The Miami Dolphins continued their training camp for the 3rd straight day as usual on this hot, humid, somewhat muggy kind of Saturday morning.
Early morning rain died down before practice which made the climate feel a little more humid than usual once the sun came out. But overall, the field conditions were good and the practice was mostly sunny.
Today was the Dolphins first day in “uppers” (shoulder pads, rib pads, etc.) so things got a little physical, but not too much.
Ryan Tannehill looked pretty sharp and got off to an early highlight when he hit veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola deep down the middle of the field for a touchdown during the 11-on-11 scrimmage. (Anyone who says Tannehill can’t throw deep should put on some 2016 tape and come to practice. He’s on-target.)
Gase’s offense demonstrated another major highlight soon afterward with a razzle-dazzle play. The Dolphins ran a playaction-reverse pass in which Tannehill faked the handoff up middle, tossed the ball to Stills who was coming around in motion, Stills ran to the right side, threw back to Tannehill, and Tanny bombed it deep left to Parker who had beaten the single-coverage across the field. The play almost connected if it wasn’t for a major effort by the defender.
The efforts from the backup quarterbacks were more hit or miss.
Brock Osweiler threw an early interception in the middle of the field which was picked-off by middle linebacker Chase Allen. Osweiler was targetting a tight end who was covered underneath and over the top. Allen returned the interception for a touchdown.
Osweiler later made up for that play by hitting wide receiver Jakeem Grant deep down the left sideline. Grant burned his cornerback.
Brice Petty also had his ups and downs. Petty had wide receiver Francis Owusu open on the left side between underneath and top coverage. But threw the pass too far upfield of Owusu and missed him.
A play later, Petty missed Leonte Carroo who was cutting across middle in a wide open part of the field and had his defender beat.
Then Petty bounced back in another scrimmage session in practice when he bombed deep to WR Isaiah Ford on the right sideline for a touchdown. Ford is now wearing the red “don’t hit me” practice jersey after the injury he suffered in yesterday’s practice.
No major highlights from starters Kenyan Drake or Frank Gore this morning. But I can tell you Gore’s cuts in scrimmage between defenders is masterful.
Kalen Ballage is creating big plays. He is still working with the 2’s and seems to be the number 3 back on this team. He took a handoff left for big run and touchdown.
Jakeem Grant is coming along. He’s still getting time with the starters and showing off his speed. But he also spends a lot of time with the 2nd-team. The same goes for newcomer Albert Wilson. There just isn’t enough space for all these receivers to be worked into reps with the 1st-team.
Isaiah Ford seems to be okay. Other than wearing the red “LOOK OUT FOR ME!” jersey, he doesn’t seem to be limited in any fashion. He’s still working with the backups.
(If you want to know some Parker, Amendola, Stills highlights, check in “Quarterbacks”)
It’s hard to get an idea of the starting tight ends for this team. The Dolphins were moving them between units today and some of the previous backups got their work in with the starters.
But I can say it looks like A.J. Derby is leading the pack right now. MarQueis Gray still recieves the first reps with the starters. Then rookies Durham Smythe and Mike Gesicki appear to replace Gray. Smythe is ahead of Gesicki at the moment.
Gesicki struggled with the playbook early this offseason, but after being quizzed by Durham Smythe (as well as family, friends, whoever), Gesicki says everything is all good mentally now. He just needs to get conditioned to the Miami heat so he can get back to playing to his full-potential physically.
“There’s no more mental errors,” said Gesicki. “There’s not going to the left when you’re supposed to go right or doing this when you’re supposed to be doing that. That’s a huge progression. And then just continuing to battle this heat and get acclimated with that because … When you’re out here for OTAs and you thought, ‘All right, it’s hot.’ Then you get out there in late July and the beginning of August and now it’s really hot.”
(Blah, so boring yet so important to the success of the season when it comes to protecting Ryan Tannehill and giving him a running game.)
The interior of the line looks good, but the tackles are still shaky and facing good competition from the team’s defensive ends.
Both Laremy Tunsil and JaWuan James were beaten by Charles Harris and Andre Branch early in practice. Then, in one of the scrimmage sessions toward the end of practice, got beat quickly by the pair of Harris and Robert Quinn.
This Doesn’t appear to be a major concern at the moment (they aren’t even in full-pads yet).
If you are wondering what the team’s backup offensive line looks like:
LT Sam Young, LG Isaac Asiata, C Mike Matthews, RG Ted Larsen, RT Zach Sterup. Center/guard Jake Brendel is also in the mix, but missed his 2nd straight practice.
– CB Torry McTyer could be in the mix for competing for the starting #2 corner job on the boundary opposite of Xavien Howard. McTyer made his way into working with the starters today.
Fellow cornerback Bobby McCain says McTyer has been one of the most impressive members of the defensive backfield: “So far, Torry McTyer has been really strong. He has come out really strong and had a few really good days. He showed his offseason workouts have really paid off for him.”
Cordrea Tankersley and Tony Lippett got their time with the starters too. Lippett stripped receiver Kenny Stills after he caught a short pass on the right sideline. Fellow CB Bobby McCain scooped up the fumble for a return.
– CB Xavien Howard appeared to be beaten deep by DeVante Parker on the left sideline, but used his make-up speed to get his hand in to break up the pass that was basically in the breadbasket. Tannehill made the throw.
– LB Kiko Alonso is still working on his weakside linebacker position. He dove and batted away a pass to Frank Gore who was coming out of the backfield on the left side. But he’s still showing he has trouble sticking with other recieving threats like tight ends and receivers in deeper parts of the field. Sometimes he looks good, sometimes he looks bad.
– Safety situation is still Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald. 1st-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick got some 1st-team reps as well.