Dolphins notebook

Linemen battle for Miami Dolphins roster spots

 

bjackson@miamiherald.com

Camp battles

During Monday night’s scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium, several young defensive linemen continued to make a pitch for roster spots. Second-year tackle Kheeston Randall blocked an extra-point attempt. A.J. Francis, an undrafted rookie from Maryland, had a sack and deflected a pass.

Chris Burnette, an undrafted rookie from Old Dominion, recovered a Mike Gillislee fumble that was forced by defensive end Tristan Okpalaugo, an undrafted rookie from Fresno State.

Plays of the day

•  Kelcie McCray, trying to nail down the No. 4 safety job, returned a Matt Moore pass 50 yards for a touchdown.

•  Ryan Tannehill hit Charles Clay on a crossing pattern for a 24-yard touchdown pass.

• Rookie cornerback Will Davis ended the scrimmage with an interception of a Pat Devlin pass in the end zone.

Notable

•  Dan Carpenter, competing with injured Caleb Sturgis for the kicker’s job, had mixed results in Monday’s scrimmage. He made field goals from 32, 44 and 50 yards but also missed two from 49 yards and had an extra-point attempt blocked by Randall.

Carpenter entered the scrimmage having made 16 of 20 field goals during training camp. “I’ve seen the same guy he’s been,” special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi said Monday morning. “His approach has been outstanding.”

Meanwhile, Sturgis remains sidelined with a groin injury after making three of his first six field goals in camp.

Asked about Sturgis’ performance, Rizzi said: “Caleb has a very strong leg. Every kicker has got to continue to be accurate. … It’s a matter of performing in the games.”

Rizzi said he will “give my honest opinion” when coach Joe Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland ask his opinion on the kicker battle.

• Besides Carpenter’s misses, a Brandon Fields punt likely would have been blocked up the middle had the play continued. There were several breakdowns in special teams coverage that resulted in two long returns, including a punt return by Marcus Thigpen. And Thigpen fumbled another punt, which the defense recovered.

• Rizzi said the Dolphins are still evaluating whether to have Thigpen handle all punt returns or have him again share those responsibilities. Last season, Davone Bess — who was traded to Cleveland — handled punts close to Miami’s end zone.

Rizzi mentioned Brian Hartline, Brent Grimes and Brandon Gibson among players who could share punt return duties with Thigpen. But using Grimes in that role would seem risky.

Rizzi said Thigpen, who handles nearly all of the kickoffs, “had a great year” in 2012 but left some plays “on the field” and can still improve his decision-making.

• Philbin: “If you asked me, ‘Joe, why were we 7-9 last year?’ I would say minus-10.” That was the team’s turnover differential.

QUOTABLE

“I want to thank everyone for all the prayers and support. I’ll bounce back from this stronger than before! God bless.”

Receiver Armon Binns on Monday, a day after he tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee, which will sideline him for the season.

PRACTICE DATES AND TIMES

TuesdayTeam is off

Wednesday6 p.m.

(at team facility)

Thursday1:30 p.m.

(at team facility)

Friday11:30 a.m.

(at team facility)

SaturdayTeam is off

SundayPreseason game against Dallas in Canton, Ohio. (NBC)

Aug. 5Team is off

Note: All of the practices the rest of the week are at the team’s Davie facility and are free of charge.

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