Saturday, May 29, 2010

Miami Dolphins: May 29 News & Notes

  • Miami Dolphins' 2010 first-round pick Jared Odrick has reportedly hired Drew Rosenhaus as his new representation. It was revealed earlier this week that Odrick had parted ways with agent Peter Schaffer. Odrick, who is expected to compete with Phillip Merling, for the Dolphins' starting right defensive end job, joins a handful of other Dolphins players represented by the Miami-based Rosenhaus.
  • Offensive lineman Nate Garner, believed to be a strong candidate to win one of the Dolphins' starting guard jobs, is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on his foot. This should clear the way for rookie John Jerry to win the starting gig at left guard, and could clear the way for an extra lineman to make the active roster if Garner begins the season on the PUP list. I actually didn't expect Garner to win a starting job anyway as his experience at various positions makes him a good guy to have off the bench, but this injury pretty much kills any shot he did have.
  • Recently-signed guard Cory Procter received a one-year, $630,000 contract from the Dolphins, although bonus details remain unavailable. It's obvious Procter wasn't that difficult to sign, as his salary is quite low despite visiting the Broncos, Dolphins, and Patriots following his release from the Cowboys. With just four accrued seasons in his career (he failed to qualify for one as a rookie with the Cowboys in 2005), Procter will once again be a restricted free agent in the 2010 offseason should he remain with the Dolphins this season.
  • Davone Bess is still refusing to give up his No. 15 to Brandon Marshall, and things look bleak the Dolphins' prized offseason acquisition will get to don the same number he did in Denver. Marshall, however, maintains his current No. 19 is not yet permanent. One possibility to consider is that Marshall could jump on Julius Pruitt's No. 11 (Marshall's number at UCF) when the undrafted receiver eventually gets cut.
  • Armando Salguero, Omar Kelly & Mike Berardino, and Ben Volin have more Friday coverage of the Dolphins' minicamp.
  • The Dolphins waived safety Ethan Kilmer from the Reserve/Left Squad list on Thursday, nearly 10 months after he opted to leave the team during training camp. Signed by the Dolphins in January 2009 to compete for a spot as a reserve safety and special-teamer, Kilmer has not been heard from since leaving the team early last August, and is presumably done with football. However, he is free to sign with any team if he chooses.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dolphins release LB Reggie Torbor

In one of the least surprising moves of the offseason, the Miami Dolphins have terminated the contract of inside linebacker Reggie Torbor.

Signed to a four-year, $14 million contract as a free agent in 2008, Torbor failed to rise above a special-teamer and backup inside linebacker in two seasons with the Dolphins.

In 32 games over the past two seasons including three starts, Torbor totaled 54 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one interception. 15 of those tackles came on special teams, including six in 2009.

A fourth-round pick by the New York Giants out of Auburn in 2004, Torbor spent four seasons with the team and was a member of the Giants' Super Bowl XLII championship team in 2007.

Analysis

After the release of Gibril Wilson in March, this was the one move I most expected to happen this offseason.

Torbor has simply not lived up to the contract he received in 2008, and quite frankly it's a bit perplexing he received as much money as he did. Of course, it makes a bit more sense when you consider this is the same organization that signed Ernest Wilford and Gibril Wilson to big deals.

With the additions of Karlos Dansby via free agency, Tim Dobbins via trade, and A. J. Edds through the draft, the writing was on the wall and there was simply no way Torbor would return as a backup at his current salary.

Now that Torbor is out of the picture, I expect Dobbins and Edds to push Channing Crowder for playing time opposite Dansby. Both should at least factor into the special teams game, while Edds' coverage skills could get him on the field sooner rather than later.

Additionally, 2009 seventh-round pick J. D. Folsom and 2010 seventh-rounder Austin Spitler will hope to land a backup job and special teams role, but with the top four spots at inside linebacker likely already spoken for, they are more likely competing for a spot on the practice squad.

As always, you can check out my updated projected depth chart reflecting the Dolphins' latest roster moves here.


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Dolphins DE Phillip Merling arrested for aggravated battery

Miami Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling is in Broward County jail after being arrested on an aggravated battery charge in a domestic dispute with his pregnant girlfriend.

Reports of the incident, which allegedly happened on Wednesday night, were broken by the Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly via twitter. The Broward Sheriff's Office website confirms the charge against Merling.

