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Noon Friday nuggets from UM football practice; Postscripts, notes, thoughts, stats from Dolphins' 17-6 win against Atlanta

Nuggets from Friday’s UM practice:

• Adrian Colbert said he’s splitting first-team snaps with Sheldrick Redwine, and that corner spot opposite Corn Elder remains unresolved, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said.

“It’s still back and forth,” Diaz said. “I don’t think we want to make a call on that because we don’t want the competition to end. That’s something we continue to evaluate every day. We need all those guys to play. As far as who’s out there first, it’s really undecided. Overall, you would consider their camps as being positive.

“They play a position where there’s just such little margin for error. A guy like Colbert, you can tell his age and experience, and the urgency of knowing this is my last go-around. A guy like Redwine, who we really like. All of a sudden, we hold him to a standard [of] an older guy, but we remind ourselves he’s only been here for a year. We need them both to have a chance."

• One concern is defensive end depth, especially if Al Quadin Muhammad is suspended. Such a scenario would leave only four game-experienced ends: Chad Thomas, Trent Harris and Demetrius Jackson.

With Scott Patchan still recovering from an ACL tear, that would leave freshmen Pat Bethel and Joseph Jackson potentially needing to play as a fourth end (if AQM is suspended) or fifth end otherwise.

“Our mentality is we’re getting all those guys ready to play,” Diaz said. “As far as Pat and Joe, we are getting them game ready. They’ve got to get in, got to get snaps. Both those guys have flashed. Both have skills in terms of against the run and the pass…. Will the moment be too big for them? That’s the hard part for freshmen.”

• Richt, by the way, declined to confirm any of the suspensions, which could include Sam Bruce, Gerald Willis and rental-car investigation subjects AQM, Jermaine Grace, and Stacy Coley.

“I'll tell you all if I want to tell you all about that,” Richt said. “I'm not going to give any information about that."

• Jamie Gordinier said he’s getting a lot of the first-team weakside linebacker snaps, with Mike Pinckney also competing to start there. Gordinier said he very much wants to start. “We have not made a decision with those two guys,” Diaz said.

• Zach McCloud, backing up Jermaine Grace at strongside linebacker, “may be as hard a hitter as we have on the whole defense,” Diaz said.

• UM’s defense allowed only 2.09 yards per rush in the scrimmage, but Diaz wanted more tackles for loss.

• Diaz said of the fourth safety battle: “We’ve been pleased by the development of Robert Knowles. We were pleased to see the plays Romeo Finley made yesterday [two interceptions]. But in terms of handling what offenses are throwing at you,… we need those guys to be game ready.”

• Richt, on the state of his team: "I think we're physically tough. I don't know if we're 100 percent mentally tough enough, through every bit of adversity, including yesterday, being behind or the smoking hot heat or guys that maybe have been a little bit under the weather. We're like, 'Hey, if it's game day, would you play?' 'Yeah.' 'Well then you practice.' Guys kind of fighting through a little bit of stomach issues or whatever it is, when they just don't feel great. You have to learn to fight through that mentally.

"For the most part, we're light years from where we were, but we still have a ways to go there. I told them we're not game ready yet. If we were game ready, we wouldn't have had four turnovers yesterday. If we were game ready, we wouldn't have had a targeting foul. If we were game ready, we wouldn't have a personal foul hands to the face of the quarterback. We wouldn't have given up a bomb to the scout team. If we were game-ready. We have to understand that we're not in a holding pattern. We're trying to get better."

 

DOLPHINS-FALCONS CHATTER

Notes, stats and thoughts after the Dolphins’ 17-6 preseason win against Atlanta in Orlando:

• Yes, the pass rush wasn’t great and there were a few breakdowns by Miami’s young cornerbacks. But overall, this defensive effort was very encouraging.

Koa Misi was impactful and disruptive, serving up the type of performance that endeared him to the former staff. Ndamukong Suh made a great stop on a fourth-down run and anchored a run defense that was far, far better than a week ago. Kiko Alonso was usually around the ball and applied pressure on a blitz.

