As the players warmed up in the practice bubble, getting ready for their second day of training camp, hundreds of fans began piling up the training facility anxiously awaiting their Miami Dolphins to take the field. The crowd erupted once they saw the 90 teal and white uniforms running out of the bubble, and without any quick side drills, coach Joe Philbin dove right in and began his quick paced practice. Let's take a look at how the team performed on this very hot Florida morning.
- Although there aren't any exciting "quarterback battles" this year, it's still great to see all three of our quarterbacks (excluding Aaron Corp) go out there and consistently put 100% of their effort on the field.
- Ryan Tannehill has already convinced me that he's ready for the season. His composure on the field is that of a calmed veteran and he seems to have chemistry with every player on the team. Not only has his composure impressed me, but his accuracy too. Earlier today I talked to Jesse Agler (host of The Finsiders) on how precise Tannehill's throws have gotten. Expect him to cut last year's interception percentage by a little more than half. He even got under the skin of star cornerback, Brent Grimes, simply by putting the ball in places he couldn't reach; hence Mike Wallace's big day. Tannehill also seems to be getting in a nice rhythm with Dustin Keller.
- A couple beat writers mentioned Matt Moore as being the star of today's practice; however I don't know why. The times I saw Moore play today he just seemed a bit sloppy. He fumbled once, threw uncatchable balls, and got deflected twice by unknown corners such as DeAndre Presley. I believe Pat Devlin had a more solid day than him. He threw accurate passes right on the gloves, and even though he had his own share of mistakes, he remained composed and played well, especially when Philbin put him up against the first team defense.
Running Backs/ Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
- Lamar Miller is fast. Very fast. Ultra fast. Miller was cutting through the defense like a slice of cake today. Mind you, there were no pads, but he still put on a little show for the fans to see. Watch for him tomorrow during the first padded practice. He will shine. The other running backs such as Jonas Gray, Daniel Thomas, and Mike Gillislee had decent practices. None truly captured attention. Lastly, on to full backs, Charles Clay had some nice cut route completions with a couple 5 to 6 yard gains. Tomorrow will be a big day for the running backs.
- Mike Wallace will become Ryan Tannehill's favorite target on this team. The man took Chad Johnson's motto, "I'm still open," and actually applied it on the field. Although it was difficult to shake off Brent Grimes, he positioned himself perfectly to where the ball was going, and ended up catching over 9 balls today, most of them being for big gains. Rishard Mathews was also a big performer in today's practice, catching 4 balls for a total of 36 yards and a touchdown on the 11 on 11. Another receiver that caught my attention today was Armon Binns. His ability to shake away from a defender is impressive. As for the Wide Receiver blunders, Marvin McNutt caught a ball on a 10-yard slant route but later fumbled it due to Dimitri Patterson's strip. The tight end, and my star of the day, has to be Dustin Keller. After a rough first practice on Sunday, he came out here and dominated. Keller confused linebackers and corners with his route running and seemed to always be open. His hands in traffic are also very impressive. Michael Egnew also had a nice glimpse of brightness as he caught a 20-yard dart in between three defenders. My expectations towards him are still relatively low. Lastly, rookie Dion Sims has above average blocking skills. I'll like to see what Dan Campbell does with him in the future.
- Today was an up and down day for the offensive line. Jonathan Martin lacked an initial burst all day, causing sacks in return. The guard play was good throughout the day. The right pulls were made to get Lamar Miller into open space; however sometimes the holes were clogged up due to the physical play of the defensive line. In regards to Right Tackle play, Tyson Clabo did a good job keeping Cameron Wake away from the quarterback, especially in the 2-minute drill, but still gave up a couple would-be sacks. Tomorrow will be the day to watch the offensive line. Padded practices are always strong motivators for these players.
- Jeff Darlington tweeted earlier this morning that Brent Grimes might be the steal of the off-season for the Dolphins, and I completely agree. Grimes was everywhere on the field. His lockdown, aggressive play is exactly what this defense has been missing. Alongside Richard Marshall, both players were attacking the ball and leaving no room for mistakes by the quarterback.
- The linebacker core is expected to be a lot more quick and athletic than last year. Players like Koa Misi, Danelle Ellerby, Phillip Wheeler, and Alonzo Highsmith all showed up today, especially Highsmith, who recorded a strip fumble on Matt Moore during the last 11 on 11 drill. Wheeler did have some complications with zone coverage; allowing Mike Wallace to catch a ball over the middle for 25 yards (Brent Grimes was upset.)
- The defensive line was powerful today. I expect them to be one of the best in the league if they remain healthy. Don't expect Dion Jordan to come back in a hurry though. This line is perfectly capable of handling things without him right now, but it will definitely be a nice addition when he comes back healthy.
- Caleb Sturgis made a 37 yarder, missed a 47 yarder, and ended the day with a 48 yarder down the middle.
- Brandon Fields is still awesome
- After a gain of about 6 yards, Jonas Gray stiff-armed rookie corner Don Jones' facemask. Once the play was over with both Gray and Jones gave each other a fist bump and went on with the practice. However, Jimmy Wilson wasn't finished. He began yelling at Jones from the sideline telling him to hit back with fumes coming out of his head.
- At the end of practice, Ryan Tannehill and Brian Hartline did some route work, and a fan began yelling at Hartline from the stands:
Fan: "Hey Hartline!! I guess those wind sprints you did last year worked huh?!"
Fan: "I guess those wind sprints you did last offseason really worked huh?! haha!"
Hartline stares at fan for 5 seconds with a confused face: "No..."
Pictures of Today's Practice:
Brent Grimes upset with Phillip Wheeler eyeing Michael Egnew instead of covering his zone. (Mike Wallace has the ball in the middle)
Jonathan Martin completely disregarding Koa Misi's blitz on the left side
Tannheill throwing the ball to Wallace in the tightest window possible where Brent Grimes, seen about to jump for the ball, can't get it.