It was in the mid-90s at Dolphins training camp this afternoon, but it really felt like it was somewhere in the 100s. Funny thing about South Florida is that the humidity has a tendency to make things seem hotter than they really are. Even Kenny Stills – who didn’t practice due to injury and was doing a rehab assignment – would up exhausting himself to the point where he had to get on one knee and catch his breath. Welcome to Miami, Kenny.
But nevertheless, the show must go on and it did. It seemed like today would be a slow day at first, but as practice went on things really picked up and got super exciting for every single person watching. Here’s what I saw that got me pumped up for the preseason.
Ryan Tannehill nailing his deep throws
I realize I already said this a couple of practices ago, but I feel it bears repeating. Tannehill can throw the deep ball. His failures the past couple of seasins were not solely on him like some would have you think. Now with pieces around him that fit what he can do, Tannehill completed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR deep passes in one practice. Adam Beasley actually counted five, but I’m not sure of that. Either way, incredibly impressive.
Tannehill’s first deep completion was to running back Lamar Miller who made a 35-yard completion running out of the backfield, then he hit wide receiver Rishard Matthews on a 9-route in stride. Then his third deep pass was complete to Jarvis Landry for 40-plus yards, and then another one to Matthews for another 40-yards.
Granted, some were during 7-on-7 and some were during 11-on-11, but the fact remains that his accuracy appears to have vastly improved when it comes to this specific aspect of Tannehill’s game. Whether you believe it’s Tannehill simply improving or the fact that his receivers fit what he does isn’t really important right now. What matters is that it’s working, and fans should be very excited about the offense this season.
Rishard Matthews continuing to prove his worth
I also brought up how good Rishard Matthews has looked in a recent report, but today he was one of the biggest standouts in today’s practice so he’s gonna be in the spotlight again. Matthews and Tannehill had an almost psychic link going on today, as they connected with each other many more times than just the deep balls.
Whether it was slants, crosses, 9-routes, you name it. Matthews and Tannehill clearly have a lot of chemistry and as a result he should be seeing a lot more time on the football field. Matthews made only one mistake that I could tell all of camp, and that’s when he dropped a pass that hit him in the chest while he was in double coverage. Other than that, it was a brilliant performance.
This is Matthews’ last year of his rookie contract, and he’s going to want some significant money since it's been made clear the past two years that he's somewhat disgruntled by the lack of playing time being given to him. He's been a top performer in camp for years, and when giving the chance to play in games he's done well. There must be more beneath the surface that we just have no clue about.
Jamil Douglas and Billy Turner still deserve a chance
If it seems like I spend a lot of time talking about Douglas and Turner in these reports...well, I do. However, I do so because I find it necessary to inform everyone that things are not as bad as they seem. Hopefully, eventually I'll get through and we can all take a moment to let out our breath that we've been holding while waiting for Evan Mathis to sign.
I'll say it one more time. Today, and the past few days in fact, Jamil Douglas and Billy Turner have indeed struggled to maintain their protection on the interior. That much cannot be denied. However, and I make this point strenuously...they only looked horrible when Ndamukong Suh was charging up the middle.
Let's be real for a moment here guys, what would our reactions have been if for some reason, Suh DIDN'T completely dominate everyone he faced, including Pouncey? I have a feeling we'd be pulling out our hair in rage becasue we'd be thinking we had just signed Albert Haynesworth 2.0 to the most expensive defensive deal in NFL History.
But we didn't. We signed Ndamukong Suh, the best defensive tackle in all of football and he's never stopped doing what he does best: wreaking havoc for the offense. You would be shocked by how much better both Turner and Douglas look when the one rushing them isn't Suh. Whether it's Earl Mitchell, C.J. Mosley or even Jordan Phillips, the job suddenly seems much easier for both of them.
I'm not saying the two are Pro Bowl worthy, I'm not even saying they're necessarily good yet, but please try to understand that they're facing off against the greatest defensive tackle in the NFL, both as rookies. Turner is only technically a rookie but you get the idea. It's not as bad as it sounds, let's keep that in mind, shall we?
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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