Although many have said the the Dolphins' second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft has been a disappointment, Merling has been a significant contributor as a rotational defensive end in the Dolphins' 3-4 scheme.

In two pro seasons with the team, Merling has started four of 32 games played while recording 59, tackles, 3.5 sacks, one interception, and one defensive touchdown.

With Randy Starks moving to nose tackle to replace Jason Ferguson, Merling was considered by some to be the favorite to replace him at right defensive end opposite Kendall Langford.

However, Merling is expected to face stiff competition from Dolphins' 2010 first-round pick Jared Odrick, and Merling's new-found trouble with the law won't help his chances.

I actually expected Odrick to win the job at some point this season anyway, but a potential suspension of Merling for violating the personal conduct policy would practically seal it.

Depending on how far the charge against Merling goes in the legal system, the incident could even spell the end of Merling's tenure in Miami.

With two young, talented ends able to hold down the starting jobs in Langford and Odrick, as well as a nose tackle that played like a Pro Bowler at end last season in Starks, Merling will have to hope those players vying for reserve end jobs don't impress the coaching staff too much.


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Former Dolphins safety Jarvis Williams passes away

Former Miami Dolphins safety Jarvis Williams died last night in his hometown of Palatka, Fla. He was 45.

Although initial reports on the cause of death were initially conflicted, Williams reportedly died of an acute asthma attack, per the medical examiner.

An All-American safety for the Florida Gators, Williams was drafted by the Dolphins in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft.

Williams appeared in all but five games in six seasons with the team through 1993, recording 513 tackles and 14 interceptions.

After one season with the Giants in 1994, Williams finished his career with 555 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, and one touchdowns.

A member of the Florida Gators' Athletic Hall of Fame, Williams had recently volunteered as a football coach at Interlachen High School in Putnam County.

Williams' son is a sophomore fullback at Jacksonville University.

Williams is the third ex-Dolphins player to pass away in the last month, following linebacker Nick Rogers and defensive tackle Norman Hand.


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jared Odrick changing representation

Miami Dolphins 2010 first-round pick Jared Odrick has reportedly parted ways with agent Peter Schaffer, according to the Sports Business Journal.

Per league rules, Odrick must wait five days after firing his agent to hire new representation.

It is unclear at this point what led to Odrick's decision and what kind of effects, if any, it will have on his contract negotiations with the Dolphins.

The 28th overall pick in last month's draft, Odrick was a two-time All-Big Ten selection at Penn State and was named the conference's defensive player of the year as a senior in 2009.

Last year's 28th overall pick—Buffalo Bills guard Eric Wood—received a five-year, $9.3 million contract that could potentially be worth over $12 million with incentives.

Assuming Odrick gets signed and into training camp on time, he is expected to compete with 2008 second-round pick Phillip Merling for the team's starting right defensive end spot opposite Kendall Langford.

The position was vacated by Randy Starks, who will take over for Jason Ferguson as the Dolphins' starting nose tackle.


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Monday, May 24, 2010

Dolphins deal Smiley to Jaguars; sign OL Cory Procter

The Miami Dolphins lost a guard and added one on the same day today, trading Justin Smiley to the Jacksonville Jaguars while signing free agent Cory Procter to a contract.

On the trading block since March, the oft-injured Smiley was expected to be traded during last month's NFL Draft, but no deal was made and it seemed more and more likely he might end up being released.

Terms of the trade with Jacksonville were undisclosed, although it is likely the Dolphins received a late-round and/or conditional pick for Smiley.

Cory Procter

A first-team All-Big Sky selection and I-AA All-American at Montana, Procter originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Lions in 2005. He was waived prior to the regular season and spent time on the team's practice squad.

Signed by the Bill Parcells-led Dallas Cowboys off the Lions' practice squad in November 2005, Procter failed to appear in a regular season game during his first two years with the team.

Making his NFL debut in 2007, Procter appeared in all 16 games for the Cowboys including two starts. He again appeared in 16 games for the team in 2008, including a career-high 11 starts.

Procter moved back to a reserve role in 2009, appearing in 12 games with no starts. He was re-signed as a restricted free agent after the season on March 26, but was released on May 17 after the team unsuccessfully tried to trade him.

In addition to the Dolphins, Procter visited the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots before eventually landing in Miami on May 24.

Procter will wear No. 61 for the Dolphins, which was worn by practice-squad guard Mark Lewis in 2009.

