Heat schedule tidbits; Insight on the Dolphins' veteran pickups; Dolphins, UM, Marlins personnel notes
The Heat schedule will be announced at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, but here are some tidbits we've learned:
As we reported last week, the Heat will host New Orleans at noon on Christmas Day.
Miami opens at home on Oct. 28 against Charlotte (a Wednesday) and then plays at Cleveland Oct. 30 (a Friday) on ESPN. That's Miami's only visit to Cleveland.
The Heat hosts the Cavaliers on Dec. 5 and March 19.
Also, Miami will play host to the Clippers on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 7) at 2 p.m.
Check back later for more.
WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
Dolphins fans finally get a look at the team’s new veteran players in a game on Thursday. So what should everyone expect? As we do every summer, we solicited views from their former teams’ radio analysts, who usually have good perspective:
### Lions analyst Jim Brandstatter on Ndamukong Suh, who has blown up plays all training camp: The memory that stands out “for me is against Dallas last season. In the first series or two, he blew up their entire game plan because the Cowboys wanted to block him one-on-one. DeMarco Murray couldn’t run, Tony Romo couldn't pass. Ndamukong was in tears after the game because the Lions lost.
“He is as good as advertised, as good an interior defensive lineman as any I've watched [in 28 years calling Lions games]. If you try to block him one-on-one, you're in big trouble. When he gets [double-teamed], he makes other people better.
“His run stopping is close to his pass rushing ability. He limits the amount of space up front that you can run, and you may have to run away from him all day. And when a defense dictates to the offense, the defense wins. He’s a different kind of guy, marches to his own drummer to some degree.”
### Browns analyst Doug Dieken on tight end Jordan Cameron, who has had several TD catches in camp: “The concussions were a concern here; that’s always a red flag. The last one he had last season took quite a while to come back from. But if he can stay healthy, he can be a difference changer with his ability to go down the middle of the field and athletic ability to win jump balls. He won’t knock your socks off as a blocker. But he’s very good at running routes. And he hasn’t even reached his ceiling yet.”
### Vikings radio commentator Greg Coleman, on Greg Jennings, who has found ways to get open on intermediate routes throughout camp: “Did he get separation last year? Absolutely. Does he still have some stuff left in the tank? Absolutely.
“When Greg had separation on deep routes, Teddy Bridgewater missed some throws. Greg’s not a burner --- his burning days are over --- but you are not going to be able to sleep on him. He will fake and do a double move and get by you. He's smarter than fast at this point.”
Coleman raised comparisons to Cris Carter during “his later years; he was not fast but he was smart and knew how to get to open.”
### Saints radio analyst Hokie Gajan, on receiver Kenny Stills, who has missed most of camp with a calf injury:
“He does everything well but doesn’t particularly excel at anything. He’s good at intermediate routes; that’s probably his forte. He’s not a precise route runner, not a big, physical receiver. But he’s sneaky fast. He doesn’t have tremendous hands but he doesn’t drop many balls, either.
“If you lined him up for a race [against NFL speedsters], he wouldn’t win, but he has a knack to get behind defenses. I don’t know that he lulls people to sleep but he can slip in behind defensive backs. For a fifth-round pick, he was quite a surprise.
“He’s easily a third receiver for most teams. In the Saints’ case, he had to be a No. 2. I saw some shenanigans on the field I could do without; he did a little thing with Lance Moore in the end zone that cost the Saints a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct. But I was disappointed to see him go. He’s a quality receiver.”
### Steelers analyst Tunch Ilkin on cornerback Brice McCain: “I was a huge fan of his since Day One. Love how he battles when the ball is in the air. Really good transitioning from man to other defenses.”
Though he excels in the slot, Ilkin said “I’ve seen him play on the boundary and he can do it.” In fact, he has a chance to win that job against slight front-runner Jamar Taylor. If he doesn’t, he’ll be the No. 1 slot corner.
### Brandstatter on defensive tackle CJ Mosley, who has gotten some work with the second team and some with the third: "Pretty decent player. Not a starter in the league. Good rotation guy. Maybe can give you 10-12 snaps a game at this point."
### Giants analyst Howard Cross, on cornerback Zack Bowman, who is on the bubble to stick here: “He was very good on the ball. When in position to make a play, he can. The problem is, you may be able to get behind him. He doesn’t have the burner speed you need at cornerback.”…
Cross on linebacker Spencer Paysinger, who has been mostly second-team throughout camp: “He was called on to start because of injuries, and he was serviceable. The problem with Spencer is he gets banged up around the lower legs a lot and that causes him to miss time. That was his main shortcoming. He’s predominantly a special teams player and does a decent job in [some] defensive packages. You have to take him for what he is.”
### Rishard Matthews, who backed off his trade request in the spring -- which Miami wasn’t going to grant anyway -- said Tuesday that his thinking at the time was that he "just wanted a fair competition.” And you can't blame him for that.
Matthews has been very good in camp and it will interesting to see if Miami creates much regular-season playing time for him if he outplays any of the team’s top four receivers, including injured DeVante Parker. Parker on Tuesday was non-committal about being ready for the opener.
"It’s very important [for me to play this season],” Matthews said Tuesday. “It’s my contract year. It’s important for me to contribute a lot this year, whether it’s special teams or wherever… [contribute] all over the field.”
Ryan Tannehill loves Matthews: "He attacks the ball and that's what you want to see from a receiver. He's turning heads every day."
### Running back LaMichael James, who has impressed throughout training camp, reiterated to me this week what he told The Finsiders' Greg Likens: He wants to be called LaMike James. He said that's what people who know him call him.
### Not only has UM implemented several offensive elements from the Dallas Cowboys, but the relationship is such that they call the Cowboys when questions arise.
What’s more, UM offensive players have been intently studying tape of their Cowboys counterparts --- slot receiver Cole Beasley is Braxton Berrios’ case, for example…. Like the Dolphins’ Jarvis Landry, Berrios has gotten faster. “It’s crazy how fast he’s running,” offensive coordinator James Coley said.
### With UM having only three experienced corners, coaches spoke over the summer of having Deon Bush move over from safety. That was tabled. “I don’t anticipate Deon having to play cornerback; only in an emergency situation,” defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said.
### Al Golden cited Tyree St. Louis and Tyler Gauthier as freshmen offensive linemen who are making an impression.
### Big get for UM basketball with its oral commitment from 7-0 Virginia-based center Rodney Miller, a skilled rebounder who’s rated by Rivals as the 93rd best player in the 2016 class. He was limited last season by a knee issue, but he’s past that.
“Rodney is a true center who can score inside with both hands,” his high school coach, Oak Hill's Steve Smith, told SNY.com. “He is a real presence in the lane area on both ends of the floor and a great rebounder.”
UM coach Jim Larranaga beat out ex-UM coach Frank Haith (Tulsa), Danny Manning (Wake Forest) and new UF basketball coach Michael White, among others.
### The Marlins say Justin Bour isn’t their only internal first-base option next season. “Derek Dietrich has made strides to show us he’s in contention to be that everyday first baseman,” manager Dan Jennings said.
Dietrich entered Tuesday hitting .261 with seven homers and 10 RBI in 115 at-bats. Bour was at .246 with 10 homers and 32 RBI.
### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz