The 2011 Miami Dolphins training camp continued on Sunday, with the Dolphins hitting the fields in pads for the first time. Also hitting the field for the first time was the Dolphins newly signed first round draft choice, center Mike Pouncey.
And, the Dolphins wasted no time in getting Pouncey into practice. Immediately placed as the first team center, Pouncey was asked, not only to snap the ball to quarterback Chad Henne, but to do it while facing the Dolphins' franchise tagged nose tackle, Paul Soliai.
"He was pretty good. We both talked today about just giving each other a good luck and just coming out hard," said Soliai. "There are a lot of days left so we’ll just see how he progresses."
Even head coach Tony Sparano took note of Pouncey, saying ,"It was a good thing that he's played in the Florida heat, because he took a lot of snaps out there today, which was good. My impressions right away … there's so many natural things that he did today in practice that made him stand out.
"His awareness in there was good. There was a lot of stuff happening in there with games and we had third-down pressures coming at us and he really didn’t know any of this. This guy came into the meeting room here this morning and did a super job I thought of handling that. So that’s just good football awareness of a smart player. You could see the athlete but the way he reacted to some of those things that were happening today was good."
Pouncey's performance wasn't the only one of note on Sunday. Quarterback Chad Henne seemed to get into a rhythm, spreading the ball around and hitting his receivers routinely. The quarterback success spread down to Tom Brandstater as well, who threw several nice passes during the workout, getting on the same page with rookie tight end Brett Brackett.
But, the real standout performance of the day seemed to belong to that player across the ball from Pouncey. Soliai seemed to push around anyone and everyone during the day, working to prove the Dolphins spent their money well when placing that franchise tag on him.
After the practice, Coach Sparano confirmed a rumor spreading across the Twitter-verse Sunday. All-Pro left tackle Jake Long was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list; however, Sparano stressed that it was purely a precautionary move, and Long was expected to be ready for Week 1's Monday night matchup with the New England Patriots. Although, if Long is not removed from the PUP list by that Week 1 game, he would be forced to sit out the first six weeks of the season, missing the Dolphins first five games.
Training Camp continues on Monday with a special event. The Dolphins are scheduled to practice and scrimmage in Sun Life Stadium at 7:30pm. To add to the excitement, the Dolphins announced yesterday that the first 1,000 fans to enter the stadium receive two free tickets to the Dolphins August 19 preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. And, as always, if you go to the event tonight, please feel free to FanPost about it afterwards.