Dolphins
Dolphins Roundup 8/12/04
By The Source
Aug 12, 2004

Compiled from a variety of sources throughout the day

-Put it on us.

That has been linebacker Zach Thomas' message as the ravaged offense struggles to find itself.

"We've got to take care of business on the defensive side," Thomas said. "We've always talked a great game, but we've got to really take it to another level. I don't care what's going on on offense, if we have a great game on defense, we have a shot to win every game. That's the truth."

Thomas conceded the defense must be more consistent.

"If you have a great defense, like Baltimore and Tampa Bay, they won and didn't have much on offense," Thomas said. "And you see other teams, like the Colts, who haven't had a great defense and they can't get there. We have the defense, so we have a chance."

-Cornerback Sam Madison argued the Dolphins have been "one of those dominant teams, year in and year out. We just haven't won a Super Bowl."

While Madison said all three units must be dominant to accomplish that, he noted that the defense has an advantage. Not only does it have the majority of strong personalities, but players who can complain to one other without anyone taking it personally, because they've played together so long.

"If we're in training camp, and I'm not covering well, and we're getting beat, Jason [Taylor] will turn around and say, `Bleep, bleep, bleep,' and we'll get it going," Madison said. "We get on each other to get ourselves going."

That has been tougher for the offense since Dan Marino left, especially with so much turnover.

Madison said it will come as offensive players have success together. But he had another not-so-serious suggestion.

"Tell Dave [Wannstedt] to put me on offense," he said, smiling. "And put J.T. at tight end."

-Thomas NOT RIGHT

Thomas went through his first contact drills Tuesday night, and he wasn't happy with the results. On July 9, Thomas had cartilage surgery on his left knee.

"I didn't feel right," Thomas said. "My timing was off, and my shape was off. It is like a quarterback trying to get his timing right with his receivers when he has been out."

Thomas will not play in Saturday's preseason game against Jacksonville, but he plans to increase his participation next week and hopes to see limited action against Washington on Aug. 21.

"You don't just step in where you step out," Thomas said. "You think that you can do it until you try it. Then it is a different story. I don't like to pressure myself, but I need to reach a point where I, at least, feel right. I felt like a rookie out there."

-NEWSON KNOWS

Wide receiver Kendall Newson has been one of the standouts in practice since training camp opened. Wannstedt said Monday that one of the things he will be most interested in seeing against Jacksonville is whether Newson can transfer his level of performance in practice to a game.

"I had an opportunity to do it in a game against Tennessee last year, and I didn't," Newson said, "so I understand what he needs to see. I want to make every play that comes my way. I have to step and make plays with no penalties, no alignment problems and no false starts."

Newson's opportunity has been expanded with the injury to David Boston. In the spring of 2003, he caught 26 passes (437 yards) with four TDs for the Rhein Fire.

After playing in six games last year, Newson didn't return to NFL Europe. He thinks the games helped him as have the offseason, the minicamps and training camp. Newson knows that he needs to deal with the pressure and hype of a game.

"Guys can make mistakes in a game when the lights come on and it's for real that they won't make in practice," Wannstedt said. "The mental part of it is what really shows up and separates guys. We got a feel for who can hit, who can block and tackle. Who can do it when the lights come on is yet to be determined."

-EYE ON CHARLEY

The Dolphins' afternoon practice today will be closed to the public so the staff has a chance to prepare the facility for the possibility of Hurricane Charley.

In 1992, the Dolphins postponed the New England game (Sept. 6) to Oct. 18 because of Hurricane Andrew. Last year, the game at San Diego was moved to Arizona because of wildfires. In 1997, the Buffalo game was moved to Monday night because of a World Series seventh game.

"If the playing of [Saturday's] game would strain the community's infrastructure in a time of critical need, we would have to take a serious look at it," team President Eddie Jones said.

-Miami Dolphins safety Chris Akins is expected to miss the 2004 season after undergoing successful knee surgery on Wednesday.

Akins tore both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee on August 7th during a practice session against the Houston Texans.

The surgery was performed by the University of Miami team physician Dr. John Uribe at Baptist Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables.

Akins starred on special teams for the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots a year ago. He was inked to a three-year contract with the Dolphins back in March.

-NOTES

The Dolphins currently have 90 players on the roster.

The Dolphins practiced in shorts and helmets Wednesday afternoon for approximately two hours.

The winning raffle number from the afternoon session for a Chris Chambers autographed football is 554340.

