In the last practice that was open to the media, Miami Dolphins rookie cornerback Tony Lippett hauled in three interceptions and had an impressive day. Of course, that led to many fans clamoring to see more of Lippett and thoughts instantly danced in their heads of him starting when the 2015 season opens up in September.
However, both head coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle cautioned that this wasn’t the norm for Lippett and in fact, this was the first time that he really flashed during practice.
"Tony showed up today, that's for sure. He's got excellent ball skills. He's got great hands. He's a very good athlete,” Coyle said after that open practice. “But I would not just want to single Tony out because I think our young group overall has really stepped up and been playing well. Tony has done a nice job. Bobby McCain has showed up at every practice making plays; he's a young player. Our young linebacker core - all four of those young linebackers that have joined our team here in the spring have done things - they're going to compete. That's the great news right now: at every position we have - we have competition.”
Philbin echoed Coyle and said that Lippett hasn’t flashed to that extreme thus far but did say there were positives to take away from it.
"Not to the degree of today,” Philbin said following that practice. “Again, some of it we'll have to take a look at, is our quarterback reading the corner? How was the decision making of the quarterback? The fact of the matter is, he got his hands, he kept his hands on three footballs, that's a good thing no matter how you look at it."
Despite that being the first time that Lippett has really flashed, Philbin said there are good things to take away from it and it can’t be discounted.
"As you guys know he doesn't have a ton of position experience there in games but he seems to be a guy that's learned the system pretty well. Every rep that he gets is extremely valuable at this stage of his development. So it was good to see him. I caught a couple of them. I was bouncing back and forth and went up and high pointed one of the balls and it was in the right place and the right time. I felt today was good. We'll take a closer look at the tape there in a little bit."
With all that in mind, the impressive display from Lippett along with others during the practices that aren’t always open to the media has Coyle confident and excited in the team’s depth heading into the 2015 season.
“We have depth to the point that I couldn't tell you today, I wasn't in town over the weekend at the board trying to figure out, OK, this is going to be awful hard trying to figure out the 53 and 46 when you come down to the regular season. It's as hard as it's ever been for us here and that's a good thing. The sad thing is you want to keep every one of them because I tell you what - we have a great group of guys. When I wake in that defensive meeting room I am so blessed to be able to be coaching these guys. I mean that sincerely. It's a good group of people. They're good players, they're working hard. I couldn't ask for anything more at this point. It's a mixture of veterans and young guys that are really buying in and that are looking to the vets to help them. So we got a good chemistry going right now and I'm encouraged. I'm always optimistic but I will say I'm as optimistic as I've ever been going into this season."
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs