Miami Dolphins: Jared Odrick

Offensive malaise continues for Miami

September, 21, 2014
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- There was a lot of hype and hoopla surrounding the Miami Dolphins' new-look offense this offseason.

First-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who came from the Chip Kelly school of offense, was expected to bring an innovative style to Miami that was up-tempo and able to quickly put points on the board. Even Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said in training camp that he viewed 25 points per game -- or 400 points in a season -- as a successful bar for his team.

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeProtecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was again an issue for Miami in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs.
But after three games, the Dolphins’ new offense is mostly firing blanks. As a result, Miami (1-2) suffered a 34-15 blowout loss at home to the previously winless Kansas City Chiefs (1-2).

The Dolphins have averaged just 12.5 points per game in the past two weeks. The "new look" is showing some of the same old mistakes that were made previously under former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

Many people in Miami have their jobs on the line this season, and the Dolphins can't win many games with the offense unable to consistently move the football.

Why is the offense struggling? There are myriad reasons. Here are a few worth noting:

  • Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is not making the proper strides in Year 3. Lazor is asking a lot of Tannehill, and so far he’s proving to be unable to carry the team. Tannehill currently has a career-low completion percentage of 56.5 percent in three games. His passer rating of 74.1 also is a career low. The Dolphins can only go as far as Tannehill can lead them, and so far it’s not looking promising. "It's still early in the season, so I have confidence that we can get this thing turned around," Tannehill said. "But it has to happen now. I said that last week and we didn't get it done."
  • There have been questionable play calling by Lazor and poor clock management by Philbin. On Sunday, the Dolphins called passes on second-and-1 and third-and-1 early in the fourth quarter, which resulted in an incomplete deep pass to Mike Wallace and a quarterback sack. Miami had the running game going -- Lamar Miller rushed for 108 yards -- and went away from it at a curious time. The game went downhill from there.
  • The offense has been unable to sustain scoring drives. The Dolphins' longest touchdown drive was for 19 yards, which followed a Chiefs turnover. In fact, 12 of Miami's 15 points were set up by the defense and special teams. Defensive tackle Jared Odrick forced a fumble on Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith to set up a short touchdown. Miami's defense also got a safety and rookie Jarvis Landry returned a kick 75 yards to set up a field goal.
  • The Dolphins had three drops in the first quarter, which killed any momentum in the first half.
  • Pass protection, which was the offense's biggest issue last season, remains a problem. The Dolphins allowed four quarterback sacks for the second week in a row. Tannehill has been sacked nine times in three games.

There are no easy fixes. Leaks are springing up in various areas and Philbin said "everything" is on the table in terms of making improvements.

The good news is Miami will play another winless team, the Oakland Raiders. The game will be played in London, where the Dolphins hope to find their identity.

"We have to determine what we're going to do," Philbin said. "We have to go back to work. We gotta go across the Atlantic Ocean and we have to play better."
DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins continue their preparation for Saturday’s preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Here are some notes and observations from Wednesday’s session:
  • Miami running back Knowshon Moreno and stating tight end Charles Clay continue to make progress from knee injuries. Both members of the offense took part in Wednesday’s practice in full pads, which is a good sign. Moreno showed good body lean and low pad level running near the goal line, and Clay made a pair of nice catches for first downs in team drills. It appears there's a good chance at least one of these players will suit up for Saturday's "dress rehearsal" game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Dolphins won't officially determine playing time for another day or so.
  • The Dolphins are doing a lot of mixing and matching at nickel linebacker in an effort to find the best duo. Linebackers Dannell Ellerbe, Koa Misi, Philip Wheeler, Jordan Tripp and Chris McCain are among those getting a look on the first-team and second-team nickel defense. Most teams on Miami's schedule have an extensive spread package on offense, which means the Dolphins must find success in the nickel with the right players. “In regard to how soon, we’re still going to look at some other combinations this week,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “But the sooner the better.”
  • Miami’s defense put together a good day rushing the passer in this full-padded practice. The Dolphins brought various blitzes and confused the offensive line, both starters and backups. Defensive tackle Jared Odrick and linebackers Misi, McCain and Tripp were among those who recorded sacks in team drills.
  • The running game has been a major emphasis in practice this week. The Dolphins had minus-5 rushing yards in the first half last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when starters and key backups were in the game. Miami must run the ball better -- starting Saturday against Dallas -- for the offense to reach its potential. "It hasn't been to where we want it to be," Tannehil said. "I think that we have the talent, we have the ability, the up-front blocking and the backs to make big plays in the running game. We haven't shown that so far on the game tape."
  • Philbin said it’s hard to set a specific goal for Miami’s new offense under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. But one thing he’s believed in was success comes with scoring 25 points per game, which equates to 400 points per season. The Dolphins struggled to score consistently last season and averaged just 19.8 points per game.
The Miami Dolphins have several question marks heading into the 2014 season. Fortunately for them, the defensive line is not one of them.

