dolphins have been pleased by the development of rookie Walt Aikens, who has consistently been getting second-team snaps at free safety, often alongside Michael Thomas, and ahead of Don Jones and Jordan Kovacs.

Aikens, 6-1, played cornerback at Liberty last season but was a safety when he started his career at Illinois. He said the Dolphins are still giving him some snaps at cornerback.

“I am loving the transition,” he said. “The fact I can cover as a corner and transition into safety makes it a little bit easier. I am covering tight ends that are not as fast as No. 1 receivers. It’s great. I can read the whole offense now and see it from a different perspective.    [Defensive coordinator Kevin] Coyle stays on me. He’s correcting the mental errors I have.”

### Coach Joe Philbin said Knowshon Moreno, back from knee surgery, “is starting to look like kind of his old self” in the running game but stopped short of saying he would play Saturday in Tampa. “I don’t know about the passing game quite yet…. He’s looking better.”

### Though the Dolphins don’t seem too worried at this point, Philbin was non-committal when asked whether Charles Clay’s knee injury could put him at risk of missing the start of the season. “He’s day to day,” Philbin said. “The longer you’re out, the more of a period of getting acclimated back into football. I’d love to have him out here as soon as possible.” 

### Rishard Matthews, who displeased coaches at times in the past, said he expects to make the team in a crowded receiver competition. “It’s about being mature and growing up. I believe I’ve done that. It’s about consistency. Sometimes, I make good plays. The next day, I would be [subpar]. I knew I had to show the coaches I can get better. I think I’m doing that.”

### Before his 48-yard punt return against Atlanta, Jarvis Landry said he hadn’t returned a punt since his sophomore year at LSU. And he said he had never returned a kickoff before last Friday.

“It’s fun because you know you’re going to get the ball,” said Landry, who’s competing with Marcus Thigpen, among others, for the job.

### Notable from the final practice that will be open to the public this year (and the last one open to the media beyond the first 30 minutes): Caleb Sturgis, back from a groin injury, hit a 44-yard field goal while Danny Hrapman missed from 47 and from 42 yards… In 11 on 11 drills, Brent Grimes broke up Ryan Tannehill’s slightly underthrown deep ball to Mike Wallace. But Tannehill delivered a beautiful strike to Wallace on a deep ball, against Grimes, in 1 on 1 drills….

Linebacker Jordan Tripp got a bit of work with the starters in place of Dannell Ellerbe… Brady Quinn’s accuracy remained erratic in his second Dolphins practice. Matt Moore threw the ball well… Damien Williams, the undrafted Oklahoma running back, continues to impress in the passing game. He made a long gain today with a nifty over-the-shoulder catch…. In assessing his tight ends, Philbin withheld praise for Michael Egnew, who has been largely invisible since returning from a concussion this week. The next two games are big for Egnew’s roster chances.

BROADCAST NOTES

Three notable broadcasting personnel moves today:

### Hall of Famer Denis Potvin, surprisingly dropped as the Florida Panthers' TV analyst after 16 years, has been re-hired in the same role, alongside Steve Goldstein. Potvin, who spent the past four years with the Ottawa Senators, replaces Bill Lindsay, who was shifted to a studio and behind-the-bench role. Potvin never deserved to be fired four years ago.

### Courtney Fallon, the No. 2 sportscaster at NBC 6, said she’s leaving to take a job at CBS Sports Network, where she will be a college football sideline reporter this fall. Her last day is Aug. 31.

She said she couldn't do both jobs partly because "travel demands this fall are too high."

She will primarily report on Army games, with some other assignments as well.

NBC-6 will look for a new No. 2 sportscaster to back up Joe Rose, who also hosts a radio show on WQAM-560 and works Dolphins games on WINZ-940.

### Showtime made dramatic changes to the cast of Inside the NFL and announced the program will air at 9 p.m. Tuesdays, a day earlier than past years.

Bears receiver Brandon Marshall will become the first active NFL player to appear as a regular studio analyst on a network show, which will require him to fly from Chicago to New York for Tuesday tapings.

Phil Simms, Ed Reed and Boomer Esiason will be the other analysts besides Marshall. Cris Collinsworth left the program to cut down on his travel.

Greg Gumbel is replacing James Brown as host, with Brown relinquishing the job because he’s adding CBS/NFL Network Thursday studio duties to his Sunday studio gig.

 

           

08/13/2014

11 p.m. Wednesday: UM loses veteran; Full Heat schedule; Analyzing battles for Dolphins roster spots; Heat

11 p.m. update: UM junior safety Rayshawn Jenkins posted on his Facebook account tonight that he won't be playing this season.

UM declined to comment about his health, but if that's true, then UM's top three safeties will be, in no particular order, Dallas Crawford, Deon Bush and Jamal Carter. Either freshmen Kiy Hester or freshman Marques Gayot potentially could be in line for playing time.

Crawford had been holding off Jenkins for one safety job early in camp. Jenkins' play disappointed UM coaches last season. He required surgery for an undisclosed injury after the season and did not participate in the spring game.

UM is expected to address the issue on Thursday.

