How can a guy that has only started 23 college/pro football games be so cool under pressure? Look no further than the Dolphins practice field. Coach Joe Philbin brought an innovative practice pace to Dolphins training camp, running 2 sets of plays on each half of the field, to maximize practice time. This meant the players needed to think and move quickly. Today we learned that Philbin also doesn’t want his defense playing ‘vanilla’ in practice, so it challenges the offense. According to the Palm Beach Post, Mike Sherman said this today:
“I’ll go to Joe sometimes and say, ‘can we just practice against a regular, vanilla (defense) so I can practice some of this other stuff?’” Sherman said Tuesday. “So if you can make it through practice, then the game should be a little bit easier, particularly going against our defense.”
“We always practice pressure and blitz, but I just saw Ryan this week mature in how he handled it,” Sherman said. “He stepped up in the pocket making throws, and thought this past week of practice was his best week of practice. He just seemed more confident and sure of himself. He’s always been confident, but even more so. I thought going into this game that he was as ready as he’s ever been, and I think he proved that.”
I love reading stuff like this. Practice shouldn’t just be a time when players show up and do what they have to do. Making practices harder for the players will make the Dolphins better. I have questioned a number of Joe Philbin’s in-game decisions, but I love the way he runs Dolphins practices. I think he’ll improve his in-game management, after all this is his first head coaching job. If this type of practice style accelerates Ryan Tannehill’s growth, I love it even more.