Miami Dolphins: Kevin Coyle

DAVIE, Fla. -- The first offering of bad news happened this morning for the Miami Dolphins' defense: New England Patriots Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski declared himself ready to return in Week 1.

Gronkowski
Gronkowski
Miami’s defense has traditionally struggled against the Patriots’ offense. The Dolphins will be preparing for a New England team at full strength Sept. 7 at Sun Life Stadium to open the regular season.

Though Gronkowski’s return is news to the rest of the league, the Dolphins were not surprised. Miami was bracing for Gronkowski, who is coming off an ACL tear, as soon as the NFL schedule was released in April.

"We were fully prepared. We saw he was on the 53-man roster so we have to be prepared for every combination," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said Monday. "He’s an excellent player. He’s been very productive throughout his career. So we will have a good plan in place. ... We will be ready for him, for sure."

Gronkowski provides perhaps the biggest matchup problem Miami has on defense. The Dolphins' linebackers are one of the most inconsistent groups on the team -- both against the run and the pass. Gronkowski is arguably the NFL’s best tight end when healthy and New England quarterback Tom Brady’s favorite target in the red zone.

However, if the Dolphins focus too much on one player it could open things up for others on New England's offense, such as receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

"We’ve got to defend their entire group and that’s a big enough chore as it is," Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. "We assumed that he would be playing. So that’s kind of how we’ve been proceeding since the spring."

This will be an interesting chess match between two division opponents who know each other well. The team which best took advantage of the extra prep time will start the regular season 1-0.

"You’re always able to spend more time on your first opponent -- and that goes back to spring," Coyle said. "Certain things that we worked on, and certain things we exposed our players to, I think they have a better feeling now than if it were Game 5 or 6 during the regular season."
DAVIE, Fla. -- To booth or not to booth? That is the question facing the Miami Dolphins' two coordinators.

New Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and third-year defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle are undecided where they will coach on game days in the regular season. Both coordinators are experimenting during the preseason by coaching on the sidelines.

Lazor and Coyle spent Friday's preseason opener on the field with their offensive and defensive players, respectively. Each coordinator had their assistants upstairs in the booth communicating to them on the field. They have three more exhibitions to make up their minds.

"I have not made a final decision yet," Lazor said. "It will be decisions based on our staff and how I think the communication works between upstairs and downstairs. Based on our players, I felt like I needed to [spend] the first game on the field to see our players as they came off the field. The look in their eyes, to see what the leadership looked like on the sideline, to see what the poise was on the sideline. I got a lot of questions answered Friday night. I was happy with a lot of what I saw."

Coyle has been a “booth coach” most of his career. But Coyle said there have been communication issues in the past on defense that might be resolved this season by calling plays from the sidelines.

"There are plusses and minuses to both obviously, but the thing I’m experimenting with right now is defensively the ability to get the calls in as fast as possible makes a big difference for our players," Coyle said. "They want to get the call so they can get turned around see the offense coming out, get lined up and play."

Coyle said he will coach from the sideline for the second straight week in Miami’s second preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to feel things out.

Both Coyle and Lazor will consult with Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin before making their final decisions. Philbin was once in their shoes -- he was an offensive coordinator for five seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

Philbin said he preferred the booth as a coordinator, but he’s leaving that choice up to Coyle and Lazor.

"Ultimately, they are the ones calling the plays. They have to be comfortable," Philbin explained. "So I don’t have a strong preference. I want them to feel confident and comfortable wherever they may be."
The Miami Dolphins kick off their 2014 exhibition season Friday against the Atlanta Falcons at 7 p.m. ET. It is no secret that this is a big year for many within the Dolphins' organization. This is the first step to what should be an interesting journey. The Dolphins believe this is the season they make the playoffs and end a five-year postseason drought.

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What are you most looking forward to in the Dolphins' preseason opener?

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Here is our latest "Poll Friday" question: What are Miami fans most looking forward to in the Dolphins' preseason opener?

Is it watching Bill Lazor's new offense? The Dolphins' first-year offensive coordinator is bringing an up-tempo scheme to Miami. Friday's game will be the first time Lazor's offense is put to the test against another team's defense.

What about the development of starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill? He is 15-17 as a starter and enters a big third season to prove he's the long-term solution. A good preseason debut would be a step in the right direction.

