The day before the Dolphins scrimmage at Florida International University, the Dolphins held one more practice not in pads to give the team a bit of a break before going all out tomorrow.
Today, several Dolphins took a day off in preparation for tomorrow's scrimmage, which included safety Louis Delmas and wide receiver Greg Jennings. There were also some players still down with an injury, such as linebacker Koa Misi and wide receiver Kenny Stills, who is nursing a calf injury.
Once again, there were some good things and some bad things, but it really depends on your point of view. Here's what caught my attention today.
Terrence Fede needs to go against some tougher competition
Terrence Fede, drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft out of Marist, and projected by a lot of experts to be not nearly as good as Michael Sam. The Dolphins faced a lot of vitriol from the national media for bypassing Sam to draft Fede, but as of now, it appears the right move was made.
Ever since the Dolphins opened up camp, Fede has been dominating along with other fellow defensive end Derrick Shelby on the second team. Of course, with second team left tackle Donald Hawkins being his main competition, you have to think twice about his ability.
But upon further analysis, Fede has also gotten opportunities to go up against Jason Fox when the second team defense faced the first team offense, and even then he was able to apply lots of pressure, and today was no exception. He got a couple of would-be sacks against backup quarterback Matt Moore, and once again showed how much he's improved since his rookie year.
It may hurt to speculate like this, but with the Dolphins in serious cap trouble when 2016 rolls around, the Dolphins re-signing starter Olivier Vernon or letting him go in free agency could very well depend on Fede's development this year. If he shows he can perform at a high level in games, it could spell Vernon's end in Miami, which - as painful as it sounds - would be a good thing for the cap situation.
Ryan Tannehill's deep ball has improved
Yesterday I wrote about the fact that Ryan Tannehill has finally started performing consistently in practice after four years in the NFL, and his second year in offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's offense. Even certain individuals who have spent the past few years trying to downplay his skill have been forced to backtrack on their comments.
Now I feel it necessary to bring up a more specific aspect of Tannehill's game: the infamous deep ball. Over the past couple of years, the inability for Tannehill and Mike Wallace - now of the Minnesota Vikings - to connect on deep passes has led certain members of the fanbase to believe that Tannehill just couldn't throw the deep ball, period.
But now that the Dolphins replaced Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson with receivers who fit what Tannehill and the offense is meant to be, suddenly all aspects of Tannehill's game has been greatly improved, including the deep ball. Today, Tannehill did it again as he hit wide receiver Rishard Matthews in stride for a would-be touchdown after Matthews beat cornerback Zack Bowman.
It hasn't happened in games yet, but everyone who's been watching closely has been impressed by how accurate the deep ball has been this camp, more so than any other camp before this. The reason for this? I believe it's pieces that fit. Hopefully, this trend continues when it counts.
Rishard Matthews deserves to get significant playing time
Speaking of the veteran wide receiver, Matthews has definitely gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to his short NFL career. He's proven time and time again that he has the ability to do everything asked of him, and his caught deep ball today is further proof that Matthews is good at running routes and is excellent at catching what's thrown his way.
We have no for sure reason why Matthews has not been allowed to play in games, despite his incredible performances in practice and his success during his limited plays in games. Nevertheless, Matthews has proven time and time again that he could be a starting wide receiver for many teams in the NFL.
Matthews is behind Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings, Jarvis Landry and eventually DeVante Parker, which would make him the team's fifth wide receiver when Parker comes to play. As of right now, Matthews is a very valuable player on this team, and he could be placed on the trading block if teams express interest. But if I were the Dolphins, I would seriously consider giving Matthews more snaps in 2015. He is tough, he is a good route runner, and he is great at making tough catches. He needs to play.
Tomorrow is the scrimmage at FIU, and head coach Joe Philbin has said that there will be some tackling going on. We will get to see some great action tomorrow, and I will be there to watch.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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