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3 posts from July 26, 2014

July 26, 2014

Photos from Day 2 of Dolphins camp

Some Dolphins training camp photos, courtesy Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz:

Tannhillthrow

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was better Saturday than his first day Friday. But there were still moments of uncertainty. He made one terrible decision, throwing a deep pass into double coverage. The ball could have been picked but was instead swatted down. He had another late decision to Mike Wallace that was intercepted. Tannehill did deliver a fine throw to complete a long pass to Damian Williams.

LamarMiller

With Knowshon Moreno on the physically unable to perform list, Lamar Miller continues to take first-team snaps at running back. Here's an interesting question that will face the Dolphins once Moreno is healthy: Do you start Moreno, knowing that he's also your best blocker on third down passing situations? That would thus put Moreno in the game all three downs. Or do you let Miller carry the mail the early downs and make Moreno, the best blocking RB on the team, the third-down back?

Huddleup

The Dolphins are urging more communication and being better teammates this year. So far that has kept the rookies free of the zany (and often embarrassing) haircuts that veterans forced on rookies in the past. Some rookies have been forced to carry the pads off the field for vets. That seems harmless. But in the wake of last year's harassment scandal, so far the rookies so far haven't had to treat for expensive dinners or play the role of fools.

Quick practice report: Day 2

The second day of Dolphins training camp showed small improvement for the offense. But not much.

Instead of three bad quarterback-center snaps/exchanges there was only one.

There were also three interceptions -- Jason Trusnick, Brent Grimes and Reshad Jones with a fine one-handed pick -- to go along with a couple of fumbles, including one by Lamar Miller.

Oh yes, and Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake continue to get the better of tackles Branden Albert and rookie Ja'Wuan James. Vernon had a sack vs. Albert. Wake is giving James multiple good lessons in what he should expect during the 2014 season.

Of all the poor plays by the offense, the one that sticks out most is the Jones interception. On that play, Ryan Tannehill had an open Mike Wallace down the field but for some inexplicable reason, the quarterback holds the ball perhaps a second or a beat too long. And so by the time he releases the ball, a wide open receiver is now not so open, and by the time the ball arrives, the defense has fully recovered and, well, Jones gets the interception.

Tannehill did complete a nice deep pass to receiver Damian Williams along the right sideline. Will Davis got beat on that one.

Davis, however, seemed to have a good day. He broke up a couple of other passes.

By the way, you should be impressed with the fact Brandon Gibson is so far showing no signs of the patellar ligament tear that shortened his 2013 season. He's practicing well and is clearly picking up where he left off with Tannehill on the chemistry front.

On the injury front, DE Derrick Shelby (knee) did not practice for the second consecutive day. DT Jared Odrick missed parts of practice early for an unknown reason but participated later.

How Miami improvements compare in the AFC East

So what are the Dolphins chances in the AFC East?

As I write in my Miami Herald column today, it depends on whether the Dolphins are improved at all and where that improvement might happen.

Look, let's be frank. (Frank is a cool guy). There are not a ton of tangible and obvious improvements on this team at this time. Yes, the season might tell a different story but right now we're more leaning on hope than certainty.

Miami's other AFC East rivals are leaning more on certainty.

In New England, the Patriots can say they’re better simply because starters Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Sebastian Vollmer are back and healthy after missing much of last year and, oh yes, the team signed Darrelle Revis, too.

In New York, the Jets are boasting they’re better because lightning fast Chris Johnson is now the running back, they signed wide receiver Eric Decker and Michael Vick is on board to guard against the realistic possibility that Geno Smith isn’t a special quarterback.

And the Bills? The team that swept Miami last season -- still cannot believe that one -- suffered a terrible blow when it lost Kiko Alonso for the season because he was arguably their best player last season. But rookie receiver Sammy Watkins, perhaps the best player in the draft, is catching everything in sight in training camp, their starting QB, unproven and all but still an upgrade for them, is back from injury. And GM Doug Whaley has said his team is in win-now mode.

So where does that leave the Dolphins?

Hoping that the one position of obvious improvement can get company from other spots.