Though the Miami Dolphins have two more practices left before their six weeks of vacation, the team held their final organized team activity that is open to the media on Wednesday. And while these OTAs are non-contact and it's hard to really get anything from these practices, it's the closest thing to actual football we have until things get real late next month.
So here are some of the highlights from Wednesday's events.
Marshall participates...sort of
We still don't know if new Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall will be ready to fully participate once training camp opens. But for the first time in his brief time in Miami, Marshall was seen by the media out on the practice field in his Dolphins jersey - which will definitely be number 19, as we learned yesterday. He wasn't doing much - only participating in individual drills, running routes and catching some balls from Chad Henne. But still, it's a start.
Afterward, Marshall spoke with the media and talked about how it still felt good to be out there with his new teammates:
"It feels good, it makes you feel part of the team. When you're on the sideline, just watching, getting mental reps, it kind of [stinks] a little bit."
"I'm the type of guy I want to be out there, especially being in a new environment, being around a bunch of guys who aren't familiar with me. So, it's important for me to get out there and do something to show I'm here and what I'm capable of doing."
Tony Sparano confirmed that Marshall was actually looking to get out on the field earlier than today but was held back for precautions. But "today we got the green light." It's probably not a coincidence that Marshall was out there on a day when the media was allowed to attend the session.
So will he be ready for training camp? Nobody is making any commitments right now. But Marshall did say that he's "a little bit ahead of schedule." He refrained from speaking about his recovery, though, citing team "protocol."
Ronnie sits out after having screw removed
As the practice got underway on Wednesday, Twitter was abuzz over Ronnie Brown not participating in the session despite participating fully in all of the other OTAs and mini-camp practices that were open to the public. Some wondered if Ronnie had a set back.
Well he didn't.
What Brown did have was a recent procedure - that was planned - to have one of the two screws put in his foot removed. The other screw will remain permanently. Brown confirmed that he didn't suffer a set back and there's no pain:
"It was precautionary. There's no soreness or any of that. The doctor told me to take two weeks off."
I'm no doctor but this seems like a non-issue. Brown just can't run for two weeks while the small hole in his foot where the screw was heals up. And now is as good a time as any to go through this. The team will be off for six weeks after next week's final OTAs, which will give Brown more than enough time to rest up and prepare for training camp.
Quick hits from Wednesday
Some quick thoughts from the various OTA reports courtesy of the South Florida media:
- Cameron Wake was working as a starting outside linebacker for just the second time (of the practices that the media got to attend), paired with rookie Koa Misi. That's the duo that all Dolphin fans will be hoping win the starting jobs when week one rolls around. But nothing will be handed to any of these guys - they'll have to earn it. But it was at least a glimpse into the future - hopefully.
- Tony Sparano praised how accurate Chad Henne has been, saying he's completed 75% of his passes during these offseason practices. That's proof of not just improved accuracy but also improved decision making. Good sign.
- Sparano also spoke about how the defensive mindset is changing. They don't just want turnovers now from the defense - they want points. That's why Vontae Davis was seen lateraling the football to Sean Smith after an interception. That wasn't just an accident - those kinds of things are now being emphasized. I just hope the players are very smart about taking any chances by lateraling in an actual game. Sparano did warn, though, that this philosophy could change depending on what happens, telling the media, "We’ll see how it carries over into games and whether or not I’m fired up about it."
- Channing Crowder was back on the field fully participating, working as the other starting inside linebacker next to Karlos Dansby. Say what you want about Channing, but Sparano loves him and he will be the starter assuming he progresses without a setback from his foot injury. I think Crowder would really have to struggle in the regular season for Tim Dobbins to steal his job.
- Chris Clemons continues to work as the starting free safety. And when asked about O.J. Atogwe, who remains a free agent, Sparano continues to stress that he's "just happy with the guys that we have out here right now. Really am."
- So how is the learning process going as players adjust to Mike Nolan's defense? So far, so good. "You can see us playing a little faster," Sparano said. "The mental errors at the start of camp to where we are now, it’s not even close."