NFL Nation: Richard Marshall

This week’s examination of the top positional needs on the San Diego Chargers' roster continues with ESPN NFL insider Matt Williamson taking a closer look at the cornerback group.

Fourth-year pro Shareece Wright emerged as a solid player in his first full season as a starter, but San Diego needs to find the long-term answer at the opposite corner position. Ineffective starter Derek Cox was released during the offseason, and signed a one-year, prove-it deal with Minnesota.

Wright
Marshall
Richard Marshall was solid for most part as Cox’s replacement, and returns to San Diego for the upcoming season as the projected starter on a one-year deal. But Marshall turns 30 in December.

Chargers cornerback depth: Starters -- LCB Marshall, RCB Wright. Reserves -- Brandon Ghee, Crezdon Butler, Marcus Cromartie, Steve Williams, Brandon Jones

What’s your evaluation of San Diego’s talent level at cornerback?

Williamson: “They don’t seem to put a premium at the position because they don’t ask them to mirror guys across the field like Deion Sanders,” Williamson said.

Williamson likes Ghee’s potential, but has concerns with his injury history. Like a lot of San Diego’s positions on defense, Williamson says the Chargers need to improve the overall depth and talent level at cornerback.

“I do think an advanced pass rush certainly would help,” Williamson said. “Dwight Freeney still has something in the tank. And I’m high on Melvin Ingram.

“It is a need. I’m not sure I could come up with six or seven teams that are worse off at corner right now than San Diego.”

What do they need to accomplish this offseason to improve?

Williamson: Perhaps not in the first round, but in the first couple rounds Williamson believes the Chargers need to select a cornerback who can come in and play right away.

He mentions Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, Ohio State’s Bradley Roby and TCU’s Jason Verrett as cornerback possibilities at the end of the first round.

“I kind of look at the Chargers and think in Round 1, take the best defensive player or receiver, or guard in Round 1,” Williamson said. “Take whoever is your best guy, and do not say ‘We have to take a corner’ there. And fill the other spots pretty quickly.”
Drafted as a developmental prospect last season, receiver Keenan Allen topped the San Diego Chargers' list for performance-based pay in 2013.

Allen added $218,153 to his a little over $1 million in total compensation in 2013. Following Allen on the list for the Chargers were safety Jahleel Addae ($196,582), an undrafted rookie free agent considered a long shot to make the final roster last season; offensive lineman Johnnie Troutman ($187,085); cornerback Richard Marshall ($181,694); and receiver Vincent Brown ($160,243).

Check out the full list for every NFL team here.

Established in 2002 as part of the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL's performance-based pay program is a fund created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary.

Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down.

Each NFL team received $3.46 million to pay out to their players for the 2013 season. Generally, players who benefit the most from the pool of money are those that played extensively but had low salaries relative to their teammates.

Allen played in 898 offensive snaps in 2013.

Free-agency primer: Chargers

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» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

With just under $6 million in projected salary-cap space, the San Diego Chargers are not expected to make a big splash at the start of free agency. But the Chargers could still add a few impact players at a reasonable price if the organization is patient and does its homework.

That said, we take a close look at San Diego's approach heading into free agency.

Key free agents: Chad Rinehart, Darrell Stuckey, Richard Marshall, Reggie Walker, Charlie Whitehurst.

Where they stand: San Diego already took care of the team's top offseason priority, with middle linebacker Donald Butler inked to a multiyear deal before the onset of free agency. The Chargers need help at cornerback, nose tackle, edge rusher, interior offensive line and in the return game. San Diego could look to sign a couple of their own free agents that produced in 2013, including Rinehart, Stuckey, Marshall and Walker. All four players had an impact in the team's surprising postseason run and could return at a reasonable price. The Chargers also need to find a capable backup for every-down running back Ryan Mathews, with veteran Ronnie Brown hitting the market.

