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13 posts from July 2016

July 31, 2016

News, notes, quotes from Sunday Dolphins practice

After a busy and news-filled morning, let's do what a good NFL offense does and advance the ball.

Dion Jordan, on the non-football injury list, spoke to the media and struck equal parts excitement (about being back) and confession (about what led to his year-long suspension for violating the NFL's substances of abuse policy).

"I'm excited, man," he said. "I'm happy to be in the building. There's a lot of new faces. Everything seems brand new. I'm excited to get out here and be around the guys and the locker room and have an opportunity to compete once again."

Jordan is so far the biggest bust in Dolphins history, having as many career sacks since 2013 as NFL drug suspensions -- three.

But he doesn't want you to hate him.

"I'm just a good person overall," he said. "I had a couple of bumps and I had to overcome 'em. It was a part of my journey as a person first of all and a football player second. I'm trying to put that in the past and learn from it moving forward to improve myself as a person."

Does Jordan believe he's let the Dolphins down since they drafted him with the No. 3 overall selection in the '13 draft?

"Honestly, I've never felt I've had to live up to anybody else's expectations but mine," he said. "My expectations for myself is higher than anybody else can have for me. So I feel like my main thing, my mistakes off the field is what kind of caused me a lot of games and keep me from progressing as a football player. I've addressed those things. Now I'm back and now it's time for me to get in and work with these guys."

Jordan understands he screwed up.

"I made mistakes," he said. "I'm going learn from them and move forward.

"I wish I'd had made better decisions because then I would have progressed as a player. It's life. It's mistakes that I made. Like I said, everything happens for a reason. I learned from it. I've moved forward. I'm a better person now. And now I have to work to be a better football player."

Jordan says he weighs 275 pounds now. The Dolphins have not spoken about their plans for him once he's actually recovered from his knee surgery, which he characterized as the joint being "cleaned out," but based on the weight and other factors, it's pretty clear Jordan will be at defensive end.

That's a crowded position for Miami with Andre Branch, Mario Williams, Cameron Wake and Jason Jones all ahead of Jordan. All more accomplished than Jordan. All better than Jordan so far.

On the practice field ...

It was a good day for quarterback Ryan Tannehill if deep-ball accuracy is a measure of success. He connected with DeVante Parker on a 40-yard pass down the right sideline early in team drills. Parker didn't have a ton of separation on Tony Lippett but the pass was perfect (in stride) and Parker created space at the last moment with his body.

Jarvis Landry was similarly well covered by Byron Maxwell on a nine-route down the left sideline and Tannehill laid it right in his hands in stride. But Landry dropped the ball. Still a fine pass.

Branden Albert got a veteran's day off from practice today. Rookie Laremy Tunsil took the first-team left tackle snaps.

By the way, don't tell me Tunsil can go through a practice as the starting left tackle but isn't going to be the starting left guard when the season begins. Please.

Kenny Stills had a couple of receptions in practice today. He's open a lot. He's seemingly a better player than I saw at training camp in 2015.

Sunday was the third day of training camp. Dolphins quarterbacks have still not thrown an interception. Similarly, Dolphins defensive backs have not collected an interception yet.

Speaking of DBs, the Dolphins today cut Tyler Patmon and signed Brandon Harris, formerly of the University of Miami. Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was familiar with Harris because he coached there while Harris played his 42 games for the Texans.

Arian Foster, who was activated from the PUP list today, "annihilated" the conditioning test, according to coach Adam Gase.

The Dolphins did a lot of work in their base packages today. With two receivers on the field, the Miami defense went with Isa Abdul-Quddus at safety opposite Michael Thomas today. Thomas has been in the lineup with the first team the previous couple of days and has been the slot corner in the nickel packages.

Bobby McCain, activated from PUP Saturday, practiced for the first time today and took first-team snaps at slot cornerback. McCain confirmed the reason he was on PUP the first couple of days is because he suffered cramps during his conditioning test Friday.

"I'm fine," he said. "No problems."

Cameron Wake, who took mostly second-team snaps training camp's first couple of days, worked with the first team Sunday. Jason Jones, who has been active but relegated mostly to second- and third-team work, got some first-team snaps as well.

Andre Branch, who had been with the starting unit the first couple of days, dropped back to second team. He diagnosed and blew up an end around during team drills.

Undrafted rookie free agent defensive end Farrington Huguenin had a sack.

Undrafted rookie free agent long snapper Ryan DiSalvo fired one his snaps about three yards over punter Matt Darr's head.

The Dolphins will be in full pads for the first time Monday.

Dion Jordan to NFI list; won't earn roster bonus

The Miami Dolphins are placing defensive end Dion Jordan on the Non-Football Injury list this morning, per a source.

Jordan had knee surgery prior to rejoining the team Saturday and will not be able to practice or pass his physical for 2-3 weeks.

[Update: The team has now announced this move.]

That means Jordan, who was reinstated on a conditional basis Saturday, will not earn the $1.69 million roster bonus due him Monday. The Dolphins will nonetheless continue to keep his rights.

I am told the Dolphins still have hopes Jordan is able to complete all the necessary issues relative to his conditional reinstatement, as well as making a recovery from the knee injury, and make their team. The injury does not really seal Jordan's fate one way or another.

In other news, the team activated running back Arian Foster off the physically unable to perform list.

Foster will practice today.

The team also signed former University of Miami cornerback Brandon Harris, a former second-round pick of the Houston Texans. To make room for Harris the team cut Tyler Patmon.

Don't blame this braintrust for chronic cornerback problem

My column this morning explains the mistake I believe this team made this offseason that is costing them (or should be) sleepless nights now because the cornerback position is so weak.

