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8 p.m. Monday UM update; 6 p.m. Monday surprising Dolphins news; Vets deal with uncertainty; Matthews rises; Pouncey's prediction; ongoing battles; Fins catch break

For some UM football notes posted at 8 p.m., please scroll to the bottom.

6 p.m. Dolphins update:

Rookie Jamil Douglas has pulled ahead of Billy Turner in the competition for the right guard job, according to two people briefed on the situation. Turner was informed of that on Monday and was naturally disappointed.

The Dolphins still have time to settle on a starter before the Sept. 13 opener at Washington.

Though Turner --- a third-round pick in 2014 --- has shown flashes, his inconsistency concerns coaches. Douglas, meanwhile, has made a strong impression on the coaching staff.

Douglas, the rookie fourth-rounder from Arizona State, has gotten work at both left guard and right guard over the past month. He started at left guard on Saturday against Atlanta, with Turner at right guard. Douglas played left guard and left tackle with the Sun Devils, so playing on the right side would be something of an adjustment.

“Very pleased with Jamil, particularly for a rookie,” offensive line coach John Benton said a few weeks ago. “Handles himself like a pro. What he’s doing well [is] he’s playing under control, has a good demeanor. He’s physical and handling the assignments very well." 

Dallas Thomas is the likely starter at left guard.

Mike Pouncey predicted today that the Dolphins' young guards “are going to shock a lot of people. If you watch them on film, they are playing really physical, finishing blocks. They have really surprised me. I have seen the strides from last year to this year and it’s amazing to see how far all those guys have come.”

MORE DOLPHINS CHATTER

Some Dolphins notes on a day Branden Albert got some work with the first team in practice and DeVante Parker participated in individual drills in practice. (Both remain hopeful, but not certain, that they’ll be ready for the opener):

### Whereas many Dolphins veterans will get Thursday off, about a dozen others will be fighting simply to make the roster when Miami plays its preseason finale against Tampa Bay at Sun Life Stadium.

For Matt Hazel, the issue comes down to whether Miami feels a need to keep six receivers as DeVante Parker works his way back from foot surgery.  That decision hasn’t been made.

“He’s clearly better” than last season, coach Joe Philbin said.

There’s substantial sentiment internally to keep linebacker Spencer Paysinger because of his special teams acumen, but he’s battling Jordan Tripp and others for one or two open backup jobs.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t stressful,” Paysinger said. “I have had starting experience, have done good stuff on special teams in my career. My grades have been solid in preseason. [But] all our young linebackers have done great stuff.”

For Jake Stoneburner, he’s not only competing against underdog prospect Tim Semisch for the No. 3 tight end job, but he’s also essentially competing against every other NFL tight end who’s cut this weekend.

“I am underestimated in the blocking area,” Stoneburner said, offering up a scouting report. “I’m tough. I’m not going to back down. I can make plays as well.”

Some players on the bubble are more confident about their chances than others. “I think I’ll be here,” said LaMike James, who has impressed as a runner and a kick returner in preseason.

Kicker Caleb Sturgis, who remains the front-runner in his competition with Andrew Franks, said he “definitely” did not do enough “early” in camp to secure the job, “but I've been hitting the ball better lately.” The Dolphins will give thought to keeping Franks on the practice squad.

MATTHEWS RISES

Rishard Matthews, who wasn’t even assured a roster spot a month ago, not only appears a lock to stick but also could end up starting. He started ahead of Kenny Stills on Saturday, alongside Jarvis Landry and Greg Jennings.

After requesting a trade this past spring, Matthews said Monday he is “glad I’m here for another year.” He said all he wanted was a fair competition and it “definitely has been fair” and he has tried to “show that I need to be on the field more offensively.”

Said Ryan Tannehill: “He has had a heck of a camp. We came in together, so I’ve spent a lot of time with him and seen him grow over the past four years. I would say that over the last six months I have seen the most growth from him. He is growing as a man, growing as a player, and developing his game in all aspects. His consistency is at an all-time high.” 

### Cornerback Jamar Taylor (quadriceps) was the only player who missed Monday’s practice but said he expects to be ready for the regular-season opener. But running back Mike Gillislee left practice and was working on the side during a short session open to reporters.

### Tripp returned to practice after missing two weeks with an ankle injury. Offensive tackle Jason Fox returned after missing a week with a concussion.

### Whereas a lot of starters are expected to sit out Thursday, Philbin said that won’t be the case for all 22. “We have to take each individual and look at it separately,” he said.

### Though Jordan Cameron is the starting tight end, Philbin said he also views Dion Sims as a starter. “He can do a lot of different jobs; is coming along nicely,” Philbin said.

### A day after JD Walton was released, Philbin said the backup center job remains an ongoing competition between Sam Brenner and Jacques McClendon.

### With Kirk Cousins named the starting quarterback in Washington and Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo, that means the Dolphins will open the season potentially facing these six quarterbacks: Cousins, Blake Bortles, Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marcus Mariota and Brian Hoyer. What's the opposite of a murderer's row?

UM NOTES

A few notable comments from Al Golden and Mark D'Onofrio from tonight's Hurricane Hotline on WQAM with Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr.:

### Golden: "We are too inconsistent to be a really good team" yet.

### Golden said receiver Stacy Coley is stronger, having bulked up from 175 to 192 pounds, and that Herb Waters "has been really consistent."

### Golden said "we missed [receiver] Rashawn Scott sorely last year."

### Among the appealing qualities of freshman receiver Lawrence Cager: "He's fluid, very smooth in ... his cuts," Golden said. "His catch radius is so good. He can absorb the ball five feet in any direction."

### D'Onofrio said among freshmen on his side of the ball, cornerback Sheldrick Redwine and safety Jaquan Johnson "have stood out"; defensive tackle Kendrick Norton has "flashed" and defensive end Richard McIntosh "is going to have a great career here."

### D'Onofrio said linebacker/end Darrion Owens "has been awesome. He's exactly what you want --- smart, tough, athletic. Can play SAM, ... rush end and mike."

### He said starting defensive end Ufomba Kamalu agreed to gain weight after fighting it in past years and is now 295, up from 270. "He bought in on that; he can play end, tackle, nose on third down."

### Dallas Crawford, the only player who was named as an unopposed first-teamer at the position, "has really settled in," D'Onofrio said. "He has done everything he has needed to do since January."

### Jamal Carter, battling Deon Bush to start at the other safety spot, "had a great camp," D'Onofrio said.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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