Analysis

Smiley's departure had been imminent for some time, but it's a bit surprising the Dolphins were actually able to get something in return for him at this point.

I suspect the compensation will be a late-round pick, possibly even of the conditional variety. It could end up being one of those deals where the Dolphins won't receive a pick if Smiley doesn't play or doesn't make the Jaguars' roster due to injury or performance.

While a strong run blocker and quality veteran presence, Smiley was no longer needed in Miami with such a good overall offensive line and his regular unavailability due to injuries.

The Dolphins' picked up a potential starting guard in the third round of this year's draft in John Jerry, and have also moved 2008 sixth-rounder Donald Thomas over from right guard to compete on the left side with Jerry an .

As far as where Procter goes, I suspect he will fill the role of a versatile, experienced reserve interior lineman. The Dolphins may say he'll be given a shot to win a starting job, but I don't expect it to happen.

With Richie Incognito likely to hold down the starting right guard job and Nate Garner best-suited for a reserve job, my money remains on the rookie Jerry to beat out Thomas (and now Procter, too) for the starting left guard spot.

Procter shouldn't be considered a lock to even make the team, although his experience with the Dolphins' staff and system from his time in Dallas definitely gives him a boost.

If anyone should feel threatened by Procter's addition, it's Donald Thomas. After winning the starting right guard job as a rookie in 2008, Thomas has been sidelined with injuries and was simply ineffective as a starter in 2009.

If you assume Jerry, Incognito, Garner, Procter, and Joe Berger all make the team as backup interior linemen, there appears to be little room for Thomas.

A lack of experience and versatility will also hurt Thomas, as Garner has experience and tackle and center as well, while Berger and Procter both have experience at all three interior positions.


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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ex-Dolphins LB Nick Rogers dies in car accident

Former NFL linebacker Nick Rogers, who had a brief stint with the Miami Dolphins in 2005, is dead after a fatal car accident in Atlanta early Monday morning.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rogers was killed in a single-car accident around 1:30 a.m. Monday in College Park after his vehicle left the road and struck a power pole.

A second-team All-ACC selection as a senior at George Tech in 2001, Rogers was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 2002 NFL Draft.

After appearing in all 32 games for the Vikings during his first two seasons, Rogers split the 2004 season with the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts.

Rogers' last saw NFL action after signing with the Nick Saban-led Dolphins in the middle of the 2005 season, appearing in three games and recording one tackle.

Seemingly out of football the following two years, Rogers resurfaced in the Arena Football League in 2008, recording seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery with the Colorado Crush.

During four NFL seasons, including stints with four different teams, Rogers totaled 80 tackles, two sacks, and four forced fumbles in 46 games.

Rogers, aged 30, leaves behind a wife, Kia Jackson-Rogers. High-school sweethearts, the two were married less than a month before his passing.

The Miami Dolphins Spotlight's condolences go out to the family and friends of Nick Rogers.