That's on this front office. This coaching staff. The folks running the franchise today.

But the cornerback position didn't become a chronic problem because these folks messed up. The foundation for today's problems were laid by other people who ran the franchise in the past.

Mike Tannenbaum didn't draft Jamar Taylor in the second round of the 2013 draft.

He didn't draft Will Davis in the third round of the 2013 draft.

Tannenbaum had to clean up that spill.

Adam Gase didn't have issues with Vontae Davis and his maturity and drinking. Rather than get those addressed, it was Joe Philbin who didn't have the patience or the wisdom to keep Davis. And it was Jeff Ireland who traded Davis -- who is now a Pro Bowl caliber player.

Letting Sean Smith go elsewhere in 2013 ... I wouldn't call that a mistake. Sometimes players find better deals elsewhere. But the Dolphins had a press cornerback they had drafted to play press man. And then Kevin Coyle came in as defensive coordinator and seeing that his best cornerback played press, still wanted to play off man.

None of those moves were made by this braintrust. They were simply inherited by this braintrust.

So fair is fair.

Now, this braintrust did not properly address the position this offseason from what I can see. Look, Bobby McCain returns to practice today and will be vying for the starting slot cornerback spot.

But I personally think Brice McCain, who wasn't making very much, would be better there. He played out of position all of 2015. He didn't complain about it, indeed tried to embrace it. And he failed on the outside. I don't see that as his fault. I see it as the team's fault for putting him in a position to fail.

And then the team compounded the problem by letting him go.

And I know rookie Xavien Howard will be healthy eventually. The team says by the opener. It'll be interesting to see how much he can contribute early in the season.

But it seems the Dolphins paid an abundance of attention to other positions -- such as defensive and offensive line -- while managing cornerback in bare minimum fashion.

Anyway, the team thinks there is nothing to see here. The team thinks I'm making too much of this. Gase bared his teeth at me during a press conference Saturday when I asked about the corners. (Love it).

So I'll move on to other things after today.


By the way, the Dolphins are installing a new offense. The quarterbacks are learning new things every day. But none have thrown an interception in like 300 passes thrown the first two days of training camp.

Just sayin'.


July 30, 2016

Dolphins add free agent CB Rashaan Melvin, activate McCain

The Miami Dolphins swear their cornerback situation is fine, thanks.

And so today they held cornerback tryouts, as I reported on twitter. And now they've signed cornerback Rashaan Melvin.

To make room for Melvin on the 90-man roster, the team has waived tight end Jake Stoneburner. The team also activated cornerback Bobby McCain from the physically unable to perform list.

Melvin joins the Dolphins after spending the 2015 season with the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. He played in nine games – eight for New England and one for Baltimore – and totaled five tackles (three solo) in 2015.

Melvin played in three gamess and started two for the Ravens in 2014. He originally entered the league as an undrafted college free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013 and briefly spent time on the Dolphins practice squad in 2014. Melvin played collegiately at Northern Illinois.

Melvin has had his moments, getting the starts mentioned above. He's also been victimized.

He was lit up by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a January 2015 playoff game. Melvin gave up 14 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 18 passes in his coverage in that game. New England won the game, 35-31.

McCain missed the first two days of training camp on PUP after he failed to complete his conditioning test. He completed it Saturday morning. McCain is expected to compete for the starting nickel job (slot cornerback) job with Michael Thomas.

Melvin will play outside.

The drill to address Ryan Tannehill's pocket presence

My favorite drill the Miami Dolphins are doing this training camp is perhaps the most important one relative to quarterback Ryan Tannehill that we've seen in a while.

Coach Adam Gase has installed a period for quarterback where he will take a shotgun snap, drop two steps, chop step to the right, chop step to the left, forward, backward and then throw the ball. A complementary drill has the QB dropping and moving around in what would be the pass pocket with several people around him swiping at the football in his hands.

"One, we're trying to create great habits for pocket presence," Gase said. "You try to make things as chaotic as possible so that during the game, it's just normal for them. So you're trying to create chaos as much as possible to make sure they feel that's how it could be in the game and they know how to handle it."

And I ask, what has been one of the significant critiques of Ryan Tannehill in the past?

Pocket presence. He hasn't often shown great instincts in the pocket. He hasn't often seemed to have that innate sense that trouble is coming and what to do about it, where to slide, where to throw, when to throw.

Gase has been working this drill with his QBs for years. I've never seen this drill in Miami the past four years.

If it addresses the issue that it is intended to -- ostensibly, improving Tannehill's pocket presence, this otherwise short drill could pay big dividends in 2016 and beyond.

Onto Saturday's practice ... 

Dion Jordan did not practice but Gase confirmed he is in the building. Right now Jordan is following the protocols set by the league whereby he must walk through certain steps including setting up "clinical resources in Miami" to let him move forward with practice and preseason games.

"We're allowed to have certain conversations," Gase said. "He's allowed to do certain type of things that he's allowed to be around. We're taking things very slowly.

"We're on step one of like 500."

Gase said he has "no idea" when Jordan will practice.

On the field, Miami quarterbacks had their second consecutive day without an interception. Good for them.

Reshad Jones had a fine pass breakup of a Ryan Tannehill pass and that's good because he is a Pro Bowl player. Byron Maxwell had a good pass defensed on gadget play meant to fool the defense that didn't work.

In red zone, Kenny Still caught a TD pass from Ryan Tannehill that ended practice on an upbeat note for the quarterback and receiver. Stills, by the way, has been impressive since minicamp in June. He's opened some eyes since that time and has picked up this training camp where he left off.

