WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
Dolphins coach Adam Gase offered his thoughts on a bunch of Dolphins' offensive players in our last post. Here are some of his views about his defensive personnel, served up to reporters Tuesday morning:
• On new cornerback Byron Maxwell: "Byron fits in our scheme really well. In Seattle, he was an aggressive, get up on the line of scrimmage, get up there pressing and being able to play aggressive [kind of cornerback]. And that’s what we want to allow him to do. Let him play on the line of scrimmage, let him press. We want to try to do that as much as possible. That’s where he likes to play."
• On linebacker Kiko Alonso, the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year who hasn't been the same since, largely because of knee problems: “Coming off his injury, we feel good about it being another year removed from that. We see a guy that runs well, he hits, he strikes. He’s going to fit into what we do really well. Being back in a 4-3 defense, that suits him a little bit better. Having that kind of speed at linebacker is really going to be helpful for us. Unless something changes, we’re looking to put him at mike."
He said he believes the team's sports sciences experts "will help him a lot. They will be able to strengthen his lower body. Once he gets that lower body stabilized, he’s going to get better from last year to this year. I feel great about what we’re going to be able to do to help him and it’s going to show with his play.”
• On Ndamukong Suh and his defensive tackle group: “I know he’s been in multiple times to just come and talk to me. You can’t talk football. Talked about what he’s up to this spring. To see him around the building, popping in and out, I’ve enjoyed my interaction with him. I’m excited to see him in practice. It’s going to be frustrating as an offensive guy; I keep thinking how are we going to be able to block this guy in practice. That can’t be fun...
"Suh is a special player. Jordan Phillips and Earl Mitchell are two guys I’m excited to see get that thing rolling. What we have at the defensive end position makes those guys better.”
• On suspended defensive end Dion Jordan: “I’m not going to think about it until somebody tells me he’s off suspension. When that day comes, I’ll worry about that.”
• On defensive end Cameron Wake and whether he will still go up against the right tackle: “I don’t see why we would want to mess with him at all. I am going to put him where he’s most comfortable. His role will define itself. The thing I feel great about is we have some depth in that room. That’s one thing we went into this offseason saying we wanted to do. The biggest thing with him is health. The more I see him walk around and move around and look like he’s feeling better, that makes me feel good. We don’t have a timetable by any means. I don’t want to rush Cam back."
• On new safety Isa Abdul-Quddus: “To have a guy to play with Reshad [Jones], that was a big addition for us. He was one of those guys that went under the radar. The guys who played last year, we have a vision for those guys as well. Adding him to the roster, we’ve got a nice one-two punch back there. We have some flexibility with those two guys. They both can play in the middle of the field or in the box. We’re going to do a lot of experimenting to see how we can best use those two guys.
“Abdul-Quddus is so consistent. He’s always in the right spot. He’s a really good tackler. When he has opportunities, he’s a guy that can get his hand on the ball. He’s can cover the tight end.”
• On his young corners Bobby McCain, Tony Lippett, Jamar Taylor: “In our building, I kept saying this is a great opportunity for those guys. We have some young guys on paper, where there’s talent there. This is a league where you got to go out there and go to do it. The opportunity is going to be given. We’ll see which guy rises to the top.”
• On Chris McCain, who is being moved back from linebacker to defensive end: “This is one of those where we’ve had this discussion. We’re trying to put him in a position where he can stay at one spot and roll.”
• On Mario Williams: “I feel you’re going to see a different guy with us. I felt great about our visit. Vance [Joseph] has worked with him before. The guys he’s going to be playing with, he’s comfortable with that group. I think you’re going to see a different player this year. We’re excited to get him back playing like he did in 2013, 2014.
"When we signed him, you could tell he was ready to get last year, that taste out of his mind. We need some veteran leadership in that locker-room. We were so young in that locker-room. We need guys, with things don’t go right, ... who can pull guys up.... Mario is going to bring that.”
Quick aside from Bills coach Rex Ryan, whose team cut Williams earlier this offseason. Ryan, at Tuesday's AFC coach's breakfast, said:
"I think he'll play left end, and when you've got Suh inside, it's set up to play a 4-3 defense, so I think that's what they'll do with him," Ryan said, via Syracuse.com. "Play a nine technique, everything he wants. I like him personally. He's not perfect, just like the rest of them. I'm perfect [kidding]. I like Mario, and he's been a great player in this league, a very productive player, and I didn't want to lose him, but that's just the way it is."
• The Dolphins will look strongly at drafting a cornerback at No. 13, and UF’s Vernon Hargreaves (who may or may not be there) met with Dolphins officials after his Pro Day Tuesday. Hargreaves said Miami seems very interested, according to our Gators correspondent Jesse Simonton.
Cornerback, Gase said, "is probably an area a lot of people are looking at that we need to improve on, we need to add some depth,” Gase said.
• Jermon Bushrod, Kraig Urbik, Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner and Jamil Douglas will compete at guard, and “who our starting guards are in September is impossible to say,” Tannenbaum said.
• Chris Bosh, whose blood clot in his calf has dissipated, was still on blood thinners as of early this week, and the Heat and Bosh have received different medical opinions about how soon he can come off the medication, according to someone with direct knowledge. Bosh remains hopeful of playing this season but can do that only if he’s not on thinners.
Some doctors recommend staying on blood thinners from three to six months after a clot develops. But that isn't a unanimous view, and that's one issue being debated with regard to Bosh. If he can come off the thinners sooner, he could potentially play again this season --- something Bosh has said he remains "positive" about being able to do.
• Jim Larranaga’s relationships have helped so much in building his roster. To wit: His friendships with Shakey Rodriguez (Angel Rodriguez’s AAU coach and mentor) and former NBA point guard John Lucas (worked with Sheldon McClellan in Houston) helped him get in the door with those two players when they were looking to transfer.
• Mark Richt wants his quarterbacks to do thing mechanically exactly as he's teaching them, and Malik Rosier said Tuesday that he and Brad Kaaya " kind of get frustrated because we're out here making mistakes and you go in the film room and we'll watch [former Georgia quarterbacks] Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason do it perfectly with their rhythm drops, all their stuff. Me and Brad are like `Why can't we do it like them?'
"One thing [QB] coach Jon Richt talked to me about was: 'When you watch them, the highlights they're showing, that's them perfect, not them making mistakes.' Coach Jon Richt has been really encouraging us to keep working and we're going to get it right. He's actually going to make a funny cutup tape of us doing it wrong in the spring and in the summer and fall how much better we've progressed."
• With Kyle Barraclough and Brian Ellington sent to Triple A, the Marlins’ bullpen seems likely to be AJ Ramos, Mike Dunn, Edwin Jackson, David Phelps, Bryan Morris, likely Craig Breslow and one wild card among a half dozen including Dustin McGowan, Brad Hand and Nefi Ogando, among others.
Jarred Cosart and Adam Conley are clear favorites for the final two rotation spots.