The Miami Dolphins are on the verge of reporting for the 2015 season, with training camp officially opening on Wednesday. While the early focus during training camp will likely be on the guard spots and the position battle that will commence between Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner, and Jamil Douglas for the two starting spots, it might be the status of the left tackle position that is even more critical for the Dolphins.
Branden Albert, a Pro Bowl left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, missed the last seven games of the 2014 season for the Dolphins after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee. The Dolphins need their big 2014 free agent signing to be ready for the season to solidify the offensive line and protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill. According to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, Albert is still on schedule to be ready when the season opens.
In fact, Salguero writes "The hope is he will not be on the physically unable to perform list for the start of camp." If that's the case, Albert will have to pass his physical when players report Wednesday.
"The hope is -- and once we get guys through physicals when they come in in a couple days we'll know more -- but the hope is to move him out of the rehab portion and into the football portion," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin told Salguero Saturday. "And we have to do it in a way that makes sense. It's not going to be first day, every team rep, here we go, let's do an Oklahoma drill and let him and the guys whack people around. That's step one. Getting him out of the rehab mode and into the football practice mode and in the gradual progression of getting back."
Philbin went on to tell Salguero that he is hopeful Albert could see some playing time in the preseason.
The Miami head coach also discussed wide receiver DeVante Parker, who had surgery on his foot in June. Parker is not expected to be ready when camp starts, and could land on the physically unable to perform list, but, according to Philbin, Parker should be ready to make his NFL debut when the season starts. "It's hard to predict if Week One he'll be ready for 30 snaps or 60 snaps," Philbin said to Salguero. "It's hard to put a number on it yet. We're not there yet. He's back in town. Right now he's been working, doing what he can do. And you got to let that stuff heal."
The Dolphins will hold their first public practice of training camp on Thursday at 8am. You can find the team's full training camp schedule here.