This will be the first time the media will be able to watch three straight days of practice leading into training camp later this summer. Plenty of positions and players to observe over the next three practices, but here are some of the things that will have my attention over the next 72 hours!
1) Skill Positional Battles – For me, cornerback and wide receiver are the positions that need clarity as we move closer to July. Maybe not at the top of the list, but certainly where depth is concerned. At wide out, clearly, Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson have the ability to carry this unit, but who’s next is what I’m interested in over the next three days. Can Rishard Matthews continue to strengthen his case at the position? Can the Dolphins count on Armon Binns and/or Brian Tyms to provide consistent production and give this staff reason to feel confident? Maybe the competition will come from newcomers Marvin McNutt, Jasper Collins, Chad Bumphis or Jeff Fuller. The Dolphins have plenty of bodies to choose from and this staff is hoping someone will separate from the pack at this crowded position.
In my opinion, one of the cornerback spots has already been taken by Brent Grimes. Now I know that training camp hasn’t started and they’ve only practiced in shorts and helmets, but Grimes is healthy and moving around like he’s primed to have a big season. The question is who’s going to play opposite Grimes? Richard Marshall is penciled in on the other side but will be challenged rookie Jamar Taylor once he’s cleared to participate. Also, veterans Dimitri Patterson and Nolan Carroll should get plenty of reps to show their skills over the next couple of days. Rookie Will Davis is another player to watch at this position.
2) Timing With Tannehill – Another area that I will be focused on is how this group of wide receivers and tight ends gel with starter Ryan Tannehill in the passing game. Multiple sets means players need to develop chemistry and timing from not only the slot but from the outside wide receiver positions as well. Tannehill should have a better command of the offense and therefore will be able to dictate how he wants routes run and communicate the separation and spacing that’s needed for this offense to provide big plays in 2013. His timing and accuracy has been very good throughout OTA’s and that’s a great sign for this offense.
3) A Competitive Balance – It’s never a good sign when one side of the football dominates the other! I’m sure that this coaching staff is hoping to see some big plays on offense as well as some break ups and turnovers on the other side of the football. The execution so far has been good and it’s an encouraging sign moving forward. I will be looking to see just how competitive the next three day will be and how it sets the table for training camp and the preseason.
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