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

 

Here's the full Heat regular-season schedule released moments ago:

OCTOBER
Oct. 29: WASHINGTON, 7:30 SUN

NOVEMBER
Nov. 1: at Philadelphia, 7, SUN
Nov. 2: TORONTO, 6, SUN
Nov. 4: HOUSTON, 7:30, SUN
Nov. 5: at Charlotte, 7, SUN
Nov. 8: MINNESOTA, 7:30, SUN
Nov. 9: at Dallas, 7:30, SUN
Nov. 12: INDIANA, 7:30, ESPN
Nov. 14: at Atlanta, 7:30, SUN
Nov. 16: MILWAUKEE, 6, SUN
Nov. 17: at Brooklyn, 7:30, SUN
Nov. 20: L.A. CLIPPERS, 8, TNT
Nov. 22: at Orlando, 7, SUN
Nov. 23: CHARLOTTE, 6, SUN
Nov. 25: GOLDEN STATE, 7:30, SUN
Nov. 30: at New York, 7:30, SUN

DECEMBER
Dec. 1: at Washington, 7, SUN
Dec. 3: ATLANTA, 7:30, SUN
Dec. 5: at Milwaukee, 8:30, SUN
Dec. 7: at Memphis, 6, SUN
Dec. 9: at Phoenix, 9, SUN
Dec. 10: at Denver, 10:30 ESPN
Dec. 12: at Utah, 9, SUN
Dec. 14: CHICAGO, 6, SUN
Dec. 16: at Brooklyn, 7:30, SUN
Dec. 17: UTAH, 7:30, SUN
Dec. 19: WASHINGTON, 7:30 SUN
Dec. 21: BOSTON, 6, SUN
Dec. 23: PHILADELPHIA, 7:30 SUN
Dec. 25: CLEVELAND, 5, ABC
Dec. 27: MEMPHIS, 7:30 SUN
Dec. 29: ORLANDO, 7:30 SUN
Dec. 31: at Indiana, 3, SUN

JANUARY
Jan. 3: at Houston, 8, SUN
Jan. 4: BROOKLYN, 6, SUN
Jan. 8: at Portland, 10:30 TNT
Jan. 11: at L.A. Clippers, 3:30, SUN
Jan. 13: at L.A. Lakers, 10:30, SUN
Jan. 14: at Golden State, 10:30, SUN
Jan. 16: at Sacramento, 10, SUN
Jan. 20: OKLAHOMA CITY, 7:30, SUN
Jan. 21: at Charlotte, 7, SUN
Jan. 23: INDIANA, 7:30, SUN
Jan. 25: at Chicago, 1:00, ABC
Jan. 27: MILWAUKEE, 7:30, SUN
Jan. 30: DALLAS, 8, ESPN

FEBRUARY
Feb. 1: at Boston, 1, SUN
Feb. 3: at Detroit, 7:30, SUN
Feb. 4: at Minnesota, 8, SUN
Feb. 6: at San Antonio, 9:30, ESPN
Feb. 9: NEW YORK, 7:30, SUN
Feb. 11: at Cleveland, 8, ESPN
Feb. 20: at New York, 7:30, SUN
Feb. 21: NEW ORLEANS, 7:30, SUN
Feb. 23: PHILADELPHIA, 7:30, SUN
Feb. 25: at Orlando, 7, SUN
Feb. 27: at New Orleans, 8, ESPN
Feb. 28: ATLANTA, 7:30, SUN

MARCH
March 2: PHOENIX, 7:30, SUN
March 4: L.A. LAKERS, 8, ESPN
March 6: at Washington, 8, ESPN
March 7: SACRAMENTO, 7:30, SUN
March 9: BOSTON, 7:30, SUN
March 11: BROOKLYN, 7:30, SUN
March 13: at Toronto, 7:30, SUN
March 16: CLEVELAND, 8, ESPN
March 18: PORTLAND, 7:30, SUN
March 20: DENVER, 7:30, SUN
March 22: at Oklahoma City, 3, SUN
March 24: at Milwaukee, 8, SUN
March 25: at Boston, 7:30, SUN
March 27: at Atlanta, 7:30, SUN
March 29: DETROIT, 6, SUN
March 31: SAN ANTONIO, 8, TNT

APRIL
April 2: at Cleveland, 8, TNT
April 4: at Detroit, 7:30, SUN
April 5: at Indiana, 6, SUN
April 7: CHARLOTTE, 7:30, SUN
April 9: CHICAGO, 8, TNT
April 11: TORONTO, 7:30, SUN
April 13: ORLANDO, 7:30, SUN
April 15: at Philadelphia, 8, SUN

Individual tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Aug. 20 at heat.com or ticketmaster.com or 1-800-4NBA-TIX.

Fans can purchase tickets from Heat season ticket holders through www.nba.com/heat/tickets.

Partial season-ticket packages, covering between 10 and 20 games of the purchaser’s choice, are already on sale, with all games available for that package. Games are placed in four categories, with prices at $15, $30, $55 and $100.

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

As the Dolphins lurch through the monotony of training camp, you will not find many genuine battles for starting jobs. That’s limited mostly to defensive tackle, possibly right guard and perhaps running back.

But what you will find, as usual, is compelling competition toward the bottom of the roster, with uncertainty at virtually every position.

Assessing the races, heading into Saturday’s second preseason game at Tampa:

### Receiver: The Dolphins’ deepest position  presents difficult decisions. Rishard Matthews, who irked the Dolphins last season because of multiple issues (including tardiness), said he is now on the same page with coach Joe Philbin, and his work throughout camp has made him the favorite for the No. 5 receiver job barring a trade, behind Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and Jarvis Landry.

But Matthews still must hold off Armon Binns, who has fallen off after a strong start to camp, and Damian Williams, who has flashed throughout camp but didn’t have a catch in the preseason opener. The Dolphins could keep six, which is even more realistic if they retain only two quarterbacks.

Then there’s the issue of what to do with Marcus Thigpen, who’s listed as a receiver (he plays the slot) but also can play running back. Thigpen would be expendable if Landry wins the punt and kickoff return jobs. Landry made a case for that with a 48-yard punt return against Atlanta.

But the Dolphins like Thigpen’s elusiveness and versatility and this decision will not be easy unless Landry repeats Friday’s punt return magic over the next three weeks.

Incidentally, because of the drafting of Landry, some NFL people believe it’s not a certainty that Gibson ($2.7 million salary) will be on this team, and that he could be traded. Gibson has a $3.7 million cap hit if he’s on the roster, $2 million if he’s not. But he’s too good a player to cut for nominal cap savings.

### Quarterback: It would be risky to entrust the No. 2 job with Brady Quinn – considering his poor track record – but this could become a consideration if Matt Moore flounders badly in preseason and Quinn plays well.  Keeping both wouldn’t necessarily make sense, especially if the Dolphins want to sign Seth Lobato to the practice squad. None of Quinn $855,000 contract is guaranteed.

### Running back: The Dolphins like the speed and pass catching ability of Damien Williams, the undrafted Oklahoma running back, and he’s battling Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee for one or two jobs behind Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno.

Thomas has averaged 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7 yards per carry in his first three seasons and his performance in camp had been pedestrian before being sidelined by a hamstring injury for the past 10 days. Gillislee also remains sidelined by a hamstring.

The Dolphins overlooked Thomas’ uninspiring work in recent years because they liked his potential as well as the notion of having a big back. But Thomas, the Dolphins’ tallest and heaviest back at 6-1 and 235, doesn’t always play like one. Philbin likes Gillislee and his pass-blocking has been solid, but there remain too many carries for marginal gains.

### Tight end: The Dolphins figure to keep four, because they’re a vital part of Bill Lazor’s offense. Charles Clay and Dion Sims have secured spots, and rookie Arthur Lynch seems likely to stick.

Michael Egnew could make the team for a third consecutive year, but coaches want him to improve his route-running. Brett Brackett has shown more as a receiver than Egnew during his brief time with the team. Harold Hoskins’ chances have faded because of a hamstring injury, and Kyle Miller does little to stand out. If the Dolphins part with Egnew, they could look for a fourth tight end after final cuts.  

### Offensive line: Jason Fox, signed to be the Dolphins’ No. 3 tackle, has performed unevenly so far and finds himself in jeopardy. If the Dolphins part ways with Fox, they could try to fill a short-term injury to Branden Albert or Ja’Wuan James by moving Dallas Thomas from guard to tackle, or using Nate Garner there, though Garner’s work at left tackle has been dubious. Such a move would be risky.

If Mike Pouncey begins the season on the physically unable to perform list --- which is no sure thing because it would sideline him the first six games --- then he would not count against the 53-man roster. Under that scenario, if the Dolphins keep nine, that would include the current starters, plus Shelley Smith and Billy Turner and potentially Garner and either Fox, Sam Brenner, David Arkin or someone claimed off waivers in a couple of weeks. There might be a need to keep 10 if Pouncey isn’t placed on PUP.

### Defensive line: Dion Jordan will not count against the 53-man roster while he serves his four-game suspension, creating a spot for promising rookie Terrence Fede as the team’s fourth defensive end to open the season. A.J. Francis was a cinch for the fourth defensive tackle job, but that’s in question because of a knee injury that has sidelined him indefinitely.

If Francis isn’t healthy enough to start the season on the 53-man roster, then Miami figures to keep two from among promising prospect Anthony Johnson, Kemal Johnson, Garrison Smith and Isaako Aaitui or players who will be cut from other teams.

### Defensive backs: Like Jordan, Reshad Jones will not count against the 53-man roster during his four-game suspension. Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, Louis Delmas, Jimmy Wilson, Jamar Taylor and Will Davis will be on the team, and rookie Walt Aikens very likely will, too.

If the Dolphins keep nine defensive backs, that would leave two spots from among safeties Don Jones (recently dropped from second to third team), Michael Thomas and Jordan Kovacs and cornerback Jalil Brown, who was impressive during the offseason program and has shown flashes in camp when healthy.

### Linebacker: The three starters, rookie Jordan Tripp, versatile Jason Trusnik and Jelani Jenkins figure to stick. If Miami keeps seven, then incumbent Jonathan Freeny and undrafted California rookie Chris McCain would be in the mix, though a player also could be plucked off waivers.

### Kicker: The Dolphins have kept Danny Hrapmann around to protect themselves if Caleb Sturgis’ groin remains problematic.

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

Please check back for the Heat's schedule when it is released shortly after 6 p.m. Miami's first two games: home against Washington at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29 (Sun Sports) and Saturday, Nov. 1 at Philadelphia (Sun Sports).

08/12/2014

6 p.m. Tuesday: Local radio shakeup; ABC/ESPN/Simmons news; Dolphins, Canes, Heat

Please scroll down for Dolphins, UM and Heat chatter. First, an update on two broadcast developments today:

### WQAM-560 will announce a lineup shakeup shortly.

Orlando Alzugaray, a longtime host on the station before leaving in 2010, is returning Aug. 25 to host a show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. That slot has been filled in recent months by Alex Donno and Brandon Guzio.

Donno will switch to the 7 to 10 p.m. slot, replacing Kevin Rogers.

Rogers and Guzio were dropped by the station earlier today.

Donno also will replace Rogers as WQAM's host on Florida Panthers broadcasts.

The station declined to comment on the moves, which have not been announced.

Alzugaray left WQAM in 2010 to take an afternoon drive slot on WMEN-640, a job he has held for the past four years.

### Bill Simmons, a polarizing figure on the ABC/ESPN NBA studio show, is leaving the program to launch The Grantland Basketball Show, an 18-episode series that will air during the season on ESPN.

ABC and ESPN haven't decided who might replace Simmons on NBA Countdown or whether to replace Simmons at all. The network said the show's other hosts --- Sage Steele, Doug Collins and Jalen Rose --- are all expected back.

No studio show in network sports television has had more turnover in recent years than NBA Countdown, which has shuffled through numerous hosts and analysts, including Stuart Scott, Michael Wilbon, Magic Johnson, Jon Barry and Chris Broussard, among others. 

