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Report: Dolphins interested in Manning if available

The Sports Xchange
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--It's no secret the Dolphins have plans to upgrade the quarterback position either through the draft or free agency in 2012.

But a report in the Miami Herald on Monday, with information from two sources with direct knowledge of the team's offseason plans, indicated that the Dolphins' ultimate goal is snagging Colts quarterback Peyton Manning should, of course, he be cleared medically and become a free agent.

Manning missed the entire 2011 regular season after undergoing neck surgery in September. He could become a free agent if the Colts choose not to exercise a $28 million roster bonus due on March 8. Indianapolis owns the No. 1 pick in April's draft, which is a virtual certainty to be Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Other reported options for Miami include Packers backup quarterback and future unrestricted free agent Matt Flynn, or a possible trade in the draft to move up and select Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.

New Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin has worked at length with Flynn while previously serving as Green Bay's offensive coordinator, further fueling the rumor that Flynn could follow Philbin to South Florida for a chance to start.

--After missing out on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach job, Mike Sherman was in Miami for an interview to become the Dolphins' offensive coordinator. Sherman was fired in January after four seasons at Texas A&M. Natural speculation would be that Sherman might push the Dolphins to consider Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is projected as a likely first-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com.

--WR Davone Bess sprained the MCL in his left knee during the season finale, but his injury won't require surgery. Bess is in a brace and is undergoing an intense rehab assignment. But the knee is stable and should recover fully in three months, unless he suffers a setback.

Bess produced the fifth highest punt return average (11.9) in team history. Nate Jacquet holds the team lead with a 12.5 average he set in 1999 on 28 punt returns.

--The irony of Tony Sparano becoming the Jets' offensive coordinator is his team created the opening. In the final game, the Dolphins' 19-17 victory knocked the Jets from the playoffs, prevented the kind of post-season warmth of their past two years and made an internal problem go public when receiver Santonio Holmes refused to play. Brian Schottenheimer was forced out as the offensive coordinator, and now Sparano enters the picture, and will likely bring his ground-and-pound running style back to the Jets. What's ironic is that Sparano will be joining forces with Rex Ryan, whom he clearly disliked during his tenure as the Dolphins' coach.

--Despite the intent to become more of a passing team, the Dolphins averaged 124.2 rushing yards per game, and finished 11th in the NFL in rushing yards per contest.

--RB Reggie Bush averaged 5.0 yards per carry in 2011, which was tied for the seventh highest single-season rushing average in team history. He's tied with Joe Carter, who also averaged 5.0 yards per carry in 1984, and one spot behind the 5.1 yard per carry average Ronnie Brown produced in 2007 before suffering a season-ending ACL injury.

--"Koa Misi is a guy who is going to be a very good player. I'm not willing to give up on him at all," retired Dolphins pass rusher Jason Taylor told WQAM's Joe Rose when asked about Misi, his successor as the team's starting strong-side linebacker.

--Brandon Fields finished the year with career highs in both punting and net punting average, but he also set a team record with his 48.8-yard average, which broke John Kidd's record of 46.3, which was set in 1996. Fields improved on the net punting average record he already owned by producing a 41.1 average in 2011.

QUOTE OF NOTE
"I will say I've met more offensive players this year." -- Pass rusher Cameron Wake when asked if he was covered differently this season, which featured a dropoff from 14 sacks last year, a Pro Bowl season, to 8.5 in 2011.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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