I promised you some practice highlights from Tuesday's first day of work in pads and here it is:
First, the actual contact work was light.
I sat with former Dolphins defensive end Kim Bokamper during practice and we both looked at our watches and noticed there had been no real hitting a full 90 minutes into the practice. Bokamper said in his day there would have already been a goal-line drill and some live team period done.
Coach Joe Philbin said he's going to bring the contact along slowly. Some Tuesday. More Wednesday. Team is off Thursday. Then a bit more Friday on, leading up to a scrimmage next week.
The Dolphins have completed a ton of passes to WR Mike Wallace so far, but most have been on out patterns along the sideline and slants. Ryan Tannehill did connect with Wallace on a 25-yard throw down the middle of the field early today. The reason for the connection?
Wallace was by himself, which should never happen on defense.
I will say that cornerback Brent Grimes has been excellent so far. He's faced Wallace one-on-one on several occasions and is battling on every pass. He had a beautiful PD today when he basically ripped the ball from Wallace's grasp as the two fought for it.
Good news, bad news
I'm particularly interested in the fates of Michael Egnew and Jorvorskie Lane this camp. I'm interested to see the team's plans for two players that made the team as rookies and had moments but are under pressure this year and might not make the team.
Today, for the first time, the Dolphins put Lane into his familiar lead blocker role at fullback with the first team offense. Miami has been mostly in one-back sets and using the TE as a lead blocker the first few days.
The news on Egnew has been encouraging if you trust that him doing something (anything, really) is more than he did last year. He caught a few passes Monday. On Tuesday, he caught a nice pass down the seam from Matt Moore delivered and just as I was thinking, 'That's the reason he's here and needs to do more of that,' he got stripped of the ball.
De'Andre Presley stipped the ball as he took Egnew to the ground. The interesting thing to me is that once the ball was out and defenders picked up the ball and started charging back up field with the turnover, Egnew remained on the ground.
He didn't immediately get back up and try to get the ball back with a strip from behind. Perhaps I'm making too much of this but every athlete is going to lose sometime. But if he's going to lose and accept it, instead of reacting by getting up and trying to change the play back to his favor, he's got no chance.
Remember Don Beebe in the Super Bowl? He ran down a Dallas defensive tackle and turned what seemed like a certain Dallas defensive touchdown off a turnover into a fumble for Buffalo and a touchback.
Beebe refused to be defeated on that play. He didn't give up despite being in a tough situation.
By the way, how many times have you seen a QB throw an interception but then make the touchdown saving tackle on that very play? Sometimes it doesn't matter, but sometimes that tackle becomes a big deal when the defense refuses to let the other team score.
Egnew should learn not to accept that once he fumbles the play is over and he remains on the ground. That's the time to get up and chase the ballcarrier to try to cause a fumble for your team.
Speaking of tight ends, Charles Clay is being more productive this camp than in previous camps. He had a very nice catch down the seam against Phillip Wheeler today. The new LB had close coverage but Ryan Tannehill fit the ball in a tight space and Clay caught it.
The Dolphins need that from Clay in actual games because 18 catches last season just isn't productive enough.
The kicking competition:
It was Dan Carpenter's day to do all the kicking. Carpenter connected on kicks from 50 and 52 yards inside the Nick Saban Memorial Bubble (NSMB) and from 49 yards on the practice field. Carpenter has been hot so far in camp, not missing even once, but that streak ended when he failed from 54 yards out.
By the way, it is an interesting dynamic this competition between Carpenter and rookie Caleb Sturgis because it obviously also involves long snapper John Denney and punter Brandon Fields.
Fields, Denney, and Carpenter have been together since 2008 and have developed a friendship. They hang together in practice. They have lockered together. They're like the Three Amigos.
Now comes Sturgis, a rookie, trying to beat out Carpenter and break up the trio because, well, that's his assignment.
Well, it was interesting to watch today as Denney, Carpenter and Fields standing together on the sideline -- as they usually do -- while Sturgis was by himself on the sideline and obviously not a part of that group of specialists.
I'm not saying the veterans aren't being professional or are giving the rookie the cold shoulder. I'm just saying sometimes human nature is very apparent.
[NOTE: Follow me on twitter for real-time updates during practice.]