Tuesday was the final session of training camp before the Miami Dolphins' first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, which will take place on Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium. While it has been revealed that newly-signed QB Jay Cutler won't be starting that game, coach Adam Gase has yet to rule him out altogether.
Ryan Tannehill was out there on the field as well, speaking to Cutler and no doubt helping him get acclimated to the new terminology and the nuances of his new teammates and coaches. There was a lot to see today, and here are just a few of the stories.
Cutler's arm is in tip-top form
While it was indeed Matt Moore who got the first few reps with the starters during scrimmage on Tuesday, there's no denying that the best (healthy) quarterback on the field was Jay Cutler. The 34-year old gunslinger was out there showing Moore what it really meant to be a holder of that title, and why he had the arm strength to back it up.
All forms of national media was on-site to watch as Cutler practiced throwing routes and showed off his cannon arm, one particularly impressive play was when he threw a bullet to Kenny Stills - who had recently returned to practice - in the middle of the field, and plays like that were made all throughout the day.
Clearly, there is to be no concern regarding Cutler's arm after the rotator cuff surgery he underwent. His arm is strong and is ready to resume its gunslinging ways.
Now the only question at this point is this: Will it be enough to give the Dolphins a repeat appearance in the playoffs after the team - with all its numerous injuries - limped its way to the finish line? That's what we will have to find out when the season begins.
Jay Ajayi returns to practice
While everyone was getting giddy over the new QB in town, the true key to the Dolphins offense returned to practice on a limited basis, as he goes through the final steps of the NFL's concussion protocol.
Running back Jay Ajayi participated in individual drills on Tuesday morning, catches passes from both Cutler and Matt Moore, as well as getting in a little time with the pass-blocking dummies. Gase mentioned after practice that though he would be "hard pressed" to throw Ajayi into the fire on Thursday, he hasn't yet ruled out anything out.
The national media is focused on the QB - which has been their M.O. for many, many years now. But the true key to the success of the Miami Dolphins - which somehow I doubt they legitimately care about - unceremoniously returned to practice, which should be the main focus from this point on, as the offense will be run through the star rusher.
The big stories of the day - in my mind - were Cutler and Ajayi. After that, things start to become less thrilling. Although, one player that I've been harping on all offseason (Jakeem Grant) was able to catch two touchdowns deep in 1-on-1 drills while going up against Walt Aikens, and he made a few more impressive catches as well.
I've reached the point where it's clear Grant is not a reliable returner, but as a niche player in the offense, he could give defenses fits.
Kenyan Drake finally got an opportunity to get first dibs with the starters, and he was given a few sizeable holes to run through to help him make a good first impression. He struggled to catch some tough passes that were slightly off-target, however, so not everything pointed to him being a shining star. Truth be told, the best thing that can happen at this point is for Drake to go against a different defense other than his own.
Tony Lippett hasn't had many opportunities with the first team this training camp, as most of the snaps have gone to veteran Byron Maxwell and second-year cornerback Xavien Howard. But that doesn't mean Lippett has been invisible, far from it. Lippett has been able to use his length to deflect some passes and prove that even though he isn't starting, he's turning into a fine cornerback, an excellent option for depth.
The Dolphins will take a day off on Wednesday before their matchup against the Falcons, and then later in the week, things will get started all over again. In the meantime prepare for the first preseason game on Thursday which will air on CBS 4.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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