Weekend Dolphins Training Camp Thoughts
The Miami Dolphins are now a week and a half into training camp, preparing for the 2019 season. They’re just a few days away from their first preseason game, August 8th, at home against the Atlanta Falcons. Finally, the Dolphins players will have a chance to hit someone in a different uniform.
Although there’s still a long way to go before the regular season starts, I wanted to share some observations from the first week and a half of camp:
- Brian Flores is the anti-Adam Gase. Gase’s practices were more ‘loose’ and he focused on the offense, particularly the quarterbacks. Conversely, Brian Flores is hyper-organized and isn’t just focused on the defense. Flores moves all over the field, ensuring every aspect of his team is covered. And if someone makes a mental mistake, he sends them to the ‘TNT’ (Takes No Talent) wall. And it’s not just players being sent to the wall….he’s ending coaches there too! Time will tell if he was the right man for the job, but thus far he’s doing and saying the right things.
- The quarterback competition is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s to lose, according to people attending training camp. Flores even said that Fitzpatrick is currently ‘ahead’ at this time. However, it seems Josh Rosen has been improving each of the last few days. That’s exactly what you want to see from a young quarterback. I think their performances in the preseason games will go a long way towards determining who wins this battle.
- Xavien Howard, despite signing a mega-deal this offseason, is in mid-season form. He’s a top 3 corner in the NFL and is practicing like it in camp.
- Minkah Fitzpatrick may be a Pro Bowler this year. Crazy statement? Maybe. But, the Dolphins have big plans for Minkah, utilizing him all over the field. I can’t wait to see how they use Minkah to attack offenses, once the regular season begins.
- Kalen Ballage and Kenyan Drake are an intriguing duo in the Dolphins backfield. I suspect they’ll split duty, much the same way the Patriots rely on multiple running backs…playing the matchups.
- The Dolphins offensive line (as always) is a big concern. Aside from Laremy Tunsil, the Dolphins don’t have a proven NFL starter. You want to say Daniel Kilgore is? Maybe. But that’s it. The Dolphins have a lot of young, inexperienced players vying for serious playing time. And I don’t even want to think about the offensive line if Tunsil gets hurt at some point this season.
- Stop me if you’ve heard this before: DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki are lighting up training camp with highlight reel catches. While I think both have improved, I’ll wait until the regular season production matches the training camp buzz before buying into the hype (especially with Parker).
- This isn’t an original take, but Jerome Baker may be the Dolphins leader on defense. He’s poised for a big jump in year 2 and the new Dolphins regime is raving about him.
- Where is the Dolphins pass rush going to come from? After the offensive line, the Dolphins pass rush is my next biggest concern. Is the light finally going to go on for Charles Harris? Who’s going to make up for the loss of Cameron Wake?
Working on a piece for next week about the Dolphins difficult situation with their QB’s. We’ll call it the QB Paradox….. Everyone has an opinion on the subject, so we’ll dive deeper into the implications next week.
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