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NOTEBOOK: ESPN Gives Dolphins Rookies High Marks; Other Notes

Posted Nov 9, 2012

Miami’s rookies at the head of the class.



Every parent out there is thrilled when their child’s report card reveals an A, and in the case of the Miami Dolphins, Head Coach Joe Philbin and General Manager Jeff Ireland are the proud parents today.

ESPN.com graded all of the rookie classes in the AFC East yesterday and at the very top was the Miami Dolphins with a solid A. The New England Patriots were close behind with an A-, followed by the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, both earning Cs.

Here was the analysis given by ESPN’s AFC East blogger, James Walker, under Miami’s midseason report card, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, right tackle Jonathan Martin, defensive end Olivier Vernon and running back Lamar Miller highlighted:

“Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland had another stellar draft class, and it’s a major reason Miami is in contention,” Walker wrote. “He landed a franchise quarterback in Tannehill, which are always bonus points. Martin has started every game at right tackle and is holding his own. He will only improve. Vernon has been a terror on special teams and off the bench. He already has 2.5 sacks, two blocked field goals and a punt block recovered for a touchdown. Miller is the third running back but has contributed in spot duty. He averages 5.5 yards per carry. You can’t ask for more from a rookie class.”

This sparkling report card comes on the heels of eight Miami Dolphins making the AFC East’s midseason All-Pro team and a handful of others being recognized by USA Today and Sports Illustrated. So with midterms over, Philbin and Ireland are looking for more accolades by the time final exams come around.

DOLPHINS TIDBITS

## As the leader of the secondary, cornerback Sean Smith has been entrusted with fast tracking new cornerbacks Brandon McDonald and Bryan McCann on the playbook. “To be honest with you, these guys have come along really, really well,” Smith said. “Where I come in is just the small things, little key adjustments here on this call or that call and situational awareness during the game. … The calls are rolling in late during games and these guys are lining up, I’m just trying to make sure the guys keep their composure. That’s where I come in.”

## Today’s music selections during stretching and warm-ups had a hardcore feel, beginning with “Renegade,” by Jay-Z and featuring Eminem. Lil Wayne was next with “Sky’s The Limit,” and “Super Hyphy,” by Keak Da Sneak wrapped things up.

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