The shifting and experimenting continued on the offensive line today.

Dallas Thomas, who worked at starting LG the first day of training camp, was on right side both with the first and second team.

Jermon Bushrod and rookie Laremy Tunsil both got first team left guard work.

There were hiccups ...

Ndamukong Suh had an offside call.

There was a defensive holding on Byron Maxwell in red zone.

I saw two bad snaps with the backups. Ryan Tannehill and center Mike Pouncey had a flubbed center exchange that led to Tannehill picking up the ball and running with it.

Kenyon Drake fumbled once.

Cameron Wake continues to work with the second-team defense. The starting defensive ends have been Mario Williams and Andre Branch. But Wake is getting his share of work. Today the team got 30-plus minutes of individual work and Wake participated in that.

July 29, 2016

The reason Antonio Cromartie not a Dolphins possibility

If you want to know why the Miami Dolphins, obviously short on starting caliber cornerbacks with the PUP status of Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain, have so far ignored the idea of chasing free agent cornerback Antonio Cromartie, all you have to do is go back to Oct. 5, 2014.

On that day, the Denver Broncos lit up the Arizona Cardinals, 41-20.

Cromartie was on the field that day for the Cardinals and he spent the afternoon shadowing Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas. Well, trying to shadow Demaryius Thomas. Well, not really doing a very good job at all against Demaryius Thomas.

Thomas caught eight passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns.

And all but two of those catches were against Cromartie.

Cromartie was beaten on am 86-yard TD pass to Thomas.

And he was beaten on a 31-yard TD pass to Thomas.

And he was beaten on a 77-yard TD pass to Thomas that was called back due to offsetting penalties -- with one of those penalties going against Cromartie, who was flagged for holding Thomas as the receiver sped past him for the score.

It was not Cromartie's finest hour in what has otherwise been a solid career.

And what does that have to do with the Dolphins in 2016 as they look around for possible help in the backfield?

Well, the offensive coordinator for the Broncos that fateful autumn day in 2014 was Adam Gase. And Gase is now the Dolphins' head coach.

And I am told that while Gase respects Cromartie, he also remembers that day. And he isn't eager to have someone else have a similar day against the Dolphins if Cromartie were to be signed and handed a Miami uniform.

So if Cromartie were to ever be a Dolphins player it would require Gase to lose his memory or his mind altogether. It would require the Dolphins being down to plucking folks out of the stands at their Davie training facility to play cornerback. It would require a major shift for the Dolphins high up in the organization ...

Starting with the head coach.

Newsy morning at Miami Dolphins camp

Lots of news this morning.

The Dolphins have five players on the physically unable to perform list and Dion Jordan has been reinstated. Oh, yes, and owner Stephen Ross expects the Dolphins to be in the playoffs this year. And the stadium will be ready in time for the final preseason game Sept. 1, the owner said.

And those revelations all came before the Dolphins got through the first hour of practice this morning.


The team placed running backs Damien Williams and Arian Foster, cornerbacks Bobby McCain and Xavien Howard, and linebacker Zach Vigil on PUP.

The players can come off PUP at any time in the preseason to begin practicing. I'm told McCain will likely be back in a couple of days. It is not a long-term issue.

Williams is out of shape and coach Adam Gase is not pleased with him because, I'm told, the player was out of shape a month ago and he remains that way. The coach would not disclose that Williams is out of shape but when asked if all players passed the conditioning test, he answered, "maybe not."

Howard, who is expected back for the regular-season opener, is the most serious in terms of time he's about to miss.

Jordan was today reinstated by the NFL on a conditional basis. He can join the Dolphins as soon as Saturday and participate in team meetings, conditioning work and similar activities. He cannot practice or play in game until "arrangements have been confirmed regarding [his] clinical resources in Miami," the NFL said.

Prior to the start of the regular season, Jordan will meet with the NFL to review his progress and based on his compliance and engagement with his program, he will be permitted to participate in regular season activities, including games, beginning with Week 1.

He will evaluated (again) later in the season for full reinstatement.

Jordan had been suspended indefinitely since April 2015.

Gase has studied Jordan but said, "I haven't met him." He did not get into specifics about where Jordan will play -- defensive end or strongside linebacker. He didn't get into specifics about when Jordan will join the team, although the assumption is Saturday.

This much is certain: Jordan must play special teams to make this team.

Owner Ross talked to the media before practice. He was feeling good as he often is this time of year. But this year, aside from showing his usual optimism about the coming season, he had news about his stadium improvement project.

“At 11:30, I’m signing the last piece of steel that’s going up, and you’re all invited to see the stadium," Ross said. "I’ve been on a phone call every day at 4:30 (p.m.) since January and really pushing it, using our people in New York to push it. I think what we’ve done is probably unprecedented – to put a roof on top of a stadium. When you go out there and you see it, it’s kind of amazing. I would encourage you to see it, because when it’s up and it’s all done, people will say, ‘Hey, that was easy.’ 

"I’ve built over $20 billion worth of projects and this is the most complex – basically because you’re putting such a large structure in place in such a short period of time – and there’s no way you can be late. There’s no alternative. I know we will be playing September 1 there."

Ross was asked again if he is concerned work on the stadium will cause problem for the opening Sept. 1.

"Let’s put it this way, I’ve had those worries. I’ve been living with them. I don’t feel them today and there is no backup plan.”

Ross told me the project will come in at around $500 million. A totally brand new stadium would cost between $1 and $1.2 billion he said.

On the field ...

