Monday Night’s scrimmage not only put on a show for the 22,876 fans in attendance at the stadium, but also gave the coaches an important first look at every Dolphin player in a game type situation after 7 days of practice. The practice went through every type of game situation you could imagine, from the 2-minute drill, to practicing in the red zone.
Here are some of my takeaways from the scrimmage:
1) Dion Jordan Impressive - It was nice to see the Dolphins increase the workload of rookie defensive end Dion Jordan. It was evident that his blend of speed and power coming off the edge hasn’t been lost due to the lack of repetitions in practice. The combination of Jordan and Olivier Vernon gives the Dolphins different body types to use in different defensive situations.
2) Gillislee and Gray Take A Step Forward -It was good to see two young running backs make the most of their opportunities in Monday night’s scrimmage. I feel like Mike Gillislee might be the perfect complement for starter Lamar Miller because of the way he moves in the open field and can beat you in the passing game. Jonas Gray showed power between the tackles and more burst than I’ve seen throughout the first week of practice. He could be an option in short yardage and end of game scenarios.
3) Defensive Speed Flashes - Nothing changed in Monday night’s practice that I haven’t observed over the first seven days of training camp. This defense has definitely improved its overall team speed, and it starts with the linebacking core of Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe and Koa Misi. Not only do they close on the running game with quickness, but also their ability to get in passing lanes was evident, especially Wheeler. He was able to get his hands on the football, and that triggered a couple of takeaways later on in the scrimmage.
Some Quick Hits:
-Ryan Tannehill was very efficient, especially in the red zone. He connected with tight end Charles Clay for a 24 yard touchdown, and also found veteran tight end Dustin Keller on a 14 yarder.
-Second year safety Kelcie McCray stepped in front of a Matt Moore pass and returned it for a 50-yard interception return. McCray’s play was in an end of half drill, where he took the second play from scrimmage, and those are game changing plays that this defense is looking for.
-Wide Receiver Marvin McNutt must be in shape because it looked like he played the entire scrimmage with starters Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline watching from the sidelines. I’m not sure if McNutt separated from the rest of the young wide receivers, but he did catch the football when it was thrown in his direction.
-Linebacker Lee Robinson definitely flashed for me tonight not only with his aggressive nature against the run, but also being able to find the football the entire evening.
-Dan Carpenter was 3-5 on the evening, converting from 50, 44,and 37 yards out. He missed twice wide left from 49 yards out.
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