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.

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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.

 

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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.

Friday 5 p.m.: On day of LeBron rally in Akron, Riley and Heat go on PR campaign

On the day LeBron James attended a “Welcome Home, LeBron” rally in Akron, his first public event in Ohio since returning to the Cavaliers, the Heat showered fans with optimism, including the release of a Pat Riley video and the tweeting of a old photo showing Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem holding the Larry O’Brien trophy.

In a three minute, ten second video released on the Heat's Twitter account and web site, Riley said: “I’m really excited about the team we’ve put together. I am not going to make any guarantees. But I will guarantee you this: You will see one of the most competitive, one of most entertaining teams you’ve seen in a long time.

“I am as excited as I've ever been to let you know we are a contender. You cannot ever look at the Miami Heat and not think of us as being a contender. I’ve always been someone who believes in the big picture.... We have an owner who thinks big. We are not going to be satisfied with anything that doesn’t come close to winning a championship. That’s what we’re about.”

Riley acknowledged James in the video, saying: “We had a player here who we will never forget, LeBron James. He for four years, along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, created an incredible frenzy in the city of Miami…. While we enjoyed those four years, we can also expect there might be another four or five more of those years in front of us, also. That’s what I’m looking forward to.

“With Chris Bosh at center or power forward and Chris Andersen… and the addition of Luol Deng and Josh McRobert and Danny Granger. New additions we feel are going to help us…. With Dwyane Wade, our franchise player for the past 12 years,… at the two guard, Mario Chalmers, a player we feel very confident about, back at starting point guard. Along with… the backbone of team, Udonis Haslem, we’re ready to move on into the future….

“I’ve been one for 19 years proud to say this is my home. I’m going on my 20th year. One message I want to communicate to you, as Micky Arison has stated in his letter,… is we have something very unique and very special for you in the future.

“We’ve had a great four years. It was an historic run. It was a fun run. Two championships, four finals, a lot of great highlights, a lot of great moments, a lot of great feelings. I want to let you know there is a lot more of that ahead of us.”

A Heat spokesperson said the Riley video was the first of several Heat videos that will be released this summer but said he did not know whether it was designed to coincidence with James’ event at the University of Akron, which was being held as part of his annual Wheelers for Education family event. Nearly 30,000 were expected to attend the event tonight.

The Heat said that its aggressive public relations approach should not be taken as any indication that ticket sales have fallen off. The Heat said that is not the case and that the deadline to renew Heat season tickets came before James left in free agency and the renewal rate was very high. Individual tickets are not on sale yet. The regular season schedule will be released next Wednesday at 6 p.m.

### If the Heat wants to add a veteran shooting guard to back up Dwyane Wade, free agent options are now extremely limited.

Jordan Crawford, Shannon Brown, Leandro Barbosa, Toney Douglas and swingmen Chris Douglas-Roberts and Jordan Hamilton are perhaps the only ones available who would have a chance to crack the Heat’s rotation. Most are hoping for more than the minimum deals Miami can offer. (Same with free agent small forward Shawn Marion, who reportedly is considering Cleveland and Indiana.)

Though a late-September addition from that group (or another player) remains quite possible, the Heat could end up playing Danny Granger and starting point guard Mario Chalmers at backup shooting guard.

Please check back later for Heat-Falcons chatter... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

08/07/2014

6 p.m.: Heat signings; Reax to ESPN benching Le Batard; Hardaway leaves; UM, Dolphins, Heat notes

The Dan Le Batard news of the day, plus much more is below. First, a 6 p.m. Heat update:

The Heat agreed to a one-year deal at the minimum with veteran journeyman forward Reggie Williams, who has played in 180 NBA games, with 32 starts, over five seasons.

But Williams played just three NBA games last season (on a 10-day contract for Oklahoma City) and spent time playing in the NBA's Development League and most recently in the Philippines.

Williams, 6-6, has averaged 8.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in his career, shooting 46 percent from the field and 37.1 percent on three-pointers (191 for 515). He spent his first two seasons with Golden State and his next two with Charlotte before spending most of last season out of the NBA, aside from the brief stint with the Thunder.

He averaged 15.2 points in 24 games as a rookie for Golden State, but his playing time and scoring average have plunged since, and he averaged just 3.7 points over his past 43 NBA games, spanning two seasons.

At Virginia Military, he twice led the NCAA in scoring.

Also, the Heat reportedly has extended a training camp invitation to undrafted Middle Tennessee State rookie forward Shawn Jones, who played at Hialeah High. Jones averaged 14.1 points and 8.7 rebounds last season and was named Conference USA Player of the Year. He impressed scouts playing for the Clippers in the Las Vegas Summer League.

The addition of Williams and Jones gives the Heat 16 players. Miami can invite 20 to training camp.

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4 p.m. update (please scroll lower for a 5 p.m. update with 790 The Ticket's reaction to this):

ESPN has removed Dan Le Batard from the radio for the next two days because it is upset that his radio show purchased several billboards that will be displayed for a month in the Cleveland/Akron area coinciding with James' Friday homecoming celebrating his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"Dan will be off the air for two days, returning Monday," ESPN said in a statement. "His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN's standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance."

The billboards show the two NBA championship rings James won with the Heat and read, "You're Welcome, LeBron, Love, Miami." That was a jab at the fact James did not thank Heat fans in his essay in Sports Illustrated or at any time subsequently.

The show initially considered buying full-page ads with the same message, but newspapers in Cleveland and Akron rejected the ads before they officially were submitted.

Mike Ryan, the show's producer, was scheduled to be in Akron on Friday to report from the homecoming and whimsically poke fun at it.

But Friday's show has been canceled, and ESPN will not give Le Batard, co-host Jon Weiner or Ryan an opportunity to playfully mock the homecoming.

Reacting to the suspension, Le Batard texted Herald colleague Greg Cote: "I guess ESPN didn't find it all quite as funny as I did."

Le Batard explained Wednesday that taking out the billboards is "all meant in fun --- which, of course, will turn into Cleveland people getting filled with rage, poison and irrational hostility and want to use those billboards as a guillotine. Sports are so great, the more irrational the better. This is a publicity stunt disguised as a movement... It's just fun anarchy."

ESPN clearly was stung by the fact that James gave Sports Illustrated, and not ESPN, the exclusive news about James leaving the Heat for Cleveland. Though the network would not comment beyond its statement, ESPN seems determined not to have a direct role in anything else that would embarrass or anger James.

Still, what amounts to a suspension is excessive.

Le Batard's TV show, Highly Questionable, and his radio show will both return Monday. Highly Questionable wasn't scheduled to air Thursday or Friday.

Le Batard has said previously that ESPN Radio has never tried to dictate content on his show since it began airing his 790 The Ticket program last October.

[5 p.m. update]: I asked Maureen Lesourd, general manager of 790 The Ticket, if she thought the ESPN suspension was unfair and unwarranted. She said because 790 is an ESPN affiliate, "I don't feel I should comment one way or the other. Am I happy I don't have Dan's show on today? Of course I'm not happy. I love Dan. He's a great contributor to the station."

But later in the day, she said: "The fans were offended, so for The Ticket it was a brilliant local promotion and meant for fun, but I have to respect stunts like this don't work for a national outlet like ESPN."

