A 12-pack of Dolphins notes from Day 2 of training camp:
### The battle for the Dolphins’ third starting linebacker job comes down to one player who has 32 career regular-season starts (Kelvin Sheppard) and another (Chris McCain) who has played just 46 regular-season defensive snaps in his young career.
One day after McCain worked with the first team at strong-side linebacker alongside Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi, it was Sheppard who got first team work on Friday, lining up at middle linebacker and flanked by Jenkins and Misi.
Sheppard started 24 games for Buffalo over 2011 and 2012 and seven times for Indianapolis in 2013 before playing mostly as a reserve for Miami last season.
Asked if he expects to be a starter, Sheppard said: “I do expect that of myself.”
He believes he has a lot to offer.
“A lot of guys rally around me,” Sheppard said. “They feel like I’m a leader on this team. I’m here to have a real impact. Last year, I was getting my feet wet coming in late. I’ve taken advantage of this offseason.”
Coach Joe Philbin said Sheppard “has got an excellent grasp of the defensive scheme. Seems to be a good communicator out there. We want to provide an opportunity to see if he’s the best guy.”
McCain, who said starting isn’t necessarily important to him, is also getting work at defensive end, in suspended Dion Jordan’s former role, but said the workload isn’t excessive.
“I’m pretty cool at defensive end. I rush and do what I have to do,” McCain said. “The workload right now is just at linebacker, which is very simplified. I feel real comfortable dropping back [into coverage]. It’s a lot of fun.”
The Dolphins are in no rush to pick a starter, knowing Misi can play either middle or strong-side linebacker. And both contenders looked good Friday; McCain had two sacks and Sheppard one.
Philbin suggested the decision on a third starting linebacker would be made not only on “who has the best production,” but also “who works best [and] communicates best with one another.”
Keep in mind that the Dolphins used only two linebackers on the field more than half the time during the second half of last season.
### Rookie running back Jay Ajayi, who showed good burst during practice, left very late in practice with an arm injury but returned to the field later and tweeted that it was merely arm cramps.
Damien Williams has been taking the majority of second-team snaps, ahead of Ajayi.
Williams is “smooth, has got explosiveness,” Philbin said. “We all gained a confidence and comfort level with him as time went on” last year.
Running back LaMichael James has been impressive in work without pads; the pads come on Saturday.
### Ryan Tannehill has displayed better accuracy with his deep ball, including a 35-yarder to Michael Preston in 7 on 7 drills on Friday.
“We’re trying to reinforce a lot of things – the touch of the quarterback, the body position of the receiver,” Philbin said. “Just getting those extra reps that are so important. We want more explosive passes. We’ve encouraged those guys to take a shot on occasion if the coverage is right.”
### Cornerback Will Davis was beaten badly on a deep throw for the second day in a row. On Thursday, he was victimized by Tommy Streeter, who dropped a perfect pass from Matt Moore. On Friday, LaRon Byrd beat Davis for a 50-yard touchdown pass from Moore.
### Andrew Franks, competing with Caleb Sturgis for the kicking job, missed a couple of field goals in non-team drills but made all four of his attempts in team drills, all between 39 and 46 yards.
Though Franks was just 37 for 56 on field goals in college at RPI in New York, Philbin said the Dolphins liked his leg.
“There’s some pop there,” Philbin said. “The ball comes off his foot. Not perfect every time but there’s something to work with.”
### Jake Stoneburner has been getting a lot of work as the No. 3 tight end ahead of Arthur Lynch and Tim Semisch. But Semisch, the 6-8 rookie from Northern Illinois, has impressed.
“Love his size,” Philbin said. “Moves well for a guy his size. Has soft hands.”
### At least one undrafted rookie linebacker has a decent chance to make the team, and Utah State linebacker Zach Vigil got work with the second team on Friday.
### Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips continues to get second-team snaps, with Anthony Johnson.
Phillips “is good so far,” Philbin said. “He appears like he's handled the heat pretty well and the tempo of practice."
### Terrence Fede had another sack, giving him 2.5 in two days. He also knocked down a pass.
### Other random stuff Friday: Jordan Cameron beat Michael Thomas for a 50-yard pass and catch… Zack Bowman, who is gaining on Davis, deflected a pass… Preston continued to impress, while Matt Hazel and Christion Jones also had notable catches.
### Jamar Taylor got some work at nickel Friday but remains the front-runner to start on the boundary opposite Brent Grimes. Taylor was solid on Friday, just as he was throughout the offseason program.
“I love Jamar,” Grimes said. “He’s one of my favorite guys. I knew he had talent from the moment he was drafted. If luck is on his side, I know he will do great.”
### Reliable Earl Mitchell had a good day; he got by Mike Pouncey in pass rush drills and snuffed out of a reverse to Jarvis Landry in team drills (with Olivier Vernon also in on the play).
MARLINS TRADE POSTSCRIPTS
Check out Clark Spencer's story for details on the Marlins' trades that sent Dan Haren to the Cubs (for two minor-leaguers) and Sam Dyson to the Rangers for a minor league pitcher and a backup catcher who's joining the big-league team (Tomas Telis).
Predictably, Marlins players weren't happy about the moves.
Some reaction from Marlins president/baseball operations Michael Hill from a short time ago: "When you have to trade pieces away instead of add pieces, it's because something has not gone according to plan.... It's not anything I ever want to do again.
"We still very much believe in our core. We want to keep that core intact. We have a lot of young talented players here.
"As it became apparent we weren't going to be competing to be a playoff team, you trade your free agent pieces and you look at the makeup of your club and see where things went wrong. Now you look to put things back together and build with what we still believe is a talented core."
### With Henderson Alvarez (shoulder surgery) and Jared Cosart (vertigo) both sidelined --- and Haren and Mat Latos traded --- the Marlins suddenly have a dearth of starting pitching.
Jose Fernandez, Tom Koehler, David Phelps and Jose Urena will be the top four. Hill suggested the fifth likely would be someone among Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley or Kendry Flores.
### Manager Dan Jennings said: "There's enough talent to go around. We didn't perform to our capabilities for a variety of reasons.... You can look at underperforming."
### Telis gives the Marlins three catchers; he hit .318 at Double A and Triple A last year and .291 this year at Triple A. He's 2 for 11 in his major-league career with the Rangers.
### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz