OTA Notebook
WR Brian Hartline
WR Brian Hartline
Associate Editor
Posted May 21, 2013


The Dolphins held their OTA pratice of the spring on Tuesday, working under cloudy skies for most of the morning until a downpour came down for the final 15 minutes. It was a first chance for South Florida reporters to take a look at the Dolphins' new-look roster, and there was plenty to see.

Here's what stood out on Tuesday:

-- Davone Bess returned punts along with Marcus Thigpen last season, but now he's in Cleveland after being traded during the draft. That means the Dolphins need somebody else to back up and/or complement Thigpen, who also returns kickoffs. On Tuesday, the players we saw fielding punts were two high-profile starters — wide receiver Brian Hartline and cornerback Brent Grimes. Coach Joe Philbin said after practice he would take a look at several options before making a determination on his punt returner. Grimes and Hartline have never returned punts in the NFL, but both did it in college. Hartline, in fact, made it a point to tell reporters he holds Ohio State's school record for longest punt return — he had a 90-yard return for a touchdown against Kent State in 2007.

-- Speaking of Grimes, the free agent pick-up was able to line up less than six months after sustaining a torn Achilles tendon in the Atlanta Falcons' 2012 season opener. Grimes not only practiced, he looked very impressive.

-- Lining up opposite Grimes at cornerback was Richard Marshall, a 2012 free agent pick-up who was placed on IR last year with a back injury after starting the first four games. Working behind those two at cornerback were Dimitri Patterson and Nolan Carroll. In addition to those four, the Dolphins also have rookies Jamar Taylor and Will Davis, meaning there's a ton of depth at cornerback at this moment.

-- Speaking of Taylor, he was one of two rookies missing from the OTA practice Tuesday and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported that he underwent sports hernia surgery, a procedure that will sideline him 4-6 weeks. The other rookie missing was first-round pick Dion Jordan, who is not allowed to attend OTAs because of the NFL's lame rule preventing attendance from rookies whose school employs a quarters system.

-- Among veterans, the only one missing was defensive tackle Randy Starks, whose absence was expected because the veteran wants a long-term contract instead of having to play under the franchise tender he signed in the offseason.

-- Safety Reshad Jones was present after speculation he might not show up over dissatisfaction over his contract. Jones didn't want to talk about his contract situation, although he did say he felt everything would work out.

-- Guard/tackle Lance Louis and rookie offensive lineman Dallas Thomas were on hand but not practicing as they continue to recover from injuries, Louis to his knee and Thomas to his shoulder.

-- Jared Odrick, who started at defensive end last season, lined up at defensive tackle on Tuesday, although Philbin said it was just a matter of experimentation. The truth is, as has been suggested many times, that Odrick is better suited to play inside in a 4-3 scheme, which is exactly what he did at Penn State.

-- On offense, Will Yeatman worked at guard after lining up at offensive tackle last season after he was moved from tight end. Here again, Philbin said not to conclude the move was permanent, adding that showing versatility could only help Yeatman's chances of making the roster.

-- The Dolphins announced their 2012 award winners on Tuesday, with Cameron Wake selected by the media as team MVP, Mike Pouncey tabbed by his teammates for the leadership award, and Brandon Fields winning the community award as selected by the Miami Dolphins Foundation. Wake was a slam dunk as team MVP, but the selection of Pouncey certainly was interesting. I remember Pouncey telling me last season it was Jake Long's offensive line and not his. No question about that anymore.


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