Dolphins practice report: Change at guard

DAVIE, Fla. -- Training camp is officially over. However, the Miami Dolphins returned to the practice field Monday in preparation for their third preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Here are the most important developments from Davie:

  • The Dolphins made a significant change on their offensive line Monday when they promoted backup right guard Shelley Smith in place of the struggling Dallas Thomas, who was put on the second team. This wasn't a surprise as Thomas was manhandled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in Saturday’s preseason game. Smith was briefly a starter this offseason but lost his job when the Dolphins signed veteran guard Daryn Colledge. Smith now gets another shot with the first team just a few weeks before the regular season. “The coaches have all been fair to try to let the best player for the job wins,” Smith said Monday. “But I’ve felt like I’ve had good opportunities. The competition just makes you a better player. So I look forward to it.”

  • Miami also received some good news on the injury front with the return of starting tight end Charles Clay, who missed the past two weeks of practice with a knee injury. Clay, who wore a right knee brace, took part in team drills and says he's up to speed on the offense mentally. The biggest challenge is for Clay to get back in game shape. Clay said he's unsure if he will play Saturday in Miami’s third preseason game. “My health is the most important thing,” Clay said. “I’m not rushing anything.”

  • The Dolphins also received some bad news with injuries. Several Miami players were banged up over the weekend against Tampa Bay and will miss multiple practices. Among the key players are backup center Sam Brenner (shoulder), rookie defensive end Terrence Fede (knee) and cornerback Jalil Brown (thigh).

  • Miami Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey looks strong in rehab. Pouncey is expected to miss 4-8 weeks following major hip surgery. But the center said Monday it's his goal to avoid the physically unable to perform list. "I don’t want to be on PUP, because on PUP you can't practice or participate for six weeks,” Pouncey said. “That would kind of push things back further than what I’m expecting to be back.”

  • Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was in attendance for practice Monday. Ross also will attend Saturday’s preseason game against Dallas. It will mark Miami's first home game at Sun Life Stadium for 2014.