Injuries are mounting for the Dolphins, with more than a dozen players sidelined altogether, limited in their participation or forced to leave during Monday’s practice.
Among the ramifications: The Dolphins are using two undrafted rookie quarterbacks behind Ryan Tannehill, finished Monday’s practice with only two healthy tight ends (Dion Sims and Kyle Miller) and practiced Monday without five key offensive players.
Among key starters sidelined besides Mike Pouncey (hip surgery), the good news is injuries are not considered serious for defensive end Olivier Vernon, who left practice after his back locked up on him; tight end Charles Clay (knee) and receiver Mike Wallace (hamstring).
Monday began with the Dolphins announcing that five players would miss multiple days with injuries: Clay, who had to leave Saturday’s scrimmage early but said afterward it wasn’t serious; quarterback Pat Devlin (hamstring), kicker Caleb Sturgis (groin), cornerback Jalil Brown (knee) and receiver Stephen Williams (ankle).
Those five joined Wallace, running back Knowshon Moreno (knee) and Pouncey (hip) as players who missed practice altogether, though Wallace caught some passes on the sideline.
Five others were limited: quarterback Matt Moore (sore shoulder), who threw some passes but none in 11 on 11 drills; running back Lamar Miller (got some 11 on 11 work); receiver Brian Hartline, who said afterward he has no ongoing medical issues; linebacker Jelani Jenkins (leg) and rookie tight end Arthur Lynch, who has been limited throughout camp with an undisclosed injury.
Six players were forced to leave during practice: Vernon, offensive lineman Nate Garner (forearm strain, not serious), tight end Michael Egnew (tested for a concussion, according to my colleague Armando Salguero), defensive tackle Randy Starks (ankle injury but returned to practice and said afterward he’s fine), running back Daniel Thomas (held area under his buttocks) and tight end Gator Hoskins (leg).
With Devlin out indefinitely and Moore limited, the Dolphins re-signed quarterback Brock Jensen, who was cut last week. Seth Lobato, who replaced Jensen on the roster last Wednesday, took second-team snaps.
### Samson Satele took many of the first-team center snaps on his first day with the team, with Sam Brenner getting some.
“I told [Satele] he’s competing for a job,” Joe Philbin said. “He plays the game the right way. Good technique. Gets movement in the run game.”
Satele said he looks forward to holding down center until Pouncey returns. “It’s not my first rodeo.”
### The signing of Satele gives the Dolphins some clarity at center until Pouncey returns, but there remains uncertainty at right guard.
Dallas Thomas took most of the first team snaps at right guard on Monday, with Billy Turner also getting some.
Shelley Smith, who was expected to be the starting right guard, worked Monday at left guard, mostly on the second team. With Satele signing, Smith no longer will be asked to play center, an experiment that ended midway through last week.
But Philbin cautioned not to read anything into Smith not working with the first team at right guard on Monday, adding he still wants to look at different combinations.
"We wanted to get him some work at left guard, get Billy Turner some work at right guard,” Philbin said. “It’s not really reflective. We’re nowhere near settled on a group inside.”
Smith, lured from the Rams during the offseason, said Monday he has no expectation that he would be an automatic starter here.
### Though there were no botched center/quarterback exchanges, the Dolphins committed at least five pre-snap penalties, including two by the first-team offense to begin 11 on 11 drills.
During their two-minute drill, a penalty was called because the Dolphins’ first-team offense didn’t have enough players on the line of scrimmage.
“Didn’t look very good,” Philbin said of his offense. “We want to draw the defense off-sides with their different cadences and we jumped twice. They ran a blitz, we didn’t pick up very well… You can’t win in football doing that stuff.”
### Not a good day for Ryan Tannehill. His badly overthrown pass to Rishard Matthews was intercepted by Will Davis, who fumbled while going in for a touchdown on the return. (Safety Walt Aikens recovered it for a touchdown.)
Tannehill threw two more poorly-thrown interceptions during 7-on-7 drills, to cornerback Cortland Finnegan (who returned it for a touchdown) and safety Reshad Jones.
And Lobato also threw an interception, off a tipped ball, to Aikens.
### Besides the interception, Davis broke up two other passes.
“Will is more consistent and still making good plays,” Hartline said. “Will and Jamar Taylor have elevated their games.”
### Hartline has a chance to become the first player in Dolphins history to produce three consecutive seasons of 1000 yards receiving.
“Any time you can do something no one else has done for a team in the NFL, it’s special,” he said.
### Hartline said the offense is “doing a lot more things that we haven’t done in the six years I’ve been here.”
What specifically? “The combination of routes are different, the way in which they’re called, the amount of screens. The ball on the perimeter is definitely a lot more. A lot of motions, a lot of shifts. You get the beat on who’s going to be where at what time. A lot of variance, compared to last year.”
### Philbin, on rookie seventh-round defensive end Terrence Fede: “I told him one day he had three penalties in the practice and he looked at me like I had three heads. [But] you love the enthusiasm. He’s getting better. Plays fast.”
### Philbin on undrafted rookie running back Damien Williams, who has impressed aside from being stripped of the ball by Jordan Tripp on Saturday: “He’s done a lot of good things. A lot of the opportunities he had Saturday, he looked very good. He looked natural, he looked physical running the ball. When it popped on the ground, it doesn’t work to his favor. But you can’t over-react to one particular play.”
Mike Gillislee also has been coming on in the running back competition. By the way, Daniel Thomas allowed Philip Wheeler to beat him on a blitz, for a sack, not long before his injury.
GOLDEN SPEAKS (UPDATED)
Here's everything Al Golden had to say during his preseason news conference today:
### Opening Statement:
“Welcome to training camp. We’re excited to get going. Most of our kids are in already. Some are being processed today, but we expect everybody out there but two individuals tomorrow. We’ll reaffirm that as the day goes on. We’re still waiting on the arrival of Trayone Gray and Darrell Langham, just to save you that question. Welcome, we appreciate you coming, and with that, we’ll open it up to any questions that you have.”
### On linebackers coach Micheal Barrow’s sabbatical and subsequent staff changes:
“First of all, Micheal has always conducted himself with class, with dignity, with integrity. He has been a great leader here for a long time, not just on campus and with our team, but within our community. As I said to him as he was starting to try to figure out what direction he wanted to go, I said to him there is no calendar with family. If this is the direction you want to go, it’s our job to help you with this transition. It’s been difficult for him. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like over the next month – I don’t think he’s been in a situation like this since [his youth] where he’s not participating.
“We miss Mike, but at the same time, we had a chance to move Hurlie [Brown] back to defense, something that he’s very comfortable with. Being in the staff meetings and understanding the nomenclature of the defense and being the type of guy to have a rapport with everybody, I think he’s going to make the transition quickly.
“Then we elevated Ice Harris, who is more than deserving and obviously very grateful. Here’s a guy that’s been doing this for a quarter-century for this opportunity, and I know he’s going to give everything he has and going to make us better. Clearly we had an opportunity to bring on Kevin Beard, so we did that. Not the best of timing, but all that is is a circumstance. It’s not the definition of what’s going to happen moving forward and it’s not the result, it’s just the circumstance. It doesn’t determine anything. We have good veterans at those two positions, and I expect our guys to rally and be sharp during camp.”
### On the play of the linebacker group and specifically sophomore Jermaine Grace:
“Jermaine has had a good summer. He ran some of the fastest 40’s on the team, not just the linebacker position – consistently under 4.5 (seconds). He’s about 210 pounds now, he has more experience, he’s smart, he’s an excellent special teams player, he gives us three down value, he’s a competitor and a striker. I’m excited about Grace.“Clearly [Darrion] Owens, you guys knew I was excited about his focus and his performance in the spring, and now he’s going to get a good opportunity at SAM along with Thurston Armbrister. We’ll start with [Terry] McCray over there as well.”
### On the team’s linebacker depth heading into fall training camp:
“I don’t think there’s any question we lost some depth, but we have some other guys that are going to rally. It’s going to give [Terry] McCray an opportunity, a guy like [Mike] Smith an opportunity, Demetrius Jackson an opportunity, Juwon Young, and obviously you mentioned [Jermaine] Grace. Those guys are all going to get an opportunity.“I’m excited about our group. I don’t want those that are not with us to diminish what the guys that are with us are all about. [Raphael] Kirby, we mentioned [Jermaine] Grace earlier. Denzel [Perryman] has had a great summer – 245 pounds now. [Darrion] Owens I mentioned earlier and [Thurston] Armbrister.”
### On how to educate his team given the dismissal of two student-athletes:
“I’m responsible for all 114 guys and every staff member. I’m responsible for everybody. It’s something we take seriously. It’s something that we’re very prudent with, in terms of being proactive. We have guest speakers now, we’re working with [Director of Student-Athlete Development] Shirelle Jackson. It’s something that’s disappointing but we have to continue to educate and communicate and make sure we’re making great choices in the community and making great choices on campus.”
### On the reports regarding the suspension of quarterback Kevin Olsen:
“With any of these instances, as I’ve said to you guys before, if somebody is suspended it’s going to come from [Athletics Director] Blake James and [Senior Associate Athletics Director] Chris Freet. In terms of how we’re approaching camp, we have four quarterbacks, we’re going to cut it to two after the second scrimmage - about two weeks prior to the first game - and we’ll have two that will get ready for the trip to Louisville.”
### On the return and summer progress of Duke Johnson:
“He’s doing great. He has an edge about him, he has a focus about him that he continued and grew since the spring. [It is] a physical, more durable, stronger version of Duke Johnson but faster. At 208 pounds, he’s now running his fastest 40’s as a Miami Hurricane. I’m excited about the edge he brings to this training camp. He was fully integrated long ago, and his conditioning is good.
"I don’t think we’re going to have any setbacks relative to that.“At the same time, we’re excited about that group in general, with the emergence of Gus [Edwards], [Joseph] Yearby, [Walter] Tucker gave us a lot of work there in spring, DeAndre Johnson. We have depth there, and I think Duke has done a good job of mentoring those guys.”
### On injuries to his team entering the first day of practice:
“You just never know for sure, and I’d hate to be wrong here. I would say that Ryan Williams…if you guys have specific questions on – I’d prefer to go that route. I have everybody being integrated right now. [Anthony] Chickillo is fine. [Matt] Goudis is fine. He did have a little issue this summer, but everything I understand is that he’s been much better the last two weeks, so he should be good. [Ladarius] Gunter has had a great summer. His shoulder’s great, and his conditioning has really improved.”
### On the return of wide receivers Herb Waters and Phillip Dorsett:
“Those two have emerged as leaders in the wide receiver group. I don’t know how you’d characterize their summers anything other than awesome. Faster than they’ve ever been, stronger. Herb’s pushing 200 pounds. I’m very excited about the progress they’ve made, and obviously they were missing at the end of the year.”
### On the status of redshirt senior quarterback Ryan Williams:
“I think he’s going to meet with the doctor tonight. Rather than me act like I know what I know what I’m talking about, we can get an idea of where he is. He’s had no setbacks, he’s doing great physically. His mind has always been tremendous, in terms of the game and leadership from that standpoint. Is he going to be a factor in this race in the next five weeks? I don’t know. It’s not worth speculating on. Let’s see what Dr. Kaplan and his staff say, and we’ll stay on track. He has much more experience in dealing with this and the integration part of it than we do.”
