The Miami Dolphins skipped a number of pass rushing specialists and concentrated more on other need areas of the team. The drafting of those “need” positions fueled heavy speculation that the Dolphins would simply open up negotiations with former stud DE/OLB Jason Taylor.
Rumors began circulating shortly before the draft and intensified after the draft that the Phins were indeed negotiating a contract with his agent. Something that was never really confirmed or stated with any real conviction. Simply a one line, “Dolphins negotiating with Taylor” blurb. Apparently, those rumors appear to be just that.
It is now looking like the lukewarm feelings of this front office are not all that interested in the 12 year veteran who missed part of last season with injury after spending his off-season competing on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars“. Taylor came in second.
Jeff Ireland earlier in the week spoke about the teams desire to find undrafted rookie free agents, they signed 9, and called them “acorns”. When asked about Taylor, Ireland said that he was one of the “acorns” they were looking at. However, he also stated that there had not been much talk about JT between the trio of football guys who call the shots, Ireland, Bill Parcells, and Tony Sparano.
New England is still a strong possibility but the question is will JT head north and away from his family? Last seasons one year stint with the Washington Redskins was difficult for Taylor who left his family behind. While the Patriots may very well give him a shot at a Super Bowl, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are showing interest and will allow him to stay close to home.
Dolphins fan, for the most part, want JT back for his final year or two but the decision is not in their hands. Jeff Ireland refers to players like Taylor as “Progress Stoppers“. Players who come in and start that delay the opportunity for younger players to get better. Another sign that JT is on the outside looking in at a team that doesn’t seem to want him.
Taylor has said that he wants to find his new team soon so he can get to work. With each passing day, it looks more and more likely that will be somewhere else. In the world of professional football though, things can change on a dime.
The Dolphins will start their first mini-camp/practice this weekend when the drafted rookies and the undrafted rookies show up at the Davie facility. What they will find is a sports tape name plate on a locker and an aluminum chair with the Phins logo in the middle. They will be shuttled back and forth from the team hotel. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the facility and be handed playbooks to start learning the intricate schemes and formations.
The drafted rookies show up with insured injury waivers instead of contracts while the undrafted rookies show up with contracts in hand, already having been signed this week. In terms of actual practice, there won’t be much. Running, jumping, and basically getting acclimated to their coaches and the practice field. Consider this the arrival of that “Ebay” purchase in the mail. Time to play with the new toys.
The coaches will sit the players down or walk them through different formations and tell them to forget what they were taught at the last level in terms of how colleges do things. The WR’s will be grilled on getting two feet in bounds instead of one. They will run routes and show the kind of hands they have while the defenders run through drills to show how they can turn their hips and run while covering.
The coaches will teach but mostly they will observe. They will film and study what they have on the field so they know what they need to work on. This is step one. For the players, they will be shown what the word “committment” means…it’s on the wall of the locker-room in rather large eye-popping letters. They will be shown the weight room and told to make it their mission to spend as much time with the trainers as they can.
With 9 undrafted free agent joining the draft class, the work will be light but important. Some will not make it to the next camp while a few may find themselves joining the draft class and veterans for mini-camps and training camp.
The Dolphins, these Dolphins, love conditioning so these guys can expect to do a lot of running. Show you are in solid shape and you have a chance to stick around, come in out of shape and your all but gone. Here are the 9 undrafted rookies joining the team this weekend:
Stanford running back Anthony Kimble, New Mexico wide receiver Chris Williams, nose tackle Louis Ellis of Shaw College, Oregon guard Mark Lewis, Tulsa wide receiver Brennan Marion, Central Washington tight end Jared Bronson, Purdue defensive end Ryan Baker, Virginia Tech defensive end Orion Martin, Houston offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers. – Miami Herald