Some Wednesday Dolphins tidbits:
Though the Dolphins remain hopeful that receiver DeVante Parker will be available for the regular-season opener Sept. 13 at Washington, Parker was non-committal on Wednesday, while adding that he is about where he expected as he works his way back from June foot surgery.
Parker was dressed for practice on Wednesday but did not participate. He is now able to run at full speed, without discomfort, on that surgically-repaired left foot and said he believes he is close to being cleared for practice.
“I don’t have a timetable right now,” he said. “They don’t want me rushing back.” But the foot “is feeling pretty good.”
Coach Joe Philbin said “the reports are positive” on Parker’s foot. “We would love to see him get out here as quickly as we can.”
Asked if he can contribute immediately if he doesn’t play in preseason, Parker said: “That’s the plan but you never know.”
Parker said he’s “really excited to return. When I was out here for OTAs, we had a good connection with [Ryan Tannehill]. I’m looking forward to being back out there again with all of them.”
### Besides Parker, three others sat out practice on Wednesday: offensive tackle Jason Fox (concussion), cornerback Jamar Taylor (thigh) and linebacker Jordan Tripp (ankle). Taylor expects to be ready by the regular-season opener, if not sooner.
### Amid Fox’s concussion and Branden Albert still working his way back from knee surgery, the Dolphins this week gave left guard Dallas Thomas a lot of snaps at left tackle.
Thomas, the strong front-runner to start at left guard in the regular-season opener, could be Miami’s best option at left tackle on Saturday against Atlanta, even though Thomas allowed seven sacks when he played tackle last season.
Jamil Douglas would play left guard in that scenario, with Billy Turner at right guard. Turner, competing with Douglas to start at right guard, said he has been getting a lot but not all of the first-team snaps at right guard in practice.
### Albert, who was fully involved in Tuesday’s practice for the first time since the knee injury, said he made it through unscathed.
“It felt good,” he said. “It wasn’t perfect, but it’s going to come with time. I didn’t expect to be perfect. I was lagging; guys are moving faster than me. But it was productive… [and] as long as I’m not hurting…”
Albert said he doesn’t know if he will be ready for the opener and must be 100 percent before he’s comfortable playing in a game. But the Dolphins remain optimistic that will happen.
### Koa Misi said he lined up at strong-side linebacker on Tuesday, with Kelvin Sheppard getting the first-team snaps at middle linebacker and Jelani Jenkins at weakside.
Chris McCain, who had been competing for a starting job at strong-side linebacker, said he got no first-team work at linebacker Tuesday.
“It’s still open [competition],” McCain said. “I had a rough first two games. I have to execute more.”
Misi played outside linebacker for Miami before shifting to middle linebacker in 2014. “I told coaches I will play anywhere.”
### Though the Dolphins had some interest in Denver-bound guard Ethis Mathis, Philbin made clear that Miami likes the players it has at that position.
“There are implications of every decision and we always do in our minds what’s best for the organization,” Philbin said. “We feel good about the players we have on our roster.”
### Tannehill was not available to reporters Wednesday, a day after Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett took an unsolicited shot at the Dolphins quarterback on a Seattle radio show.
"Quarterback is the only position in the NFL where you could be mediocre and get paid. At every other position, you can't be mediocre," Bennett said. "If I was Ryan Tannehill and the most games I ever won was seven, how could you get a $100 million for that? I guess that's the value of the position….There's some mediocre quarterbacks in the NFL that make a lot of money…
"You take a guy like Sam Bradford -- he's never played really in the last three years, but he's made more money than most guys in the NFL."
Bennett was wrong on two of his facts. Tannehill actually has won eight games the past two seasons. And his contract wasn’t quite $100 million; it could be worth as much as $96 million for six seasons.
### Philbin said LaMike James “played much better the other night” against Carolina… Philbin said “the chemistry of this team is better than it has ever been since we’ve been here.”
### Caleb Sturgis remains the front-runner to start the season as the Dolphins’ kicker, barring a collapse the next two weeks, but other options are becoming available.
Denver on Wednesday release Connor Barth, who was 15 for 16 on field goals last season and is 85.8 percent in his career, including 40 for 49 (coincidentally) from 40 to 49 yards and 13 for 20 from 50 plus. [10:35 PM UPDATE: TAMPA AGREED TO TERMS WITH BARTH LATE TONIGHT.]
Meanwhile, former MLS goalkeeper Josh Lambo is seriously challenging for the kicker’s job in San Diego, where he could unseat Nick Novak, who connected on 34 of 37 and 22 of 26 field goals the past two seasons.
### Here’s who will be keeping you company for the first four Dolphins games this season: CBS assigned No. 2 team Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts to the Dolphins-at-Redskins opener as well as the Week 4 Jets game in London.
Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker and Steve Beuerlein – CBS’ No. 6 team --- will work the Week 2 Dolphins-Jaguars game. Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots, CBS’ No. 5 team, call Miami’s Week 3 home opener against Buffalo.
COUPLE QUICK CANES NOTES
### Al Quadin-Muhammad, one of UM's most ballyhooed recruits in the 2013 class, seems poised to start the season as a backup unless something changes in the next 10 days.
Al Golden lavishly praised Trent Harris today and Harris is the front-runner for the rush end job.
But defensive coordinator D'Onofrio said "there's no disappointment [in Muhammad] because he keeps getting better and Trent keeps getting better."
### D'Onofrio also said Demetrius Jackson is "right there in the mix" at rush end.
Ufomba Kamalu, Chad Thomas and Jelani Hamilton are competing at the other defensive end spot. Linebacker Tyriq McCord, trailing Darrion Owens for a starting linebacker job, also continues to get some work at defensive end.
### Though offensive coordinator James Coley expressed some disappointment in Trayone Gray's play in Saturday's scrimmage, Golden today called the sophomore running back "one of the most improved guys in his process and play."
### If you missed our last post, please check it out to find out how UM is addressing the question about what Al Golden needs to do to keep his job, plus what Hurricanes standouts say should be the bare minimum required to retain him.... Please see the last post for Heat and Marlins... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz