Some Monday tidbits:
### Joe Philbin made clear this past week that while he likes Lamar Miller and that he has all the skills to thrive as an NFL back, Philbin is pushing him for more.
There's a good chance Miller could go from starter to backup with the addition of Knowshon Moreno.
“We want to see him make more explosive runs here and there," Philbin said of Miller. "His pass protection improved but there’s still room for development there. He can do all three things a running back needs to do -- he has good running skills, he can pass protect, he can catch the football. We thought Lamar played well."
But… “We’ve got to break more tackles. I may have been guilty of overcoaching, harping on the ball security issue. He really did a good job of that. At some point, running backs need to break tackles. It’s not that he didn’t break any. But he’s got to break some more. There is room that we could potentially utilize him more [as a pass receiver]. He has good natural hands, good speed.”
Moreno figures to be the back who catches the majority of passes among the team's running backs. Miller will compete with Moreno for the starting job, but Moreno enters as the favorite.
### Why has the run defense gotten worse over the past two years?
Here was Philbin's explanation: “They’re not magical things. But at times, the gap soundness was compromised. There are some missed tackle that led to explosive runs. That’s been a culprit. It’s been more an issue of fundamentals, technique, staying within the scheme, making sure we’re all tied together.”
Philbin and Dennis Hickey didn't say it, but it's obvious, as we have stated, that the move from Karlos Dansby/Kevin Burnett to Dannell Ellerbe/Phillip Wheeler made the Dolphins worse against the run.
And unfortunately, the Dolphins did not pursue the top run-stopping linebackers in free agency (Brandon Spikes, Jon Beason, Darryl Sharpton). They made an offer to D'Qwell Jackson, who graded out below average against the run, but he opted for the Colts.
### Queried by Bay Area reporters, Philbin said he wishes San Francisco-bound Jonathan Martin “the best. I hope his career goes in a positive direction. Jonathan came into work every single day and worked his butt off.”
### Philbin said Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson are progressing well in their recovery from significant knee injuries and both are expected back for training camp.
### Philbin didn’t sound like the Dolphins are determined to have a natural fullback on the roster. “Priority wise, it’s not at the top of our list.”
### According to Newsday out of New York, former Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson is visiting the Jets today.
### The Heat says Dwyane Wade (hamstring), Greg Oden (back) and Ray Allen (stomach virus) are all doubtful for tonight's game against Toronto. Mario Chalmers (thigh bruise) was able to complete practice this morning and is a game-time decision.
### The Heat can pull even with Indiana for the top seed in the conference if Miami wins tonight and if the Pacers lose at home against San Antonio.
### Though UM scored six touchdowns in Saturday's scrimmage (which was closed to the public and media), keep in mind that four of them came on red-zone drills inside the 10-yard line.
But the defense was victimized by a length-of-field drive engineered by Ryan Williams and culminating in a touchdown run by Walter Tucker. The UM defense was without a key piece (Olsen Pierre) as well as without (obviously) key summer arrivals Michael Wyche and Chad Thomas, among others.
### Though linebacker remains a concern, we hear Alex Figueroa has had a good spring; Denzel Perryman has played well in his move back to middle linebacker; and Jermaine Grace has made strides. UM wants to forge a role for Grace on defense, potentially on third down. What's more, early arrival Darrion Owens had two sacks Saturday and has made a strong early impression. And Al Golden said Raphael Kirby was the best of the linebackers in Saturday's scrimmage.
### The Marlins' batting order for their opener tonight against Colorado, barring a last-minute change by Mike Redmond: 1) Christian Yelich; 2) Jeff Baker; 3) Giancarlo Stanton; 4) Casey McGehee; 5) Garrett Jones; 6) Jarrod Saltalamacchia; 7) Marcell Ozuna; 8) Adeiny Hechavarria; 9) Jose Fernandez.
Please see the last post for more Dolphins, Heat, Canes and Marlins notes.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz