The Miami Dolphins have officially started the 2013 season, holding their first practice of training camp yesterday. While it's just the first day, there is plenty of excitement around the team this year, with fans starting to believe the decade of misery has a light at the end of the tunnel.
That hope led 2,700 fans to attend yesterday's practice, with 200 fans having standing room only tickets. The team once again split between the two practice fields, and ran simultaneous workouts, with everyone trying to shake off the rust, as well as build chemistry with all the new faces in Davie.
Clearly, the team looked to make an impression early, when the first play of the practice featured an overthrow from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to new wide receiver Mike Wallace, who had beaten coverage down the field. The team catered to the fans on that play, and, unfortunately, it did not connect. Then, the workout got down to the actual work.
Here's a look at what happened throughout the day.
- Randy Starks was regulated to the second team during most of the day, with the team continuing to pair Paul Soliai with Jared Odrick on the first team (Starks started the day with the first team, before Odrick took over). Part of that could be the team wanting to bring Starks along slowly after he skipped all of the voluntary offseason workouts, but it could also be a sign that Odrick will move inside this year, leaving Olivier Vernon and Dion Jordan to fight for the right defensive end.
- Jordan was the only player who did not practice on the day, being added to the Non-Football Injury list yesterday morning. The move really does nothing to Jordan's preparation for the season, as the team can remove him from the list at any point. Jordan had to have shoulder surgery after the NFL Scouting Combine, and is yet to be cleared for full practices. On the NFI list, Jordan can attend all positionalmeetings and film work, he just cannot practice with the team.
- During the OTAs and minicamps, the team also had Dallas Thomas, Lance Louis, and Jamar Taylor doing rehab work. All three practiced yesterday, though observations of Louis stated he clearly was not 100%.
- The practice featured several dropped passes throughout the day. Not really a surprise, given it is the first day of training camp, and players have to shake off the rust.
- The receiver with the best day was waiver claim Marvin McNutt, who hauled in five passes on the day. He already seems to have built a chemistry with second string quarterback Matt Moore. The question is, will that transition to being good with Tannehill throwing him the ball, or will he disappear like Legedu Naanee did last year?
- Running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas were both explosive through the hole on Sunday, being decisive and showing quickness. For Thomas, that's a huge step in the right direction. Of course, Sunday's practice was without pads, so we will have to wait to see if that continues once the practices get more physical.
- One position to watch early in camp is the fullback position. The team backed away from free agent Vonta Leach last week, and will now rely on Jorvorskie Lane and the team's H-backs/tight ends to fill in that role. From practice on Sunday, that might be okay, with Dustin Keller, Charles Clay, Dion Sims, and Evan Rodriguez all serving as a lead blocker on running plays at times.
- The missing tight end from that group was Michael Egnew. The much maligned third round pick from last year worked with the third and fourth teams on the far field on Sunday. That could simply be a move to get him reps, with Keller the starter, Clay working as the primary h-back, and Sims getting reps as a rookie, and as the primary blocking tight end. But, it could also be a sign of just how close to the roster bubble Egnew could be.
- Cornerback Brent Grimes, who is returning to football following a torn Achilles, received rave reviews, continuing a trend from the offseason training program. Grimes did not wear a brace or tape on his ankle, and was clearly the dominant member of the secondary yesterday.
- Vernon recorded two sacks, beating the left tackle on both of those. However, it was not against Jonathan Martin, who had a clean and unremarkable day - exactly what you want from a lineman in training camp - but rather against Jeff Adams.
- Much like we saw last year with the rotation of quarterbacks with the first team, the two kickers on the roster will rotate days this year. Sunday was Dan Carpenter's day, and the veteran when 10-for-10 on the day, kicking from as far out as 49-yards. Rookie Caleb Sturgis will get his first day to kick on Monday.
Press Conference Quotes
- "Right now, the main thing is just to take care of my body, make sure I'm healthy so when I get out there I'm able to help the team. That's my main thing and I can't do it if I'm not 100 percent, so I'm going to take care of my body and make sure I'm ready to go." - Dion Jordan
- "I just hope the young guys take advantage of this system the way Philbin structures his practices because it's really priceless at the end of the day. Reps are very precious and the way he structures his practices allows people to make a name for themselves. That's not a league-round deal." - Dimitri Patterson
- "It wasn't our cleanest day. We definitely have some rust we have to knock off." - Ryan Tannehill
- "I saw it was packed and it looked like it was a full house. I saw people standing around on the bottom so in my mind standing room only, that's definitely exciting. It makes you want to go out there even more and lay for these fans. They support us every time we go out on that field and we definitely want to get our feet going in the right direction for them." - Cameron Wake
- "I'm not really here trying to haze anybody or do anything to make anybody feel uncomfortable. As long as they bring some snacks, I'm good." - Mike Wallace
- "No." - Joe Philbin on if he is concerned about missed practice time for Dion Jordan
- "It's not just me, all these guys are working hard and working to win, nobody stays on top forever, and the underdog will have his day, and I feel like we're a underdog right now, it's a new season and only time will tell." - Dannell Ellerbe
- "Do whatever I have to do to help this team, we have high expectations and high goals not only for myself but for the defensive side, for the offensive side, and also for special teams so as a unit, and as a team, we understand that we have to really exceed our own expectations so we can be out there and have a better season than last." - Dion Jordan on his rookie expectations
- "I'm not the million dollar baby, I'm a rookie on this football team and that's how I'm going to treat it." - Dion Jordan on being a "million-dollar baby"
- "This is the biggest time of the year to grow, I think. It's crunch time. It's time to make a move and get better now. You are out here every day, so you can really build on what you did the day before. You are completely locked into football. There is nothing else going on. You are up here for 14, 15, 16 hours a day. It's all a matter of utilizing that time, getting the best out of it and not making the same mistake twice as you move forward." - Ryan Tannehill
- "No matter what you do in the offseason, once you get back to training camp you have to catch up a little bit. But I think with Ryan we will be on the same page soon. I think he has a great work ethic and wants to be great." - Mike Wallace
Next Public Practice
- Monday, July 22 at 8am ET - Doctors Hospital Training Facility, Nova Southeastern University, Davie