Day 4 is missing not because of an oversight, but because I was unable to attend due to some personal obligations, but I returned for Day 5 of training camp, and it was a cold and wet morning, quite the contrast from the blistering heat of the first few days.
Though it certainly wasn't an unwelcome one.
As for the Miami Dolphins, they wore their full pads for the first time this camp (they'd only been wearing shoulder pads up until now), and at last the team was able to start tackling like a football team is supposed to.
So of course, with an added dimension to training camp, there are a few new storylines that need to be addressed. Let's get started.
Vincent Taylor flashing with the pads on
Generally when you have a fifth round pick, you don't expect him to do much right from the get-go, but when it comes to defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, he may be shattering that mold. Taylor has shown excellent strength at the defensive tackle position, and is making a strong case that he should be the team's third defensive tackle on the depth chart.
There have been concerns about the depth at defensive tackle behind Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips, as the team parted ways with veteran Earl Mitchell in the offseason in order to save cap space. There are other options still on the open market (one Paul Soliai comes to mind), but if Taylor can prove he has what it takes, that would take a lot of pressure off the rotation.
If he continues to flash in practices, making tackles and manhandling offensive linemen (Isaac Asiata in particular has had a lot of trouble blocking him), then he may see an opportunity to be rotated in with the starters, and that's when we'll really get a chance to see what he can do.
Damien Williams running with a chip on his shoulder
It's been well-documented this offseason that Jarvis Landry isn't the only Dolphins player who wanted a new contract. Running back Damien Williams - who signed his restricted free agent tender back in early May - was pushing for a new contract but ultimately didn't get it, and now he's running like a man on a mission.
Obviously, every NFL player wants to be paid, and in a market where running backs are literally a dime a dozen (a concept that Steelers star RB Le'Veon Bell is trying to remedy), getting paid requires a lot of effort.
Today, Williams pushed and shoved his way into the training camp highlight reel, even running in for a touchdown during a scrimmage play, and it's possible that he even started a scuffle that eventually evolved into a bench-clearing brouhaha as players piled on top of each other.
It hasn't been confirmed who started the fight, but Williams was the ball-carrier on the play in question and he'd been giving perhaps a little more effort than usual, perhaps irritating his teammates on the defense. While it bodes well for the 2017 season that Williams is running like he has something to prove, it will put pressure on the front office as it means that they have a big decision to make.
Drew Morgan getting the Griff Whalen treatment
There's always at least one white wide receiver that seems to stand out in training camp. Sounds racist, I know, but in truth there's no other way to put it. This year's camp superstar is undrafted free agent Drew Morgan out of Arkansas.
Last year, veteran receiver Griff Whalen was the one flashing in practice and showing that he had what it takes to be on an NFL roster, but ultimately he was released before the start of the 2016 season. He now resides in Baltimore where the Ravens are dealing with their own issues.
Morgan impressed during OTAs and mini-camp, and now he's continuing his rise up the depth chart as he got starter reps with Ryan Tannehill as his QB while Jarvis Landry stood on the sidelines. There has been no indication that Landry was hurt, so this may have simply been a case where coach Adam Gase wanted to see Morgan with the ones.
Morgan took up the opportunity with gusto, and made a quick catch from a scrambling Ryan Tannehill, then he dove into the endzone for a touchdown, showing that he could handle the job. But he still has a long way to go before he makes the 53-man roster, especially with actual draft picks Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant still competing.
Morgan could be the new Griff Whalen for the year, shining in camp but not making the team, or he could beat out one of the incumbents, which is very possible with Adam Gase controlling the roster. He'll just need to keep giving it all he's got.
The rain definitely had an effect on practice this morning. The normally solid Kenyan Drake dropped two punts in practice, and he also got tackled by the grass on a handoff. Although Drake wasn't the only one who had struggles with the weather, as wind swirled and hindered return attempts.
Coach Adam Gase eventually let the players go inside the practice bubble to get out of the weather, but not before they got a healthy dose of what it would be like to play in less than stellar conditions, which can only hope the team in the long run.
Jay Ajayi bounced off tackles like his usual self, including one instance where he was able to break a tackle by linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who was brought in specifically to help stop the run. But now Ajayi possibly has a concussion after being hit hard by safety T.J. McDonald, so it may be wise to keep Ajayi off the practice field for a while.
Raekwon McMillan again spent his time in the base defense as the middle linebacker, which may indicate that the decision as to who would be the "captain" of the defense has been made. While Timmons and Kiko Alonso are the two nickel linebackers, McMillan seems to be getting all the reps at MIKE in the base. So it appears Miami has their middle linebacker.
Isaac Asiata has been struggling to show what made him such a desired prospect in this draft. As previously mentioned, Vincent Taylor has been giving Asiata a real challenge, and the former Utah standout was demoted to playing on the third team this morning. If he intends to get back into his previous position, he needs to step up soon.
Practice will resume on Wednesday, and I will be there to analyze and tweet everything as it happens. Stay tuned for more.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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