What to expect: With a limited amount of cap space, expect the Chargers to be active in the secondary free-agent market, targeting veteran players with a specific skill set who can make an impact. The Chargers benefited from signing two such players to two-year deals last year in tackle King Dunlap and running back Danny Woodhead. San Diego also could look for front-line players who don't receive the type of lucrative offers they expect and want to re-enter the market after a one-year, prove-it deal.
With the San Diego Chargers locking up the team’s top priority in re-signing inside linebacker Donald Butler to a multi-year deal, the team can now turn toward bringing back some other pending free agents before the start of free agency on March 11.

Marshall
Rinehart
Two players that should receive some attention from the Chargers’ brass are offensive lineman Chad Rinehart and cornerback Richard Marshall. Both players proved their value down the backstretch of the 2013 season by producing when thrust into the starting lineup.

And bringing back both players should not break the bank and would help fill positions of need, giving San Diego a chance to find a long-term answer at offensive guard and cornerback in this year’s draft.

Rinehart, 28, missed five games with a toe injury, but San Diego’s offensive line play improved when he returned to the starting lineup during the second half of the season.

A third-round selection by Washington in the 2008 draft, the Northern Iowa product signed a one-year deal with the Chargers during the 2013 offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

Rinehart started 11 games [eight at left guard and three at right guard] and played 638 offensive snaps for the Chargers during the regular season. Rinehart also started at left guard in both playoff games.

Take a look back at some of Ryan Mathews’ most explosive runs from the 2013 season, including here and here, and you’ll find Rinehart clearing a running lane.

Marshall, 29, solidified the cornerback position after Derek Cox lost his starting job with five games left in the regular season.

A second-round selection by Carolina in the 2006 draft, Marshall signed with the Chargers in August after being released by Miami at the end of training camp. Marshall started five regular-season games and both postseason contests for San Diego.

Marshall played in 603 defensive snaps in the regular season, finishing fourth on the team in tackles with 71. Marshall also totaled six pass defections and a forced fumble.

I understand that Marshall did give up some big plays. However, for the most part he was assignment correct, and I think his experience and the way he prepares could help younger players

Combine preview: San Diego Chargers

February, 20, 2014
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Like most other NFL organizations, the San Diego Chargers are a team that builds and maintains its roster through the draft. General manager Tom Telesco doesn’t necessarily put any more value on securing impact players through the draft, versus trade or free agency.

But annually selecting rookies that can make an impact on a team’s roster is important, particularly when you consider the player will be under the team’s control for at least four years, likely at an inexpensive salary.

So getting detailed medical evaluations and vetting players through the intense interviewing process are the most important things for teams this week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. Of the 53 players that finished the season on San Diego’s roster, 23 were secured through the draft, compared to 27 free agents, two through trades, and one claimed off waivers.

The Chargers have seven original picks in this year’s draft, one in each round beginning with the No. 25 overall pick. So they will be paying close attention to the more than 330 players invited to this year’s combine.

Along with evaluating draft prospects, Telesco will have an opportunity to meet with middle linebacker Donald Butler's representation as the Chargers try to get him signed to a multi-year deal before he hits free agency next month.

Here are five things to keep an eye on regarding the Chargers.

1. Physical cornerbacks who can turn and run: A major area of need for San Diego is improving the overall talent and depth at cornerback. Last year’s top free agent signee Derek Cox likely will not be back after being supplanted in the starting lineup by Richard Marshall. San Diego’s 2013 fifth-round selection Steve Williams could work into the conversation at corner in 2014. The Cal product sat out his rookie year after suffering a torn pectoral muscle during preseason play. But the Chargers need to add a couple physical corners who can cover -- through the draft, free agency or trade. Some names to keep an eye on include Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Ohio State’s Bradley Roby and Florida’s Loucheiz Purifoy. Those players stand out to me because of their length, athleticism and playmaking ability.