INJURIES

P Derek Jones (not released), S Shawn Wooden (lower back), RB Leonard Henry (quadriceps), CB Sam Madison (hamstring), OT Damion McIntosh (ankle), DT Tim Bowens (rest). S Chris Atkins had knee surgery Wednesday. CB Patrick Surtain (groin), WR Terrance Wilkins (hamstring) saw limited practice time.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

The development of defensive lineman Ronald Flemons has brought praise from Coach Dave Wannstedt. Flemons has reached the quarterback several times in one-on-one pass-rush drills. However, Flemons knows he has to improve his hands and footwork to earn a roster spot. A seventh-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2001, he was waived by the team after training camp of 2003. The former Texas A&M; Aggie has played in just five NFL games during a three-year career.

WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT

• HOT: Randy McMichael had to be helped up by trainers after a nasty fall early in practice. However, the starting tight end returned just minutes later and proceeded to catch two touchdown passes and two other tosses more than 20 yards.

• NOT: Quarterback A.J. Feeley still looks hesitant and was intercepted by Alphonso Roundtree. Feeley had several other passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

''I'm going to get a shirt that says ``Ask the Trainers.'' '

-- SHAWN WOODEN, S, after being asked repeatedly about his back injury. The Dolphins announced its new policy Tuesday in which it will not release injury information.

RATING THE RUNNING BACKS

1A. TRAVIS MINOR: Made a nice spin to split two would-be tacklers before outrunning them along the sideline.

1B. SAMMY MORRIS: Ran with authority Wednesday, turning a busted draw into a 25-yard gain.

3. FRED RUSSELL: Emerged from piles of lineman that should have crushed all 5-7, 191 pounds of him.

4. RENALDO WORKS: Only saw a few reps and had a quiet day.

5. LEONARD HENRY: Still injured and could lose spot to Russell or Works.

QUOTES
Coach Dave Wannstedt (on today’s practice) - “The effort was good at practice today. We try to work different situations every practice. Today, we worked on coming off our own goal line and got some good work there. We also focused on was what we call our ‘4-minute offense’ for the end of the game when we have a lead and are trying to hold onto the ball. The effort was good. (Alphonso) Roundtree continues to perform well. He’s made some nice plays the last two or three days. He has been consistent and deserves to be acknowledged. Kendall Newson continues to make plays. (Chris) Chambers got in the mix today. Derrius (Thompson) got into the mix today. (Patrick) Surtain got back into the mix today. It was good to get some of those guys back today. The key is to get them out there and after practice they all feel better than what they did.”

QB A.J. Feeley (on the importance of playing well Saturday against the Jaguars) - “I don’t know when I’m going to be playing Saturday night. I hope I have an opportunity to play and I hope to make the most of it. Anytime you go in the game you have to play well. There are a lot of things you can’t control, but every time you go into a game you try to play your best. You always put your best foot forward and focus in on how you play and how you prepare. You don’t worry about other things outside of this locker room.”

CB Sam Madison (on the expectations heading into this season) - “There is still a lot of pressure on us because we are one of the most successful franchises in the NFL. There are still expectations for this team. We don’t want to let ourselves down because the last couple of years we didn’t make the playoffs, which is where we wanted to go. We don’t know what’s going to happen or how things are going to unfold, but we know we have to go out and play four quarters of sixteen games and try to win football games. We are in a situation to respond to things. Whether it’s positive or negative, it’s pretty much on you. Not what goes on outside of football. It’s the 11 guys that are on the field at that time that have to get the job done. Lots of team will have to deal with injuries and the loss of key players. We have to respond positively in order to be successful.”

TRAINING FACILITY DIRECTIONS
From the north, take I-95 South, while Dol-Fans coming from the south, should take I-95 North. Exit I-95 at I-595 West. Take I-595 West to the University Drive exit. Proceed off exit and turn left onto University Drive (going south) Go past four traffic lights, crossing S.W. 30th Street, and make a u-turn at the first crossover. Take the first right and follow spectator parking signs to the free public garage. If the garage is full, follow directions from Nova Public Safety.

REMAINING 2004 CAMP DOLPHINS SCHEDULE
Thurs., Aug. 12
9:00 – 10:45 a.m.

Mon., Aug. 16
4:15 – 6:00 p.m.

Tues., Aug. 17
9:00 – 10:45 a.m.
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Wed., Aug. 18
4:15 – 6:00 p.m.

Thurs., Aug. 19
9:00 – 10:45 a.m.
4:15 – 6:00 p.m.

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