Today’s practice was more of a typical training camp workout as the Dolphins practiced close to three hours in full pads at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility. The team went through more full contact drills than they have in recent practices, and in my opinion they needed the physical work on both sides of the ball. There’s still a lot of competition at multiple positions on this team, and the only true way to evaluate is to simulate game like situations as much as you can. With the next preseason game not coming until Saturday at Tampa Bay, today was the perfect day to be physical.
Here’s what I noticed from the 13th practice of Dolphins Training Camp:
1. Tackle, Tackle, Tackle
It’s clear after watching the first week of preseason games that the art of tackling needs to be put in focus across the entire NFL, and it’s no exception in Miami. There were a number of missed opportunities not only on the first drive but throughout the game last Friday night that need to be addressed so this doesn’t become a lingering issue. It was nice to see the Dolphins focus on tackling techniques at the beginning of practice in pads simulating game type movements. No position was overlooked as the linebackers, defensive backs, and interior lineman went through a series of drills that seemed to take a while to perfect. Let’s just the say the end of the drills looked a lot better than at the beginning for the defense, and this is something that hopefully will improve when this team takes the field against the Buccaneers.
2. Moreno On The Move
Knowshon Moreno returned to practice last week, and seems to be getting closer to seeing his first game action sooner rather than later. Moreno participated in team drills for the first time as a Dolphin today, and looked closer to the player everyone expects to see on Sunday afternoons. By his own admission, he needs to get into football shape in a hurry, but I liked the way he set up his blocks running the football, and also the way he comes out of breaks in the passing game. His experience at being a “do everything” type of back is going to be a pleasant surprise once quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets comfortable utilizing his skill set. Just as I feel like this offense is going to allow Lamar Miller to flourish, Moreno’s skill set can be used anywhere on the field whether he’s the starting running back, or comes in a constant rotation.
3. Competitive Finish
Head Coach Joe Philbin is trying to simulate as many game-like situations in training camp as possible and today was no exception as practice came to a close. Before the offense and defense were separated on separate sidelines, coach Philbin brought the entire team to the middle of the field probably to lay out the ground rules of the period, and I’d imagine the focus of that talk was to compete at a high tempo. The first team offense started with the ball in their own territory and didn’t waste time moving the football, as quarterback Ryan Tannehill found Brian Hartline streaking across the middle on a deep crossing route. Just this one throw illuminates one of the main things is predicated on. The trust factor between the quarterback anticipating and throwing to a spot, while the receiver runs a disciplined route in getting to the open areas in the secondary is incredibly important. This happened again when Tannehill connected with Damian Williams on a quick seam route to the short side of the field. Today was one of the more crisp throwing days for Tannehill and he seems to be growing and gaining more confidence with this offensive system.
News And Notes
- The following players did not participate in practice today: Cortland Finnegan (undisclosed absence), Jason Fox (chest), Mike Gillislee (hamstring), Daniel Thomas (hamstring), Micajah Reynolds (knee), Gator Hoskins (hamstring), A.J. Francis (knee), Charles Clay (knee), Mike Pouncey (hip), Chris McCain (undisclosed)
- Dolphins signed running back Cameron Marshall, and waived quarterback Brock Jensen.
- Cornerback Jalil Brown and Damien Williams returned to practice today.
- It looked like Jamar Taylor received extensive work at the nickel corner spot, as well as Will Davis. Both will have an opportunity for that position with Jimmy Wilson moving to starting safety for at least the first four games.
- Danny Hrapmann handled all the placekicking duties today, as Caleb Sturgis is still nursing a groin injury.
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