Dolphins’ 2017 NFL Draft class: Grading Chris Grier’s hits, misses

Charles Harris is off to a good start. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

For more than a decade, Chris Grier has helped the Dolphins mine late-round talent out of the NFL Draft. It’s an undeniable talent of his, and his latest hit looks like he could be a staple of Miami’s defensive line for years.

Among Grier’s seven draft picks last year, none proved to be a better value than fifth-round defensive tackle Davon Godchaux. The Dolphins saw a premium talent despite some red flags and, after thorough investigation, found a starting-caliber player with the 178th overall choice. Not only did he play well, he adapted well to the team’s expectations of professionalism

“He’s been exactly what you want a guy to be,” coach Adam Gase said.

Godchaux wasn’t the only good pick in the Dolphins’ 2017 draft class, which produced starting cornerback Cordrea Tankersley in the third round and a promising defensive end in Charles Harris with the No. 22 overall selection. Vincent Taylor, a defensive tackle they took in the sixth round, also was a contributor.

Among the three rookies who didn’t do much on the field this year, linebacker Raekwon McMillan (second round) and wide receiver Isaiah Ford (seventh) were on Injured Reserve the entire season. Fifth-round pick Isaac Asiata, a guard, took what the staff described as “a red-shirt year” because he needed significant work to get ready to play.

On top of those selections, the Dolphins found six undrafted free agents who can hack it in the NFL. Linebacker Chase Allen, from Southern Illinois, was the best of them and appeared in all 16 games with four of those being starts.

Cornerback Torry McTyer, safety Maurice Smith and punter Matt Haack also showed long-term potential. Haack was eighth in the NFL in punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line this year.

Any look at Grier’s draft from last year—in the Dolphins’ power structure, he spearheads that operation—must begin with Harris. While defensive end might not have been the greatest need at the time, he was the top player on their board and looks like he’s going to be very good.

Very good? With only two sacks and limited playing time stuck behind Cameron Wake and Andre Branch?

Yes, very good. Harris’ advanced numbers give a fuller picture of how well he played as a rookie. He was among the Dolphins’ best defensive linemen when it came to causing opponents to commit holding penalties, hurrying the quarterback and knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage. He did that despite playing just 47.5 percent of the snaps, including four games of 38 percent or fewer.

“His disruption numbers have been trending positively for us, so I think that those are blocks to build on and to move forward with,” defensive coordinator Matt Burke said.

McMillan and Tankersley are already marked down as 2018 starters, and Harris will get a chance to compete against Branch.

McMillan would’ve almost certainly been Miami’s starting middle linebacker in the opener had he not torn his ACL in the first game of the preseason. Tankersley took a much different track, coming on slowly in the preseason before coming on to take Byron Maxwell’s job in Week 4.

Tankersley had been inactive the first two games, but issues with Maxwell’s performance prompted the Dolphins to thrust him into the starting lineup against Drew Brees for his pro debut. He held his own and became a full-time starter.

If Tankersley can grow into an unquestionable starter, that gives Miami optimism about its secondary going forward with him, Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain all 24 years old.

If the Dolphins intended to pit Godchaux and Taylor against each other to battle it out for a job, Godchaux has the clear lead after Year 1. He had 40 tackles and a forced fumble, working his way onto the field for 47.8 percent of the defensive snaps.

But Taylor looks like a quality piece as well.

“We gained a lot this season from seeing Vincent do all of the things we asked him to do,” Gase said. “He was one of our high-energy guys. He practiced hard every day and he gave us value on special teams, which is great to get from a defensive linemen. I do think he’s a guy that we’re looking forward to keep developing and seeing how far we can help him grow as a football player.”

Even at this stage, with Godchaux and Taylor still trying to prove themselves, it looks like Grier has once again made good use of the late rounds. His best find was Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones in the fifth round in 2010, and in the last few years he found talent in Jakeem Grant (sixth round) and Jay Ajayi (fifth).

And if three or four players from this class are already full-time starters by the beginning of their second season, that’s another strong year for Grier.

[Possible Dolphins 2018 NFL Draft target Baker Mayfield cleared for NFL Combine]

[What does Las Vegas think of the Dolphins’ chances in 2018?]

[Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry is headed to the Pro Bowl]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Dolphins G Isaac Asiata sits all year, vows, “I’m not doing this again”

Asiata has yet to even dress for a game. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—Few rookies would have the temperament to accept being benched all season with a positive attitude, but Dolphins guard Isaac Asiata is an unusual rookie. He’s about to turn 25 and he’s uncommonly mature.

