NFL Nation: Dave DeGuglielmo
Antonio Cromartie and Nick Mangold landed on the same team for Sunday's Pro Bowl in Hawaii -- Team Rice, in case you're wondering. Offensive linemen weren't part of the actual draft, so Mangold was spared a lengthy stay in the green room, which wasn't a room at all. It was an outdoor tent on the grounds of a swanky resort.
As it turned out, Cromartie lasted until the 11th round, four rounds after former teammate Darrelle Revis was picked. At least Cromartie maintained a sense of humor, tweeting, "All I know is 4 Corners have gone n front of me right now. Feels like 06 draft all over again. Dieon (sic) n Jerry Rice r on something lol."
In a far more interesting development Wednesday, former Jets offensive-line coach Dave DeGuglielmo was hired by the New England Patriots to replace Dante Scarnecchia, who is retiring after 30 years with the franchise. DeGuglielmo was fired by the Jets after one season, 2012.
"Guge," as they call him, actually did a decent job as a coach, but his abrasive personality chafed people in the organization. He also created an adversarial relationship with the media; he spoke with reporters only three times, I think.
He made headlines when he professed his belief in embattled right tackle Wayne Hunter, declaring before the season that "until they ship him out of this building or until they shoot me dead in my office, that son-of-a-gun is going to be the starting right tackle."
Hunter was traded before the season. There was no bloodshed in Guge's office.
In training camp, Guge threatened to spit tobacco juice on reporters if they didn't take a step back during a crowded interview session. During the season, he engaged in a combative session with reporters, once again creating a headline. He basically accused the front office of forcing the coaches to play Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse in a platoon at left guard, making it clear he wasn't happy with the arrangement.
DeGuglielmo sat out the 2013 season and was hired a week ago by Maryland, but he bailed when Bill Belichick came calling. Guge is a Boston native, so he probably views it as a dream job.
Memo to reporters in Boston: Check on Hunter's availability and watch your shoes if Guge is chewing tobacco during an interview.
|Steve Mitchell/US Presswire|
|Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano wants his team to stay hungry.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Stands to reason they also are prohibitive favorites to take the AFC East crown.
But don't expect Dolphins coach Tony Sparano to cause a ruckus over a perceived oversight. He's quietly embracing it. Sparano doesn't want his team to act as if it has accomplished anything.
"What I don't want to do is to think we are good by any stretch of the imagination," Sparano said this past week during a break at training camp. "I think that we need to make sure this team stays hungry and continues to want to do the hunting out there."
Who will emerge as Chad Pennington's top target?
Analysts listed receiver as an area of grave need. The Dolphins' front office obviously didn't agree. They didn't sign any free-agent help and waited until the second day of the draft to select any receivers.
Miami wide receivers caught only five touchdown passes last year and managed only 11 receptions of 25 yards or more. The top three averaged 11.9 yards per catch.
Greg Camarillo was Pennington's obvious go-to guy last year, grabbing 55 passes through the first 11 games. But a torn knee ligament sidelined him for the final five games and puts a dubious spin on his projected role.
Davone Bess, who possesses a similar skill-set to Camarillo's, had 54 receptions last year. Ted Ginn finished with a team-high 56 catches for 790 yards, uninspiring numbers for the ninth overall pick of the 2007 draft.
Seven of tight end Anthony Fasano's 34 receptions were touchdowns.
But when the Dolphins need to convert a critical third-and-8 play, whom will defenses worry about?
Third-round draft picks Patrick Turner and Brian Hartline have had decent camps so far. Turner is tall and catches anything he gets his hands on, while Hartline is more of a possession receiver. Maybe one of them can emerge, but it's too soon to count on either of them.
Can a rookie win the starting right cornerback job?
|Joel Auerbach/US Presswire|
|Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis is expected to compete for the starting spot.|
Earning a coach's trust is difficult for a rookie, especially at a position as pressure-drenched as cornerback. Smith has been convincing.
He's 6-foot-4, and the Dolphins drafted him to compete with the likes of Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Andre Johnson and the other big receivers they'll face this year. But to overtake a higher draft pick and a veteran so early in camp is an encouraging development.
Will new center Jake Grove and new assistant Dave DeGuglielmo transform the offensive line's personality?
Dolphins football operations boss Bill Parcells and Sparano didn't like what they saw out of their offensive line last year. One of the first offseason moves was to fire veteran O-line coach Mike Maser and hire DeGuglielmo, a New York Giants assistant.
One of their chief personnel priorities -- maybe the biggest -- was to find a run-blocking center.
The Dolphins wanted better success between the tackles. It didn't help that both of their opening-day starting guards were lost along the way. But they identified the main problem was second-year center Samson Satele, who started all 32 games of his career.
They signed Grove, an Oakland Raiders free agent, and then traded Satele to the Raiders for a sixth-round draft pick and a swap of fourth-round picks.
Newcomer to watch
Sure, Taylor still can be an impact pass-rusher. But he will be playing a new role and a different position from the one where he amassed almost all of his 120.5 career sacks.
Porter is the weakside outside linebacker. Taylor, a fixture all those years with his hand on the ground as Miami's right defensive end, will be the strongside outside linebacker. That means Taylor usually will line up on the left side in a two-point stance.
The Dolphins brought him back to be more of a situational pass-rusher, not to play every down. He should split snaps with incumbent Matt Roth (a run-stopper with limited coverage skills) and Cameron Wake (a Canadian Football League phenom who recorded 39 sacks in two seasons).
A mysterious situation has kept Roth sidelined through the first two weeks of camp. His agent claimed he had a groin injury. The Dolphins claimed he was ill and out of shape. Either way, that has allowed Taylor to get more reps so far.
"Teddy is going into his third year, and I think it's time for him to really show what he was drafted here to do," Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said prior to the draft.
Ronnie Brown, who got off to a slow start in training camp last year because he was coming off knee surgery and a wrist injury, has looked sharp. His quickness and maneuverability stands out next to the other backs, including Ricky Williams, who doesn't look as explosive as he did a year ago. ... Williams is 32 years old and starting to show it. ... Rookie quarterback Pat White better be able to contribute from the Wildcat formation because he has been lousy as a quarterback. What makes White a threat is his ability to pass and run out of the formation, but his arm has been scattershot since he arrived. Defenses should force him to throw it. ... Kickers always have been expendable on a Parcells team. The Dolphins unearthed a gem last year with undrafted rookie Dan Carpenter, allowing them to save money by cutting Jay Feely. But Carpenter might have lost his footing. The club signed free agent Connor Barth to push him. Carpenter hasn't responded as well to the competition as the front office hoped. ... Rookie receivers Turner and Hartline, both third-round draft choices, have looked impressive. Turner is a tall target with soft hands who could turn into a third-down and red zone weapon. ... Sparano seems to be gaining confidence in third-year defensive tackle Paul Soliai, a fourth-round draft pick in 2007. Soliai is listed at 6-foot-4, 355 pounds. He twice was suspended for one game last year for weight issues. "A year ago I questioned how important this whole thing was maybe to Paul. ... From a professional standpoint, I think this guy is starting to get it. He is starting to figure out that this isn't only a hobby," Sparano said.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
- Edgar Thompson of the Palm Beach Post reports the Dolphins have hired Dave DeGuglielmo as O-line coach after firing Mike Maser.
- MiamiDolphins.com writer Andy Kent has a two-part series on head coach Tony Sparano's season review. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.
- Pro Football Weekly gave Sparano its Coach of the Year Award.
- The Bills announced Thursday they've signed seven to futures contracts.
New England Patriots
- Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star talks to Patriots owner Robert Kraft about losing Scott Pioli as player personnel chief.
- Boston Globe reporter Mike Reiss takes a look at Nick Caserio's qualifications to replace Pioli.
New York Jets