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1 posts from July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013

Longest practice of the season (officially) is over

The Dolphins just finished what Dolphins coach Joe Phiblin said would be the longest practice of training camp. And we had had touchdown passes today!

That's right, Matt Moore had a couple and Ryan Tannehill connected on his first TD throw in team drills of the training camp. Both came in red zone situations which was the focus of today's practice.

The stars of today's work?

Wide receiver Brian Hartline was one. He caught a TD from Moore and had two other catches in team work. He did drop a pass on a quick out and was open in the back of the end zone for another touchdown but the ball delivered by Ryan Tannehill was knocked down at the goal line.Brian Hartline In the picture (Courtesy Joe Rimkus of The Miami Herald), Hartline is snagging one of his catches as cornerback R.J. Stanford defends.

Dustin Keller, as usual, was the most active pass catchers in terms of catches and that is no surprise but second-year player Michael Egnew was very active in today's practice as well.

Egnew started out poorly. In Miami's fumble drills inside the Nick Saban Memorial Bubble offensive players hold a ball in their left arm and another in their right arm. Then two defenders standing on either side try to snatch the balls from the offensive players' grasp. After surviving this, player must run a gauntlet past coaches the pummel them with pads.

Egnew was one of only two players to fumble today. Running back Daniel Thomas was the other.

But Egnew got better once on the field. Yes, he dropped a seemingly easy catch along the sideline during 7 on 7 work, but also caught a touchdown and had one other catch. Inconsistent? Yes. That's still better than usual.

Free agent Marvin McNutt, good the first couple days of work as he vies for one of the open WR jobs, dropped one pass and had to double-catch another in traffic today. He did have one good catch from Tannehill but overall not a clean day for him.

Rishard Matthews, another WR vying for a job, caught the touchdown from Ryan Tannehill. It was, as mentioned earlier, Tannehill's first TD in team drills this camp.

After practice offensive right guard John Jerry stood out in the heat and answered media questions for a few minutes. Why is this important? Well, he was able to be upright. He wasn't vomiting. He wasn't spent. The guy is in better shape this year than a year ago at this time when he was 18 pounds overweight.

"It's like night and day," Jerry said comparing his conditioning now to last season. "I'm way ahead in my conditioning."

Jerry declined to divulge his weight but he's listed at 335 pounds and cannot be far from that.

Mike Wallace and Tannehill are still searching for the signature moment when the starting quarterback drops five steps, waits a count or two, and fires a strike to the new big play receiver deep down the field. But Wallace is catching a lot of outs and slants.

And he is battling, as expected, in one-on-one drills against cornerbacks. And I do mean battle. In the picture (Courtesy the Herald's Joe Rimkus) Wallace and cornerback Nolan Carroll are going at it in the end zone on one-on-one drills. That one was won by Carroll who eventually knocks the ball away.Dolphins25 breakup jwr

The kicking competition continued today and it wasn't great for rookie Caleb Sturgis who missed consecutive kicks in the NSMB, from 47 and 49 yards. Both sailed wide left.

I shared with you yesterday that the three incumbent specialists -- Dan Carpenter, Brandon Fields and John Denney -- are very close.

"Very tight," Philbin confirmed today.

And they're often seen together while Sturgis, the rookie, is alone and apparently on the outs.

So is breaking up that veteran trio a consideration in the decision as it pertains to affecting team chemistry?

"We told the players the first day of the meeting that our job, my job is to play the best players and there's not going to be any favoritism. I think every player deserves that and that's what we'll do."


Defensive end Dion Jordan continued his slow climb toward practicing full tilt. I believe once the team gets back from Thursday's off day, the heat will be turned up on Jordan relative to work in team drills.

As it stands, the rookie first round pick has not participated in any significant contact work yet. He's not been in team drills or one-on-ones versus offensive linemen.

"We thought he was moving around well yesterday," Philbin said. "He's picking things up relatively well."

On the injury front, running back Cameron Marshall pulled with an apparent hamstring injury during kickoff drills. He did not resume work. And cornerback Jamar Taylor missed his third day of drills while nursing soreness from the effects of his hernia surgery. 

[BLOG NOTE: Come back later this afternoon for actual play-by play of practice. And follow me on twitter @ArmandoSalguero].