The Dolphins are now three days (and five practices) into their 2009 training camp - and tempers finally flared up. It's only a matter of time until these minor incidents happen. And that time came on Tuesday.
There were two practices today and most of the day's key information is below. One thing I won't bring up again is the Matt Roth situation. That's because there's nothing new to discuss at this point. You can click here for the latest on his saga - which will now be dubbed as "Groin-Gate."
THINGS ARE GETTING CHIPPY
For the first time during the '09 training camp, tempers flared a bit on Tuesday and some players got into minor scuffles. The most notable of the scuffles was between two starters - Channing Crowder and Shawn Murphy. All they did was exchange some words and a few shoves. But that's still something, I suppose.
Later in practice, Tearrius George and Nate Garner got involved with each other. This one seems like it was a little more violent, with George actually shoving Garner hard enough to nearly knock the big man off his feet.
But there was also some physical play involving football as well. Jason Allen hammered Patrick Cobbs and caused a fumble, knocking Cobbs to the ground. Will Billingsley took out receiver Chris Williams as he attempted to run an out. And Akin Ayodele laid out Ricky Williams.
Vontae Davis also committed an obvious facemask on Ted Ginn during a punt return drill and, according to the Palm Beach Post, "acted as if he didn't want to let go."
Afterwards, Crowder spoke about the "chippiness" that took place on Wednesday:
"Just goofier people. Training camp is training camp. I don’t know why they’re falling down. Usually the same guys fall down because they’re sloppy and they didn’t maintain their weight their whole life. ... Overweight guys - their legs get tired and they start grabbing you and pulling you to the ground and laying on your legs and taking little leg pushes because they’re mad I’m sexy. I don’t care. They get upset and start pushing. You’ll get a little slap, a little extra shove, but it's no big deal. We all love each other."
You got to love Channing and his explanation, right?
In all seriousness, though, this is no big deal. If anything, it's nice to see on occasion. Many of these guys on the field are playing for their starting jobs or their roster spots. Things are going to get heated every once in a while. In fact, I'd say it's a good sign - assuming these things don't occur regularly. I just think it's already getting to that point where these guys want to play "real" football and hit somebody. For them, just like us, August 17 cannot get here soon enough.
PASSING GAME GETTING IN SYNC
Generally, when camp begins, the defense is always ahead of the offense. Some will say that's because of the "chemistry" that has to develop on offense. I think it's more accurate to say the timing between the quarterbacks and receivers has to materialize. Five practices in and it's starting to look like that is beginning to happen.
The morning practice was highlighted by two catches. One saw Ted Ginn make a fingertip catch in the back of the endzone on a ball thrown by Chad Pennington. The other was courtesy of Brian Hartline, who made a leaping catch over fellow rookie Sean Smith - also on a ball thrown by CP.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Brandon London had another solid day, making a number of catches. He also got by Eric Green by "several steps" - according to one report - but the pass from Pat White was underthrown.
Ted Ginn also continues to impress onlookers with his route running. The Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly said Ginn "was running really crisp routes and getting open." He even beat Will Allen, who has been outstanding so far, on a 40 yard post - but just couldn't make the catch. However, hands were never Ginn's problem. Getting open consistently has been - and Ginn seems to have improved in that area.
Meanwhile Greg Camarillo and Davone Bess continue to be their steady selves. Camarillo showed how crisp route-running can be enough to beat a faster cornerback when he beat Vontae Davis on a crisp out route. The best compliement for Camarillo on Tuesday came from Armando Salguero, who wrote:
Brian Hartline had a drop during team drills while Greg Camarillo (old faithful) continues to make himself available for Pennington whenever the QB is in trouble. If Pennington is out of the pocket, he's looking for Camarillo. I would not be surprised -- and neither should you -- if after all the talk of Ted Ginn and Patrick Turner this offseason, it is Camarillo that leads the team in receptions.
Bess has seen most of his work as the slot receiver with Ginn and Camarillo on the outside. I suspect that's how he'll be used most. People like to group Camarillo in with Bess by referring to both as good slot receivers. But Camarillo is 6'1 and much more versatile than Bess. His lack of great height is made up for by his quickness and reliable hands - making him ideal for the slot. Greg, on the other hand, has the route-running ability to work the middle of the field - but also possesses the height and play-making ability to work the outside.
And just on a side note, Anthony Armstrong remains rather quiet now after five practices. I know many of you were on his bandwagon. But in another week or so, if he doesn't flash at all, you might want to find another wagon to ride.
Lots of other tidbits from camp on Tuesday:
- Ronnie Brown has looked "fast and powerful" while Ricky Williams might be in the best shape of his career. While I love Ricky and all, I must say I hope Brown gets more touches than last season.
- There's hasn't been too much on the play of Chad Pennington and Chad Henne - at least compared to the play-by-play we've received in years past about the QBs. I'd imagine that's because we know what we're going t o get from CP and we'll get to see a lot of Henne in the preseason.
- Will Allen has been getting praised by the media since camp began and he already has three interceptions. And Tony Sparano on Tuesday confirmed that Allen has been impressive, saying "he's looked very sharp."
- Sean Smith and Vontae Davis both seem to have their positive moments every practice session. But Eric Green is still keeping his hold on the starting job - for now. Look for the rookies to get a shot to work with the starters by next week. I'm not saying they'll stick with the starters - but they'll get their chance.
- Haven't heard Anthony Fasano's name much until today. The PBP said "Fasano has looked good all week."
- Tony McDaniel got some work today with the first team defense at defensive end. Meanwhile, Randy Starks remains working with the second team. But I'd imagine it's only a matter of time until he gets rotated in with the starters for a practice.
- Shawn Murphy continues to hold down the starting RG spot. That's now five practices in a row for the youngster.
- Lionel Dotson got "excellent push up the middle a number of times" according to the PBP.
- Pat White looks better than he did during OTAs - but still has a long way to go according to most reports.
- Jason Allen had a nice pass breakup on a throw intended for Anthony Armstrong. But a few plays later, according to the Sun-Sentinel, Allen was beat deep by Chris Williams.
Just one practice tomorrow, scheduled for 2 pm. Tony Sparano also announced that Saturday's practice would feature a "stand-up scrimmage" that will last between 90 and 115 plays. He hopes to see the stands filled like last weekend. So get out there if you can this weekend.