Simmons, perhaps America's most popular sportswriter, often dominated the conversation on Countdown last season, and too often Collins wasn't given enough time to speak.

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

Biggest surprise of Dolphins training camp so far?

Any conversation would probably begin with Dallas Thomas.

Despite the Dolphins’ deficiencies on their offensive line last year, Thomas was entrusted with just three offensive snaps all season.

But Thomas, to this point, has held off free agent acquisition Shelley Smith and rookie third-round pick Billy Turner for the starting job at right guard, though coach Joe Philbin cautioned it’s still an ongoing competition. (Smith has been spending his time recently at left guard, behind Daryn Colledge.)

“Really explosive, real athletic,” left tackle Branden Albert said of Thomas. “He’s got a lot of tools I don’t have. He’s going to be a hell of a player.”

Thomas, selected in the third round in 2013, said Tuesday “it hurt that I had my chance in training camp last year but blew it.”

That made him determined to add muscle and reduce his body fat this offseason, which he achieved by hiring a nutritionist and refining his diet.

“He has performed pretty well,” coach Joe Philbin said. “He got better; you could tell when you watched the tape last year that he was developing. Obviously, fans didn’t get to see that on Sundays.

“Then he had a very good offseason program. He was one of the guys that was here voluntarily in February and March, working with our strength and conditioning guys.”

The Dolphins believe Thomas can play tackle if needed, but for now, they’re having him focus on guard.

Thomas is comfortable playing alongside rookie first-round pick Ja’Wuan James, his former teammate and roommate at the University of Tennessee. Philbin said James played “pretty well his first game” but “I wasn’t crazy about his start.”

###  The Dolphins remain resistant to making Dion Jordan a linebacker, even though he’s likely not going to be on the field much on first down as long as he remains primarily a defensive end.

“There is only X amount of time that you have on the practice field and you have to decide how you want to spend his time,” Philbin said. “One of the things we’ve wanted him to practice on a continual basis is pass rush. So if we’re going to give him an opportunity to compete as a linebacker, you’re taking him out of that element… in his practice time.”

The view here: The Dolphins would be remiss if they don't give Jordan an extended look at linebacker at some point in the next year. Ideally, he would be a 3-4 outside linebacker, though the Dolphins are 4-3 team and the staff has shown no inclination to change that, which is understandable in the sense that the Dolphins have more quality depth on the line than at linebacker.

### Cornerback Will Davis continued his strong training camp by intercepting a poorly thrown pass from Brady Quinn on Tuesday. “I feel so much more technically sound,” Davis said.

Jamar Taylor, competing with Davis for playing time, was beaten by Rishard Matthews for a touchdown, on a Ryan Tannehill pass, on the final play of practice. But Taylor also had a sack on a blitz.

### Rookie receiver Jarvis Landry got some first-team snaps instead of Brandon Gibson on Tuesday.

### Sidelined for the Dolphins on Tuesday: running backs Daniel Thomas (who has begun running) and Mike Gillislee (both with hamstring injuries), offensive tackle Jason Fox (chest), defensive tackle A.J. Francis (knee), tight ends Charles Clay (knee) and Harold Hoskins (hamstring) and defensive end Micajah Reynolds (knee).

### We're taking a one-day break on Dolphins and UM quarterback talk after posting a lot on the subject in recent days, but Adam Beasley has a story on Brady Quinn's first day as a Dolphin on the home page, and Susan Miller Degnan has more on the UM quarterback situation in her story, also to be posted on the home page.   

### As many as nine starting jobs on UM’s defense remain up in the air, and nose tackle has emerged as a four-way battle with Earl Moore (wore a starter’s jersey until Monday when Calvin Heurtelou replaced him), Heurtelou, Courtel Jenkins and Michael Wyche (still trying to lose weight).

Heurtelou was somewhat of a disappointment when he arrived in the spring, but Al Golden said Monday that he “changed his body dramatically, got himself in great condition the past five months.” And Golden said Jenkins “is having a great camp.”

### Expect Duke Johnson to catch more passes this season, Golden said. “Every time he touches the ball, he’s trying to go 20 to 30 yards.”

### UM’s defensive backfield is so deep that barring injury, it’s difficult to envision a defensive role for Ray Lewis III.

UM, at least for now, decided against moving Lewis back to running back, where he played in high school.

Lewis, who was suspended for UM’s bowl game, admitted to reporters on Monday (including Susan Miller Degnan): “I feel like I wasn't mature enough to handle some of the things that were thrown at me when I came to Miami. You don't got mommy with you anymore.  Everything's on you, everything's on how much you mature, on whatever your parents instilled in you over time. They definitely did teach me right, and I feel like I kind of got sidetracked when I first got here.”

### The Heat officially announced the signing of guard Reggie Williams to a non-guaranteed contract… The NBA’s tentative schedule circulated to teams and networks the past two weeks had Miami’s opener against Washington being aired on TNT on Thursday, Oct. 30. But the NBA has made a last-minute change, opting to air LeBron James' first regular season game back with Cleveland, instead of a Heat game, that night. The Wizards-at-Heat game has been moved to Wednesday, Oct. 29.

According to a league source, the Heat’s first TNT game is Nov. 20 at home against the Clippers. The schedule will be released at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

08/11/2014

10 p.m. update: Dolphins make three moves at QB (including Quinn): 20 notes from Dolphins camp Monday; Heat

Dolphins tidbits on a Monday afternoon and evening (updated tonight with Pat Devlin news):

### Brady Quinn will finally be joining the Dolphins, seven years after Dolfans were clamoring for the team to draft him.

