The Dolphins OTA search for Versatility continues

from Chris Perkins at the Sun Sentinel

The Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant, used almost exclusively as a slot/inside receiver last year, played on the inside and the outside during the recently-concluded organized team activities. Safety Michael Thomas was used at nickel/slot defensive back, and Kraig Urbik played center and guard.

The Dolphins frequently cross-train players during practice. That’s part of their philosophy under coach Adam Gase. It raises a player’s value and helps develop quality depth in a sport in which versatility is a must.

Expect the cross-training to continue during this week’s three-day minicamp that begins Tuesday at the team’s training facility in Davie.

Minicamp has expanded work limits over OTAs. Afternoon or nighttime walkthroughs are permitted and teams get longer meeting times.

The extra time allows the Dolphins to evaluate things further before they take their six-week break and start training camp at the end of July.

“In OTAs sometimes, it’s tough,” Gase said last week. “Your window is so small. Those meeting times … they go by quick. You want to watch every little thing and teach all the stuff that we have. You’re constantly playing catch up.

“The minicamp allows you to really take that deep dive and help your players as much as possible.”

Many forms experimentation, aside from cross-training, will continue during minicamp.

Rookie defensive end Charles Harris, the first-round pick from Missouri, and veteran defensive end William Hayes, will be used inside and outside so the Dolphins can take looks at different pass-rushing packages.

At middle linebacker, the Dolphins will continue to rotate among Lawrence Timmons, Kiko Alonso and Mike Hull.

In each area — cross-training, using players in different packages, and rotating starters — the Dolphins think they’re way ahead of where they were at this time last year.

And there’s no rush to make final decisions.

“As we get close to the season you hope the roles would crystallize a little bit and we get a better idea of how we want to use those guys,” defensive coordinator Matt Burke said last week.

Gase said moving Harris, who has displayed a good first step, to the inside in certain packages is intended to best utilize his pass-rushing skills. It also allows the Dolphins to see how many pass rushers they can put on the field at the same time. But it’s being done with caution.

“We don’t want to put too much on one guy’s plate,” Gase said. “We just want him to just continue working on the little details of what the coaching staff is asking him to do and find ways to get better.”

Many of the Dolphins’ major contributors are not being cross-trained like defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, defensive end Cameron Wake, and running back Jay Ajayi.

But experimentation is ongoing.

Among the positions where multiple options are being explored:

Punt returner — Running back Kenyan Drake has been working on returning punts to provide depth and perhaps battle Grant for the Number One Job.

Cornerback — Safety Walt Aikens is getting a look at corner to best determine his position and see if he could provide help in a pinch

Offensive line — Urbik, Anthony Steen, Jake Brendel and Ted Larsen have all worked at guard and center while rookie Isaac Asiata has worked at right guard and left guard

Linebacker — Alonso is playing in the middle and outside, and Timmons said he’s comfortable playing either

Alonso, who has started at both middle and outside linebacker during his NFL career seems to like what the Dolphins are doing with their experimentation.

“I think right now we’re just all doing everything,” said Alonso, who recorded 115 tackles last season as a middle linebacker.

“I don’t think we’re making any decisions yet. It’s just wherever they put us.”

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59 Responses to The Dolphins OTA search for Versatility continues

  1. Tim Knight says:

    Cross-training is a football/NFL thing, not specific to the Dolphins. 🙂

    It’s about learning what guys are capable of.

    • David says:

      true that, also the more versatile a young player is, the better he is prepared to earn a roster spot versus a guy that just has one skill set

  2. David says:

    reporter Mike Wise couldn’t help but notice all the marijuana smoke in the Cavs locker room after they dropped game two of the finals. lol

    Mike Wise, claims hes from Northern California and Hawaii, so he KNOWS what it smells like, lol

    He said he doesnt know WHO was smoking it, just knows someone was.

  3. ElephantRider says:

    Lol at the weed smell……give me a break!

    NBA finals?? I haven’t watched or even read one second about the NBA in long long time.

    • Marinofan13 says:

      Funny, because I accidentally stumbled upon Game 3 while channel surfing Friday night. And for the mere 15 minutes I watched in the 3rd quarter before turning it off… LeBum sank a 3-pointer, one player tried to ‘cock-punch’ another player while fighting for the ball, a melee nearly broke out on the court, a fan was ejected, and the commentators truly sounded like WWF announcers.

