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Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh will not be the Miami Dolphins’ coach, Stephen Ross says

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh discusses spring football at IMG Academy

Wolverines are spending their spring break with spring football practices in Bradenton at IMG Academy. Video by Jason Dill.
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Wolverines are spending their spring break with spring football practices in Bradenton at IMG Academy. Video by Jason Dill.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has yet to say who will coach the Dolphins in 2019.

But we can scratch one name off the list:

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, whom Ross once famously tried to hire, despite having Tony Sparano still on staff.

Ross told the Miami Herald on Monday that he will not try to lure Harbaugh from Michigan, where Harbaugh, 55, has coached since 2015.

The New York Jets are keenly interested in hiring Harbaugh, Pro Football Talk has reported. But the Dolphins will not enter the fray.

Ross has long admired Harbaugh, and tried to make him the Dolphins coach in 2011. Ross surreptitiously flew to California at the time, hoping to hire the then-Stanford coach to replace Sparano, who passed away in July.

Instead he picked the San Francisco 49ers, and Ross was left cleaning up the mess when word of the trip was made public.

Seven years later, Ross again has coaching uncertainty.

He has yet to publicly commit to Adam Gase, who has been the Dolphins coach since 2016 but who has missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

Harbaugh would be a logical candidate if Ross decided to make a change, but Ross has no plans to take Harbaugh away from Michigan, Ross’ alma mater. Ross, the billionaire real estate developer, has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Michigan and is a major booster to the Wolverines’ athletic department.

Gase said Monday that Ross has given him no indication if he will be retained for a fourth season as Dolphins coach.

THIS AND THAT

Gase suggested Sunday’s loss to Jacksonville, which entered 4-10, might not be as bad as it seems.

“Everybody looks at Jacksonville’s record, forgets they were in AFC championship game last year, forgets they were a top 10 defense,” he said. “We knew what type of game it would be, the people who actually study the stuff. Most people don’t realize that.”

Gase said linebacker Kiko Alonso “tried” to play Sunday but “we didn’t feel good about it.” Alonso was active for the game, in case Miami needed him in an emergency, but didn’t play a down.

In his absence, Mike Hull played 46 snaps and Stephone Anthony six. Raekwon McMillan played all 67 defensive snaps and Jerome Baker 65.

Gase said cornerback Xavien Howard will play Sunday at Buffalo if he’s able after missing three weeks with a knee injury.

Asked about Howard not playing against Jacksonville, Gase said: “We felt better about it Wednesday, Thursday, Friday than we did Saturday or Sunday. He wanted to play.”

Gase praised undrafted Utah State rookie cornerback Jalen Davis, who had a sack, forced fumble and a strong play in coverage in 13 snaps on Sunday.

“Jalen Davis is one of the those guys you watch him in training camp, practice, he’s one of those guys that gives you everything he has,” Gase said. “He’s not afraid of anything. He will execute the defense and play aggressive. He’s not the biggest guy we’ve got. He can make plays and tackle. He has really good ball skills. Plays multiple positions. A guy we were excited to see get an opportunity.”

The Dolphins had only 46 offensive snaps Sunday (a problem all season), compared with 67 for Jacksonville. Of those 46, Kenyan Drake played 39, while Kalen Ballage played 14 and Brandon Bolden eight.

Durham Smythe played the most of the tight ends (23 snaps), compared with 16 snaps apiece for Nick O’Leary and Mike Gesicki.

And Kenny Stills played the most of the receivers (37) but had only one catch for five yards. Unlike the previous game, DeVante Parker (32 snaps) played more than Brice Butler (14).

Defensively, Cam Wake played only 30 of the 67 defensive snaps - lowest among the team’s four rotational defensive ends.

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Adam Beasley has covered the Dolphins for the Miami Herald since 2012, and has worked for the newspaper since 2006. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications and has written about sports professionally since 1996.
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