Dolphins notebook

Miami Dolphins’ Dannell Ellerbe unable to take flight at Monday’s OTA

 

abeasley@MiamiHerald.com

Lost luggage. Middle seats. Stale peanuts. Air travel is like the weather — there’s always something to complain about.

For Dannell Ellerbe, add another one to the list: missed work.

Ellerbe was absent from Dolphins’ organized team activities Monday, and he pointed the finger of blame at the airline industry.

Ellerbe, starting middle linebacker and defensive crown jewel of the Dolphins’ free agent class, took to Twitter to explain his truancy.

“Flight cancelled smh twice this ota,” Ellerbe wrote. “ima still get my workout bonus #byanymeans”

Ellerbe didn’t take the morning completely off, however, electing to work out at a fitness center in Greensboro, N.C., not far from his hometown of Rockingham.

Austin Spitler took Ellerbe’s place with the first team, a bit of a reversal from 2012, when Jason Trusnik was the first linebacker off the bench.

“He’s done well; the guy’s a football player,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said of Spitler. “He’s been very productive. He’s been on top of his assignments, and he’s coordinated the front seven very well in these OTAs. We’re pleased with what he’s doing.”

Defensive linemen Dion Jordan and Randy Starks also missed Monday’s voluntary session, for vastly different reasons. League rules prohibit Jordan — the Dolphins’ first-round pick — from participating in spring workouts because his school, the University of Oregon, operates on the quarters system. Starks is skipping all non-mandatory sessions in protest of his franchise tag.

Corner Jamar Taylor (sports hernia) again worked on the side, as did offensive guard Lance Louis (knee).

Good news

The Dolphins did get a bit of welcome news Monday: third-round pick Dallas Thomas worked in individual drills for the first time as a pro.

He had been sidelined all spring while recuperating from labrum surgery.

“I was too happy,” said Thomas, a rookie offensive lineman out of Tennessee. “I called my mama, telling her that I’d get to do a little moving around.”

Thomas didn’t work in team drills, so it still remains unclear how the Dolphins plan to use him. He can play both guard and tackle.

On Monday, Thomas wouldn’t talk much about his shoulder, other than to say it responded well to the limited contact.

Sherman talks

The Dolphins have made their assistant coaches mostly off-limits this spring, but offensive coordinator Mike Sherman did stop to answer a few questions while leaving the practice field Monday.

Naturally, the conversation made its way to Ryan Tannehill, who’s entering his second season as the Dolphins’ starting quarterback.

“Ryan’s taken another step,” Sherman said. “He’s got a lot of steps to go still, but in Year 2, I think he’s more comfortable in the offense.

“He has a great understanding of what to do with the football,” he said. “So if he has that, then we should be in good shape.”

After struggling in last Tuesday’s OTA, Tannehill looked better Monday. His only interception, grabbed by Chris Clemons, came on a deflection.

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