Lost in the Miami Dolphins announcement that they will be taking part in HBO’s Hard Knocks, was the fact that the Dolphins started their second OTA session on Monday. From what we can tell, most Dolphins fans are excited about the Dolphins being featured on Hard Knocks because it will give Dolphins fans a chance to see the reality of training camp. Personally, I will be purchasing an HBO subscription so I can watch every minute of it!
On the field, the Dolphins resumed their ‘voluntary’ organized training activities. Although, one notable member of the Dolphins was not in attendance….Reggie Bush. Coach Joe Philbin would not discuss Bush, or any other player’s absence. Via Twitter we know that Bush was in Las Vegas this weekend…maybe he extended his stay a little bit?? Who knows. However, by the looks of things, Reggie is back with the Dolphins today, on the field. The media isn’t allowed to watch today’s practice, but Bush tweeted earlier that he’s ‘ready to work’. So we can assume he’s rejoined the Dolphins. We may never find out why he wasn’t at yesterday’s practice, but as long as he’s healthy, I’m not overly concerned.
Well, the Miami Dolphins are about to make me spend a little more money this football season. On Tuesday, news broke that the Miami Dolphins will be the team featured on this season’s training camp documentary for HBO’s Hard Knocks. Joe Philbin made the announcement following today’s OTA practice and the announcement set twitter ablaze. This announcement is another example of how far the Dolphins have come since the Bill Parcells Era…..yes, I know Ireland is still here. Bill Parcells didn’t want Jason Taylor on the Dolphins because he was off ‘Dancing with the Stars’. He also kept the media shut out, during his reign in Miami.
Coach Philbin had said previously that Hard Knocks wasn’t for him because (he joked), he was made for radio, not TV. MANY believe that Stephen Ross and the Dolphins business side pushed for the Dolphins to accept HBO’s offer. However, Philbin said that this was a football decision. Philbin continued: “It’s going to showcase our players as they go through training camp. It’s a great opportunity for us to connect with our fans. And it’s a chance for us to show the new direction, identity of this football team.”
The Miami Dolphins are expecting an exciting quarterback competition this summer. Matt Moore did a solid job in Miami last year, going 6-6, but helped the Dolphins finish the season winning 6 of their final 9 games…..David Garrard, who missed the 2011 season because of an injury, has experience in the west coast offense and earned a Pro Bowl trip in 2010…..Ryan Tannehill was the Dolphins 1st quarterback taken in the draft’s first round since Dan Marino, and Tannehill in-depth knowledge of the Dolphins new offense. All three quarterbacks have their advantages in this race and all three have disadvantages.
Matt Moore is familiar with more of his Dolphins teammates than the other two quarterbacks. He was voted the Dolphins 2011 MVP last week, so we know that the players respect and appreciate what he did for the team last season. However, last year, the Dolphins offense was tailored to fit Moore’s skill set. This year, the Dolphins new coaching staff installing their version of the west coast offense…an offense MUCH different than the one the Dolphins ran last year.
David Garrard was voted to the Pro Bowl in his last full season of play, in 2010. Garrard has talent and has played in a west coast offense before. Garrard is reliable for the short and intermediate throws, but he lacks consistency with throwing the long ball. Although he is familiar with the concepts of the west coast offense, this offense is different than others he’s been around. Garrard is also facing the challenge of coming to a new team and trying to win the starting job. He must adjust to new players and a new offensive system with the Dolphins.
The Miami Dolphins continued their 3-day Organized Training Activities on Wednesday. The media was not allowed in on this practice (nor will they be let into Thursday’s). However, when they were there on Tuesday, we found out some interesting (albeit very early) information about what the Dolphins will look like when camp begins in July. Obviously, we are still almost 2 months away from the start of training camp…but positional battles have already started. And, by the looks of things, there will be plenty of positional battles for roster spots before final cuts are made.
QB Battle - This will probably be the most talked about positional battle in Dolphins camp. The Dolphins have a QB that helped lead the team to 6 wins in their final 6 games…..They also have a QB that went to the Pro Bowl in the last season he played…..AND, oh yeah, the Dolphins have a quarterback that was selected with a top 10 draft selection. Fans will obviously want Tannehill to look great and win the battle. More likely, it will be Garrard or Moore that win the battle. As crazy as it sounds, if he’s healthy, Garrard could be the winner, having played in a west coast offense before. I’m not discounting Moore, but the system is new to him and doesn’t necessarily play to his strengths.
The Miami Dolphins have agreed to contract terms with another draft pick. On Tuesday, the Dolphins reached a contract agreement with right tackle, Jonathan Martin. Martin will sign a 4 year deal worth just under $5 million. He is expected to compete for the Dolphins starting right tackle spot in training camp.
Martin is still attending classes at Stanford, so he is not attending this week’s OTA, but should be at the team’s next camp in mid-June. Martin’s primary competition for the right tackle position is Lydon Murtha, who handled the starting right tackle duties during the Dolphins OTA on Tuesday. We have also learned that Artis Hicks is being used primarily at tackle and not at guard as many had suspected.
