By Jason Cole, Yahoo Sports
July 30, 2006
More Dolphins: Culpepper's comeback trail
DAVIE, Fla. – Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban said he spoke with defensive end Jason Taylor and linebacker Zach Thomas about Taylor's pending divorce from his wife Katina, who is Thomas' sister. The Taylors are attempting to reconcile, but Katina Taylor filed for divorce in March.
Saban said he didn't expect any significant issues in the locker room.
"Those two guys have known each other for a long time and they are both extremely professional," Saban said. "They're going to handle it extremely well."
During the morning practice Saturday, the players seemed to get along well and communicated effectively.
Second-year linebacker Channing Crowder said he expects to blitz a little more this season under Dom Capers, who is technically the special assistant to Saban but is the de facto defensive coordinator.
"Yeah, [Capers] likes that fire-zone stuff," Crowder said, referring to a heavy blitz package. "I'll probably be coming a little more than I did last year."
Saban said one of the things that stuck out when the team scouted rookie wide receiver Derek Hagan was Hagan's speed over a short space. Saban said Hagan had the fastest time among the receivers over 10 yards. That was particularly impressive considering the 6-foot-2 Hagan is a bigger receiver.
Hagan said part of that has been from consistently studying Jerry Rice, the leading receiver in NFL history and the career record holder for touchdowns scored. The third-round pick from Arizona State has not only studied tape of Rice running routes and working out, but he also recently met with Rice for a little inspiration.
The two met before the Fiesta Bowl in January. Hagan said he picked Rice's brain over drills and what to do in certain situations.
"It was great just to hear what he had to say and reinforce some of the things that other people were telling me," Hagan said.
The Dolphins got immediate dividends from their new $9 million practice bubble installed this offseason. It was raining so hard in the first five minutes of their opening practice that the team made a quick dash inside.
Backup quarterback Joey Harrington had a rough first day of practice. He fumbled two snaps, fell down as he pulled away from center on two others and nearly threw an interception in the team portion of practice. Early in practice, Harrington appeared to be concerned about the traction of his cleats on the FieldTurf surface, but he said that wasn't the problem afterward.
Harrington recently went to the World Cup final in Germany between France and Italy won by Italy on penalty kicks. He said he wasn't far from the action when Zinedine Zidane was kicked out for head-butting an Italian player, but he didn't see the incident. Harrington was then asked if he booed after the ejection. Harrington, who took his share of criticism in Detroit, then delivered one of the great dry lines: "I'm not a big booer."
Jason Cole is a national NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Jason a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Monday, Jul 31, 2006 2:58 am, EDT
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