The Miami Dolphins returned to the practice field following their first preseason game, and much of today’s focus was on technique and overall fundamentals. Most of the time after a preseason game teams usually like to clean up mistakes and coaches like to stress the basic coaching points from the film of the game. Today was no exception because the offense, defense and special teams worked exclusively in individual groups, with no 11-on-11 drills.
Here’s what stood out to me during Miami’s first practice since their preseason opener:
1. Individual Drills
Like I mentioned above, today’s practice purely focused on individual work and correcting some of the mistakes that were made in Friday’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. The practice started with positional drills where the quarterbacks threw individual routes strictly to the running backs on air. Then, that drill was turned up a notch when the linebackers as a group were brought in to defend. This also happened with the wide receivers going up against the defensive backs, and the tight ends going against the inside linebackers. Drills like these are valuable tools in instilling competition within the groups, and evaluating players in a competitive environment. I especially paid attention to the running back group only because the first play of the game on Friday was a Ryan Tannehill to Lamar Miller completion, and I expect a lot more plays like that in the regular season.
2. Wilson Getting Work
With the four-game suspension looming for starting safety Reshad Jones, an window of opportunity has opened itself for fourth year defensive back Jimmy Wilson. The nickel corner will now likely get a shot to start at safety opposite Louis Delmas when the Dolphins open the regular season against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. This isn’t a lock by any stretch, but it’s an opportunity for Wilson to get on the field to prove his value to the team. Wilson’s position flexibility creates less of a concern, but also adds pressure to some of the other players on this roster. Guys like Jamar Taylor and Will Davis will now have to step up in Wilson places in the nickel, while he moves to safety. It also gives a player like Michael Thomas and rookie Walt Aikens a chance to prove that they are ready to see significant playing time if need be.
3. Creating Separation
The Dolphins wide receiver corps is very crowded, but it already looks like we’re starting to see a couple of players separate from the rest. We know the talents of Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, but depending on the final roster numbers at this position there may only be three to four spots up for grabs. In my opinion, it looks like Brandon Gibson and Rishard Matthews definitely have the inside track at two of those remaining spots, with rookie Jarvis Landry also a lock to get significant playing time in the regular season. With those three separating themselves, the only question now is will the Dolphins keep more than five receivers on the active roster, opening up one more spot for guys like Armon Binns, Damian Williams, or Marcus Thigpen.
News & Notes
- Quarterbacks Matt Moore and Pat Devlin returned to practice without limitation today after not playing in the team’s first preseason game.
- Defensive tackle A.J. Francis suffered a knee injury during Friday’s game against Atlanta and will miss several practices.
- Other players that were held out of today’s practice included running backs Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams, along with tight end Gator Hoskins.
- Cortland Finnegan was not at today’s practice for undisclosed reasons.
- Tight ends Arthur Lynch and Michael Egnew returned to practice today, as well as defensive end Olivier Vernon and kicker Caleb Sturgis.
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