Miami Dolphins: Shelley Smith

Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Wednesday from around the Web:
  • Chris Perkins of the Sun Sentinel writes about safety Reshad Jones, who believes he’s playing like one of the top safeties in the NFL.
Morning take: Jones had a stellar game against the Chicago Bears last week where he led Miami with seven tackles and an interception. He's been a strong addition for the defense following a four-game suspension.
  • Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald writes guards Billy Turner and Shelley Smith can’t crack the starting lineup.
Morning take: The Dolphins had high hopes for Turner and Smith when they were acquired in the offseason. However, injuries and having veterans in front of them kept Turner and Smith on the bench.
  • Alain Poupart of the Dolphins team site writes defensive end Dion Jordan is happy to be back.
Morning take: Jordan is coming off dual suspensions that cost him six games this season. Jordan must prove that he has his life in order and he's ready to produce.
  • Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post writes the Dolphins must improve on special teams.
Morning take: This year has been a roller-coaster ride for Miami's third phase. The Dolphins have made great plays on special teams and awful plays. Building consistency is key.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (1-2) continue their preparation for the Oakland Raiders (0-3).

Misi
Here are some notes and observations from Wednesday's practice:
  • Miami’s defense received some good news. Starting middle linebacker Koa Misi returned to practice from an ankle injury. Misi was injured in Week 1 against the New England Patriots and missed the past two games. Backup linebacker Jason Trusnik has filled in.
  • Dolphins starting defensive lineman Randy Starks was not practicing Wednesday in the portion open to the media. He also left practice early on Tuesday. Miami will release the nature of Starks’ absence later this afternoon. Also, guard Shelley Smith didn’t practice for the second day in a row. Smith missed last week’s game with a knee injury.
  • Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is on the hot seat, is making an emphasis on improving his footwork this week. Tannehill went through individual and position drills Wednesday concentrating on footwork to improve his accuracy. Tannehill currently has a career-low 56.5 completion percentage.

Dolphins practice notes: Eyes on QBs

September, 23, 2014
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DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (1-2) had their first practice of the week Tuesday in preparation for their Week 4 matchup against the Oakland Raiders (0-3) in London.

Here are some notes and observations:
  • All eyes were on Miami’s quarterbacks in practice. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin would not confirm quarterback Ryan Tannehill would start on Sunday, which left open to interpretation that his leash is getting shorter for the third-year quarterback. Interestingly, Philbin closely watched both Tannehill and backup quarterback Matt Moore during individual drills in practice. Teams drills are not open to the media during the regular season.
  • Dolphins Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey practiced again on Tuesday. He also practiced last week and appears closer to returning. Pouncey has targeted this game since training camp. But it’s also possible Pouncey could take advantage of the bye and take another two weeks off.
  • Miami starting middle linebacker Koa Misi and starting guard Shelley Smith did not practice in the portion open to the media. Misi missed last week’s game with an ankle injury and Smith missed it with a knee injury.

Miami Dolphins inactives

September, 21, 2014
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Here are the Miami Dolphins (1-1) players you won’t see in Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2).

Projecting Miami Dolphins inactives

September, 20, 2014
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DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (1-1) will host the winless Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.

Here are the Dolphins who could miss the Week 3 matchup:

RB Knowshon Moreno: Miami’s leading rusher injured his elbow in Week 2 and won’t be back any time soon.

LB Koa Misi: He missed every practice this week and already is ruled out.

G Shelley Smith: Miami’s starting guard also missed every practice and is ruled out.

DL Terrence Fede: The rookie seventh-round pick is making progress. But he still appears to be at least a game or two away.

LB Jordan Tripp: Miami’s rookie linebacker returned to practice, and there was some optimism he could play against Kansas City. But the Dolphins listed Tripp as "doubtful" and will play it safe for another week.

OT Jason Fox: He’s the final offensive lineman on Miami’s active roster.

DL Bruce Gaston: The Dolphins made him inactive the first two games, and that probably won’t change Sunday.

Dolphins-Chiefs final injury report

September, 19, 2014
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The Miami Dolphins (1-1) will host the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.

Here is the final injury report for both teams:

Dolphins (1-1)
Chiefs (0-2)
Analysis: There are several interesting things from this final injury report. From Miami's perspective, Pouncey appears to be a no-go at center. He's doubtful and has a better chance to play in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, which is a game Pouncey has targeted since training camp. Clay is questionable and is an important member of Miami's offense. For Kansas City, the big story is Charles, who is the Chiefs' best player. It appears Charles will be a game-time decision.
DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins (1-1) continued their preparation for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2).

