Quick 11 a.m. Dolphins note: Adam Gase said he was pleased the Dolphins were aggressive in signing Chris Culliver and believe he can thrive in man to man, press coverage. Though Gase gave no timetable for his return from a torn ACL/MCL in November, the team would be comfortable potentially starting him on PUP, as Armando reported, which would sideline him six games. Culliver declined to give a timetable but said he might be able to practice in a couple of weeks...
Byron Maxwell noted the Dolphins quarterbacks aren't challenging corners down the field, though we saw a couple of deep balls today that were successful (Tannehill to Ajayi, Moore to Carroo). And Gase gave an interesting answer for why he's emphasizing shorter patterns:
"The whole league is 10 yards and under. That’s what it is. Nobody is going down the field. There’s one team that does it really, maybe two. Pittsburgh and Arizona. Hold onto the ball and they chuck it down the field. More teams than not, it’s 10 yards and under. That’s where all the passing game is. The d-ends are too good. If you want to stand back there and have your quarterbacks get your brains beat out, go at it."
The conversation began when Gase was asked if he would like the offense to go vertical more.
"I’m fine with it. I’m the one scripting the plays, calling the plays. I’ve had a little success with what we do. There’s a time and a place. There’s also a time and a place not to get sacked 60 times in a year, too."
Also, Arian Foster won't play Friday at the Giants. "I have a certain way I treat running backs that have played a while. I don’t like them taking any unnecessary hits," Gase said.
WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
UM football nuggets:
• When Mark Richt arrived in December, the most glaring roster deficiencies for 2016 were obvious: cornerback (more so after Artie Burns turned pro), linebacker and speed at receiver.
Here’s what’s encouraging: Between freshmen signings and transfers (the college equivalent of the draft and free agency), UM now appears to be in at least pretty good shape in all of those spots.
Freshmen linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Mike Pinckney and senior cornerback transfer Adrian Colbert (who had another interception Monday) have been godsends of sorts, and freshman Ahmmon Richards is not only UM’s fastest receiver (according to his coach) but also more polished than expected and getting lots of first-team work.
Brad Kaaya realized Quarterman would be impactful when on the first play of his first scrimmage, he blasted through an offensive lineman, tackled a back for a 10-yard loss and forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. He studies film, deciphers offenses and speaks publicly like a player much older than a freshman. Jon Beason and DJ Williams have spoken to him about upholding the standards of playing linebacker at Miami.
“Everything you want from a true mike linebacker he can do,” Kaaya said. And “he doesn’t run his mouth for no reason. He’s just about making plays.”
Coordinator Manny Diaz believes Quarterman won’t be overwhelmed by confusing offenses.
“He does all the things you would want a leader to do, and I think he has gained the respect of our team,” Richt said. "Sometimes a freshman can come in and get into a starting role and there might be some resentment, especially if a guy is cocky or brash or acts like he owns the place. But when a guy comes in with a humble spirit, works his tail off and physically gets the job done, like Shaq did, I think they’re embracing the guy.”
Diaz said Pinckney (out temporarily with a hamstring/quad injury) “has a great sense instinctually. He doesn’t over-complicate the game; he understands his reads and the game and makes it look very natural.”
Colbert, who has two interceptions in less than a week, gives UM desperately needed speed and experience opposite Corn Elder.
“I liked him since the day he got here – his energy, his maturity,” Richt said.
“Getting here and working with coach [Mike] Rumph really improved my game," Colbert said.
(Alabama transfer Maurice Smith also remains a UM possibility if he continues to be blocked from going to Georgia.)
Months after Richt bemoaned UM’s lack of speed at receiver, Richards “has exceeded expectations early,” receivers coach Ron Dugans said. “The kid can run. Good ball skills. Actually is a pretty good route runner; does some things [where you] are like, ‘Wow!”
Richards has been studying NFL receiver Odell Beckham’s and Amari Cooper’s route running on tape.
As for fellow freshman receiver Sam Bruce, Dugans said: “I have to get him out of the high school stuff; guys come in and want to do all the dancing. He has the wiggle but we have to get him playing with the tempo and speed of the college game. He’s a little behind [Richards, who arrived five months earlier] but he’s catching up.”
Dugans wants more consistency from sophomore Dayall Harris, the other newcomer at receiver.
• Kaaya said he talks regularly to former UM quarterback greats Steve Walsh and Gino Torretta – “they are good resources” – and as we noted yesterday, Torretta bought a Play Station 4 and Xbox One for UM's locker-room.
As I noted on Twitter (@flasportsbuzz) yesterday, Kaaya said former Georgia running back Todd Gurley told him “you’re in good hands [with Richt].”
Kaaya, who served as a Nike counselor with Gurley at an offseason camp, said Gurley “said nothing but good things [about Richt] as a person and coach. We talked about some of the terms and play calls – they’re all the same from Georgia.”