Dallas Thomas took all the first-team reps at left guard. First-round pick Laremy Tunsil took second team snaps at left guard and left tackle.

During special teams drills, rookie Jakeem Grant looked great. He is quick and practically impossible to get hold of in space. But ...

Remember, today was not a padded practice. The NFL does not allow pads to go on until the third day of camp. We'll see about Grant, 5-7 and 172 pounds, when the work gets more physical. The Dolphins will be in full pads Monday.

Tony Lippett took all the first-team cornerback reps with Byron Maxwell at the other cornerback.

In base defense, Michael Thomas was at one starting safety with Reshad Jones. In the nickel, Thomas moved to slot cornerback, for the absent Bobby McCain, and Isa Abdul-Quddus played at safety. 

July 28, 2016

Dion Jordan owes Dolphins more than they would owe him

The Dion Jordan watch continues today, with the NFL due to make a decision whether or not to reinstate the Miami Dolphins defensive end after a one-year ban by Monday, Aug. 1.

Obviously, because the Dolphins open training camp Friday (July 29), the team and the player would like direction on which way this is going sooner rather than later. All parties, I'm told, are hopeful a decision will come down today or Friday and certainly by Monday.

If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't decide by Monday, it supposedly calls into question a roster bonus clause in Jordan's deal.

That clause calls for the Dolphins to pay Jordan a $1.69 million bonus to keep him. Otherwise they have to cut ties somehow.

Well, multiple reports are saying that bonus is moot. One report said it is no longer owed. That is not factually true. The Dolphins would still owe it. Another report said it is no longer guaranteed. That is more vague and closer to the truth.

What I am hearing from a source is that the Dolphins do indeed have that clause hanging over their head.

But I am also hearing that Jordan has a responsibility for having to return $3.35 million in signing bonus money he got as the No. 3 overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft. Jordan has to return that portion of his singing bonus based on his multiple suspensions. And, I'm told, that money has not been fully returned yet.

And so, as the player owes the team nearly twice what he would be owed as a roster bonus, in actuality he's not getting a dime of that bonus because he owes the team more than they would owe him. The Dolphins are going to keep him on the roster anyway.

So that big decision on the fifth day of training camp has already been made, as far as the Dolphins are concerned. If he's reinstated today or by Friday, he will be on the roster until such time that 1. He makes the team. 2 He doesn't make the team and is cut. 3. He is traded.

With Jordan, all three are possible. But none of the three would likely be forced by a roster bonus payment that isn't actually going to involve a payment of money to the player.

July 26, 2016

EVERYTHING Adam Gase told the media Tuesday

So Adam Gase, engaging and not quite as tight as we've seen some past Miami Dolphins coaches, welcomed the media at the team's main meeting room Tuesday, days ahead of the opening of training camp.

He addressed issues about Arian Foster, Ryan Tannehill, Tony Lippett, and others. Here is everything he said:

(Opening statement) – “I’m going to hit you with a couple roster updates here. Obviously, you guys know we signed Arian Foster. (I am) not sure how many days ago it was, probably last week. Xavien Howard will start the preseason on PUP. He was injured on the last day of minicamp. We had to scope a knee, and he will be out for a little bit. We expect him, at worst, to be back by the first regular season game. He has been working hard trying to work his way back.”

(On who he anticipates being the starting cornerback) – “Tony (Lippett) has been starting the entire time anyway. We’ve been rotating those two guys (Howard and Lippett) in and out. Tony is just going to keep working at that spot right now.”

(On RB Arian Foster joining the running back competition) – “I think it adds great competition to that group. I really like his skill set. I’ve been an admirer of his for… I don’t even know how long he has been playing. It just feels like forever. (It is) a great opportunity for us (with) him still being out there. We had been in conversations with him for a while. We had brought him in on a visit. We had a really good talk and allowed him to get healthy and work to get back. It’ll be interesting when we get him out there and see how he fits in.”

(On determining how the running backs divide their reps) – “It usually sorts itself out. It’s hard to predict anything as far as going into the regular season. I know in practice, (Running Backs Coach) Danny (Barrett) does a great job as far as making sure everybody is getting the right type of reps, whether it be routes, outside zone, inside zone, gap scheme-type plays, protections. That’s the beauty about what our position coaches are doing to where they’re keeping track of what their guys have been doing in practice and then they can adjust. They see it on the (practice) script and know, ‘I need them to get these two outside zone runs, because he hasn’t had that many.’”

(On RB Arian Foster’s route running ability) – “I’ve always been a fan of how he does things. He’s the type of guy that he can run his route tree similar to what a wide receiver’s is. When we worked him out, I put him in a couple spots to see how that looked. He runs about as smooth as any running back that I’ve ever seen. I’ll be interested to see how far we can grow the running back position with him.”

(On whether he has spoken to RB Kenyan Drake about his route running skills) – “No, because I haven’t seen anybody. We’ve been here just a couple days now and there’s not a whole bunch of players hanging out here, obviously, especially four days before they’re going to report. Everybody is trying to get that last couple days to stay away.

(On the emotions of his first training camp as a head coach) – “It’s no different for me. It feels like what it has always been. I haven’t really given it much thought. I just know that as a staff, we’re trying to get ready right now, and we know we got meetings coming up here real quick on Thursday and then we got practice on Friday. There’s just not a lot of time to waste. Training camp is going to go by fast and we’re going to be at our first preseason game before we know it.”

(On RB Arian Foster’s health) – “I have a lot of faith in our training staff and our strength and conditioning (staff), our sport science (staff). We spent a lot of time with him on two different visits. We’re going to see how this all plays out. That’s the thing. Right now, we still have to get everybody here, have our trainers reassess everything – have our sport science guys reassess everything – when you have a conditioning test. Not only him (Arian Foster), but our entire roster, to make sure, ‘Are we completely healthy? Is there anybody else that we actually have to put on PUP?’ Right now, it’s a gray area for us. We feel like we’re fairly healthy, but you’ve seen a couple things pop up from other teams to where you get a little bit surprised. We just got to make sure before we declare, ‘We only got one guy on PUP.’ We got to make sure we get everybody in the building first.”

(On determining veterans’ practice time) – “We’ve had some discussions about what’s the best way to handle some of our guys (by) looking at our schedule and the days off and when you have a preseason game. It’s almost like you count back to try to figure out, ‘Alright, what’s the smart thing to do.” (You) develop a plan and you head into Thursday and Friday and you start saying, ‘Okay, how many days in a row should we go? How many reps should guys get?’ The good thing is, it feels like you got so many people that are really good at their job that can give you a heads up of, ‘Here’s what we need to do. He’s how many reps Cam (Wake) needs.’ As long as our sports science people keep doing a great job – (Sports Performance Director) Wayne (Diesel) and his staff – as far as giving myself and the coordinators a heads up, I think we’re going to do a good job of taking care of these guys in training camp.”

(On what he expects WR DeVante Parker) – “Well I haven’t seen him in five weeks. I’m hoping that when he comes back, he does a really good job on his conditioning tests and then he’s ready to go because as far as I know, we shouldn’t have any limitations and we should be able (to be) full go right out the gate.”

(On if he plans on G/T Laremy Tunsil to start training camp with the second team like he did in OTAs) – “I would say right now when (Offensive Line Coach) Chris (Forester), whoever he trots out that first day, that’s whoever’s out there for that group. I don’t even know. I haven’t even talked about it yet. They’re going to switch lineups around. He might be on the second team that very first period and then two periods later he might be with the first team. I mean we’ll see. We still got a couple of days to sort all that all out.”

(On if there’s a point in preseason he would like to have his starting lineup set) – “You just got to kind of see how this thing comes together. I just keep thinking back a couple of years ago in 2014, I think it was Week 11, against (the Dolphins). We changed the whole offensive line and played six or seven games and (were) one of the top teams in rushing, and we changed (the starting offensive line) in mid-season. So I mean it’s really, it’s irrelevant as far as how fast we need to be declaring a starting lineup.”

(On if they’ll see one on one’s with the wide receivers and defensive back matchups and why they didn’t have any in OTAs) – “Well you can’t do it in OTA’s. So this is the best time because once you get into training camp, when we get in full pads, now you’re going to see more one on one’s – whether it be linebackers, safeties, running backs, wide receivers versus DBs, o-line, d-line. You’re going to get to see it here in the next few days.”

(On what kind of stories he’s heard about the training camp weather) – “I mean it depends who you talk to. I’m a little disappointed to be honest with you. Baton Rouge is way hotter than it is down here. So if I hear anybody complain about weather, I’m going to be severely disappointed.”

(On how different he thinks the weather will be from where he’s been) – “I mean it’s going to be different than Denver and obviously it’s going to be different than Chicago. I mean it is what it is. I mean weather – it’s hot, cold – it shouldn’t matter to our players.”

(On if he sees the hot weather as an advantage) – “I do. Because if you’re training in the heat, I mean it’s an advantage for us.”

(On if he likes to run a physical camp or will take it easy with the veterans and injury concerns) – “We still got 35 guys under 25. So it’s not going to be a cupcake. We’re here to work. I mean we need to get better. We were 6-10 last year. I mean the team up in New England has won the division like 13 out of 16 years. We got a lot of work (to do).”

(On a determination of what role DE Dion Jordan might play) – “I mean until somebody tells me that he’s reinstated, I got nothing to add to that.”

(On if he has any timetable from the league on a reinstatement decision about DE Dion Jordan) – “I haven’t heard anything from the league.”

(On what the main thing he wants to get done in training camp) – “Probably just to see where our mental toughness is. What are we going to do when it gets tough? Because it’s going to be tough in camp. There’s not going to be any special treatment. We’re going to work and we’re going to make it hard and we’re going to see – when it really gets tough – who’s going to rise to the top and who’s going to fall off.”

(On his vision of the rotation at defensive line and DE Cameron Wake’s role in that rotation) – “I mean we’re going to be smart with him. I mean we know what the end goal is with him and that’s to make sure that he plays 16-plus games this year. I know the d-line coaches will do a great job as far as rotating those guys in and out. Once again the sports science staff, the strength staff and the trainers will make sure our guys are on it as far as ‘Hey, we only want him to take this many reps this day.’ The hardest thing is the individual (drills). We have a long, long time frame there with individual (drills) and it’s harder to keep track for the assistant coaches because you really don’t keep track of those reps. It’s easy to go on a script and if you have a 12-play period saying ‘He’s getting two reps this period.’ But when you’re in individual and you’re going 20, 25 minutes, it’s like how many reps did he get? So that’s where out sports science guys will tell us ‘Hey, you got to cut back on the individual,’ and the goal is to make sure that he’s healthy the entire year.”

(On if he thinks at some point there will be diminishing returns if DT Ndamukong Suh is out on the field 90 to 95 percent of the game) – “I don’t. I want him to do his thing. That’s why he trains the way he does in the offseason.”

(On if he has spoken to QB Ryan Tannehill since he became a new father) – “I haven’t seen him. I got a text saying that happened the other day. After that, it was just ‘Congratulations, I’m glad everybody is doing well.’ I haven’t really spoken to him since.”

