The long wait is finally over. The Miami Dolphins kicked off training camp on Sunday in front of over 3,000 fans at the team's training facility in Davie. The heat and humidity didn't prevent fans from coming out in force to get their first crack at seeing the 2009 Dolphins prepare for their upcoming division title defense.
The practice wasn't necessarily crisp - but first practices rarely are. However, there's still plenty to talk about.
SURPRISE! MURPHY EARLY FRONT-RUNNER FOR RG SPOT
I suppose the most surprising news to come out of day one of camp is that second-year guard Shawn Murphy worked with the first-team offense for most of the session at the open right guard spot. Murphy was inactive for all 16 games last season. But he has clearly improved a lot this offseason and has impressed Tony Sparano. Sparano said that the starting right guard spot "is his job to lose." Sparano added:
"If you (asked) me to name two or three players who improved most in the spring, I think Murphy was one of them. I was impressed with what he did - as impressed as you could be with what a lineman does in helmets and T-shirts."
But the competition for the starting job is obviously far from over. Donald Thomas continues to recover from his offseason injury and, though he isn't 100%, he did get in some work. Ike Ndukwe also figures to get some time working at right guard as well. But the recent development of Murphy being the favorite to start at right guard is certainly a surprise to everyone.
It'll be interesting to see how Murphy - as well as the others battling - handles the situation now that the workd knows Shawn is the early favorite to start.
PATRICK TURNER CONTINUES TO IMPRESS, CAMARILLO AND LONDON MAKING PLAYS TOO
The Dolphins were heavily criticized by the "draft experts" in the media for selecting USC WR Patrick Turner in round three. But teammates raved about Turner's ability during OTAs and minicamp. That momentum has seemed to carry over to training camp. Turner reportedly continued to catch everything that was thrown to him - including a screen pass in which the 6'5 Turner showed some agility in getting by veteran corner Eric Green.
Meanwhile, Brandon London - who is in a fight to keep his roste spot - made what many called the play of the day when he out-jumped cornerback Nate Jones to make a "juggling" 30+ yard catch from Chad Henne. Afterwards, London referred to the play as "one of the plays I have to make. Anytime a ball like that goes up in the air, I've got to be the guy that comes down with it."
Greg Camarillo seems to be back to full speed. He participated in all the drills during the session and had no visible protection on the knee he tore up last season. Camarillo lined up as the starter opposite Ted Ginn and even made one of the day's best catches - snagging a pass from Chad Henne that was thrown behind him. And Chad Pennington calls Greg's comeback from his knee injury "unbelievable."
QUOTE OF THE DAY
The quote of the day from Sunday comes courtesy of Edgar Thompson's Twitter page. Channing Crowder was asked about what has changed with Tony Sparano between last season - as a rookie head coach - to this season. Crowder responded:
"Nothing. He doesn't give a damn what happened last year. I think he forgot."
- Tony Sparano reiterated that Chad Pennington remains his quarterback. What's more surprising that Pennington has reportedly improved his arm strength a little bit this offseason.
- Justin Smiley says he feels 100%. Then he talks about how good this offensive line can potentially be.
- Jason Taylor felt the love from the 3,000+ fans in attendance on Sunday.
- Matt Roth was supposedly on the PUP list right now because of an "illness" according to the Dolphins. But Drew Rosenhaus is saying that Roth actually has a strained groin and will have more tests tomorrow. Jason Taylor worked at the starting strongside linebacker position on Sunday.
- Dan Carpenter was on fire today, making seven straight field goals during one drill with an oncoming rush.
- Phillip Merling is lining up with the 1st team opposite Kendall Langford at DE. Lionel Dotson and Randy Starks are working with the 2nd team.
- Eric Green spent the day as the starting corner on the other side of Will Allen. Vontae Davis and Sean Smith were paired on the 2nd unit.
- Cameron Wake didn't flash at all. He was actually "neutralized" by rookie Andrew Gardner a couple of times, according to Omar Kelly.
- Pat White looked better and more relaxed than he did during OTAs. But he still has a lot of room to improve based on the numerous practice reports.
- Tony Sparano plans on getting Chad Henne a lot of work during the preseason - as we already knew. He wants to see how he handles various in-game situations. But this still remains CP's team...for now.
- Chad Henne's arm may have gotten even stronger - that or he is more confident. His throws reportedly have even more zip on them.
- Final play of the day was a 'Wildcat' play with Ronnie Brown taking the snap and keeping it. It's believed that most of the "new Wildcat" offense will not be practiced in front of fans and media.
The Dolphins have two practices tomorrow. The first is at 9 am followed by a 5 pm practice. I'll have an open thread up for discussion of the two practice sessions.