Vernon
Vernon
Miami has steadily built a strong collection of talent on the defensive line the past few years, via the draft and free agency. The Dolphins have one of the NFL’s deepest groups of defensive ends with Pro Bowler Cameron Wake, 2013 sack leader Olivier Vernon, valuable backup Derrick Shelby and former first-round pick Dion Jordan, who is suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Miami also has a strong rotation of defensive tackles with Randy Starks, Jared Odrick and free-agent pickup Earl Mitchell.

The Dolphins must rely on this deep group for production as well as leadership this season.

“All of us defensive linemen talked to each other, and we pretty much know what we have to do, especially when it comes to game-time situations,” Vernon said recently. “When it comes down to it, the D-line is the heart and soul of the defense. If we’re not doing what we have to do, then things start falling apart. So that’s one thing we’re trying to focus on now going into the season.”

Vernon was Miami’s biggest breakout star last season. The 2012 third-round pick made a significant jump in Year 2 from a rookie backup to leading the Dolphins with 11.5 sacks. He followed up by having a strong offseason and looks primed for another solid year.

Wake, Starks and Odrick have been consistent producers for Miami. Mitchell signed a four-year, $16 million contract this offseason after the Dolphins lost Paul Soliai in free agency. The defensive line, on paper, should be one of Miami’s strengths.

“I would say just wait for the pads to come on,” Vernon explained. “I know what kind of group we have, but I’m not going to just talk about it. I’m not the type of person [that] I don’t want to show what we have. I think all of us on the D-line will show what we have.”

Miami’s defense faces a new challenge this year in training camp. The Dolphins are implementing a new offense under first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Miami aims to use an up-tempo style with a lot of motion and formations to confuse and dictate to the defense. The Dolphins’ defense will see plenty of these elements in training camp, which starts on Friday.

“They’re doing a lot of things I’ve never seen before,” Vernon said. “They’re moving fast. [Quarterback Ryan] Tannehill is taking control and he’s showing his leadership ability, and a lot of guys are impressive.”

Miami Dolphins' projected roster

July, 18, 2014
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Examining the Miami Dolphins’ roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)


The only question here is whether Devlin can hold off undrafted rookie Brock Jensen for the No. 3 quarterback job. Neither quarterback stood out in the offseason, but Devlin has the slight edge because of experience.

RUNNING BACKS (3)

The Dolphins would like to have someone step up and challenge Thomas. Undrafted rookie Damien Williams from Oklahoma could be a sleeper to watch. But it's too premature to put Williams on the 53-man roster over the veteran Thomas before the pads come on.

RECEIVERS (6)

This is a deep group with a lot of competition. Williams will be pushed for the final spot by Armon Binns and rookie Matt Hazel, who is practice-squad-eligible.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

New Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor uses some two-tight-end sets. So there might be room for a fourth player such as Dion Sims. But we are sticking with three for now.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)
Pouncey’s hip injury puts a major dent in this much-maligned group to start the season. Miami will have five new starters in Week 1.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)

This is the strongest area of the team. The Dolphins can come at opponents in waves in the trenches.

LINEBACKERS (7)

This group must improve its play from 2013. The Misi experiment at middle linebacker is particularly important to watch.

CORNERBACKS (6)

This is a solid mix of youth and experience. As long as second-year players Taylor and Davis come of age and Finnegan stays healthy, the depth will be improved from a year ago.

SAFETIES (4)

This group is all about position flexibility. All four players must be able to play back in coverage and closer to the line of scrimmage in defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle’s scheme.

SPECIALISTS (3)

This trio will remain the same for the second straight year.
With the 2014 offseason officially in the books, it’s time to look ahead to training camp and games being played in the exhibition and regular season.

Odrick
This week ESPN.com’s Dolphins blog is taking a look at Miami’s best bargains. Next up we have a Dolphins’ defensive lineman.

Bargain player: DT Jared Odrick

2013 stats: 42 tackles, 4.5 sacks

2014 salary: $1.64 million

Analysis: Odrick, who is entering his fifth season, is hoping for a contract extension with the team. But it doesn’t appear that will happen this year. Odrick started last year, but was still a rotational player. His playing time will be the same this year, as he splits reps with fellow defensive tackles Earl Mitchell and Randy Starks. Still, Miami is getting a starting defensive tackle entering his fifth season for under $2 million. That is a bargain for a coveted position. By comparison, the Dolphins are paying Mitchell ($5 million) and Starks ($5 million) much higher salaries this season.
DAVIE, Fla. -- To a man, there is still doubt within the Miami Dolphins' locker room that the high-profile scandal involving former offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito was a result of poor leadership. The NFL's investigation detailed in the Ted Wells report only furthered that national view of the team.

That has put leadership as one of the top items that will help make the Dolphins successful in 2014. The roster has talent. But last year's scandal and late-season collapse cost Miami a playoff berth.

According to Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake, lack of leadership isn't an issue.

"Obviously, it's unfortunate what happened [last season] and we're not going to dive too deep into that," Wake said. "But, as a whole, you look around this team [and] there are guys that may be vocal or guys that maybe do it by example. We have leaders all over the place."

Wake is part of a defensive line that must provide leadership on and off the field. In addition to Wake, arguably the team's best player, Miami's defensive line also has 2013 sack leader Olivier Vernon, dynamic second-year player Dion Jordan and veteran defensive tackles Randy Starks, Jared Odrick and Earl Mitchell.

On paper, defensive line is the deepest area of the team and will be expected to set the tone on a weekly basis.

"When it comes down to it, the D-line's the heart and soul of the defense and, if we're not doing what we have to do, then things start falling apart," Vernon said. "That's just one thing we're trying to focus on now and make sure it goes into the season."

Many in South Florida and around the country will be monitoring the Dolphins' locker-room leadership this upcoming season. It will still take the team coming together and leadership if Miami wants to end its five-season playoff drought.

"I was never of the impression that [leadership] was lacking. But, just like I don't feel like my strength is lacking or my conditioning is lacking, I'm going to work on that as well," Wake said. "Working on leadership, making it a more prominent part of our organization, I don't see anything wrong with that."
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins officially put a bow on their 2014 offseason last week following the conclusion of mandatory minicamp. Miami had three consecutive days of spirited practices and ESPN.com's Dolphins blog was there to take in all the action.

Here are five things we learned about the Dolphins in minicamp:

1. Tannehill, offense shows growth

[+] EnlargeOlivier Vernon and Ryan Tannehill
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeAfter struggling on Day 1 of minicamp, Ryan Tannehill and the offense made strides.
Thoughts: To put it bluntly, the first day of minicamp was a disaster for Miami's offense and third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins gave up four sacks, threw three interceptions and was sloppy overall in team drills. Even the mild-mannered Tannehill became frustrated and yelled at his receivers. It appeared the defense would dominate the offense during this three-day camp. Miami's defense mostly has been together for three seasons, while the offense is in transition under first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. But Tannehill and the offense showed growth in Day 2 and Day 3 with more even performances. Lazor's group must continue to make strides in training camp in order to not become the weak link of the team to start the regular season.

2. Hope for second-year players

Thoughts: It is well documented that the Dolphins got very little from their rookie class last season. Miami had the third fewest snaps from rookie players in 2013, and many in South Florida had written off players from that class as draft busts in the making. But as the offseason progressed and peaked at minicamp, second-year players such as guard Dallas Thomas, defensive end Dion Jordan and cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis made more and more plays in practice, proving that there is hope for Miami's much-maligned 2013 draft class. Miami's second-year players could play a key role in whether the Dolphins make the jump this year from an average team to a team with playoff potential. All the aforementioned players had a productive offseason.

