The Miami Dolphins wrapped up their third and final week of organized team activities with another strong showing by the defense and areas of optimism for the offense. It's certainly been a work in progress but that's to be expected this time of year.
There was certainly a level of disappointment when Miami's top draft pick, wide receiver DeVante Parker, was sidelined for a couple months after having foot surgery but the Dolphins are very deep at the position and didn't miss a beat without the impressive rookie.
The next step for Joe Philbin's bunch will be the mandatory veteran minicamp that takes place on June 16, 17 and 18. Before we get to that, let's take one final look at how the team performed during their voluntary workouts. Here are the top observations from week three of the Dolphins OTAs.
Quarterbacks Looked Better
After having a couple rough outings during the first two weeks of OTAs, the Dolphins stable of quarterbacks looked much better this week. Ryan Tannehill's accuracy is improving and his throws were very sharp, especially in red zone drills. He even connected on a deep pass to Michael Preston from his own 20-yard-line. Journeyman backup Josh Freeman continues to make things interesting as he tries to revive his career while his main competition for the third QB spot, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, has also flashed well.
Offensive Line Rotations
Three of the five spots on Miami's offensive line are pretty well locked up, with Ja'Wuan James at right tackle, Mike Pouncey at center and Branden Albert at left tackle. Albert continues to rehab on the sidelines after having knee surgery last year but he's expected to be ready for the regular season. As for the two guard spots, Philbin rotated a couple of guys to get work with the starting unit. On the left it was Dallas Thomas and rookie Jamil Douglas while on the right it was Billy Turner and veteran Jeff Linkenbach.
Coaches Focusing On Areas Of Struggle
There were several areas that the Dolphins struggled last season and the coaching staff is making it a point to work on those things during workouts. The team has been doing a lot of work in the red zone, on third down situations, two-minute drills and on short yardage and goal line situations.
Exploring Options At Kick Returner
Last season Miami utilized then-rookie receiver Jarvis Landry almost exclusively as the kick and punt returner, mixing in running back Damien Williams once in a while. Landry is considered the favorite to handle the duties once again in 2015 but the Dolphins coaching staff is giving several players the opportunity to step up and take the job. Working as a returner in practice were Landry, Williams, Jay Ajayi, LaMichael James, Kenny Stills, Damarr Aultman, Bobby McCain, Christion Jones and Matt Hazel.
Speaking Of Jarvis Landry…
Miami's leading receiver from a season ago is once again turning heads. He made several touchdown catches during the workout, all from Tannehill, but one in particular stood head and shoulders above the rest. Landry made an amazing one-handed catch that he had to reach back for during an 11-on-11 red zone drill. While his teammates are quick to point out that he makes highlight-reel catches on a regular basis during practice, it doesn't take anything away from his skills or the degree of difficulty that he doesn't seem to be phased by.
Rishard Matthews Stepped Up In DeVante Parker's Absence
As was earlier mentioned, rookie wideout DeVante Parker is out for a couple months after having foot surgery. In his absence, Rishard Matthews stepped up in a big way during practice. He was all over the field and made several nice grabs, certainly taking advantage of the extra reps. Matthews asked to be traded earlier this year after the Dolphins added several new receivers but he has been in attendance for all the voluntary workouts open to the media and is proving his worth each and every day.
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