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Starks joins Dolphins, works with backups

The SportsXchange

DAVIE, Fla. -- Defensive tackle Randy Starks, who didn't participate in the Miami Dolphins' voluntary OTAs, showed up for Tuesday's mandatory minicamp.

Starks, who signed the team's franchise player tender for $8.45 million this season, missed OTAs because he was upset the Dolphins haven't offered a multiyear deal.

"I felt real good," Starks said. "I missed these guys. I'm just happy to be out here and get the season started."

Interestingly, Starks, who played in this year's Pro Bowl after initially being named an alternate, didn't practice with either the first- or second-team defense on Tuesday. The Dolphins kept Paul Soliai and Jared Odrick as the first-team tackles with Martin Vaughn and Kheeston Randall on second team.

Philbin downplayed questions about Starks' position on the depth chart.

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

--Second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill's biggest improvement so far has been his recognition of defenses, according to offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

"He can see the safety start to creep up or lean a certain way, or a linebacker, his depth from the line of scrimmage from the heels of his defensive linemen in determining whether we turn and protect there or do we go the other way because that guy's in coverage," Sherman said.

"I think (he's got) more recognition of defenses even more so than what we're doing on offense. We threw the book at him last year in hopes we'd get to a point like where we are right now. Now he's just focusing not so much on the offense but on the defense."

--Defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan, the first-round pick from Oregon, was the only player who didn't attend minicamp.

NFL rules prohibit Jordan from participating until Oregon's academic year is over. The school's website shows final exams conclude Friday, two days after minicamp concludes. Jordan wouldn't have participated in practice because he's recovering from shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Guard Lance Louis (knee), the free-agent signee from Chicago, and rookie cornerback Jamar Taylor (hernia), the second-round pick from Boise State, didn't practice. Both are expected to be ready for training camp.

Left tackle Dallas Thomas, the third-round pick from Tennessee, practiced but it's unclear whether he was full speed or limited. Thomas is recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum. He began practicing on a limited basis during the last OTA.
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