According to two sources with direct knowledge, the Dolphins reached an agreement with the former Notre Dame quarterback late Monday afternoon, several hours after auditioning him.

To make room on the roster, the Dolphins informed quarterback Pat Devlin that they plan to release him, ending his three year association with the team.

The Dolphins opted to sign Quinn instead of Rex Grossman and John Skelton, who also worked out for team officials. Josh Freeman, Tim Tebow and Seneca Wallace were among other free agent quarterbacks that Miami passed on.

Devlin's release leaves Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, Quinn and rookie Seth Lobato as the only quarterbacks on the roster. 

Whether Quinn challenges Moore for the No. 2 job remains to be seen. Coach Joe Philbin declined to answer directly earlier Monday when asked if Moore will be Ryan Tannehill's backup quarterback this season.

“We’re not really at that stage,” Philbin said. “We’re still in a competitive mode.”

Quinn has played in 24 games and started 20 in seven NFL seasons. He was cut by the Seahawks in training camp last August, joined the Jets but was released in October, and then finished the 2013 season with the Rams as the backup to fill-in starter Kellen Clemons.

Quinn set 30 records at Notre Dame and was named Cingular All-America Player of the Year in 2006, but his pro career has never met expectations.

As an NFL player, Quinn has thrown 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, with a subpar 64.4 rating. By comparison, Moore had 33 touchdowns, 28 interceptions and a 79.3 rating.

Quinn has thrown just 197 passes over the past four seasons --- all for Kansas City in 2012, when he had two touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Quinn, 29, signed with Fox earlier this month as a college and NFL analyst but told the network that playing this season remained his preference.

Before the 2007 draft, many Dolphins fans hoped the team would select Quinn with the ninth overall pick and reacted disdainfully when they chose receiver Ted Ginn Jr. instead.

Cleveland drafted Quinn 22nd that year.

Moore has been bothered by a sore shoulder and did not play in Friday’s exhibition opener. He worked during Monday’s practice and Philbin said he “threw the ball well.” Moore does not believe his shoulder soreness is anything serious.

Moore would make $4 million, with a cap number of $5.5 million, if he’s on the team this season, the second year of a two-year deal. But his cap hit would be only $1.5 million if he’s not on the team.

Moore has played three seasons for the Dolphins and performed capably in 2011, when he filled in for Chad Henne for 13 games, throwing for 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions, with an 87.1 rating.

But Moore has appeared in only three games and thrown 25 passes in Philbin’s two seasons. He threw two interceptions in six passes in his only appearance last season, when he replaced Tannehill against Buffalo.

Devlin received no work in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills on Monday; he said he was unsure why. Hours later, he was released.

Devlin spent most of his first season (2011) on the Dolphins’ practice squad and the past two on the 53-man roster.

“I like him,” Philbin said before his release, which was not announced. “He’s definitely developed. He plays the game fast. He’s decisive when he’s back there. But he has to be out there on a more consistent basis to get a good, thorough evaluation.”

The Dolphins are intrigued by Lobato, but Miami scored only three points during the 10 possessions when he ran the offense against Atlanta. If the Dolphins want to keep him, he could end up on the practice squad.

There was one fewer quarterback on the roster Monday after Miami released undrafted North Dakota State rookie Brock Jensen.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins feel good about Tannehill, who went 6 for 6 and threw a touchdown on the only drive he led against Atlanta.

Lazor adjusted Tannehill’s footwork, and Tannehill said that has paid dividends.

“It’s helped me get the ball out faster, have more velocity on some of my throws, and just be more consistent,” Tannehill said Monday. “Some of the incompletions I’ve had in the past are due to inconsistent footwork. That was his big key coming in to say: ‘Hey, we’re going to get your feet right and then everything else will take care of itself.’”

Tannehill threw a 30-yard completion to Mike Wallace on Monday and said he believes he and Wallace “are more on the same page now than we ever have been. Not only on deep balls, but [overall]. No matter what the play is, we’re able to talk about things, be open with each other and be more on the same page.”

### On Monday, the Dolphins gave Jimmy Wilson first-team snaps, alongside Louis Delmas, as they prepare to play without safety Reshad Jones for the first four games of the season.

Jones can practice and play in preseason games but will miss the first four games of the regular season after testing positive for an undisclosed performance enhancing substance.

Wilson is expected to move over from nickel cornerback and fill in for Jones at safety. Meanwhile, Jamar Taylor, Michael Thomas and Will Davis all have received work at nickel cornerback over the past two days.

Another option would be moving Cortland Finnegan to the slot in nickel packages and playing Taylor or Will Davis on the outside, opposite Brent Grimes.

Thomas and rookie Walt Aikens, who has impressed the staff, have been taking snaps as the second team safeties.

### Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle believes Wilson is well-equipped to fill in for Jones.

“Jimmy has grown tremendously in the three years that we’ve been together,” Coyle said. “He’s probably one of the best communicators on the team. He has been able to direct the players on the field very, very well, as good as anybody we’ve had back there.

“When he’s been in big situations he’s come up big for us. We kind of nicknamed him ‘Red zone Jimmy’ because, down in the red area of the field, if you go back over the last couple of years, he’s constantly making plays that have impacted games.”

### As for the nickel job, Coyle said that decision largely would be based on performance in games. “We’re going to try to make sure that early in these games we get a lot of looks at some different combinations,” said Coyle, who noted that Finnegan has been “an outstanding nickel throughout his career.”

### After missing a bunch of tackles on Atlanta’s opening touchdown drive Friday, and Dolphins have spent considerable time working on their tackling the past two days, including a drill Monday in which linebackers tried to corral running backs and tight ends when they lined up 10 yards apart.

 “This week is still a very, very important fundamental training camp week,” Coyle said. “Hopefully… [the tackling] will improve dramatically.”