2. Edge rushers needed: The Chargers have several veterans at this position, but you can never have enough athletes who can rush the passer. And San Diego struggled at creating consistent pressure, particularly on third down. Three guys potentially available on Day 1 of the draft who could make an impact include Missouri’s Kony Ealy, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy, and Auburn’s Dee Ford.

3. A run-stuffing defensive tackle: San Diego gave up an average of 4.59 yards per carry on defense in 2013, No. 29 in the NFL. Cam Thomas started the most games at defensive tackle, but will be a free agent in March. Sean Lissemore finished as the team’s starter at the end of the season, but needs to add some bulk to effectively fill this position. San Diego could certainly use a two-gap defensive tackle to control the middle of the defense, similar to Dontari Poe in Kansas City. Potential candidates in the draft include Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III, Minnesota’s Ra'Shede Hageman, and Penn State’s Daquan Jones.

4. Improved interior offensive line depth: With center Nick Hardwick contemplating retirement and veteran guard Jeromey Clary a potential salary-cap causality, the Chargers need to add some depth to the interior of the offensive line. Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson and Stanford’s David Yankey are the top rated guards in this year’s draft. And USC’s Marcus Martin could be the long-term answer for a team at center.

5. Add a couple explosive playmakers: San Diego could use some help in the return game. Keenan Allen should not be the team’s main punt returner. He’s too valuable on offense. And the Chargers could use someone with some juice in the kick return game. Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, and Oregon’s De'Anthony Thomas makes some sense because of their ability to create explosive plays on offense and in the return game. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers needs a few more weapons on offense to make his job easier, and all three of these players would fit the bill.

Role players step up on Chargers' D

December, 16, 2013
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SAN DIEGO -- Because of injury or poor performance, San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano has constantly juggled his starting lineup and defensive rotations this season.

[+] EnlargeThomas Keiser
AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackThomas Keiser is tied for the team lead with 4.5 sacks.
Some of the lineup changes have been a reaction to the type of offense his team faces from week to week. For example, in a win against at Denver last week, the Chargers mostly used a lineup of five defensive backs to match up with the Broncos' up-tempo passing attack.

The Chargers used a total of 16 players on defense against the Broncos. Recently, Pagano’s rotations have produced better results. San Diego’s allowed just 13.7 points per contest in the team’s last three games, two of which were wins for the Chargers.

“Play with a physical mindset, play a physical game and play with effort,” Pagano said have been points of emphasis in improving his unit’s performance. “Those are the things that take defensive players or defensive units to the next level, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Against Denver, the Chargers have held the explosive Broncos’ offense to an average of 24 points a contest in two games.

“They’ve got one of the best offenses in the history of the game,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy said about his defense’s effort against the Broncos. “They’re very explosive, and everybody knows what they can do. So give John Pagano and his staff a ton of credit. That’s an outstanding performance by the defense.”

These role players on defense have stood out for the Chargers this season.

OLB Thomas Keiser: The Stanford University product began the season on the practice squad. But after season-ending injuries to Dwight Freeney and Larry English, Keiser was added to the active roster in Week 5 and took on more of a role as a third down pass-rusher. He’s tied for the team lead with a career-high 4.5 sacks and corralled his first interception of the season against Denver on Thursday. At 6-4 and 260 pounds, Kaiser has enough speed and strength to get home off of the edge and is improving his pass coverage skills.

LB Reggie Walker: Pagano calls him Mr. Opportunity. Signed by San Diego just before the season began on Sept. 2 after he was released by Arizona during final roster cuts, Walker has played all four linebacker positions for the Chargers. The Kansas State product has started in four games. Walker has 41 tackles, three sacks, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble.

S Jahleel Addae: An undrafted rookie free agent out Central Michigan, Addae played mostly when the Chargers put six defensive backs on the field in obvious passing situations. However, Addae made his first start against Denver last week, finishing with two tackles. Addae has 31 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery on the year.

CB Richard Marshall: The eight-year veteran took over for a struggling Derek Cox at cornerback three weeks ago, helping to stabilize the back end of San Diego’s defense. Marshall has 51 tackles and six pass breakups on the season.

