The Dolphins now have 4 days of practice in the books. I feel the general consensus is the Dolphins have a very good team to work with this season. Nobody is under the spotlight more than Joe Philbin.
He has put together “his type of team” and Stephen Ross opened his pocketbook to give him the firepower he wanted. Coach Philbin did a press conference on August 2nd to discuss what he is seeing as the team starts to take shape.
“I think we’re right on schedule. I feel really good about the format that we have going into camp." Philbin said. "I feel good right now about the health of our team. I’ll obviously know more after practice and guys get in the training room, but I think we’re relatively healthy."
Going into camp, there were a few individuals on the team who were expected to not be able to participate right away, the most significant of these players is Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert, who Sunday was able to participate in practice for the first time since camp started. Despite these injured players, Philbin seems to not be overly concerned.
"We haven’t lost a lot, we had a couple of guys coming in that we knew were going to take a little time to get going, but the other guys I think have responded well to the practices." Philbin said. "Schematically, I feel we got a lot of stuff in already. I think it’s been good.”
Coach Philbin is known for high paced practices with a lot going on all over the place. And with two days in pads now over and done with, the experimenting and true evaluations were finally able to begin falling into place.
“We tried a couple of different things. As you guys noticed, we probably had upwards of 95 competitive snaps and almost every single one of them was in the red zone (Sunday)." Philbin said. "That was really the primary focus and it’s an area as you guys know we need to do a better job of this year. We were kind of middle of the pack on defense and I think we were 21st or something close to that on offense. Anyway, that was really the main emphasis."
The Dolphins were the top team in the NFL last season when it came to actually getting to the redzone, but when it came to getting into the endzone, that was an entirely different story, as Philbin was correct in his assessment that the Dolphins were 21st in the league when it came to actually scoring touchdowns in the redzone. For that to improve, not just in the redzone for the whole offense, Philbin pointed out one very important aspect.
"We’ve got to have a little cleaner pocket for our quarterbacks," he said. "that’s one thing that I noticed overall, again, not any one specific guy, but I would just say overall that’s something that we want to do because if we’re going to push the ball down the field, we’ve got to have, if we’re going to take seven steps at times and hold the ball to let the routes extend, we’re going to have to have protection."
The Miami Dolphins will be keeping a very close eye on their offensive linemen as camp wears on. There have been some encouraging things, and some discouraging things. But all in all, the first four practices have been very productive, and we're finally starting to get a look at just what we'll be seeing once the season begins.
This story was written by Chad Ronnebaum. Follow him on Twitter @Gofins4SB.
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