The Dolphins had more a private affair today at practice, as the entire Miami Dolphins staff was in attendance to cheer on the team during Thursday’s workout. Full pads were the attire today and it didn’t take long for the hitting to start. It’s good that Head Coach Joe Philbin is mixing up the routine of not only practice schedules, but also the way the team approaches contact during drills. There were a lot of good thing that came from today’s practice, but there’s still a lot of areas that need to be cleaned up before the first preseason game against Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 8.
Here are my takeaways from the sixth practice of Dolphins Training Camp:
1. Competitive Reps
A main of focus of today’s practice was the emphasis on one-on-one drills at every single position. For a player, this brings out the competitive nature of what football is all about, and in the NFL, it’s about winning these individual matchups everywhere on the field. With Mike Wallace and Damian Williams out of practice today, wide receiver Rishard Matthews was the recipient of more reps, and he took advantage of those opportunities. Brian Hartline also had his cleanest practice to date, and should provide this overall group with consistency. Tight end Charles Clay also excelled in the blocking aspect going up against the linebackers, but the defense did win the majority of that drill. It was good to see the running backs get downfield and catch the football cleanly against the outside linebackers in their one-on-one matchup. This is one area that Dolphins fans will see a big change in the variety of ways this offense tries to get the football to the backs in space.
2. Precise And Accurate
Today was by far the best and most consistent throwing day for Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He not only located the football with ease, but his timing and anticipation was on point. One of the first routes that caught my attention was a deep in route to Brian Hartline. Tannehill threw the football to a spot on the inside, and it seemed like the trust factor between quarterback and wideout was on full display. Another route that caught my attention was when Tannehill found wide receiver Rishard Matthews on a deep corner where he anticipated and delivered with perfect accuracy and timing. These are the throws that a confident quarterback makes on a regular basis, and where Tannehill and his receiving corps need to reside to be successful.
3. Line Changes
There was more movement on the offensive line today as the Dolphins continue to look for the right combination early in training camp. Today was the first day that offensive lineman Shelley Smith didn’t take a rep at the center position. He was positioned at the right guard spot, which is his natural position, and looked playing with leverage and toughness on the inside. Nate Garner took the majority of snap at the first team center position, with reserve lineman David Arkin getting second team work. Both Garner and Arkin at times had diffculty with the center quarterback exchange, especially in the shotgun formation. This is something that happens early in training camp, but must be corrected for this offense to execute at the pace it wants to run at.
News & Notes
- Mike Wallace was sidelined once again, joined by fellow wideout Damian Williams. Both did not participate in practice and worked off to the side.
- Mike Pouncey and Knowshon Moreno continued to work on the side, and did it at a pretty good pace. Hopefully that’s a good sign for both in their efforts to return to the field sooner rather than later.
- Center Sam Brenner missed his second straight day of practice, and there’s no telling when he will return to the field.
- On the defensive side linebacker Tariq Edwards did not participate in practice. Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson did participate in early portions of practice, but later stopped after having a wrap applied to his midsection. That was also the situation with wide receiver Matt Hazel, who collided with Chris McCain early and did not return.
- Quarterback Matt Moore worked less in practice today, giving more reps to reserve quarterback Pat Devlin. Devlin didn’t throw much in the first four practices, but threw a lot today.
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