Training camp 2017 is officially here, and the stands were almost immediately filled with Dolphins fans who were excited to see their team back on the field after an incredibly long offseason. Some even came from as far as Pennsylvania to see the playoff team practice in front of the public for the first time in 2017, and just based on the results of the first day, no one was disappointed.
As is always the case with training camp, there was some bad to go along with the good, but that's always how it goes when the same team's offense and defense goes up against each other. While the pads didn't come on just yet, there was plenty to take away from the team's first day of training camp as they prepare to not only repeat, but also improve upon, last season's playoff berth.
DeVante Parker looks like a new receiver
Up until late last season, DeVante Parker looked like he was on the fast track to being yet another Miami Dolphins first round bust, and one could argue that if Joe Philbin was still the team's head coach, he already would be.
But Adam Gase is the team's coach now, and he got onto Parker last season and gave him a desperately needed wakeup call that forced him to look in the mirror and reexamine his life. As a result, Parker stepped up his game on the practice field and at home, taking care of his body and making sure he acts like a professional athlete.
The result - so far - is Parker looks faster, stronger and sharper than he ever has in a Miami Dolphins uniform, and he put on an impressive show in the team's first practice, catching two touchdowns from quarterback Ryan Tannehill in scrimmages, the first of which was a 32-yard leaping catch that he pulled down from the air and landed with both feet in the endzone.
There's been plenty of speculation that Parker would have a breakout season in 2017, and the coaches have praised his new work ethic. After this first day of training camp, it looks like it's all true and Parker will be a serious threat that teams will need to prepare for.
Torry McTyer the first young player to emerge from the crowd
There's always at least one player who stands out in camp that no one expected, but I wasn't expecting it to happen on day one of training camp. Nevertheless, in just the first day, one undrafted rookie has already put himself in the spotlight above his fellow fringe players: former UNLV Rebels cornerback Torry McTyer.
McTyer was someone I didn't even know was on the team until this first day of camp, but I definitely know who he is now. McTyer - as a part of the third team defense - made two interceptions against Brandon Doughty, who had a pretty rough day as he had not only the interceptions, but he also had a pass deflected at the line of scrimmage.
But this is about McTyer and his stellar day. For some background, McTyer was known for being a hard-hitting corner in college, and he was a starter for the Rebels for two consecutive seasons. During his career at UNLV, he accumulated a total of 138 tackles, four interceptions and 24 pass deflections.
Granted, McTyer still has a long way to go before he moves ahead of other more established players on the roster, such as Lafayette Pitts or Jordan Lucas, but if he continues to shine the way he did on Thursday, then McTyer could very well make a strong case that he should get consideration before either of his constituents.
Ryan Tannehill starting off strong
And now it's time for Ryan Tannehill updates, the part of the report where Luis comes out and gives updates on Ryan Tannehill. Did he do good, did he do bad, are the Dolphins primed for a Super Bowl run, or should Matt Moore be the starter?
That's always the discussion among the louder portions of the fan base. Those who make up the silent majority, however, acknowledge Tannehill for what he is. A good quarterback who has the potential to be great when he has all the pieces around him that he needs.
On the first day of training camp, Tannehill - brace and all, went out and had a strong first outing. His footwork looked good (which is impressive since it usually doesn't), he was running well, and his accuracy was solid. As previously mentioned, he hit Parker on a deep ball touchdown that the receiver leaped up and caught, which if that happens in games, will do wonders for Tannehill's confidence in his weapons.
There was also one play that was particularly impressive and caught my attention: on the 10-yard line, Tannehill was able to fool the defense by staring down his receivers on the left side of the field, only to suddenly swivel his head right and hit Kenny Stills in the back of endzone as he cut across. No hesitation, he forced the defense to think he was going left and got Stills open. Touchdown.
Admittedly, there were a few moments where he stared down a receiver too long, and of course his daily pass deflected at the line of scrimmage (a habit that unfortunately hasn't been shaken off yet), but all in all, Tannehill had himself an excellent first day in camp. But, consistency is the name of the game. We've known for a long time Tannehill has greatness in him, the question is can he tap into it regularly? That is what needs to be watched for.
He didn't make my top stories list, but Jakeem Grant is starting off strong after the fan base started giving him the cold shoulder due to too many dropped balls, the speedy wide receiver focused and caught all of the footballs punted to him that I could see, and he also caught a slant across the middle of the field from Matt Moore and ran it in for a touchdown, roasting rookie Cordrea Tankersley who was in coverage.
Tony Lippett continues his development at cornerback, as he read Tannehill's eyes in redzone drills and deflected a pass in the endzone, while Bobby McCain continues to be the default starter at slot corner ahead of recently signed veteran Alterraun Verner - who signed a one-year deal at the veteran miminum of $900,000. This depth chart status could change of course.
With most of the time spent in the nickel, Raekwon McMillan was placed with the second team defense alongside Neville Hewitt, while veterans Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons manned the first team spots. So it's still unknown who would man the middle linebacker position in the base defense.
Laremy Tunsil faced off against both Andre Branch and Charles Harris in scrimmages, and though the pads weren't on, it seemed that Tunsil did a fair enough job holding back Branch. Though the one time I got a good look at Harris against Tunsil, the pass got off before a real battle could be had.
More will be coming tomorrow morning, and we can only hope that there will be more surprises to be had. Training camp is the true hype starter, and it just got underway. Let the excitement build.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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