1 Fort Lauderdale
News & Reviews
1. Run of bad luck: Injuries will happen in football, that’s just part of the sport. But the Dolphins had more than their fair share of significant injuries in training camp, none bigger than the one that will sideline quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the entire season. The Dolphins also lost rookie second-round pick Raekwon McMillan to a knee injury and cornerback Tony Lippett, who tore an Achilles tendon in an otherwise innocent-looking practice moment. Finally, there’s new veteran guard Ted Larsen, who sustained a biceps injury that likely will sideline him for a significant amount of time although there’s a chance he’ll be able to return sometime during the regular season. Through it all, Head Coach Adam Gase has refused to lament the team’s bad luck, going back to the next-man-up philosophy that served the team so well in 2016.
2. Cutler comes aboard: In the aftermath of the Tannehill injury, Gase reached out to an old friend, bringing Jay Cutler out of retirement as he prepared for a first season as a TV analyst. Just like that, the Dolphins replaced their injured starting quarterback with another starting quarterback, one with Pro Bowl-caliber physical attributes whose best season came with Gase coaching him. And that one season, 2015, came when Cutler didn’t have at his disposal a group of skill position players nearly as good as what the Dolphins have to offer.
3. Parker progress: At or near the top of the most pleasing developments of training camp was the performance of third-year wide receiver DeVante Parker, who built on his strong work from the spring. All along, the thought was that Parker was able to practice and play faster because he’s now totally healthy and taking better care of his body, and the result has been his ability to maximize his obvious physical abilities. At this rate, there’s every reason to believe Parker could be headed for a big season.
4. Line dancing: In the search for the right combination up front, the Dolphins did a lot of rotating along the offensive line, particularly on the interior. Part of it was due to the injury to Larsen and the practice plan for center Mike Pouncey, who basically worked on a every-other-day basis as he continues his comeback from a hip injury. Anthony Steen, Kraig Urbik, Jake Brendel and rookie fifth-round pick Isaac Asiata all took turns at center and left guard during camp as the Dolphins continue to search for the right combination, as well as get everybody ready to play multiple positions once the regular season starts.
5. Rookie review: Along with Parker, another standout during camp was rookie defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, whose performance was impressive enough that he wound up starting alongside Ndamukong Suh in the preseason opener against Atlanta last week. Godchaux, a fifth-round pick from LSU, impressed his teammates and coaches with his willingness to learn from the team’s veteran defensive linemen as well as his aggressiveness. Rookie first-round pick Charles Harris also showed promised during camp, and McMillan found himself first on the depth chart at linebacker alongside Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons before his season-ending knee injury. The Dolphins also got solid training camp performances from several rookie free agents, starting with defensive backs Maurice Smith and Torry McTyer.