Adam Gase says first contact practice will be uppers only

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 23: Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, flag bearers and the Dolphins' mascot celebrate as their team runs onto the field before meeting the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason game at Sun Life Stadium on August 23, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 23: Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, flag bearers and the Dolphins' mascot celebrate as their team runs onto the field before meeting the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason game at Sun Life Stadium on August 23, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI GARDENS, FL – DECEMBER 11: David Johnson /

(You said in the spring you were happy with what you were seeing from DT Jordan Phillips in terms of raising his game a little bit.  Have you seen signs early in camp that he kept that up through the break and early on here?) – “Yes, he’s done a good job with his pursuit when we’re throwing balls. That’s been a big point of emphasis for the d-line. I know that group is really trying to hold each other accountable with that where a ball is thrown (and they are) running down the field. Really, that’s kind of getting their extra conditioning right there. He’s been one of those guys trying to do that. In the run game, you’ll see him every once in a while. He’ll make a really good play. He’s trying to do what his responsibility is. That’s why … Those are tough positons to play inside because it’s hard to make a ton of plays because you’re kind of protecting those linebackers, and at the same time, every once in a while when you take a shot, you’ve got to be right. He’s done a good job of staying in his lane; but at the same time, he’s been making plays by doing that.”

(When you have your own veteran guys that have the trust level with from last year, like DE Cameron Wake for example. How much do you kind of leave to him or defer to him in terms of taking care of some of the teaching out there with the younger guys?) – “Yes, that’s kind of why we’re doing those last periods of the practice when those guys kind of break off. When we first started doing it, it was more for coaches and the young guys, and the vets kind of started taking over a lot of those drills. It means probably a little more when it’s coming from those guys that they’re playing with, and they’re kind of watching, making comments and kind of giving them their tricks of the trade. Those guys will listen to that. At the end of the day, they don’t want to let them down. They want to make sure that they do it right for the guys that they’re playing with. And it’s been … All of those guys have been great between Cam (Wake) and (Ndamukong) Suh and (Andre) Branch, William (Hayes), they’re all out there, always trying to help those guys get better, which is great to see. You can see there’s a lot of pride in that room to where they’re playing as a group and they all want to make sure they’re doing the right stuff.”

(We noticed CB Jordan Lucas’ interception today. Has he found a home at safety or is he still cross-training, and what do you want to see from him on special teams?) – “When we get kind of past that first line guys, we’re cross-training as many guys as we can that can handle it. He’s a guy that’s … he’s able to play a lot of different positions. We’ve had him at safety, corner, nickel. We’ve moved him around a lot. He’s one of those guys, he works extremely hard to make sure he knows what to do so if something happens, he can jump in there. It’s tough because if you’re a one-dimensional guy and you’re that second line of defense, you better know what to do because if one guy goes down, the next guy is up and you’ve got to be able to play a lot of different positions.”

(Special teams-wise with CB Jordan Lucas?) – “He’s a big-time guy that’s playing a lot of phases. He’s trying to develop into one of those guys that we can count on. It’s not as easy to jump into those roles. You can see like Mike Thomas has developed into a guy that’s extremely good and well-known across the league, and all of those guys are trying to push to that level. I’m sure that wasn’t Day 1 for Mike, where he just jumped in there and was like ‘Alright, now I’m going to be a good special teams (player).’ He works extremely hard at that. He studies a lot of film. He knows exactly what everybody’s supposed to do. That’s what makes him such a good special teams player.”

(It’s hard to predict, obviously, on feet; but have you gotten any feedback from the medical staff on how far WR Rashawn Scott is away from being able to do anything?) – “I don’t know. We’re way a ways away. We’ve got time.”

(I wasn’t around for training camp last year, so I don’t know the answer to this question: perhaps at the scrimmage, there’ll be tackling to the ground? Anywhere else where you’ll actually have the guys tackle each other to the ground?) – “That was something that we’ve been discussing. It’s really going to be … We’re going to see where we are health-wise. We always start going into it saying, ‘The scrimmage is going to be live.’ And then we’re going to see where we’re at. It makes it a little difficult because if we go live with our d-line, it would make it extremely hard. We might cheat it for the offense a little bit. (laughter) We’ll see. A lot of times too, you want to be careful about who’s taking how many hits. You know Jay (Ajayi) is already scheduled to carry the ball 400 times for you guys. (laughter) I don’t want to give any carries up.”

(How does WR Jakeem Grant look so far on special teams and then separately on offense?) “Good. He’s doing extremely well on both. He’s really taking a lot of pride to special teams. I can tell it really bothered him in the spring. A couple of the drops last year he had on those punt returns, it just really bothered him. I know he has been working relentlessly to be a reliable guy and catch every one. On offense, he’s really making a huge jump for us. He looks so much more comfortable and he’s making a lot of plays. He understands how he fits in. It’s fun to watch him play because when he gets the ball in his hands and he gets a little bit of space, you see the defense start to panic, because if they don’t get near him, he’s gone. A guy like that, they’re rare. We want to keep trying to put him in position to make plays and when we hit the preseason, the same thing. We’ll see if we can get him going at receiver. It makes him more valuable. He’s not just a special teams guy. He wants to be a guy that can help on offense.”

(Running back a possibility for WR Jakeem Grant as well?) – “I don’t know if I’m ready to go down that road yet.”

(When you’re trying to decide on full pads or just the uppers and you have to consider keeping players excited and all that, is that an overriding philosophy or a day-by-day type thing?) – “It’s day by day. You get a feel for it; you see where your health is. You get your mind right as far as what’s the weather going to be like, as well. One day to the next, you just never know. You roll out there and it gets pretty hot. When we’re in the uppers, it’s just a mindset for those guys. They get going and then we throw the full pads on and they’ve got to have a different mindset. They know the night before. It kind of gets them ready. We keep talking about, ‘Let’s prepare every day like a game.’ We try to give them a heads up on that, because when we go full pads, they’ve got to have a different mindset, because out here it’s not going to be cool by any means.”

(When you’re out here with no pads, does the boredom level build quicker for the guys after two days?) –“I think they’re a little anxious to throw pads on. Like today, offense, they’re always going to say, ‘We don’t have pads on. It’s not going to look like that when we have pads on.’ That’s why tomorrow it gets a little more interesting.”