They don’t call them dog days for nothing. Any player will tell you that the heat makes training camp brutal at times, but Dolphins’ players know the true definition of brutal. It’s hot everywhere in August, but the South Florida heat and humidity is a different beast.
Today was no exception, as some media members speculated that it was the hottest day of camp thus far, with no breeze or cloud coverage for relief. But working through these conditions will only benefit the Dolphins from a conditioning standpoint.
And kudos to the fans for still coming out. This fan base has been taking a hit lately with the whole Henne booing/Orton chanting saga, but they deserve credit for showcasing their loyalty in the heat.
Charles Clay has strong practice
The Dolphins’ rookie class has been solid a week into practice. Most notably, Clyde Gates has looked the part of playmaker and Jimmy Wilson has been making quite the impression for a seventh-round pick. Well, now you can add sixth-round selection Charles Clay to that list.
The presumed H-back had himself quite the session today, highlighted by two 25-yard touchdown receptions in 7-on-7’s. We will probably have to wait for the preseason to get a feel for exactly how Brian Daboll will utilize Clay. If he continues to impress, either fullback Lousaka Polite or whoever wins the third tight end spot will be out of a job.
Who said Reggie Bush wasn’t physical?
Reggie Bush, the labeled finesse runner, had arguably the play of the day by going truck stick on Sean Smith. Bush ran right through the 6-3, 215 pound corner, knocking him to the ground. Those are the types of plays Sparano will have to see if he’s going to entrust Bush with a starter’s workload, something I think is very unlikely.
But outside of flashes like these, it’s really hard to get a feel for how productive the Dolphins’ backs have been so far. They typically don’t tackle to the ground in practice, so we’ll have to wait for the preseason to see how the new-look running game is progressing.
Will Allen sits out second consecutive session
When Will Allen was seen on the sidelines yesterday, it was assumed he was just a part of the small group Sparano gave the day off to. He didn’t return to the field today, though, suggesting that he could be banged up. Suddenly, it seems as though Allen’s job security is decreasing by the day.
When he restructured his contract in February to stay in Miami, it was believed he was a virtual lock for nickel corner duties. That, of course, was contingent on his health. It just seems like Allen has never been the same corner he used to be following a torn ACL in ’09.
Jason Taylor getting first-team reps
For the second consecutive practice, Jason Taylor lined up as starting strong-side outside linebacker. That’s a bit of a surprise, considering JT was unanimously thought to have signed back with the Dolphins for a situational pass rushing role, not to start over Koa Misi.
Now, it could be that the coaching staff is just trying to light a fire under Misi or attempting to gauge how much JT has left in the tank by seeing him go up against the first-team offensive line. And to be honest, both theories seem much more plausible than JT starting at age 36. Koa Misi was fairly solid as a rookie and is only going to get better. It’s no time to hit the brakes on his development.
That’s four in a row for Chad Henne
Another solid practice for Chad Henne makes it four straight positive sessions after his rough start. Henne was keying on his tight ends left and right, finding Jeron Mastrud for scores twice in redzone work to go along with hooking up with Charles Clay for one of his two touchdowns.
The Henne/Marshall connection looks like it still needs some work, though. Marshall was able to get behind Sean Smith on a deep post route, but Henne overthrew him. Later, Marshall dropped a would-be easy touchdown that Henne put on the money.
Meanwhile, Matt More reportedly has shaken off his rusty start, looking a little sharper today, and the newly signed Kevin O’Connell was solid as well.
Scrimmage set for tomorrow
It was originally thought that Sunday’s session would be closed to the public. Not only will tomorrow’s 1:50 p.m. practice be open to the public, the Dolphins will undergo an intrasquad scrimmage.
It’s also rumored that the scrimmage will take place on the near field, giving fans their closest, most revealing look at the 2011 Miami Dolphins to date.
Sources: Andrew Carter, Ken LaVicka, Brian Biggane