Jared Odrick: Big man, small car

August, 29, 2014
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DAVIE, Fla. -- Jared Odrick is a 6-foot-5, 304-pound defensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins. The five-year veteran punishes offensive linemen, tackles running backs and sacks quarterbacks for a living.

The Fiat 500 is one of the tiniest cars on the market. It's about 5 feet tall, 4 1/2 feet wide, has two doors and starts around $16,000, according to Fiat's website.

And it's what Odrick drives.

When the towering Odrick stands next to the car, it looks like he could carry it in his arms. This choice in wheels has become a topic of conversation this summer among the Dolphins, who enjoy teasing Odrick in the parking lot as they drive by in their bigger, more expensive vehicles.

"Of course they make fun of me, but that's all right," Odrick said with a smile. "I can ward off people who make fun of me. It's more the look, the reaction and the laugh. Some guys still can't get over it."

Odrick, who says he has purchased luxury cars during his playing career, was in the market for a new car this offseason, and he wanted to try something more cost-effective and fuel-efficient. The 2010 first-round pick rented the brown 500 on a trial basis and likes it so much that he plans to buy an upgraded version later this year.

[+] EnlargeJared Odrick
James Walker/ESPN.comJared Odrick might look cramped in there, but he says he's comfortable.
"It first started off as just a first-week-of-training-camp-type thing, and it kind of stuck," Odrick said. "I didn't mind it. I think there's another one to come in the future."

Odrick suspected the Fiat might be a good fit last year, when he drove one to his celebrity golf tournament. It turned heads then, as it does now with the Dolphins.

"Some guys wanted a ride to the hotel [in training camp] just to see if they can fit in the Fiat," Odrick said.

Odrick said the two biggest teammates to ride with him are defensive lineman Kamal Johnson and offensive tackle Tony Hills. Johnson is 6-foot-3 and 314 pounds. Hills is listed at 6-foot-5 and 304 pounds.

"He's about as wide as this car, but we made it work," Odrick said of Hills.

Odrick and Hills weigh a combined 608 pounds, which is a lot of weight for any vehicle, much less a tiny Fiat. Yet Hills confirmed that the hard-to-fathom event took place.

"We were shoulder-to-shoulder, but from Point A to Point B, it works," Hills said. "I give Fiat two thumbs up for holding all that weight and getting us there on time."

Odrick says he is enjoying the differences of driving an economy car this football season. He loves filling up his gas tank just once a week, for $32. Odrick also said other drivers are nicer to him and more sympathetic, as compared to their reaction when he drove a luxury vehicle.

"It's overall a more polite and courteous vehicle," Odrick said of his Fiat. "People don't seem to mind its existence."

Odrick, 26, said this season's Fiat experiment is starting to change the way he views cars. Specifically, it has emphasized the wisdom in not spending too much for something that can quickly depreciate in value.

"Not that I have a great business mind at all, but I just try to think logically the more and more I get older," he explained. "[An expensive car] is a bad investment because it loses money as soon as you drive it off the lot. That's a money and Car 101 thing."
Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan pressured St. Louis Rams quarterback Garrett Gilbert on the final drive Thursday to help seal Miami’s 14-13 preseason victory. But after the final snap and in the locker room, reality set in for the Dolphins that Jordan will not be available for the next month while he serves his four-game suspension.

Joseph
Jordan
Jordan tested positive for a banned substance this summer. Friday marks the official start of his suspension, and Jordan must stay away from the team and the facility for the next four games.

The 2013 No. 3 overall pick had two tackles and a quarterback pressure in Miami’s preseason finale and showed flashes of what the Dolphins are missing. Jordan will miss games against the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders.

"I mean, it’s really tough," Jordan said. "Missing out on all the work that I put in leading up to this point. My guys are heading into the season with a big game and I’m not going to be able to be there. I mean, it’s unfortunate but at the same time, I mean, I understand the situation I’m in and I got to deal with the consequences."

Jordan vows to stay in shape and continue to work on his game. He mentioned the potential of working out with an independent defensive line coach during his suspension if it is within the rules. Jordan cannot work with anyone from the Dolphins organization for the next four weeks.

Jordan showed growth in some areas in training camp and the preseason. But the second-year defensive end still must refine his game to be an every-down defensive lineman.

The suspension loomed over Jordan for weeks, but to his credit he didn’t go into the tank and had a productive summer.

"I understood going into these first four games what the deal was," Jordan said. "I had to make these snaps count at game time and at practice. I then had to make sure I rose my level of play. So when I do step away, I mean, I at least put something in."

In addition to Jordan, starting safety Reshad Jones also is serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Miami Dolphins' projected roster

August, 29, 2014
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Examining the Miami Dolphins' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin kept three quarterbacks his first two years. But expect that streak to end, as Seth Lobato didn't show enough to be Miami's No. 3.

RUNNING BACKS (3)

Williams, an undrafted free agent, had a good camp and preseason to unseat Miami draft bust Daniel Thomas.

RECEIVERS (7)

Seven is probably too many receivers. But Thigpen only counts as a kick returner.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

The Dolphins are thin behind Clay. Hoskins outlasted Michael Egnew and injured rookie Arthur Lynch.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (11)

This group still has something to prove. The sooner Pouncey can get back on the field, the better.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)

No issues here. The Dolphins are deep in the trenches.

LINEBACKERS (7)

I'm still not sure the switch between Ellerbe and Misi will drastically improve this unit. We will find out soon enough.

CORNERBACKS (4)

This group has experience in the starting lineup and youth on the second team.

SAFETIES (5)
Reshad Jones' four-game suspension opened up a spot for a bubble player at safety.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Sturgis' groin injury is concerning. But he has 10 days to get healthy before the regular season.

MNF moments, No. 10: Bears' only '85 loss

August, 29, 2014
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Nat Moore AP Images/Doug Jennings
To celebrate the 45th season of "Monday Night Football," a panel of ESPN.com contributors has selected the 45 most memorable moments in MNF history. Follow along as we reveal one per day and count down to this season's MNF debut.

No. 10: Dolphins 38, Bears 24 | Dec. 2, 1985


The 1985 Chicago Bears were one of the most dominant teams in NFL history. Including the playoffs and a 36-point victory in Super Bowl XX, that team won 18 games by an average of 19.6 points.

But there was one blemish on the Bears' record that season, and it happened on "Monday Night Football" against a franchise whose name is synonymous with perfection.

Members of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins were in attendance when the 12-0 Bears traveled to Miami in Week 13. On the game's first possession, Miami quarterback Dan Marino hit Nat Moore for a 33-yard touchdown. The Bears hadn't allowed a point in two straight games, or a touchdown in 13 straight quarters, prior to the score.

Marino would lead the Dolphins to 31 points by halftime, a total no other team could amass over a full game against the '85 Bears. The Bears would forget the loss quickly, allowing just 43 points over their final six games, including the Super Bowl.

But on that December night, the '72 Dolphins could rest easy knowing they would remain the only unbeaten team in NFL history.

Morning take: Are Dolphins ready?

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Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Friday from around the Web:
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes the Dolphins must get off the treadmill of mediocrity.
Morning take: Another seven- or eight-win season is not going to cut it in Miami. The Dolphins must make the playoffs this season with no excuses.
Morning take: There were no major injuries and the team finished 3-1. It was a productive summer for Miami.
Morning take: Thigpen had a boom-or-bust game against the Rams. He bobbled an early punt, then had a nice, 32-yard return. He will have a nervous 48 hours.
Morning take: Thomas had 13 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown. I’m not sure that was enough.

Dolphins Who Impressed

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ESPN's Britt McHenry and James Walker break down the Dolphins who impressed in the final preseason game.

Observation Deck: Miami Dolphins

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MIAMI – If something happens this season to Ryan Tannehill, the Miami Dolphins have reason to feel secure in their backup quarterback. Eight-year veteran Matt Moore capped a strong preseason Thursday in a 14-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.


Moore was 5-of-8 passing (62.5 percent) for 38 yards in just one quarter of play. But most importantly Moore finished the exhibition season 30-of-46 passing (65.2 percent) for 368 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in three games.

Tannehill and many other starters did not play Thursday as they rest for Miami’s regular-season opener Sept. 7 against the New England Patriots. Tannehill is durable and started all 32 games his first two seasons. But Moore also showed this preseason that he’s capable and ready this year if called upon.