      Man… the NBA has become an absolute JOKE, IMO. I just HAD to turn the channel after that crap. I’d spent 15 minutes watching ‘WWF BS’ while really only witnessing about 1 minute of game action… and I think(?) I only watched as long as 15 minutes for the drama that was happening at the moment, not for the actual game.

      The NBA is a bloody joke today, and has been for a very, very long time.

  4. Marinofan13 says:

    And I can’t follow MLB any longer due to it’s S-L-O-W P-A-C-E-D nature and history of steroid corruption for ratings… but did anybody see Aaron Judge’s 496-foot HR today?

    Talk about a ‘MOON SHOT’!!! I haven’t seen a ball hit like that since Canseco/McGwire (*BASH BROTHERS*)!!!

  5. professorlou says:

    I really only follow football anymore if for no other reason than I’m just not willing to devote the time to all the different sports. Damn, there’s people out there watching football, baseball, basketball, hockey, nascar, pga, tennis, soccer and others. I’d rather have a life

  6. professorlou says:

    And, if you’ve noticed, I’m not really devoting as much time to football in the off-season anymore as well. More important things than worry about ota’s and camps

    • Marinofan13 says:

      Right on… and I’m with ya on this, too. These are the doldrums, and it’s nothing to get overly excited about.

      Nothing should be of notice until the shells come on.

  7. ElephantRider says:

    Agreed on both M

    I just have barely enough time anymore for my Phins. They were the sole survivor of all the sports and teams I followed growing up.

  8. David says:

    life seems more busy than ever. when i was a teen i would watch EVERY sport, lol

    i could give You stats on baseball players, football, nascar you name it. i was super into sports because there wasnt anything else on tv worth watching IMO, and i also enjoyed playing sports and emulating the heroes.

    im always going to have time to watch Dolphins football, its a part of my life im not willing to give up, even though i have all but abandoned the other sports

  9. David says:

    today is the one year anniversary of the Orlando night club shooting. there are events planned to remember and mourn the loss.
    the mentally disturbed cowards that pull off these shootings underestimate the will of the people.

  10. David says:

    Gonna check out game 5 of the finals tonight, it should be interesting since Cavs are facing elimination

  11. Tim Knight says:

    I’m a bit late on this, but for those of you who remember, this would have been Sam’s 18th birthday today. Happy Birthday Sam!!!! Fly buddy!!!

  12. ElephantRider says:

    3 days of pads starting tomorrow…..then the real doldrums begin…..

  13. Mike E says:

    Baseball is the sport of summer. If you love the game, you watch it. It’s always been a slow paced game. I think that’s being severely over-hyped. Last night’s Mets win was about 2:40, quicker than an NFL game. FWIW, I have to love a team that’s playing, or there’s not a shot I’m going to spend all that time watching.

  14. David says:

    Tunsil has a leg injury, no mini camp.

    its not looking serious though, but we wont push him in June

  15. David says:

    RIP Greg Allman , a king of southern rock

  16. ElephantRider says:

    Rumor is a hamstring for Tunsil…… hope it heals and doesn’t linger

  17. ElephantRider says:

    Mike E

    I do enjoy going to local minor league games. Fun atmosphere. Games move quick. And way cheaper! Lol

    • Tim Knight says:

      Yeah they are fun. No bad seats, affordable prices for both tickets and at the concessions stand.

  18. Marinofan13 says:

    Tim Knight says:
    June 12, 2017 at 10:33 pm
    I’m a bit late on this, but for those of you who remember, this would have been Sam’s 18th birthday today. Happy Birthday Sam!!!! Fly buddy!!!
    Geez… Sam would have been only 18 yesterday? The way he performed on the video provided, you’d swear he was already in his mid-20s, seemingly already perfect in his craft. And yes, Tim… I DO remember young Sam from last year… just didn’t realize he was THAT young. Man…

    RIP, Sam Jackenthal. May you fly with the angels up above in eternal peace, young buck. 🙂 / 🙁

    • Tim Knight says:

      He was 15 in this video. He died when he was 16. He was on his way to being an Olympian. The saddest part of his death was not Sam the talented skier/skater, it was how he touched peoples’ lives and how many people loved him. Really great kid.