Are Dolphins fans looking forward to watching the defense? This is the third season under defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. The Dolphins added a few new pieces on defense, such as cornerback Cortland Finnegan, safety Louis Delmas and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell. The Dolphins believe they could have a top-10 unit.

Finally, do not forget about the rookies. This will be the first NFL action for first-round pick Ja'Wuan James, second-round pick Jarvis Landry and the remainder of Miami’s rookie class. How will they respond? Friday’s game in Atlanta will be a good introduction to the pros.

Using our SportsNation poll, vote on what you’re most looking forward to watching in Miami's preseason opener against the Falcons. You can share your thoughts in the comment section below or send a message via Twitter to @JamesWalkerNFL.
DAVIE, Fla. – With a four-game suspension looming in September, it would be easy for Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan to go in the tank. Anything Jordan does this summer won’t matter when the regular season begins. Miami’s 2013 first-round pick cannot play in a regular-season game until Oct. 12 against the Green Bay Packers because of a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

[+] EnlargeDion Jordan
Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsDion Jordan is suspended for the first four games of the season, but isn't coasting through training camp.
However, Jordan is showing maturity by not only continuing to practice hard, but also making plays. Jordan has been one of Miami’s biggest defensive playmakers in the first week of training camp. He had arguably the best defensive play of camp so far with his pick-six of Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill during a screen attempt.

“He’s been great. Dion has done nothing but come to work every day,” Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. “He’s a lunch-pail kind of guy as it is. There is no prima donna in Dion Jordan, from the time he came here a year ago he was out here jumping on the scout team before he was even asked to do it.”

Jordan had a nondescript rookie season with just 26 tackles and two sacks. Miami’s coaches didn’t think Jordan had enough strength to be an every-down player, especially against the run. Therefore, Jordan was relegated mostly to obvious passing downs and special teams.

The Dolphins were counting heavily on Jordan to increase those numbers and become a valuable member of the defense this season. But that can’t happen until at least October.

Jordan’s current flashes in training camp are bittersweet. It proves that Jordan is getting better, but it is also a show of what Miami will be missing in September.

Coyle believes Jordan -- eventually -- will develop into an important player on defense.

“He’s anxious to continue to develop,” Coyle said. “He knows he’s got a lot of work. He’s been getting a lot of work here. We’ll continue to try to get a lot of players in the preseason games knowing that we’re going to miss him for a bit, but we envision his role is going to be extensive when he comes back and we know he’s going to be a great player for us.”
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins will not admit it publicly, but through the first week of camp it is clear the defense is well ahead of the offense. It's also been that way most of the offseason during organized team activities and minicamp open to the media.

[+] EnlargeCortland Finnegan
Robert Mayer/USA TODAY SportsThe Dolphins hope offseason acquisitions such as Cortland Finnegan will move their defense into the elite category.
Therefore, unless there is a dramatic turnaround over the next few weeks, the Dolphins will be relying on their veteran defense to carry this team to start the regular season. Miami is implementing a new, up-tempo offense under first-year coordinator Bill Lazor and currently experiencing growing pains. Yet, Miami’s defense is a group that’s run the same system the past three seasons and returns most of its starters.

Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle says he's fine with the increased expectations.

“Defensively, we like the challenge,” Coyle said. “We like the challenge of having a veteran group of guys that feel that they can be among the league’s top defenses and if we execute we feel we can do that. We’ve got a lot of work to go through to get to that point, but certainly I think our offensive players and our offensive staff are doing a great job of giving us a lot of problems.”

Miami’s defense was difficult to figure out last season. The Dolphins were strong in certain areas, such as opponent scoring, but struggled against the run and defending tight ends and slot receivers over the middle. Miami hopes it addressed those issues.

The Dolphins swapped starters Dannell Ellerbe to outside linebacker and Koa Misi to middle linebacker in hopes of getting more production. New safety Louis Delmas also is expected to add a physical element over the middle of the field, and cornerback Cortland Finnegan is out to prove he still has gas in the tank opposite Pro Bowler Brent Grimes.

The Dolphins’ offense only averaged 19.8 points per game last season and still won eight games. Lazor was brought in increase scoring, but it might not happen immediately.

Miami's defense has the advantage of continuity that the team hopes pays dividends through all 16 games.

“We’ve got guys that can make plays. We’ve got very good speed on defense. We’ve got a lot of good athletes,” Coyle said. “We’ve got a group of guys that are hungry and I really like the chemistry of these guys. ... I think if we keep building it, we have a chance to do something special.”
The Miami Dolphins will begin their three-day, mandatory minicamp on Tuesday. We will be there live to take in all the action from practice.

Here are three things we will be monitoring closely this week:

1. Development of Bill Lazor's offense

Analysis: The Dolphins are running a new offensive scheme this year and are going through growing pains. There are days when Miami’s new offense looks explosive and other days when the group is sloppy and can’t seem to get it together. At some point, Miami’s offense will have to be more consistent and catch up with the defense. Yes, the Dolphins have been using the same defensive scheme under Kevin Coyle for three seasons. But the Dolphins can’t be an imbalanced team where the offense is lagging behind if they want to make the playoffs. These three days will be a good opportunity for Miami’s new offense to show growth and take another step forward before training camp.

2. QB Ryan Tannehill

Analysis: The biggest component to Lazor’s offense taking off is Tannehill. He continues to learn a new offense for the first time in his NFL career. This also happens to be a make-or-break Year 3 for Tannehill to prove he is a franchise starting quarterback. He is 15-17 as a starter in Miami and has yet to post a winning season. The Dolphins could take flight if Tannehill takes the next step and becomes top-12 quarterback. There are enough pieces around Tannehill where he doesn’t have to be elite for Miami to make the playoffs. But he must be consistently very good for the Dolphins to thrive -- and it starts in practice.

3. Position battles

Analysis: When you haven’t had a winning season since 2008, expect plenty of position battles. That is certainly the case for the Dolphins this year. There is competition on both sides of the ball to keep an eye on. Some of the biggest position battles are at running back (Lamar Miller, Knowshon Moreno), left guard (Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner), slot receiver (three-way competition) and cornerback (three-way competition). None of these positions will be settled by the end of this week’s minicamp. But this a good chance for all these players to leave a strong impression with the Dolphins’ coaching staff before everyone takes their summer break. The players who perform the best now will enter training camp with the inside track.
Most of the time we dissect the Xs and Os and latest news with your favorite team. But occasionally there are good times to mix in fantasy football – and this is one of those times.

The 2014 season is about to get under way when training camps start at the end of July. That also means fantasy drafts will be plentiful.

Here is some advice on who to select and who to avoid for the Dolphins:

Tannehill
1. QB Ryan Tannehill

2013 stats: 3,913 yards, 24 touchdowns, 17 interceptions

Analysis: Tannehill is a complete wild card this year in fantasy drafts. Some believe he’s just not a franchise quarterback based on his 15-17 career record. Some believe Tannehill was held back last year by a poor offensive line and questionable play-calling. Both things should be better this year, which naturally means Tannehill has a better chance to put up numbers. New Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is bringing an up-tempo style to Miami that will be fast-paced and put a lot of pressure on the defense. The offensive line also is improved with the additions of Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert, free-agent pickup Shelley Smith and first-round pick Ja’Wuan James.

Fantasy advice: Tannehill is not a top pick. But he could be a good sleeper if he picks up Lazor’s offense quickly. Pick your dependable franchise quarterback first. Then, it may be worth taking a flier on Tannehill as a backup fantasy quarterback in the later rounds.

Wallace
Wallace
2. WR Mike Wallace

2013 stats: 73 receptions, 930 yards, five TDs

Analysis: Despite not being used properly and missing on several big opportunities, Wallace still put up fairly decent numbers. If Wallace and Tannehill would have connected on half of their missed long balls last season, Wallace could have easily added 300 more yards and three or four touchdowns. It is vital for Tannehill and Wallace to leave nothing on the field this year. Lazor also is using Wallace in various positions so defenses won’t key on him. If all goes well, Wallace could put up DeSean Jackson-like numbers.

Fantasy advice: There are reasons to be confident in Wallace's fantasy value in his second year in Miami. However, the tricky part of playing receiver is you need everything else to go well. Will the offensive line come together quickly and give Wallace enough time to get downfield? Will Tannehill throw a better deep ball? These are unknowns. Still, Wallace would be a solid No. 2 or No. 3 fantasy receiver on most teams. He should get over 1,000 yards if he stays healthy.

Clay
3. TE Charles Clay

2013 stats: 69 receptions, 759 yards, six touchdowns

Analysis: Clay was a nice surprise in fantasy football last year. He started training camp as a “tweener” fullback and tight end. Then, Dustin Keller’s season-ending knee injury in the preseason made Clay a full-time starter at tight end and his production took off. Clay led the Dolphins with six touchdown receptions.

Fantasy advice: Clay still has sleeper value in 2014. Not everyone is on to him as a household name at tight end. Don’t overdraft Clay as a Dolphin fan. Wait until the later rounds where a steady producer like Clay can offer some real value.

Miller
4. RB Lamar Miller

2013 stats: 709 rushing yards, two touchdowns

Analysis: Some fantasy owners thought Miller had the potential to be a big sleeper last season. But Miller struggled in his first full year as a starter. He didn’t have the explosive plays the Dolphins were hoping four and only rushed for two touchdowns. The Dolphins signed veteran tailback Knowshon Moreno to push Miller and possibly take Miller’s job this season.

Fantasy advice: With Moreno and Miller competing this summer, neither player offers much fantasy value. There is no way of knowing who will start until the end of the preseason. I would look at other options at running back.

5. Dolphins defense

2013 stats: Ranking 24th vs. run, 16 vs. pass

Analysis: The Dolphins were a hard bunch to gauge on defense. Several statistics point out Miami’s defense was mediocre. But there were a few areas, such as points per game, where the Dolphins did well and kept the team in the hunt all season. Miami’s offense rarely did its defense any favors. This is a group that at times wore down in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins’ defense must do better late in games.

Fantasy value: I expect the Dolphins’ defense to perform better statistically in 2014. But there are plenty of safer defenses to choose from.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Monday from around the Web:
  • Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel writes Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is optimistic about this group.
Morning take: Miami’s defense kept teams out of the end zone but allowed more yards than previous years. The Dolphins’ defense must become the clear strength of the team, at least early on.
  • Anthony Chaing of the Palm Beach Post writes second-year players Dion Jordan and Jamar Taylor are healthy and optimistic.
Morning take: Health could be the key to both players making a second-year jump. Miami needs solid production from last year’s draft class.
  • Analyst from the NFL Network weigh in on Dolphins third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Morning take: This year is make or break for Tannehill. He’s yet to have a winning season and NFL quarterbacks rarely get four years to prove they’re franchise quarterbacks.
  • Alain Poupart of the Dolphins team site writes about linebacker Dannell Ellerbe becoming a first-time father.
Morning take: Ellerbe experienced a lot of change since winning the Super Bowl with the Ravens following the 2012 season. He joined the Dolphins in 2013 and enjoyed his first Father's Day on Sunday.

Miami Dolphins Twitter mailbag

June, 13, 2014
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The Miami Dolphins completed organized team activities this week. They now will enter the next phase of offseason workouts with mandatory minicamp June 17-19.

It’s a good time to open the Dolphins mailbag and see what’s on the minds of Miami fans.

DAVIE, Fla. -- One of the Miami Dolphins creating the most buzz during organized team activities is defensive end Dion Jordan. The 2013 No. 3 overall pick played sparingly last season but still has a lot of potential to develop into a star player for Miami.

Joseph
Jordan
Jordan showed up to Dolphins camp noticeably bigger this spring. Jordan hit the weight room hard this offseason and bulked up to 265 pounds, which is about 17 pounds heavier than last year around this time. Jordan is turning a lot of heads with his increased strength while still maintaining his athleticism.

Here was Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle's thoughts on his second-year defensive end:
"Oh yeah, but we have a different Dion (Jordan) as well. The thing was last year, we came very close in the preseason to have to make a decision whether or not we were going to basically redshirt Dion or know that we were going to get limited snaps from him. All of the talk in the offseason that centered around, ‘Well, he wasn’t utilized, he didn’t do that.’ Well, honestly, we knew going into the year that he had not had the offseason, that he was coming off of an injury and would it be in the best interest of our team to have him, even for limited snaps, we made that decision. Certainly, Dion wished he had a bigger rookie season and so do we, but we have great expectations for Dion Jordan coming into this year. You cannot have enough great pass-rushers and, we feel that with Dion at full speed, we have a prime-time player that’s going to explode this year.”

It is interesting to think Miami almost put Jordan on injured reserve last year following offseason shoulder surgery. Jordan didn’t get healthy until during the season, and by that point he was already behind in the rotation. It also didn’t help Jordan that starting defensive end Olivier Vernon emerged and led the Dolphins with 11.5 sacks. Jordan finished with two sacks and 26 tackles off the bench. But backup experience for Jordan is better than no experience.

This year it will be up to Coyle and Miami’s coaching staff to find a way to get Jordan more reps. Cameron Wake and Vernon are the starters. But Jordan is putting in the work to become a better all-around player and needs more snaps to make an impact.
DAVIE, Fla. -- Koa Misi has played outside linebacker his entire five-year career in the NFL. Before that, Misi was a standout defensive end in college at the University of Utah.

But the Miami Dolphins are trying something with Misi this offseason that he's never done before. Misi was moved inside as Miami's starting middle linebacker. For the first time, Misi is responsible for play calls, getting the defense lined up pre-snap and stopping anything in the middle of the field.

[+] EnlargeMiami's Koa Misi
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesMiami is trying out Koa Misi at middle linebacker.
Will the Misi experiment work?

Misi is Miami's new field general on defense. The Dolphins are hoping this improves the performance of their underachieving linebackers.

"We think he has great leadership qualities," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said of Misi. "We think his play has certainly exemplified that over the course of period of time that I've been here. He plays football the right way, so we are going to see how we adjust to that position and how he relates to the other players at his position and the defense in general. So far he's done a nice job."

Make no mistake, the Dolphins are trying the Misi experiment out of necessity. The Dolphins hired new linebackers coach Mark Duffner this offseason to shake things up.

Miami starting linebackers Misi, Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler all struggled last season amid high expectations. This trio received sizable contracts and extensions last year, but the Dolphins were ranked 24th in stopping the run and had issues defending tight ends and slot receivers in the passing game.

"I've always been open to anything," Misi said of the switch. "Like I said to these guys, since I got here, I've been switching positions. I'm always open to try something new. Like I said, if it works, it works and, if not, we'll go back to the way things were."

Will this last all season or eventually change? No one in Miami knows for sure.

But there are no early signs that Miami will go back to last year's alignment. Misi has been the starting middle linebacker in every snap the past two weeks in organized team activities open to the media. The Dolphins have been pleased with the results thus far.

"We know, in the long term, it's going to provide us with more depth regardless of whether we stay with it or not," Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. "It's hard to get a true evaluation when you're out here running around in shorts. But certainly you can start to see them getting more comfortable with the positions that they're featured in right now.

"I think so far, so good. We've been pleased with the way it's working out."
DAVIE, Fla. -- Organized team activities are not made for hard-hitting players like Louis Delmas.

On Monday, Miami's new starting safety flew to the football and zeroed in on receivers coming across the middle, only to pull up early due to non-contact rules in the spring. After repeating it several times, Delmas grew frustrated and jawed with offensive players about what could happen if this were a real game.

"He is 100 miles an hour with everything he's doing," Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said of Delmas. "But he's a very, very perceptive guy on the field. He sees formations quickly. He communicates very well. He understands mistakes.

"Sometimes you have to reign him in a little bit, but that's a good thing. We rather have that problem than having to get him going."

Delmas knows he won't get to show his full array of skills until the pads come on in training camp and the preseason. The Dolphins signed Delmas to a one-year contract to bring an intimidating presence to the back end of the defense. Delmas is known as one of the NFL's fiercest hitters. He's knocked out opponents, as well as teammates while torpedoing to the football. The Dolphins will try to emphasize the former, not the latter.

Delmas says he's both healthy and happy this spring. Injuries have been an issue for Delmas in recent years, particularly his knees. He has missed 13 games the past three seasons and missed a lot of practice time with the Detroit Lions.

So far there have been no sign of injuries or slowing down in OTAs. I asked Delmas about his health on Monday.

"I'm great. I haven't missed a day of training. I haven't missed a day of practice," Delmas responded. "So I'm feeling good right now, the best I've felt my last four years of football. I'm very excited about this year."

The key for Delmas at this stage is to make the most of mental and verbal reps. He is pairing with fellow safety Reshad Jones as Miami's last line of defense this year. Delmas was communicative Monday with his teammates and is already showing his personality.

"I think it took Louis about three minutes to get comfortable in the building," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. "He's an energetic, passionate guy. One thing that we noticed the way he plays on tape before we signed him is he plays fast and he plays football the right way. He's decisive."

Delmas, a South Florida native, is looking forward to playing for his hometown team. He's loose, relaxed, and if he performs this season, it's possible Delmas could be part of Miami's secondary beyond 2014.

"I'm having fun. This is not work," Delmas said. "This is an environment that I can get up each and every morning and enjoy coming to. I'm very thankful for the opportunity."
DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins completed their first of three rookie minicamp practices Friday. This was the only session open to the media this weekend.

Here are several observations from practice:
  • Let's start with a bit of news: Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was not present for the rookie practice. He was away due to a personal matter. Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle primarily ran the practice. Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey took over the media duties after practice and said Philbin is expected to return on Saturday.
  • It was only one practice, but I like the look of Miami first-round pick Ja'Wuan James. He has big, long arms for a right tackle and looks in good shape. James didn't do much in team drills because the Dolphins wanted an extended look at rookie tryouts. But James has the inside track to become a rookie starter on Miami's offensive line. "I haven't played football in a long time," James said Friday. "We've been practicing to be track stars during this whole drafting process. So it was good going out there and competing."
  • It was an interesting day for Dolphins fourth-round pick Walt Aikens. The good news is Aikens has good size and got quality reps at cornerback. The bad news is Aikens did not finish his first practice open to the media and left the field early with trainers.
  • Miami fifth-round pick Jordan Tripp had a solid first practice. He played at middle linebacker Friday and looked comfortable calling signals and running the defense. This also is an indication Miami's coaches believe he can back up starting middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. "[It's] preparation allowing you to succeed when those opportunities are given," Tripp said. "Being out there and being in that position, that's one of the roles you take on. You're team trusts you and you have to do the best you can to help the team out the most."
  • Dolphins second-round pick Jarvis Landry showed much of what was advertised in his first practice. He made some nice catches and showed good hands. Landry also has good focus on the ball, watches it all the way in and has good catching fundamentals. Hickey has high hopes for Landry and believes he can play inside, outside and on special teams. Landry got some reps as a gunner on the punt team Friday, which is a position he also played early in his career at LSU.
  • This also was the first glimpse of the Dolphins' new offense under Lazor. The Dolphins used a lot of different looks and formations on the first day of rookie camp -- and it was probably just a small portion of the playbook. The route combos and some concepts are different from a year ago when the offense was run by former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

The Dolphins' rookies will take the field again on Saturday and Sunday, but those practices are not open to the media. Miami's next media availability is Tuesday during veteran organized team activities.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Tuesday from around the Web:
  • Free agent and former Dolphin Bryant McKinnie told WQAM he’s willing to play right tackle.
Morning take: McKinnie has played his entire career on the left side, including last season with the Dolphins. McKinnie is doing whatever it takes to get picked up by another team in 2014. He's an emergency plan for Miami.
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post compares free agent Devin Hester to Dolphins returner Marcus Thigpen.
Morning take: Unless Miami gets Hester on the cheap, the move doesn’t do much for the Dolphins. Thigpen is a solid returner. Hester is better but doesn’t have a natural position.
Morning take: Coyle has a lot of toys to play with this season. He must find a better way to use 2013 No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan this year.
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports why the Dolphins are committed to cornerback Cortland Finnegan.
Morning take: Miami is putting a lot of stock into Finnegan, who had a poor 2013 season with the St. Louis Rams. The Dolphins’ two-year, $11 million contract speaks volumes that they're confident Finnegan can bounce back.
Tuesday marked the end of an era for the Miami Dolphins and defensive tackle Paul Soliai. He was drafted seven years ago by the Dolphins and developed into a solid starter and a Pro Bowler.

However, Miami and Soliai parted ways after the Atlanta Falcons swooped in with a five-year, $33 million contract. The Dolphins were not interested in offering Soliai that kind of money.

Soliai made a statement Tuesday evening thanking many in the Dolphins organization, including teammates and his position coach. But Soliai interestingly failed to mention his former head coach (Joe Philbin) or defensive coordinator (Kevin Coyle) in Miami.

Here is the full statement from Soliai via his wife’s Twitter account:
"I had an incredible experience playing for the Miami Dolphins and leave behind many great friends and teammates. I along with my wide, my entire family, and everyone at the Paul Soliai Foundation wanted to than all the Dolphins fans for an amazing seven years there. I also want to thank the previous staff for drafting me out of Utah in 2007 and welcoming me into the NFL. I especially wanted to thank defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers for his guidance, friendship, and for making me a better player and man. Thank you again, Paul Soliai."

It's curious that Soliai would mention his position coach without also crediting the two main coaches above Rodgers. It feels like a slight and perhaps a clue that Soliai wasn't all that happy with the way he was treated by Philbin and Coyle on his way out of Miami.

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