The Dolphins today worked out a couple of free agent defensive tackles as both Randy Starks and Jared Odrick missed practice with unknown injuries that the team will not report until prior to Sunday's Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.
Starks, who missed practice Thursday but was present on the sidelines, was not even on the field today. He appeared to be nursing a leg injury of some sort Thursday. Odrick, who was healthy at the beginning of practice Thursday but had an issue midway though, worked with trainers on the side today. He similarly appears to have a leg injury of some sort.
It's obvious neither Starks nor Odrick will play Sunday against Dallas in the HOF game.
Receivers Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline were the other starters to miss today's practice due to injuries. Wallace (groin) and Hartline (calf) are making steady improvement with their issues. Wallace said as much today and Hartline was no longer wearing the compression sleeve on his calf that he wore for protection on Thursday.
Although coach Joe Philbin said he has not made up his mind whether the injured players will play or not, it seems unlikley the club will risk either aggravating their minor injuries in the first of five preseason games. Both Wallace and Hartline want to play, however, with Hartline going back to his home state and Wallace potentially making his Dolphins debut.
The Dolphins will take a tour of the Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio Saturday. And on Sunday when they play the Cowboys, they'll be using a rudimenary game plan coaches cooked up and installed on Friday.
"Play speed is really the thing we've been talking to our guys about," Philbin said. "It's not really about Xs and Os although we have a good sound plan in. I'm sure our opponent has a good plan in as well, but it's more about our guys playing ball the right way. The things we've been practicing every single day have to show up on tape."
If the Dolphins are hoping to play "the right way" Friday's practice didn't offer an example of that.
"A lot of dropped passes and maybe some sloppiness on kickoff returns," Philbin said. "You saw the same things I did."
This is what I saw:
First, Jonathan Martin did not give up a sack today. That bears prominent mention because he's been singled out every time he loses pass-rush battles against Olivier Vernon and Dion Jordan. Today there was none of that.
And it merits mention that Martin looks very good in run-blocking drills and has looked good for several days in that department.
The well-chronicled offensive line mixing and matching was not an issue today. Josh Samuda played at right guard with the staring offensive line and that's how the unit stayed throughout practice -- although Samuda also got work as a center with the second team.
Expect the starting OL Sunday to be LT Martin, LG Richie Incognito, C Mike Pouncey, RG Samuda, RT Tyson Clabo.
Dallas Thomas, a left guard part of last week, was back at left tackle with the second unit throughout practice. Nate Garner, who has played guard and tackle in games for the Dolphins in the past, worked at center today. He had one high snap and also short-hopped a shotgun snap.
On the special teams sloppiness:
It began with a kickoff walk-thru in the Nick Saban Memorial Bubble (NSMB). Special teams coach Darren Rizzi told undrafted free agent rookie David Hinds he had to shift over on one repetition and Hinds failed to do it.
And Rizzi lit him up.
"I just got done telling you to shift 10 seconds ago," the coach yelled. "We went over it in meetings and I just told you 10 seconds ago to do it so why aren't you doing it?"
Hinds did have a nice practice moment later when he batted down a potential TD pass in the end zone in 7 on 7 drills.
Rizzi's special teams had other issues. Reserve kickoff return man De'Andre Presley flubbed a kickoff return. Then starter Marcus Thigpen let another kickoff bounce in front of him. The ball then bounced away from Thigpen and was free for the kickoff team to scramble for. Then Presley followed by allowing the same exact thing to happen to him.
The Dolphins got a very good practice out of wide receiver Keenan Davis. Davis had the catch of the day when he rose above two defenders who were bracketting him 30 yards downfield and caught a pass from Pat Devlin. Davis paid the price as the safety playing behind hit him high and the one in front hit him low. The blow was so hard it caused the crowd watching practice to groan in unison.
General Manager Jeff Ireland, standing only feet from the play on the sideline, clapped excitedly as Davis ended up at his feet.
Everyone else had their difficult moments. Those dropping passes today included Dustin Keller, Michael Egnew, and Kenny Stafford. Julius Pruitt caught one pass and then fumbled it. Kelcie McCray, who had an interception in Monday's scrimmage, dropped an interception. Rookie Jamar Taylor also dropped a certain interception.
The kicking competition continued today with rookie Caleb Sturgis connecting on all his kicks, from 42, 47 and 52 yards out.