AFC East: Jonthan Martin

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins hit the practice field for the first time in preparation for the New England Patriots.

Here are several notes and observations:
  • Tuesday marked the debut of new Dolphins offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who will wear No. 78. Miami traded with the Baltimore Ravens for McKinnie on Monday afternoon in an effort to patch its offensive line. McKinnie has a lot of size and may be even bigger than his listed weight of 352 pounds. He didn’t participate in team drills during the portion of practice open to the media. But McKinnie did individual drills working as a left tackle. That is the natural position he’s played most of his career, and McKinnie is expected to play there once he gets up to speed.
  • For the time being, Miami embattled right tackle Tyson Clabo remained on the first team during the portion of practice open to the media. The Dolphins’ offensive line remained the same as McKinnie needs time to learn a new offense. The plan is that Clabo eventually will be replaced at right tackle by current left tackle Jonathan Martin, while McKinnie takes over the left side.
  • Dolphins starting middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (shoulder) didn’t work with trainers on Tuesday. But he also didn’t participate in team drills or many individual drills. Ellerbe could be classified as limited, at best, during the open portion of practice. Ellerbe missed his first game of the season Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, and his status will remain in question during the week.
  • Miami general manager Jeff Ireland was in attendance during practice. He wanted to get a look at his newest player in McKinnie. Ireland also has come under fire in Miami during the team’s three-game losing streak.

Jake Long talks Dolphins, free agency

February, 19, 2013
Pending free-agent left tackle Jake Long was once considered a franchise building block for the Miami Dolphins. He is a former No. 1 overall pick who made the Pro Bowl four times while in Miami.

However, the Dolphins are treating Long like a player they're not too interested in keeping. The silence so far has been deafening and could signal the end of an era in Miami.

On Tuesday, Long shared his thoughts on the Dolphins with the NFL Network.

"I'd be open to continue my career there, but it's essentially on them,” Long said. “[Let’s] see what they want to do and what direction they want to head in and go from there. That's the business side of it so we'll see what they want to do."

Long doesn't sound confident that he will return to Miami. The Dolphins have about three weeks to re-sign Long or let him hit the open market. That is most likely where Long will get big contract offers, despite injuries hindering his play the past two seasons.

Miami has more affordable alternatives at left tackle. Jonathan Martin, a 2012 second-round pick, filled in for the injured Long last year on the left side. Miami also could look to free agency or the draft, where Miami has a lot of resources this offseason.