We are officially back in football season as the Miami Dolphins took the field for the first time in their 2015 training camp. The team started the day with their normal warm ups and stretching in the practice bubble, then headed outside to the practice fields.
The team had perfect attendance for their first practice, including rookie wide receiver DeVante Parker, who starts the year on the physically unable to perform list following foot surgery in June. Left tackle Branden Albert, who tore the ACL and MCL in his knee in the middle of the 2014 season, was able to avoid the PUP list and was working with the team during warmups, though he is not yet at 100-percent and left with trainers for the main portion of practice.
The team comes into this year's training camp with a couple of question marks over key positions. Both the starting left and right guard spots are up for grabs, with Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner beginning the day with the starting lineup. Later in the morning, rookie Jamil Douglas replaced Thomas in the starting lineup as the team looks to find the right offensive line combination heading into the regular season. The two players rotated the reps with the first-team throughout the practice, with Jeff Linkenbach rotating some reps away from Thomas at right guard. At linebacker, where it had been assumed Koa Misi would begin the season at middle linebacker, the position he played last year, with Chris McCain leading the battle for the starting strong-side linebacker, instead saw Misi begin on the strong-side and Kelvin Sheppard start in the middle. That quickly changed as the team drills began, with Misi moving back to the middle linebacker position. The second team linebackers appear to be Jordan Tripp (weak-side), Sheppard (middle), and Spencer Paysinger (strong-side).
Another interesting battle to watch this year will be the starting cornerback opposite Brent Grimes. Third year cornerback Jamar Taylor began training camp taking the first team snaps. Taylor was beat on a few plays in the middle of practice, but also made some nice breakups during the day.p>
Kicker Caleb Sturgis, who injured his non-kicking leg in a team-sponsored kickball game during the team's offseason workout program, returned to practice as well, and was lights out on his field goals early in the the day. He eventually did miss a 44-yard field goal attempt from the left hash, then another 44-yarder before connecting on a 46-yard attempt. He finished the day 9-of-11 in field goals.
The offense seemed to have a good first day, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill connecting with several of his new receivers, including Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings. Second-year receiver Jarvis Landry appeared to already be back in regular season form, running crisp routes and catching everything thrown near him. Rishard Matthews also got in on the action, catching a long pass down the sideline from Tannehill. On the second team offense, quarterback Matt Moore and wide receiver Michael Preston appeared to work well together, with Preston making a diving catch on a deep ball. Preston then came back and made another deep reception, this time off a Tannehill throw for 25-yards. Matt Hazel made a catch on a seam throw from Tannehill that excited the fans and made the media present at the workout comment on it.
The team used a combination of Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, Brent Grimes, and LaMichael James as punt returners during the practice.
Practice ended on a defensive note as Bobby McCain intercepted Josh Freeman on the final play of the day. It was the only interception of the day.
(H/T to Andrew Abramson (Palm Beach Post), Adam Beasley (Miami Herald), Hal Habib (Palm Beach Post), Dave Hyde (South Florida Sun Sentinel), Omar Kelly (South Florida Sun Sentinel), Chris Perkins (South FLorida Sun-Sentinel), Armando Salguero (Miami Herald), and James Walker (ESPN), all of whom live tweeted the practice and were used as sources throughout this article.)