The Miami Dolphins completed their first training camp practice of the day, with the South Florida heat making sure to make an appearance. The Dolphins are starting practice later this year than they have in the past, a move directed by first-year head coach Brian Flores. With a heat index already in the 90s, the Dolphins coaches are not kidding when they talk about conditioning.
The early focus in training camp is often on who is playing with the first team and who is working with the second team - and when are they doing it. Does a player get the first first-team snaps then someone else takes some of those snaps? At quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick took the snaps with the first team to open practice, while Josh Rosen worked primarily with the second team. That should not come as a surprise, as that was how they were working during the team’s offseason training program as well. Could they change roles tomorrow or some other time in camp? Absolutely.
Another interesting move was Miami giving the initial first-teams snaps at running back, not to Kenyan Drake, but to Kalen Ballage. The team was working on a redzone scenario, so maybe it was something specific in which they favor Ballage, but it could also be a continued sign of the question marks surrounding Drake under the Adam Gase regime.
The starting offensive line on Thursday was Laremy Tunsil at left tackle, Chris Reed at left guard, center Daniel Kilgore, right guard Jesse Davis, and right tackle Jordan Mills, according to an observation from Armando Salguero.
On defense, the biggest surprise in the “starting” lineup was linebacker Sam Eguavoen playing among the first-team players rather than Raekwon McMillan.
The starting defensive line - which was in a 4-3 front - on Thursday, according to Chris Perkins, was Jonathan Woodard and Charles Harris as the defensive ends and Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins inside at defensive tackle. Miami is expected to play a hybrid of both a 4-3 and a 3-4 front throughout the season.
In the defensive secondary, Eric Rowe and Jomal Wiltz seemed to get the majority of the snaps opposite Xavien Howard, while Bobby McCain continues to play free safety. With T.J. McDonald on the physically unable to perform list currently, the Dolphins could look to see the chemistry that develops between McCain and Reshad Jones in the early part of training camp.
The Dolphins were busy throughout the practice, with simultaneous work happening on either end of the field.
There was some sloppy on day one of camp, but there were some highlights as well, with tight end Mike Gesicki and several of the wide receivers making plays. Rookie cornerback Montre Hartage, who the coaching staff is believed to like, came away with an endzone interception.
The important thing to remember is, despite all of the talk and reports, this is still day one of training camp, with the regular season still a month-and-a-half away. There will be plenty of time for the coaching staff to make adjustments and changes, and for players to play into or out of the starting lineup. The Dolphins cannot practice with pads yet, so we are still waiting to see how things shake out when the players move a little closer to a game-like condition,