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Monday, May 3, 2010

Miami Dolphins Alumni Update: April 2010

Here are all the pro football transactions involving former members of the Miami Dolphins for the month of April 2010:
  • April 5 — The Arizona Cardinals signed placekicker Jay Feely (Jets) to a contract. Feely served as the Dolphins' placekicker in 2007, converting 21-of-23 (91.3 percent) of field goal attempts.
  • April 6 — The Seattle Seahawks terminated the contract of tight end John Owens. Owens was acquired by the Dolphins from the Chicago Bears in August 2005 in exchange for linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, but was released just four days later.
  • April 8 — The Utah Blaze (AFL) placed offensive lineman/defensive lineman Brian Soi on injured reserve. Soi was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2007, but waived during final cuts on Sept. 1.
  • April 8 — The Toronto Argonauts (CFL) re-signed defensive end Ben Ishola to a contract. Ishola was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2006, but waived during final cuts on Sept. 2.
  • April 9 — The New York Giants terminated the contract of defensive tackle Anthony Bryant. Bryant appeared in one game for the Dolphins in 2007 but did not record any statistics.
  • April 9 — The Arizona Rattlers (AFL) placed wide receiver Todd Devoe on injured reserve. Devoe spent two weeks on the Dolphins' practice squad in Sept. 2004.
  • April 12 — The Baltimore Ravens re-signed RFA quarterback John Beck to a contract. The Dolphins' second-round pick in 2007, Beck appeared in five games (four starts) as a rookie, throwing for 552 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions. He was released in April 2009.
  • April 12 — The Minnesota Vikings re-signed RFA defensive tackle Fred Evans to a contract. A seventh-round pick by the Dolphins in 2006, Evans appeared in one game and recorded two tackles as a rookie. He was waived in June 2007 shorter after an arrest in Miami Beach that saw him charged with battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing.
  • April 12 — The Washington Redskins signed defensive tackle Anthony Bryant (Giants) to a contract.
  • April 13 — The Tennessee Titans re-signed RFA defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson to a contract. A seventh-round pick by the Dolphins in 2005, Vickerson spent two seasons with the team but did not make any regular season appearances. He was an All-NFL Europa selection in the 2007 offseason, but was waived on Aug. 27.
  • April 13 — The BC Lions (CFL) signed wide receiver Kerry Reed to a contract. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2007, Reed spent his rookie season on the Dolphins' practice squad.
  • April 15 — The Baltimore Ravens re-signed ERFA running back Jalen Parmele to a contract. A sixth-round pick in 2008, Parmele spent most of his rookie season between the Dolphins' practice squad and active roster before being signed to Baltimore's active roster in December.
  • April 16 — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) released linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz from his contract. Shabazz spent the 2006 offseason with the Dolphins before being waived in August.
  • April 16 — The UFL Omaha franchise selected wide receiver Frank Murphy (Tuskers) in the 2010 UFL Expansion Draft. Murphy spent the 2006 offseason with the Dolphins before being waived in August.
  • April 19 — The Atlanta Falcons placed tight end Jason Rader on the reserve/retired list. Rader spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons with the Dolphins, appearing in five games (one start) in 2006 and catching one pass for 26 yards.
  • April 19 — The Washington Redskins signed defensive tackle Howard Green (Jets) to a contract. Green spent the 2006 offseason with the Dolphins before being waived in August.
  • April 20 — The Cincinnati Bengals re-signed RFA guard Evan Mathis to a contract. Mathis spent part of the 2008 season with the Dolphins, appearing in seven games as a reserve guard.
  • April 20 — The Calgary Stampeders (CFL) signed linebacker Robert McCune to a contract. McCune spent part of the 2006 season with the Dolphins but did not appear in a game.
  • April 21 — The New York Jets signed linebacker Jason Taylor (Dolphins) to a contract. Originally a third-round pick by the Dolphins in 1997, Taylor recorded 471 tackles, 124 sacks, 42 forced fumble, 27 fumble recoveries, eight interceptions, and an NFL record nine touchdowns as a defensive lineman in two stints with the team between 1997-2007 and 2009. In Miami, Taylor earned six Pro Bowl selection, four All-Pro selections, and as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 with 13.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles.
  • April 22 — The Tennessee Titans re-signed RFA defensive tackle Tony Brown to a contract. Brown spent three games on the Dolphins' active roster as a rookie in 2003, but did not appear in a game.
  • April 26 — The Denver Broncos signed linebacker Akin Ayodele (Dolphins) to a contract. Acquired along with tight end Anthony Fasano from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a fourth-round pick, Ayodele recorded 118 tackles, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions in 32 games (28 starts) with the Dolphins from 2008 to 2009.
  • April 26 — The Seattle Seahawks acquired defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson from the Tennessee Titans.
  • April 26 — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed guard Shawn Murphy on waivers. The Dolphins' fourth-round pick in 2008, Murphy spent a season and a half with the Dolphins between 2008 and 2009, but did not appear in a game.
  • April 28 — The Philadelphia Eagles claimed guard Shawn Murphy (Buccaneers) off waivers. However, he failed his physical with the team and was not signed.
  • April 30 — The Oakland Raiders signed tight end John Owens to a contract.
  • April 30 — The Oakland Raiders signed cornerback Joey Thomas to a contract. Thomas spent parts of the 2008 season with the Dolphins, recording four tackles in six games.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

A look at the Dolphins' tryout players

The Miami Dolphins' first rookie minicamp of the offseason began Friday, with young veterans, drafted and undrafted rookies, and tryout players all participating in the activities.

Reports from Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald and Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post create an incomplete list of all the participants. In fact, Salguero merely lists the players he's observed and suggest you "google them," but why do that when I can break them down for you?

