Here are some observations from Monday’s full-padded practice in training camp:
Miami starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a solid practice. He was, however, asked a lot of questions afterwards about the overall inconsistency of the offense. Tannehill has been up and down in training camp and the two exhibition games. He is 7-of-14 passing (50 percent) for 86 yards and a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. Tannehill admitted that he knows a lot rests on his shoulder this season. “It’s a quarterback league and I have to play well,” he said.
Miami No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan dressed but didn’t participate outside in practice for the second straight day. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin won’t discuss Jordan’s status, but Jordan has been recovering from offseason shoulder surgery in February. He got increased work in the second preseason game and hasn’t been full-go in practice since.
One of the toughest positions to make cuts on Miami’s roster this year will be at cornerback. I asked Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle how many corners he usually keeps on a 53-man roster. “Generally speaking, you have either five or six [corners] on the active roster when you get into the final 53,” Coyle said. “It depends on the cornerback position and it also depends on the safeties that are developing. Do you have safeties that can swing and do some of the jobs that a cornerback might be able to do? It all comes into play at the end.”
The Dolphins did team drills for the first time this week, and Nate Garner was officially inserted as the team’s new right guard. This position has been an issue since John Jerry (knee) went down in the first week of training camp. Miami has tried various combinations that included moving center Mike Pouncey and trying Josh Samuda at right guard. Now, Garner is getting his shot with the first team. The Dolphins didn’t rotate anyone else at right guard with the starting offense on Monday.
Dolphins rookie cornerback Jamar Taylor looked healthy for a second day in a row after missing most of camp with a sports hernia injury. Taylor is a second-round pick who has some pressure to make an immediate impact. However, the missed time in organized team activities, minicamp and training camp has pushed him far behind the rest of the corners. “You try to get him as many reps as you possibly can,” Philbin said. “You can’t replace [the missed time]. What’s happened has happened. So those repetitions, they’re are gone and will never return. So we will take it one day at a time and see him progress.
Another injury to keep an eye on is defensive tackle Randy Starks. He’s been held out of practice for the second straight week and wore a sleeve on his right leg when he walked by in practice. Starks is playing on a one-year franchise tag and is falling behind Jared Odrick in the competition for a starting spot at defensive tackle.
Miami running back and kick returner Marcus Thigpen is getting a lot of work as a slot receiver. He did all his individual drills with the receivers Sunday and didn’t get any work at running back. Thigpen was Miami’s best returner last year, but the Dolphins have a lot of players ahead of him at running back. Miami’s coaching staff is exploring whether Thigpen can help in other areas.
It was Dan Carpenter's kicking day for the Dolphins. He was 2-for-3 with his only miss being a short attempt on a 54-yard field goal. Carpenter is falling behind rookie Caleb Sturgis in the kicking competition. Unless there’s an injury, Carpenter’s days appear to be numbered.
The Dolphins will take the day off Tuesday and return to the practice field on Wednesday.