(On if he is looking more at the physical or mental side of QB Ryan Tannehill’s game during the first week of training camp) – “I hate to … Really both. I’m thinking that mentally I’m not going to be really worried about anything. He’s showed me that he can handle what we’re doing and he’s ready to go. It’s going to be about how fast the rest of the guys can hang with him and we’re looking to make some great strides in this camp. It’s going to be competitive just because I feel like our defense is a tough defense to go against – that attacking style – and the way our corners play, the way the DBs play and then how that front rushes. It should be a good battle between offense and defense.”

(On how much he worries about chemistry with QB Ryan Tannehill and his receivers) – “The good thing about it is we’re starting over. We’ve got this camp and hopefully we’ll stay as healthy as we can all through camp so we can develop that chemistry. The good part was I felt that Kenny (Stills) staying healthy the entire spring and same thing with Jarvis (Landry), I felt like there was something there. I really thought that Kenny came on there during the back half of the OTAs and minicamp and is one of those guys where he feels really comfortable and hopefully he can carry that over to training camp. The longer we can keep DeVante (Parker) out there and keep developing the timing with the routes and just hooking it up. I feel like there is a little natural chemistry out there (with Parker and Tannehill). Even the one day (Parker) shows up (to practice), he catches three or four balls and I’m not really sure… it was just kind of like street ball almost. So I feel like there’s just something there naturally between those two.”

(On adjusting to having a young team and how it compares to other young teams he has coached) – “It’s pretty young. I’d say maybe Denver (Broncos) in 2011 might have been as close to as young. That was like the (Tim) Tebow, Von Miller, all those guys were really young.  That was probably the youngest team that I was around. For the most part, this is probably one of the younger ones that I’ve been a part of. The good thing is we’re not going to have a lot of guys sitting out of practice because of age. That’s the good part.”

(On how good of a grasp Ryan Tannehill has on the offensive scheme) – “I have no concerns. He has picked it up as well as I’ve expected and I’m sure he has been working hard the last five weeks to make sure that there is nothing he doesn’t know.”

(On how much the offense has been installed) – “The biggest part about what we do to get a lot of the terms in front of them and then it just becomes an adjustment from here.  Everything is week to week. Once we get going in camp, we will kind of get an install going and then we’ll start game planning against the defense.  The more (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) starts tinkering with what they do, I will only do like three or four installs and then it just becomes a daily … like ‘Hey, this is what they got us with last time and here is how we’re going to beat this,’ and we will start just changing it up.”

(On the contact in training camp and how he balances the evaluation of assignments and the physical part of blocking in the trenches) – “For us on the assignments, I feel good after watching all of the spring stuff.  I felt like our line on the offensive side and the defensive side both… You feel good about the assignments as far as going into camp. Now with the physical part added, is the constant contact going to throw you off as far as… Now are you trying too hard to go out and smoke a guy and now you don’t do your job correctly? It’s a long evaluation. That’s why you have all of these practices. You just got to keep paying attention and figure out who are the guys that can handle the physical part plus the mental part.”

(On the depth at cornerback without CB Xavien Howard to start camp) – It is what it is right now.  He (Howard) is not going to be there and it gives a bunch of guys a chance to step up and see who wants to try to make this team. We will see how it turns out. I’m interested to see how it plays out.  I think it’s great for Tony (Lippett). It’s more reps for him and it’s going to be more reps for somebody else that gets a chance to step into that role.

(On CB Tony Lippett’s development this spring) – I thought he did a good job. (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) and I were talking about it the other day. As the spring went on, we saw him getting more comfortable and he did a good job. He had a couple of picks there towards the back half. It seemed like he did a good job of even when the ball was popped up in the air, he gets his hands on it. He does a good job of making sure that he comes down with the ball when he does get his hands on it. We are seeing improvement – the fact that he is long and can get at the line of scrimmage and press. We just need guys to be able to hang in there for a short period of time. That’s why I love our pass rush, because that thing is coming.”

(On if CB Xavien Howard’s absence affects where CB Bobby McCain will play) – “No, we are not going to mess with what Bobby (McCain) is doing. We need Bobby to keep working on his craft right now and I’m sure he will get plenty of time to work on anything outside; but we want him to focus on his roll of staying inside and developing that craft.”

(On the depth of players behind CB Bobby McCain) – “We are just going to keep working on it. We are going to keep throwing different guys in there. I know there are a lot of guys that are itching to try to compete at that position so we are going to try as many guys as we can. Obviously in this division, there are some guys that can play the slot and we need some guys that can handle it so we are going to keep trying to find out who is the best guy in there. I felt like Bobby (McCain) did a great job and he got better as the spring went along I know our offense is similar to some of the teams we play in our division and he has seen a lot of those routes that he is going to see in the season and he did a good job of covering (them). Obviously the guy that he is going against every day in practice is pretty good. ”

(On RB Arian Foster’s reps) – “The good thing with signing a guy like this late, is that he has been around football long enough that he knows and understands the football scheme, it’s just the terminology. He just has to make that switch in his brain, which I have no doubt he will be able to do. He is a very smart guy. It’s going to be about what are the smart reps to get with him. How many more times do we need to see Arian Foster run outside zone? I mean he has done it pretty good over his career. I want to see maybe certain things that he hasn’t done a whole bunch of. Or how do we use him in certain areas in the passing game so we can get him some experience there?  We will just be smart with how we do it because we have a decent size group of running backs and we need to get all of those guys reps.”

(On RB Kenyan Drake’s health) – He is good. He should be good. Obviously we are going to find out here in the next couple of days; but as far as I know, when he left here after rehabbing, he was in good shape.  We will see after the conditioning test and after our guys look at him where he is at.”

(On how physical he wants the players to be when pads are on) – “Time will tell. I’m interested to see it myself.  If I look historically at each individual guy, I feel good about it.  But it’s about everybody being on the same page and being able to practice correctly and understanding what type of expectations we have as how physical we want to be.”

Injury to land Xavien Howard on PUP

Rookie cornerback Xavien Howard will miss the start of Miami Dolphins training camp on Friday as he recovers from surgery to repair minor damage to a knee, a source tells The Miami Herald.

Howard, the team's second-round pick in the last draft, suffered the injury on the final day of mandatory minicamp in June. He is expected to be ready to begin practicing later in the preseason. He will be placed on the preseason physically unable to perform list initially until he is healthy enough to pass a physical and begin on-field work.

The injury, which is not considered serious, is nonetheless a setback because Howard is expected to compete for the starting job at cornerback.

This means second-year veteran Tony Lippett, who worked with the first team defense much of the offseason, will be the starting cornerback opposite Byron Maxwell at the start of camp and will obviously have a significant advantage in the competition for the position as Howard misses time.

[Update: Dolphins coach Adam Gase told reporters today the surgery was an arthroscopy and Howard "should be" ready for the regular-season opener.]

The 2016 Miami Dolphins: No one should feel entitled

The Miami Dolphins were 6-10 in 2015.

Let me repeat that. 6-10. They were last in the AFC East. They were 1-5 in their six division games. They were not what anyone expected or wanted.

And so as we head into this 2016 season with hope and a new coach, who I believe deserves your respect and a fair amount of time to prove his worth, I say we have to keep things in perspective.

I say we have to tell the Dolphins they are entitled to our attention.

And nothing more.


Because this team should not feel entitled on any front beyond that. FDR and modern day socialists would hate me, but no entitlements for the Dolphins. None. Zero.

Work for it.

Earn it.

Prove it.

But no entitlements.

This team has not earned our confidence yet. This team hasn't earned the respect of any other NFL team yet. This team hasn't earned anything yet.

You know why?

It hasn't done anything yet. It hasn't won anything yet.

You know why I feel this way? Because the Dolphins are going to open their 2016 training camp on Friday and they will feel this way. Players who report later this week will get the message from the coaching staff that they haven't earned squat.

The earning begins Friday morning with the first practice. That's the message I'm hearing coaches will deliver.

And this applies to the team as a whole. And to players individually.

First round draft pick Laremy Tunsil, for example, has earned nothing. He was the apple of the personnel department's eyes on draft day. The coaching staff loves his potential and possibilities. And he will be the team's starting left guard when the regular season begins if things go according to plans.

But between now and the start of that regular season, Tunsil is going to have to sweat and bleed and hurt and prove he is the best left guard on the team. He is going to have to earn his place. It will not be handed to him. He has not been anointed by anyone. In fact, coaches are going to try to make it a little tougher on him on purpose so there is no question when he starts.

So work for it, rookie.


Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones spent much of the offseason wanting a pay raise. He was uncomfortable that he has only moderate security beyond this year and if he gets injured this year he really has very little security. And I get it. He has a point. 

But the Dolphins, who love Jones, have told him in no uncertain terms that if he wants a big raise, he has to go earn it. He has to play so well as to get that defense in the Top 10 or Top 5 and get the team in the playoffs.

At least get them over .500.

Because no matter how good, safeties on 6-10 teams don't usually get a big pay increase two years before their contract expires.

That's the message. 

Arian Foster has been a bona fide Pro Bowl running back in the past and thinks he can be again. Well, prove it, sir. You are new to this team and this town. What happened in Houston stays in Houston. This team isn't about what happened in Houston. Time to make it work in Miami.

Mike Pouncey has been the leader of the Dolphins offensive line for 2-3 years now. But, um, this is a new year. This is a new line -- perhaps the best the Dolphins have had in a long time. Don't talk about leading this line. Be about leading this offensive line.

Ryan Tannehill, everyone has an opinion about you. Some think you're pretty good because you've thrown for 15,460 yards your first four seasons and that's a stone's throw from Peyton Manning (16,418) and Dan Marino (16,177).

But yards notwithstanding that doesn't put you in the same company as Manning and Marino. And you won't be in their company, no matter how many times you visit with them, until you get a team in the playoffs.

Indeed, Ryan Tannehill, get a team over .500.

Win. Do it.

Then people will stop looking at you sideways.

I don't know anyone on the Dolphins who can walk around feeling like they are entitled. The coaches haven't won a game together. The players haven't been to the playoffs together. The franchise is in one of its longest postseason droughts ever.

So if ever a team should embrace hard work and a lunch-pail approach to training camp, it is these Miami Dolphins.

By the way, anyone who believes this isn't the case or shouldn't be the case should speak to new coach Adam Gase. Someone recently asked him how it feels to have arrived as a hotshot 38-year-old NFL head coach.

"I haven't won anything yet," he said.

The 2016 Miami Dolphins.

No one feeling entitled. 

July 25, 2016

Congrats! Ryan Tannehill a new daddy

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his wife Lauren have welcomed their first child and perhaps a future quarterback into the family.

The couple had a boy on Sunday.

Mother and child are doing well.

And so congratulations to the couple for the arrival and their excellent timing.

The Dolphins open training camp on Friday, with their first practice in the morning. Tannehill, the team's starting quarterback, might be a little sleep deprived by then, but he is expected at practice.

