After having the day off on Tuesday to recuperate from Monday night’s full contact scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium, the Miami Dolphins hit the practice field under the lights Wednesday night at the Doctor’s Hospital Training Facility.
It was a capacity crowd down in Davie, as the team got back to football. The players were not in pads during practice, but that didn’t stop the team from working on several important things they saw from the film from Monday night’s scrimmage.
Here are some of my thoughts from Wednesday night’s practice:
1) Defensive Combinations on Third Down - The Miami Dolphin defense has plenty of options when it comes to rushing the passer on third down. Opposing offenses are always going to know where #91 Cameron Wake lines up, but the athleticism on the inside with Jared Odrick and Randy Starks might get lost in the shuffle. That’s because of the progress of rookie Dion Jordan, when you add him to this equation. Jordan has looked comfortable using the speed rush on the outside, and he’s been able to elude opposing tackles because of his length. His hand placement matches up with his foot speed and I believe it’s going to be a tough combination to defend in the regular season.
2) It’s Becoming a Habit – This entire offseason, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle has been preaching the word turnovers. It seems like the message is getting through not only to the secondary, but the linebacking core as well. Tonight working in unison, cornerback Brent Grimes was able to deflect a Matt Moore pass intended for Marvin McNutt, and the speed of outside linebacker Philip Wheeler gave him the opportunity to come up with the interception and return it for a score.
If you take a look at the last week of practice, rookie cornerback Will Davis has been able to come up with three interceptions, and second year safety Kelcie McCray turned a harmless pass into the short flat, into a 50 yard pick six during Monday night’s scrimmage. Even corner Nolan Carroll was able to battle during the 1 on 1’s portion of practice and come up with a pick. If the Dolphin defense can translate their good fortune from training camp into the preseason games, that may become more a habit in the regular season.
3) The Rotation is Slowing Down- At least from one night, the Dolphins offensive line limited the rotation with the first unit. It seemed like four positions up front remained consistent throughout Wednesday’s practice, with the only major change coming at the right guard position.
Nate Garner was up first with the first team offensive line, and as practice progressed, veteran Lance Louis started to get more repetitions, which was good to see. That’s an indication that Louis is getting closer to 100 percent health. I believe that the reason we didn’t see Josh Samuda at the position tonight, was not a result of his play on the scrimmage Monday night, but more of a result of getting a true evaluation of Louis at that position.
Some Quick Hits:
– Brian Hartline was doing work on the side, and didn’t participate in practice. Mike Wallace was involved in the walk-through inside of the bubble, but really didn’t factor into the practice after that.
– It was nice to see wide receiver Julius Pruitt back on the 90-man roster. He showed excellent acceleration in his route running and as a gunner on special teams. He had what you can call “fresh legs” coming in for his first practice, when it’s day nine of training camp for everyone else.
– Rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis took all the reps tonight during special teams, and got tons on individual work, kicking between 42-46 yards out. It seemed like the way he was kicking the football, whatever the issue was the previous few days of practice didn’t seem to affect his performance tonight.
– Wide receiver Marvin McNutt flashed a couple of one handed grabs, one early in practice, and one down the stretch. If he continues to flash, that should earn him extra playing time in the preseason, and possibly in Sunday night’s Hall of Fame game.
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