### On monitoring Duke Johnson during training camp after surgery in 2013:
“He’s fully integrated. He left that in 2013. He’s a different person right now. As I said he’s stronger, he’s more durable, he’s in great condition. He has a lot of guys around him. He has a lot of experience around him – both at wide out and tight end - and now he has some guys in the backfield who can help him carry the load. I don’t think we need to modify anything with Duke. We’ll be prudent with him like just we are with everybody. He wants to go. He’s ready to go. It’s not, ‘let’s get to camp and test it.’ He’s been testing it out here for all of Summer B, which I believe started June 28.”
### On what areas he thinks Duke Johnson could improve:
“I think the biggest thing is we all want to see him pick up where he left off. He was pressing his runs, they were hitting where they were designed to hit, so he had great discipline at the end of last year. He was running between the tight ends really well, then when he to second level, he would allow his talent to take over. He was very disciplined in that.
“I don’t know if you feel the same way as observers, but he was running differently in those last three and a half games. He was running as hard and as strong as I’ve ever seen him run, delivering stiff arms, lowering his pads, running where the ball it needed to be run. Just prior to the injury – I’m talking moments - he was running the ball at Florida State probably as well as anybody all year. We need him to pick up where he left off. We’ll go from there.”
### On his confidence in the defense heading into fall training camp:
“There are lot of things, especially coming out of the spring in terms of our tackling, yards per carry, three-and-outs, things of that nature. We’re attacking more. We’re stronger. We have seven guys now on the defensive front that do 225 30 times or more. Michael Wyche comes in and gives us great size and strength. Calvin Heurtelou comes in and gives us the same, Anthony Moten, Chad Thomas. In terms of depth, that’s the best we’ve been there on the defensive line in quite some time. We’re stronger.
“The biggest difference I hope – and this isn’t empirical, this is just watching – is the experience and quiet mind that we’re seeing in the secondary. Everybody’s back, everybody’s stronger, everybody’s experienced, the communication is really good, the belief in each other, the accountability. We have great leadership, to be honest with you. We had the best leadership we’ve had in quite some time. I thought [Anthony] Chickillo stepped up, [Ufomba] Kamalu stepped up, Jamal Carter, Denzel [Perryman] of course we mentioned earlier. A bunch of guys - Ladarius [Gunter]. Just a really good summer. Now they have to bring it into the season.”
### Do you guys have the size and depth up front to play more 3-4 full time?
“We’ve never really been 3-4 full time," Golden said. "We’re in and out of it depending on situations. It’s become a game of situations. Everyone thinks it’s a game of four quarters, it’s really not, it’s a game of situations and when they go 10 or 11-personnel, three or four wides, excuse me, when they go three or four wides, we’re going to match up a lot of times. Sometimes that means put the nickel out there, so you might see Deon Bush, Crawford or Tracy in the slot, okay, then bring another corner in. If Deon goes down in the slot, we have a bigger guy that’s kind of like a sam in space and we bring a safety in. As it relates to the front, we’re in and out of fronts constantly. Sometimes we’ll be in an odd front which is 3-4 based, other times we’ll be in over or under front, which is 4-3 based. We have the flexibility now because we’re stronger at the point of attack, we’re the strongest we’ve been there. Again, seven guys over 30 reps, that’s a big number. That’s a big number. That was a lot of hard work by Swasey and those guys, great jobs by the guys up front doing that, now we’ve got to see it pay dividends for us.”
### Is Kevin Olsen committed to being a Hurricane for the long term?
"In my mind sure. He's made a lot of progress this summer, grew a lot as a person. I'm anxious to see that tomorrow, just how much he's growing. Just being in meetings I can hear him - he's more vocal, more confident, understands the system a lot better. He's had a lot of opportunities to grow since the spring."
### With Olsen suspended are you considering moving Gray Crow back to QB?
"No. As a team we're committed to rally around whoever (the starting QB) is. We need wide receivers to step up, running backs to step up, tight ends to step up. And we need a quarterback that can manage the game, that's smart, that protects the football, that gets us in the right play when we need to be."
