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2 posts from August 5, 2013

August 05, 2013

Reshad Jones gets rewarded with new deal

Five months ago Reshad Jones was stressing a little bit about his contract situation. The Dolphins had promised to get him a new deal before the start of the 2013 season but he was seeing precious little movement in that direction.

So his agent Joel Segal called the Dolphins to see what was up. And a day passed with no response. And another day passed with no response.

And so the Jones camp decided to send a clear message that they felt wronged. Jones didn't show up to offseason workouts one day.

And that got all sorts of activity going. Assistant coaches lit up Jones' phone wanting to know where he was. General Manager Jeff Ireland called the agent.

And eventually, the team promised if Jones went about his usual business, reporting to offseason workouts and camps and allowing the process to play out, they would open talks on a new deal in July. Well, two weeks ago the Dolphins started talking with Jones and Segal.

And today the club and their starting safety have agreed to and signed a four-year extension worth $30 million that includes guaranteed money of $15 million.

This deal comes in just ahead of the four-year, $29.323 million extension safety Kam Chancellor signed with Seattle in April. It falls just below the deals done for Eric Weddle (5 years, $40 million) and Antrel Rolle (five years, $37 million) signed in the last few years.

So what's the message?

It's a good one.

Jones sent the message that he's a professional. He sent the message he was going to go about his business in a statesmanlike manner and work quietly with the team as long as the team was willing to work with him. Yes, there was that day of anxiety -- to the point the Dolphins were so vexed by information leaking that they asked Jones family members not to speak to me.

(The Dolphins make a habit of telling agents and others not to speak to the media about contracts or injuries or anything, really, despite the so-called transparent approach owner Stephen Ross ordered last year).

But I digress.

After Jones met with coaches and his agent explained their stance, the team made a promise, Jones made a promise and both sides kept that promise.

Now compare that to the issue the Buffalo Bills are having with safety Jairus Byrd who is sitting out of camp. Not good.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, have sent a message into the locker room that if you are a good player with a good future and your career arc is headed up, they will try to keep you and be fair in doing so. That, believe it or not, will make the rounds in the locker room.

The Dolphins, you see, have a couple of other young players they may eventually try to extend -- Mike Pouncey, perhaps Paul Soliai, maybe Dustin Keller if he stays healthy and plays well -- and this extension before the season suggests the club is open to keeping a core of players it values.

So today was a win-win for everyone involved.


The post-mortem from preseason opening loss

After Sunday night's 24-20 loss to the Cowboys, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin did his postgame press conference out on the field, by the end zone. As a group of reporters surrounded him for his four-minute talk, a nearby fan yelled over at the top of his lungs:

"Breaking news," the fan yelled, "the Dolphins still suck."

I wouldn't go that far nor would I make assumptions on a season or even a preaseason based on this preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

But on this night the Dolphins definitely didn't present much of a counter-argument against that heckler.

They didn't just lose this one 24-20, but lost it ugly. They played poorly, they played sloopy, and they got beat. Not a good recipe for turning the thing around in time to start the season fast.

"I told the team I thought we would play better," coach Joe Philbin said. "That's obviously not the way you want to start any football game, I don't care if it's preseason, Game 1, the Super Bowl or any game in between."

The start was ugly. Lamar Miller fumbled on the first offensive play.

The Cowboys recovered inside the Dolphins 10 yard line and scored.

The galling thing?

The defense that started for Dallas was missing every defensive starter in the lineup save one. Yes, coach Jason Garrett sat practically everyone and still won.

"I told our team we've talked a lot about taking the ball away. We've talked a lot about ball security. We spent a lot of practice time but it didn't show up on the field today. We have to go back to work and get that corrected. That's the reason we lost the game and that's what's going to turn this program around more than anything else is us doing a much, much better job in that category."

Yes, it was a bad start for Miller, who is trying to replace Reggie Bush, but he recovered a little bit. He finished with two carries for 21 yards.

"I had to make up for it and look forward to the next play," Miller said. "I was trying to move the chains and help the football team."

Miller added the team, "can only get better."

Obviously. The Dolphins lost the turnover margin, 2-0. One of those was a 75-yard interception return TD by reserve linebacker Devonte Holloman, who picked off Matt Moore. The pick goes on Moore's stat sheet, but the problem was that rookie receiver Chad Bumphis sat down in the zone when Moore was expecting him to run through.

"It was a bad read on my part," Bumphis said. "That one's on me. But I'm going to learn from that and that miscommunication won't happen again."

Bumphis wasn't bad otherwise. He caught five passes for 85 yards to lead the team. Michael Egnew had four catches for 52 yards but had a drop. Keenan Davis had three catches for 48 yards and a TD.

"Keenan Davis made a couple of plays," Philbin said. "Bumphis has caught the ball in practice ... The kid gets open and he catches the ball."

Moore finished the game with 19 completions on 29 attempts for 238 yards. He played most of the second quarter but was forced back in the game in the fourth quarter when third-stringer Pat Devlin "got nicked," according to Philbin.

Dolphins05 rmattsacked jwrI'm sure Moore loved the idea of coming back in the game. He was sacked once (which you see courtesy a photo by Joe Rimkus) and hit hard on multiple occasions as the second-team line -- particularly reserve left tackle Dallas Thomas -- seemed to struggle. Frankly, I'm wondering if Thomas has the quickness to play left tackle. If he does, he didn't show it tonight.

It looked like Devlin took a shot that had him a little glassy-eyed in the locker room afterward.

Speaking of quarterbacks, starter Ryan Tannehill completed two of five passes for 1 yards. His 47.9 QB rating was the lowest of the Miami QBs. His inability to connect on a couple of simple slant throws to WRs showed either his lack or work with those receivers, or a twinge of inaccuracy or both.

Afterward, Tannehill conceded the Dolphins looked ugly.

"It wasn't our cleanest game, wasn't our best game," he said. "I'm glad we can get that one out of the way early. We have four more preseason games before we get into the regular season. So hopefully this was our sloppy game."

The leading rusher on the night for Miami was Jonas Gray. He rushed for 41 yards on seven carries. Gray missed all of last season as he rehabilitated a knee injury from his Notre Dame days. 

"This was a reassurance that my knee is 100 percent," he said.