Things we learned in the first week of Dolphins training camp – Reading Eagle

The first week of training camp is in the books, and the Mike McDaniel era with the Miami Dolphins franchise is off to a smooth start.

The offense showed itself against a defense that looked vanilla in Saturday’s practicewhich was open to the public and is exactly what fans needed to see to inject some hope into this season.

Here are some more takeaways from the first week of Dolphins training camp:

Tyreek Hill has rare game-changing speed

In all my years, I have never seen anyone with Hill’s combination of speed and quickness. He’s the fastest player on the football field I’ve ever seen — and that’s not even true. That explains why he’s been a Pro Bowler every year he’s played in the league (six) and points to his $30 million-a-year contract and the treasure chest of draft picks Miami gave Kansas City to get. him, were worth it because there isn’t a player in the NFL who can shut him down for 50 snaps a game. At one point, Hill would find himself 30 yards downfield, wide open a couple plays a game.

Tailback is Miami’s deepest position

Miami’s backfield is so deep with offseason additions that brought in Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel, there’s a chance Myles Gaskin, the starter for the past two years, might not make that 53-man regular-season roster. We’ll know more when the pads come in and Miami begins joint practices, but the Dolphins have a talented stable of quarterbacks who each bring something different. Combined, they could be a top-10 rushing attack if a rebuilt offensive line can step up to the plate.

Tua Tagovailoa can throw the deep ball

Tagovailoa doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, but it has enough power for the third-year rookie to throw the ball 40-50 yards with accuracy. With the speed Miami has at receiver, the deep ball threat has the potential to open up the field for everyone on a per-down basis.

Mike McDaniel’s offense is creative

I’m a big fan of West Coast, the game action that McDaniel grew up in and helped run at all of his NFL stops. Watching some of those setups and the creativity he showed early with movement and shifts inspired me that Miami really could be in the top 15 when it comes to offensive production.

Jaylen Waddle runs the best routes

One of the more puzzling decisions of 2021 was turning Waddle into a slot receiver. While the change helped him set the rookie record for most receptions in a season, it negates his speed. These days, he works more as a wing carrier and runs more routes downfield. This offense is clearly a better fit for his skill set, and so his yards per catch average should go up.

Depth at cornerback is a concern

Nick Needham, Noah Igbinogen and Trill Williams don’t have the speed to overcome Hill or Waddle. Few players in the NFL do that, but it’s not a good sign that they’re missing so many reps on a daily basis. What will happen to Miami if Xavien Howard or Byron Jones are forced to miss games this season? Who is the backup nickel back if the Dolphins are forced to play Needham on the edge? The Dolphins need to address their problematic depth at cornerback before the season begins.

The liners are arranged with difficulty

With Liam Eichenberg and Austin Jackson taking their new spots at left guard and right tackle, the Dolphins’ offensive line appears to be taking shape. But it is difficult to evaluate the device without pads, which arrives for the first time on Tuesday. Next week’s joint practice against Tampa Bay defensive lineman Casey Rodgers will tell us even more.

The tight ends had a quiet start to camp

That may be an overreaction, because Miami could have used the first week of camp to work on specific things, but the tight end position was overlooked. Outside of a few catches a day, Mike Gesicki and company didn’t do much. Maybe the defense did a good job in terms of coverage. And maybe things will change when the Dolphins start working on red zone and goal line plays. But it’s definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward.

The depth of the tackle is a concern

Either Jaylon Phillips will be a beast in his second season or the Dolphins need to find better backup tackles. With Terran Armstead on the veteran’s rest program with limited reps, the former UM standout regularly beats Greg Little and Larnell Coleman. At this point, if Armstead is forced to sit out a game or two, Miami will likely be forced to move another starter to left tackle.

The veterans’ recreation program is a smart approach

McDaniel comes from a tree of coaches who respect veteran players by ensuring they maintain their bodies for games. That’s why Howard, Emmanuel Ogba, Elandon Roberts and others who aren’t recovering from injury routinely limit their shots during daily practices. And that’s why players recovering from injuries like Armstead, Mostert and Melvin Ingram practice every other day. The goal is to get them healthy before the season when it matters.


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