Barry Jackson

Dolphins executive/former player Nat Moore makes passionate case for what team is doing

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Friday:

No Dolphins official has more interaction with former players than former standout receiver Nat Moore, senior vice president of special projects and alumni relations.

So have former players been asking him what the heck the organization is doing? Moore insists not.

“They know I ain’t going to tell them anything any damn way,” he cracked Thursday, while greeting several former players at a function at a downtown Miami museum.

Moore then offered the most passionate defense of this strategy we have heard from the organization in eight months.

He suggested that no three players, not any combination — among those who have left or been jettisoned — would make a difference in making this a playoff team.

“They were all here last year. What did we win.?What playoffs did we go to?” he said. “Bottom line is as an organization, sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward. We’re trying to develop a consistent team that you fans will be proud of week in and week out, a team that will be competitive week in and week out. With that comes some hardship….

“It’s been said by [GM] Chris Grier, by [team owner] Steve Ross. What part [do we] not understand? With that there is some growing pains that we’re going through, but we’re going to be better because of it.

“The difference is, in previous years, we had players that didn’t work out for the long-term, [kept them] maybe way too long. Now if guys are not performing and not part of the long-term picture, we’re not holding onto them. I believe in everything they’re doing.

“Hopefully you get a bunch of guys that love to play together. If there’s one difference in today’s players, everybody thinks the game is about them. At some point, winning is sacrificed by each and every player. You have to sacrifice a little bit of yourself for the overall good of the team. When you get where you have 11 guys doing that, we will become the team we once were.”

And Moore wasn’t done.

“We’ve been a team that for the last 15 years has been average at best,” he said. “So to get to a point where we are now looking at rebuilding and starting from the ground up…. The bottom line is we’re doing as an organization something that maybe we should have done a long time ago.”

Couple notes on the Dolphins’ Isaiahs: This is looking like something of a redshirt year for rookie sixth-round pick Isaiah Prince, who could be used later this season if Miami wants to give him a look. He has been inactive all three games, even though Miami doesn’t have a natural third tackle on the roster.

“I’m trying to learn as much as I can,” Prince said, noting he’s studying tapes of NFL linemen Tyron Smith, Alex Boone, D.J. Humphries and others…

Good to see third-year receiver Isaiah Ford get a chance on the 53-man roster; he admits going between the practice squad and 53 can be nerve-wracking.

“When you feel like you are on the fringe, it’s unsettling because of fear of the unknown,” he said. “It can cause anxiety. You just focus on getting better. I’m a better route-runner, more creative and crafty” than a year ago.

Coach Brian Flores, concerned about quarterback Josh Rosen’s body language a month ago, no longer has that concern.

“I thought he was good on the sideline [against Dallas]. I thought his interactions with his teammates, receivers, line, tight ends, backs were very positive — trying to get guys going.”

And he had no problem with Rosen, demonstratively, expressing his desire to go for it on a fourth and goal early in the Dallas game. (Miami tried a field goal instead.)

“I love it,” Flores said. “We want competitive players. We just didn’t feel like that was the right call in that situation. But the fact that he wanted to go for it, I liked that. I want our players to want to go out there and put it in the end zone. We need to do more of that for sure.”

The fact Durham Smythe led Dolphins tight ends in snaps for the first time last Sunday wasn’t the byproduct of an expanded role, but the fact the Dolphins more often used the packages he’s in, according to Smythe.

Smythe said the group has received good feedback from tight ends coach George Godsey. So this is one unit that hasn’t performed below expectations. “The overall message is we’ve played pretty good through three games,” Smythe said.

Pro Football Focus’ Ryan Smith notes linebacker Raekwon McMillan “has been completely transformed as far as how he is utilized in the Dolphins defense. He’s lined up as an edge defender on 46 percent of his snaps this season” after doing so just two of 831 snaps last year. That has resulted in more matchups with tight ends.

He’s ranked second among all NFL linebackers and the expectation is that his playing time — which has been reduced to 78 total defensive snaps in three games — will increase at some point, potentially Sunday. What’s more, PFF said he has graded out better than any other Dolphins player this season.

Quick stuff: The Dolphins gave first-team right guard practice snaps this week to both veteran Evan Boehm and undrafted rookie Shaq Calhoun…. Guard Chris Reed said it’s naturally deflating to go from starter early in camp (under previous offensive line coach Pat Flaherty) to backup and inactive the first three games, under Dave DeGuglielmo. But he said he appreciates “having the opportunity to prove myself” and that he’s still on the team.... Flores said he doesn’t watch college football much during the season. But Grier is expected to solicit his view on players — particularly on defense — leading up to the draft.

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