The pads came on today as the Miami Dolphins took to the practice field and it was good to see a more physical workout from the entire team. Practice started in the bubble as usual, but when the players hit the outdoor grass fields, they didn’t waste much time getting acquainted with one another. All position groups went through a tackling technique drill, and then straight to one on ones. Defensive backs against wide receivers, offensive lineman against defensive lineman, and linebackers against tight ends brought competition and urgency early on during practice in front of a crowd full of Dolphins Season Ticket Members.
Here are some of the other things that stood out from Day 3 of Dolphins Training Camp:
1. Individual Battles
One of the matchups I’ve been waiting to see was the wide receiver group going up against the defensive backs. Veteran cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan held their own throughout most of the 1-on-1 drills, although Mike Wallace did catch a nice downfield pass against Grimes. Also, rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry battled fellow rookie defensive back Walt Aikens on multiple occasions.
Although the tight ends and running backs didn’t run any routes against the linebackers, their focus for the entire drill was on pass protection. Usually, this gives the linebacking corps a huge advantage and it was lopsided to start. Lamar Miller caught my attention because of the improvement he showed in pass pro. Up front, defensive tackle Randy Starks dominated the interior line group, and showcased why he’s such an important part of the defensive front. On the outside, Olivier Vernon looks to poise to build upon his successful 2013 campaign, and like Vernon, Dion Jordan looks to be taking the next step of his career in his second year.
2. He’s A Rookie, But…
Jarvis Landry is proving that he belongs in the National Football League just a couple days into his first ever-training camp. Not only does he catch the football with ease, but he has a sense of awareness and confidence when going about his business on the field. No matter how the final roster shakes out at the receiver position, Dolphins fans should know that their second round draft choice can be counted on to produce when his number is eventually called. The knock on him coming out of LSU was his lack of top-line speed and slower 40-yard dash-time, but today quarterback Ryan Tannehill found Landry easily behind coverage, and he alleviated any concerns as far as that potential issue goes. He accelerated behind the secondary on a beautifully run seam rout, and gave his quarterback plenty of room to deliver the football. He also had a one handed catch on a curl route located perfectly by backup quarterback Matt Moore.
3. High Intensity
I call this period blitz pickup because I come from the offensive perspective, but there was a lot of pressure at the point of attack and around the pocket at the end of practice. It was nice to see both sides execute the way it’s drawn up in the meeting room. The offense looked good in the early stages picking up the pressure and delivering the football with urgency. However, the defense also used linebacker and secondary pressure off the edge and caught the offense a couple times with a few would be sacks. This part of practice is critical and simulates game situations that the Dolphins on both sides will need to be efficient at to win football games.
News & Notes
- Happy birthday to Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who turned 26 today.
- Rishard Matthews had a fantastic one handed grab about 40 yards down the field against Brent Grimes during team drills. The officials ruled controversially that it was incomplete, but I looked at the replay and I’m giving him the catch!
- Dion Jordan had a nasty interception in the offensive backfield during team drills, snagging a Ryan Tannehill pass out of the air with the Dolphins quarterback just two yards away from him.
- Jason Trusnik had an interception today, getting another after one in yesterday’s team portion of practice.
- 3rd down situations were emphasized during practice and especially during 11-on-11 drills
- Billy Turner flipped sides today, working on the both sides of the offensive line and getting a couple more first team reps than usual.
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