The Miami Dolphins got to work on Wednesday in preparation for their third preseason contest. The team is getting in gear to play in the closest thing they’ll get to a real game during the preseason, as the third game serves as a dress rehearsal for NFL teams before the regular season kicks off. Today’s practice was focused on scoring points, and there were a few things that stood out to me.
Here’s three observations from today’s practice:
1. Bigs Still Working
Training Camp officially ended a few days ago, but that doesn’t mean the heavy lifting for this team has finished. I was impressed the way the entire team attacked today’s practice, as the offensive line battled this defensive line on one-on-one drills. One player that caught my eye up front today was veteran left tackle Branden Albert. Albert seems to be exactly what the Dolphins have been looking for to anchor the left side of the offensive line. He’s very agile for his size and fits well in this blocking scheme. Also, Albert has shown to be very steady in pass protection and has even emerged as a the leader with Mike Pouncey still on the shelf.
2. Red Zone Focus
Head Coach Joe Philbin talked after practice about the need to score more points in 2014. He said the team’s goal is to score an average of 25 points a game, and that would mean this group would need to be a touchdown better a game than last year’s output. Simple execution with the long ball last year maybe would have pushed that number up or possibly better execution in the red zone, by scoring touchdowns instead of field goals.
Today both the offense and defense worked simple execution in getting scoring plays out of the offense and pressure man coverage designed to keep opposing offense out of the end zone. They also focused on being backed up in the own end of he filled where the offensive goal is to get two first downs so the defense can’t flip the field and create instant field position for their offense.
3. Seam Concentration
We haven’t seen a lot of wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline in the preseason, and that should change on Saturday night when both will see significant playing time. What I have witnessed through the preseason games and the majority of training camp is how efficient this offense is in attacking the middle of the field. Reliable weapons like Charles Clay, slot wideouts Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, and rookie Jarvis Landry have developed a certain chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill and this new offense accentuates what the players do well.
The spread formations and speed of Wallace and Hartline will hep not only the slot wide receivers but the running backs should also benefit in the passing game. They should have plenty of opportunities to catch the football out in space with the ability to turn a five yard catch into a 15 or 20 yard gain.
News & Notes
- RB Damien Williams still looks impressive to me and should continue to challenge for a roster roster. Also linebacker Chris McCain’s strong suit is rushing the passer,and moving forward instead of backward in space. That’s a great skill to have, but he’ll eventually have to learn to go back in coverage which is a skill that will come over time.
- Dolphins players that did not participate in practice today included: RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring, WR/KR Marcus Thigpen (thigh), S Walt Aikens (hand), K Caleb Sturgis (groin), CB Jalil Brown, and DE Terrence Fede (knee)
- Pro Football Hall Of Fame Quarterback and Dolphins legend Dan Marino attended today’s practice
- CB Jamar Taylor looked like he was around the football a lot this afternoon and benefited with an interception off a tipped pass towards the end of practice.
- The team worked a lot of first team offense and defense against a scout team look, as they simulated what the Dallas Cowboys might do in the third preseason game on Saturday night.
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