      Even though he died doing what he loved, it still breaks me up thinking about how such a talented and beautiful young soul’s life came to an end way too soon.

      Thanks for your post, bro.

      • Marinofan13 says:

        I’m an emotional cat, as ya know. You’re welcome, and I feel where ya come from.

        And I thank YOU for keeping Sam’s legacy ALIVE AND WELL.

        Propers, cat! 🙂

  19. Mike E says:


    Minor league games are great to go to. I don’t go to many games, maybe once a year. I watch at least parts of 100 or more games though of the Mets. They may well have the best crew announcing the game in the league. Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling are fantastic together. They make the game much easier to watch

  20. Marinofan13 says:

    For the very first time in my life, I nearly got into a head-on collision this afternoon… and I still don’t know how I escaped as much. I was on a very tight country road when the driver coming at me veered BIG TIME into my lane. I SWEAR… I’ve NEVER had that happen to me in my lifetime.

    I slammed on my breaks while quickly veering into a non-existent shoulder while steering back to the road to avoid contact. Driver coming at me then quickly veered away from me (as if the driver suddenly looked up from texting on their phone or something). We BOTH ‘fish-tailed’, and SOMEHOW missed one another in a head-on collision… although s/he had already ran me off the road. All I could see after the fact was DUST in my rear-view mirror. VERY FORTUNATE that we BOTH fish-tailed from one another. WHEW!

    I was ready to turn around and pursue this person in order to hand out a piece of my mind and/or to report them. Instead, I very quickly became thankful for having the ability/agility/Jedi-reflexes to avoid the collision to begin with.

    Yeah, y’all… I felt like a young Anakin Skywalker or “Sully” Sullenberger [expert pilots, BOTH (one fictional, one REAL!)] earlier today. And that’s not me bragging… it’s humility in giving thanks to gifts from ABOVE. If I wasn’t such a careful and defensive driver…

    I SERIOUSLY can’t believe I’m not sitting in either the OR or ICU right now as I type this (as if I were even able to even do so in that scenario), being that in REAL TIME the collision had felt IMMANENT (VERY $#!tting bricks feeling).

    Count your BLESSINGS, stay HUMBLE, work HARD, stay FOCUSED, give THANKS, say PLEASE, utilize your TALENT (we ALL have a God-given talent!), don’t prematurely JUDGE, and always be RESPECTFUL.

    It’s truly no wonder why Cam Wake is my very favorite Dolphin in recent history… and perhaps of all-time.

    • Marinofan13 says:

      And if ya didn’t already figure it out (LOL), I’m giving propers to GOD.

    • Tim Knight says:

      Whoa!!! So glad you got out of that. And yes you made the right choice leaving it alone. Hopefully that person learned a lesson and right now is reflecting on it big time.

      • Marinofan13 says:

        Thank you, my man! I appreciate!

        • David says:

          glad You made it ok MF, Your guardian angels need a raise though, lol

          i hate to say how many times i go through some unbelievable crazy drivers around Disney, i have names for some, lol

          rope weavers. multiple lanes of traffic changing lanes at the same time
          left or die. they cant miss their left turn in 90 feet or they will die, so lets all die cutting a couple dozen cars off instead
          follow the sheeple. the car in front of them pulled right out in front of You, so they blindly follow, forcing brake slamming
          the text drunks. they weave all over the road, sober, but busy texting
          Parkers. they park at green lights, middle of the road, handicapped spaces, storefront entrances, or damn near anywhere they should never park.
          !@#$$%^^&&**(())) Brits. they drive on wrong side of road, these are scary

          • David says:

            i forgot googans. googans are drivers that are so crazy and braindead they merit special consideration. they may or may not fit in the above categories, but they seldom fail to incur the natives wrath ! lol I feel much better after giving up all hope

  21. ElephantRider says:

    Glad you drive alert M…..or Case Keenum would need a new publicist….. 🙂

    Lol at David’s names

  22. Marinofan13 says:

    I haven’t the words to describe how I feel after this morning’s assassination attempt on duly elected officials of this great country. All I could do was shake my head with eyes closed (to keep the tears back), and I haven’t had these feelings since September 11th, 2001.

    Forget red and blue, liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat, or any other label/bias… our Democratic Republic came under attack this morning in the form of a savage nut job, again… trying to assassinate duly elected officials of this great country.

    It’s widely believed that Flight 93 [RIP!!! 🙁 ] was destined to blow up either Congress or the White House on September 11th, 2001, in order to destabilize our Democratic Republic system… we’d be screwed by the vacuum of leadership left behind. Well, that was the intention this morning.

    That my man Rand Paul (Presidential candidate in ’16) actually had to hide behind a tree to avoid assassination was very, very scary to hear. That House Majority Whip Steve Scalice was seen dragging himself into the outfield from the infield — leaving a trail of blood after being hit — was terrifying to hear… he’s now in critical condition. 🙁
    Get well soon, Steve Scalice… prayers up.

    Thank GOD that Scalise had a contingent of two Capital Hill policemen (only one — as HMW– who could provide such protection to ALL in attendance due to anti-gun laws), who put the radicalized lunatic down… but only after sustaining gunshot wounds themselves: HEROES.

    The gun debates will rage on, the political debates will rage on, the cause-and-effect/blame of this incident will rage on… and the RAGE will RAGE on, incessantly.

    This is probably the closest we’ve been to ‘civil war’ since THE Civil War. And should a second Civil War occur, goodbye, America, FOREVER. And should we get mired in another civil war, our opponents/enemies WILL POUNCE in order to take over the world’s last ‘Super Power’. Get used to speaking either Mandarin, Russian, Korean, or Persian.

    Stop the BS, America. “It’s time to unite and make $#!t right” ~RS
    I want to see this annual charity baseball game go on tomorrow between the Reps and Dems, as it supports disadvantaged children… MUCH respect to both sides of the aisle.

    So in the name of bi-partisan peace, I offer this song (once again) from my man Shock-G. “Keep it Beautiful”.

    • Tim Knight says:

      No more words need to be added. ^

      • Marinofan13 says:

        But what if I added that… just kidding. 🙂

        Thanks, Bro. It’s time to heal.

        • Tim Knight says:

          You’d be a dick, but you’re not so let’s move on. LOL

          Politics are out of control. My good friend and I were just talking yesterday. WTF is going on?!!!!

          We’re both free thinkers and not aligned with any particular party. Can individual thought even exist anymore?

          • Marinofan13 says:

            My above comment came out sideways like an errant Tim Tebow throw into the 5th row of bleachers, LOL.

            I meant to say anything for the sake of it, just to sarcastically show you that I could say something after you stated that “nothing more needs to be added”… so I added on. LOL, I’m silly like that.

            But on the serious tip, I THANK YOU for your reply. It’s difficult to keep our heads up today with everything happening in the world. We need PEACE!

  23. Marinofan13 says:

    I’m absolutely LOVING what we’ve been hearing as of late. DeVante seems to be a man on a MISSION, Ajayi seems to be “the next big thing” in the NFL (Lord keep his bone-on-bone safe), General Gase likes what he’s seeing, and this young buck Charles Harris… WOAH!

    GRAND to hear what we’re hearing, but until the shells go on, we’ll see. I say this EVERY year and with SO much optimism… we’re going to ROCK this year! Well this time, I can say that we’re actually building on a 2016 playoff team (haven’t been able to say as much since our 2008 Wildcard vs the Ravens).

    I still wish we’d sign Orlando Franklin, but that’s just me. And I still wish we’d sign Tony McDaniel, but that’s just me. Get Jarvis Landry re-signed… something tells me that will occur mid-season (keeping him hungry), if he’s ‘killing it’ on the field.

    • ElephantRider says:

      You can thank Gase for all this optimism. Probably throw Tbaum a bone too. Seems to be a solid plan in place

  24. Mike E says:

    As far as guns are concerned, I feel every American that qualifies, should be able to have one. My issue is with automatic weapons that hold large amounts of ammo, ones that can fire multiple rounds, like 50 before emptying. I can’t see a good reason any civilian needs to have a weapon like that. That’s all I got

  25. David says:

    it appears radical islamic terrorists are not our only problem,
    anglo saxon sovereign PseudoChristians are a bigger problem IMO, and according to surveys of police departments.

    lets take racism out of terrorism, and shut down ALL terrorists, no matter what their flavor is

    i wish we had someone in leadership of our country encouraging peace, dignity, and unity through words and actions, We need it now more than ever.

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