Byron Maxwell had a nifty pass breakup on that Alonso blitz and made two key tackles that prevented first downs. Cam Wake, in his preseason debut, got good heat on the quarterback in limited snaps.

Reshad Jones, the team’s biggest ball-hawk, made a nifty interception at the goal line. Jelani Jenkins, who left with an ankle injury, did a great job defending a screen pass. Michael Thomas did good work covering Julio Jones in one first half sequence, then forced a fumble early in the third quarter.

Most significantly, the Dolphins held Atlanta’s first-team offense to 116 yards, 10 yards rushing (on seven carries) and three points in the first half. This defense needed this type of performance against an offense with some good weapons.

The Dolphins defense held Matt Ryan to a 59 passer rating (12 for 22, 129 yards).

• Don’t want to nitpick about a good defensive effort, but Tony Lippett was again victimized, allowing a long gain to Julio Jones (he is hardly the first corner to be beaten on a crossing pattern by Jones) and committing a penalty against Justin Hardy. In his defense, Lippett also made a couple of decent plays in coverage.

But the conclusion exiting this game is clear: The Dolphins must hope Xavien Howard seizes a starting cornerback job early in the season, or Chris Culliver does in week seven (Culliver is expected to begin the season on PUP).

Bobby McCain also got some first-team work on the boundary and committed a pass-interference penalty against Jones, resulting in a 44-yard gain. Also Jacob Tamme beat Isa Abdul Quddus for a first down on a 3rd and 8.

• Jason Jones again started at defensive end, with Wake used off the bench.

• Ryan Tannehill threw a pick on the first series, on a ball deflected by Brooks Reed at the line of scrimmage, but was generally solid, closing 20 for 29 for 155 yards in one half of work.

And his numbers (including a 67.5 passer rating) would have been even better if Jordan Cameron had caught two catchable balls, if Jarvis Landry hadn’t dropped a ball he usually catches and if DeVante Parker had snagged another catchable pass for what should have been a 20-plus yard gain.

We liked one play when Tannehill rolled out, eschewed passing to Cameron for a three- or four-yard gain and instead threw to Dion Sims for nine yards. Tannehill also ran twice for 22 yards, including a read option play to start the game.

• Cameron’s problems continue. He dropped a pass for the second week in a row and a potential touchdown bounced off his faceguard. But he did make a good block on Arian Foster’s touchdown run.

• Foster had some good moments, including a first-half catch in which he swatted away a defender to pick up eight extra yards. But he ran for just 10 yards on five carries and Jay Ajayi wasn’t any better (7 for 11).

A lot of that had to do with poor blocking, but Ajayi so far hasn’t shown much ability to make something out of nothing. That’s disconcerting.

• Isaiah Pead got some work with the first team, as expected, and caught two passes for first downs in the first half. But his only carry (of the first half and the entire game) netted only one yard. Pead, who entered averaging seven yards per carry, then left with a hamstring injury.

Pead had 13 first-half snaps on offense, the same amount as Foster, according to Pro Football Focus. Ajayi had 19.

Damien Williams, who had one first half offensive snap, ran for 12 yards on his first carry of the game (to start the second half) and finished with 17 yards on five carries... Daniel Thomas had five carries for three yards.

• The Dolphins’ pass blocking again was considerably better than the run blocking. Laremy Tunsil and Jermon Bushrod started at guard, and though Bushrod wasn’t great as a run-blocker, he had no major breakdowns in pass protection.

Dallas Thomas worked one series with the starters in the first half, then opened the second half at right guard, with Tunsil remaining the left guard.

That meant Billy Turner, who was the first team right guard for much of training camp, didn’t get any work with the first team tonight. In fact, his first work of the night came at right tackle to begin the third quarter. Turner then moved to left guard on Miami’s second series of the second half, giving Tunsil his first rest of the night.

• Anthony Steen --- filling in for Mike Pouncey --- had one poor snap, and was beaten on a couple of running plays, but did good work in pass protection.

