Dolphins’ Campbell a candidate for full-time job; Payton unlikely

Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)
Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

The Dolphins take the field for one last time on Sunday.

Then the action really begins.

As soon as the 5-10 Dolphins wrap up their disappointing season against New England, they will begin searching for a new coach — and possibly a general manager.

Mike Tannenbaum, Miami’s executive vice president of football operations, will lead the coaching search and he’ll be doing it without general manager Dennis Hickey, who appears to be on his way out.

Hickey has been with the Dolphins for two seasons but his standing with the organization was perilous as soon as Tannenbaum was hired this season as the team’s head executive.

Pro Football Talk reported Saturday that Hickey is likely out as GM and is expected to be replaced by Chris Grier, Miami’s director of college scouting.

Grier interviewed for the New York Jets general manager vacancy a year ago.

While replacing Hickey would be an internal shakeup, the organizational power lies with Tannenbaum.

There was mild speculation that owner Stephen Ross would completely blow up the team and consider replacing Tannenbaum.

But Ross made it clear in a letter to season ticket holders that Tannenbaum is leading the coaching search.

Here’s what else the Palm Beach Post has learned about the coaching search:

1. Dan Campbell is a real candidate: That might be hard to believe considering the Dolphins are 4-7 since he took over as interim coach.

But he’s viewed in the organization as a natural leader — and someone who had no time to prepare for the job but could vastly improve with experience and the right staff behind him.

Campbell is also seen as more than just a fiery, energy guy. His strategic knowledge is respected in the organization although it would be important to surround him with the right staff.

It might come down to other coaching vacancies and who gets snatched up elsewhere. So don’t rule out Campbell.

2. Sean Payton is not a likely candidate: While the Dolphins might be able to get him for a second-round pick, trading for Payton — and giving up draft picks – is not viewed as a realistic scenario within the organization.

3. Consider Chip Kelly a long shot: The Dolphins might give the recently-fired Eagles coach some consideration — and Kelly said recently he doesn’t need personnel control at his next stop — but his questionable roster moves in Philadelphia raised plenty of eyebrows in Miami.

Kelly’s issues getting along with his own players is also concern.

Kelly’s failure in Philadelphia could also make the Dolphins, and other NFL teams, gun shy about hiring a college coach this offseason.

The Dolphins will consider hiring a college coach, but it sounds like a coach with NFL experience is more likely — even if that experience is on the coordinator ranks.

Miami ideally would like someone with head coaching experience but the Dolphins are going to be vying with multiple other teams for a coach.

4. The Dolphins don’t believe they’re in rebuild mode: The Dolphins don’t believe they’re in rebuild mode: It seems like the Dolphins need to blow up the entire roster. There are questions in the secondary, at linebacker and on the offensive and defensive lines.

However, it’s not believed within the organization that a reboot is necessary. The Dolphins don’t think they’re far away from competing with the right coach and some roster tweaks.

They’re also hoping that owner Stephen Ross is a selling point and not a turn-off.

Ross struggled to land top GM candidates in 2013. But he was loyal to former coach Joe Philbin — possibly to a fault. He brought him back for a fourth season and gave him a contact extension before this season.

Expect the Dolphins to consider a lot of the top names that are out there, including Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Shula, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Chicago offensive coordinator Adam Gase, Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley and possibly Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, who is likely to be fired.

UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr. — who was previously head coach of the Falcons and Seahawks — is also a possibility.

Timing could be everything. Since the Dolphins will be competing with other teams, they may or may not wait around if a candidate they like goes deep in to the playoffs with his current team.

San Francisco defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, who was coach of the Jets under Mike Tannenbaum, is not considered a likely candidate despite his history with Tannenbaum.

In a letter to season ticket holders, Ross said that the search will “not be constrained by convention in our approach.” So there could be some more interesting names out there.

5. Tannenbaum is leading the charge: While there was some talk that Ross would consider blowing up the entire organization — including Tannenbaum — that’s not the case.

Ross made it clear in his letter that Tannenbaum, who is wrapping up his first season with Miami as the team’s head exec, is leading the coaching search.

The search committee will also include Matt Higgins — the CEO of Ross’ RSE Ventures and Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel.

It was reported elsewhere that Dawn Aponte, the Dolphins executive vice president of football administration, would also be part of the search committee. However, that is not accurate.

Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey was not even mentioned in Ross’ letter so his absence certainly raises questions about his future with the team.

6. The next coach doesn’t have to love Ryan Tannehill: The Dolphins really want Ryan Tannehill to exceed as the franchise quarterback.

But the team likes the flexibility they have with his contract and are only considering him a definite starter for 2016.

So it’s not a prerequisite that the next coach views Tannehill as the team’s future.

The Dolphins will likely see how it plays out with Tannehill in 2016 and then decide if they  want to go in a different direction.

Tannehill’s $18 million salary in 2017 isn’t guaranteed except for injury.

However, $3.5 million of Tannehill’s 2017 salary becomes guaranteed this March.

Because of the remaining signing bonus cap hits, the Dolphins take a $10.4 million cap hit in 2017 if Tannehill is released.

If Tannehill struggles in 2016 and the team wants to move in a different direction, it’s conceivable they could decide it’s worth taking a $10.4 million hit rather than paying him $18 million.

It goes without saying that 2016 is a big year for Tannehill.

7. Other roster decisions undecided: There won’t be any decision on the future of running back Lamar Miller or defensive end Olivier Vernon until a new coach is in place.

They will both be free agents if they’re not re-signed by early March.

The same goes for the future of defensive end Cameron Wake and cornerback Brent Grimes, who are both under contract in 2016 but have non-guaranteed deals.

Wake, who will be 34 next season, is coming off an Achilles’ tear. If the Dolphins keep him at his current salary, they’d have a $9.8 million cap hit next season. If they release him, they’d save $8.4 million.

Grimes will be 33 next season. He has four interceptions this year but has struggled at times against top-tier receivers.

He’s a $9.5 million cap hit next year. The Dolphins would save $6.5 million by releasing him.

The Dolphins could try to renegotiate the deals if they want Wake or Grimes back but at a reduced rate.

Chip Kelly a good fit for the Dolphins? Maybe

chip-kelly4

Add another potential name to the Dolphins coaching search: Chip Kelly.

Kelly was fired as Eagles coach on Tuesday after Philadelphia dropped to 6-9.

In three seasons, Kelly compiled a 26-21 record including two winning seasons and a 2013 playoff appearance.

His personnel moves have been questionable at best.

He traded a second-round pick for quarterback Sam Bradford, who has struggled this year.

He let receiver Jeremy Maclin walk.

He released receiver DeSean Jackson and traded away running back LeSean McCoy, but then signed DeMarco Murray, who has just 633 rushing yards this year.

So Kelly is probably not high on many teams list as a personnel man.

As a coach, he’ll likely get a second chance.

If he’s willing to work under Dolphins head exec Mike Tannenbaum, who is leading the coaching search, it’s an intriguing option.

The smart money right now is on the Titans, where he’d be reunited with quarterback Marcus Mariota, who he coached for one season at Oregon.

Mariota was Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year in his season under Kelly.

The Dolphins, however, could be a decent match.

Perhaps Ryan Tannehill could finally live up to his potential and succeed in Kelly’s spread offense, which has stalled this season with Bradford running the show.

The Eagles are tied for 16th in the NFL in scoring this season at 22.8 points per game.

In Kelly’s first season in Philadelphia, they were second in the NFL in scoring at 27.8 points per game.

Last year they were third at 29.6 points per game.

The Dolphins this year are 27th in scoring at 19.3 points per game.

Bill Lazor, who was fired as offensive coordinator of the Dolphins earlier this season, was quarterbacks coach in Kelly’s first season with the Eagles.

Lazor brought a few elements of Kelly’s offense to Miami but it was far from the Eagles’ up-tempo approach.

If the Dolphins really are interested in Kelly, they’ll have to sell it to the fans after he was fired after just three seasons in Philadelphia.

Monday Morning Dolphins: No. 6 draft pick and climbing

It's possible Paxton Lynch could be available for the Dolphins. But would they consider a QB? (Getty Images)
It’s possible Paxton Lynch could be available for the Dolphins. But would they consider a QB? (Getty Images)

There’s some good news to come out of Sunday’s 18-12 loss to the Colts.

If the season ended today, the Dolphins would have the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft.

(Dolphins’ final rally falls short against Colts)

(Dolphins offensive line struggles take a toll on QB Ryan Tannehill)

That’s high enough to get a potential game-changing player — and the Dolphins could certainly use one of those.

So who could get the Dolphins get at No. 6?

Here’s a quick look at players who might be available.

1. QB Jared Goff or Paxton Lynch

Both players could go in the top five, or they could both be lower top 10 picks.

In CBS Sports’ latest mock drafts, Rob Rang has Lynch at No. 2 and Goff at No. 7.

Dane Brugler has Goff at No. 7 and Lynch at No. 10.

So would the Dolphins really consider drafting a quarterback if they like one and he’s available?

It could depend on who the Dolphins hire as coach.

Head exec Mike Tannenbaum likes Tannehill and would like to see him succeed. But if a new coach is convinced Goff or Lynch can turn the franchise around — and one of them is available — it’s certainly possible they’d go that route.

Lynch — 6-foot-6, 230 pounds out of Memphis — has size, mobility and a big arm but he’s raw.

Goff — 6-4, 210 out of Cal — is more polished and has strong pocket-passing skills but doesn’t have amazing arm strength.

The Dolphins have a lot of defensive needs, but it would be very interesting if one of these quarterbacks is available when the Dolphins make their pick.

Miami can feasibly get out of Tannehill’s contract after the 2016 season though they’d still have a $10 million cap hit in 2017 if he’s cut — and an $18 million cap hit that season if they keep him.

2. CB Jalen Ramsey or Vernon Hargreaves III

Ramsey, out of Florida State, could easily be a top five pick so he might be out of the Dolphins’ range, even if they finish 5-11.

If Ramsey is there for the taking, he’s a 6-1, 202, physical lockdown corner who could excel from the start.

Miami’s future at cornerback in flux with Brent Grimes, 32, heading toward the end of his career. He’s also owed an $8 million base salary if he returns next season.

Drafting a stud cornerback would be ideal for the Dolphins, whether or not they bring back Grimes.

Hargreaves — 5-11, 199 out of the University of Florida — is quick and strong and is projected as a lower top 10 pick.

3. OLB Jaylon Smith or Myles Jack

There are a lot of good linebackers in this draft and Smith and Jack are at the top of the class.

Smith — 6-3, 240 out of Notre Dame — is athletic and makes a ton of plays, something the Dolphins desperately need.

Jack — 6-1, 245 out of UCLA — isn’t the biggest linebacker but he’s extremely athletic.

The Dolphins need a serious upgrade at linebacker.

4. DE Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner

Most mock drafts have Bosa — 6-5, 275 out of Ohio State — in the top five. So he could be gone when the Dolphins make their pick.

Buckner — 6-7, 290 — is being projected between No. 5 and No. 10.

Miami’s Cam Wake is going to be 34 next season and coming off an Achilles’ injury. He also has an $8 million base salary.

Olivier Vernon will be a free agent if the Dolphins don’t re-sign him by early March.

The last time the Dolphins had a top five pick, it was a disaster — they traded up to take defensive end Dion Jordan No. 3 overall in 2013.

Miami still has the rights to Jordan, who is serving a year-long drug suspension. While it’s possible they try to get something out of him, it’s hard to imagine he comes back or makes much of an impact.

5. OT Ronnie Stanley

Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil could potentially be the top pick in the draft, so as of now he seems like a long shot for the Dolphins.

But Stanley — 6-6, 315 out of Notre Dame — could be there for Miami.

Unless Miami decides it can’t pass on a franchise quarterback, the defense needs even more of an overhaul than the offense.

The Dolphins offensive line, however, is a perennial mess so they could consider going with a lineman early.

The Dolphins already have left tackle Branden Albert but could contemplate moving him inside if they drafted a top five left tackle.

Albert has also dealt with injuries and he’ll turn 32 next season.

Dolphins offensive line struggles take a toll on QB Ryan Tannehill

Jamil Douglas sat at his locker and cried.

