After a much needed day off for the players, practice once again resumed at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility, as the Miami Dolphins held their fourth practice of training camp. Today was the second padded practice for the team, as they focused on red zone execution and individual competitions at every single position. It was a long practice, lasting close to three hours, but they did break it up by starting in the bubble, and once again had a cooling period to avoid the brutal South Florida heat.
Here’s what I noticed from day four of Dolphins Training Camp:
1. Getting Back To Basics
It’s very early in training camp, and this Dolphins team still needs to go through the very rudimentary drills of blocking, tackling, catching, and defending. That’s why when the team hit the field today, it was nice to see the one-on-one battles at every position. The wide receivers didn’t waste time going against the defensive backs in an outside blocking drill. This basic fundamental will be very important to the success of the running game because of the downfield blocks that are necessary to turn an average play into a game-changing play.
It was much tougher on the running backs when they took on the linebackers in a simulated blitz pickup drill. This is one area that both sides of the football need to improve. The running backs need to be more sturdy in pass protection, and the linebackers as a whole need to create more havoc in the pocket. The big guys up front went at it as well, and the majority of the time was spent on combination blocks and picking up line stunts between to defensive lineman.
2. Red Zone Scheme
It’s no secret that the Dolphins offense needs to generate more point production, and the red zone could be the key to finding an extra seven to 10 points per game with clean execution. I really like the scheme and the design of some of the plays I saw today because they created lanes in the passing game that will give this offense opportunities to get six instead of settling for a three point try. During the portion of the red zone where they emphasized 3rd down conversions, the defense won the majority of the time. But backup quarterback Matt Moore was able to find receiver Stephen Williams on a quick slant for a score, and also found a running back out in the flat on a rub route on the short side of the field for another easy score.
3. Receiver Rotation
On a day that wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline worked efficiently earlier, they took a step back towards the latter half of practice, allowing some of the younger receivers to take advantage of the time and get more meaningful reps. One of those receivers that caught my attention today was Kevin Cone. I haven’t noticed him for the right reasons so far this training camp, but today he was very impressive in his route running and in his ability to make big plays down the field. Two guys that have a little bit more experience shined today, and that was Damian Williams and Armon Binns. Both receivers have been catching the football consistently, and finding a way to push others at this position.
News & Notes
- Center Sam Brenner left the field today during the middle of practice and did not return.
- It looked like offensive lineman Nate Garner took most of the second team reps at the center position in place of Brenner.
- Quarterback Matt Moore continues look impressive during practices. He threw multiple touchdowns in the red zone drills and has looked sharp throughout the early portion of training camp.
- It didn’t take long for some of the new players on the roster to hit the field, as the new offensive lineman in Tony Hills and Steven Baker both saw immediate action, as well as quarterback Seth Lobato, an undrafted rookie from Northern Colorado.
- Derrick Shelby returned to full action today after being limited in previous practices.
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