Asiata came in as a fifth-round pick with an opportunity to fight his way into the offensive line rotation at guard, but it was clear early the team didn’t think he was ready to play. Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen even went far enough to call it a red-shirt year.

“One of the most important things I’ve learned, and something my mom taught me in life, is to be humble,” Asiata said. “I don’t have all the answers and I don’t act like I do.

“It was nice for me to get adjusted. Now that adjustment period is over. I’m not doing this again.”

There’s a chance Asiata (6-foot-3, 341 pounds) could make his pro debut Sunday against the Bills as coach Adam Gase considers letting some of his little-used young players get some extended run in a game that has no stakes for Miami.

On the offensive line, Ted Larsen is one of the best candidates to rest. He’s been dealing with an injury most of the season and, as a veteran, doesn’t need reps in a game that doesn’t mean anything.

For Asiata, though, it’d be a great chance to play against Buffalo’s first-string defensive line. He said he hasn’t been told whether he’s playing this week. If he does get the opportunity, he believes he’s much more prepared than he would’ve been at the start of the season.

“It’s been nice because I’ve been able to work,” he said. “I knew I had to make some adjustments when I got here. It’s a different scheme and it’s a whole new speed.

“I was able to learn the playbook, have things slow down and go against some of the best d-linemen in the league. I appreciate (Ndamukong) Suh and Jordan Phillips and all those guys for going at me and being able to learn from them. It’s been a fun year.”

While he knew it would be a significant transition from Utah to the NFL, he didn’t expect to sit out his entire rookie year. That was a blow to his confidence.

“It was a little bit, but you’ve gotta just roll with the punches,” Asiata said. “I love this team because it would be easy to get down on yourself if nobody really cares, but the guys on this team supported me. Even though I wasn’t playing, they didn’t treat me any different. They know I’m working on things and trying to get better.

It became clear to him after the first few regular-season games that the Dolphins were going to keep him on the bench all year. Anthony Steen, Jesse Davis, Larsen and Jermon Bushrod all started games at guard this year

It’s unclear how many of those guys will be back in 2018. Steen will be a restricted free agent, and Bushrod could be ready to retire at age 33. Furthermore, it’s possible the Dolphins will shift Davis permanently to right tackle.

If Asiata wants to be in the mix for some of those snaps next year, the coaches have told him he must get faster overall and quicker with his footwork. He needs to “get my feet out of cement,” to use his words. Whether he plays in the Buffalo game or not, he has about eight months to get his play up to the level Miami expects if he wants avoid another season like this.

“I don’t think I could’ve landed with a better team,” Asiata said. “I fit here. I fit in the locker room. I fit in the scheme. Now it’s my turn to turn it up a notch and have a good year next year.”

[Dolphins’ nightmare season finally ends with loss at Kansas City]

[Five takeaways from Dolphins’ loss to Chiefs]

[Grading the Dolphins after losing to Kansas City]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Miami Dolphins’ Kenny Stills ‘looked vicious out there’ against Jets

Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills had both the look and the game Sunday against the Jets. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — Hassan Whiteside can only hope to operate as effectively in the paint as Kenny Stills.

With his face covered in black paint Sunday, Stills enjoyed his best game of the season, scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns to help the Dolphins rally past the New York Jets 31-28.

It was fitting that Whiteside, the Heat center, attended the game at Hard Rock Stadium.

Before taking the field, Stills finally accepted a standing offer from rookie guard Isaac Asiata to apply face paint, which Asiata traditionally did throughout his career at Utah.

 

“He looked vicious out there,” Asiata said.

Stills caught six passes for 85 yards, including touchdowns of 28 and 2 yards.

“Obviously when you do something like that, you’ve got to go out there and play well,” Stills said. “It just was a little bit extra fire for me to go out there and do my thing.”

Asiata said he was happy to apply the paint, which took just a few minutes, because Stills knows it’s not a joke.

“I told him to be a warrior,” Asiata said. “Warriors put their face paint on and me, coming from a Polynesian background, (there is) the symbolism behind designs. He kind of got an attitude about himself with it on. He was a bad guy.”

The obvious question: How much of the success can be attributed to Asiata’s artistry?

“I’m not going to say it was because of the face paint,” Asiata said.

Neither, apparently, is Stills, who wasn’t sure if he’ll be in full splendor again Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

“I have no clue, honestly,” Stills said. “We’ll see how I feel on Thursday. … I am superstitious, but the face paint was a lot. I had a good time with it, but it’s just face paint.”