On a side note, rookie fourth-rounder A. J. Edds as apparently been re-assigned no. 49 after initially receiving No. 54 from the team. It looks like someone finally came to their senses and realized that giving out Dolphins great Zach Thomas' number as not a good idea.

Meanwhile, it appears some reports of the Dolphins' undrafted signings were incorrect, and that three players—tight end Dan Beaudin, guard Andy Leavine, and DE Vince Oghobaase—were just offered tryouts.

Here is a look at the 14 players taking part in the Dolphins' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis:


RB/FB James Aldridge, Notre Dame — 6'1", 225 lb. ... rushed for 979 yards and three touchdowns in four seasons with the Fighting Irish, but just 17 yards as a senior in 2009 ... undrafted and unsigned in 2010

TE Dan Beaudin, Montana
— 6'4", 256 lb. ... three-time honorable mention All-Big Sky selection ... a three-time Academic All-Big Sky selection ... career totals of 63 receptions, 676 yards, and six touchdowns ... undrafted and unsigned in 2010

QB Casey Dick, Arkansas — 6'2", 215 lb. ... a four-year player for the Razorbacks from 2005 to 2008 ... finished collegiate career with 5,856 yards and 47 touchdowns ... undrafted in 2009 and participated in New York Jets' minicamp on a tryout basis ... out of football in 2009

PK Parker Douglass, South Dakota State — 5'8", 175 lb. ... Three-time All-Great West selection at SDSU, kicking for same school as NFLer Adam Vinatieri ... undrafted out of South Dakota State in 2008 ... played for Sioux Falls Storm of the Indoor Football League in 2009 ... spent offseason time with the Cleveland Browns in 2009 and the preseason with the New York Jets ... played for California Redwoods (UFL) in Fall 2009, converting 7-of-10 field goals and all 12 extra points ... worked out for the Dallas Cowboys last December

OT Kris Doura, Charleston — 6'6", 310 lb. ... undrafted and unsigned in 2010

DE Alex Field, Virginia — 6'7", 270 lb. ... played under Bill Parcells' colleague Al Groh at Virginia ... appeared in 42 games for the Cavaliers and totaled 71 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries ... undrafted in 2009 and signed by the New York Giants, only to be waived in June ... signed by Arizona Cardinals in August and spent time on their practice squad before his release in October

LS Andy Huffman, Purdue — 6'3", 277 lb. ... a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection ... snapped in 34 straight contests before an injury his junior season ... undrafted and unsigned in 2010

OG/LS Andy Leavine, Florida International — 6'5", 292 lb. ... appeared in 43 games for the Panthers, including 41 starts ... primarily a tackle in college ... undrafted and unsigned in 2010

DE Vince Oghobaase, Duke — 6'5", 305 lb. ... a Sporting News Freshman All-ACC pick in 2006 ... an honorable mention All-ACC selection his final two seasons ... 160 tackles and 13 sacks in four seasons with the Blue Devils ... undrafted and unsigned in 2010

P Aaron Perez, UCLA — An honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 2007 and a first-team All-Pac-10 as a senior in 2008 ... undrafted in 2009 and spent that May with the New England Patriots

OT Dan Ryan, Connecticut — 6'8", 316 lb. ... a three-year teammate with Dolphins guard Donald Thomas at UConn .... an offensive tackle that also saw time at tight end for the Huskies ... undrafted and unsigned in 2010

QB Jameel Sewell, Virginia — 6'3", 225 lb. ... throws left-handed ... played under Bill Parcells' colleague Al Groh at Virginia ... played three seasons for the Cavaliers (2006-2007, 2009) while sitting out the 2008 season due to academic problems ... finished career with 5,366 yards and 24 touchdowns against 22 interceptions ... added 646 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground ... ran the forty in 4.64 seconds ... undrafted and unsigned in 2010

FB Mickey Turner, Wisconsin — 6'4", 250 lb. ... played two seasons for the Badgers as a tight end, catching 10 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown ... undrafted and unsigned in 2010

WR Isaiah Williams, Maryland — 6'3", 200 lb. ... caught 64 passes for 902 yards and five touchdowns in four seasons with the Terrapins ... his college receivers coach once said Williams had more God-given talent that teammate Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was drafted seventh overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2009 ... ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at Maryland's Pro Day ... undrafted in 2009 ... signed by the Baltimore Ravens in April but waived in July


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