Do you smell that? That stench that is filling up your nostrils? Well stop smelling yourself because it is not you, it’s the smell of training camp, which means football season is officially underway!
Saturday morning, when I got up to get ready to attend practice, I felt nerves, excitement, anticipation and relief that the Miami Dolphins were finally getting the season underway. It feels like Christmas in July for not only me, but for the rest of Dol-Fans everywhere. Practice started at 8AM but the team didn’t hit the field until 8:30, so when I arrived just as the team was taking the field, I could feel the excitement all around the facility.
Usually when I attend a practice, I try to focus on two main parts of the practice: 7-on-7 drills and team drills. I don’t focus a lot on individual drills because any player can be great during individuals, but not all flourish when they are asked to do more. During 7-on-7’s, quarterback Ryan Tannehill looked comfortable in his progression reads and was able to connect on all but three of his passes during the drill, and one of the those incomplete passes was a deep ball down the sideline to Mike Wallace which was broken up by the deep coverage. Aside from that pass, and two others, all of the other ones looked good and the receivers fought to get to the open space to help Tannehill out.
On the defensive side, they were playing like their hair was on fire. If the long ball was covered and all that was left was a dump off, no sooner had the receiver caught the ball than there were four green jerseys around him right away, which is a good thing. If I was Kevin Coyle, Miami’s defensive coordinator, I would be jumping for joy.
Team drills is were things got a little more physical. The group of guys that I wanted to focus on the most was the offensive line, which I was very pleased with. They looked in sync with one another and stood like a brick wall around Tannehill.
Rookie right tackle Ja’Wuan James looked like a veteran. I did notice that he was a little slow on his first step, but was able to regain the ground that he lost very fast and when you go up against a pro bowler like Cameron Wake everyday, every snap is a fight for dominance. And speaking of pro bowlers, acquired free agent left tackle Branden Albert looked like a human from another world, locking down the left side.
Practice Saturday was clean, crisp and mistake free. I hope to see all of the other ones like Saturday’s practice.