The Miami Dolphins have Monday off this week, their first off-day of the 2015 training camp. Sunday marked the second full-pads practice of the year, and continued to give more insight into the 50th edition of the Dolphins. This morning, we will take a look back at some of the highlights from yesterday's workout.
Branden Albert puts on the pads
The Dolphins are being very deliberate in their use of left tackle Branden Albert, bringing him along slowly as he returns to the team following last season's ACL and MCL tears. Albert avoided the Physically Unable to Perform list, but is not yet 100-percent healthy either. While the rest of the Dolphins put on pads for the first time Saturday, Albert continued to work primarily with trainers. Albert changed that on Sunday when he came out wearing pads along with his teammates. The 2013 Pro Bowl selection took part in some of the individual drills for the offensive linemen, increasing his work load and beginning to get back into football activities.
The Dolphins need Albert healthy, and the hope is still that he will be ready for Week 1 in September. The team slowly increasing Albert's work level and ensuring his knee is healthy is the right decision, even if the offensive line is getting worked over by the defense in practices without him. Once Albert is ready to fully rejoin the line, he will slide into the starting left tackle position, pushing Jason Fox back into the primary reserve tackle slot.
Red zone work on Sunday
The Dolphins spent Sunday primarily working in the red zone. "We probably had upwards of 95 competitive snaps and almost every single one of them was in the red zone," head coach Joe Philbin explained after practice. "That was really the primary focus and it’s an area as you guys know we need to do a better job of this year. We were kind of middle of the pack on defense and I think we were 21st or something close to that on offense. Anyway, that was really the main emphasis."
The Dolphins have to get better in the red zone in 2015, and additions like tight end Jordan Cameron should help solve the issue. Cameron caught two touchdown passes on Sunday, and he, along with fellow tight end Dion Sims, were clearly a major part of the offensive scheme in the scenarios. The coaching staff recognizing the problem and emphasizing it early in training camp should also help.
Defense steps up again
When the pads came on Saturday, the defense took advantage, running through the offensive line and making the day tough for the offense. They did the same thing on Sunday.
The highlight of the day came on quarterback Ryan Tannehill's first interception of training camp. Safety Reshad Jones picked off the pass at the three-yard line and returned it 97 yards for the touchdown. Jones celebrated the interception for the final 20-yards of the run, slowing down so Tannehill could catch up some. “I didn’t want to make him feel bad the whole play,” Jones said after the workout.
Will Davis added another interception, this one off Matt Moore, during the day.
The defensive line continued to dominate the offensive line, which defenitely needs Albert back at full strength. The problem is not Fox at left tackle, however, but rather the two guard positions. The Dolphins continue to try to find the right pieces for the starting spots, but right now, nothing is certain. Rookie Jamil Douglas appears to be leading the group right now, but Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner, Jeff Linkenbach, and now Sam Brenner are all rotating in and out of the starting lineup as the Dolphins look to find an offensive line that can keep Tannehill upright. A phone call to Evan Mathis cannnot be that far away.
New face among wide receivers
The Dolphins added wide receiver Cobi Hamilton to the roster on Saturday, claiming his rights off waivers after he had been waived by the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday. Hamilton joined the Dolphins practice on Sunday, just seven hours after arriving in Miami.
To make roster space for Hamilton, the Dolphins waived wide receiver Kai De La Cruz.
Speaking of wide receivers
Michael Preston continues to impress at training camp. A long shot to make the roster prior to the start of camp, Preston is doing everything in his power to make it a tough decision for the coaches when cuts start. He stands out among Miami's receivers as the 6-foot-5 target, and he has been using that height to his advantage. Preston is still down the depth chart, but he is at least being noticed early in camp.
Kenny Stills, for whom Miami traded this offseason, was limited in practice on Sunday. The speedster is dealing with a leg injury, and spent most of the day on the sidelines. “The players know their body the best," Philbin said when asked about the limitations on Stills. "They are the guys out there and so we’re utilizing him as often as possible. If something is not right, we’ll cut it back a little bit.”
Week 2's schedule
The Dolphins head into Week 2 of training camp with the off-day on Monday. They will then return to the practice field at 8am Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday, August 7, will be the team's annual scrimmage, this year being held at Ocean Bank Field at FIU Stadium as the club continues the renovations of Sun Life Stadium. The scrimmage will being at 7pm.
To attend training camp, you must request free tickets. You can do that by clicking this link and use the promo code "CAMP15" in the ticketmaster website. You can also find all the guidelines and parking information on the Dolphins' website here.
Tickets for the scrimmage at FIU Stadium are $5. You can purchase your tickets by clicking here.