3. Offensive line still a work in progress

Thoughts: The Dolphins' two offensive lines in the white-and-aqua scrimmage allowed seven sacks. That stat was reminiscent of last season, when Miami's offensive line allowed a franchise-record 58 quarterback sacks in 16 games. The Dolphins invested a lot of money and resources into this group with the expectation that the pass protection with be much better. Miami paid $47 million for Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert. The Dolphins also spent a first-round draft pick on rookie right tackle Ja'Waun James and signed guard Shelley Smith in free agency. With four new starters, Miami's offensive line must get on the same page in training camp.

4. Dolphins in relative good shape

Thoughts: This is the time of year when freak injuries happen in the NFL. Around the league there have been several injuries during the offseason program. The Dolphins are fortunate to not be one of those teams to suffer anything catastrophic. Miami did a good job with maintenance of veteran players such as cornerback Cortland Finnegan, defensive tackle Jared Odrick, wide receiver Brandon Gibson and linebacker Koa Misi. The only player to keep an eye on in the next month is running back Knowshon Moreno. The Dolphins kept him out of minicamp and has been mum on his injury, but Profootballtalk.com reports Moreno has an ailing knee. Moreno is competing for a starting job at running back with Lamar Miller and must be healthy in order to win the job.

5. Receiver position toughest to gauge

Thoughts: Miami's coaching staff will have a tough time in training camp narrowing the roster down to six receivers. The Dolphins currently have a deep group of 13 receivers led by starters Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. But it's the various receivers behind them that will make it a tough decision. The Dolphins had various production from receivers at different times in minicamp and organized team activities. Players such as Gibson, rookie Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews, Damian Williams, Armon Binns and Matt Hazel all had their moments. Miami will be looking for the most consistent receivers to step forward in training camp. The three-way competition at the slot position between Gibson, Landry and Matthews is particularly intriguing. It's been close the entire offseason.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins shook things up on the final day of mandatory minicamp. Instead of a typical practice, head coach Joe Philbin staged a full-scale scrimmage between the aqua team led by starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the white team led by No. 2 quarterback Matt Moore.

In the end Moore's white team won, 16-13, in a game that came down to the final play. Players were happy to get a taste of their first "game" situations of the 2014 season.

"It's exciting to be in this type of atmosphere," Dolphins rookie receiver Jarvis Landry said after the scrimmage. "We've been talking a lot about bringing that intensity to the field, and I think the guys came with it today in practice. Hopefully, it carries on when we return."

The Dolphins will take about a month off before returning to the field for training camp.

Here are some additional notes from Thursday's scrimmage:

  • [+] EnlargeOlivier Vernon and Ryan Tannehill
    AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeOlivier Vernon was one of the stars of Friday's scrimmage, notching 2.5 sacks.
    The most lopsided battle was Miami's defensive line against its offensive line. The Dolphins' defensive line on both teams put on a dominant performance, which unofficially included eight total sacks. Olivier Vernon led the Dolphins with 2.5 sacks, including a pair against Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert. "He's real, real good," Albert said after the scrimmage. "I didn't even know who he was until I got here. He's a good football player. He made some good plays. That's part of the game. He got better since I got here."
  • Dolphins rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James also struggled against Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake. The veteran defensive end showed an array of moves. Wake got a half sack against James and nearly got another sack that caused James to get a holding penalty. "His experienced level, his technical stuff, his hands, everything is good," James said of Wake. "You can't make many mistakes and I have to learn from it."
  • Tannehill had a decent outing for the aqua team. He threw his team's only touchdown pass with a beautiful 19-yard strike to receiver Armon Binns. Tannehill also made several connections to Landry and tight end Charles Clay that moved the chains. The primary reason his white team stalled was due to poor pass protection, which was a common theme from last season. The Dolphins allowed a franchise-record 58 sacks last season.
  • Speaking of Landry, he looked more impressive in a game situation Thursday. Landry isn't the biggest or fastest receiver. But he has strong hands and runs good routes. Landry got open on several occasions and made some nice catches over the middle for first downs. He could be a "gamer" type of player -- one who doesn't wow you in practice but knows how to play well in real games.
  • Veteran players who sat out of Thursday's scrimmage included defensive lineman Jared Odrick, cornerback Cortland Finnegan, linebacker Koa Misi and running back Knowshon Moreno.
  • Former Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor continues to assist the team's coaching staff and work with Miami's young defensive linemen. According to Philbin, Taylor is always welcome to help but the Dolphins haven't finalized anything in terms of a full-time position. From the sound of it, Taylor could have a choice to join the team in some capacity as long as he's willing to put in the long hours.
  • Now that the offseason program is over, Philbin was asked to list several players who stood out. Philbin cited guard Dallas Thomas, receiver Rishard Matthews and cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins took the field for the first of three practices during mandatory minicamp. It was a high-energy first session in what serves as a preview to training camp.

