The Dolphins started bright and early as usual on Saturday morning and the crowd was definitely into the practice. Season Ticket Members applauded every completion and pass break up during the individual work period of practice. Not only were the fans enjoying the execution on the field, but also over 35 former Dolphins players were in attendance to observe the 2013 team. The players put in another great day of work preparing for Monday night’s scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium, and here’s my takeaways from today’s practice.
1) Odrick Is Emerging – If there’s one player that could be the key to the defensive rotation up front, it just might be defensive tackle Jared Odrick. So far it appears that Odrick will occupy one of the starting positions up front, and his play throughout camp has been impressive. Odrick has the ability to play against the run, but also the quickness to be a force rushing the passer. He flashed his quickness today versus the run, making multiple plays behind the line of scrimmage. I would expect to see Odrick in a three-man rotation with defensive tackle Randy Starks and Paul Soliai, making this unit one of the best in the AFC!
2) Wide Receiver Battle Continues – During the one-on-on portion of practice, it’s normal for the offense receivers to have an advantage over the defensive backs. Saying that, it sure was nice to see wide receiver Mike Wallace connect with quarterback Ryan Tannehill on a double move route deep down the field today for a touchdown. Also, Tannehill found wide out Marvin McNutt on a slant and go over the top for another big play! It’s important to see who develops chemistry at this crowded position, as we get closer to the Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys. Players like McNutt, Brian Tyms, Chad Bumphis and Armon Binns must find a way to separate from the pack. Binns appeared to be doing just that, but may have injured his left shoulder today diving for a pass. Also, Rishard Matthews wasn’t running with his normal group may have been nicked as well. This happens every year during training camp and is just a part of this physical game, but it’s at these times where other players at the position must take advantage of there extra repetitions and make an impression.
3) Quickness At Running Back – We all know that running back Lamar Miller has speed to burn and has the ability to out run most defenders in the open field. What I’m learning is that getting him the ball in the passing game just might be as dangerous as handing it off to him! Miller has really worked at being a complete back and it showing throughout the first six days of practice. Rookie Mike Gillislee possesses that ability to not only have great quickness and vision running the football, but catching it in space, and making defenders miss in the open field. A player that can also handle a large workload and line up in multiple positions is Marcus Thigpen. Today Thigpen received extensive work lining up in the slot as the offense focused on third down conversions.
Some Quick Hits:
– Rookies Jamar Taylor and Cameron Marshall again worked on the side but didn’t participate in any on-field activities.
– Cornerback Dimitri Patterson had a terrific day defending the pass today. I felt like it was his best practice so far during training camp because of his anticipation on the football and ability to play the football in the air.
– A player that took more reps today and looked very athletic in the backfield was fullback Evan Rodriguez. His body type and athleticism may allow this offense to use his skill set not only at fullback, but also as a H-Back or multiple tight end set. Rodriguez is a player to keep an eye on moving forward, especially if he can contribute on all special teams.
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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.