For the first time since defeating the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night, the Miami Dolphins opened the doors to the public at the practice field on Monday. Although there was a lot of success on defense during the day, the major concern from the Falcons game, the performance of the offensive line, continued during the practice.
The defensive line and linebackers abused the offensive line yesterday. No kind way to put it. It was so bad that rookie center Mike Pouncey actually had to stop and rest after being hit by nose tackle Paul Soliai. Soliai wasn't done beating up on rookies, though. Later in the day, the team's franchise player hit running back Daniel Thomas hard enough to pop the rookie's helmet off during the tackle.
But the defensive line was not the only ones to perform on Monday. Linebacker Jason Taylor returned to his former Dolphins form, playing like a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Replacing fellow linebacker Koa Misi, who was held out of practice, Taylor played with the first team on Monday, and made an impression. The South Florida Sun Sentinel's Andrew Carter said of Taylor:
"[He] might be the elder statesman of the locker room, but he looked like a younger man during practice on Monday. Taylor was an active presence while he worked the majority of the day with the first team."
The defensive front seven was not the only noteworthy happening at practice yesterday, however. As the team worked on punt returns, with wide receiver Phillip Livas being held out with a sore hamstring, wide out Clyde Gates shared the return duties with running back Reggie Bush.
When asked about Bush's presence during the punt return workout, Head Coach Tony Sparano replied:
"I'm still trying to sort out the two young guys [Gates and Livas] in my head here a little bit. But, we wanted [Bush] to catch some today because, down the road, that's something that, I mentioned before, we could ask him to do that."
In his career with the New Orleans Saints, Bush returned 92 punts for an average of 7.8 yards per return, finsing the endzone on 4 of those. Just as a reference point, Chicago Bears punt returner Devin Hester led the league in punt return average last year, at 17.1 yards per return. He also had a league high 3 punt return touchdowns.
The Dolphins had the eighth highest punt return average player in Davone Bess last year, averaging 11.4 yards per return.
Miami once again hits the practice field on Tuesday. Head over to the Nova Southeastern University Dolphins' Training Facility for the 11am open practice if you can, and let us know what you see.