The Miami Dolphins finished up their minicamp and offseason program Thursday with an hour and a half scrimmage featuring split squads of aqua and white, with starters and reserves equally split between both sides. The team simulated game-like situations throughout the practice. The coaches stayed on the sidelines allowing the players to make their own adjustments and test their knowledge of the schemes on both sides of the football. This was the final workout of the offseason program, as the team won’t be together until mid-July for training camp.
Here’s a few of my observations from today’s practice:
1. Play Like You Practice: Both teams played with the same type of tempo and nothing really changed from some of the practices I observed, which is a good thing. The quarterbacks displayed tempo, getting the ball out of their hands quickly, while utilizing multiple formations and motions. The one thing that was difference was the utilization of the play action pass. It was effective the entire workout, providing game changing style plays down the field.
A couple highlights were:
- Matt Moore to Rishard Matthews pass early in the workout for big yardage for the white squad.
- Matt Moore to Matt Hazel for a deep crossing route catch about 30 yards down the field
- Ryan Tannehill to Charles Clay on a seam route to the near side of the field for 25 yards.
- On a second and 15+, Ryan Tannehill found rookie Jarvis Landry, his favorite target on the day by far, wide open on a play action half roll for a big gain.
- Both Moore and Tannehill each threw a touchdown on the day.
2. Pressure Points: The edge of the Miami Dolphins defense looks to be in great shape after OTAs and three minicamp practices, and it’s not just a one man show. The defense once again had multiple pressures and sacks, and most of them came from the pressure supplied off the edge. Defensive end Olivier Vernon applied most of the pressure early on, but remember, it’s just helmets and shorts. The offensive line is at a major disadvantage.
However, we got to see the speed and quickness from the defensive lineman, including Cameron Wake, who even had an interception on the day.
3. Rookie Wrap-Up: After seeing this year’s rookie class go through multiple practices and workouts, Dolphins fans should feel confident that several players from this class should make an immediate impact. Starting on the offensive side of the football, right tackle Ja’Wuan James not only looks the part, but has the athletic skill set to start the season against New England. His intelligence and eagerness to learn, so far matches his talent on the football field. It’s always tough to truly evaluate a position that relies upon contact, but James is off to encouraging start. Another offensive player that should look to have an immediate impact is wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Mike Wallace said of Landry “He reminds me of a third or fourth year receiver in the league right now”. From what I’ve witnessed, Wallace may just be right. His consistency of cleanly catching the football, and routinely adjusting his body makes Landry an easy target for a quarterback to hit.
On the defensive side, Walt Aikens may be behind the eight ball in regards to getting playing time immediately with the depth secondary, but his presence on special teams will be felt right away. His size at 6’1, 209lbs gives Aikens the ability to not only be a force in the tackling department, but his speed and range should allow him to challenge for one of the gunner spots on the punt coverage team. The other rookie that turned my head was seventh round pick Terrence Fede. While he still has a lot to learn coming from a small school like Marist, he’s got an NFL-ready skill set, possessing strength, edge speed, and a nose for the football.
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