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Notebook: Evan Rodriguez Working At Tight End; Other Notes

Posted Aug 21, 2013

Evan Rodriguez has been trying to make the Dolphins roster as a fullback since the start of training camp, but he’s now also getting work at tight end following the injury to Dustin Keller.



Evan Rodriguez has been trying to make the Dolphins roster as a fullback since the start of training camp, but he’s now also getting work at tight end.

Rodriguez was a tight end at Temple University before he was drafted as an H-back/fullback by the Chicago Bears in 2012.

With the injury to Dustin Keller, the Dolphins are exploring options at tight end, although Rodriguez is still getting work in the offensive backfield.

“Just basically trying to get my footwork back and just get back into the groove of things,” Rodriguez said after practice Wednesday. “It’s been a while since I’ve been at tight end, so it’s basically just trying to get back on the fundamentals of learning my steps and stuff like that.”

Rodriguez, who was claimed off waivers in June, says he’s optimistic about his chances of making the 53-man roster, in part because of his versatility. In addition to being able to play fullback and tight end, Rodriguez had a big night on special teams against Houston Saturday when he made two tackles in the kicking game and also forced a fumble.

“I feel pretty good about my chances,” Rodriguez said. “I’m positive about everything, so I can’t complain about that.”

KICKING GAME NUGGETS

Even though the Dolphins have looked at several different options this summer, special teams coach Darren Rizzi said Wednesday that Marcus Thigpen once again would handle the kickoff returns in 2013 and also would field the majority of the punts — although there could be a little bit of a committee approach in that aspect.

Meanwhile, Head Coach Joe Philbin said that punter Brandon Fields will be doing the onside kicks for the time being.

“He’s got a good knack for timing and the placement of it, the location of it,” Philbin said. “He’s going to handle that at this point.”

PRO BOWL BUMMER

Speaking of Thigpen, there are some big changes coming to the Pro Bowl, and one of them came as disappointing news for him.

The one change that clearly will affect Thigpen is the elimination of kick return specialists in favor of an additional defensive back for each conference. Kickoffs also have been eliminated from the Pro Bowl.

Thigpen had reason to think the Pro Bowl was a realistic goal after a 2012 performance that ranked as one of the best ever by a Dolphins kick returner. Thigpen became the first player in Dolphins history to score touchdowns on a punt return and a kickoff return in the same season.

While Thigpen’s credentials were Pro Bowl worthy, Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones was selected as the AFC kick returner, only to be replaced by Cleveland’s Joshua Cribbs after Baltimore reached the Super Bowl.

Now, making the Pro Bowl as a kick returner is a dream Thigpen can forget about, unless the rules are changed again at some point.

“It’s definitely something that I was striving to get to this year, coming as close as I did last year,” Thigpen said after practice Wednesday. “It’s kind of heartbreaking that I can’t get the opportunity to do it as a return specialist. I have to hopefully do it at a different position.”

CATCH THE DOLPHINS LIVE

Dolphins fans anywhere in the country will be able to watch live Saturday night’s game against Tampa Bay, as well as the preseason finale against New Orleans, thanks to the NFL’s Preseason Live package.

For $19.99, fans can have access on their computer or tablet to out-of-market games not televised nationally. For details, go to dolphins.com/preseasonlive.

The game against Tampa Bay will be broadcast live in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area on WFOR-TV (CBS 4), in Fort Myers on WBBH-TV (Channel 2), in West Palm Beach on WTVX-TV (Channel 34) and WWHB (Channel 48-Spanish); and in Orlando on WRDQ (Channel 27) and WFTB MegaTV (9.2 as well as on digital cable via Comcast channel 209, CenturyLink Channel 10, Cox Cable 118 and Decca Cable channel 717).

Jesse Agler will provide the play-to-play call, with former Dolphins greats Bob Griese and Nat Moore providing analysis.

For those who can’t catch the game live on Saturday, it will be replayed by the NFL Network on Sunday at 7 a.m. and next Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m.

THIS AND THAT

Rookie cornerback Will Davis had yet another interception during seven-on-seven drills. … Wide receiver Brian Tyms revealed that the name of the son he and his girlfriend are expecting in early January will be Brian Edwards Tyms Jr. … The musical selections during the stretching period were “Type of Way” by Rich Homie Quan featuring Jermaine Dupri and “Hate Bein’ Sober” by Chief Keef.

THE LAST WORD

Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle on rookie cornerback Jamar Taylor:

“We see a guy that’s got a lot of promise, just as we hoped he would. Again, he hasn’t had enough snaps to totally evaluate what his role might be as we begin. But certainly we believe as he develops and gets more and more experience and more reps that he’s going to be able to contribute for us this year.”

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