Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins with another pleasant surprise; Heat, Marlins notes

Miami Dolphins defensive back Tony Lippett (36) runs back a pass interception intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter (15) in the first quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium on Thurs., Sept. 1, 2016.
Miami Dolphins defensive back Tony Lippett (36) runs back a pass interception intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter (15) in the first quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium on Thurs., Sept. 1, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of Dolphins, Heat and Marlins:

• When the Dolphins drafted Tony Lippett in the fifth round two years ago with the intent of switching him from receiver to cornerback, he immediately started studying tape of Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowler Richard Sherman and a few other tall corners.

The Dolphins would feel incredibly fortunate if Lippett can become another Sherman. He’s certainly not there yet, by any means.

But if you believe the numbers provided by Pro Football Focus – and a bunch of teams pay for their metrics – then Lippett is having a better year than Sherman.

Lippett is ranked 29th among 117 qualifying cornerbacks, slightly ahead of Sherman at 32.

Lippett’s development in recent weeks is a testament to this defensive coaching staff and his diligence in learning his new position, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by teammates.

What impresses teammates is “he’s constantly studying game [film] and opponents,” safety Michael Thomas said, noting that paid off when Lippett – before the snap Sunday – called out the Colin Kaepernick pass that resulted in Lippett making a play on the ball and Kiko Alonso intercepting it.

Lippett, who played some cornerback as a freshman and senior at Michigan State but receiver otherwise, credits Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph for helping make him a better player.

CB Tony Lippett, a fifth-round pick, speaks after Day 1 of Miami Dolphins Rookie Minicamp on Friday, May 8, 2015. Video by Walter Michot / Miami Herald Staff

• Receiver Leonte Carroo has played only 100 snaps on offense all season, according to PFF, compared with 613 for Jarvis Landry, 536 for Kenny Stills and 490 for DeVante Parker. (Jakeem Grant has played nine.)

Adam Gase has said that low snap count is primarily the byproduct of Gase wanting to give nearly all of the playing time to just three top receivers.

But the Dolphins have seen growth in Carroo recently, capped off by his touchdown catch against San Francisco.

When Stills missed the second half of the Jets game, Carroo “didn't quite do his job as well as I know he wanted to do and we had a few mental errors there,” Gase said. “I think it was a good thing that it happened because we started getting him more reps in practice because we felt like we did him a little bit of an injustice by not preparing him better than what we had.

“(Wide Receivers Coach) Shawn (Jefferson) and (Assistant Wide Receivers Coach) Ben (Johnson) can do a great job in the classroom, but really, at the end of the day, it's about getting reps, especially for a young player. They've done a great job as far as moving those guys around more in practice. When he got in there, I felt really good. When he went in there in this game, I knew he was going to know what to do, it was just going to be will he get an opportunity to make a play?

“When I saw (Tannehill) throw it to him, it was kind of one of those things you could sense the way that he turned up that he was not going to be tackled. That was good to see. You saw an aggressive runner. It was basically what we had seen coming out of college."

• CBS is sending Dolphins-Ravens to 15 percent of the country, with Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon announcing. See 506sports.com for a map.

• According to the Wall Street Journal (and not confirmed by the NFL), Dolphins fans won’t need to wake up at 9:30 a.m. to watch Miami’s game against New Orleans in London next season. All London games will start during traditional 1 p.m. slots, the WSJ reported.

• NBC’s Mike Florio, ranking the Dolphins 10th on his Pro Football Talk web site power rankings, asks: “Has any six-game winning streak ever been more overlooked nationally?”

• The Heat isn’t sure how long Dion Waiters will be out with a hip flexor that sidelined him Monday against Boston and will keep him out of this three-game road trip that begins Wednesday night in Denver. [UPDATE: The Heat announced that Waiters has been diagnosed with a pectineus tear in his groin and pelvic area and will be re-evaluated in two weeks]…

There’s hope that Justise Winslow will be able to return shortly after the Heat gets back from this Denver, Utah, Portland trip. If he plays in Miami’s next home game (next Tuesday against the Knicks), then he will have missed 11 games with a wrist injury.

Tyler Johnson, who missed Monday’s game after oral surgery, is expected to be available against Denver. Hassan Whiteside’s knee discomfort bears monitoring, but at least an MRI showed there’s no damage. Willie Reed is back should Spoelstra choose to use him.

Johnson told heat.com that he will wear a mouthpiece beginning tonight. “I need it; I can’t be missing games because I’m missing teeth.”

• Even after signing Edinson Volquez, the Marlins remain intent on finding more starting pitching, according to two club sources.

Jon Niese, Jason Hammel, Doug Fister, CJ Wilson and Dillon Gee are all on the Marlins’ radar and the team hasn’t ruled out a trade, though it would take a LOT to part with any position player.

They would like to find another middle of the rotation starter (or better) to join Adam Conley, Volquez, Tom Koehler and Wei Yin Chen.

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