It's the middle of June; we are five months removed from Dolphins football and two aggravatingly long months until the preseason. As fans, we are looking for anything to satisfy our hunger for football. While it's just a non-competitive camp, OTA's this month provided some interesting and entertaining details that preview what sort of Miami Dolphins team we will see come September. Here's what we know about June training camp:
The Dolphins' secondary has looked very impressive
According to beat writer David Furones, who attended Dolphins training camp, the entire secondary has looked very good. A unit that struggled to come up with takeaways in 2022, the defensive backs were able to come up with multiple turnovers, even against the first-team offense.
As noted by Furones, Xavien Howard jumped a ball thrown by Tua Tagovailoa on the second pass of a 7-on-7 session (skill players only, no offensive or defensive line) and came away with an interception. In full team sessions, safety Verone McKinley nabbed another interception of Tua. Also noted is Bryce Thompson, the second-year cornerback who played for San Francisco last season, has come up with three interceptions in camp. The secondary seems to be hitting their stride in camp, which is very good news for a Dolphins team that spent a lot via trade and the draft on retooling their defensive backs.
Vic Fangio may not be happy with the depth on defense, yet
In a media session after a training camp session, Dolphins' defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was asked about what he saw in terms of the talent of the defense on the field. Fangio's response was interesting:
"We have some really good talent, in some places. You know, in other places, we gotta find the talent. So, I think it's a really good mix right now."- Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio
It's not exactly a rave review for this Dolphins defense, but it's Vic Fangio, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. An old-fashioned, gritty soul, Fangio will never be satisfied if his unit is not achieving perfection. It is interesting to speculate which positions he may be referring to. According to the media at the practices, the secondary looked great. He may be insinuating they have a solid secondary, but need some guys to step up in the front seven of the defensive unit.
As a defensive coordinator, you want all three levels of your defense -- from the defensive line to the linebackers to the defensive backs -- to be firing on all cylinders. It sounds like one of those three units need some work, but it's early and I don't think Fangio's answer is cause for any panic yet.
Tyreek Hill is "night and day ahead" of where he was last season
Coming off a historic record-breaking 2022 campaign for wide receiver Tyreek Hill, you may ask how he could even improve this season. Well, according to head coach Mike McDaniel, Hill is lightyears ahead of where he was this point last season. It helps that he has a year of the Dolphins' offense under his belt, but growth as a receiver is a really good sign. Hill had missed a bit of camp last season due to injury and having him all the way back this offseason seems to be very beneficial for the team.
Robbie Chosen has been a standout in camp
According to David Furones, a surprise name is showing out in OTA's. 30-year-old Robbie Chosen, F.K.A Robbie Anderson, has had a really encouraging camp thus far,
The 6'3 target is seemingly looking like his former self, back when he was a productive receiver with the New York Jets a few short years ago. After years of inconsistent quarterback play in New York and Carolina -- and a very short stint in Arizona -- Chosen is poised to be in a good season catching balls from Tua Tagovailoa, surrounded by some great talent. Tua was able to connect with a bomb to Chosen and had some really nice praise for him to the media.
Tua Tagovailoa taking on more of a leadership role in 2023
According to most media outlets present at training camp, and even Mike McDaniel, Tua is starting to emerge as one of the leading voices of the team.
Coming off a breakout season that was cut short due to a string of head injuries, Tua is poised for another big campaign in 2023. Not only does he seem to be taking a big leap as a player, but entering his fourth season, Tua seems to be taking a huge stride as a leader for the Miami Dolphins.
Per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, there was a practice session in which the Dolphins offense was playing sloppy and just not clicking at all. Tua took it upon himself to pause the practice session and speak to his offensive unit, even "laying into" the team -- not out of spite, but as a motivated leader. We have not seen that side of Tua in Miami yet. He's been cool, calm and collected, but that fiery edge he seems to be bringing in 2023 could take this Dolphins team to the next level.
A healthy and motivated Tua Tagovailoa could be very dangerous this season.
Rookie running back Devon Achane looks expolosive
According to Sports Illustrated's Omar Kelly, who was also at training camp, Dolphins' third-round pick Devon Achane is a burner. While he did mention there's not much running the ball in OTA's, likely to minimize contact and injury, Achane has still been a standout. Kelly says that Achane took an end-around handoff 20+ yards before the play was blown dead, then caught a 20+ yard ball on a wheel route down the left sidelines.
With the prospect of Dalvin Cook still looming in Miami, it'll depend on his offseason performance if Achane is able to see some significant playing time in 2023. But all signs indicate Achane is doing all the right things, so far.
Undrafted free agent outside linebacker raising eyebrows
Omar Kelly also points out undrafted rookie outside linebacker Mitchell Agude, out of Miami, as a standout in camp. The former Hurricane signed with the hometown Dolphins after the draft in April and has been a nice surprise for the squad so far.
According to Kelly, Agude has been abusing 7th-round offensive tackle Ryan Hayes in 11-on-11s, consistently getting into the backfield for the Dolphins. In fact, Kelly notes that Agude planted Hayes on his back on one rep en route to the quarterback in a reverse pancake (a waffle, if you will).
It's a really nice and welcome surprise to see the undrafted rookies showing out in camp. While Agude has a long shot to make the final roster, he seems to be doing everything he possibly can to end up with a spot on the roster.