DE Sean Lissemore: Picked up in a trade with the Cowboys this season for a seventh-round pick, Lissemore helped anchor a run defense that allowed just 18 rushing yards to Denver last week. Lissemore has 21 tackles, two sacks and an interception on the year.
Phillip Rivers, Peyton ManningGetty ImagesExpect a high-scoring AFC West fight when Philip Rivers' Chargers take on Peyton Manning's Broncos.
For the second time in six weeks, the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos will square off, with each team working through its postseason checklist.

The Broncos (11-2) want the division title and the AFC's top seed. Due to a loss to New England last month, they will likely have to win out to get both, unless the Patriots stumble down the stretch. The Chargers (6-7) know the time is now if they are going to snag an AFC wild-card spot, so much so that Jarret Johnson called Thursday night's game "a playoff scenario for us."

ESPN.com Chargers reporter Eric D. Williams and Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold take a look at Thursday night's game.

Legwold: Eric, former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels once called the Chargers the "measuring stick" of the division, but the Broncos are 4-1 against San Diego since John Fox replaced McDaniels and 3-0 since Peyton Manning became Denver's quarterback. How is former Broncos coach Mike McCoy framing this one, especially with the Chargers clinging to at least some postseason hopes?

Williams: McCoy has done a good job of making sure his players are staying in the now and not looking too far ahead. But with their postseason aspirations on life support, San Diego players view the trip to Denver as a playoff game. Defensively, the Chargers are frustrated with how sloppily they played against Manning in Week 10, giving up several big plays in the passing game. San Diego's secondary has played much better in the past two games, allowing just two touchdown passes. So the Chargers are looking to redeem themselves on Thursday.

Wes Welker will miss Thursday's contest due to lingering concussion symptoms. How will Denver replace his production?

Legwold: Even in the Broncos' ultrabalanced attack in the passing game, Welker will certainly be missed given he's second on the team in targets (111), receptions (73) and touchdown catches (10). But how the Broncos deal with that should look familiar to McCoy because the Broncos figure to field a lineup similar to the one McCoy called plays for here last season. The Broncos will move to a two-tight end look with Jacob Tamme working out of the slot. Tamme caught 52 passes last season, with the majority of those receptions coming when he was lined up as a slot receiver. It was a job he did well enough that Manning called him one of the most important players in the offense last season. Manning has confidence in Tamme -- they played together in Indianapolis -- and Manning threw to Tamme this past weekend in many of the situations where Manning usually throws to Welker.

The Chargers' secondary had a quality day against the Giants this past Sunday. How do you think they'll line up against the Broncos?

Williams: Cornerback Derek Cox was replaced by eight-year veteran Richard Marshall in the starting lineup two weeks ago, bringing stability to the back end defensively. San Diego has given up 20 passing touchdowns this season, but just two touchdown passes in the past two games. The Chargers had just four interceptions through the first nine games, but have hauled in five picks in the past four. Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson said his defensive teammates just made too many silly mistakes against the Broncos earlier this season, and that they need to make Manning work for Denver's touchdowns by playing sound fundamental defense with multiple looks up front.

How has Broncos coach John Fox made the transition back to the sideline after heart surgery?

Legwold: Fox had surgery to repair a condition that was diagnosed during his time with the New York Giants in the late '90s, so he knew the surgery was coming at some point. He has also lived with the difficulties a faulty aortic valve brought on. He says he now feels better than he has in 20 years. Doctors cleared him to return to work the Monday before the Titans game and he worked through the week without any difficulties. He coached from the sideline during the game this past Sunday and was on the field last week even though the team practiced outside in below-zero temperatures for three days.

Manning is five touchdowns away from tying the NFL single-season record, but Philip Rivers has two three-touchdown days over the past three games. Do the Chargers feel like they left some points on the field the last time these two teams met?

