After a sluggish start to the preseason, and a ton of unneeded press from releasing a non-important piece of the future, the Dolphins move into week three of training camp with just as many questions as the first day of camp. The next two weeks will be where things truly take shape as starters get more reps in live games and start to round into better shape for the season. A lot to discover still, here we take a look at how things are progressing for the Phins.
MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
Drops a Sign of Things to Come?
Given the Dolphins lack of playmakers at wide receiver even before the Chad Johnson release, it’s discouraging to hear that the first practice without the former Ochocinco was filled with drops by the receiving core. It is my belief that the Dolphins are better off without Johnson as it allows them more reps for younger players to develop, players that can fit into long term plans if they are given the chance to succeed.
Johnson would only delay that progress and he should never have been in position to be on the squad next season and beyond anyways. So even with every drop, the young receivers in Miami will be given a shot to play the position at the NFL level. It may frustrate QB of the future Ryan Tannehill, and it most certainly will frustrate fans this season, but they will only grow out on the field, not on the sidelines. QB’s learn on the sidelines, receivers learn on the field.
The Future May Be Now
Anyone who saw the first preseason game saw Ryan Tannehill look pretty comfortable out on the field. That however, was against a vanilla defense playing loosely and mostly against backups at that. A truer test will come vs a starting unit on defense, and that test may just be seen this Friday if Tannehill gets the nod as starter vs Carolina. And it’s looking like it could actually happen.
Ryan may benefit from lowered expectations and a chance to sit and learn like Aaron Rodgers was allowed in GB, however, if he earns the position in training camp, and shows he’s as good as any other healthy QB on the roster, then playing him can certainly help him develop his knowledge of NFL defenses a little bit quicker. He will not yet have the talent around him to succeed, but he does have a fairly solid OLine, and a healthy run game, as well as capable receivers at the Tight End position as well as in the slot with Davone Bess, so he may be able to play without having to take a 70 sack type season like a David Carr, or a 25+ interception season like Peyton Manning. Still very early, but a glimpse could be quite telling sooner than people may have thought.
Random News and Notes
-A few concerns over injuries are starting to mount. It would not be a good trend to continue throughout the season, however it’s not something that’s easy to avoid in the NFL.
-LB Koa Misi was solid in the few plays he was in for in the preseason opener. He was around the ball almost every play.
-Jimmy Wilson played a nice centerfield on a deep ball, however mistimed his jump and ended up allowing the catch. It’s easier to learn to time the breakups, more so than being in the right place, so there’s good hope that Wilson will improve over time.
-Lamar Miller didn’t have a lot of space in the run game, but was able to show some speed on a screen pass perfectly executed between he and Tannehill.
-Of the corners, Richard Marshall did indeed look the best out there as both Sean Smith and Vontae Davis were beaten a couple times. (a very scary trend).
-Dan Carpenter missed a couple of long field goals, and started a bit slow last year as well, however if he can get his leg worked out in preseason in time for the opener, that will help a lot.
-Very underrated aspect of the team this year, and especially in September. No more baseball infield. All grass for the first time in over a decade.