Barry Jackson

Gase names starting guard, addresses other roster changes

Anthony Steen speaks to the media during Dolphins minicamp on Wed., June 14, 2017.
Anthony Steen speaks to the media during Dolphins minicamp on Wed., June 14, 2017. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Anthony Steen, who entered training camp without any guarantee of making the roster, has emerged as the team’s starting left guard.

Coach Adam Gase said Monday that Steen likely will start in Sunday’s opener against Tampa Bay.

Steen beat out rookies Jesse Davis and Isaac Asiata for the job.

“He’s come through for us,” coach Adam Gase said of Steen. “We like a lot of things he does. Flexibility to move multiple positions as well is a positive. The more centers on your roster, the better.”

Undrafted out of Alabama in 2014, Steen last season played in 15 games for Miami and started seven, all at center, while filling in for Mike Pouncey. Steen joined the Dolphins’ practice squad in November 2015 and won a job during training camp last season.

The Dolphins expected Ted Larsen to be their starting left guard, but he sustained a torn biceps early in camp. Larsen was placed on injured reserve, with the designation to return.

He is not eligible to return until the ninth game of the season and the Dolphins expect him to be ready to play around that time.

That means the Dolphins’ starting offensive line will be Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James at tackle, Pouncey at center and Steen and Jermon Bushrod at guard.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins re-signed veteran left tackle Sam Young on Monday after cutting him on Saturday. Larsen was moved to injured reserve to create that opening on the 53-man roster.

That means the Dolphins will have five backup offensive linemen - Young, Davis, Asiata, Jake Brendel and rookie Eric Smith.

Gase addressed other issues:

• Though the decision at left guard has been made, Gase said decisions won’t be made until the end of the week, after several practices, on starting jobs at defensive tackle (Jordan Phillips or Davon Godchaux) and cornerback (Byron Maxwell or Alterraun Verner).

• Gase said the decision to replace Andrew Franks with Cody Parkey was made because there was a “guy out there we liked and decided to make a decision.”

Gase said he “didn’t even count” Parker’s three missed field goals against the Dolphins last season in the team’s decision to sign him because it was his first week with the Browns.

All three misses were from 40 to 49 yards; one of those misses allowed the Dolphins to pull out their first win of the season, in week three.

Parkey missed only two other field goals the rest of the season in 25 attempts.

• Asked what it says that five undrafted rookies made the 53-man roster, Gase said:

“It says our scouting department did a really good job; guys did a great job of building a lot of relationships over time – whether going to a campus and reaching out to certain guys. They did a good job of targeting guys. It really worked out. All the guys that have made it have been impressive.”

Asked which of the five surprised him most, Gase said it would be difficult to single out one but then mentioned linebacker Chase Allen.

“Chase was hurt,” Gase said. “Was in like two snaps and got hurt in the spring, stuck with it, got healthy. Once the pads came on, you saw a guy doing a good job wrapping guys up and being contacted.”

Besides Allen and Davis, the other undrafted rookies are defensive backs Torry McTyer and Maurice Smith and punter Matt Haack.

On the decision to keep Haack over Matt Darr, Gase said:

“It wasn’t as easy as people made it sound. Matt [Haack] competed and improved. We feel we have something special there, the fact he’s left-footed – it’s tough for returners. Every time we play a left footed punter, it’s non stop conversation with special team coaches.”

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