Williams: Yes, that's certainly the case. Rivers mentioned this week during his conversation with reporters here in San Diego that even though the Chargers had the ball for more than 38 minutes the last time these two teams played, the Chargers scored only 20 points. Rivers understands that can't happen again on the road at Denver. The Chargers seem to have a better plan for how they will attack teams when they get into the red zone. Running back Ryan Mathews has emerged as more of a focal point of the offense when they get near the end zone. Mathews has scored four touchdowns in San Diego's past seven games.

While Denver's offense purrs, the defense continues to sputter. What has Fox done to change his fortunes on that side of the ball?

Legwold: The Broncos have surrendered at least 17 points in every game this season and four times they have trailed by at least 11 points in games they eventually went on to win. They have certainly missed cornerback Champ Bailey, who has played in just three games this season, and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, one of their best run defenders up front who is now on injured reserve. Fox juggled things some this past weekend when he essentially benched linebacker Wesley Woodyard, a team captain, in the base 4-3 look, playing veteran Paris Lenon there instead. Fox also switched out Duke Ihenacho at safety, putting in Omar Bolden instead. Woodyard will still play the specialty packages, but the Broncos have juggled things in the base. Von Miller has had a dominant half against the Patriots and a dominant half against the Titans, but the Broncos are still waiting to see the impact player he can be for an entire game. The last time they played the Chargers, they were in the nickel most of time -- 42 snaps in all to go with 11 in the dime. They are far more consistent in those looks and have struggled more against teams that make them play out of their base defense.

The San Diego Chargers' signing of Richard Marshall on Friday was a move that smart teams make.

Sure, the Chargers have bigger needs at other positions, including receiver and offensive line. But this is an overall thin roster and they need help at cornerback, as well. When a solid player becomes available, he should be pursued. Kudos to new general manager Tom Telesco to secure Marshall, who was cut earlier this week by Miami.

He signed a one-year deal. Terms were not immediately available, but I am sure they are not detrimental to the team.

Marshall is not a defense-changing player, but he will help. Marshall, 28, could end up starting opposite free-agent pickup Derek Cox. Shareece Wright is slated to start, but he doesn’t have the experience Marshall, who is known for being a strong leader, has. At the least, Marshall should be the nickel cornerback. This addition lengthens the Chargers’ talent and depth at the position.

Marshall’s signing in San Diego is fairly natural. He played for San Diego head coach Mike McCoy and secondary coach Ron Milus in Carolina and San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins continued their preparation for Saturday’s “dress rehearsal” preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Here are some notes from Wednesday’s practice:


  • Charles Clay continues to get first-team reps at tight end with former starter Dustin Keller (knee) out for the season. Clay was expected to play more of an H-back for the Dolphins this season until Keller went down. Now, Clay has to focus on the tight-end position. He has 34 career receptions in three seasons. Clay caught a nice touchdown pass down the seam from quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 11-on-11 drills on Wednesday, and made several other nice catches.
  • Tannehill overall had an inconsistent day. He threw two interceptions, to rookie cornerback Will Davis and backup linebacker Lee Robinson, in team drills. But Tannehill also made several nice completions to receiver Mike Wallace, Clay and others. Tannehill had perhaps his best week of practice this summer leading into the Houston Texans game, and his performance showed on the field. The first two practices this week haven’t been as good.
  • Defensive backs react to Tuesday’s cut of veteran cornerback Richard Marshall. He was competing for a starting job with Dimitri Patterson, but Patterson won the job and made Marshall expendable. Marshall could have provided depth, but his approximate $4 million salary this season was too high to be a backup. “It’s a business,” Patterson explained. “Good players are let go for whatever reason all the time. Decisions are made and that’s it. We’re only players at the end of the day.”
  • Patterson also had a solid day working with the first team. He had two interception Wednesday in team drills -- one off backup quarterback Matt Moore and another off Pat Devlin. Patterson also played inside on the nickel defense, with Nolan Carroll moving outside in sub packages.
  • No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan (shoulder) dressed Wednesday, but continues to sit out of practice. Although game status won’t be determined until later in the week, Jordan appears unlikely to play Saturday against the Buccaneers. Jordan’s shoulder has kept him sidelined for the past week or so. But Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said the team is ready to use Jordan despite a lack of practice time. “There’s always going to be a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C as you approach the season,” Coyle said. “We have a plan in place to utilize Dion provided that he’s up and ready to go. I think he’s making strides with his rehab.”
  • Projected starting guard John Jerry continues to work his way back from knee surgery. He worked with the first team on Wednesday and, health permitting, appears to be the favorite to start at right guard. Jerry was injured in the first week of training camp and didn’t get much work in. He didn’t look fluid in Wednesday’s practice, and still has a ways to go. The goal is for Jerry to round himself back into form in time for Miami’s Week 1 game against the Cleveland Browns.
  • Rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis was 2-for-3 on field goals Wednesday. His only miss was from 47 yards. Sturgis is Miami’s official kicker this season after the team released veteran Dan Carpenter.
  • Head coach Joe Philbin said the team is “absolutely” game-planning this week. This is the dress-rehearsal preseason game for Miami. Tampa Bay also is a regular-season opponent for the Dolphins in Week 10. So, much of the intel the Dolphins get from this game -- and vice versa – will be used later in the season.