Here are some thoughts on Miami’s second practice:
  • Joseph
    Jordan
    Jones
    Jones
    The Dolphins did not get any good news with the change of the NFL and NFLPA’s drug policy. Defensive end Dion Jordan and safety Reshad Jones will continue to serve their four-game suspensions for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and obviously absent from practice. The NFLPA released a statement of the players who can return under the new policy. That includes safety Orlando Scandrick of the Dallas Cowboys and receivers Stedman Bailey of the St. Louis Rams and Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos. Jordan and Jones will be eligible to return for Miami’s Week 6 game against the Green Bay Packers.
  • Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey practiced for the second day in a row, which is a good sign of his progress. In addition, Wednesday was a full-padded practice. That was a first for Pouncey as well. Pouncey believes he can play in Sunday’s game against Kansas City but understands the decision will be made by Miami’s coaching and medical staff. In the meantime, Pouncey needs as much practice as possible to shake off the rust.
  • Dolphins starting guard Shelley Smith (knee) did not practice Wednesday in the portion open to the media. This is the second practice Smith has missed, which is not a good sign for his chances to play on Sunday. Miami linebacker Koa Misi and rookie defensive end Terrence Fede also did not practice during the media viewing portion.
  • The Dolphins reportedly worked out former San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James on Tuesday but did not sign him to a contract. Miami has four healthy running backs to take into Sunday’s game in Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas and rookies Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa.

Ryan Tannehill preps for nemesis Bills

September, 11, 2014
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DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill owns career wins over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts and even Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.

Tannehill
But, surprisingly, the one team Tannehill has struggled most against throughout his NFL career is the Buffalo Bills. Tannehill is 1-3 against Buffalo, completing just 48 percent of his passes in those four games and averaging only 136.7 yards per contest.

Tannehill’s most recent outing against Buffalo was arguably his worst game. He was 10-of-27 passing for 82 yards in a 19-0 loss to the Bills in Week 16.

Tannehill will get to meet his personal nemesis when the Dolphins (1-0) travel to face the Bills (1-0) on Sunday. Tannehill knows he wasn’t his best in Week 1 against the Patriots but still put together a winning performance. He completed 18-of-32 passes for 178 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

“We left a lot of plays out there. I left a lot of plays out there, personally,” Tannehill admitted. “Location of throws, missing throws, [I] had a couple of dropped passes. Details like that where we left a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns out on the field. ... But you can’t leave that many plays on the field consistently and expect to win week-in and week-out. Definitely, we want to clean those details up this week.”


Tannehill will have to play better this week. Buffalo has found a way to batter Tannehill and force Miami's offense to be one-dimensional in the past. That was especially the case during last season's season sweep when the Bills' defense registered nine quarterback sacks on Tannehill in two games.

Those two contests helped convince Miami to do a major makeover of its offensive line via free agency and the draft. The Dolphins signed veteran left tackle Branden Albert to a $47 million contract, drafted rookie right tackle Ja’Wuan James in the first round and added center Samson Satele and veteran guards Daryn Colledge and Shelley Smith in free agency.

Miami had five new starting offensive linemen in Week 1, and the unit thrived against New England. The Dolphins had impressive balance with 191 rushing yards and 169 passing yards, which caught the attention of Bills head coach Doug Marrone.

“As far as just a unit, in general, they’re working extremely well together and I think that’s the most impressive thing,” Marrone said in a conference call with the Miami media. “They’re knocking people off the ball.”

Both teams enter this game with momentum. That sets up this interesting matchup of surprise undefeated teams where the winner will be 2-0 and in first place in the AFC East.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, 63 percent of teams that start 2-0 since 1990 have gone on to make the playoffs. Whoever wins Sunday will be well-positioned to end a lengthy postseason drought. The Dolphins haven’t made the playoffs since 2008, and the Bills have the NFL’s longest playoff drought dating back to the 1999 season.

“Very important just because we need to get this lead. We don’t need to be playing catch up,” Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace said. “We’ve been there before. We need to see how it feels to play as the division leaders the whole time. We can do that. We have the team to do it. We just have to continue to put in the work every single week, every single day."
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins starting center Samson Satele has been through plenty of battles with New England Patriots defensive tackle and five-time Pro Bowler Vince Wilfork. Satele has played against Wilfork in the regular season and postseason as a member of the Indianapolis Colts and Dolphins.

