The Miami Dolphins wrapped up their mandatory minicamp a day early, with the team deciding not to take the field for the originally scheduled third day of on-field work. The Dolphins will now have about six weeks off before returning to the team's practice facility in Davie for the start of training camp and the 2015 season.
As we have progressed from the three weeks of voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) to this week's minicamp, there has certainly been some progress shown on both sides of the ball. Here are the top observations from Miami's two minicamp practices.
When the Dolphins began their offseason workout program the team's starting guards appeared to be Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner. Throughout the series of practices over the past month we've seen those two guys rotated in and out of the first team offensive line with veteran signing Jeff Linkenbach and rookie fourth round pick Jamil Douglas. Also, while Jason Fox has been playing left tackle due to the absence of starter Branden Albert, who is recovering from knee surgery, expect Fox to join the mix of players vying for spot as a starting guard.
Tannehill Looks Sharp As Ever
Ryan Tannehill is entering his fourth year in the NFL, having started every game under center for the Dolphins. This will be Tannehill's second year under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and so far he looks posed to have his best year yet as a pro. He has a great understanding of how the offense should be run and is developing great chemistry with all of his weapons. Tannehill's practice performances have gotten better and better, with the final practice on Wednesday being one of the best of his career.
Ndamukong Suh Is As Advertised
Not that there was any concern that he wouldn't be, but Miami's prize free agent signing Ndamukong Suh has been showing that he is worth every penny the Dolphins are paying him. The massive defensive tackle has constantly gotten into the offensive backfield despite being double-teamed at times. The attention he demands is why it's expected that there will be more opportunities for his linemates, like Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, and so far that has rung true during practices.
Rookie Class Flashing
When Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey was brought in to replace Jeff Ireland, there was quiet optimism that the first-time GM would do better than the guy before him. So far, that has been quite accurate. The Dolphins 2015 rookie class has been flashing all over the practice field, from first round pick DeVante Parker to fifth round pick Tony Lippett and everyone in between. Jordan Phillips is competing for time in the defensive line rotation, Jamil Douglas could be a future starter on the offensive line, Bobby McCain and Lippett are making plays in the secondary and running back Jay Ajayi's ceiling is extremely high.
Kicker Situation Needs To Be Addressed
The topic hasn't come up much since Caleb Sturgis was sidelined with a leg injury sustained while playing kickball, but whether he is healthy for training camp or not, Miami needs to address the kicker position. Even when Sturgis has been healthy he hasn't done much to inspire confidence in the Dolphins kicking game. Andrew Franks has been filling in for Sturgis during practices but he hasn't been any better. It's likely that some veteran kickers will become available as training camps go by, and Hickey would be wise to keep his eye on those potential options.
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