Here are some notes and observations from Wednesday’s session:
Miami running back Knowshon Moreno and stating tight end Charles Clay continue to make progress from knee injuries. Both members of the offense took part in Wednesday’s practice in full pads, which is a good sign. Moreno showed good body lean and low pad level running near the goal line, and Clay made a pair of nice catches for first downs in team drills. It appears there's a good chance at least one of these players will suit up for Saturday's "dress rehearsal" game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Dolphins won't officially determine playing time for another day or so.
The Dolphins are doing a lot of mixing and matching at nickel linebacker in an effort to find the best duo. Linebackers Dannell Ellerbe, Koa Misi, Philip Wheeler, Jordan Tripp and Chris McCain are among those getting a look on the first-team and second-team nickel defense. Most teams on Miami's schedule have an extensive spread package on offense, which means the Dolphins must find success in the nickel with the right players. “In regard to how soon, we’re still going to look at some other combinations this week,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “But the sooner the better.”
Miami’s defense put together a good day rushing the passer in this full-padded practice. The Dolphins brought various blitzes and confused the offensive line, both starters and backups. Defensive tackle Jared Odrick and linebackers Misi, McCain and Tripp were among those who recorded sacks in team drills.
The running game has been a major emphasis in practice this week. The Dolphins had minus-5 rushing yards in the first half last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when starters and key backups were in the game. Miami must run the ball better -- starting Saturday against Dallas -- for the offense to reach its potential. "It hasn't been to where we want it to be," Tannehil said. "I think that we have the talent, we have the ability, the up-front blocking and the backs to make big plays in the running game. We haven't shown that so far on the game tape."
Philbin said it’s hard to set a specific goal for Miami’s new offense under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. But one thing he’s believed in was success comes with scoring 25 points per game, which equates to 400 points per season. The Dolphins struggled to score consistently last season and averaged just 19.8 points per game.