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Miami Dolphins training camp practice update (Sunday)

Remember Saturday when I wrote the offense is showing it might be slightly ahead of the defense -- a rarity this early in Miami Dolphins training camp?

Yeah, um, that changed Sunday.

The Dolphins defense got the better of practice this day even as the Ryan Tannehill-to-Jarvis Landry passing combination teamed up for four touchdown passes on the day in the various team drills. (More on that in a minute).

Otherwise, the defensive line crashed the offensive line from practically all angles when the first-team units competed against each other.

Olivier Vernon had a sack. Cameron Wake had a sack. The two defensive tackles beat the Miami interior, particularly the guards, more often than not. The defense also brought the blitz a couple of times and that ruined a couple of attempts at tight end screens.

In the secondary, Reshad Jones had what would have been a 98-yard interception return. That came against quarterback Ryan Tannehill. And one play later, when the second-team offensive matched up against the second-team defense, Will Davis intercepted Matt Moore.

"We're trying to be one of the better defenses in the red zone so that was huge," Jones said.

The shining star today was Landry, who is having a fine camp so far despite the fact he is in a dogfight with cornerback Brice McCain. The Landry vs. McCain battle is highly entertaining and perhaps the most physical and hard-fought competition of camp so far.

McCain, being given the opportunity to win a starting cornerback job, has been better than Jamar Taylor so far. And coaches have obviously noticed because he is taking a majority of the first-team snaps on the boundry despite the perception he was signed to be Miami's slot cornerback.

Not so, McCain said.

"Since I got here my whole goal was to start at corner," McCain said. "That's my goal."

McCain gets beat a lot by Landry when they're matched up one-on-one. But the truth it always seems to be a highly contested play and he always seems to be in great position to make the play. The difference so far is that Landry has shown great hands in holding onto balls that sometimes McCain tips or would slap away from a lesser player.

There are times, such as the long pass down the near sideline that McCain wins the battle and celebrates by requesting fans give him a round of applause.

It is a sign McCain loves the competition. It is a sign McCain has something of an advantage on Taylor for the cornerback starting job.

"If it was out here boring, I'd be miserable," McCain said. "I like it because when I'm down, the competition and him, it brings me up."

Teammates seem to like McCain. They definitely like his enthusiasm and physical play that shows signs of nastiness.

"He's a competitor. He's passionate about the game and he comes to work hard every day," Jones said of McCain.

Notes from today's practice:

***Louis Delmas, who had knee surgery last season, did not practice today. It seemed like a maintenance day for him.

***Davis had missed practice Saturday but obviously returned Sunday.

***Rookie Jamil Douglas continues to take more first-team snaps at left guard than Dallas Thomas. Although we are only in the second day of camp, I'd say Douglas is slightly ahead of Thomas in the competition for the starting job.

That is saying a lot considering Douglas is a rookie and Thomas is in his third year, is a year more experienced with the offense, and has game experience while Douglas has none.

Thomas had a false start Sunday.

***Left tackle Branden Albert was in pads and did some light work in individual drills but did nothing in team drills. Patience, folks. It's about managing him and bringing him back slowly.

***Kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on all his kicks today, including a 51 yards from the left hash. Interestingly, free agent punter Matt Darr did the holding much of the day. Brandon Fields is typically the holder.

***Fourth-string (you read that correctly) quarterback Josh Freeman didn't get many snaps in 11-on-11 drills, and none when the entire team is on one field. (Sometimes the team splits up and the four units all get work).

It is clear Freeman is a long, long shot to make this team not only because the Dolphins are likely to keep only two QBs, but because a third QB might be on practice squad and he's not eligible for that duty.

***The Dolphins spent the entire day working on red zone. The defense was good in the red zone (No. 3) a couple of seasons ago but sank dramatically last season. The offense was bottom third (No. 21) of the NFL in red zone TDs last year.  

Much work needed in this area, folks.

Some play-by-play:

Seven on seven from 45...

First down: Tannehill to Dion Sims incomplete. Sims drop.

Second down: Tannehill to Rishard Matthews for 18 yards. Kelvin Sheppard on defense.

Third down: Tannehill to Michael Preston incomplete. Preston drop.

11 on 11 from the 21...

Tannehill completes to Lamar Miller for 4 yards.

Tannehill avoids a sack and dumps off to Dion Sims on a tight end screen to the right. Sims drops the pass.

Tannehill spread option fake to the back, rolls right and connects with Jordan Cameron.

11 on 11 from the 24...

First down: Tannehill incomplete.

Second down: Tannehill to Lamar Miller for 6.

Third down: Tannehill to Jordan Cameron to the five yard line.

Fourth down: Quarterback draw losses two yards.

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