Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Friday:
▪ One thing that Ryan Fitzpatrick has appreciated in his first three months as a Dolphin is a chance to share the quarterback room with special advisor Dan Marino, who regularly attends quarterback meetings.
“What a great guy,” Fitzpatrick told WQAM’s Joe Rose. “The biggest thing that pops out to me is his humility. Being able to bounce questions off him [has been great]. He’s been a neat presence to have around, not only as a Hall of Fame quarterback but just as a guy, knowing some of the things we go through whether it’s off the field with family or on the field. He has great perspective on everything. It’s been great getting to know him.”
Fitzpatrick – who told Rose and Zach Krantz that “there’s been a lot of shade and disrespect thrown my way for a lot of years” - made a good point about why Brian Flores has been well received by players.
“Competition definitely brings out the best in you,” he said. “Coach Flo has a presence in our meeting room at times, talking about a lot of different situations. He has a really good personality. He’s been very consistent with his message so far and that’s something that really carries weight in the locker room and gets guys to play for you.”
One Dolphins player said Fitzpatrick has impressed everyone as a leader and that he was clearly the best quarterback in the offseason program. So Josh Rosen will be a clear underdog to begin the season as the starter when camp opens July 25, though Fitzpatrick’s history suggests Rosen will get a chance at some point.
▪ Dolphins and former UM defensive tackle Kendrick Norton, whose arm was amputated after a serious car accident early Thursday morning, was expected to have additional surgery around the arm on Friday, according to a family friend who visited Norton at Jackson’s Trauma Center in Miami. Norton also had lacerations in the head area. But none of the injuries are considered life-threatening.
His girlfriend, who was also in the car, sustained an injury to her hand, according to the family friend.
Though former teammates visited Thursday, doctors had placed restrictions on who could visit, which is typical for victims in the aftermath of serious accidents.
▪ Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard told Sirius XM that “we’re floating under the radar right now. I love feeling like an underdog. I just tell people ‘Don’t be surprised what you all see from the Miami Dolphins this year.’”
▪ The Dolphins weren’t able to watch two key pieces of this team in team drills because of injuries: edge rusher Charles Harris and receiver Albert Wilson. But at least Harris could participate in individual drills; Wilson has sidelined for all of the offseason program after his October hip injury.
Former coach Adam Gase maximized Wilson’s skills by using him several different ways.
Has Flores begun to think about how to use him?
“Right now, it’s about getting back on the field, it’s about rehab, it’s about nutrition, it’s about weights,” Flores said. “It’s about everything that will help him get back onto the field and then we’ll take it from there. Do I have a lot of thoughts and ideas based on what I’ve seen? Yes. I think we all do. I think you guys do as well. You know what the guy is capable of. But until he’s out there, it’s thoughts.”
Wilson has said he will be ready for the start of the season, though the team will take it slowly in training camp. Harris (wrist injury) and the team have been non-committal about whether he will be ready for team drills when training camp begins. He needs as many team drills as he can get as he transitions to a new role that includes some standup linebacker work.
▪ Cornerback Jomal Wiltz, who had a significant role in the secondary during the minicamp, said not everything Flores is doing is similar to what he did in New England.
For example, neither Flores nor Patriots coach Bill Belichick had players run to touch a wall after making a mistake, such as a penalty, Wiltz said. Flores is doing that here, hoping that makes players less likely to mess up.
“He’s going to have high expectations for sure and make sure you come to work every day,” Wiltz said. “He’s going to test you mentally and physically. He’s going to test you in the classroom and out on the field. It’s hot out here and he’s going to make you tired to see how you act, to see if you can be physically and mentally tough.”
▪ It will be interesting to see if Nate Orchard or Tank Carradine – who were drafted in the second round and never quite met expectations – can flourish here with fresh starts.
“We definitely waited for that perfect opportunity for a team that believes in you,” Carradine said. “Sometimes, teams have a change of heart about you as a player and you make a couple mistakes and they move on.
“This is an opportunity to get back out there, get my career back on track. This is the year for me to do that. I’ve never been in a better situation than I am now. I’m 260 pounds. I haven’t been 260 pounds since college. I’m moving good, much more flexible, much stronger, much more focused on my craft.”
Carradine had 5.5 sacks in 45 NFL games, Orchard five in 38.
Here’s a look at what we’re hearing the Dolphins are planning on defense.