 ### Coyle said even though the plan is to stick with Koa Misi at middle linebacker, “we are working different combinations in the event that we don’t feel comfortable with it.”

### Coyle said linebacker Philip Wheeler “at times can be his own worst enemy when he plays out of control. He gives such great effort, but he, at times, overreacts to things. We’ve just got to slow him down, let the game slow down for him some and I think he’s going to be fine. He was a little anxious in the opening game.”

### The Dolphins failed to register a sack in the opener, and Coyle said: “I think we can get more out of [Dion Jordan] in the pass rush.”

###  Left tackle Jason Fox (chest), running back Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and long shot defensive tackle Micajah Reynolds (knee) will be out indefinitely, though Fox’s injury isn’t thought to be serious.

Running Daniel Thomas (hamstring) remained sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained a week ago, and tight end Charles Clay was wearing a knee brace on Monday and also remains out indefinitely.

Defensive tackle A.J. Francis (knee) and tight end Harold Hoskins (hamstring) also remain out, and linebacker Chris McCain was limited with a leg injury.

But running back Damien Williams returned to practice, three days after being carted off with a leg injury Friday in Atlanta.

### Because of injuries at running back, the Dolphins signed former Arizona State tailback Cameron Marshall, who had been released by the Dolphins twice in the past year, and cut quarterback Brock Jensen.

### Running back Knowshon Moreno participated in 11 on 11 drills for the first time since returning from June knee surgery and seemed to have good burst. “He looked better today,” Philbin said. “He’s definitely making progress.”

Moreno said he still has to “get into that football shape” and wasn’t sure when he would play in a preseason game.

### Receiver Brandon Gibson, returning from last October’s knee injury, is starting to “remind us more of the player we saw on film last year,” Philbin said.

### Philbin said tight end Dion Sims “is looking more like an NFL player.” He caught a TD pass from Tannehill today.

### Coyle said he likes the potential of defensive end Terrence Fede. "He's got good awareness," Coyle said. "He's got a chance to help us."

HEAT ITEM

A tentative copy of the NBA schedule, which is circulating around the league, has the Heat opening the regular season at home against Washington on Thursday night, Oct. 30. That schedule has the Heat playing its second game of the season at Philadelphia two nights later.


As we previously reported, the Heat also is scheduled to play host to Cleveland on Christmas Day, with ABC and the NBA prefering at 5 p.m. start. Miami is slated to make its first trip to Cleveland in mid-February, just before the All-Star break.


The league theoretically can change anything in the tentative schedule before its release at 6 p.m. Wednesday and that does happen occasionally.

 

 

08/10/2014

2 p.m. Monday: Dolphins narrow QB choices; Heat schedule update

2 p.m. update: After working out Rex Grossman, Brady Quinn and John Skelton today, the Dolphins still have interest in Quinn but are not expected to sign Grossman or Skelton. They also are considering looking at other available quarterbacks, with Josh Freeman, Kevin Kolb and Seneca Wallace among those still unsigned. Standing pat is also an option.

By the way, the NFL says that Pat Devlin, who has been on the Dolphins' 53-man roster the past two seasons, still has practice-squad eligibility remaining.

9:30 a.m. update: We're hearing that besides Rex Grossman, the Dolphins are also considering Brady Quinn and John Skelton and they also are expected to be part of today's workouts.

11 a.m. update: Quinn, Skelton and Grossman just emerged from their Dolphins auditions, inside the team's bubble. Joe Philbin declined to answer directly when I asked him if Matt Moore will be the team's backup quarterback this season. Ryan Tannehill and Moore did all the work in 11 on 11 drills today, with Pat Devlin (back from a hamstring injury) excluded from those drills.

Quinn has played in 24 games and started 20 in seven NFL seasons. He split time between the Rams and Jets last season but did not attempt a pass. In his career, he has thrown 12 TDs and 17 INTs and had a 64.4 rating.

As for Skelton, he has appeared in 20 games and started 17, all with Arizona, between 2010 and 2012. His career numbers: 15 touchdowns, 25 picks and 63 rating. He split last season between Tennessee and San Francisco but did not attempt a pass.

Please scroll down below for information on Grossman, the other quarterback who worked out for Miami today, and more on the team's QB situation.

11:30 a.m. update: A tentative copy of the NBA schedule, which is circulating around the league, has the Heat opening the regular season at home against Washington on TNT on Thursday night, Oct. 30. That schedule has the Heat playing its second game of the season at Philadelphia two nights later.

As we previously reported, the Heat also is scheduled to play host to Cleveland on Christmas Day. Miami is slated to make its first trip to Cleveland in mid-February, just before the All-Star break.

The league theoretically can change anything in the tentative schedule before its release at 6 p.m. Wednesday and that does happen occasionally.

 

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

SUNDAY NIGHT UPDATE

Matt Moore and Pat Devlin returned to practice on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean the Dolphins are completely comfortable with their quarterback situation behind Ryan Tannehill.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus said on his WSVN-Fox segment Sunday night that the Dolphins will work out quarterbacks on Monday, and his client, veteran Rex Grossman, will be among those auditioning.

Grossman, 33, played for the Redskins the past four years but did not throw a pass in either of the past two regular seasons. He last appeared in a regular season game in 2011, when he threw 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions and posted a 72.4 rating.

His overall career numbers: 56 touchdowns, 60 picks and a 71.4 rating. He spent his first six seasons with Chicago, then one with Houston, before moving on to Washington.

Though he was Chicago's quarterback in the February 2007 Super Bowl, Grossman has had a generally disappointing career considering he was drafted 22nd overall by the Bears, out of Florida, in 2003, and was once the Associated Press College Player of the Year.