Did the station give any thought to having Le Batard, Weiner and Ryan do Friday's LeBron-ribbing/Akron show merely for the South Florida audience?

Lesourd said no, for two reasons: Le Batard is an ESPN employee, not a Ticket employee. And though Weiner and Ryan are Ticket employees, "I'm a network partner. So in some cases I have to support the network's request" and ESPN felt strongly that Friday's show not be aired anywhere.

What's more, The Ticket is in the final stages of renewing its deal to retain its ESPN Radio affiliation. The contract is due to expire at the end of September, and Lesourd said "we have a deal to renew."

If The Ticket did anything to anger ESPN, then WQAM would swoop in instantly to try to swoop Le Batard and ESPN Radio away from The Ticket. So though Lesourd might be tempted to question ESPN's decision, she is acting sensible as the station's financial custodian.

Lesourd has decided, however, to carry local programming (Chris Wittyngham and Josh Friedman) instead of ESPN's fill-in Le Batard programming today and from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday.

Le Batard, incidentally, is a contributor to The Miami Herald but not a full-time employee.

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Tim Hardaway, who combined with Alonzo Mourning to help lead the Heat to four consecutive Atlantic Division titles and was at the epicenter of the compelling Heat-Knicks rivalry during that era, said Thursday he is leaving his job as a Heat scout to become an assistant coach on Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Detroit.

“I’m ecstatic,” he told me this afternoon. “It’s something I wanted to do. It’s all about teaching. I’m good at teaching and understanding players.”

And he was comfortable with Van Gundy, who was an assistant coach during Hardaway’s time with the Heat. “Stan and I have great rapport. [Heat president] Pat Riley said it’s a great thing for me and he’s happy for me.”

Hardaway --- who will join Brendan Malone, Bob Beyer, Charles Klask and former Heat forward Malik Allen on Van Gundy’s staff --- said a coaching job on Erik Spoelstra’s staff wasn’t realistic because “there are guys before me here and I didn’t want to take anything from them.”

The Heat acquired Hardaway and Chris Gatling from Golden State, for Kevin Willis and Bimbo Coles, in a midseason trade in 1995-96, and Hardaway and Mourning --- over the next 5 ½ seasons --- led the Heat to its most success as a franchise up to that point, though kidney disease sidelined Mourning for most of Hardaway's final season with the team.

Hardaway, 47, was first-team All-NBA in 1996-97 and fourth in MVP balloting. The Heat won 61 games that season but lost to Michael Jordan's Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Heat traded Hardaway to Dallas for a second-round pick in August 2001, and he later finished out his career with Denver and Indiana. But the Heat hired him in recent years and also helped him when he was in financial need, by reportedly purchasing his home in 2010 to help him clear debt.

He served as a scout and community and corporate liaison for the Heat for the past three years, and he was given more scouting duties than ever before this past season.

“It’s going to be hard, going to be sad [to leave the Heat],” he said. “I am always a Heat family guy. There will always be a big place in my heart for the Heat, Micky Arison, Pat Riley. We helped each other in many ways. Great people. I will miss them. It’s bittersweet.”

Hardaway --- whose son Tim Jr. plays for the Knicks --- also used the word “bittersweet” to describe Friday’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, which he will attend in Springfield, Mass.

Mourning and Mitch Richmond, Hardaway’s close friends and former teammates, will be inducted Friday, and Hardaway --- who was a finalist – hoped to be inducted as well. (Richmond and Hardaway played together in Golden State.)

“You have to wait your turn,” Hardaway said. “God has a plan for everybody. You’ve got to be optimistic [about being inducted eventually]. Zo and Mitch are my guys.”

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Some Thursday news and notes:

### The Heat so far has shown little interest in retaining Greg Oden. And Oden’s overall free agent prospects took a hit this morning when he was arrested and charged with battery after allegedly punching a woman that he says he dated for two years before a breakup two months ago. 

Police were summoned to the Lawrence, Ind., home of Oden’s mother at 3:30 a.m. Officers arrived to find the victim crying and lying across a bed holding her face.

“He punched her in the face,” a witness, described as the victim’s best friend, told police.

Police observed blood, swelling to the nose, lacerations to the forehead and nose area of the victim’s face, and also saw blood on the sofa, living room carpet and floor in a sitting area, as well as dirt from a flower pot that was knocked over.

Oden was calm and apologetic with police, telling them: “I was wrong and I know what has to happen.”

### The Heat likely will add another veteran center at the minimum to replace Oden, but it has to be someone who’s content with not playing much. (Barring injury or foul trouble, it’s hard to see many minutes available, with Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen sharing virtually all the time at center; and Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem, Birdman and occasionally Danny Granger at power forward.)

Among those still available: Elton Brand, Andray Blatche (Heat has avoided him before because of maturity, behavior issues), Charlie Villanueva, Ryan Hollins, Ekpe Udoh, Byron Mullins, Greg Stiesma and Andrew Bynum (who can’t stay healthy).

### Former Heat great Tim Hardaway, a scout and community and corporate liaison for the Heat, has discussed joining Stan Van Gundy's staff in Detroit, according to Yahoo.

### Why was Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, of all people, staying late Wednesday catching passes from a JUGS machine?

“I reached out to Derrick Brooks and I asked him how to get all the interceptions like he did,” Ellerbe said. “He told me to catch 20 balls after practice every day, so I’ve been catching 30.”

### Ryan Tannehill’s play has been uneven (some good, some bad) in training camp, but here are two encouraging signs:

He’s consistently running for significant gains on read option plays, though he still needs to work on his sliding. And he still shows a knack for making plays outside the pocket, sometimes when he’s flushed and sometimes by design. As Grantland’s Bill Barnwell noted in a piece this week, Tannehill was the NFL’s fifth-best passer outside the pocket his first two seasons.

### UM badly needs Michael Wyche to play a lot at nose tackle, but his integration early in camp is being sidetracked somewhat by conditioning issues. Wyche is still spending a lot of his time on getting in shape. He has lost 10 pounds to get to 340, but UM coaches want him at 335.

"He's got a long way to go there," Al Golden said Wednesday evening. "He knows it, but as long as he makes incremental progress with his weight and just remains positive - that's the biggest thing with a lot of these guys when you have to lose weight and get in condition, just staying positive and knowing that there's a light at the end of the tunnel if you can get there."

UM, which alternates between a 4-3 and 3-4, has been using Earl Moore, Calvin Heurtelou, Wyche and Courtel Jenkins at nose tackle. Defensive end Ufomba Kamalu also has been getting time at tackle.

Of the defensive line overall, "That's the deepest we've been - no question,” Golden said. “You've got [Anthony] Chickillo, Kamalu, [Jelani] Hamilton and Chad Thomas mixing it in at end. Then you've got Kamalu playing on the other side as well with Olsen Pierre, Anthony Moten and Corey King. Then inside we've got a lot of guys rotating in there at nose.”

Golden unintentionally omitted Trent Harris, the freshman from Winter Park who has been getting some first-team work --- opposite Chickillo --- at defensive end. Harris, who enrolled in January, picked UM over offers from Alabama, FSU and UF, among others.

### Though he might not be needed much as a receiver this year because of UM's depth and experience at the position, it’s encouraging to see freshman Braxton Berrios make a strong comeback from an ACL injury. Berrios has made several plays during the first two days of camp, including taking a screen for 15 yards and running 20 yards on an end-around.

