Andy Cohen In The Morning appears on dolphins.com every Monday through Friday, except for the bye week, until the end of the season. The column will be posted each day at 6 a.m. Be sure to follow Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins
Have a question for A.C.? Submit your questions to Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins.
Have you been out to Dolphins practice yet? No problem, if you haven’t. Come along with me and let’s check it out together. Just remember, bring plenty of sunscreen and cold water.
• It is about 7:45 a.m. and the players are slowly make their way from the locker room to the practice bubble for some stretching. Fans are already outside, lining the top of the stands to catch a glimpse of their favorite players. “Hey 29,” a fan yells down to second-year cornerback Will Davis. “I’ve got your back.” Davis looks up and smiles, a priceless moment for that fan.
• It is 8 a.m. sharp and warm-ups begin inside the bubble. Nothing exciting for the next 30 minutes or so, but everything moves by like clockwork. This is Joe Philbin’s way. Be on time. Start on time. Finish on time. We are told not to move too close to the field. Nobody, least of all me, wants to get leveled by some 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman.
• It is 8:30 now and precisely at that moment the players return to what now is a sweltering practice field. They break into groups, working on fundamentals and techniques. The fans are waiting to erupt. That will have to wait for later.
• The horn blows every few minutes and the players jog to their next assignment. Both fields are being used. Usually, there are four different groups doing something. Over there, the defensive linemen are working on a tipped ball drill. The Dolphins could certainly use a few more of those. On the other side, the defensive backs are knocking down soccer balls. Yes, soccer balls. World Cup fever is everywhere.
• Next there is a seven-on-seven drill. While the linemen work out on their own at a corner of the field, passes fill the air in seven-on-seven. A long pass to Mike Wallace is underthrow, batted away by cornerback Will Davis. The crowd moans. A few minutes later Ryan Tallenhill gets it right, hitting Wallace in perfect stride. The crowd erupts. This remains one of the big challenges of camp: Getting Tannehill and Wallace on the same proverbial page. “It’s coming,” Tannehill says later. “I can see it coming.”
• Placekicker Caleb Sturgis then gets his moment in the spotlight, attempting one field goal after another, first from one hash mark, then from the other. He seems to be drilling everything. There are no other placekickers in camp. But Sturgis is well aware that can change in a hurry.
• It is 9:30 now and the players return to the bubble for a five-minute water break. It is beyond hot by now and give the coaches credit for realizing that a break is necessary. The players jog back on to the field and a moment later, the horn blares and the drills resume.
• The last 45 minutes of practice consists of more position drills and another seven-on-seven session. Tannehill continues to hit a few then miss one. “Not the prettiest practice,” he would say later. “But it’s early in camp.” Brian Hartline makes a nice catch down the sideline. So does Charley Clay, who looks bigger and stronger, yet just as quick.
• At 10:15 on the dot, practice ends and the team huddles together. These next five-plus weeks are a long journey and this was only an early step. As they slowly walk toward the locker room, many players stop to do interviews. Brent Grimes stops for a second and – presto – he is surrounded by a mass of cameras and tape recorders. Everyone wants an interview. Everyone has a question to ask.
• Behind Grimes, along the practice field fence near the stands, fans are lined up for autographs. Many players oblige. This can last as long as 30 minutes. Joe Philbin almost always comes by. On this day, first-round pick Ja’Wuan James was getting a lot of attention. Nobody seems to mind that the temperature is now in the mid 90’s with no semblance of a breeze.
• This is family time too. Linebacker Jason Trusnik is sitting on the field, his two young children resting in his arms and his wife standing nearby. It would make a great family portrait. A few feet away Ryan Tannehill is talking to his wife Lauren Tannehill stops talking when he sees a young boy in a wheelchair close by. He poses for a picture. Signs an autograph. With due respect to Mike Wallace, this may have been Tannehill’s best connection of the day.
It is close to 11:30 a.m. now and the field is empty. Most of the fans have gone home. But many of them will be back the next morning when it all starts again. And, as always, just remember to bring plenty of sunscreen.
(On Tuesday, AC in the AM takes a close look at General Manager Dennis Hickey.)
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.