|Dolphins defensive end Kendall Langford, eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 season, said Thursday the team has a.ssured him that he will receive a contract extension.
The sides are in the process of working out details.
“Hopefully soon,” he said of a timetable. “They’ve a.ssured me it will get done, and I’m a priority.”
Langford, 25, had 47 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles last season and has started 39 of his 42 NFL games.
The Dolphins will use a portion of their remaining $8.45 million of salary-cap space on Langford, with a signing bonus expected. Langford was expected to make $550,000 in 2011 in his current deal.
The Dolphins’ other starting defensive end, Randy Starks, is signed through 2012 and is owed $3.6 million this season.
Once Langford’s deal is done, that would leave two of Miami’s returning defensive linemen in position to be unrestricted free agents after 2011: Paul Soliai, who was given the franchise tag, and Phillip Merling, who has much to prove after missing the first 11 games last season recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury.
THIS AND THAT
• Reshad Jones continues to make a case in his attempt to unseat Chris Clemons for the starting free safety job. Clemons’ study habits were ahead of Jones’ last season, but Jones said he has become much better at preparation.
“This guy finds the football,” coach Tony Sparano said of Jones. “He always has. He did it last year when we put him in the game — either found the ball or found a way to make a tackle. He told me he would have two interceptions [Wednesday], but he only had one. He dropped one. He is a much more confident player.”
• Sparano said defensive end Jared Odrick “is in unbelievable shape. I really like what he’s done the first couple days.” Sparano said Odrick is rusty in a few areas, including pass rush, because he hasn’t played in 11 months. …Sparano made a point to praise cornerback Nolan Carroll’s work early in camp.
• Last August, there was mystery about what the Dolphins would get from their outside linebackers because Cameron Wake was starting for the first time and Koa Misi was a rookie.
Now, Sparano has peace of mind — obviously with Wake, who had 14 sacks in 2010, but also with Misi, whom team management envisions as a potential long-term NFL starter.
“The comfort level is one of the reasons we were able to sign Jason Taylor and Jason Trusnik,” Sparano said. “A year ago, you were still wondering about Cam. He had played most of the time with his hand on the ground the previous year. With Koa, it was a different position. You feel really good about where these guys are.
“They’re both bigger, stronger, playing with a lot more confidence.”
• Sparano offered another reason why he’s so bullish on offensive coordinator Brian Daboll: “The great thing about Brian is he spent a large portion of his time on defense with Bill Belichick early in his career” before become a coach offensively. “So this guy learned on the other side of the football from a coverage standpoint.
“That’s the greatest value that Brian can bring to Chad Henne — Chad’s understanding of what people are trying to do to him and how they are trying to attack him will be so much better that we should see the results in how the ball comes out. His decision grades will be a lot better.”
With Vernon Carey shifting from right tackle to right guard, there’s jockeying for backup guard spots behind Carey and starting left guard Richie Incognito. The Dolphins haven’t been especially pleased with John Jerry, who must solidify his roster spot.
Nate Garner is likely to stick as a swing tackle/guard. Ray Feinga, who had been with the first team at guard before Carey moved positions, also is competing. Backup center Joe Berger can play guard, too. And the team might add another veteran guard, with center/guard Shaun O’Hara among the options.
Twelve Dolphins were permitted to practice for the first time Thursday night because the new labor deal was ratified. That included Reggie Bush, who displayed his typical quickness, including one play where he caught a 30-yard pass from Chad Henne and scampered down the sideline for a touchdown.
Jason Taylor, also practicing for the first time, got past Garner and sacked new backup Matt Moore (though tackling wasn’t allowed).
Berger and rookie defensive tackle Frank Kearse got into a fracas, pushing and shoving each other. The incident began when Kearse jumped offside twice and an annoyed Berger threw the ball at him the second time. On the next snap, Berger threw Kearse to the ground, and Kearse got up and threw the ball at Berger.
As expected, the Dolphins announced they have re-signed Lex Hilliard, Garner, Kory Sheets and Lydon Murtha (who opened with the first team at left tackle, in place of injured Jake Long).
• Coach Tony Sparano spoke Thursday of the challenges of juggling free agency and training camp simultaneously.
“There are a million scenarios that come up,” he said. “[General manager] Jeff Ireland and I have two or three conversations per day. We’re looking at different ways to make this team the best team we can. It requires you to be on the phone constantly. Either Jeff is on the phone calling someone or someone is calling Jeff.”
Making significant roster moves “shakes your team up a bit,” Sparano said. “These things would have taken place in March, and the sting of that would have been over, and this team would have been already on the path of becoming a team. I told the guys the other night — you just don’t run up to the top of the mountain and stand there and say, ‘We’re a team.’ There’s a lot that has to go into that.”
The Dolphins moved Friday’s practice at Nova Southeastern from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is free to the public.
“You can tell the offense is different. It’s opening some things up. They seem like they’re more free. They’re happier what they’re doing.” — Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell
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Really wanna see Reshad Jones start. He just makes plays. He was in for the final 3 or 4 plays against the titans and had, on consecutive plays, sack, deflected pass, INT. he just is always around the ball. Need that at safety.
Last edited by Cheeze; 08-05-2011 at 11:15 AM..