Moore has been bothered by a sore shoulder throughout training camp and did not play in Friday’s exhibition opener. He worked during Sunday's practice, but the team did not conduct any 11 on 11 drills.

Moore does not believe his shoulder soreness is anything serious and does not believe it puts him at any risk of missing regular season games if he's needed. Still, the situation is somewhat troubling.

Devlin was sidelined with a hamstring injury for a week before returning for Sunday’s light practice. Though Joe Philbin has been a big supporter of Devlin the past two years, his roster spot is now very much at risk.

The Dolphins like undrafted Northern Colorado rookie Seth Lobato, but his best hope of sticking might be as a member of the practice squad.

Moore would make $4 million, with a cap number of $5.5 million, if he’s on the team this season. But his cap hit would be only $1.5 million if he’s not on the team.

Devlin’s salary and cap number would be $510,000 if he’s on the team, zero if he’s not.

Incidentally, the Dolphins released fifth-string quarterback Brock Jensen tonight.

Among other unsigned veteran quarterbacks still available besides Grossman: Kyle Orton, Josh Freeman, Kevin Kolb, Chris Redman, Seneca Wallace and Brady Quinn (who signed as an announcer with Fox but hasn't ruled out playing). Of course, Tim Tebow is also available, but there's no indication that any team in the league has any interest whatsoever in him as a quarterback. He's now a studio analyst for the new SEC Network, which launches this month.

08/08/2014

5 p.m. Saturday UM report; Postscripts from Dolphins' preseason opener; Pat Riley delivers firm message

A 5 p.m. Saturday UM update:

### I spoke to a bunch of Hurricanes recruits at today's annual high school football media day at Sun Life Stadium. We'll share their comments in the coming weeks, but here are a few news items:

As many of you know, UM has oral commitments from two four-star running backs name Jordan: St. Thomas Aquinas' Jordan Scarlett (rated 13th among all backs by rivals.com) and Westminster Christian's Jordan Cronkrite (ranked 20th).

Scarlett said today that he is definitely going to UM. But Cronkrite said that while he most likely will go to UM, he isn't sure and also is considering West Virginia, South Carolina, UF and Ohio State....

Westminster Christian four-star safety Tim Irvin said he's considering UM, UF, FSU, Clemson and Alabama and he has no favorite...

Plantation American Heritage quarterback Torrance Gibson said Ohio State is his front-runner but he's still considering UM, Tennessee, Auburn, UCF and Arizona. He wants to play quarterback and Miami has offered him as a quarterback, which is why the Canes are still in the mix. Gibson is rated the fourth-best "athlete" by rivals.com....

Gibson's teammate, five-star cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, disputed reports that FSU is his leader and is considering Georgia, LSU, FSU, Ohio State and UCF....

Five-star Coconut Creek Monarch stars Shawn Burgess Becker and Calvin Ridley reiterated that they are firmly committed to Alabama. But Becker wouldn't rule out Miami. He said both of them are determined to go to the same school...

St. Thomas Aquinas four-star receiver Devante Peete said he's strongly considering UM, FSU, Ohio State and Louisville and they're all equal in his mind....

Aquinas four-star cornerback Rashard Causey Jr. remains an FAU commit but said that's "iffy" and UM has a good chance of landing him....

Booker T. Washington running back Mark Walton, a highly-regarded UM oral commitment, said he will know soon whether he will graduate in June 2015 or June 2016. He said it's 50/50.

### No surprise here: Jake Heaps and Brad Kaaya are leading the UM quarterback battle. Heaps remains the front-runner because of experience, but Kaaya is at least giving UM something to think about.

On Saturday, Heaps threw an 80-yard touchdown to Malcolm Lewis, and Kaaya threw a 10-yard TD to Walter Tucker.

"A guy like Jake, he's very game polished," offensive coordinator James Coley said. "He comes in with a lot of experience. He's very fundamentally sound. He's a little older than the other guys. He's been fairly accurate, making great checks on the line of scrimmage. I've been very pleased with him.

"Brad Kaaya, I have no idea if he's a freshman or not --- he acts like he's a senior. Just very sharp. We threw the playbook at these guys and they've responded. ... Brad's been accurate. Throwing the ball really well. As the week's gone on both of those guys have got into a groove and got into a little zone right now. Those guys are competing extremely hard against each other."

Coley said Malik Rosier "has used his athleticism and he just has to get going with the other stuff that the other guys are ahead of him with right now --- just grasping everything with regard to the offense. ... Kevin Olsen has been consistent. He's getting better."

Al Golden said the quarterback competition would be cut to two after Wednesday's scrimmage.

### Golden, on tight end Clive Walford: "Clive's working harder right now than he ever has. He's finishing his routes, he's more detail-oriented. He's paying attention to the little things now and that comes with maturity, of course. It's a talented position, and it was made more talented by Chris Herndon's arrival."

### Receiver Darrell Langham, the final piece to arrive from UM's 2014 recruiting class, practiced for the first time Saturday.

### Golden said defensive end Demetrius Jackson has been a pleasant surprise; Jackson and fellow freshman d-end Chad Thomas had sacks on Saturday.

### Golden, on Anthony Chickillo: "The kid made a commitment back in February and really hasn't been the same guy. Just got his spirit back, got his focus back. We asked him to do a lot in his career, too much before he was ready to do it, and now he has an opportunity. His body is caught up with his experience and technique. His leadership has been phenomenal."

 DOLPHINS TALK

Notes, quotes and thoughts from the Dolphins’ 16-10 loss at Atlanta in their preseason opener:

Well, there were five inspiring minutes. The rest? Not so much.