The Dolphins will return to the practice field again on Thursday.

The Miami Dolphins released veteran cornerback Richard Marshall Tuesday night, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Marshall also posted on his Twitter account that he appreciated the opportunity but it was time to move on.

What does this move mean for the Dolphins? Let's examine.
  • Marshall’s release means veteran cornerback Dimitri Patterson is Miami's Week 1 starter opposite Brent Grimes. Marshall and Patterson were splitting reps with the first team in training camp and the preseason. But Patterson showed more athleticism and consistency.
  • This also means at least one of Miami’s rookie draft picks must be ready to step up in a reserve role. Second-round pick Jamar Taylor or third-round pick Will Davis will have to step into the nickel role. Davis is the early leader after a strong training camp. Taylor was drafted a round higher but has been dealing with multiple injuries.
  • Marshall’s tenure in Miami can be viewed as a disappointment. He signed a three-year, $16 million contract in 2012 and didn’t make it past his first season. Marshall suffered a back injury in 2012 and played in just four games. Marshall simply didn’t look explosive when he got back on the field this summer and it was time for both sides to move on.
DAVIE, Fla. -- No Miami Dolphins player knows their Week 1 opponent -- the Cleveland Browns -- better than cornerback Dimitri Patterson. Last summer, Patterson was the starting cornerback in Cleveland’s training camp after signing a three-year, $16 million extension. But things didn’t work out and Patterson was released just seven games into the season.

One year later, Patterson is battling for the starting cornerback job with the Dolphins. Miami, which was 27th against the pass in 2012, claimed Patterson off waivers and he appeared in two games. Patterson is now getting a full training camp under his belt with the Dolphins, and is competing with fellow veteran Richard Marshall for a starting role.

[+] EnlargeDimitri Patterson
AP Photo/Kevin TerrellAfter a frustrating stint with Cleveland, cornerback Dimitri Patterson is determined to make a good impression with the Dolphins.
On paper, the Dolphins should be favorites heading into their regular-season opener against the Browns. Miami won seven games last season and spent more than $200 million in free-agency. Meanwhile, the Browns were 5-11 and had a tumultuous offseason that included cleaning house in the coaching staff and front office.

Easy Week 1 win for the Dolphins, right? That is definitely not the case, according to Patterson.

“Cleveland is not a team to take for granted,” Patterson told ESPN.com’s AFC East blog. “They have a good running back. They have a defense that competes. They got a coordinator (Ray Horton) who is known for having competitive defenses. They have an offensive coordinator in Norv Turner who is known for having competitive offenses, and you have to respect that in itself.”

