Miami Dolphins Training Camp Primer

USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins open training camp this weekend, with the players reporting tomorrow and the first practice on Sunday. Here’s a look at the scheduled public practices, as well as some of the things you should do or can expect each day.

The 2013 NFL season officially begins for the Miami Dolphins tomorrow, when the veterans and rookies report for training camp. The team will receive everyone tomorrow, conducting physicals, workouts, getting everyone checked into their rooms, and all of the administrative things that go into starting training camp. Then, they will hit the practice fields for the first time on Sunday.

As in previous seasons, the team will hold a series of practices open to the public throughout camp. These practices are all free, however, they do require a ticket starting this year. You can go over to the Dolphins' website (www.dolphins.com/trainingcamp) to reserve your tickets. There are 2,000 tickets available for each practice session.

The schedule for each practice is listed on the side. Here are some recommendations and things to expect heading into training camp:

  • Location - All of the practices, except the July 29 scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium, will take place at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. Parking is available at the Nova Southeastern University Medical School garage, located at the intersection of University Drive and SW 30th Street.
  • Start times - The practice's start time is not the time you will see the team. That's the actual start to practice. Practices will begin in the practice bubble, where the team will stretch and conduct a walk through of the day's practice. This portion of practice is not open to the public. The team will hit the practice fields approximately 40 minutes after the posted start time of the practice. However, you still need to plan to be there at the posted start time to make sure you claim the bleacher spot you want.
  • Sunscreen/Water - Bring it. There is no excuse for not bringing both. You are in South Florida, in July and August. In case you have not noticed this, South Florida in July and August is a little warm. Protect yourself. Getting the worst sunburn of your life, or leaving the practice dehydrated or in an ambulance, could ruin a good day of getting to watch training camp. On this note, don't wear black to the practices either (there's a reason the Dolphins wear white at home).
  • Binoculars - While not potentially lifesaving, a pair of binoculars could be just as important to you when you are at the practices. The Dolphins have two fields, which, I believe, are now perpendicular to the bleachers (rather than a near field and a far field as in previous training camps). This means, half the team is going to be practicing 100 yards away from you. You're going to want binoculars to be able to see what's happening.
  • Autographs - Not every player signs every day. Typically a position group comes over to the public area after practice each day. The exception is the first day, where the majority of the players will sign autographs. If you are not there on Sunday, however, don't expect to see every member of the team whichever day you head to Davie.
  • Weather - Other than the heat, the other thing a South Florida training camp guarantees is rain. If it is raining, the team will hold the entire practice in the practice bubble, and out of the view of the public. To keep up with the status of practice - and to make sure start times have not changed - you can call the Dolphins' practice hotline at (954) 452-7004 or the team's training camp website The team will also use the hashtag #FinsCamp on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine to keep fans informed of any changes.
  • Pads/Hitting/Two-a-Days - The Collective Bargaining Agreement is very specific in what can and cannot be conducted during training camp. Here's the exact wording from the CBA:

Article 23: Preseason Training Camps
Section 6: Conduct of Practices:

(a) The first day of a Club's preseason training camp shall be limited to physical examinations, meetings, and classroom instruction; no on-field activities shall be permitted other than running and conditioning. No contact shall be permitted and no pads shall be worn during the second and third days of Preseason Training Camp. Thereafter, two-a-day practices shall b e permitted, subject to the following rules: (i) players may be on the field for a total of no more than four hours per day; (ii) players may participate in no more than one padded practice per day, which shall be no longer than three hours of on-field activities; (iii) there must be at least a three hour break after the practice; and (iv) the second practice on the same day may only be for a maximum of the remaining available on-field time, and shall be limited to only "walk-through" instruction (i.e., no helmets, full-speed pre-snap, and walking pace after the snap). The three-hour limit on padded practices shall begin as soon as position coaches begin to coach players on the field. The definition of a "padded practice" under this Article shall be the same as the definition used for regular season practices in Article 24, Section l (c) of this Agreement. In the event that a Club begins a padded practice but such practice is cancelled within sixty minutes of its commencement due to inclement weather or for any other reason beyond the Club's control, such practice shall not count as a padded practice under this Article or Article 24.

(b) Notwithstanding the foregoing, or anything in Article 24, it shall not be a violation of any provision of this Agreement pertaining to the prohibition or limitation on wearing of helmets or shoulder pads, nor shall it constitute a "padded practice," if: (i) quarterbacks, kickers, punters, and/or long-snappers only wear helmets and/or shoulder pads during practice at the option of the player; (ii) a player who, because of a head injury, is directed by the Club physician to wear a helmet as a precautionary measure at all practices; or (iii) the quarterback and/or the defensive player who receives signals from the coaching staff via helmet communication wear helmets during the team period in which helmets are used for such communication.

And, for reference:

Article 24: Regular Season and Postseason Practices
Section 1: Practice Rules

(c) For purposes of this Article and Article 23, a "padded practice" shall be defined as a practice in which players are required to wear helmets and shoulder pads, in addition to any other equipment required by the Club, subject to the exceptions set forth in Article 23, Section 6(b).

Of course, the Phinsider will have all of your camp coverage throughout the process leading up to the August 4th Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys, and on to the regular season.

Thank goodness, the NFL is back in session.

[UPDATE:]

More Dolphins Coverage:

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