|ESPN.com: AFC East||[Print without images]|
Some doings transpired on the Miami Dolphins beat Tuesday while I was flying back from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., to the home office in Coral Springs, Fla.
Monday's blog summit was educational and enjoyable. AFC South authority Paul Kuharsky and I stayed over for a day to spend some extra time on the ESPN campus.
We ran into Herm Edwards, Skip Bayless, Michael Kim and Sage Steele and had lunch with "First Take" anchor Dana Jacobson in ESPN's famous commissary. Sadly, we didn't witness any mascot fights, and Cherokee Parks didn't try to sell us a watch.
But I digress.
I've cobbled together some highlights from the Dolphins' practice, which was open to the media. It was the first time Jason Taylor has spoken since the Dolphins brought him back and the first we've heard from Joey Porter in a long while. Too long if you ask me.
Taylor on his decision to sign with Miami for a $1.1 million base salary: "It's where I wanted to be. This is home. My heart was always here. I know people talk about because you're 11-5 he wants to come back now and all that. It doesn't mean anything. There are no guarantees in this league. If you want to take the chances you can, there's no guarantees you're going to win it. At the end of the day you need to be where you're going to be happy. Where feel you fit is the best opportunity to be successful. I never thought I had that opportunity in D.C. and for all the things they did well for me and [Redskins owner Dan] Snyder was great to work with. They tried their hardest and I tried very hard for them. But it wasn't a good fit."
Taylor on his relationship with Bill Parcells: "I have no problem with him at all. I talked to him the last couple of days, and after OTAs we may hit the golf balls or something. There's no problem with me and Bill Parcells. Everyone wants to make this an issue. That's why I try to stay away from the TV and the radio and for some reason I'm a sucker for punishment and I turn it on. It's amazing some of things that are said and the perception out there that I and Bill were going to go to blows one day. It couldn't be further from the truth."
Porter on playing with Taylor again after the 2007 debacle: "The first year I came we never really got the chance to get to the type of defense that we thought we both were going to be used. I didn't feel like I was used to help our team get after the quarterback and do what I do best, whereas last year we actually ran a 3-4 defense and I was able to go out there and have a productive season. Now with having Jason back I'm sure the coaches will find ways to put us out there to where we can make plays together."
Porter on Taylor's salary: "It was shocking, but at the same time when a guy really wants to be there, where his heart is at, back in Miami. He wanted to come back home, where he started his career. For him, taking that salary proves that. I'm pretty sure he left money on the table out there with other teams. But if you're not going to be happy, why go through that again?"
Chad Pennington on Taylor's return: "It's a little bit of a relief for me. I have had him on my backside for eight, nine years now. I had to deal with him twice a year, and it wasn't a lot of fun. We are excited to bring him in. I know he is excited to be here in South Florida again and it just feels right."
Dolphins coach Tony Sparano confirmed an earlier report right guard Donald Thomas suffered a torn pectoral muscle: "This guy worked real hard. He did everything in his power to overcome the foot injury, and this happened. You hate to see that with anybody, but particularly with a guy like that who worked so hard to come back from an injury. But Donald will be back."
Sparano on sophomore quarterback Chad Henne's development: "He's a much stronger player now. His body has changed from a physical standpoint. I think [quarterbacks coach] David Lee has done a tremendous job with him with his throwing mechanics. I see him firing his hip differently. His stride is different when he is throwing the ball, so the ball is coming out at a different pace. It really jumps off his hand when he throws it. I see location being better and anything we have done from a competitive situation and his decision making process is better."