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2 posts from August 14, 2014

August 14, 2014

Dolphins prepared for Tampa Bay

Remember when the preseason games was about your team and your agenda? Remember when the Dolphins didn't really game plan for opponents in the preseason, save perhaps the third preseason game that was the rehearsal for regular season?

Those days are gone.

Joe Philbin's Dolphins prep for their opponents. They put in plays for the Atlanta Falcons last week. And today they were putting in plays on offense and running scout team plays for the defense in anticipation of playing Tampa Bay on Saturday evening.

"We devoted a lot of time in the practice today to Tampa Bay and our preparation for the game," Philbin said. "The first three practices of the week were really focused on our own improvement, our own football team. But, we’ve got our game plan in and guys are excited about playing. They’re a good football team. They played well the other night. Their defense looked extremely good and we’re going to have to play well in Tampa."

I suppose it is a good thing the Dolphins are preparing for their opponent. They're bound to look, well, more prepared as a result.

But that means fans have to adjust the way they view their team's preseason performances -- especially if the other team isn't prepping for the Dolphins.

If the Dolphins prep, which they have, and look really good, we have to understand that's perhaps a result of that preparation. But if they prep and lay an egg ... well then, that's more worrisome than the team that looked off in part because it had no preparation.

It's a perspective thing.

Even in the days when Philbin says the team was worried about itself, that work should have an affect on Saturday night's second preseason game. The Dolphins, you see, have been quite concerned about their tackling. And so tackling has been a focus in practice this week.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on that this week," Philbin said. "That’s a big part of what we’re looking (to do). We want to see our team tackle better and we want to get off the field better on third down."

Last week the first team offense looked sharp and things could get better with Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline playing this week after taking last week off. Coach, however, want better work from the reserves and are eager to see Matt Moore perform for the first time this preseason.

"Offensively, it’s really consistency," Philbin said. "Again, our first group only had one drive and it was a good drive. But they didn’t play a ton of football. So we’re going to get them on the field a little bit more and we’re looking to see consistent production out of our offense. Obviously, we sputtered after that. We only scored, what three points the rest of the game. So we’ve got to be more productive and have more explosive plays on offense."

Other stuff: Philbin met with running back Knowshon Moreno Wednesday to discuss what he expects of the running back the remainder of preseason and get a feel for where Moreno feels he is physically after missing the first three weeks of training camp. Philbin says Moreno is looking like his old self in the run game but still isn't quite there in the pass game, which is interesting, considering the pass game is what Moreno is known for, particularly his blocking.

TE Michael Egnew missed the preseason opener while nursing a concussion. He has been practicing and is expected to play against Tampa Bay.  

Dolphins nuggets at this hour

The Dolphins' final training camp practice is in the books. This is what's happening:

Center Mike Pouncey, who continues to rehab following hip surgery, repeated today he is ahead of schedule and is hopeful he can avoid being placed on the regular-season physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

While Pouncey will still miss playing time at the beginning of the season, he's hoping he can be ready anytime from Week 2 or 3 to Week 5. If that continues to be the trend, then the Dolphins would have to give serious consideration to putting Pouncey on the active roster even while he is not practicing  -- thus having him count toward the 53-man limit.

If Pouncey suffers a setback in the coming month, the Dolphins could also decide to put Pouncey on regular-season PUP, meaning he would be out at least 6 weeks.

So the decision the Dolphins must make even if Pouncey might be ready to play in Week 4-5 is deciding whether the possibility, and that's what it would be, a possibilty, of having Pouncey a week or two earlier is more valuable than carrying an extra wide receiver, or linebacker or defensive back the first month of the season.


The Dolphins expect their starting wide receivers to be ready for Saturday's preseason game at Tampa Bay.

Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, both of whom missed the preseason opener, have practiced all week and are ready to play.


The Dolphins have been holding what seems like a legitimate kicking competition ever since incumbent Caleb Sturgis tweaked a groin the first week of practice.

The competition might be over, folks.

Sturgis today connected on all four of his field goal attempts.

Danny Hrapmann, who was signed when Sturgis was injured, missed two of his three kicks today. He missed from 47 yards and missed from 42 yards.


The Dolphins running back competition is really happening at the No. 3 spot because, let's be honest, Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno are going to be on this team, barring a major upset.

So Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee and several other lesser likes such as Cameron Marshall and Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa are making a run for the No. 3 spot.

The problem is that neither Thomas nor Gillislee have been making much of a run. Thomas has been nursing and today continued nursing a hamstring injury that has forced him to miss the past two weeks.

Gillislee, who got off to a solid start in training camp, didn't exactly take great advantage of the time Thomas was out and now is himself out with a hamstring injury.

Pffft, goes the competition so far.

It is almost impossible that either Thomas or Gillislee will play againt Tampa Bay.


Backup left tackle Jason Fox continues to miss time with a chest injury.

What does that mean?

It means Nate Garner, the erstwhile, right tackle, center, left tackle, is back at left tackle again. He was the backup at left tackle today and that is likely where he'll play Saturday evening.

Tony Hills has also been getting work at backup left tackle.