Dolphins rookie Jamil Douglas sits dejected after his early snap leads to a Tannehill sack on Miami's final possession (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)
Dolphins rookie Jamil Douglas sits dejected after his early snap leads to a sack on Miami’s final possession (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

The rookie offensive lineman, who was playing out of position at center, snapped the ball early on the Dolphins final possession — a fourth-and-goal from Indianapolis’ 5-yard line.

The rest of Miami’s linemen weren’t ready for the snap and quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked — for the sixth time — to cement the 18-12 loss.

(Dolphins’ final rally falls short against Colts)

Several of Douglas’ teammates came to console him. Offensive line coach John Benton gave words of wisdom.

“My fault,” Douglas said. “I should have been locked in on that play. Bad play by me.”

Sure, Douglas will take the blame. But it really just speaks to Miami’s offensive line woes, a problem the Dolphins can’t shake.

Douglas shouldn’t have even been in that situation. He never played center in high school or college and was selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft as a guard.

He began the season as the starting right guard but was eventually benched for Billy Turner.

Douglas had his first extensive action at center when starter Mike Pouncey was injured in a Week 12 loss to the New York Jets, struggling with low snaps.

The Dolphins spent more than two seasons developing Sam Brenner, who was an adequate backup center. Yet when they finally needed him he was gone, signing with Denver after he spent weeks on and off Miami’s roster while the team tinkered with the bottom of the lineup.

With Pouncey out on Sunday because of a foot injury, Douglas started his first game at center. It’s a game he would love to forget.

“I feel for him,” Tannehill said. “I’ve been there. I’ve been that guy numerous times in my career.

“He’ll be a better player because of it.”

Pouncey, who made the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season, wasn’t the only missing starter on Sunday.

The Dolphins have been without right tackle Ja’Wuan James since he suffered a toe injury in a Week 8 loss to New England.

No matter who’s in the lineup, the offensive line continues to be a major problem for the Dolphins.

Tannehill had been sacked 38 times heading in to Sunday’s game, tied for fourth-most in the league.

He climbed up the chart after he was sacked six times by the Colts — a team that entered the game with just 25 sacks this season, the fourth-fewest in the NFL.

Tannehill has been sacked 183 times in his four NFL seasons, the most in the league in that span.

Give him credit for never missing a start despite the constant hits. He’s barely missed a snap and he didn’t miss any on Sunday after several hard hits.

“I’ll be all right,” he said with the slightest of grins. It’s a question he’s been asked so many times before.

The Dolphins have spent years trying to rebuild the line, signing left tackle Branden Albert to a 5-year $47 million deal before the 2014 season and selecting James in the first round of the 2014 draft.

But there’s still uncertainty at guard where starters Dallas Thomas and Turner have struggled. And the depth is suspect — a problem when the starters are rarely healthy at the same time.

So it all comes back to the quarterback.

Tannehill will be entering his fifth season next year and his upside is still debated.

The best teams and the best quarterbacks — New England and Tom Brady being the prime example — excel despite constant turnover on the offensive line.

The Dolphins and Tannehill aren’t in that position, so it’s impossible to fully evaluate Tannehill when he’s treated like a rag doll.

“I could care less about getting hit if we’re winning,” Tannehill said.

But, he added, “it’s not easy to win when the quarterback is getting hit so that’s something we want to fix and move on.”

If only it were that easy.

Reshad Jones on Pro Bowl snub: It’s obviously a popularity contest

[cmg_cinesport url=”http://cinesport.palmbeachpost.com/embed/palm-beach-nfl-miami-dolphins/habib-jones-belongs-pro-bowl/#autostart=on;titles=on;nolink=on;”%5D

Reshad Jones might have the best statistics of any safety in the NFL, but he’s not sure if anyone has noticed.

Jones, speaking to the media on Wednesday for the first time since being snubbed from the Pro Bowl, was stunned that he isn’t going to Honolulu as one of the league’s three best strong safeties.

Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

“It’s obviously a popularity contest,” he said. “They just picked the popular guy or whoever made it last year or however it goes.

“We can’t be going off play and production because my numbers double all those guys numbers.”

Well, not quite.