And applying it was easier than removing it.

“My eyes were sore yesterday trying to get it off,” Stills said.

As for Asiata, the question is whether there soon will be a line at his locker. And a tip jar.

“Hey,” Asiata said. “I’ll do whatever they want me to do. If that means putting face paint on guys, I’ll do that for them.”

[What Ravens coach John Harbaugh said about Moore, Mike Wallace and more]

[Dolphins down to one healthy starter on offensive line]

[Anthony Fasano on the brink of a receiving (yes, receiving) record]

[Dolphins “cutting corners” everywhere in Baltimore preparation]

[Trust Adam Gase on Dolphins QB decisions]

[Matt Moore brings entertainment, enthusiasm that Jay Cutler can’t match]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

The reason Miami Dolphins’ Isaac Asiata will sport pink hair may move you to tears

Utah’s Isaac Asiata, now a Dolphins rookie, celebrates after scoring a touchdown against USC last season in a game he had dedicated to his ‘second mother,’ Shelly Still. Here, Asiata celebrates on the sideline with Still’s son and Isaac’s childhood friend, Travis.

DAVIE — It may happen Sunday, or it might come at another home game, but Isaac Asiata will be the easiest Dolphin to pick out.

He’ll be the one with pink hair.

Teammates might chuckle at first sight — fans, too — neither having any idea that Asiata’s outlandish dye job will have nothing to do with fashion or flamboyance and everything to do with love.

“I was bullied,” Asiata says as he begins to tell the story.

What soon follows is poignant, but you can’t help but stop him right there. Asiata is 6-feet-3 and 341 pounds — big even by professional football players’ standards. Bullied?

“I promise,” he says. “I was a lot smaller than this.”

You take him at his word and let him continue. He talks about how his family often moved in his youngest days, how he never had a friend, but did have enemies.

Isaac Asiata. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

Finally, his family settled in Spanish Fork, Utah, and he met a kid down the street named Travis, who was different. Travis became a friend, an inseparable friend. Together, they played sports through Little League, high school, college.

Asiata’s parents were divorced. Over the years, he came to think of himself as part of two families: his own and Travis Still’s.

This is where Travis’ mother, Shelly, comes in.

“Like my second mom,” Asiata says.

When the Still family went on weekend trips — say, camping in Hot Springs, Idaho — Isaac went with them. One Christmas, knowing Isaac’s mp3 player had broken, Shelly gave him a new iPod.

Asiata loaded Fleetwood Mac’s classic 1977 “Rumours” album onto it. It wasn’t from his generation, but it was her favorite album.

“She always looked out for me, took care of me, fed me,” he says.

If Asiata wasn’t at his house, it was a given he’d be at Travis’ place, along with a few other buddies.

“I don’t know if naturally my mom planned on taking him under her wing a bit, but she was there whenever he had a question,” Travis says.

The pink?

This is where words don’t come so easily for Asiata. When Travis and Isaac were fourth-graders, Shelly was diagnosed with breast cancer. Beat it, too.

Years passed. Everything seemed fine. Then, something told Shelly she needed to get checked.

“They didn’t catch it in time,” Travis said.

On Aug. 7, 2012, Shelly died. She was 51.

When Asiata looks around the Dolphins’ locker room, he sees 52 other men with Herculean strength. When he remembers Shelly, he recalls strength on an entirely different level.

“For me to see somebody go through chemo and to struggle with breast cancer and how sick you can get … ,” he says before catching himself. “But then, I never saw her sick, if that makes sense. She was sick but she never showed it, you know what I mean?”

Every October during breast cancer awareness month, he picks a game to dedicate to her, after asking Travis if he’s comfortable with that.

This is about where the smiles return.

Last year, Asiata chose Utah’s game against USC. Given he’s in as anonymous a position as there is in football, offensive line, what could Asiata possibly do to honor Shelly?

He could score a touchdown.

Third quarter, USC up 24-10. Utah has the ball on the Trojans’ 1-yard line when the running back takes the handoff and plunges up the middle.

Ball squirts out, right into the hands of a USC linebacker in the end zone. Touchback, right?

“I just dove in and grabbed it,” Asiata says. “It was great. And Travis was there on the sideline, too. He came to visit and I was able to share a special moment. I gave him the football.”


‘He pointed up and then came back to me and said, “That was for your mom.” ’ — Travis Still, on Isaac Asiata’s tribute to Still’s late mother after scoring a touchdown last season.


Travis: “His first career touchdown. It was an exciting moment. I was happy for him. He pointed up and then came back to me and said, ‘That was for your mom.’ ”

Final score: Utah 31, USC 27.

“When I think about that game, I would think about how she was a fighter, how strong she was, and that’s what I want to be,” Asiata says. “That’s how I want to play.”

Pink, of course, is the color for breast cancer awareness. Sunday’s game against Tennessee — which includes a “Crucial Catch” campaign and the Dolphins’ multimillion dollar donation to the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center — affords Asiata one of two chances this season to call attention to the disease. The other comes in Week 13, during the My Cause, My Cleats initiative in which players can wear specially designed cleats in support of charities of their choosing.

Asiata was a fifth-round draft pick whom the Dolphins envision as a project, so he has been inactive the first three games. Whether he dresses Sunday could affect whether he gets out the dye Saturday night or waits until later in the season. Either way, a few days after he goes pink, he knows his hair will turn yellow. So be it.

“The first time I ever did it, everybody looked at me like, ‘What the heck is this guy doing?’ ” Asiata says. “It’s a joke, but to me, it’s a personal thing. I didn’t have any problem doing it, because I did it in remembrance of her.”


About Crucial Catch: From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, the Dolphins will conduct a campaign in the east plaza of Hard Rock Stadium with activities to promote early detection and risk reduction of cancer. At halftime, the Dolphins Cancer Challenge VII will present what it is calling the largest single donation an NFL franchise has made to a charity when a check is presented to the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Miami Dolphins should play Anthony Fasano more, Julius Thomas less

Miami Dolphins: Why benched Byron Maxwell is helping starter Cordrea Tankersley

Miami Dolphins: Isaac Asiata not yet ready to contribute

Miami Dolphins: Why they say they benched Byron Maxwell

What Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke said Thursday

Miami Dolphins rookie Charles Harris: I’m a big storm, building slowly

Miami Dolphins roster projection as NFL’s cut deadline nears

Leonte Carroo remains an intriguing project for the Dolphins. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

MINNEAPOLIS—The NFL’s annual final cut day is an unpleasant time of year for everyone involved, with coaching staffs forced to release players they like and those players thrust into the open market as free agents hoping someone else calls.

This is the first year the league didn’t have a mid-preseason cut to 75, so most teams are faced with trimming from 90 to 53 by Saturday at 4 p.m. The Dolphins have 89 on their roster presently, with a few guys likely clearing space by going to Injured Reserve or another list that keeps them on the team without counting toward the roster limit.

The worst part for the players is that surviving Saturday’s cut doesn’t guarantee they’re actually on the team. There will likely be about 1,100 players released throughout the league, presenting the Dolphins with a host of candidates they might prefer over some of the players they kept.

As Miami sweats through its cuts, here’s a projected list of who’s going to make the team:

Quarterback (2)
Jay Cutler
Matt Moore

Running back (4)
Jay Ajayi
Damien Williams
Kenyan Drake
Storm Johnson

Wide receiver (5*)
Jarvis Landry
DeVante Parker
Kenny Stills
Jakeem Grant
Leonte Carroo

Tight end (3)
Julius Thomas
Anthony Fasano
MarQueis Gray

Offensive line (9)
Laremy Tunsil (LT)
Anthony Steen (G/C
Mike Pouncey (C)
Jermon Bushrod (RG)
Ja’Wuan James (RT)
Jesse Davis (G/T)
Sam Young (T)
Isaac Asiata (G/C)
Jake Brendel (G/C)

Defensive line (9)
Cameron Wake (DE)
Ndamukong Suh (DT)
Davon Godchaux (DT)
Andre Branch (DE)
William Hayes (DE/DT)
Jordan Phillips (DT)
Charles Harris (DE)
Terrence Fede (DT)
Vincent Taylor DT)

Linebacker (7**)
Kiko Alonso
Lawrence Timmons
Mike Hull
Rey Maualuga
Deon Lacey
Trevor Reilly
Chase Allen

Secondary (11***)
Byron Maxwell (CB)
Xavien Howard (CB)
Alterraun Verner (CB)
Reshad Jones (S)
Nate Allen (S)
Cordrea Tankersley (CB)
Bobby McCain (CB)
Michael Thomas (S/CB)
Walt Aikens (S)
Torry McTyer (CB)
Maurice Smith (S)

Specialists (3)
Andrew Franks (K)
Matt Haack (P)
John Denney (LS)

Injured Reserve (5****)
QB Ryan Tannehill
LB Raekwon McMillan
WR Isaiah Ford
LB Koa Misi
LB Lamin Barrow

*Rashawn Scott is on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List and could be placed on Injured Reserve.