### Denzel Perryman obviously is entrenched as one starting linebacker, but there’s competition at the other spots with Raphael Kirby trying to hold off much-improved Jermaine Grace, and Darrion Owens and Thurston Armbrister also competing.

The Kirby/Grace WILL linebacker battle is especially intriguing. Grace proved in the spring he can be more than just a third-down contributor. Grace notes he has the “speed” to be “able to cover fast guys” out of the backfield. But he also showed in the spring that he is improved against the run.

UM coaches like Kirby’s skill set, but his inconsistency has frustrated them in the past.

### Freshman QB Brad Kaaya, who’s very smart, has developed a good on-field chemistry with Clive Walford…. Safety Jamal Carter, paired with Dallas Crawford or Deon Bush, has made a couple of pass breakups early in camp and continues to emerge…

Cornerback Antonio Crawford, with an interception already in camp, is giving Tracy Howard and Artie Burns all they can handle in the battle for the starting job opposite senior Ladarius Gunter, who also must fight to retain his starting spot…. Freshman safeties Marques Gayot and Kiy Hester have impressed Golden. 

08/06/2014

Heat adds guard; Tight end and QB developments; 15 notes, thoughts from Wednesday Dolphins practice

Quick Heat note before we get to Dolphins:

Undrafted Fresno State rookie guard Tyler Johnson has agreed in principle to a two-year deal with the Heat but has not signed it, agent Pedro Power told us earlier today.

Johnson, 6-4, impressed the Heat with his athleticism during summer league in Orlando and Las Vegas, averaging 12.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.9 steals and 22.3 minutes while shooting 54.8 percent from the field and 46.7 percent on three-pointers.

He averaged 15.9 points and 7.9 rebounds last season at Fresno State, while shooting 43.2 percent on threes (57 of 132).

Johnson's contract is not expected to be guaranteed, though his agent said he was still working through that with the Heat.

His addition gives the Heat 14 players under contract, 11 of whom have fully guaranteed contracts. Justin Hamilton has a partially guaranteed contract and James Ennis is non-guaranteed.

The Heat can bring up to 20 players to training camp. Miami is expected to add another veteran center and another veteran shooting guard by the end of September but can offer only minimum-salary contracts. 

DOLPHINS TALK

### The encouraging news about the Dolphins’ tight end situation: Dion Sims appears to be much-improved, especially as a receiver, and is in good position to land the No. 2 tight end job behind Charles Clay.

The unsettling development: Of the seven tight ends on the roster, only three are fully healthy: Sims, Kyle Miller and recent addition Brett Brackett.

Charles Clay (knee), Michael Egnew (concussion symptoms) and Harold Hoskins (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, and Arthur Lynch remained limited with an undisclosed injury.

The Dolphins prefer not to play Lynch on Friday, but he is expected to be cleared to do everything as early as next week.

So Dolphins fans will see plenty of Sims, Miller and Brackett on Friday in Atlanta.

Sims has impressed throughout camp, catching several passes over the middle and finding ways to get open in the end zone.

“He’s catching the ball very well,” coach Joe Philbin said. “We’ve seen him in the passing game look and play faster. We’re encouraged by that. That’s something that can pay dividends for us this year. His blocking has gotten more consistent. He’s been more consistent” overall.

Sims --- who caught six passes for 32 yards as a rookie --- said he has watched tape of Clay, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez in an attempt to learn nuances of becoming a better receiving tight end. At 6-4 and 265 pounds, “my height and body will help me in the passing game,” he said. “I’m getting better body position.”

Tight ends coach Dan Campbell said Sims “has come a long way. He had a heck of a spring. In camp, he has proven he's ready to take that next stride up.”

### Lynch, the team’s fifth-round pick out of Georgia, said blocking is his strength, but he has made several nice catches on intermediate routes going back to the offseason program.

“I’m doing fairly well,” he said, adding he can’t showcase his blocking as much without being able to practice fully. “That’s the frustrating thing with being limited. I won’t wow you with anything, but I can do a lot of things well.”

### Egnew, who hasn’t returned to practice since leaving for concussion tests on Monday, “has gotten better” as a player, Campbell said. “He took a step up last year. Yes, he didn’t catch a ton of balls, but Charles Clay caught a lot of those. Michael has helped us with roles that are silent roles that people don't quite understand. He filled the fullback role for us last year and did a heck of a job at it.

“He's progressed. He's done a nice job in run blocking. He's continually getting better in his routes. That's something he knows he needs to improve on to really be able to help us in the pass game. He's making strides. His attitude has been great. He works hard. He wants to be good. If you say what is one area he needs to work on, it's the pass game.”

Brackett, incidentally, has been impressive in the passing game but remains an underdog for a roster spot.

The Dolphins this week worked out veteran tight end Steve Maneri, who has 10 starts in four seasons, but did not offer him a contract after the workout.

### With Pat Devlin (hamstring) and Matt Moore (shoulder) unable to practice on Wednesday, undrafted quarterbacks Seth Lobato (Northern Colorado) and Brock Jensen (North Dakota State) got all the work behind Ryan Tannehill.

Lobato threw an interception to Jordan Kovacs but also made several strong throws, including a 79-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry, who beat Kevin Fogg.

Tannehill’s play was up and down. He badly overthrew Brian Hartline on a deep ball and Jason Trusnik intercepted a pass that was batted away by Dion Jordan, giving Tannehill seven interceptions in three practices this week. But he made an impressive pinpoint throw to Damian Williams on a crossing route, beating Will Davis.

The Dolphins aren’t especially concerned about Moore but wanted to give him another day of rest.

### Olivier Vernon (back), Mike Wallace (hamstring) and Brian Hartline returned to practice, but running back Daniel Thomas (hamstring), cornerback Jalil Brown (knee), Clay and Hoskins remained out, and kicker Caleb Sturgis (groin) was limited.

### Dallas Thomas remained with the first team at right guard, with Shelley Smith sharing time at left guard with Daryn Colledge, who has received the majority of the first-team snaps.

“I’m rotating with Shelley,” Colledge pointed out after practice. “Shelley’s out there fighting to be the starting left guard also.”

Colledge, signed on June 30, “has picked up the system well, but it’s taken a little while,” Philbin said. “I don’t think it’s all the way there yet, but I’m hoping there is more development coming in the next couple of weeks.”

### Knowshon Moreno was activated from PUP but didn’t participate in team drills.

### Philbin likes what he has seen from rookie linebacker Jordan Tripp: “I like the way he plays. He moves fast. The guy is one of the first guys in the building every day and one of the last guys to leave. He has a chance to contribute. He’s very smart and studies his position. He’s very involved on special teams.”

### How much will the Dolphins conceal their offensive strategy during preseason games?

Philbin answered this way: “I can tell you that we’re certainly not going to create a new offense to send our future opponents down the wrong road because, again, we’ve had these guys in the building since April 21st and we’ve been installing pieces of the offense really since that day. Then we’ve re-done (the offense) a couple of times in the OTAs and now in training camp.

“So we are going to do what we do and I told the players that yesterday when we broke as a team, ‘Listen, we’re going to run over defense, we’re going to run under defense, we’re going to line up in a one-back formation. We are going to do certain things and we are going to get in empty.’

