So when players were suddenly called to gather in the middle of the field, eight-year veteran left tackle Branden Albert found himself in an interesting spot.
Albert was closest to the start of the drill. Despite missing the past two games with a hamstring injury, the gritty veteran stepped up and took the first rep of the “Oklahoma drill” in front of his new coach and teammates.
“I’m a little bit too old to do the Oklahoma [drill],” Albert joked after Wednesday’s practice. “But it was a lot of good energy out there and it’s what we needed right now.”
Albert’s practice decision was a strong indication that he will be ready to return after the bye week when the Dolphins (1-3) travel to play the Tennessee Titans (1-2).
Miami’s offensive line – and backup left tackle Jason Fox – has been inconsistent without Albert. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been sacked five times the past two games and Miami has been outscored 68-28 in that span.
It’s no secret that Albert is one of Miami’s most important players. The Dolphins couldn’t recover last season when Albert suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 10. This year the offense also is off to a slow start and need its best pass blocker.
“I’m energized,” Albert said. “Me personally, I’m ready to help this team. I’m highly motivated, highly determined. So I’m ready to roll.”
It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins respond to the change from former head coach Joe Philbin, who was fired Monday, to Campbell.
“It depends on how everybody gravitates to Coach Dan,” Albert said. “If we buy into what he’s trying to sell to us, which I think was a good start [Wednesday], then I think it’s a good situation. We just got to keep going, keep fighting.”