A six-pack of notes on a Wednesday night:
### In the last post, we mentioned disconcerting issues that were raised about the dynamics in last year’s Dolphins receiver room.
New Dolphin Greg Jennings, appearing tonight on the team's Finsiders.com radio show on WINZ-940, said he likes what he has seen so far from this receivers group in terms of how everyone interacts.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I love the dynamic. I love the room. Everyone kind of gravitates to me a little bit, but I gravitate to them as well. It’s been a great mesh from the get-go.”
Jennings said he “had to listen to [Joe Philbin] every day as an offensive coordinator” when they were together in Green Bay. “Now you don’t hear the head coach often,” Jennings said. “He’s a tremendous human being.”
Jennings said coming to the Dolphins simply “felt right.”
His impression of Bill Lazor’s offense?
“His focus is to get the ball in the end zone. He doesn’t care who does it, how we do it. Often times, offensive coordinators try to make sure everyone is satisfied. Everyone has that to a degree. When you get so consumed with that, it kind of takes away from the play calling. He’s one that is just going to call the plays, whoever makes the plays makes the plays… You love that approach.”
Jennings likes the confidence that DeVante Parker shows in catching the ball and said Ryan Tannehill, from what he was witnessed so far, “is going to be a great asset to this organization…. He definitely works hard. He’s one of those guys that is going to lead by example. It doesn’t look like he says a whole lot but he speaks up when the time is needed for him to speak up. That’s what you need in a quarterback.”
### A few thoughts from GM Dennis Hickey, also appearing on the Finsiders:
Of the new receivers, Hickey said it was “important to bring in guys that are quarterback friendly” and said among the things impressive about DeVante Parker is he “catches everything away from his body.”…
He said running back Jay Ajayi “made a really positive first impression” last week… On safety Cedric Thompson, Hickey praised “the makeup, the strong character.” He’s a “leader but a playmaker, too.”… He credited recently retired scout Ron Labadie “for being on top of [Tony] Lippett” --- and having a handle on his ability to transition to cornerback….
The Dolphins signed only one player who tried out for them last weekend, Northern Illinois 6-8 tight Tim Semisch:
“You see the length, you see the catching radius,” Hickey said. “Smooth athlete. Tim caught our eye with some of his work on special teams. We really like what he brought….Several other guys had really good performances. Those guys we’ll continue to track.”
### According to spotrac.com, the Dolphins have $8.2 million in cap space after signing their draft class.
That leaves enough room to add another guard and/or linebacker if a player becomes available that Miami likes. The Dolphins haven’t pursued Philadelphia guard Evan Mathis, who reportedly is on the trade block.
The Dolphins did not pursue former cornerback Kyle Arrington, who signed with Baltimore today after the Patriots released him Monday.
### In the last post, we mentioned the insights that former Dolphins receiver Chris Chambers gleaned about the team’s receivers when he served as a volunteer assistant coach last summer, and why he believes this receiver group ultimately will be better.
I visited Chambers last week at his Davie fitness center, “The Chamber,” and was impressed.
The sprawling 8000-square foot facility --- which opened in August 2012 and has a key sponsorship from 411 PAIN --- serves a lot of people: adults who want a gym where they can work out on state-of-the-art equipment or participate in assorted classes (such as boxing or a 6 a.m. weekend boot camp); students (ages 10 to 16 are the biggest clientele); people looking for physical therapy or massage therapy; and pro athletes, including Michael Vick and tennis’ Sloane Stephens, the No. 42 ranked women’s player.
Chambers also teaches a football class for youths on Saturdays and visits local high schools (including Mater Academy and Belen) “to set up their weight room and organize their strength program.”
Additionally, Chambers and several other former Dolphins, including Sam Madison, L.J. Shelton and Lousaka Polite, coach football players who are looking to break into the NFL or veteran free agents who want to stay in top condition.
Chambers trained FSU receiver Rashad Greene and several other draft prospects at the facility in recent months.
“Sam said, ‘I’m going to teach you technique right now so when you go the camp, the coach isn’t going to have worry about your technique,’” Chambers said. “You’ll be learning other things. Our approach is to give them NFL-readiness.”
Besides training them, Chambers also tries to help them find NFL jobs, in conjunction with their agents. He has been been successful helping several land NFL contracts, including Bears corner Al Louis Jean.
“I have all the GMs, pro scouts, in my data base,” Chambers said. “For my Combine guys, I send scouting reports [to teams]. We do videos for them. I love doing that. It’s a developmental thing.”
Vick has been training there the past few weeks, looking to latch on with a new team.
“He didn’t know if he wanted to play football again,” said Chambers, who said he encouraged Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, to let him work with Vick for a few weeks before entertaining offers.
“There was a lot of political stuff with him and Geno Smith with the Jets last year. Last two weeks, he has done phenomenal. There are several teams that want him. He wanted to be on a winning team. He wants to play three years. Eventually, he wants to start again.”
Chambers said he might return to the Dolphins’ coaching staff during training camp and very much appreciates Joe Philbin giving him the chance to help.
But full-time coaching doesn’t appeal to him. “I would rather be flexible, work with college and pro guys on my own time. Nobody is doing it at this level.” For more details on his facility, see www.chamberfitness.com.
### Big recruiting pickup for UM hoops, which today snagged a commitment from Charlotte-based Victory Christian High (Charlotte) 6-9 center Ebuka Izundu, a three-star prospect who chose UM over Arkansas and Cincinnati.
Clemson, Georgetown and USC were among his other offers. He averaged 21 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks last season.
“They’ll use me at power forward, want me to shoot if I’m open outside, up to 15 feet,” he told Canesport.
Izundu joins three-star St. Petersburg small forward Anthony Lawrence in UM’s incoming recruiting class.
### Tidbits: Dee Gordon is up to .426 after a four-hit game for the Marlins tonight in L.A.… Good to see A.J. Ramos thrive in his first chance in the closer's role; he pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts, giving him 195 strikeouts in 171 career innings. He had 83 career saves in the minors, but this was his first save in the majors.... Marlins starting pitcher Jarred Cosart left in the sixth with a strained hamstring…
UM will play at Nebraska on Dec. 1 in the ACC/Big 10 challenge. The football teams meet at Sun Life on Sept. 19…
With Skyler Mornhinweg’s departure, UF has now lost five quarterbacks in the past two years. The others: Jacoby Brissett, Tyler Murphy, Jeff Driskel and Max Staver. The Gators now have just two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster: sophomore Treon Harris and freshman Will Grier. A transfer might be added.