### What are the most important factors you want to see improve?
"Tackling is up there. Third down differential, your offense minus your defense - when that's not good your time of possession is not good. We need to get off the field better on defense and convert better on offense. That was a bad matrix for us last year, caused us to be on the field too long. The defense needs to attack more, get more three-and-outs. It's hard to say we'll get more sacks and turnovers than last year. Hopefully we will get more but if we can continue to get to the football those are all things we need to see early on."
### What is a realistic expectation for Chad Thomas?
"We don't look at Chad as a freshman, we look at Chad as a defensive end. His maturity, his leadership are well above his years. His expectations are high, but more importantly his standards are high. It's going to be hard for us to say `Chad, take it easy you're only a freshman.' Chad wants to make a difference just as Moten does, Demetrius (Jackson) does, Courtel (Jenkins). He's going to compete over there at end to start. Because of the summer we had a chance to separate Ufomba Kamalu, he's over there with Olsen (Pierre). Chad's going to be a big part of this including the third down pass rushing."
### What do you see in Anthony Chickillo?
"He's living in the moment, (doing) the process, ignoring everything on the outside. He has to continue to have a bunker mentality, continue to do what he's done because he's had a spectacular four months here, five months. 282 puonds, running as good as he has as a Hurricane, and strong, really strong. He ended up getting 30 reps. Like Tracy (Howard) and some other guys who played before they were ready physically, now that the body has caught up we need to put the body with the experience."
### How do you catch up with an FSU?
"They had a great team last year, deserved to be champions. We're on a different course, a different path. We're proud of the way we do things, excited about the direction we're going, about the resources and the commitment we've gotten from the administration and Blake James. We sat here a year ago and didn't know what the future held. We didn't have the fields, a medical center going up, the training table. So there's been a great transition here in the last 12, 13 months. … as bleak as it was a year ago, we're equally excited now. … I don't have time to worry about anyone else's program."
### Is it hard transitioning to a new coach at linebacker?
"We'll be good there. No. 1, I coached that position in this defense, Mark (D'Onofrio) has coached that position in this defense and Mark is a walk-around coordinator. (Raphael) Kirby, Denzel (Perryman), Thurston (Armbrister), those guys have a lot of games, starts under their belts so they can soften the transition. ... there's nobody talking about it. We all miss Micheal. I told him please come to practice - he knows he's always welcome here. He helped build it. We're going to make this a seamless transition."
### How is this team different than a year ago?
"Every team is different. This team is different than last year's team. A team is reborn every year. All these things the guys did in the spring and summer I want to see that translate into our brand. It's their time to show what type of team they are. That's the edge I want to see. It's always important - we play one of the greatest traditions in college football, we respect the heck out of that, but it's really important for these guys to represent right now, who they are. I want to see that because these guys have had a deferent approach to things since January. I want to see that with their accountability , being focused, unselfish, with being able to communicate really well."
### Is there any motivational thing you've sent out?
"I just think this camp for us is about just understanding how to just put your head down and keep going. Worry about your `one' - your play, bad play, go onto the next play. One series. One day. One practice. One game. That's what we have to (do). If we didn't learn from the bowl experience, being in that setting in Tallahassee, then we're not doing our job. We have to understand how to go from week to week irrespective of who our opponent is. They're all one game missions. I want to start that mindset now. One day at a time. We need to be accountable to it. If not there has to be consequences. We cannot go backward at any point during this camp."
QUICK UM HOOPS NOTE: The UM-at-UF men's game will be played at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 on ESPNU and serve as one of the first games for the ESPN family of networks' annual "Tip Off Marathon" tradition of 24-plus hours of games.
The game was relegated to ESPNU because ESPN has Monday Night Football and ESPN2 is airing a Baylor-Kentucky women's game.