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Mini Camp Day One Notebook: Starks Happy To Be Back With His Teammates

Posted Jun 11, 2013

Pro Bowl defensive tackle returns to practice at team’s mini camp.



Defensive tackle Randy Starks was back with his teammates Tuesday when the Dolphins began their three-day mini camp at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern.

Starks, who was absent from the voluntary OTA sessions, said it “felt real good” to be back on the field with his teammates.

“I missed these guys,” Starks said. “I’m just happy to be out here and get the season started. My teammates are my brothers and I’m ready to grind with these guys.”

Starks’ involvement in practice on Tuesday was limited to individual and position drills. But he might do more in the final two days of the mini camp.

“We’ll watch the tape and see how he looks on tape,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “He’s been away from us for a while. We just wanted to get him acclimated to practicing football again.”

Starks had kept in touch with his teammates before Tuesday, with fellow defensive lineman Jared Odrick joking last week that Starks was group-texting teammates “every five minutes.” Odrick also indicated it was Starks who organized a group outing to Game 5 of the Miami Heat’s NBA Eastern Conference final against the Indiana Pacers.

Asked what it was like being away from the team, Starks replied: “Kind of a little bit lonely at first. It’s something to get used to. But at the same time, I kept in contact with some of my teammates, so I felt like I’m still here a little bit.”

GETTING HIS KICKS

Veteran Dan Carpenter handled all of the kicking duties during Tuesday’s practice, and Philbin indicated it was just a matter of alternating between Carpenter and rookie fifth-round pick Caleb Sturgis every day.

Philbin said he’s been impressed so far by what he’s seen from Sturgis.

“He looks good,” Philbin said. “I like the way he handles his business. He’s very professional, even though he’s only been in the profession since April 15, about two months. I like the way he moves around the building. He’s quiet. He seems to be a hard worker. He seems to have a pretty strong leg.

“We’ve been alternating on a daily basis. Obviously, we’re tracking that closely. Both guys are doing a good job. Obviously, Dan’s done a very, very good job around here a long time.”

END GAME IS END ZONE

Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman addressed the media after Tuesday’s practice and he discussed the progress of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the changes on offense.

Sherman was asked what changes fan might notice in the offense in the fall if things are going right.

“Hopefully the fact that we’re getting into the end zone a hell of a lot more than we did a year ago,” Sherman replied. “Obviously, that was something that held us back from being the type of team that Coach Philbin wants us to be. We need to score more points. We can’t rely on the defense. We need to score more points and hopefully we’ll find our way into the end zone.”

Asked during his press conference about Sherman’s comment, Philbin quickly interjected, “Amen.”

Wide receiver Mike Wallace, for his part, knows one of the reasons the Dolphins signed him as a free agent in the offseason was for his ability to score touchdowns.

“Right, that’s why they brought me here, to score points,” Wallace said. “But at the same time, I think it’s a group effort. It’s not just on Mike or just on Ryan or just on Brian (Hartline). It’s on everybody. It’s going to be a collective effort. When we work together, we’ll get where we need to be.”

LOOKING TO IMPRESS

The Dolphins had four new players at practice on Tuesday, as wide receiver Joe Hastings, fullback Ryan D’Imperio, defensive lineman Jerome Long and defensive tackle Tracy Robertson all worked on a tryout basis.

D’Imperio is the only one of the four with NFL experience. He appeared in 12 games with one start with the Minnesota Vikings in 2011. Robertson (Baylor University), Long (San Diego State) and Hastings (Washburn) are all first-year players.

PRACTICE HIGHLIGHTS

Safety Chris Clemons and linebacker Philip Wheeler both came up with interceptions in 7-on-7 drills. … Hartline made a diving catch down the middle when the Dolphins had Tannehill practice throwing deep passes. … Hartline, Brent Grimes, Brandon Gibson and Lamar Miller took turns catching punts. … Tannehill connected with Rishard Matthews on a deep sideline pass in team drills. … Tight end Kyle Miller made a nice catch on a pass down the middle from Matt Moore.

THIS AND THAT

Among the visitors at Dolphins practice were a group of officials from Baptist Health South (Doctors Hospital) who were on hand as guests of Coach Philbin … Also watching practice was Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese. … The musical selections for the Dolphins’ stretching period early in practice were “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.
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