Therefore, Satele knows exactly what he's up against Sunday when Wilfork and the Patriots visit Sun Life Stadium.

"He's smart. He's going to pick up the offense, I think, within two series," Satele said. “He's going to know what's going on. He's just smart and he knows how to play that nose position.”

The Dolphins know their battle in the trenches between their offensive line and New England's defensive line will be key in Sunday's Week 1 matchup. Miami's new offense under Bill Lazor is making its regular-season debut, and a balanced running game is the goal. Wilfork will be waiting in the middle to try to make the Dolphins one dimensional.

Wilfork recently uped the ante in this game with a recent tweet saying how important this game was for him.
Wilfork is returning from an Achilles injury and an offseason contract dispute with New England. He is also a South Florida native (Boynton Beach) and former star at the University of Miami. So there are plenty of reasons for Wilfork to be motivated for Sunday's game.

The Dolphins will be starting five new offensive linemen against the Patriots, who boast a veteran group of defensive linemen led by Wilfork in the middle.

“He's a very gifted athlete,” said Dolphins guard Shelley Smith, who played against Wilfork in 2012. “He's very strong, he's very stout and it's hard to move him. He plays with great leverage and he's a smart player. He can read things and see things coming before they happen.”

Miami knows if Wilfork has a big game that could mean big trouble for the Dolphins on offense. Satele, who signed a month ago, said he's now comfortable with the offense. But Satele did not draw an easy assignment to kick off the regular season.

“I know he's coming off an injury, so I know he's going to be motivated to be back on the field plus he's back in Miami, because he's from here,” Satele said of Wilfork. “It's going to be his first game back, but I will be ready. I'm going to do what I know from this offense and work on my technique.”
The Miami Dolphins are in regular-season mode as they prepare for the New England Patriots this Sunday. There is a buzz in South Florida that this could be the most talented Miami team in years.

But there are some holes on the team that are concerning and could derail the Dolphins. Earlier we examined the reasons for optimism.

Here are three reasons for pessimism:

1. Linebacker play

Analysis: After a full training camp and preseason, I’m still not sure the Dolphins fixed one of their weakest areas of the team a year ago. Miami swapped Dannell Ellerbe outside and Koa Misi to middle linebacker. Philip Wheeler remains in the starting lineup after struggling last season with coverage and missed tackles. The ceiling for this starting linebacker corps just isn’t very high, and it doesn't help that Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski is coming to town in Week 1. A key over the course of a 16-game season could be rookie linebackers Jordan Tripp and Chris McCain. Both were impressive this summer and could develop into contributors at some point this season.

2. Interior offensive line

Analysis: Miami’s running game didn’t show signs of life until Knowshon Moreno returned in the third preseason game. Was that a fluke, or is Miami’s running game here to stay? Based on what I’ve seen in training camp and most of the preseason, there is reason to be concern about Miami’s rushing attack. The interior offensive line, which consist of center Samson Satele and guard Shelley Smith and Daryn Colledge, wasn’t getting a consistent push up front. The Dolphins must run the ball successful to reach their potential on offense. It doesn’t help that Miami’s offensive line must face tough defensive tackles such as Vince Wilfork (New England Patriots) and Kyle Williams (Buffalo Bills) in the first three weeks.

3. Suspension and injuries

Analysis: The Dolphins will be without starting safety Reshad Jones and key reserve defensive end Dion Jordan the first four games due to the pair violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Both players accepted their punishment and aim to come back by Week 5. But until then, the Dolphins will have to get by without their full complement of the defenders. Miami also has to do without Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, who is expected to miss several weeks following major hip surgery.

Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

August, 26, 2014
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The Miami Dolphins are approaching their final preseason game of 2014 Thursday against the St. Louis Rams.

Here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling this week in Miami:

Rising

1. Knowshon Moreno, running back: Moreno had an impressive debut in last week’s 25-20 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Moreno rushed for 64 yards on 10 carries (6.4 yard average). He showed good vision, patience and strength to finish runs. Moreno has officially put his name in the conversation to be Miami’s starting running back in Week 1 against the New England Patriots despite missing much of training camp and the preseason.

Wake
2. Cameron Wake, defensive end: Wake was in regular-season form with a pair of sacks on Dallas starting quarterback Tony Romo. Wake had his way with Cowboys starting right tackle Doug Free, who had trouble keeping Wake out of the backfield Saturday night. Wake is expecting another double-digit sack season in 2014.

