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Some Dolphins notes and thoughts from Thursday’s session:
### While one of the Dolphins’ early-round rookie cornerbacks works his way back from surgery, the other has gone on an interception binge this week, which is certainly a way to get noticed on a team craving more takeaways.
Will Davis, a third-round pick from Utah State, grabbed three picks on Thursday, giving him five in the last four practices. Two of the five – including one on Thursday – were made in the end zone.
“He had his hand on the ball eight times today maybe,” coach Joe Philbin said. “That leads you to believe he had a very good practice. That’s one of the measuring sticks we’re looking at in our defensive backs – guys who can make a play on the ball. I’m sure there’s a lot of technique things he has to work on.”
Though Davis also has been beaten several times in camp, he has quickly developed a reputation as a ball hawk. He has deflected more than 10 passes in camp and could have had even more interceptions Thursday if he hadn’t dropped two.
“Everything is starting to click,” he said. “Definitely a good day. When the game slows down for you, you are able to make more plays. That’s happening for me now.”
Teammates have noticed. “Will is looking real good,” safety Reshad Jones said. “He’s a quick guy, and that’s what we need on that side of the ball.”
Meanwhile, Jamar Taylor, the Dolphins’ second-round pick out of Boise State, participated in team drills for the first team in more than a week after sitting out with soreness from sports hernia surgery in May. He said he hopes he’s back on the field for good.
“I’ve been antsy the whole time,” he said. “I definitely have some rust. I’m definitely not at full strength. I have great trainers working with me. I’ll get there. I’m definitely happy to be back on the field.”
Philbin said he likes Taylor’s quickness.
Taylor and Davis said they are rooting for each. “I’m proud of Will,” Davis said.
### Receivers Mike Wallace (groin) and Brian Hartline (calf strain) missed most of their third consecutive practice. Both said they were hopeful of playing Sunday against Dallas in the Hall of Fame game, but it’s possible coaches might decide to rest them.
Wallace said Thursday he feels “a lot better” and has “a lot more strength in my groin.”
He said he “badly” wants to play Sunday. “This is a new situation for me. I want to get out there and feel it out. Feel the new situation. Be with my new teammates and have a great time.”
Also Thursday, defensive tackle Randy Starks stood on the sideline with a compression sleeve on his right leg – he was limping a bit -- and defensive tackle Jared Odrick left practice early with a hamstring injury, but it isn’t considered serious.
Running back Cameron Marshall and linebacker Michael Clay also remain sidelined.
### Rookie tight end Dion Sims continues to impress the coaching staff and has received a lot of work in two tight end sets with starter Dustin Keller.
“I like him a lot,” Philbin said. “He’s doing a lot of good things. He has a chance to be a very good blocker in this league. He’s got soft hands. He’s had a very good camp. He’s going to be a good player.”
But Sims also had a drop on Thursday. “I told him you can’t drop a ball on third and three in the red zone on the 3-yard line,” Philbin said.
### Davis’ interceptions came against Pat Devlin and Matt Moore. But Ryan Tannehill also threw his first interception in six practices, when Richard Marshall picked off a tipped ball.
Philbin said Tannehill’s lack of interceptions has been a byproduct of “primarily decision making, number one, and accuracy number two. I’m not saying accuracy, the location, has been perfect every pass. But it hasn’t been bad.”
### The kicker competition continued with Dan Carpenter making two from 35 yards and missing from 46. Carpenter hadn’t kicked since going 3 for 5 on field goals and missing an extra point in Monday’s scrimmage. Rookie Caleb Sturgis, who was generally sharp on Wednesday, did not kick any field goals on Thursday.
### Rookie Will Davis had three interceptions – two in 11-on-11 drills. Two of his picks were on passes from Pat Devlin; the other was thrown by Matt Moore.
### Tight end Kyle Miller, who has had a good camp, caught a 30-yard pass from Devlin.
### Moore threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Julius Pruitt on a slant.
### Chad Bumphis caught a dep ball from Moore.
### Richard Marshall picked off a pass, ending a stretch of five consecutive practices without an interception by Ryan Tannehill.
### Olivier Vernon had three sacks against Jonathan Martin in team drills and has had the better of their matchup in camp. But Martin didn’t allow a sack against Dion Jordan, who had two against him on Wednesday.
“I think it’s going pretty well,” Martin said of his move back to left tackle, where he played at Stanford. “You have some good days and some bad days. My goal is to try to be consistent against a talented D-line.”
### Philbin said there are ways to get both Dion Jordan and Olivier Vernon on the field with Cameron Wake at the same time. “We’ll make a decision on a weekly basis for the game plan. Coaches have to figure out, put them in the right roles.”
### Josh Samuda was the first team right guard in practice… Richard Marshall replaced Dimitri Patterson as the first-team cornerback opposite Brent Grimes… Jimmy Wilson and Kelcie McCray have been the second-team safeties.
### Though Marvin McNutt has been the most productive of the receivers competing for roster spots, Philbin said “he needs to catch the ball a little more consistently.”
But Philbin also said: “He’s made a lot of plays. He’s a hard guy for defensive backs to get around because of his size. He’s done some good things.”
### Philbin said rookie linebacker Jelani Jenkins is “really making a mark in pass defense. Smart, quick, picks up the system well. Very good play speed.”
### Former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas visited practice and spoke at length with general manager Jeff Ireland.
“We have a lot of volume in. We could never execute these plays crisply in a game. We’ve got to narrow the focus down. What can we be great at? What does the quarterback like? The receivers like?... It’s a long way to go.”
--- Coach Joe Philbin, explaining that coaches have installed 95 percent of the offense with the players.