The Miami Dolphins held their first day of practice during the 2012 training camp, with fans, coaches, and players all excited to get back to the team's facilities. These practices truly mark the beginning of the Joe Philbin era in Miami, as the team, and the fans, look to put the Tony Sparano era, and three straight losing seasons, behind them.
Yesterday at training camp, the 2,000 seats at the team's training facility on the campus of Nova Southeastern University were filled to capacity.
"Oh my God, so excited, so stoked," said Lee Colavecchio, a Dolphins season ticket holder, told Sean Logan from MiamiDolphins.com. "I love my section up in 430. We've got a great group of people, regulars. Everybody knows each other. It's such a good environment up there. Even though we're up in the nosebleeds, it's just great. I wouldn't change it even if I could."
Of course, it's the on the field action that interests the fans the most. The Dolphins' practices featured Matt Moore taking the majority of the first team snaps throughout the day. The team rank two offenses throughout the practice, allowing Moore, David Garrard, and Pat Devlin to all get maximum work throughout the day.
Garrard had the better practice, according to reports, while Devlin also was noted for connecting on two touchdown passes.
After practice, Moore acknowledged that him working with the first team did not have any significant meaning. He said Garrard would work with the starters on Saturday. The team rotated the first team work between Moore and Garrard throughout OTA and minicamps this offseason.'
Meanwhile, the quarterback that was not at practice yesterday got most of the attention. Rookie Ryan Tannehill officially became a holdout from camp this morning. Miami and Tannehill have not yet come to terms on a contact agreement, and without that deal, Tannehill will continue to miss practices that could affect whether or not the rookie can win the starting job this year.
"It's disappointing when you don't have all your players in, regardless of who it is," general manager Jeff Ireland told reporters after practice. "You want to have all your players out there. Things are progressing and we're going to keep communicating until we get this thing done."
Garrard discussed Tannehill's absence as well, but took not of Tannehill's familiarity with the Miami offense. "If he was any other rookie that didn't know the offense, it would be definitely tough on him," Garrard said. "But he knows most of the offense, and I think just not being out here with the guys is probably the toughest thing for him."
Tannehill played under Miami offensive coordinator Mike Sherman when the two were together at Texas A&M. Sherman was the Aggies head coach, while Tannehill played both wide receiver and quarterback under Sherman.
The offensive line welcomed new teammate Eric Steinback on Monday. Steinbach, who sat out all of last year due to a back injury, worked out as a left guard, while converted tackle Artis Hicks and backup tackle John Jerry worked at the right tackle position.
While the team worked hard under the South Florida sun, one of the other major news stories from the day involved the defensive line. More specifically, the rookie defensive lineman. The NFL's traditional rookie hazing saw all of the linemen come out to practice with freshly dyed hair. Each rookie was given a patchwork of blond hair, and were directed to leave their hair that way until the veterans gave them permission to change it.
Middle linebacker Karlos Dansby informed the media that tomorrow, the rookie linebackers would face some sort of rite-of-passage.
Maybe the most important part of every day during training camp is the after practice injury report. Safety Chris Clemons injured his leg during practice, and was noticeably limping after practice. Wide receiver Brian Hartline was clearly not up to full speed yest, following offseason appendectomy surgery. Finally, CFL transplant Jerome Messam was the only player to not particiapte in practice, as he recovers from an ACL injury and surgery.
Following practice, defensive end Cameron Wake made the quote of the day, clearly expressing the feelings of the entire team and fanbase:
"It's time to change. Everyone is tired of being mediocre."
This morning's practice is again open to the public starting at 8:40 am Eastern at the team's facilities.