3. Shelley Smith, right guard: Smith didn’t dominate in his first start with the Dolphins. But he made several good blocks, and that might have been enough to secure the starting right guard position in Miami’s offense for the season opener. The Dolphins showed they have the capability to run the ball with Smith in the lineup. Moreno gained most of his yards running on the right side behind Smith and rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James.

Falling

1. Dolphins special teams: What happened to Miami’s special teams Saturday? The group completely fell apart against the Cowboys, and it’s hard to determine if it was a one-game lapse or if multiple issues are on the horizon. The Dolphins gave up big kickoff returns, fumbled a punt return and gave up a blocked punt that was called back due to a Dallas penalty. To add to the bad day, Dolphins kicker John Potter also injured his hip and couldn’t finish the game. Miami’s third phase did not put on a winning performance. Special teams coach Darren Rizzi has a lot of work to do before the regular season.

2. First-team offense: The Dolphins have to score more than three points in six drives. There is simply no excuse. Miami’s starters put up plenty of yards but couldn’t convert it into points. The Dolphins had missed opportunities and careless turnovers, such as a fumble by tight end Dion Sims and quarterback Ryan Tannehill's interceptions into double coverage. Miami will have issues winning consistently this season if they consistently make these kinds of mistakes.

3. Dallas Thomas, right guard: With Smith’s ascension, Thomas’ stock drops and his chance of retaining his starting job does too. Thomas was rotated in with the first-team offense against Dallas and didn’t have a strong performance. He also struggled mightily against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second preseason game. Thomas needed to play above and beyond to get back in the starting conversation, and that simply didn't happen.
The Miami Dolphins saw the debut of their major free-agent pickup at running back Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys.

Knowshon Moreno, formerly the Denver Broncos' leading rusher, played in his first game with the Dolphins and led all rushers with 64 yards on 10 carries. Moreno is coming off knee surgery this summer and is trying to round into form before the regular season. There is some momentum in South Florida now to make Moreno the full-time starter over incumbent Lamar Miller.

[+] EnlargeKnowshon Moreno, Martez Wilson, Brandon Carr
Brad Barr/USA TODAY SportsKnowshon Moreno's debut with the Miami Dolphins on Saturday was a success, as he rushed for 64 yards on 10 carries.
With that said, ESPN.com’s Dolphins page reviewed the film of all 10 of Moreno's carries Saturday. Here is how Moreno graded on tape:

Carry No. 1: First quarter at the 8:34 mark

Analysis: On first-and-10, Moreno gets his first carry as a Dolphin and explodes up the right side for 19 yards. It was an impressive combination of vision and patience to see the opening. Rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James and tight end Charles Clay both had good blocks on this run.

Grade: +3

Carry No. 2: First quarter at the 7:56 mark

Analysis: Moreno carries the ball up the right side again. But right guard Shelley Smith misses his block, James fails to get any push, and Moreno is tackled in the backfield for minus-2 yards.

Grade: -1

Carry No. 3: First quarter at the 7:21 mark

Analysis: Moreno gets his third consecutive carry as Miami’s coaching staff appears to be making up for lost time. This time Moreno runs up the middle, but cuts left to the opening behind left tackle Branden Albert. He goes about two yards untouched but finishes strong by lowering his shoulder and picks up four yards.

Grade: +1

Carry No. 4: First quarter at the 2:20 mark

Analysis: Moreno continues his success to the right side. He patiently waits for James to get his block on the linebacker and runs through the hole for 11 yards. Moreno displays good vision, which is hard to teach.

Grade: +2

Carry No. 5: First quarter at the 1:15 mark

Analysis: Moreno runs a read-option play on the left side and runs through two arm tackles. He also gets help from James, who had a pancake block on the final push for eight yards.

Grade: +2

Carry No. 6: Second quarter at 14:30 mark

Analysis: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill hands the ball to Moreno up the middle. But a linebacker blitz catches Moreno at the line of scrimmage for no gain.

Grade: -1

Carry No. 7: Second quarter at 8:28 mark

Analysis: Moreno makes a routine run up the middle. He’s tackled by the unblocked defensive end for four yards.

Grade: +1

Carry No. 8: Second quarter at the 7:57 mark

Analysis: Moreno makes another routine run and falls forward for three yards. The offensive line doesn’t get much push on the play.

Grade: +1

Carry No. 9: Second quarter at 6:35 mark

Analysis: Moreno receives a handoff from the shotgun formation to his right. He spins away from a tackler and gains an extra five yards for a total of nine yards.

