3 Takeaways: Saturday’s Practice

1. Dominate Defensive Day – On a hot and humid Saturday training camp practice, it was the defense that held the upper hand. As a unit, this group came away with four interceptions, led by cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Alterraun Verner. Both players anticipated a short throw in the red zone and stepped in front of the receivers to make a play on the ball. Later in the practice, Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones got his hands on a Jay Cutler pass, followed by rookie safety Maurice Smith baiting Matt Moore into a turnover during a two minute drill. The offense had some positive plays, highlighted when Cutler found wide out DeVante Parker for a touchdown to start the two-minute drill.

2. Pouncey Gets Into Team Drills – Veteran center Mike Pouncey said after practice that he couldn’t sleep on Friday night knowing that he was finally going to get meaningful snaps for the first time in training camp. The Pro Bowl center looked healthy and ready to work taking snaps during the 11 on 11 team drills. Although Pouncey didn’t take all of the snaps during the three team periods, it was a terrific first step. I’m sure that his workload will gradually increase as training camp moves along.

3. Next Man Up at Middle Linebacker – The injuries have been unfortunate so far during training camp, and continued against Atlanta last Thursday night. Rookie Raekwon McMillian was lost for the season, and second-year linebacker Mike Hull received most of the action in the middle today. This isn’t new to Hull because last season he replaced an injured Kiko Alonzo in the Dolphins defense, as well as being a major contributor on the special teams units. He said after practice that his experience last season gives him the confidence to go in and do the job that’s required. I believe the Dolphins will continue to look for a veteran replacement over the next week or so, but for now it’s Hull’s job in the middle of the Dolphins defense.