Jones’ 124 total tackles easily lead NFL safeties — Dallas’ Barry Church is second with 110.

Jones’ five interceptions is tied for third among safeties — Cincinnati’s Reggie Nelson leads with eight.

You can technically make the case that Jones doubles any other safety in picks returned for a touchdown — he’s the NFL’s only safety with two interceptions returned for a score.

No matter, Jones felt he should have make it — especially considering that he’s the first defensive back in more than a decade to have more than 100 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions in a season.

“The numbers that I put up, a DB hasn’t done it in a decade,” he said. “I’m going to continue to work my butt off and do everything that I can and help the Miami Dolphins win.

“I don’t know what else I have to prove or put up.”

Arizona’s Eric Berry, Seattle’s Kam Chancellor and Oakland’s Charles Woodson were the strong safeties chosen ahead of Jones.

Jones is a Pro Bowl alternate and could still make the trip to Honolulu if another safety sits out.

He initially said he won’t play as an alternate.
“It would be a cool compliment but I won’t play in the game,” he said. “I shouldn’t have to be an alternate. I don’t want to play in the game as an alternate player.”

But Jones later changed his stance on Twitter:
It was always a dream to play w/ the best, I was upset, but I thank God for teaching me humility, I WOULD play if they ask me

Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell was equally surprised that Jones didn’t make it.

“I was shocked,” Campbell said. “I thought he would get in. He’s a hell of a player. I thought he put up good numbers. He’s been consistent all year.”

Both Campbell and Jones agreed that Miami’s 5-9 record and overall defense — the Dolphins are third-worst in the NFL — hurt him.

But Jones doesn’t think it should have.

“I thought the Pro Bowl was for individual play, each player,” he said. “Like I said, my play and my numbers speak for itself.”
Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had a lot less to say about his snub.

Suh, who this offseason signed the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history, didn’t make the Pro Bowl for just the second time in his career.

Suh was far from dominant this year but still had solid stats.

His 52 total tackles are fourth at his position — St. Louis’ Aaron Donald is first with 64.

Suh’s 4.5 sacks are tied for ninth among defensive tackles — St. Louis’ Aaron Donald leads with 11.

Suh’s 12 stuffs this year are tied for fourth-best in the NFL — one behind Donald, J.J. Watt and Mark Barron, who lead with 13.

When asked if he was disappointed or upset at not making the Pro Bowl, Suh simply said: “Next question.”

“He was another guy that deserved to get in,” Campbell said. “I thought that he was productive all year — very productive. He was a force. And for a defensive tackle he did about all that you can do.”

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey, the team’s lone player to make the Pro Bowl, said he believes he’s having his best season yet in the NFL.

Pouncey is in his fifth season with the Dolphins and made his third consecutive Pro Bowl.

But he said he really cares about making the playoffs, something Miami hasn’t done in seven years.

“With team success comes individual success,” Pouncey said. “Obviously you can see that with the Panthers — those guys have 10 Pro Bowlers because they’re winning games.

“At the end of the day when I look back on my career, I’ll be happy about making Pro Bowls. But it means zero to me right now unless we’re in the playoffs.”

Injury updates: Pouncey, who was in a walking boot on Wednesday, did not practice after suffering a foot and ankle injury in Sunday’s loss to San Diego.

Campbell said he doesn’t foresee Pouncey playing this week against Indianapolis, but said he also didn’t expect Pouncey to return a week after after injuring his foot against Baltimore last month.

“Pouncey, he’ll surprise you,” Campbell said.

Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (calf) and left tackle Branden Albert (knee) also did not practice. Campbell said Albert is healthy but was resting.

Right tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe), linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle), receiver Jarvis Landry (knee), running back Lamar Miller (quadricep) and guard Billy Turner (calf) were limited.

Dolphins’ Pouncey makes Pro Bowl; Jones and Suh snubbed

Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones snubbed from Pro Bowl (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey is making his third consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl but he won’t be joined in Honolulu by an argubaly more deserving teammate.

Reshad Jones, who statistically was having the best season of any NFL safety, was snubbed.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who in the offseason signed the largest contract for any defensive player in NFL history, didn’t get a bid for just the second time in his career.