Despite the Browns’ meager record last season, Patterson knows the toughness and talent inside Cleveland’s locker room. He was once one of them.

The Browns lost five games by seven points or fewer last season. They were in a lot of games, but couldn’t find ways to win them. That should sound familiar to Miami fans, because the Dolphins also lost five games by seven points or fewer.

Both Cleveland and Miami are young teams looking to learn from last season's mistakes and take that next step. A Week 1 win could set the tone for a good start to the season.

“I remember last year in the first game of the season. Philadelphia came in there and everyone felt that was a game they should win,” Patterson said of Cleveland’s 17-16 loss to the Eagles. “They ended up winning it, but that’s the thing. The NFL is just different like that. Everybody is so competitive. The motivation factor is so dynamic.”

Patterson came to Miami with a chip on his shoulder. Not only did he not like the way he exited Cleveland, but Patterson now has to prove himself to a new team.

Patterson is currently on the fast track in Miami. He’s been one of the most consistent players in the first week of training camp, and was moved into the starting lineup for practices on Friday and Saturday. If things continue to progress at this rate, Patterson will get a chance to show his former team that he’s still got it in Week 1.

“No doubt about it, they know I can play,” Patterson said of the Browns. “My departure from there had nothing to do with football. I tell people that all the time. I won’t go into detail about it. But anybody that looks at my tape, football people within the NFL, they know my tank is full.”
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins second-round pick Jamar Taylor fluidly went into his backpedal Friday, the first day of rookie minicamp. Taylor watched both the receiver and quarterback. When the ball was thrown, Taylor jumped the route and made a perfectly timed deflection.

It was the kind of play we didn't see much of from Miami's cornerbacks last season. The Dolphins are hoping Taylor and third-round pick Will Davis can infuse youth and playmaking ability into the secondary. Miami was rated No. 27 against the pass in 2012 and gave up a lot of big plays through the air.

With former No. 1 cornerback Sean Smith leaving in free agency, the Dolphins are seeing some turnover at the position in 2013. Miami signed former Pro Bowler Brent Grimes to take over one side. But the opposite cornerback spot is wide open, where Taylor and Davis will compete with veterans Dimitri Patterson and Richard Marshall.

“I like the fact that those guys were communicating,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said of his two rookies. "I watched some of their fundamental drills and they both look like they have good knee bend and move their feet pretty well, but obviously it was just a quick glance.”

Cornerback was a big need for Miami entering the draft -- making it no surprise that the Dolphins invested a second- and a third-round pick to stock the position.

The interesting part is that with those early-round picks, Miami drafted both cornerbacks from small schools. Taylor played at Boise State, Davis at Utah State. Both must prove they can make the immediate jump to the NFL.

“No, we don’t worry about that,” Taylor said. “We just worry about getting better and continue to just compete. As long as we compete, everything else will take care of itself.”

Patterson and Marshall both have fairly high salaries this season. If both rookies show they’re ready to play, it’s not out of the question that Miami could cut at least one veteran to save on salary and cap space. Keep an eye on the progress of Taylor and Davis during the spring camps and training camp this summer.
The Miami Dolphins met with former Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner this week, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Milliner is considered the top cornerback prospect in this year’s draft, and that is a position of need for Miami.

The Dolphins have a slim chance at landing Milliner with their No. 12 overall pick. If they’re interested in the Alabama cornerback, the Dolphins most likely would have to trade into the top five or six picks to get him. Miami has 11 draft picks total, including five picks in the first three rounds. That offers the Dolphins a lot of flexibility to move up in exchange for extra picks.

Miami recently signed free-agent cornerback Brent Grimes, who will be one of the starters. The Dolphins also have Richard Marshall and Dimitri Patterson currently on the roster. One or both players may be on the chopping block if Miami wants to save additional cap room.
The Miami Dolphins have been snooping around free-agent cornerback Brent Grimes for weeks this offseason. But it appears the are preparing to make their hardest push yet to bring Grimes to South Florida.