Here are seven observations from Tuesday's practice:
  • It was a strong day for the Dolphins' defense. Miami's defense was disruptive all practice and, by my count, recorded three interceptions and at least four would-be sacks. (The defense is not allowed to hit quarterbacks in practice.) The Dolphins' defense has been together for three seasons and has been well ahead of the offense on days practice was open to the media. “There's going to be days where one side of the ball has the upper hand,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “It looked like the back end and the linebackers, we were doing some good things from a coverage standpoint.”
  • Miami receiver Brandon Gibson continues to make progress from last year's season-ending patella tendon tear. Gibson participated in team drills for the first time this offseason. He still doesn't look 100 percent but is moving around relatively well. At this point Gibson looks well on pace to be ready by Week 1.
  • Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor had arguably his best practice of the offseason. Taylor, who got reps on the first team, recorded a sideline interception off Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Taylor also showed some athleticism by blowing up a running play. Taylor was injured must of last year but is making strong strides this offseason.
  • The Dolphins' coaching staff is putting several veterans on the maintenance program during minicamp. Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, defensive tackle Jared Odrick and cornerback Cortland Finnegan sat out team drills Tuesday. It is unknown if that will change during the week.
  • After a plan to renovate Sun Life Stadium was passed by the Miami-Dade County Commission in a 7-4 vote, Philbin credited owner Stephen Ross. “Most important to me is it shows the commitment our owner, Stephen Ross, has to making this a world-class organization,” Philbin said.
  • Miami rookie defensive end Terrence Fede had the play of the day. Fede, who is 6-foot-4 and 277 pounds, dropped in coverage and made a leaping interception off Dolphins backup quarterback Matt Moore. Fede then advanced the ball about 10 yards as his defensive teammates celebrated.
  • Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan continues to flash in practice. He had another would-be sack on Tannehill coming off the corner. Jordan put on about 17 pounds of muscle since last year and looks ready to make a second-year jump after an ineffective rookie year.

Miami will continue its three-day minicamp on Wednesday morning.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins competed their third and final organized team activities session open to the media on Monday. Here are seven observations from the two-hour practice:
  • Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake had a dominant practice. He had two sacks in team drills and overall wreaked havoc on Miami's first-team offense. Overall, Miami's defense was better in the trenches compared to the offense. Tannehill had at least three would-be sacks as the offensive line missed its protections.
  • Lamar Miller continues to lead the way in Miami's starting tailback competition. Miller worked with the first team for the third week in a row. So far, Miller also is making more plays in the running game than free-agent pickup Knowshon Moreno, who appears to be working his way into shape. Moreno was the favorite entering the spring after starting for the AFC champion Denver Broncos last season. "He's had a very good camp. ...This is the time as a third-year player that you're ready to make a big contribution," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said of Miller.
  • It wasn't the best day for the offense. First-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is throwing a lot at his group, and sometimes the early results are sloppy. On Monday, the Dolphins' offense suffered from several drops, two false starts and the poor protection. The entire playbook is virtually installed. Miami's goal is to have everyone on the same page by September.
  • Miami return specialist Marcus Thigpen still is listed as a running back. But he's working exclusively with the wide receivers. Thigpen's roster spot is in jeopardy if the Dolphins can find another quality kick returner. Thigpen doesn't offer much as a running back or receiver. Miami worked out Thigpen, cornerback Brent Grimes and receivers Jarvis Landry, Matt Hazel and Damian Williams on punt returns Monday.
  • Former Dolphins greats Mark Duper and Keith Byers were at practice helping out the younger players. Duper gave Miami a post-practice speech that received an ovation from players. “I like to have some of the guys when they stop by talk to the team about some of the things they learned both on the football field and help them as players and some of the things after football," Philbin said. "Life doesn't end after football ends.”
  • The Dolphins made a position switch for fifth-year offensive tackle Jason Fox. On Monday, Fox worked as the backup left tackle for the first time in practice open to the media. The previous two sessions, Nate Garner was the backup left tackle and Fox was challenging rookie Ja'Wuan James on the right side. It appears James is on his way to securing the job, and the Dolphins are trying to groom Fox potentially to be the first offensive tackle off the bench.
  • The Dolphins had perfect attendance. However, receiver Brandon Gibson and defensive tackle Jared Odrick didn't participate in team drills. They haven't been full go in all three OTAs open to the media.

The Dolphins will wrap up their offseason program next week during mandatory minicamp June 17-19.
DAVIE, Fla. -- New Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Earl Mitchell explained to the local media that Miami was his first choice. It turns out the thing Mitchell is most excited about is the opportunity to play in a 4-3 defense.

Mitchell didn’t get that opportunity with the Houston Texans. He was a 3-4 nose tackle whose job was to take on double-teams and hold his ground in the middle.

Mitchell
“I think it will definitely give me an opportunity to showcase my skill,” Mitchell said Wednesday during his introductory news conference. “It will definitely be a time where I can definitely just be able to make more plays.”

Part of that is collapsing the pocket and getting to the quarterback. Mitchell recorded just 1.5 sacks last season in a 3-4. He believes that number will improve with the Dolphins in 2014.

Mitchell will join a deep and talented group of defensive linemen that includes Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan, Randy Starks and Jared Odrick. Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle will have a lot of pieces to play with up front and should be more aggressive.

Miami general manager Dennis Hickey described Mitchell as “a young player that was on the rise and we felt like we had great things ahead of him.” Mitchell was not a player on the radar of many people when free agency began this week. But the Dolphins made him a first-day priority.

“I know a lot of guys don’t know about me,” Mitchell admitted. “But I originally played offense and once I moved over to defense it was definitely an adjustment period but I feel like I’ve gotten better and better and ever since I stepped into the position of playing defense.”
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Thursday from around the Web:
  • Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel writes new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey properly read the defensive tackle market.
Morning take: Hickey signed two defensive tackles (Earl Mitchell, Randy Starks) at affordable prices considering the quality Miami is getting. That leaves more money available to fill other positions.
  • Adam Beasley and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald write Starks' return to the Dolphins was a remarkable turn of events.
Morning take: Money talks in the NFL. Starks was unhappy last season with the franchise tag. But Miami was willing to pay $12 million over two seasons and that was enough to mend fences.
  • Mitchell tells the Dolphins' team site he is happy to join a talented group of defensive linemen.
Morning take: Miami will have no shortage of players on the defensive line. Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Starks and Jared Odrick all have a track record of production. Mitchell must find a role.
  • Jarrett Bell of USA Today writes the Jonathan Martin trade to the San Francisco 49ers is best for all.
Morning take: Every party got something out of this trade. Miami got a draft pick, San Francisco got a versatile offensive tackle on the cheap and Martin got a fresh start with his college coach.
Free agency begins in five days for the Miami Dolphins and the rest of the NFL. Defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks can become unrestricted free agents next Tuesday

Will any of this change in the next few days?

Starks
Soliai
Soliai and Starks have been significant contributors for the Dolphins over the past several seasons. Soliai has been a full-time starter the past four years in Miami and made the Pro Bowl following the 2011 season. Starks has been in Miami since 2008 and made the Pro Bowl in 2010 and 2012.

They were part of a rotation with fellow defensive lineman Jared Odrick last season. The group didn’t work well for Miami, despite all three being good individual players. The Dolphins surprisingly were 24th against the run last season and often wore down in the second half of games.

However, Soliai and Starks are good players who should get interest on the open market. Soliai is a natural run-stuffer capable of fitting in the middle of a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, which adds value. Starks is more of a play-making defensive tackle who has 36.5 career sacks.

It’s possible the Dolphins could wait and let other teams set the market with their two defensive tackles. If the price is too high, the Dolphins could let them walk and examine other options. Miami also could try to retain the least expensive of the two.

But time is ticking for the Dolphins at defensive tackle. There is no guarantee Soliai or Starks will return to Miami once they hit the open market. With several days remaining before free agency, it is not too early for Miami to put together a contingency plan via the draft or free agency.

Walker's Fab 40: Nos. 13-16

February, 13, 2014
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We continue our ranking of the top 40 players.

Here are Nos. 13-16:

No. 16: Richie Incognito

Position: Guard

2013 stats: Eight starts

Analysis: Incognito was Miami’s most controversial player in 2013. He was in the middle of the bullying and harassment allegations from teammate Jonathan Martin, which became a national story. Incognito was later suspended, with pay, for half the season. But Incognito is a rugged player who is one year removed from the Pro Bowl. He will not play again in Miami but could get another shot elsewhere as long as a team can overlook last year’s scandal.

No. 15: Dion Jordan

Position: Defensive end

2013 stats: 26 tackles, 2.0 sacks

Analysis: Jordan, the No. 3 overall pick in 2013, has a world of talent. The problem is the Dolphins’ coaching staff didn’t know how to use it during his rookie year. Jordan was a part-time rotation player at defensive end. He didn’t get much playing time behind Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake and team sack leader Olivier Vernon. Jordan showed flashes, but much more is expected in 2014.

No. 14: Jared Odrick

Position: Defensive tackle

2013 stats: 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks

Analysis: Versatility is Odrick’s biggest strength. He moved from defensive end to defensive tackle full-time in 2013. Odrick was a rotational player but still produced. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract and would like to have long-term security.

No. 13: John Denny

Position: Long snapper

2013 stats: 16 games

Analysis: How can a long snapper be ranked this high? The answer is simple: Denny is one of the few Dolphins who can say he consistently did his job every week. Long snapping has not been an issue for the Dolphins in quite some time. That’s why Denny is the longest-tenured player in Miami.

Three Dolphins who deserve a raise

February, 8, 2014
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Despite last year’s free-agent spending spree, the Miami Dolphins will have plenty of cap room to spend again in 2014. The Dolphins have more than 20 restricted and unrestricted free agents who come off the books. But that also means there are big decisions upcoming for first-year general manager Dennis Hickey.

One dilemma will be figuring out which players already under contract deserve a raise this offseason. ESPN.com’s Dolphins page did some legwork to find three Miami players who have outperformed their current contracts.

1. Mike Pouncey, center

2014 salary: $1.638 million

Analysis: Miami’s 2011 first-round pick is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract. Pouncey made his first Pro Bowl in 2013, but he’s played at a Pro Bowl level the past two seasons. The Dolphins currently have Pouncey at a bargain for two more years. Top interior linemen often get paid around $5-7 million per season. It remains to be seen if Miami will go to the negotiating table with Pouncey to provide a raise this offseason or try to wait another year. But he’s definitely outperformed his current salary.

2. Charles Clay, tight end

2014 salary: $645,000

Analysis: Clay is another player who significantly outperformed his contract. The 2011 sixth-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie agreement. Clay was a major surprise for the Dolphins in 2013. He replaced injured starting tight end Dustin Keller (knee) and set new career highs in receptions (69), yards (759) and touchdowns (six). A $645,000 salary is small for that level of production. Clay has a good rapport with starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and an extension would make him a part of the team's long-term plans.

3. Jared Odrick, defensive lineman

2014 salary: $865,000

Analysis: Odrick, a 2010 first-round pick, is in a contract year and would prefer long-term security. Odrick had a solid 2013 with 43 tackles and 4.5 sacks while rotating with fellow defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks. Both Soliai and Starks are unrestricted free agents, which also raises Odrick's value. Odrick is a versatile player who can play every position on the defensive line. He is also a hard worker and a quality locker room guy.

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