Pouncey will be Miami’s lone representative unless Jones or Suh makes it as an alternate. He said said Tuesday night he wishes he could give his trip to Jones.

“I feel so bad for Reshad,” Pouncey said. “I felt like, and I know, that he’s the best safety in the NFL.

“For him not to make it is very disappointing. I told him when I got off the phone with him earlier that I wish I could give him my Pro Bowl nod because I feel like he’s a guy that deserves it more than any guy on our football team and any guy throughout the NFL the way he’s played.”

The players are selected by a consensus of fans, players and coaches voting. Three strong safeties made it — Arizona’s Eric Berry, Seattle’s Kam Chancellor and Oakland’s Charles Woodson.

Jones, who has been calling himself the best safety in the NFL for a couple of years, finally had the stats this year to make a case.
His 98 tackles easily lead NFL safeties — Arizona’s Deone Bucannon is second with 82.

Jones’ five interceptions is tied for third among safeties — Cincinnati’s Reggie Nelson leads with eight.

Jones is also the NFL’s only safety with two interceptions returned for a touchdown.

He had an equally strong season last year, but missed four games due to a performance-enhancing drug suspension which made him ineligible for the Pro Bowl.

He blamed the failed test on taking a supplement recommended by a former college trainer, but said he didn’t take anything illegal.

“He’s an impact player on the football field,” Pouncey said. “He’s really grown as a football player and I think he’s the best safety in the NFL. It’s just sad he didn’t make it.”

Jones, who had been publicly lobbying for a Pro Bowl bid on social media, retweeted a fan on Twitter Tuesday night who asked NFL Network “are you doing the ProBowl Snubs? @reshadjones9 is the biggest snub. Ridiculous.”

Jones also praised several former University of Georgia teammate who made it.

Suh was supposed to be the Dolphins’ game changer on defense after signing a deal worth up to $114 million over six years.

Statistically he had a case for the Pro Bowl but his numbers weren’t dominant and it didn’t help his cause that the Dolphins defense ranks third-worst in the NFL.

His 36 tackles this season are fourth at his position and his 4.5 sacks are tied for ninth among defensive tackles.

Suh’s 12 stuffs this year are tied for fourth-best in the NFL — and only behind the NFL leaders, who have 13.

Pouncey didn’t address Suh but said he believes Miami’s 5-9 record hurt Jones.

“For him not to make the Pro Bowl obviously it has to be bigger than just what you’re putting out on the football field,” Pouncey said.

Pouncey’s three consecutiev Pro Bowl bids are the most for a Dolphins interior offensive lineman since Keith Sims was selected to three consecutive following the 1993-95 seasons.

Last year he made it as an alternate despite missing four games to a hip injury and moving to guard.

He said it helped his cause this year that his twin brother Maurkice Pouncey, who plays center for the Steelers, missed the season with a broken ankle.

“It’s very exciting for me,” Pouncey said. “Now that my brother is out I felt like I had an advantage. I’ve got to play catch-up with him because he’s such a great football player.”

Lamar Miller wants to finish his career in Miami — and wants more carries

Lamar Miller breaks away from New York Giants outside linebacker J.T. Thomas for a touchdown (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Lamar Miller breaks away from New York Giants outside linebacker J.T. Thomas for a touchdown (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Dolphins running back Lamar Miller knows exactly how many yards he needs to reach 1,000 for the season. And he probably should be closer at this point.

“Yeah — 231,” he said.

Miller’s 769 rushing yards are tied for 13th in the league but he has just 151 carries, tied for 22nd in the league.

His 5.1 yards per carry is sixth-best among NFL running backs.

“When I’m feeling it, I feel I should get more opportunities,” he said. “But it just depends on the situation if we’re losing or if we’re up. It all depends on the situation.

“I really don’t question the play calling. I just go out there and try to make plays for this team and this organization. I really don’t think about it that much.”

Miller said the Dolphins haven’t approached him yet about a contract extension. He will be an unrestricted free agent if he doesn’t re-sign with Miami by early March.

“It would be great just to play my entire NFL football career here in my hometown,” he sad. “That would be something great for me.”

