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King: This Is The Fastest-Paced Camp I Have Been At
By on August 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm

With the off-season winding down, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King has hit the road for his annual training camp tour in search of  the summer’s best storylines.

While he was at the Dolphins’ facility on Wednesday, King sat down with The Finsiders to talk about what he saw out on the practice field.

In order to increase practice efficiency, Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman have split the field in two, with two offensive units taking reps almost simultaneously. If you take your eye off the field, you’re going to miss something. It’s a novel idea for a team that’s trying to hold a three-way quarterback competition, and it’s produced what King considers the fastest-paced camp he’s seen on his tour.

“You see them sort of flipping the field. You have one 11-on-11 play. As soon as that’s done, the other quarterback is calling signals at the other (end). I’ve never seen it before. I just think it’s a smart idea because no one is just standing around.”

After Wednesday’s practice, new Dolphins wide receiver Chad Johnson spoke to the assembled media–King included–for the first time since training camp opened. At 34, Johnson is at a career crossroads, especially after an underwhelming 15-catch season in New England. Many have opined that, at this point, Johnson’s flamboyance isn’t worth the trouble.

King said, though, that those with a preconceived notion that Johnson puts personality over football may be surprised by the guy they see on Hard Knocks may surprise you.

“They’re going to say, ‘Boy, this guy is serious about football. He’s not a clown,’” King said. “He does some clownish things. He always has and always will; it’s what makes him go. He loves the light side of things.”

Before Johnson can prove he still has something left in the tank, the Dolphins have to decide who’ll be throwing him the ball. Despite successful precedent–Philbin worked with Aaron Rodgers, who sat for three years–and two capable veteran options, King doesn’t think Philbin will hesitate to play Tannehill if he stands out.

“I think he’s really going to play the best guy. If he thinks Ryan Tannehill is the best guy he’s going to play him.” King siad. “But I agree with you, John, I think it’s impossible for (Tannehill) to know as much about the defense as he’s going to be facing early on in the season.”

There, of course,  is far less uncertainty on the other side of the ball–most of the defensive starters return to a unit that was firing on all cylinders. Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle’s arrival means, however, that they, like the offense, will be switching schemes, lining up primarily in a four-man front. Because of the need to counter modern-day passing attacks, this really may end up being a switch in name only, though, because the defense lined up in plenty of 4-3 last season.

With less room to operate perhaps, King wonders if pass-rushing ace Cam Wake may be affected. But from the little he saw on Wednesday, he isn’t too concerned the new scheme will neutralize Wake’s ability to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines.

“It’s not going to be a thing where if he’s getting caught up in the wash all the time that that’s going to be the way they play for 16 games. They’ll adjust,” King said. “In training camp, for a team that is trying to adjust to a new defense, I thought they were playing very fast today, too.”

Please Note:
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.

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