8:20 a.m. EDT, July 30, 2013 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miam ... 3296.story
Ten thoughts from the Dolphins scrimmage on Monday at Sun Life Stadium - besides there's work to be done.
1. Ryan Tannehill looked good despite not having his two top receivers. Remember, this is a first scrimmage and the defense is expected to be ahead of an offense with a lot of new and moving parts. With Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace given the night off for unexplained reasons, Tannehill had trouble moving the offense against the first-team defense his first two possessions. But when he entered later in the scrimmage mostly against the reserve defense, he threw three touchdowns inside the red zone and finished with an unofficial 8-of-13 for 75 yards. In general, he displayed the kind of decisions you’d want to see on the season’s first quiz.
2. The announced crowd of 22,876 was the most impressive number of the night. Let’s put this night in some context, too. A year ago, the Dolphins drew about 7,000 to a Saturday morning scrimmage (the Marlins drew 19.343 on Monday against the Mets, though that's apples-to-oranges considering the 81 home games and paid tickets). Under the Bill Parcells regime, the football side didn’t want to give a scrimmage like this despite the business side’s pleading. This was a night the Dolphins had fans register for free tickets and now will follow up with marketing to these fans to sell tickets. The football and business side are working together more now.
3. Dion Jordan made a couple of nice plays for a guy with limited practice time. I'm a believer you want rookies to flash something early - if they have it. Jordan beat tackle Will Yeatman later for a sack. He was around the ball on a couple of other plays – either getting a second sack or just getting beat to it by Koa Misi (quarterbacks weren’t hit, so it’s hard to judge exactly). It’s only been a couple of practices and you got a glimpse in this scrimmage of what Jordan can do. Also, Olivier Vernon had a sack and force fumble to continue his good camp.
4. Here’s a name you didn’t hear during the scrimmage: Cameron Wake. The news there isn’t about him. Wake is the one elite player on the team, the only one at an impact position without some question attached to his game. What it means is right tackle Tyson Clabo must have done a decent job. And that’s good news.
5. Dan Carpenter had a chance to extend his early lead in the kicking competition. Instead, he raised some questions. Actually, Carpenter proved to be exactly who he has over his Dolphins career. On close and mid-range field goals he was fine, making attempts from 32 and 44 yards. On long field goals? He was one of three, making a 50-yarder and missing two 49-yard attempts. He also had an extra point blocked, though that could easily have been a blocking issue (no replay so no conclusion). The Dolphins drafted Caleb Sturgis because of his stronger leg. Carpenter didn’t do anything Monday to soften that issue.
6. Josh Samuda started at left guard. It’s too early to say what this means. But it affects Richie Incognito the most, as he moved from left guard, where he went to the Pro Bowl last year, to right guard. We'll have to see how this plays out and how Samuda works starting with Sunday's preseason game against Dallas.
7. Lamar Miller has set some big goals for himself, as you'd hope for someone in his role - as I wrote in my column today on him. Miller had little running room on Monday, rushing five times for 12 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, rookie Mike Gillislee had six rushes for 22 yards and two catches for 21 yards. But he also had a fumble. And that’s the play that stands out in a camp where they’ve put an emphasis on turnovers. Joe Philbin said the Monday the top reason they were 7-9 last year was the minus-10 turnover ratio. His hope? “Flip that number around,’’ he said.
8. Yes, Tannehill threw three red-zone touchdowns, which is a nice step forward considering the issues last year. But with 6-3 Armon Binns gone for the season with an ACL injury, I wonder if they have a true red-zone target. The Dolphins are working out Laurent Robinson and Austin Collie to see how their injuries and games are.
9. Three smaller names who were noticeable: A.J. Francis had a sack and a pass deflected; Kelcie McCray intercepted a Matt Moore pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown; Jonas Gray ran four times for 13 yards and had two catches for 17 yards.
10. Thirty-nine days to the Sept. 7 opener in Cleveland.
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