But he also said number of carries will factor in to his decision.

“It’ll be a part of my decision, yes, just trying to see how I would be used and what type offense, what type of system that I would be playing in,” he said.

He said he’s “not sure” if he could get more carries on another team.

“I really haven’t thought about all that, to be honest,” he said.

Miller was dominant in the first half of Monday night’s loss to the Giants with seven carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns.

But he had just five carries in the second half.

He said after the game that he wasn’t injured and he was merely getting his ankles taped.

Interim coach Dan Campbell said Tuesday that he saw Miller limping to the field and was trying to manage the game.

Campbell also said the team was getting in some second and third-long situations.

Miller reiterated on Wednesday that he wasn’t injured.

“I was good to go in the second half,” he said. “It was the fourth quarter, I tweaked my ankle a little bit but it wasn’t anything serious. I just got my ankles taped over. I was ready to go.

“I was feeling it pretty good Monday night.”

Dolphins weren’t who we thought they were

Giants tight end Will Tye catches a touchdown pass over Dolphins safety Michael Thomas (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Giants tight end Will Tye catches a touchdown pass over Dolphins safety Michael Thomas (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI GARDENS — When Monday night’s exciting, frustrating game finally came to an end — and the Dolphins were officially knocked out of the playoffs with a 31-24 loss to the New York Giants — Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds blasted out of the speakers at Sun Life Stadium.

“Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

OK, maybe in the grand scheme of the universe, everything’s gonna be alright. Hey, it’s just football, right?

But in the Dolphins world, all — or at least a lot — is wrong.

The Dolphins have to win out just to finish at .500. They were a hot preseason pick to make the playoffs or even win the AFC East.

Instead, they feel further away from long-term success then they have at any point this decade.

“Not a good team,” safety Michael Thomas said when asked to describe the Dolphins the year. “We didn’t put it together.”

How could a team that had such high expectations in the preseason be so lousy?

In reality they were never that good to begin with, and we — the media, the fans, the former players who get paid a lot of money to make predictions — didn’t recognize all the holes.

But maybe the team knew what they had all along.

“Obviously we wanted to win, but we didn’t put those expectations on us,” Thomas said. “Outsiders put those expectations us.”

Well, if we want to be precise here, former coach Joe Philbin publicity uttered the words “Super Bowl” in the preseason. More than once.

Instead it’s the toilet bowl, even if they almost pulled off what would have been a thrilling albeit mostly meaningless win.

It didn’t happen and now it’s about reflection on what went wrong this year and what they Dolphins can do to make it right next year.

The former is a lot easier to figure out than the latter.

It’s becoming more and more clear that the Dolphins have holes everywhere.

On Monday night, it started with the defense.

The secondary might need a major overhaul with safety Reshad Jones the only proven starter still in his prime.

Top-tier receivers have had some of their best games against the Dolphins this season, including Odell Beckham Jr.’s 166 yards, two touchdown performance on Monday.

The Dolphins had no answer for Beckham or Eli Manning.

Miami’s linebackers are still mediocre.

The defensive line is the unit closest to complete on that side of the ball but there’s long-term questions on the edge.

On offense the Dolphins have a talented running back in Lamar Miller who was dominating in the first half of Monday’s game and was strangely neglected in the second half.

He’s a free agent after this season. It’ll be interesting to see how much the Dolphins value him.

There’s an offensive line that hasn’t been consistently good in over a decade.

There’s quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who for most of Monday night played one of his best games in weeks but was let down by his receivers and their dropped passes.

“We threw a lot of good passes and Ryan threw the ball pretty good,” Campbell said. “I thought Ryan made some accurate passes. We had some critical drops in this game that killed us.

Then when the game was on line, Tannehill let himself down by missing a wide open Jarvis Landry on what could have turned in to a game-tying touchdown.

For much of the game, the offense looked sharp and did its part, but the defense fell apart.

Yet when Miami’s defense is strong this season the offense usually struggles.

Then there’s the obligatory curious coaching decision, which is typical on a 5-7 team.

This time it was Miller’s second half disappearance.

He had seven carries for 69 yards (9.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in the first half. That included a 38-yard touchdown on the best run of his career.

But he had just five carries in the second half.

Miller didn’t know why he had so few carries after halftime.

He said it wasn’t an injury issue. He was seen on TV having his ankles looked at, but he said he was merely getting taped.

“I always try to stay positive and when they call my number I have to make plays,” he said.

Miller went as far as to say, “When my number’s called I have to do a better job.”

No, that’s ridiculous. He did just fine, finishing with 89 rushing yards on 7.4 yards per carry.

Backup running back Jay Ajayi had five carries for 15 yards.

They both should’ve had more rushes in a close game — especially Miller who carried the ball just 12 times, and especially after Campbell fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to kickstart the run game.

Campbell tried to explain the lack of rushing attempts in the second half.

“We were just inefficient on first down and it really killed us,” he said. “We’d start the drive with a run and we’d get no gain or a one-yard gain. We’d then come back with an incomplete or a drop and that’s the thing — if you look at it we ran the ball pretty good. The problem is if you don’t run it well on first and second down it puts you in a bad situation.”

It doesn’t add up. Even with that explanation, how could Miller have just five second half carries after such the strong first half performance?

But it’s a moot point now because the Dolphins will officially miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. It’s been 15 years since they’ve won a postseason game.

If you’re 30, it was a half a lifetime ago since the Dolphins won a playoff game. And it’ll probably be up to a new coach to turn it around.

“I hate to be in that situation again but it seems like the same thing every year,” center Mike Pouncey said.

“When you have nothing else to play for, you have three games left and you’re not making the playoffs… we’ll see what kind of guys really like football. And we’ll find the ones that don’t and we’ll get them out of here.”

When asked why fans should have any optimism about the team even beyond this season, Pouncey still believes they’re close.

“I believe in this football team,” he said. “It’s not like that team blew us out today. We beat ourselves.”

But hey, every little thing gonna be alright.

Miko Grimes: My career has been destroyed by a lie

Miko Grimes celebrates after her husband Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes gave her the ball he intercepted and returned for a (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Miko Grimes celebrates after her husband Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes gave her the ball he intercepted and returned for a (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

A day after the Miami state attorney’s office dropped charges against Miko Grimes, the wife of Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes spoke publicly for the first time about her arrest.

Grimes, speaking to WSVN-7, said her career has been ruined by the incident.

She was fired from her job co-hosting a WQAM weekend radio show after the arrest.

“Everything that I’ve been trying to do and my career that I’ve tried to rebuild and everything is destroyed by a lie,” she said.

Grimes was bear hugged and slammed to the ground by officers after she allegedly hurled expletives at them and refused to comply to their orders to leave a restricted area while tailgating before a Dolphins game on Sept. 27.

Officers claimed that Grimes headbutted an officer in the face. She was initially charged with a third-degree felony for assaulting an officer. The charge was later dropped resisting without violence, a misdemeanor.

But the state attorney’s office dropped the charges altogether, raising issues about possible excessive force and conflicting statements from witnesses and officers about the incident. It was unclear if or when Grimes actually headbutted an officer.

While a cell video of the incident exists, it only shows Grimes already on the ground and the alleged headbutt is not captured.

“I only watched it once and I kept it from my son for as long as I could,” she said. “When he saw it he screamed because he saw his mother on the ground screaming and yelling.

“I don’t think four police officers jumping on a 132-pound woman is necessary.”

She was arrested wearing a Brent Grimes throwback jersey.

“I was in jail in my husband’s jersey,” she said. “And the craziest part is there were so many people in jail that knew who I was. They just said they didn’t believe it, they said ‘we love you on social media. You tell it like it is.'”

Grimes is outspoken on Twitter and at times has berated fans, using vulgarity.

But those who have met her in person say she’s different away from the computer.

“It’s tough on the outside because of the way I was raised and the experiences of my life,” she said. “But on the inside I’m just really soft and nice and approachable and just caring. I don’t even know why people don’t like me.”

Grimes doesn’t want to forget the incident with Miami-Dade police.

“I feel like I was chosen for this because I’m the right person to fight this,” she said. “Because this is wrong. And I’m not going to stop. I’m fighting for people that don’t have a voice.”