Here are some notes from Wednesday’s practice:
Charles Clay continues to get first-team reps at tight end with former starter Dustin Keller (knee) out for the season. Clay was expected to play more of an H-back for the Dolphins this season until Keller went down. Now, Clay has to focus on the tight-end position. He has 34 career receptions in three seasons. Clay caught a nice touchdown pass down the seam from quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 11-on-11 drills on Wednesday, and made several other nice catches.
Tannehill overall had an inconsistent day. He threw two interceptions, to rookie cornerback Will Davis and backup linebacker Lee Robinson, in team drills. But Tannehill also made several nice completions to receiver Mike Wallace, Clay and others. Tannehill had perhaps his best week of practice this summer leading into the Houston Texans game, and his performance showed on the field. The first two practices this week haven’t been as good.
Defensive backs react to Tuesday’s cut of veteran cornerback Richard Marshall. He was competing for a starting job with Dimitri Patterson, but Patterson won the job and made Marshall expendable. Marshall could have provided depth, but his approximate $4 million salary this season was too high to be a backup. “It’s a business,” Patterson explained. “Good players are let go for whatever reason all the time. Decisions are made and that’s it. We’re only players at the end of the day.”
Patterson also had a solid day working with the first team. He had two interception Wednesday in team drills -- one off backup quarterback Matt Moore and another off Pat Devlin. Patterson also played inside on the nickel defense, with Nolan Carroll moving outside in sub packages.
No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan (shoulder) dressed Wednesday, but continues to sit out of practice. Although game status won’t be determined until later in the week, Jordan appears unlikely to play Saturday against the Buccaneers. Jordan’s shoulder has kept him sidelined for the past week or so. But Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said the team is ready to use Jordan despite a lack of practice time. “There’s always going to be a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C as you approach the season,” Coyle said. “We have a plan in place to utilize Dion provided that he’s up and ready to go. I think he’s making strides with his rehab.”
Projected starting guard John Jerry continues to work his way back from knee surgery. He worked with the first team on Wednesday and, health permitting, appears to be the favorite to start at right guard. Jerry was injured in the first week of training camp and didn’t get much work in. He didn’t look fluid in Wednesday’s practice, and still has a ways to go. The goal is for Jerry to round himself back into form in time for Miami’s Week 1 game against the Cleveland Browns.
Head coach Joe Philbin said the team is “absolutely” game-planning this week. This is the dress-rehearsal preseason game for Miami. Tampa Bay also is a regular-season opponent for the Dolphins in Week 10. So, much of the intel the Dolphins get from this game -- and vice versa – will be used later in the season.
The Dolphins will return to the practice field again on Thursday.