The good news:

### Ryan Tannehill was terrific on the 10-play, 73-yard opening drive, completing 6 of 6 passes for 61 yards, including an 8-yard TD to Brandon Gibson and a 36-yard pass to Rishard Matthews. His line gave him ample time. Bill Lazor used a mix of formations and was creative in his play-calling, including an 8-yard pass to Gibson off a read option earlier in that possession.

And Miami did it all without Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Charles Clay and of course, Knowshon Moreno and Mike Pouncey.

### No kidding: The Dolphins began preseason with a TD on their first drive for the first time since 1988. Lorenzo Hampton scored that one.

### Also encouraging: The Dolphins’ run defense was generally stout, allowing 2.6 yards per carry on 32 attempts.

### Will Davis capably defended at least four passes.

### The return game was promising. Jarvis Landry broke two tackles on a 48-yard punt return and Marcus Thigpen had a 28-yard punt return. The return job looms as one of the most interesting in camp. Having Landry handle all returns saves a roster spot, but the staff also likes Thigpen.

### The offensive line allowed only one sack, when Billy Turner was victimized in the fourth quarter.

### Several players competing for roster spots made impressive plays, including tackles for loss from Anthony Johnson and Garrison Smith.... Tight end Brett Brackett was reliable as a receiver… Terence Fede made a tackle for a loss and Jordan Tripp was active and seems to have a nose for the ball (cliche alert!).

Here’s what’s discouraging:

### The Dolphins were outgained 372-229 and allowed the Falcons to march down the field for a touchdown on their first possession, with Matt Ryan finishing 7 for 8 for 53 yards on the 15 play, 77-yard drive that chewed up 9:16 of the clock.

### The Dolphins still can’t run the ball, certainly not with any consistency. Miami finished with 52 yards on 21 carries, equaling 2.5 per carry. Lamar Miller ran four times for 11 yards, Mike Gillislee 8 for 30,  Orleans Darkwa 2 for 9, and Damian Williams 6 times for just 2 yards.

### Williams, the undrafted Oklahoma running back who the Dolphins really like, had to be carted off with a foot injury late in the game. He was in a walking boot after the game.

### The Dolphins still do Dolphins-like things at inopportune times. With the Dolphins at the Falcons’ five yard line and just under three minutes left, Seth Lobato couldn’t handle Kyle Larsen’s snap, and the Falcons recovered.

“There are some things that have happened in practice that reared their ugly head at a bad time in the game,” Joe Philbin said. “When we had the ball at the 5, I would have bet my ranch we would win the game. Balls are on the ground too much in practice and on the ground again today at a bad time.”

### Lobato (14 for 28, 128 yards) quarterbacked the Dolphins for their final 10 drives but the Dolphins scored just three points during that time, and he committed the key late fumble. But he didn’t throw any interceptions and if Pat Devlin fails to impress when he returns from a hamstring injury, the Dolphins could keep just two quarterbacks (Tannehill and Matt Moore) and place Lobato or someone else on the practice squad.

Moore sat out to rest a sore shoulder and Brock Jensen didn’t play.

### Jason Fox, battling for a roster spot as a backup tackle, was beaten on a running play that resulted in a five-yard loss for Damien Williams.

### The defensive line failed to get any consistent pass rush. The Dolphins had no sacks. Miami’s only sack – on a blitz by linebacker Koa Misi – was negated by a holding penalty against Jimmy Wilson.

### As usual with this team, the linebacker play was spotty. Misi, adjusting to middle linebacker, was faked out on one play, leaving him shaking his head. Undrafted rookie Chris McCain, impressive early, missed a tackle and made a costly mistake in pass coverage on a pick, leading to a long gain. Philip Wheeler did nothing to disrupt the Falcons’ opening drive. Jelani Jenkins was beaten on a third-down catch.

### The Dolphins allowed the Falcons to convert 8 of 17 third downs. Lowlights included Jamar Taylor permitting a 15-yard completion to Courtney Roby on 3rd and 10 late in the first half, and Davis allowed a 12-yard pass on third and long.

### The worst news of the day: Reshad Jones was suspended four games for taking a performance enhancing substance.

“The NFL has stiff policies,” Philbin said. “If you don’t adhere to the policies, you have to pay the consequences. We’ve addressed it multiple times a year, that everyone is responsible for what they put in their bodies.”

Wilson, who figures to take over for Jones for the first four games of the season, wasn’t at his best. Michael Thomas, the star of last December’s Patriots win, also struggled. Don Jones limped off late. And rookie Walt Aikens, moving from cornerback to safety, allowed a 35-yard pass completion.

A few other random notes:

### Jared Odrick started at defensive end in place of Olivier Vernon, whose back locked up on him on Monday. Vernon had practiced on Wednesday.

### The Dolphins played without four tight ends: Clay, Arthur Lynch, Michael Egnew and Gator Hoskins.

### The Dolphins opened with Dallas Thomas at right guard and Samson Satele at center. Those two and starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James played the entire first half.

### With Daniel Thomas sidelined, Gillislee played the second series at running back and Williams the third.

### Oddest moment of the broadcast: Analyst Bob Griese not knowing Dennis Hickey's job title. Oy!

### Six players caught more than a single pass: Brackett (3 for 51), Matthews (2 for 40), Kevin Cone (for 19), the running back Williams (3 for 18), Brandon Gibson (2 for 14) and Miller (2 for 8).

### Caleb Sturgis sat out to rest a groin injury. Danny Hrapmann (with the always popular silent H) kicked a 42-yard field goal.

### Shelley Smith played backup left guard. This makes you shake your head: The Dolphins thought so much of Smith that he was the second offensive lineman they added in free agency in March, after Branden Albert. The Dolphins never made an offer to Daryn Colledge until June 30. And yet Colledge is starting and Smith isn’t.

Please see the last post for Pat Riley's Friday message and other Heat stuff.