According to Jason LaCanfora of CBSSports.com, the Dolphins are zeroing in to sign Grimes, and a contract could be completed “soon.” This would be a solid move for Miami, which has done extremely well in free agency.

Grimes, 29, was developing into one of the better corners in the NFL before he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last September. If Grimes can return to his old form, he would be an immediate starter in Miami.

Cornerback is the Dolphins’ biggest remaining need. They lost No. 1 corner Sean Smith in free agency to the Kansas City Chiefs. Richard Marshall also had an injury-plagued year, and Miami also traded former starter Vontae Davis last season. Look for the Dolphins to also add depth at corner in the NFL draft even if Grimes is signed.
PHOENIX -- The Seattle Seahawks and especially the San Francisco 49ers added to their 2013 NFL draft hauls Monday when the NFL awarded compensatory selections to offset net losses in free agency last year.

The 49ers received the 131st overall pick, a fourth-rounder, plus the 246th and 252nd choices, both in the seventh round. The Seahawks received the 241st and 242nd overall choices, also in the seventh round.

Teams cannot trade compensatory picks.

"Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks," the NFL announced. "Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula."

The 49ers received compensatory choices because free-agent losses Blake Costanzo, Josh Morgan and Madieu Williams outweighed free-agent addition Mario Manningham according to the formula. The Seahawks received picks because free-agent losses Atari Bigby, John Carlson, David Hawthorne and Charlie Whitehurst outweighed free-agent additions Matt Flynn and Jason Jones.

I've put together lists below showing all unrestricted free agents added, lost and re-signed by NFC West teams last offseason.

Update: I've also made available for download an Excel file with tentative 2013 draft order, reflecting comp picks and known trades. This is unofficial. The league has not yet released the official order; additional trades could affect it.

The 49ers have a league-high 14 picks, including two picks in each of the second through fifth rounds. They're in prime position to stock their roster for the future.

By my accounting, the Cardinals hold the 7th, 38th, 69th, 103rd, 140th, 174th and 176th picks. The 49ers hold the 31st, 34th, 61st, 74th, 93rd, 128th, 131st, 157th, 164th, 180th, 227th, 237th, 246th and 252nd choices. The Seahawks hold the 56th, 87th, 123rd, 138th, 158th, 194th, 214th, 220th, 241st, and 242nd choices. The Rams hold the 16th, 22nd, 46th, 78th, 113th, 149th, 184th and 222nd picks.

Arizona Cardinals

Re-signed: D'Anthony Batiste, Mike Leach, Early Doucet, Jay Feely, Dave Zastudil
Added: Adam Snyder, William Gay, James Sanders, Quentin Groves
Lost: Richard Marshall, Sean Considine, Deuce Lutui

San Francisco 49ers

Re-signed: Tavares Gooden, Carlos Rogers, Alex Smith, Ted Ginn Jr.
Added: Mario Manningham, Rock Cartwright, Josh Johnson
Lost: Josh Morgan, Adam Snyder, Blake Costanzo, Reggie Smith, Madieu Williams, Chilo Rachal

Seattle Seahawks

Re-signed: Heath Farwell, Red Bryant, Paul McQuistan, Michael Robinson, Leroy Hill, Matt McCoy
Added: Matt Flynn, Jason Jones, Deuce Lutui, Barrett Ruud
Lost: John Carlson, Atari Bigby, Charlie Whitehurst, Tony Hargrove, David Hawthorne

St. Louis Rams

Re-signed: Kellen Clemens
Added: Cortland Finnegan, Kendall Langford, Scott Wells, Quinn Ojinnaka, Steve Smith, Robert Turner, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, William Hayes, Trevor Laws, Mario Haggan, Barry Richardson
Lost: Brandon Lloyd, Chris Chamberlain, Donnie Jones, Jacob Bell, Bryan Kehl, Gary Gibson

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