• Among the best developments of the night: no sacks allowed by the Dolphins.

•  Still doesn’t look like there’s a No. 3 tight end on this roster. MarQuies Gray made a terrific stop in punt coverage in the first half, then missed a tackle on the Falcons’ long kickoff return early in the second half. Didn't see much of Thomas Duarte, surprisingly.

• Jakeem Grant had an excellent punt return for 17 yards in the first half, but that was his only return of the night. Williams returned one kickoff for 15 yards.

• Suh left late in the first quarter with an ankle injury but is fine, Adam Gase said. Miami then gave some first-team snaps not only to Chris Jones (who has played a ton in preseason) but also to Julius Warmsley, who stopped one running play for a short gain, had a sack in the fourth quarter (his third of the preseason) and continued to make a surprising push for a roster spot.

In the battle for a backup defensive line job, Warmsley had a better night than Chris McCain (who left with an ankle injury) and Terence Fede (who left with a knee injury in the fourth quarter).

• Zac Dysert opened the second half and led Miami on a 42-yard scoring drive after a Falcons turnover, capped by Williams’ two-yard run. Thomas had a good block on that play. Dysert was 6 for 7 for 54 yards.

Brandon Doughty limped off after his first series but remained in the game was 3 for 4 for 14 yards.

• Final receiving numbers:

 

REC

YDS

AVG

TD

LONG

TGTS

Kenny Stills

4

46

11.5

0

15

6

Jarvis Landry

4

40

10.0

0

16

5

Griff Whalen

2

27

13.5

0

20

3

Arian Foster

2

20

10.0

0

16

2

A.J. Cruz

1

19

19.0

0

19

1

Isaiah Pead

3

14

4.7

0

12

3

Jay Ajayi

2

12

6.0

0

6

2

Dominique Jones

2

11

5.5

0

6

2

Dion Sims

1

9

9.0

0

9

1

DeVante Parker

2

8

4.0

0

5

4

Jordan Cameron

1

6

6.0

0

6

4

Jakeem Grant

1

5

5.0

0

5

1

Leonte Carroo

1

5

5.0

0

5

1

Daniel Thomas

1

2

2.0

0

2

1

Damien Williams

2

2

1.0

0

2

2

 

  • Besides Warmsley, Cedric Reed had Miami’s only other sack.... Andrew Franks' shank on a 37-yard field goal to end the first half was surprising, considering he has been terrific in practice kicks all summer. Marshall Koehn, trailing Franks all summer, kicked a 45-yard field goal.

 

• Some interesting comments from the NBC broadcast: From Cris Collinsworth: “DeVante Parker may be the key to this team’s season.”… “I thought [Tunsil] was arguably the best player in the draft.”… “They are stunned at what a great leader Kenny Stills has turned into.”…

Tony Dungy on the Dolphins’ fast tempo: “Players are buying into it. They saw the Dallas players under duress. They’re excited about playing with a fast tempo.”

• Neville Hewitt had a good night, snuffing out a short pass and seemingly solidifying his roster chances. Mike Hull (team-high nine tackles) was again active, and Spencer Paysinger remains an asset on special teams. Overall, this was a much better night for Miami’s linebacker than the first two games. James Michael Johnson, competing for a backup middle linebacker job, didn’t play because of injury.

• Safety Shamiel Gary, who got more work with Walt Aikens sidelined by injury, forced a fumble with a big hit late in the game.

• A couple thoughts from Adam Gase: He said Steen and Tannehill "did a great job together" except for the one fumbled snap... "The run game is coming. We're starting to pop some runs here and there. I probably could have stuck with the run more in the first half, be a little more balanced. We wanted to make sure we established that tempo."

• Teams must cut from 90 to 75 players on Tuesday, then to 53 a week from Saturday.

• For a look at this season’s college football TV schedule, please click here.

• For some insight into UM’s scrimmage today, and some Dolphins and NFL media notes, please click here.

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