Grade: +2

Carry No. 10: Second quarter at 5:20 mark

Analysis: Moreno lines up behind tight end Dion Sims, who was playing fullback/H-back. He takes the carry left, hops over a would-be tackler, then accelerates for 7 yards. Moreno shows impressive agility and strength on that run.

Grade: +2

Final grade: +12

Moreno showed a nice array of skills in his Miami debut. Most importantly, he didn’t have many minus plays, which is key for a running back. Despite a small sample size, Moreno certainly gave Miami’s coaches something to think about with the tailback depth chart. Moreno is the more complete running back compared to Miller. But the Dolphins have to decide if one preseason game is enough to insert Moreno as the starter.

W2W4: Miami Dolphins

August, 23, 2014
Aug 23
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The Miami Dolphins (1-1) will host the Dallas Cowboys (0-2) on Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium.


1. Offensive production: The Dolphins' offense under first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has shown a mixed bag during the first two weeks of the preseason. The passing game and tempo have been upgrades from what we've seen last season. However, the running game is virtually non-existent thus far. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has completed 75 percent (15-for-20) of his passes and is playing faster and more decisive football. The passing game under Lazor has been sharp. But the offensive line is getting little push in the running game. The Dolphins had minus-5 yards in the first half last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and must improve their production on the ground.

2. Healthy returns: Running back Knowshon Moreno (knee) and tight end Charles Clay (knee) have practiced all week for the Dolphins. There is a good chance one or both will make their 2014 debut Saturday against Dallas. Moreno and Clay are expected to play major roles in Miami's offense this season. Clay was a steady force over the middle last year with 69 receptions. Moreno also is coming off his first 1,000-yard rushing season in 2013 with the Denver Broncos. Clay, in particular, said he feels ready to play against Dallas. But the final call Saturday will be up to the medical staff.

3. Change at right guard: Free-agent signing Shelley Smith will get his first start in a Dolphins uniform Saturday at right guard. Smith replaces the struggling Dallas Thomas, who was manhandled last week by Tampa Bay Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Right guard is the final spot on the offensive line that is still up for grabs. Smith, who signed a $5.5 million contract in March, has a chance to solidify that spot with a strong performance against the Cowboys.
The regular season is just around the corner, and the Miami Dolphins still haven't decided on their starting right guard. It's been a rotating door of players throughout organized team activities, minicamp, training camp and now the preseason.

That brings us to our latest poll question: Who should be the starting right guard for the Dolphins? There are several candidates to choose from.

SportsNation

Who should be the Dolphins' starting RG?

  •  
    61%
  •  
    11%
  •  
    28%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,863)

Should it be veteran Shelley Smith? The free-agent pickup signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract this offseason. Smith was a starter before the Daryn Colledge signing. Then, Smith tried his hand at center and now is back at guard. Smith is expected to start at right guard Saturday after practicing with the first team all week. Should he start against the New England Patriots in Week 1?

What about Dallas Thomas? He’s in the best shape of his career and held the starting right guard job throughout the spring and most of minicamp. But one poor performance against Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy put Thomas back on the second team. Does he deserve another shot?

Finally, there is rookie guard Billy Turner. The Dolphins drafted Turner in the third round from North Dakota State. Turner is a bit unpolished but has some tools. He’s physical and has a mean streak. But does he deserve a shot on the first team?

Using our SportsNation poll, vote on Miami’s starting right guard position. You can share your thoughts in the comments section below or send a message via Twitter to @JamesWalkerNFL.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Friday from around the Web:
  • Chris Perkins of the Sun Sentinel writes tight end Michael Egnew and running back Daniel Thomas highlight the Dolphins’ recent draft woes.
Morning take: Both are draft busts of the previous general manager, Jeff Ireland. Egnew and Thomas had their shot and may not make the 53-man roster this season.
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post writes Dolphins coach Joe Philbin still likes Thomas.
Morning take: Thomas had another underwhelming training camp. He has a hamstring injury and must get healthy fast to try to make the team.
  • Armando Salgeuro of the Miami Herald writes about the competition between guard Shelley Smith and Dallas Thomas.
Morning take: Smith took most of the first-team reps this week, which most likely means he will start. Thomas lost his starting job with a poor preseason outing last week.
  • Brian Briggane of the Palm Beach Post takes a look at the Dolphins’ receiver position.
Morning take: This is one of the deepest areas of the team. Fringe players such as Armon Binns and Kevin Cone may not make the team but could help elsewhere.

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