Miami Dolphins Training Camp Day 1: OL
By Dan Heaning
The Miami Dolphins training camp began today with great optimism as this roster carries an expectation that hasn’t been seen in quite some time.
One thing that can derail those expectations is the play of the offensive line, a consistent and maddening bugaboo for this team for the past few seasons.
As expected a few key things occurred for the Miami offensive line.
1. Branden Albert was at Day 1, but he didn’t practice
2. The battles for the guard positions are well underway with Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner getting the first opportunities to impress the coaching staff.
The line initially reflected that look as well.
But it didn’t take long for Jamil Douglas to find his way into the practice.
Douglas getting these early opportunities is a clear indicator that the coaching staff wants him to push for the left guard position.
But it didn’t take long for Thomas to get back in as the coaching staff sends the signal that this will be a competition.
And Thomas wasn’t eaten alive by Ndamukong Suh.
However, he had some help.
The battles for each guard position should be expected to go on for quite some time during this training camp. It appears the coaching staff wants the young players to grow into those spots.
Having Albert back is a clear indicator that he should be ready to go for the season opener and may even get in some preseason games. He told reporters after practice that he doesn’t feel any pain in his knee, according to James Walker.
Meanwhile, Ja’Wuan James flew under the radar during Day 1, but no news is good news in this situation.
Center Mike Pouncey did his usual. He made good blocks and continues to be the anchor for the line. He’ll have to step up his leadership role to help break in the two young guards on his side though. He can’t spend the entire season bailing out one or both.
His backup seems to be J.D. Walton as he took more snaps than Sam Brenner today, per Chris Perkins.
As expected Jason Fox will fill in as left tackle until Albert is ready to get back in the saddle. Pouncey and James have their spots locked up and can only lose them through injury.
The rotation at guard occurred throughout the day. While left guard is very much up for grabs between Thomas and Douglas. Day 1 also indicated that Turner will face competition from Jeff Linkenbach for right guard. It’ll be interesting who captures the favor of the coaches.
Miami must hope the competition between Douglas and Thomas brings out the best in both of them. The notion of signing Evan Mathis still looms over the offensive line and the team most certainly would like to use an inexpensive, long term solution rather get fleeced for a stop gap.
Training camp continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday before the team gets a day off on Monday. All practices this weekend will be at 8 a.m.