Some Dolphins notes from Tuesday’s practice:
### So is DeVante Parker good enough and knowledgeable enough about Miami’s offense to play and contribute in the opener if he doesn’t play in preseason?
“This is the NFL; there is going to be a learning curve no matter what,” receivers coach Ken O’Keefe told me today. “He’ll have to shake some rust off. But he’s here to play.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure he’s ready to go when we’re given the word it’s time. He’s doing a great job for a young guy staying engaged from a mental standpoint. Physically he’s doing what’s being asked of him according to the rules. I’m not concerned about it. I think he’ll be in good shape.”
### Kenny Stills, meanwhile, has missed two consecutive practices with a calf injury. But O’Keefe likes what he has seen: “Kenny runs out of his routes well. He has the speed you look for down the field.”
The Dolphins could keep six receivers to start the season – one more that usual --- if Parker needs more time. Michael Preston, Matt Hazel and LaRon Byrd have all had some good moments in camp and would be top candidates if Miami keeps a sixth. Byrd left Tuesday’s practice with what appeared to be a leg or hip issue.
"All those guys are climbing a little bit,” O’Keefe said. “Hazel has improved every day. Preston has made a lot of plays from OTA, minicamp right to now. We need all of them to keep pushing.”
Tommy Streeter, Christion Jones, Cobi Hamilton, Damarr Aultman and Tyler McDonald are also competing. [UPDATE: Miami, late today, claimed receiver Kevin Cone off waivers from Cleveland cut offensive lineman Dionte Savage. Cone spent training camp with Miami last summer.]
Rishard Matthews, who had several catches Tuesday, remains the front-runner for the No. 5 job behind Jarvis Landry, Parker, Stills and Greg Jennings.
“He’s had a very good camp,” Philbin said. “I like the way he catches the ball. He’s tough…. What can he do better? Catch the ball he dropped in two-minute [drills] today.”
### Mike Tannenbaum, the Dolphins’ vice president/football operations, made clear during a WQAM-560 interview that the running backs must be competent in pass protection, regardless of their running skills.
On fifth-round pick Jay Ajayi, Tannenbaum said: “There are things we like about him, but if he can’t pass protect, he will never be active. I don’t care how talented he is between the tackles. If Jay Ajayi can’t pass protect, he won’t be active.”
Conversely, Philbin said LaMichael James has made a strong impression in that area.
“Everyone knows he’s not the biggest guy [at 5-9 and 200 pounds],” Philbin said. “I like his aggressiveness in pass protection. Everybody can see the escapability, the quick feet, the elusiveness. If he’s going to play for us, he has to be able to sit in there and protect on occasion.”
### Ndamukong Suh, asked about having second-round pick Jordan Phillips come train with him this offseason: “I guess he told you he came out and worked out with me, which was true. At the end of the day, I just wanted to build a relationship with him. I mean you’re only as strong as your weakest link, not saying he’s out weakest link, but he’s our youngest guy, most inexperienced.
"So we want to push him along and get him into the pace of where all of the other vets are and all of the other guys because he’s going to be expected to play. I expect for him at some point in time throughout the year, whether it’s the first game or the last game of the year or into the playoffs hopefully – that’s he contributing in his own particular way. The quicker I can push his process along like Kyle Vanden Bosch did for me, Corey Williams did for me, all of those guys in Detroit and all of those other veterans like Larry Fitzgerald, Amobi Okoye, just talking to me, texting to me, telling me what I should expect and what should I focus on. That’s where I feel that it’s my duty to do that for a younger guy.
“He’s a good kid. Obviously, he’s quiet, very similar to me. I think at the end of the day he wants to become a very great player. I think in my opinion he just has to learn how to do that, but he’s got all of the talent to do it.”
### But Suh had much less to say when asked if the team has NFL-starting caliber guards: “That’s not my decision to make. I’m sorry I can’t answer that.”
### Another interception today for Will Davis, who’s starting to play better after being beaten deep twice early in camp.
### Here’s what’s bothering Philbin: “We’ve had a little bit too many pre-snap movements. We had a couple again today on the offensive line and we have to clean that up, we’ve got to do a better job. One thing during camp that I’m not real pleased about is the yellow flags have been coming out too much.”
### Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor on the offense’s evolution: “There’s a constant adaptation. We studied some of the teams in the league that are the best statistically at what they do and then you really try, you take the emotion of a weekly game plan out of it, you look at it and you really evaluate what do our players do best. And then I think being out here with Greg Jennings and Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron, over time being with those guys, we’ll have to answer those same questions - what do they do best.” (Adam Beasley will have a full story on Lazor's comments posted later.)
### Lazor said good naturedly: “I’ve heard rumors that guys were intimated by me” last season.
### Asked about the two games against his former team, Buffalo guard Richie Incognito told 104.3 The Ticket: “You better believe those games are circled in red on my calendar.” But he says he has no ill will against his former teammates.
Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... Please see the last post for UM football, Dolphins and Marlins and check back this evening for a lot more.