Interestingly, young Tannehill's birthdate is July 24, dad's birthdate is July 27 and mom's birthdate is July 28.

Back at work: Miami Dolphins camp on the horizon

Miami Dolphins coaches report back to work Monday morning after getting vacation time the past few weeks.

(They ain't the only ones, if you know what I mean).

With this return to business and the beginning of training camp on Friday, I must announce that the preparation for the Dolphins' 51st season is upon us. And that's a good thing because, here comes my first prediction of 2016, this is going to be a much better season than 2015.

The 2015 season was supposed to be a grand celebration. It was supposed to be about a golden anniversary, a return to relevance and perhaps even a return to the playoffs. You'll remember there was talk of going for a championship at this time last year.

Didn't quite turn out that way.

The Dolphins stumbled out of the gate, played with no urgency, got their head coach fired, got their defensive coordinator fired, eventually got their offensive coordinator fired, and at the end of a lost year got a bunch of players fired.

So what about the new coaches, new players, and new team?

I like the possibilities.

I think Adam Gase, who comes with a reputation as an offense wiz, is going to prove to be a royal pain in the butt ... for the defensive minded coaches of the AFC East -- Buffalo's Rex Ryan, New York's Todd Bowles, and New England's Bill Belichick.

I've been told Gase is going to be aggressive. "Queasy" is not in his vocabulary. I've been told he wants to prove a point that the Dolphins are done being the division floor mats they were in '15. I've been told this supremely confident young coach is going to deliver a message to his players verbally and by his actions during training camp that everyone must sell out or they won't be part of this team.

That's good. That also sounds kind of like crazy stuff is about to ensue.

Of course, the Dolphins could use crazy stuff because fans have had their fill of the sometimes lifeless, urgency lacking Dolphins we've seen the past three or so years.

There are some pre-camp issues that face these Dolphins prior to Friday's camp opening. Among those:

Will Dion Jordan get his suspension lifted by the NFL in time for training camp?

The team hopes to hear something this week but has no concrete indication which direction that will go. This much is certain: Even if Jordan is activated and returns to the team for the start of camp, it will be hard for him to stick around. He must prove he is worthy of a spot on the team and must do so almost instantly because the Dolphins must pay him a $1,690,209 bonus if he is on the roster the fifth day of training camp.

Giving Jordan that bonus is not a slam dunk. And the only way the Dolphins avoid paying that bonus is by cutting or trading Jordan before the fifth day of camp. So those are distinct possibilities.

There is disagreement within the organization whether Jordan deserves that bonus after serving a one-year (so far) suspension for violating the NFL's substances of abuse policy.

There are those within the organization that see Jordan for his potential and athletic abilities if all goes well. But there are those who have taken a much more dim view of Jordan, seeing him as someone who has as many sacks (3) as drug suspensions (3) since he was drafted with the third overall selection in 2013.

And while the former group believes there's nothing to lose in paying Jordan, because he could almost certainly be a good special teams contributor, the latter group simply has not been convinced by anything Jordan put on tape during his time active that would merit giving him any money, much less a guaranteed bonus.

So a hard decision by the team is coming even if Jordan is activated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

(Note: The Dolphins did try to trade Jordan before, most notably to Chip Kelly in Philadelphia early in 2015. Kelly coached Jordan at Oregon and is now the San Francisco 49ers coach. Jordan worked out in San Francisco much of the past few months as he prepared for his NFL return. And 49ers CEO Jed York happened to work out at the same facility as Jordan. Not saying any dubious communications happened during Jordan's suspension but if a team were to be interested in Jordan, the 49ers could be atop the list.)

PUP players at the start of camp...

The Dolphins have several players whose health status merits scrutiny prior to the start of training camp.

Will running back Arian Foster and defensive end Cameron Wake be full go at the start of camp?

Wake worked in the offseason camps, mandatory camp and the conditioning program. But training camp practices once the pads come on are a different issue. So while he might not be on preseason PUP, the team will definitely be cautious with the defensive end.

Foster only recently was cleared to run and cut but doing that and being 100 percent ready for work in pads is another matter. He's a PUP possibility.

Defensive lineman Jason Jones and wide receiver DeVante Parker also missed significant portions of the offseason nursing assorted injuries so their status early on will be interesting to monitor.

Is everybody happy? 

The Dolphins cleared the contract issue cloud with Wake and Reshad Jones this offseason in different ways.

The team wanted to give Wake something of a contract haircut and did just that after trying several times to do so. Jones wanted a raise from the Dolphins and failed to get it after declining to be part of the voluntary offseason program and the first day of mandatory minicamp.

So Wake is good.

Is Jones?

He wanted more money. Will that linger?

There is also the idea that receiver Jarvis Landry, fresh off his first Pro Bowl, also will want a new contract before the start of the 2017 season -- the final year of his rookie deal. Will those talks begin in earnest this year or will both parties defer that until after 2016.

My guess is some work will begin on that sooner rather than later this season.


This is an interesting team, folks.

There are a lot of interesting personalities on it.

Arian Foster is ... interesting.

Ndamukong Suh is ... interesting.

Mario Williams is ... interesting.

Ryan Tannehill is ... interesting.

There is nothing wrong with interesting. But interesting can lead to uncomfortable situations when not properly managed.

Training camp is a time for individuals who are loners, who are eccentric, who are sensitive, who are more concerned with themselves, to be brought into the greater whole. Training camp is a time when new guys -- and the Dolphins have 46 of them -- must bond with the coaches and their new teammates.

It is not an easy assignment.

It all begins Friday.