The Miami Dolphins held their first Organized Training Activity on Tuesday. This OTA was ‘voluntary’ and brought both rookies and veterans together. We say ‘voluntary’ because while they are technically voluntary, it’s frowned upon if players miss them. The Dolphins had excellent attendance, with every eligible player participating on Tuesday. A few players (Massam and Gray) were unable to practice because of injuries…..and a few others (Jonathan Martin and Josh Kaddu) were unable to practice because they are still taking classes. Overall, the Dolphins had almost all of their full 89 player roster, on the field.
One player that did more individual work than team activities was Vontae Davis. Vontae apparently has an undisclosed injury, but it didn’t appear to slow him down much. He still took part in some of the team drills, after completing his individual work. Vontae’s injury does not appear to be serious, but it’s worth monitoring in the upcoming OTA’s and minicamps.
The Miami Dolphins have become the whipping boy for the national media. I’m not exactly sure when it started, but it seems like the national media has been picking on the Dolphins for the last couple of seasons. Granted, they’ve had some reasons to; Pat White, Dez Bryant questioning by Ireland, Harbaugh mess, Tebow Day, etc. Let me also say that I am by no means the biggest Jeff Ireland or Stephen Ross fan. But, there comes a point when the national media just have nothing better to write about and decide to dump on the Dolphins….it’s kind of like beating a dead horse….only, the horse is trying to get back up, doing things the right way, but kicking it anyway.
Yesterday, Stephen Ross was asked his OPINION on who might be the Dolphins starter in week 1 of the 2012 season. This was his reply, courtesy of NFL.com: “I don’t think they’re going to rush (Ryan Tannehill) into anything. He’s going to have to win the starting job,” Ross said. “I think Matt Moore will probably be the starter, and I wish him the best.” Following this statement, the national media went in 2 directions. NFL.com posted an article with the headline: “Stephen Ross spells doom for Garrard”…..ESPN’s AFC East Blog had a headline that said: ”It’s time for Dolphins owner to tone it down”.
The Miami Dolphins aren’t in a rush to sign their 9 draft picks from the class of 2012. While some teams have already signed their entire draft class, the Dolphins are taking their time. Thus far, the Dolphins have signed 2 draft picks, Kheeston Randall (DT, 7th round) and BJ Cunningham (WR, 6th round). The Dolphins aren’t in a rush because, honestly, they don’t have to be. Because of the new CBA rules, the draft picks are slotted and their contracts are relatively simple to negotiate. Each pick in the draft has a slotted salary based on where they were drafted.
One holdup, as the Miami Herald mentions here, will be with Josh Kaddu. A rookie can’t take his physical until his classes are finished for the semester. Kaddu, for example, will not be eligible to take his physical until mid-June….which means he can’t officially sign his contract until then. The new CBA rules for rookie contracts will mean that every rookie should be in training camp on time. No more holding out or prolonged negotiations with rookies. This is good for the young men and for the teams because it means the rookies will get an entire offseason of work.
On Friday, the Miami Dolphins kicked FinsWeekend into high gear. The Dolphins hold their annual FinsWeekend to raise money for the Miami Dolphins Foundation, which raises money for education, athletic and health programs throughout Florida. It’s a great event that brings current and former Dolphins together to raise money for a good cause. On Friday, the Dolphins held a charity golf tournament as part of FinsWeekend. Dolphins tight end, Jed Weaver’s team won the event after a 4 hole playoff.
After the golf outing, the Dolphins announced their award winners for the 2011 season. Matt Moore brought home the Dan Marino MVP award. Honestly, this surprised me. Moore had a solid year in 2011, without question. He led the Dolphins to a 6-6 record completing 60.5% of his passes for 2,497 yards, 16 TDs and 9 INTs. It’s a bit ironic that the Dolphins used their first round draft pick on a QB that is intended to replace their MVP! Personally, I probably would have given the award to Reggie Bush, but I can see why the Dolphins selected Moore. Congratulations Matt, well done!
The Miami Dolphins are looking for a full back puzzle piece to plug into their new offense. The Dolphins are probably looking for a full back that will play the part John Kuhn did with the Packers in recent years. Earlier this offseason, the Dolphins signed Jerome Massam, a HUGE running back from the CFL. Many thought that Massam would win the full back spot on the Dolphins roster (including us). However, Massam announced this week that he just underwent his second knee surgery in the last 5 months on his meniscus. The Dolphins haven’t said a word about Massam’s injury or subsequent surgery….so the prognosis for his return is unclear at this point.
We can only assume that the Dolphins want an insurance policy for their full back position, as Wednesday they brought in former Falcon Ovie Mughelli. Mughelli was cut by the Falcons and will turn 32 before the 2012 season starts. However, he is a 2 time All-Pro and a 1 time Pro Bowler. He’s 6’1″, 255 lbs and if you look at his stats, you wouldn’t think much of him. But he’s a very good blocker and can run the ball and catch the ball effectively.