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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. 


### 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.