Here are some notes and observations from Sunday’s session:
Noticeably absent from practice was Dolphins No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan. He got increased reps in Friday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars but did not practice once the team went outside. Miami head coach Joe Philbin didn’t discuss Jordan absence, which is consistent with his training camp policy. But Jordan has been recovering from shoulder surgery all offseason. This is something to keep an eye on during the week.
Miami’s practice focused mostly on individual work and fundamentals. But when the first-team offense lined up inside the bubble, backup Nate Garner was inserted at right guard in place of Josh Samuda. Samuda struggled against Jacksonville. “He’s a contender right now,” Philbin said of Garner. “He’s got a lot of snaps in and we know a lot of about him. ... But our philosophy is we’re going to find the five best guys and line them up and get them ready to go. Right now, we’re not exactly sure who those five guys are.”
Second-round pick Jamar Taylor looks increasingly healthy from hernia surgery and was full-go in practice Sunday. Taylor needs to show what he can do now if he wants to carve out an early role with the team. He’s missed most of camp and showed early rust. He was beat easily on a deep ball during one-on-one drills by Miami receiver Andrell Smith.
Dolphins guard Lance Louis is a name you may hear a lot in the next few weeks. He’s recovering from an ACL tear and his workload is finally increasing. Louis will start to put his name in the competition for the starting guard spot. But Louis struggled at times and remains a work in progress. “I’m just working hard as much as I can and trying to get back,” Louis said. “[The knee] responded pretty good. It’s not swelling. It’s just me working at it and knowing it’s going to get sore and working through it.”
Projected starting guard John Jerry is showing progress. He didn’t participate in practice but worked on the side with trainers. Jerry’s absence has caused a lot of issues on Miami’s offensive. If he’s progressing enough to return by Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns, that may save the Dolphins some headaches. But Jerry must stay sharp and in shape.
Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said he’s impressed with his tight ends, both as blockers and pass-catchers. Dustin Keller and Dion Sims both made players in the passing game against Jacksonville. Michael Egnew caught the ball well in the Hall of Fame Game against Dallas. “I think as a group they’re pretty solid,” Sherman said. “They will keep getting better. [Tight end coach] Dan Campbell does a great job.”
After practice, Miami rookie defensive tackle A.J. Francis was doing individual drills as a pass blocker. Francis is a long shot to make the Dolphins as a defensive lineman, which is one of the deepest areas of the team. So the Dolphins could consider a position change to see if Francis can provide depth on the offensive line, which is one of the team’s weakest areas.