Written by Matthew Cannata
The Miami Dolphins will open training camp on Friday and when they do so, they hope that five young players will take their game to the next level. These players include Dallas Thomas, Rishard Matthews, Jelani Jenkins, Jamar Taylor and Will Davis. All five players shined in offseason workouts and the coaching staff hopes that it carries over.
"I thought Rishard Matthews had a good camp," coach Joe Philbin said at the conclusion of last month's mini-camp to the Sun-Sentinel. "I think he's making good progress. I think Dallas Thomas, a young guy, is making good progress. I think Jelani Jenkins quietly is another guy that's doing some things. Of course, you have (defensive backs) Jamar (Taylor) and Will Davis."
The biggest piece of the puzzle may be Thomas, who would help fill one of the spots on the offensive line and be part of the renovation project that has occured since last season.
"He's a lot further ahead than he was a year ago," Philbin said of Thomas, one of five new starters on the offensive line. "Last year, we kind of moved him around, he played some right tackle, he played some left, he played some guard. We wanted to give him a home to where at least he can kind of get his feet in the ground a little bit, feel some level of comfort from an assignments standpoint and technique standpoint."
Much of the Dolphins success in 2014 will be based off how these players develop along with others on the roster. These five though will play an integral role of making the Dolphins a playoff contender and if they can step up, good things should happen.
"I think all of those guys (showed good thing in the offseason)," Philbin said. "And that's the expectation, that after 12 months of already being a professional football player, now, the second go-around, they have a better handle on the expectations, how to act like a pro, how to practice like a pro, how to train like a pro. I think that's some of those things we're seeing on the field transferring there."