"That’s what we do and we are going to do that today and we’re going to do that against Atlanta and we’re going to do it against New England and we’re going to do it in December and January. That’s our system. That’s who we are. I think you have to be certainly cognizant of your tendencies, but I also believe it’s probably good to have a couple of tendencies.”

### Philbin said today he believes the Dolphins will run the ball better this season, based on what he has seen in camp.

Colledge agrees: “We’re playing against a defense that knows what we’re doing every day and we still find a way to run the ball a little bit!”

### Mike Gillislee has impressed me in recent days. He used a stiff arm to break a 10-plus yard run on Wednesday.

### Several undrafted defensive rookies made noteworthy plays Wednesday: Chris McCain knocked away a pass in the end zone to Brackett, Demetrius Wright jarred loose a pass to Marcus Thigpen and Garrison Smith had a sack.

### Nevertheless, Thigpen has had a good camp and it doesn’t hurt when Jarvis Landry (trying to wrest the punt return job from him) drops a punt during practice Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Damien Williams (the undrafted Oklahoma running back) dropped a kickoff return.

### Sometimes players say things you wouldn’t expect. Such as Dannell Ellerbe noting that one reason he’s excited about Friday’s game in Atlanta is that the Falcons “are on Hard Knocks, so I know this game will make TV. It’s going to be on HBO.”

### Only three more training camp practices open to the general public: Sunday at 2 p.m., and next Monday and Tuesday at 8 a.m.... NFL Network will air a taped broadcast of Dolphins-Falcons at 10 a.m. Saturday. CBS-4 will air the game live in Miami at 7 p.m. Friday, with Dick Stockton, Bob Griese and Nat Moore announcing.

08/05/2014

Tuesday afternoon: News, notes, quotes from Dolphins and UM practices

DOLPHINS ITEMS

### Mike Wallace returned from a hamstring injury but just briefly: Just enough time for Ryan Tannehill to overthrow him on a deep pass.

The Tannehill/Wallace success rate on deep balls, so far in camp, is comparable to their awful 6 for 36 accuracy on balls that were in the air for 20-plus yards last season.

“I kind of wanted to see where I was,” Wallace said of a hamstring injury that is still bothering him a bit. “I told Coach (Joe Philbin) I wanted to get a couple of plays on deep balls. They didn’t want me to go in too fast, kind of working me back in a little bit. The two more runs I got there, I was like, ‘Shoot, I’m out here, might as well try to get some work in.’”

Is the hamstring hurting his progress with Tannehill?

“A little bit on the deep ball because I can’t go as fast as I want to go, but I think we’ll be all right,” he said. “I know the media has been saying that for a while, but he’s getting better with the deep ball. It was a problem overall with everybody not just me last year. Coach (Bill) Lazor is doing a good job staying on him.” 

But as far as practicing them, “I’m not about to sit out here and run 20 deep balls back-to-back to try to get timing. 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. So when we’re in practice, when we do get those reps, we’ve just got to make them count. We had plenty of opportunities to do it. Coach Lazor does a good job of running those plays and actually calling them in practice, so we’re able to get the feel for it.”

 ### Cortland Finnegan has had a terrific camp; he had three picks today (two off Ryan Tannehill, one off Matt Moore). Even with Jamar Taylor’s improvements, Finnegan has been the better play so far in camp and figures to start opposite Brent Grimes.

“He’s got a lot left in the tank,” Wallace said. “He’s a really smart guy. He knows how to play the combinations of the routes. He’s seen every combination you could possibly bring.  Him and Brent (Grimes), they both take chances. I think they trust in their studies and jump those routes sometimes and they do a good job of it.”

Grimes, by the way, had two picks today --- one off Tannehill, one off Moore.

### As we noted over the weekend, Samson Satele wouldn’t sign with the Dolphins until he got a contract like Darren Colledge’s. Here are the specifics, as shared with us by someone with access to the contract: Satele, like Colledge, can make as much as $2 million. But like Colledge, only $250,000 is guaranteed.

Satele has a $1.25 million base salary, then would earn $46,875 every game he’s on the 46-man roster. So the Dolphins can save a bundle if they cut him when Mike Pouncey is healthy.

CANES STUFF

Planned to be at UM’s first practice today, but an assignment to cover the arrests of Tony Bosch, Lazaro Collazo, etc. prevented that. (Please see my story on the home page on that topic.) A few UM football notes from this afternoon:

Our Manny Navarro reported the first-team offensive line, from left to right, is Ereck Flowers, Jon Feliciano, Shane McDermott, Danny Isidora and freshman KC McDermott. KC’s presence with the first group was surprising because Art Kehoe raved about Taylor Gadbois' play in the spring.

“KC’s had a great summer; he’s in the mix,” James Coley said today.

### During the spring, UM had Anthony Chickillo and Ufomba Kamalu compete for playing time at the same end spot. But as The Palm Beach Post’s Matt Porter noted this afternoon, Chickillo and Kamalu were both on the field when UM played a 3-4, with new arrival Courtel Jenkins at nose tackle.

“I’m anxious to look at Courtel Jenkins,” defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said. “We have options at nose tackle between Courtel, Olsen Pierre, Michael Wyche, Earl Moore.”

### Per Manny and others, freshman Brad Kaaya threw a 35-yard TD to Rashawn Scott. Kaaya later threw an interception to Artie Burns.

Jermaine Grace then intercepted Jake Heaps, who is the favorite to start.

But Kaaya is being given every chance to compete for the starting job, though it would be surprising if he or fellow freshman Malik Rosier is put in the spot of playing opening night at Louisville.

Coley said the best player will start, regardless of whether he’s a freshman.

“We are going to let them compete,” Coley said today. “If you are not ready, then the redshirt [for freshmen] is the right call.”

Coley said among the quarterbacks, “we’re going to designate a guy [each] day and see how they execute. They’re all being evaluated whether they’re with the 1s or the 2s. With the ones come the added pressure.”

Heaps got work with the starters today.

Coley called Heaps a “worker” who “wants to put in the extra time. He’s a sharp kid. He’s been impressive.”

Coley declined to discuss Kevin Olsen, who took snaps on Tuesday. Olsen refused to discuss his suspension, but Duke Johnson said Olsen has a one-game suspension, as previously reported by WQAM first and confirmed by The Herald's Susan Miller Degnan.

Ryan Williams seems a ways away after knee surgery and wouldn’t speculate when he might be ready to play. “If Ryan is the best guy at that point, Ryan plays,” Coley said.

### Coley said “we need to use [Stacy Coley] in different spots. He can go from slot to backfield to motion in different spots.”

### Speedy running back/receiver Trayone Gray is on campus and could be cleared to practice any day.

### D’Onofrio said freshman end Chad Thomas "has gained 15 pounds, worked his tail off. Really explosive, looked really good."…. D'Onofrio said: “This is the best depth we've had in the secondary and on the d-line" but said he needs to establish who the sixth and seventh linebackers will be after Alex Figueroa and JaWand Blue were expelled from school following arrests…. He loves how Dallas Crawford has adjusted to safety: “Very instinctive, physical mentality.”

08/04/2014

Everything Golden said today; Dolphins injuries mounting; More O-line changes; 10 notes and thoughts from Dolphins camp

Injuries are mounting for the Dolphins, with more than a dozen players sidelined altogether, limited in their participation or forced to leave during Monday’s practice.

Among the ramifications: The Dolphins are using two undrafted rookie quarterbacks behind Ryan Tannehill, finished Monday’s practice with only two healthy tight ends (Dion Sims and Kyle Miller) and practiced Monday without five key offensive players.

Among key starters sidelined besides Mike Pouncey (hip surgery), the good news is injuries are not considered serious for defensive end Olivier Vernon, who left practice after his back locked up on him; tight end Charles Clay (knee) and receiver Mike Wallace (hamstring).

Monday began with the Dolphins announcing that five players would miss multiple days with injuries: Clay, who had to leave Saturday’s scrimmage early but said afterward it wasn’t serious; quarterback Pat Devlin (hamstring), kicker Caleb Sturgis (groin), cornerback Jalil Brown (knee) and receiver Stephen Williams (ankle).

Those five joined Wallace, running back Knowshon Moreno (knee) and Pouncey (hip) as players who missed practice altogether, though Wallace caught some passes on the sideline.

Five others were limited: quarterback Matt Moore (sore shoulder), who threw some passes but none in 11 on 11 drills; running back Lamar Miller (got some 11 on 11 work); receiver Brian Hartline, who said afterward he has no ongoing medical issues; linebacker Jelani Jenkins (leg) and rookie tight end Arthur Lynch, who has been limited throughout camp with an undisclosed injury.

Six players were forced to leave during practice: Vernon, offensive lineman Nate Garner (forearm strain, not serious), tight end Michael Egnew (tested for a concussion, according to my colleague Armando Salguero), defensive tackle Randy Starks (ankle injury but returned to practice and said afterward he’s fine), running back Daniel Thomas (held area under his buttocks) and tight end Gator Hoskins (leg).

With Devlin out indefinitely and Moore limited, the Dolphins re-signed quarterback Brock Jensen, who was cut last week. Seth Lobato, who replaced Jensen on the roster last Wednesday, took second-team snaps.

### Samson Satele took many of the first-team center snaps on his first day with the team, with Sam Brenner getting some.

“I told [Satele] he’s competing for a job,” Joe Philbin said. “He plays the game the right way. Good technique. Gets movement in the run game.”

Satele said he looks forward to holding down center until Pouncey returns. “It’s not my first rodeo.”

### The signing of Satele gives the Dolphins some clarity at center until Pouncey returns, but there remains uncertainty at right guard.

Dallas Thomas took most of the first team snaps at right guard on Monday, with Billy Turner also getting some.

Shelley Smith, who was expected to be the starting right guard, worked Monday at left guard, mostly on the second team. With Satele signing, Smith no longer will be asked to play center, an experiment that ended midway through last week.

But Philbin cautioned not to read anything into Smith not working with the first team at right guard on Monday, adding he still wants to look at different combinations.

"We wanted to get him some work at left guard, get Billy Turner some work at right guard,” Philbin said. “It’s not really reflective. We’re nowhere near settled on a group inside.”

Smith, lured from the Rams during the offseason, said Monday he has no expectation that he would be an automatic starter here.

### Though there were no botched center/quarterback exchanges, the Dolphins committed at least five pre-snap penalties, including two by the first-team offense to begin 11 on 11 drills.

During their two-minute drill, a penalty was called because the Dolphins’ first-team offense didn’t have enough players on the line of scrimmage.

“Didn’t look very good,” Philbin said of his offense. “We want to draw the defense off-sides with their different cadences and we jumped twice. They ran a blitz, we didn’t pick up very well… You can’t win in football doing that stuff.”

### Not a good day for Ryan Tannehill. His badly overthrown pass to Rishard Matthews was intercepted by Will Davis, who fumbled while going in for a touchdown on the return. (Safety Walt Aikens recovered it for a touchdown.)

Tannehill threw two more poorly-thrown interceptions during 7-on-7 drills, to cornerback Cortland Finnegan (who returned it for a touchdown) and safety Reshad Jones.

And Lobato also threw an interception, off a tipped ball, to Aikens.

### Besides the interception, Davis broke up two other passes.

“Will is more consistent and still making good plays,” Hartline said. “Will and Jamar Taylor have elevated their games.”

### Hartline has a chance to become the first player in Dolphins history to produce three consecutive seasons of 1000 yards receiving.

“Any time you can do something no one else has done for a team in the NFL, it’s special,” he said.

### Hartline said the offense is “doing a lot more things that we haven’t done in the six years I’ve been here.”

What specifically? “The combination of routes are different, the way in which they’re called, the amount of screens. The ball on the perimeter is definitely a lot more. A lot of motions, a lot of shifts. You get the beat on who’s going to be where at what time. A lot of variance, compared to last year.”

### Philbin, on rookie seventh-round defensive end Terrence Fede: “I told him one day he had three penalties in the practice and he looked at me like I had three heads. [But] you love the enthusiasm. He’s getting better. Plays fast.”

### Philbin on undrafted rookie running back Damien Williams, who has impressed aside from being stripped of the ball by Jordan Tripp on Saturday: “He’s done a lot of good things. A lot of the opportunities he had Saturday, he looked very good. He looked natural, he looked physical running the ball. When it popped on the ground, it doesn’t work to his favor. But you can’t over-react to one particular play.”

Mike Gillislee also has been coming on in the running back competition. By the way, Daniel Thomas allowed Philip Wheeler to beat him on a blitz, for a sack, not long before his injury. 

GOLDEN SPEAKS (UPDATED)

Here's everything Al Golden had to say during his preseason news conference today:

### Opening Statement:


“Welcome to training camp. We’re excited to get going. Most of our kids are in already. Some are being processed today, but we expect everybody out there but two individuals tomorrow. We’ll reaffirm that as the day goes on. We’re still waiting on the arrival of Trayone Gray and Darrell Langham, just to save you that question. Welcome, we appreciate you coming, and with that, we’ll open it up to any questions that you have.”


### On linebackers coach Micheal Barrow’s sabbatical and subsequent staff changes:


“First of all, Micheal has always conducted himself with class, with dignity, with integrity. He has been a great leader here for a long time, not just on campus and with our team, but within our community. As I said to him as he was starting to try to figure out what direction he wanted to go, I said to him there is no calendar with family. If this is the direction you want to go, it’s our job to help you with this transition. It’s been difficult for him. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like over the next month – I don’t think he’s been in a situation like this since [his youth] where he’s not participating.

“We miss Mike, but at the same time, we had a chance to move Hurlie [Brown] back to defense, something that he’s very comfortable with. Being in the staff meetings and understanding the nomenclature of the defense and being the type of guy to have a rapport with everybody, I think he’s going to make the transition quickly.

“Then we elevated Ice Harris, who is more than deserving and obviously very grateful. Here’s a guy that’s been doing this for a quarter-century for this opportunity, and I know he’s going to give everything he has and going to make us better. Clearly we had an opportunity to bring on Kevin Beard, so we did that. Not the best of timing, but all that is is a circumstance. It’s not the definition of what’s going to happen moving forward and it’s not the result, it’s just the circumstance. It doesn’t determine anything. We have good veterans at those two positions, and I expect our guys to rally and be sharp during camp.”


### On the play of the linebacker group and specifically sophomore Jermaine Grace:


“Jermaine has had a good summer. He ran some of the fastest 40’s on the team, not just the linebacker position – consistently under 4.5 (seconds). He’s about 210 pounds now, he has more experience, he’s smart, he’s an excellent special teams player, he gives us three down value, he’s a competitor and a striker.  I’m excited about Grace.“Clearly [Darrion] Owens, you guys knew I was excited about his focus and his performance in the spring, and now he’s going to get a good opportunity at SAM along with Thurston Armbrister. We’ll start with [Terry] McCray over there as well.”

### On the team’s linebacker depth heading into fall training camp:


“I don’t think there’s any question we lost some depth, but we have some other guys that are going to rally. It’s going to give [Terry] McCray an opportunity, a guy like [Mike] Smith an opportunity, Demetrius Jackson an opportunity, Juwon Young, and obviously you mentioned [Jermaine] Grace. Those guys are all going to get an opportunity.“I’m excited about our group. I don’t want those that are not with us to diminish what the guys that are with us are all about. [Raphael] Kirby, we mentioned [Jermaine] Grace earlier. Denzel [Perryman] has had a great summer – 245 pounds now. [Darrion] Owens I mentioned earlier and [Thurston] Armbrister.”


### On how to educate his team given the dismissal of two student-athletes:


“I’m responsible for all 114 guys and every staff member. I’m responsible for everybody. It’s something we take seriously. It’s something that we’re very prudent with, in terms of being proactive. We have guest speakers now, we’re working with [Director of Student-Athlete Development] Shirelle Jackson. It’s something that’s disappointing but we have to continue to educate and communicate and make sure we’re making great choices in the community and making great choices on campus.”

### On the reports regarding the suspension of quarterback Kevin Olsen:


“With any of these instances, as I’ve said to you guys before, if somebody is suspended it’s going to come from [Athletics Director] Blake James and [Senior Associate Athletics Director] Chris Freet. In terms of how we’re approaching camp, we have four quarterbacks, we’re going to cut it to two after the second scrimmage - about two weeks prior to the first game - and we’ll have two that will get ready for the trip to Louisville.”

### On the return and summer progress of Duke Johnson:


“He’s doing great. He has an edge about him, he has a focus about him that he continued and grew since the spring. [It is] a physical, more durable, stronger version of Duke Johnson but faster. At 208 pounds, he’s now running his fastest 40’s as a Miami Hurricane. I’m excited about the edge he brings to this training camp. He was fully integrated long ago, and his conditioning is good.

"I don’t think we’re going to have any setbacks relative to that.“At the same time, we’re excited about that group in general, with the emergence of Gus [Edwards], [Joseph] Yearby, [Walter] Tucker gave us a lot of work there in spring, DeAndre Johnson. We have depth there, and I think Duke has done a good job of mentoring those guys.”

### On injuries to his team entering the first day of practice:

“You just never know for sure, and I’d hate to be wrong here. I would say that Ryan Williams…if you guys have specific questions on – I’d prefer to go that route. I have everybody being integrated right now. [Anthony] Chickillo is fine. [Matt] Goudis is fine. He did have a little issue this summer, but everything I understand is that he’s been much better the last two weeks, so he should be good. [Ladarius] Gunter has had a great summer. His shoulder’s great, and his conditioning has really improved.”


### On the return of wide receivers Herb Waters and Phillip Dorsett:


“Those two have emerged as leaders in the wide receiver group. I don’t know how you’d characterize their summers anything other than awesome. Faster than they’ve ever been, stronger. Herb’s pushing 200 pounds. I’m very excited about the progress they’ve made, and obviously they were missing at the end of the year.”

### On the status of redshirt senior quarterback Ryan Williams:


“I think he’s going to meet with the doctor tonight. Rather than me act like I know what I know what I’m talking about, we can get an idea of where he is. He’s had no setbacks, he’s doing great physically. His mind has always been tremendous, in terms of the game and leadership from that standpoint. Is he going to be a factor in this race in the next five weeks? I don’t know. It’s not worth speculating on. Let’s see what Dr. Kaplan and his staff say, and we’ll stay on track. He has much more experience in dealing with this and the integration part of it than we do.”


### On monitoring Duke Johnson during training camp after surgery in 2013:


“He’s fully integrated. He left that in 2013. He’s a different person right now. As I said he’s stronger, he’s more durable, he’s in great condition. He has a lot of guys around him. He has a lot of experience around him – both at wide out and tight end - and now he has some guys in the backfield who can help him carry the load. I don’t think we need to modify anything with Duke. We’ll be prudent with him like just we are with everybody. He wants to go. He’s ready to go. It’s not, ‘let’s get to camp and test it.’ He’s been testing it out here for all of Summer B, which I believe started June 28.”


### On what areas he thinks Duke Johnson could improve:


“I think the biggest thing is we all want to see him pick up where he left off. He was pressing his runs, they were hitting where they were designed to hit, so he had great discipline at the end of last year. He was running between the tight ends really well, then when he to second level, he would allow his talent to take over. He was very disciplined in that.

“I don’t know if you feel the same way as observers, but he was running differently in those last three and a half games. He was running as hard and as strong as I’ve ever seen him run, delivering stiff arms, lowering his pads, running where the ball it needed to be run. Just prior to the injury – I’m talking moments - he was running the ball at Florida State probably as well as anybody all year. We need him to pick up where he left off. We’ll go from there.”


### On his confidence in the defense heading into fall training camp:


“There are lot of things, especially coming out of the spring in terms of our tackling, yards per carry, three-and-outs, things of that nature. We’re attacking more. We’re stronger. We have seven guys now on the defensive front that do 225 30 times or more. Michael Wyche comes in and gives us great size and strength. Calvin Heurtelou comes in and gives us the same, Anthony Moten, Chad Thomas. In terms of depth, that’s the best we’ve been there on the defensive line in quite some time. We’re stronger.

“The biggest difference I hope – and this isn’t empirical, this is just watching – is the experience and quiet mind that we’re seeing in the secondary. Everybody’s back, everybody’s stronger, everybody’s experienced, the communication is really good, the belief in each other, the accountability. We have great leadership, to be honest with you. We had the best leadership we’ve had in quite some time. I thought [Anthony] Chickillo stepped up, [Ufomba] Kamalu stepped up, Jamal Carter, Denzel [Perryman] of course we mentioned earlier. A bunch of guys - Ladarius [Gunter]. Just a really good summer. Now they have to bring it into the season.”

### Do you guys have the size and depth up front to play more 3-4 full time?

“We’ve never really been 3-4 full time," Golden said. "We’re in and out of it depending on situations. It’s become a game of situations. Everyone thinks it’s a game of four quarters, it’s really not, it’s a game of situations and when they go 10 or 11-personnel, three or four wides, excuse me, when they go three or four wides, we’re going to match up a lot of times. Sometimes that means put the nickel out there, so you might see Deon Bush, Crawford or Tracy in the slot, okay, then bring another corner in. If Deon goes down in the slot, we have a bigger guy that’s kind of like a sam in space and we bring a safety in. As it relates to the front, we’re in and out of fronts constantly. Sometimes we’ll be in an odd front which is 3-4 based, other times we’ll be in over or under front, which is 4-3 based. We have the flexibility now because we’re stronger at the point of attack, we’re the strongest we’ve been there. Again, seven guys over 30 reps, that’s a big number. That’s a big number. That was a lot of hard work by Swasey and those guys, great jobs by the guys up front doing that, now we’ve got to see it pay dividends for us.”

### Is Kevin Olsen committed to being a Hurricane for the long term?

"In my mind sure. He's made a lot of progress this summer, grew a lot as a person. I'm anxious to see that tomorrow, just how much he's growing. Just being in meetings I can hear him - he's more vocal, more confident, understands the system a lot better. He's had a lot of opportunities to grow since the spring."

### With Olsen suspended are you considering moving Gray Crow back to QB?

"No. As a team we're committed to rally around whoever (the starting QB) is. We need wide receivers to step up, running backs to step up, tight ends to step up. And we need a quarterback that can manage the game, that's smart, that protects the football, that gets us in the right play when we need to be."

### What are the most important factors you want to see improve?

"Tackling is up there. Third down differential, your offense minus your defense - when that's not good your time of possession is not good. We need to get off the field better on defense and convert better on offense. That was a bad matrix for us last year, caused us to be on the field too long. The defense needs to attack more, get more three-and-outs. It's hard to say we'll get more sacks and turnovers than last year. Hopefully we will get more but if we can continue to get to the football those are all things we need to see early on."

### What is a realistic expectation for Chad Thomas?

"We don't look at Chad as a freshman, we look at Chad as a defensive end. His maturity, his leadership are well above his years. His expectations are high, but more importantly his standards are high. It's going to be hard for us to say `Chad, take it easy you're only a freshman.' Chad wants to make a difference just as Moten does, Demetrius (Jackson) does, Courtel (Jenkins). He's going to compete over there at end to start. Because of the summer we had a chance to separate Ufomba Kamalu, he's over there with Olsen (Pierre). Chad's going to be a big part of this including the third down pass rushing."

### What do you see in Anthony Chickillo?

"He's living in the moment, (doing) the process, ignoring everything on the outside. He has to continue to have a bunker mentality, continue to do what he's done because he's had a spectacular four months here, five months. 282 puonds, running as good as he has as a Hurricane, and strong, really strong. He ended up getting 30 reps. Like Tracy (Howard) and some other guys who played before they were ready physically, now that the body has caught up we need to put the body with the experience."

### How do you catch up with an FSU?

"They had a great team last year, deserved to be champions. We're on a different course, a different path. We're proud of the way we do things, excited about the direction we're going, about the resources and the commitment we've gotten from the administration and Blake James. We sat here a year ago and didn't know what the future held. We didn't have the fields, a medical center going up, the training table. So there's been a great transition here in the last 12, 13 months. … as bleak as it was a year ago, we're equally excited now. … I don't have time to worry about anyone else's program."

### Is it hard transitioning to a new coach at linebacker?

"We'll be good there. No. 1, I coached that position in this defense, Mark (D'Onofrio) has coached that position in this defense and Mark is a walk-around coordinator. (Raphael) Kirby, Denzel (Perryman), Thurston (Armbrister), those guys have a lot of games, starts under their belts so they can soften the transition. ... there's nobody talking about it. We all miss Micheal. I told him please come to practice - he knows he's always welcome here. He helped build it. We're going to make this a seamless transition."

### How is this team different than a year ago?

"Every team is different. This team is different than last year's team. A team is reborn every year. All these things the guys did in the spring and summer I want to see that translate into our brand. It's their time to show what type of team they are. That's the edge I want to see. It's always important - we play one of the greatest traditions in college football, we respect the heck out of that, but it's really important for these guys to represent right now, who they are. I want to see that because these guys have had a deferent approach to things since January. I want to see that with their accountability , being focused, unselfish, with being able to communicate really well."

### Is there any motivational thing you've sent out?

"I just think this camp for us is about just understanding how to just put your head down and keep going. Worry about your `one' - your play, bad play, go onto the next play. One series. One day. One practice. One game. That's what we have to (do). If we didn't learn from the bowl experience, being in that setting in Tallahassee, then we're not doing our job. We have to understand how to go from week to week irrespective of who our opponent is. They're all one game missions. I want to start that mindset now. One day at a time. We need to be accountable to it. If not there has to be consequences. We cannot go backward at any point during this camp."

QUICK UM HOOPS NOTE: The UM-at-UF men's game will be played at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 on ESPNU and serve as one of the first games for the ESPN family of networks' annual "Tip Off Marathon" tradition of 24-plus hours of games.

The game was relegated to ESPNU because ESPN has Monday Night Football and ESPN2 is airing a Baylor-Kentucky women's game.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

08/02/2014

Midnight update: Satele machinations; more QB changes; 20 Dolphins notes from scrimmage

Chatter on a couple of Dolphins developments tonight:

### The Dolphins actually tried to sign Samson Satele the day before camp started, according to a league source, but Satele wasn't interested in what the Dolphins were offering. He was seeking a deal similar to what Daryn Colledge got ($2 million), as opposed to the minimum $855,000.

The Dolphins raised their offer to meet his wishes, and Satele agreed to terms today on a one-year contract.

Satele, drafted 60th overall by Miami in 2007, started his first two NFL seasons for the Dolphins before being traded to Oakland in March 2009 for a sixth-rounder and an exchange of fourth-round picks.
The Dolphins parted ways with Satele after signing free agent center Jake Grove, a regrettable move in retrospect.


Satele, 29, then started three seasons for the Raiders, before moving on to Indianapolis, where he started 11 games in 2012 and 13 in 2013. Pro Football Focus rated Satele 31st among 35 qualifying centers last season ---- 18th as a pass blocker but last as a run blocker. He allowed one sack.

If Satele starts at center and Shelley Smith at right guard, then the four favorites for the backup jobs would be Nate Garner, Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner and Jason Fox, though Fox isn't automatic if the Dolphins are comfortable with Garner and Thomas as their backup tackles. Sam Brenner would be cheaper than Fox. 

### The Dolphins tonight summoned Brock Jensen back to team headquarters to re-sign him, four days after cutting him.

The reason: Both Matt Moore (sore shoulder) and Pat Devlin (lower body) are injured.

Seth Lobato, who replaced Jensen on the roster, also is sticking around.

That will give Miami three quarterbacks for Friday's preseason opener against Atlanta (Ryan Tannehill, Jensen and Lobato) in the event that Moore and Devlin are unable to play. It's unclear when Moore and Devlin will return, though Moore's shoulder isn't causing great concern internally.

TWENTY NOTES FROM SATURDAY SCRIMMAGE

## Even without throwing any deep balls, Saturday might have been Ryan Tannehill’s most impressive day of training camp for this reason:

During a scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium, Tannehill ran the offense intelligently, didn’t throw a pick, made no glaring mistakes and did it without four players expected to be among Miami’s best players on offense (Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Mike Pouncey and Knowshon Moreno).

Operating mostly out of the shotgun on passing plays, he threw short and intermediate routes, completing 15 of 27 passes for 139 yards and two TD passes.

No, it wasn't scintillating. But he did what he was asked to do.