**Linebacker Neville Hewitt could head to Injured Reserve as well.

***Safety T.J. McDonald is suspended the first eight games and doesn’t count against the roster limit until he returns.

****Original projected starting left guard Ted Larsen is likely to go on Injured Reserve but be designated for return, making him eligible to come back in Week 9.

[Jakeem Grant proves he’s a real threat in the Dolphins’ offense]

[Five takeaways from the Dolphins-Vikings game, which was telling for some of Miami’s key players]

[The warm, goofy side of Ndamukong Suh]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

LIVE EVENT!

The Daily Dolphin Live: Join the Conversation

Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamper on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.


 

Dolphins’ Isaac Asiata “not worried” about preseason ups and downs

Isaac Asiata’s had an inconsistent preseason. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

MINNEAPOLIS—When the Dolphins drafted guard Isaac Asiata, he seemed like he’d have as good of a chance as any rookie to crack the team’s starting lineup. He’s far from that at the moment, but he’s not beaten down by some of his struggles.

Asiata had a few “off plays,” as he called them, in his start against Minnesota tonight. As Miami sifts through its roster to cut from 89 to 53, he’s highly likely to make the team because of his long-term potential. It also helps that he’s got the right attitude about making adjustments after his setbacks.

“The most important thing is that you understand that you need to get better every day and learn from mistakes,” he said. “I feel that from OTAs through now, I’ve improved over that period. I’m not necessarily worried, but I’ve gotta keep working and cut down on mistakes.”

Asiata said early this week he felt he was turning a corner, and the team is probably willing to give him some time. He continues to rep at both guard spots and center, though he is not the No. 2 option at any of those spots and is a candidate for the inactive list until he catches on a little better.

[Jakeem Grant proves he’s a real threat in the Dolphins’ offense]

[Five takeaways from the Dolphins-Vikings game, which was telling for some of Miami’s key players]

[The warm, goofy side of Ndamukong Suh]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

LIVE EVENT!

The Daily Dolphin Live: Join the Conversation

Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamper on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.


 

Dolphins rookie Isaac Asiata still battling to claim his spot

Isaac Asiata is turning a corner. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—When the Dolphins drafted Isaac Asiata in the fifth round, it looked like he’d have a good chance to vie for a starting job. He hasn’t been in the mix to start so far, but he’s coming around.

Asiata continues to work at both guard positions and center, and he’s feeling better about where he’s at than he did a few weeks ago.

“The game’s starting slow down and I’m starting to get the concept of the offensive scheme,” he said this morning. “It’s been nice to play in preseason games against other teams and get the confidence that you can do this. It lets you play faster. I’ve improved week-to-week in practice and games. I’m making the most of the reps I get.

“Nothing’s ever easy here. There’s only a select few who can do it. I believe in the process that if you work your tail off every day and study and do everything they’re asking, it’ll come. Some people might take more time than others, but I know if I keep working hard it’ll come.”

If he can push into contention, the Dolphins would welcome it. Their left guard spot is currently open after long-term injuries to Ted Larsen and Kraig Urbik, and they need a backup in place for center Mike Pouncey and right guard Jermon Bushrod.

The left guard spot currently looks like it’s a competition between Anthony Steen and Jesse Davis.

Asiata’s been frustrated by the rookie learning curve at times, but persisted through some early snags and could be ready to contribute by the start of the season.

“The hardest thing is that you try to take little victories and build your confidence, but some days are better than others,” he said. “Sometimes your confidence gets, not necessarily dropped but you get beat, beat, beat and it’s like, ‘Man, can I do this?’

“But I’ve talked to a lot of veteran guys and the coaches, too, and they tell me practices are where you can get beat and work on your technique and correct that and make changes. It wasn’t necessarily a low point, but I’ve gotta respect the process.”

[One big reason to tune into Dolphins-Vikings on Thursday]

[Third downs are still a killer for the Miami Dolphins]

[The warm, goofy side of Ndamukong Suh]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

 

LIVE EVENT!

The Daily Dolphin Live: Join the Conversation

Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamper on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.


