First, my apologies on getting the Miami Dolphins OTA Day 1 report out so late tonight. I had some stuff tie me up all night, so I wasn't able to get this put together. But, with that out of the way, let's turn to the Dolphins and actual, on-the-field news.
Obviously, the main topic of discussion today was the start of the Miami quarterback competition. The early (and I mean EARLY) leader is obviously Matt Moore, who took the early first team snaps. New free agent David Garrard shared some of those first team snaps, while rookie Ryan Tannehill worked primarily with the backups.
"Hey, he can spin it. He definitely can throw the ball," Moore said following the practice about Tannehill. "He's quiet right now, but you can tell he's definitely a quality, quality player. I'm looking forward to getting to see him play more."
Tannehill does have an advantage most rookies don't enjoy at the NFL level - coming to a team already knowing the offensive system. At one point during the practice, Tannehill lined up to start a play, only to step back to fix the fact that tight end Michael Egnew was lined up in the wrong position. Garrard pointed out that that kind of situation is odd for a rookie, "[Rookies] usually come in with a question mark on their face and have starry eyes trying to figure out what's going on. But this is the offense he ran in college, or a lot of it. A lot of times he's giving us tips on things."
Meanwhile, Tannehill appreciates the welcome he has received from the veterans as he adjusts to life as an NFL quarterback. "From day one they kind of welcomed me into the quarterback room," he said. "I was kind of wondering how it was going to be walking into that room, but they're great guys."
Head coach Joe Philbin ackonwledged the same professionalism from all of the team's quarterbacks, to include second year player Pat Devlin. "I can't say enough about the professionalism of Matt and David Garrard and Pat Devlin. Those guys have been exceptional," Philbin said. "You watch them on the field they're encouraging one another and they're doing the same with Ryan when Ryan's up. It's impressive to watch and they're pros. They know what the deal is, they know what the stakes are but they're helping one another out and they're eager."
But, not everything was perfect for the Dolphins quarterbacks today. Tannehill was reportedly slow in his drops, as well as his decision making. Today's practice was the first time Tannehill got to experience the speed of an NFL defense.
"It was exciting to really get to work with those guys for the first time," said Tannehill. "We had kind of the walk-thru practices last week where everything was kind of half speed and we were really not going full speed. So it was good to get to throw to those guys for the first time going full speed against our secondary and I was just excited to be on the field."
Tannehill's best pass of the day probably came on a completion to Jeff Fuller. The two former Texas A&M Aggies players showed the anticipation and timing that only comes with chemistry and lots of practice. Tannehill will be looking to develop that with the rest of the Miami receivers this offseason.
Obviously, the quarterbacks weren't the only players on the field today, as the veterans and rookies came together for the first time this year. The offensive line will be another area of emphasis this offseason, as the team looks to improve from last year's poor performance.
All-Pro left tackle Jake Long practiced today, something that did not happen last offseason as Long worked his way back from injury. The line saw Lydon Murtha working at right tackle while rookie Jonathan Martin - who signed his contract with the team earlier today - finished his last quarter of school at Stanford. NFL rules prevent a player from joining a team for OTAs and minicamps (with an exception of the rookie minicamp) before they complete the current semester or quarter at their school. John Jerry found himself working at right guard, clearly establishing himself as the number one at the position, at least for now.
The first OTA of the year for the Dolphins continues tomorrow.
Targets of Opportunity:
- Running back Reggie Bush found himself working as a punt returner on the day, a position he held during his years in New Orleans, but only six times last year with the Dolphins. Joining Bush were wide receiver Davone Bess, running backs Lamar Miller and Marcus Thigpen, and wide receivers Clyde Gates and Rishard Matthews.
- Rookie running back Lamar Miller has several plays where he will line up as a slot receiver. With his speed, he can be a highly effective weapon for the Dolphins from the position. Bush likewise showed up in the slot today.
- B.J. Cunningham scored a touchdown on deflected pass from Tannehill. Safety Jimmy Wilson tipped the pass, only to have Cunningham come down with the ball.
- Cornerback Sean Smith was able to pick off a couple of passes on the day, a step in the right direction for the cornerback entering his final year of his rookie contract.
- Meanwhile, cornerback Vontae Davis reflected on Yeremiah Bell's signing with the New York Jets. "The Jets?" Davis joked. "Come on, why the Jets, Yeremiah Bell?"
- The new 4-3 defense lined up with Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick at the defensive end positions, with Paul Soliai and Randy Starks playing the tackles. Olivier Vernon, Tony McDaniel, and Jamaal Westerman rotated through the line as backups. In the linebacker corps, Karlos Dansby took the middle linebacker role, with Kevin Burnett and Koa Misi playing both outside positions. The secondary found Sean Smith and Richard Marshall at cornerback (Vontae David did not practice for a "minor" injury), while Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones held the starting safety positions.
No other way to describe the pace of Joe Philbin's practices except "breakneck." Fun to watch.— Jesse Agler (@finsjesse) May 22, 2012
Quick pic from today's OTA here in Davie. twitter.com/finsjesse/stat…— Jesse Agler (@finsjesse) May 22, 2012
Links to other recaps from the OTA:
Both practice fields got quite a workout this morning at the Miami Dolphins Training Facility as new Head Coach Joe Philbin had the full 89 players at his disposal for the first time.
Practice Report: Full update from the Miami Dolphins’ first OTA of the 2012 NFL season | The Daily DolphinThe Dolphins just finished their first Organized Team Activity of the offseason, and we’ll have full articles later today about the quarterback competition
Barry Jackson making a rare (in fact, unprecedented) foray into Armando's blog to post a practice update from Tuesday. As usual, I have a lot of Dolphins notes in my Sports Buzz blog - which can be found on the...
In case you missed it, here’s a complete roundup of Dolphins.com’s coverage of the first full-squad organized team activities of the offseason:
Forgive rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill if he looks lost. Since joining the Miami Dolphins, he has been trying to get around town without using a GPS.