Monday, July 29, 2013
Five things to watch: Dolphins scrimmage
By James Walker
MIAMI -- The Miami Dolphins will hold their annual training camp scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium Monday at 7 p.m. ET. This is the first chance for the 2013 Dolphins to play under the lights in their home stadium.
Expect the intensity to be increased from practice. Miami will be going over real-game scenarios in this scrimmage in preparation for its first preseason game Aug. 4 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Here are five things to watch:
The Dolphins may experiment with the roster some by moving Mike Pouncey to right guard during training camp to offset injuries on the line.
Stability on offensive line: This has been the weakest unit so far in Miami's training camp. There were already concerns about this group entering the preseason. But starting guard John Jerry's injury has resulted in further instability. The Dolphins are trying out multiple combinations to fill in for Jerry’s absence. One combo actually included moving stud center Mike Pouncey to right guard, which I think is an awful idea and weakens the center position. Monday's scrimmage will be a good showcase to see if Miami's offensive line can figure things out.
Ryan Tannehill: As usual, all eyes at Sun Life Stadium will be on Miami’s starting quarterback. Tannehill started training camp slowly, but he’s really heated up in the past several days. Let's see if he can carry that momentum into this scrimmage and also into next Sunday's first preseason game against Dallas. Tannehill is developing an increasing rapport with his new targets: Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller. Most importantly, he's taking care of the football. Tannehill hasn't thrown an interception in four straight practices.
Dion Jordan: Miami’s No. 3 overall pick got his first action in 11-on-11 drills Sunday, and he’s expected to play Monday night. The Dolphins have brought Jordan along slowly after his shoulder surgery in February. Jordan has showed strong flashes of athleticism and pass-rushing ability. His play in this scrimmage could dictate how soon Jordan will be ready to participate in preseason games.
Cornerback play: Miami was 27th against the pass last season but looks improved at cornerback. Brent Grimes has been one of the top performers in camp so far, and Dimitri Patterson and Richard Marshall have staged a good competition for the No. 2 corner slot. This is a good opportunity for players to begin carving out roles in the secondary, particularly for young corners like rookie Will Davis, R.J. Stanford and Nolan Carroll.
Running backs: There haven’t been a lot of big plays so far from the running backs. Some of that is due to Miami’s run defense, which is stout. Tailbacks Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee appear to be the top three options for the Dolphins at this stage. Miller, the starter, appears to be the best of the three. But there haven’t been a lot of running lanes. This is another byproduct of the Dolphins' instability on the offensive line. This unit is regularly getting hammered by Miami’s defensive line, which is very deep.
I will have a full report in the AFC East blog from Miami’s scrimmage late tonight. But if Dolphins fans cannot wait that long and want immediate analysis, follow my Twitter account for live updates and observations as they happen.