• Kaaya, working in his third different offense and with his second coordinator in three years, admitted this week that James Coley’s spread last year “was kind of confusing to me. Coach Richt’s offense is more pro style. A lot of different checks from last year. A lot under-center stuff. A lot of play action.”
Where has Richt made Kaaya better?
“My understanding of footwork got a lot better," Kaaya said. "My feet got a lot faster coming out from under center. My play fakes are a lot better, too, play action in general. As a quarterback group, we’ve gotten a lot better at
selling the run.”
• Dugans said Malcolm Lewis is the most consistent among receivers competing behind Stacy Coley and Braxton Berrios and said Lewis is the most physical receiver on the team, period…
Dugans said Coley hasn’t “had the years here I think he should have” and told him “the first thing I have to do is teach you how to be a pro; how to practice; how to take care of your body and study film and get massages; do stuff maybe before you haven’t done.”
• Running backs coach Thomas Brown said Mark Walton was “by far more consistent [than Joe Yearby] in the spring, in better shape. Joe had to lose weight. He has done that, lost 10-15 pounds, made him a whole lot quicker.” Yearby has now pulled about even.
Brown wants Gus Edwards to run more physically: "He’s 235 pounds. Too often in the springtime he played like he was 185. Once he realizes he can be very effective by imposing his will, playing behind his pads he’ll be a better football player. He’s done a really good job since the springtime. I told him `Gus, you’re a totally different player from the spring.’ … I’m definitely pleased with the progress he made.”
• Besides durability issues (he has missed 28 games over the past three seasons), new Dolphins cornerback Chris Culliver also has a history of comments/actions he later regretted.
Prior to the 2013 Super Bowl during Media Day, Culliver --- when asked by comedian Artie Lange if there were gay players on the 49ers --- said: "No, we don't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up out of here if they do.... Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah…can't be…in the locker room man. Nah."
He also said that any gay players should wait 10 years after retiring before coming out. He later apologized for his "ugly comments," saying they were "not what I feel in my heart" and that he would welcome a gay teammate.
In April 2013, he made offensive comments about women on Instagram, in which he and friends referred to some as "bitches" and "hoes." The 49ers stated the matter was "being handled internally."
And in March 2014, he was arrested for misdemeanor hit and run, misdemeanor driving on a suspended license, and felony possession of brass knuckles after allegedly hitting a bicyclist with his car.
The good news: He has the potential --- at his best --- to be an upgrade over any cornerback on the Dolphins roster beyond Byron Maxwell. He has started the past 20 games in which he has appeared: 14 for the 49ers in 2014, six for Washington in 2015.
• Culliver's addition means Miami's corners figure to be Maxwell, Culliver, Xavien Howard, Tony Lippett and Bobby McCain.
The safeties are expected to be Reshad Jones, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Michael Thomas and Walt Aikens.
If Miami keeps a 10th defensive back, it could be Chimdi Chekwa, Brandon Harris, Rashaan Melvin or someone in another camp now. Jordan Lucas and AJ Hendy are practice squad options.
• A few other Dolphins items, supplementing our long post from earlier today: Jamil Douglas is one prominent player fighting for his job. Obscure Anthony Steen is ahead of him at backup center, according to the team’s depth chart…
Though Marshall Koehn made all six field goals Tuesday (including one from 59), it will be very difficult for him to catch improved Andrew Franks, who says he has missed only one of 30 field goals in camp....
We haven't seen the read-option in Adam Gase's offense, and Gase said: "There will be a time and place for it. I haven't had great success in the past because I haven't had a ton of mobile guys." He's also leery about using it against Miami's defensive line, which has been stout all camp.
• Click here for a ton more Dolphins from today, including eye-opening numbers about Jarvis Landry, Miami's struggles incorporating tight ends and other personnel items.
• The Marlins are making modest increases in all season ticket prices, most between 1 and 3 percent. The promotional zones are seeing the largest increase ($6 to $8) but remain the cheapest lower-level ticket in the baseball. Most increases are 50 cents to $2 per game.
Full-season ticket holders in non-promotional zones can opt into a two-year agreement which will trigger a price freeze and allow them to day 2016 prices for 2017 and 2018.
• Will be interesting to see how intriguing Marlins prospect Austin Brice fares after his promotion to fill one of two roster spots opened by AJ Ramos going on the DL and Hunter Cervenka's demotion to Triple A.
The Marlins moved Brice to the bullpen earlier this summer and he was 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA in Double A, with 20 strikeouts in 21 innings, then struck out four and allowed one run in two innings in Triple A. Chris Narveson also was promoted to the Marlins today.
• With part-time Miami resident Alex Rodriguez (.204, 9 HR, 29 RBI) not ruling out playing again after he leaves the Yankees in a few days, keep in mind that not only is Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria fond of him, but hitting coach Barry Bonds tutored his friend A-Rod in California two offseasons ago and A-Rod said: “He’s a great teacher. I learned so much about simplifying my swing from him.”