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2 posts from August 14, 2013

August 14, 2013

Dolphins dump Carpenter, keeping Sturgis

It raised eyebrows when Dan Carpenter struggled last season. Then the Dolphins drafted kicker Caleb Sturgis out of the University of Florida in the fifth round and that led to whispers. And those whispers got louder when Sturgis went nuts the other night in the preseason game against Jacksonville, connecting on a 58-yard field goal and booming all six of his kickoffs into the end zone.

Well, today the move that has been coming for months happened as the Dolphins terminated the contract of Carpenter and, in so doing, awarded the kicking job to Sturgis.

"On behalf of the Miami Dolphins, I would like to thank Dan for his contributions he has made as a member of the organization," GM Jeff Ireland said in a statement.

"For the past five years seasons Dan has been a tireless worker on the field while devoting countless hours of his time off the field to the beterment of the South Florida community. He has been a productive player and an outstanding citizen and we wish him and his wife Kaela all the best."

All the service Carpenter gave the Dolphins ultimately was overshadowed by two factors:

1. Sturgis was simply better this preseason, connecting on a higher percentage of long field goals than Carpenter.

2. Cutting Carpenter means a significant cap savings. The Dolphins save $2.675 million by cutting Carpenter in the final year of his contract although they will carry $337,500 in dead money as a result.

Sturgis will cost the Dolphins $441,140 against the cap.

So the actual cap savings of keeping Sturgis over Carpenter is $1,896,360.

Carpenter connected on 22 of 27 kicks in 2012 for a success percentage of 81.5, which is the second-lowest mark of his career and marked his second disappointing season since 2010.

It's unclear if Carpenter requested his release but the Dolphins apparently did right by letting him go this early. It gives the five-year veteran a better chance to get picked up by another team. On the other hand, Carpenter's wife is expected to give birth today or tomorrow. So that timing is interesting.

Among the team looking for kickers?

The Cleveland Browns ... Miami's opponent in the regular-season opener.

 

John Jerry back on the field today for some work

The Dolphins are back working at an 8 a.m. practice today and are in their shorts and helmets. And John Jerry has on his shorts and helmet. And he's taking part in at least part of the drills, at least in the walk-thru portion.

And he's linining up at starting right guard.

And suddenly the world is looking brighter for the Dolphins offensive line.

Jerry, starting the fourth week of what I reported would be a two-to-four week regimen to return from a knee injury, is seemingly right on schedule. He will be limited today and for a couple of days. He will not play against Houston on Saturday. But if he avoids a setback he might be able to play some in the Dolphins fourth preseason game next week vs Tampa Bay and be ready for the start of the season Sept. 8.

Jerry is dealing with multiple issues. Yes, he has to be full-go with the knee but he also needs to regain whatever conditioning he can and get in football shape by the opener. For Jerry, who historically struggles with his weight, getting in shape and avoiding a setback are the biggest questions now.

But he has taken a positive initial step.

This seems to be right on time as Nate Garner, who had been working at starting right guard earlier in the week after Josh Samuda struggled at Jacksonville, is not present at practice today. Samuda is working with the the reserves but will get some first-team reps when Jerry sits out drills.

Samuda had three weeks to win the RG  position and although he headed the pack of candidates for a couple of weeks, the poor Jacksonville outing was an eye-opener for coaches. He nonetheless will get first-team reps while Jerry is limited because, well, the team is short on bodies at that spot. Lance Louis remains mostly on second team.

[Update: Garner suffered a "bad" shoulder injury Monday and is out indefinitely, Jeff Darlington of NFL.com is reporting.]

The Dolphins re-signed quarterback Aaron Corp today. Why?

Well, Pat Devlin is not at practice for some unknown reason having to do with health. He is obviously injured again.

DT Randy Starks continues to be out with a knee injury.

DE Dion Jordan is not practicing today, either -- at least not in full throttle mode. He will continue to be held out of most drills as the team is being careful with his surgically repaired (and retweaked vs. Jacksonville) shoulder. Do not expect him to play Saturday vs. Houston.

[Practice update: Remember yesterday I posted a column noting how little Ryan Tannehill throws to Mike Wallace in most practices? Well, today Tannehill targetted Wallace more than perhaps any other practice this training camp. The two combined on at least two deep TDs of 45 and 50 yards.Both seemed to have fine practices today. Message received? Maybe.]