 

G Isaac Asiata getting long look from Miami Dolphins – and via social media

Dolphins guard Isaac Asiata walks off after his NFL debut, a preseason win over Atlanta. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — Seeing highlight compilations of NFL players is nothing new. Go on social media after a Dolphins win and you won’t have to search long for plays made by Jay Ajayi or Jarvis Landry.

But a guard?

Dolphins rookie Isaac Asiata has that honor via a six-play clip circulated on Twitter. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that each play shows Asiata carrying out his assignment, both in pass protection and run blocking, including a pancake block and a couple of plays in which he drives his man backward a few yards.

“My mom sent that to me,” said Asiata, who retweeted the clip. “That was pretty cool.”

Cooler was the fact that of all the guards on the Dolphins, none played more than Asiata’s 32 snaps, accounting for 54 percent of the offensive plays. Next was Anthony Steen at 22 snaps.

Clearly, the Dolphins want to see exactly what they have in their fifth-round pick out of Utah, especially because veteran Ted Larsen will be out an extended time with a biceps tear.

Larsen’s absence could leave the starting guard roles to incumbent Jermon Bushrod and Asiata.

“If I need to step up, then I need to step up,” Asiata said. “Then that mentality, that work ethic, has to kick in two times faster.”

Twitter aside, Asiata gave himself mixed reviews for his performance in the 23-20 victory over Atlanta.

“I’m never really satisfied,” Asiata said. “I did some good things and I did some things not so good. It was great to get in there, get my feet wet a little bit.”

Asiata said nerves weren’t an issue before his first NFL action.

“Not really,” he said. “There’s always first-game nerves for everything. Now that those are out of the way it’s nice to look forward to Baltimore and just go out and play.”

So, bottom line on the performance vs. Atlanta?

“Average,” he said.

Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi (concussion) returns to full practice

Miami Dolphins (LIVE) Practice Report #13 (Sunday morning)

Miami Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill will have season-ending knee surgery

Miami Dolphins: What the loss of Raekwon McMillan means

COLUMN: Where’s Raekwon? Miami Dolphins rookies process McMillan’s injury

Get Dolphins stories right to your Facebook by liking this page

Dolphins rookie Isaac Asiata: “Anybody can practice in the cold”

Isaac Asiata did his outdoor running in a hoodie to get ready for training camp. (AP)

DAVIE—If the heat of another South Florida summer feels oppressive to regular people, imagine trying to get through a workout at 6-foot-3, 341 pounds.

New Dolphins offensive lineman Isaac Asiata, a rookie from Utah, is actually enjoying this misery. It’s a new test of his manhood, he says, and he loves proving himself in these conditions.

“It’s not easy, which makes it great,” he said after another blistering practice with 75 percent humidity. “It’s a mental toughness deal. It’s nice to come out and challenge yourself like this when it’s hot.

“Anybody can practice in the cold. Practicing in the cold is easy. I practiced in the cold my whole life, basically. To come out here when it’s so hot and that breath is hot, that’s a mental thing more than anything. It’s nice to work that mental toughness here.”

He began the process of acclimating to this weather over the summer, when he’d go running on the practice field while wearing a hoodie.

Asiata, 25, came in as a fifth-round pick and is competing for snaps at guard and center. He’s a guard by trade, but is one of four players being rotated in at center in case Mike Pouncey is out.

Asiata said the training staff spoke to the rookies when they arrived in Davie and stressed to them that the heat and humidity are their allies once the season starts.

“No matter how hot it is, that has to be an advantage for us,” he said. “We have to embrace it and use it in our favor. It’s something you’ve gotta get used to.”

He’s been through unusual conditions before, having worked in the altitude in Utah most of his career. He spent part of his summer training there after Organized Team Activities and minicamp. When he went home, he struggled with the thin air at first.

“I thought I was in pretty good shape, but then that altitude hits and your lungs get smushed up,” he said.

[Dolphins rookie Cordrea Tankersley learns a hard lesson about South Florida]

[Hype swirls (again) around Dolphins WR DeVante Parker]

[Time to believe in Jarvis Landry’s words]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Dolphins rookie Isaac Asiata gets initiated by Ndamukong Suh

Isaac Asiata is in over his head, for now, trying to handle Ndamukong Suh. (AP)

DAVIE—This ain’t Utah. Dolphins rookie Isaac Asiata saw that clearly during today’s Organized Team Activity practice in downpours, but already knew he was far from home the first time he lined up against Ndamukong Suh.
Continue reading “Dolphins rookie Isaac Asiata gets initiated by Ndamukong Suh”