The caveat: A bit more than half the time, he was operating against the second-team defense.

But of his two touchdown passes, one came against the first-team defense (a well-thrown seven-yarder to Dion Sims). And that drive should have ended successfully two plays earlier, when Rishard Matthews dropped a perfect throw from Tannehill in the back of the end zone.

Earlier, Tannehill and Lamar Miller perfectly executed a 9-yard wheel route for a touchdown. And Tannehill was on target to Sims for a two-point conversion.

“Thought he had better ball location,” Joe Philbin said of Tannehill.

### Tannehill raised his completion percentage from 58.3 as a rookie to 60.4 last season, and Philbin said Saturday that “we would like to see that get up into the mid 60s, ideally. We still want more.”

### Tannehill, after Saturday’s scrimmage: “I feel myself becoming more in tune with the plays coming in, just having an idea exactly of what to do with the ball every play and that’s exciting for me. Our offense [is] all timing. You can’t be back there holding the ball for three, four seconds and expect to not give up a lot of sacks.”

### As for the No. 3 and No. 4 quarterbacks, the news wasn’t nearly as encouraging.

With Matt Moore sidelined by a shoulder injury, third-string quarterback Pat Devlin and undrafted Northern Colorado rookie Seth Lobato received additional work. Neither especially distinguished himself.

Jimmy Wilson, entrenched as a regular in the team’s nickel package, intercepted a high throw from Devlin, off a tip from Jarvis Landry, and returned it 44 yards.

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan had the only other interception of the scrimmage, also against Devlin, who badly overthrew Kevin Cone. Devlin wasn’t even close on two 5-to-10 yard throws to receivers near the sideline.

Devlin finished 7 of 14 for 71 yards, with a touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry.

Lobato, victimized by a few drops and shaky pass protection, threw for just eight yards on 6 for 17 accuracy.

### More good news, besides Tannehill: The first-team offensive line didn’t give up a sack (though the backups allowed six).

“Good overall, looked OK” Philbin said of his o-line. “We gained some yardage on first down, which sometimes hasn’t been a strength of ours.”

Nate Garner took the first-team snaps at center, suggesting the Shelley Smith center experiment is over, barring a change of heart. Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner split time at right guard with the starters.

### Smith, who was signed with the expectation he would be the starting right guard, was the backup left guard Saturday. But Philbin suggested not to read much into that.

“Just rolling guys around,” he said when asked about Smith. “We’ll probably continue that for a little bit.”

### Sam Brenner returned after missing three days with an ankle injury and took second-team snaps at center behind Nate Garner. The only botched center snaps Saturday involved David Arkin.

### The Dolphins are still trying to get a feel for what they have in this rookie class beyond starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James and highly-praised receiver Jarvis Landry.

During Saturday’s scrimmage, two of their lower-round picks --- linebacker Jordan Tripp and defensive end Terrence Fede --- made a case for roster spots.

Tripp, a fifth-round pick from Montana, stripped undrafted Oklahoma rookie running back Damien Williams and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown. Tripp has been playing mostly with the third team on defense, but one of the second-team linebackers (Jelani Jenkins) missed the scrimmage with a leg injury.

“Jordan Tripp is good at a lot of things,” linebackers coach Mark Duffner said a few days ago. “He’s a highly competitive guy. He’s got great desire to be a great player and the athletic skills to do it and pretty good awareness. I’m excited what I see so far.”

Fede, a seventh-round pick from Marist, had one sack (beating backup tackle Stephen Baker) and knocked down a Tannehill later in the scrimmage.

Fede has displayed impressive athleticism throughout training camp and his chances of making the 53-man roster are helped by Dion Jordan’s four-game suspension to start the season. Fede could begin the season as the Dolphins’ No. 4 defensive end until Jordan returns.

“He’s got a lot of natural talent,” Dolphins defensive lineman Jared Odrick said of Fede. “There are a lot of things he can do and the coaches know he can do without him even knowing he can do it.  He’s got to realize what he has and put it to use. He’s doing it pretty well in this camp. It’s like night and day from what he did in the spring to what he’s doing now. He’s a quick learner.”

### Jordan had two sacks, both against Jason Fox. He said he is “definitely” a better pass rusher than a year ago.

He hasn’t added any new pass rush moves but “am trying to use them a lot more effectively than last year. Just learning how to use my body and my length.” The added bulk – from 250 pounds in January to 265 now – has helped, especially in the run game.

### Tight end Charles Clay left the scrimmage with a leg injury that is not believed to be serious, and eight others sat out besides Mike Pouncey, who’s out long-term: running back Knowshon Moreno (knee), receiver Mike Wallace (hamstring), receiver Brian Hartline (had wrap on leg but nothing believed to be serious), linebacker Jelani Jenkins (leg), Moore, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson (undisclosed), receiver Stephen Williams (undisclosed) and receiver Matt Hazel (concussion).

### Besides the two sacks from Jordan and one from Fede, Cameron Wake, Derrick Shelby and Dannell Ellerbe also had sacks. But none of the sacks were against the first-team offensive line.

### Marcus Thigpen, Jarvis Landry and former Tennessee Titans receiver Damian Williams all fielded punts. Landry made a couple of crafty moves for a 15-yard return. Thigpen also had a decent return.

### Philbin was pleased that Lamar Miller (6 carries, 36 yards) “broke some tackles. That’s one thing we would like him to do more.”

Miller was at his best on his first carry, when he faked out Jason Trusnik and Walt Aikens on a 14-yard gain.

### Damien Williams at times has been the most impressive of the running backs behind Miller and he led all backs Saturday with 39 yards on nine carries. But his day was tarnished by the fumble.

### Meanwhile, Daniel Thomas had five carries for 15 yards, Mike Gilislee 4 for 17 and Orleans Darkwa 5 for 17.

Thomas has essentially been the same guy for three years (3.5, 3.6 and 3.7 yards per carry). At some point, the Dolphins will move on, but they won’t yet if the three other options in camp aren’t better in preseason.

### Among receivers, Landry led the team in yardage (40, on two catches) but also had a drop.

Matthews had 30 yards on three receptions but dropped the touchdown pass.

Sims had the most receptions (four for 27 yards and a touchdown).

### Sims is holding down the No. 2 tight end job, and his development this summer has been impressive. Michael Egnew, third on the depth chart, had one reception for zero yards on Saturday.

### Other receiving numbers Saturday: Gillislee 2 for 12; Gator Hoskins 1 for 16; Thomas 2 for 11, Armon Binns 2 for 11; Damian Williams (the receiver) 1 for 9; Damien Williams (the running back) 1 for 5, Brandon Gibson 1 for 6, Charles Clay 1 for 5, Orleans Darkwa 1 for 10 and Ryan Spadola 3 for 3.

### The only starting defensive position that has changed during camp is defensive tackle. Jared Odrick and Randy Starks opened with the first team Saturday, but Earl Mitchell also played a lot.

### The Dolphins announced the four players who will be inducted into the team’s Walk of Fame on Sept. 21 against Kansas City: guard Ed Newman, running back Tony Nathan, cornerback Sam Madison and defensive end Jeff Cross.

“As a kid, I hated the Dolphins,” Cross said. “I don’t know if was Dan Marino’s Afro or Don Shula’s jaw.”