The Miami Dolphins open their mandatory minicamp on Monday with a day of physicals The team will then begin holding practices on Tuesday, practices that will be covered by the media. Several questions should be answered when the Dolphins get on to the practice field Tuesday.
Will Reshad Jones show up?
Dolphins safety Reshad Jones has stayed away from the team throughout the voluntary offseason workouts, to include the Organized Team Activities of the last three weeks, as he looks for a contract extension from the team, a deal that would make him one of the highest paid safeties in the league. prior to this week, there was nothing the Dolphins could do in response to Jones’ absence, but starting with minicamp, Miami can start fining the safety for missed days of practice. For the minicamp period, the fines can reach a total of a little more than $76,000.
Jones has two years remaining on his contract, and is already in the top ten safeties, based on both pay for this year and average-per-year salary, but wants to be closer to the $10 million-per-season elite safeties are being paid now. The Dolphins could look to renegotiate with Jones, but teams typically do not work out new deals with players when they still have two years on their current deal. Something will workout here, but it is a matter of how long will Jones stay away from the team?
Will DeVante Parker continue to be held out of practices?
The Dolphins have held wide receiver DeVante Parker out of on-field workouts over the past few weeks, describing it as a “precautionary” move. The team has denied any issue with Parker’s foot, and he has been running on the sides of the field, but they are not letting him practice in the team drills. The team is looking to make sure Parker is healthy when training camp starts at the end of next month, but it is still disconcerting for fans to see a player who should be a huge part of the offense, continuing to not work - especially after the disappointment of his foot surgery last summer.
Who will take the lead in the guard position battle?
Any position battle will not be decided this week, but someone could emerge as a leader, especially in the guard battle. Laremy Tunsil seems to be locked in as the starting left guard, but the right guard spot is wide open, with Billy Turner, Jermon Bushrod, Kraig Urbik, Dallas Thomas, and Jamil Douglas all having a shot at winning the job.
Will Tony Lippett continue to push Xavien Howard?
Howard was a second-round pick for the Dolphins this year, and he was assumed to be destined for the starting position opposite Byron Maxwell. That is not how it has played out in the media-viewed OTAs, however, as second-year cornerback Tony Lippett has jumped into the top spot on the depth chart with Maxwell. Lippett is transitioning from a college wide receiver to a pro cornerback, and he is looking really good in that transition. Will he be able to continue to look like a potential starter, and hold off the rookie? Again, a position battle will not be decided, but Lippett could position himself as the leader heading into training camp.
How “up-tempo” is the Dolphins’ offense?
There has been a lot of talk about the Dolphins picking up the tempo on offense this year, using head coach Adam Gase’s offensive system to put pressure on defenses. This is a similar storyline from the past few years, where former head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinators Mike Sherman and Bill Lazor constantly talked about going up-tempo, only to not actually do it. Will the speed of the offense actually materialize? Will the no-huddle continue to be used? With longer practices viewed more often by the media this week, we may get a little better indication of whether or not the Dolphins are looking to be up-tempo and if it is a sustainable aspect of the offense.