Here are some other thoughts on the Dolphins' final preseason game:
  • Thursday was a huge game for Miami backup running back Daniel Thomas. The former second-round pick is on the roster bubble after suffering a hamstring injury, and other rookie running backs (Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa) have shown flashes. Thomas rushed for 38 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown against St. Louis' backups. The Dolphins will have an interesting decision to make on whether Thomas did enough to make Miami’s 53-man roster. The Dolphins have to make their final cuts by Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
  • Dolphins kick returner and receiver Marcus Thigpen was another player who was injured this preseason and needed a good showing while on the roster bubble. He produced a mixed bag. First, Thigpen had an awful bobbled punt in the second quarter; he fumbled it twice and nearly turned over the ball. Then, Thigpen had a nice 32-yard punt return in the second half. Backup receivers Jarvis Landry and Damian Williams are both capable of splitting the return duties, which will make the roster decision with Thigpen interesting.
  • Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan started his first preseason game, one that marked his final game action until October following a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Jordan recorded two tackles against the Rams. Rookie linebacker Chris McCain registered two sacks and should make the 53-man roster after a strong preseason and training camp.
  • Injuries are always a concern in this final preseason game. Miami rookie linebacker Jordan Tripp, who has been a bright spot in training camp, suffered a chest injury in the first quarter. He was taken to the locker room with trainers and did not return to the field. Other than that, the Dolphins exited the game in good health.

W2W4: Miami Dolphins

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The Miami Dolphins (2-1) will host the St. Louis Rams (1-2) on Thursday night (7 ET) at Sun Life Stadium.

1. Bubble watch: This will be an important game for several key Dolphins who are on the roster bubble. Running back Daniel Thomas, receiver/kick returner Marcus Thigpen and defensive back Don Jones are among the bigger names who should be nervous entering Thursday’s game. Miami still needs to cut 22 players before Saturday and these three must prove themselves against St. Louis to avoid the chopping block.

2. Special teams: After last week’s poor performance, the Dolphins have a lot of questions on special teams. For starters, Miami kicker Caleb Sturgis is expected to return from a groin injury. Sturgis must prove he’s ready for Week 1. The Dolphins' coverage teams also gave up big returns and Brandon Fields had a punt blocked that was called back due to a penalty. Miami's third phase, as a whole, needs a much better showing in the final preseason game.

3. Quiet homecoming: Partially because it's preseason, there has been virtually no fanfare for Jake Long's first return to Miami since leaving in 2013 as a free agent. Long was a former No. 1 overall pick for the Dolphins in 2008 and had six productive years in Miami. But Long suffered through various injuries the past few years, and the Dolphins no longer believed he was worth the price tag. Thursday will mark Long’s first game in Miami since departing as a free agent.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Thursday from around the Web:
  • Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post provides things to watch for the Dolphins’ preseason finale against the St. Louis Rams.
Morning take: Miami will play mostly backups against St. Louis. This game is bigger for those on the roster bubble.
  • Speaking of roster bubble, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald writes the pressure is on Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas.
Morning take: Thomas missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, while other young running backs stepped up. Thomas must play big against St. Louis to give Miami’s coaching staff something to think about.
  • Despite playing the Rams, the Dolphins are keeping their eye on the New England Patriots, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Morning take: The Dolphins must quickly turn their attention to New England after this final preseason game. The key will be to remain healthy.
  • Alain Poupart of the Dolphins team site writes it’s the last chance for some Dolphins rookies to impress.
Morning take: I’m particularly interested in watching backup linebackers Chris McCain and Jordan Tripp. These rookies may eventually get a chance to contribute.

Dolphins work out four players

August, 27, 2014
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The Dolphins worked out a pair of wider receivers and a pair of defensive backs on Wednesday, according to a league source.

They were: defensive backs Deji Olatoye and Lowell Rose and wide receivers Gerrard Sheppard and Tony Washington.

Olatoye was signed by the Ravens this past May as an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina A&T, but was recently waived during roster reductions. Rose, an undrafted free agent out of Tulsa, has spent time with the Jets, 49ers and most recently the Chargers.

Sheppard and Washington also entered the league as undrafted free agents. Shepaprd, recently waived by the Packers, was initially signed by the Ravens out of Towson in 2013, while Washington, who played collegiately at Appalachain State, was recently waived by the Colts.
DAVIE, Fla. -- Many of the current Miami Dolphins were children when quarterback Dan Marino dominated the football scene in South Florida. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was still working his way up the coaching ranks in the 1980s and 1990s.

Marino remains the best and most popular player in franchise history, and last weekend the team hired the Hall of Famer as a "special advisor." The reaction from players and coaches has been positive.

"I'm elated that he's part of the organization," Philbin said this week. "He's always kind of been an unofficial part of the organization. I had a chance to visit with him earlier today. He's excited about it. I'm sure there are a lot of things he can contribute to the organization in whatever roles Steve (Ross) and those that are in charge want that to be. He's always welcome here."

Marino's role with the Dolphins has not been defined publicly. There was no fanfare about the hire other than a news release, and there wasn't a news conference that allowed the media to ask Marino questions about his new job.

What is known is Marino will work in a variety of capacities. As time goes on, we will most likely know more about his role in Miami.

"I don't know. I don't know exactly what his role even is," Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill admitted. "No one has really even told me that. But, if he's open to some time, I'd love to pick his brain a little bit."

Regardless of his role, hiring Marino is a big win for the players. It's a rare resource to have a Hall of Famer who has been in current Dolphins' shoes readily available. Marino brings instant credibility as a person who's played the tough quarterback position as good as anyone in NFL history.

"Any time you have a guy like that just being around the organization is positive for you," Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace said. "He's a legend, so any time he can come into this building and see a guy like that around is going to motivate you and help you play. You know he's going always to give you a couple of tips and nuggets, so that's always good."
Miami begins with division games against New England and in Buffalo, followed by a visit from Kansas City and a trip to London to play Oakland before the bye. These games are key because Miami will be without Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey (hip injury), starting safety Reshad Jones (suspension) and former No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan (suspension). How the Dolphins hold up during this stretch of the schedule could define their season.

Complete Dolphins season preview.
The Miami Dolphins made their first set of roster cuts Tuesday afternoon to get their roster down to 75 players. However, the hardest cut is Saturday when the Dolphins must cut 22 more to get to 53 players.

Here are three key players who are on the roster bubble this week:

Thomas
1. Daniel Thomas

Position: Running back

Analysis: Thomas has underachieved since being a second-round pick in 2011. A primary reason he lasted three seasons in Miami was due to his lofty draft status and connection to former general manager Jeff Ireland. But Thomas doesn’t have those ties to new general manager Dennis Hickey. Thomas must produce and that hasn’t been the case this summer. Thomas’ hamstring injury sidelined him most of training camp and all of the preseason. Thomas plans to play Thursday and this could be his final chance to impress Miami’s new front office. Rookie running backs Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa have played well in Thomas’ absence.

2. Marcus Thigpen

Position: Kick returner, receiver

Analysis: Thigpen is a curious case for Miami. He’s been, by far, the Dolphins’ best option returning kicks the past two years. However, Thigpen doesn’t offer the Dolphins much beyond special teams. Thigpen started as a running back and was moved to a full-time receiver last season. But Thigpen hasn’t done much there, either. Miami is exploring other options returning kicks, such as receivers Jarvis Landry and Damian Williams. If the Dolphins feel comfortable with a replacement, Thigpen’s days could be numbered.

3. Don Jones

Position: Defensive back

Analysis: Jones presents another curious decision for Miami. Similar to Thigpen, Jones’ strength is on special teams. But Jones doesn’t offer much else. The Dolphins have tried Jones at safety and cornerback this summer in training camp and the preseason. Jones still has a lot to learn before he can make an impact at either position. Jones remains one of the team’s best gunners. But is that enough to keep him on the 53-man roster?
After two seasons, there are a lot of opinions in South Florida on the coaching abilities of Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins. There are some good opinions, and some bad.

But ESPN.com’s Mike Sando took it to another level this week. Sando did a revealing piece by polling 30 league insiders to rank the NFL’s 32 head coaches Insider -- and Philbin did not rank favorably. Philbin was ranked 29th out of 32 and in the bottom tier. He also ranked last in the AFC East below Bill Belichick (No. 1) of the New England Patriots, Rex Ryan (No. 17) of the New York Jets and even Doug Marrone (No. 28) of the Buffalo Bills.

Here is an excerpt from Sando’s article:
“Some credited Philbin for his handling of the Dolphins during the Richie Incognito imbroglio, but it was also tough not to hold Philbin accountable for allowing such a debacle to unfold on his watch. "I think he is going to have a hard time, but I like him," a GM said. "I think Philbin is a 1 in schematics and understanding and I like his personality. You like certain things about certain people. I think he is a real guy. I do not know that he necessarily commands real respect, and he is not a feared guy. He has not had enough success to be revered. He has to have success in order for his football to come through. He is almost the exact opposite of [Mike] Tomlin."

Is Philbin truly a bottom-tier coach?

When you look at Philbin’s 15-17 coaching record, that is near the middle of the pack. Philbin has won seven and eight games the past two seasons, which is better than most of the coaches listed in his range.

But it’s apparent the stain from last year’s bullying scandal remains something that weighs heavily on Philbin’s reputation. Something happened in Miami last year that did not happen with the other 31 teams. In order to overcome the past, Philbin must get the Dolphins to the playoffs in a huge third year in order to prove he is the long-term solution.

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