Miami Dolphins: Josh Samuda

Danny Watkins relishing a fresh start

September, 3, 2013
DAVIE, Fla. -- New Miami Dolphins guard Danny Watkins was all smiles on Tuesday. The former first-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles was far away from the pressure of being a recent draft bust.

In Miami, Watkins was no longer on the hot seat with the Eagles and their fans. Watkins was allowed to relax and be just one of the guys again in practice with a new team.

“It’s huge for me,” Watkins said of the change of scenery. “I’ve struggled in Philadelphia. I don’t want to dwell too much on the past, but there’s definitely some issues there. This is huge for me. It’s a very exciting time for me and my family.”

In some ways, Watkins says he feels like a rookie again. The Dolphins signed him to a one-year contract after Philadelphia released him earlier this week.

Watkins has been questioned on everything from his ability to his toughness in two years in Philadelphia. However, the slate is clean for Watkins in Miami. Watkins is a backup guard simply learning a new system behind starters Richie Incognito and John Jerry.

“He has a lot of football left in him," Watkins' agent, Joe Panos, told Tuesday morning. "The best thing to happen to him is to get out of Philadelphia. He needs a fresh start and the Dolphins realize that."

You can see it in Watkins' face and demeanor that he's both relieved and excited. Watkins probably hasn’t felt that way in a while with all that’s gone on in Philadelphia.

Miami lacks depth on the offense line and can use Watkins at some point this year. The Dolphins cut one of their top reserves -- Josh Samuda -- to make room for Watkins.

The Dolphins will do what they can to see if Watkins can reach his potential. Rebuilding Watkins' confidence will be a good starting point.

“I got to Philadelphia and it was a rough go from the get-go,” Watkins explained. “I felt like it just got broken down to bones and just never got built back up. It was more a mental thing. It was very disappointing to myself it just never panned out the way it could.

“I know I can play physical and tough football, but I think it was more a mental aspect more than anything.”
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins held their second practice of the week in preparation for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

Here are some notes and observations:
  • New Miami offensive lineman Danny Watkins was present for his first practice. I paid close attention to how he looked Tuesday in the portion of practice open to the media. My first impression is that he's not a huge player. He's definitely smaller than Dolphins starting guard John Jerry and doesn't have the same girth as fellow guard Richie Incognito. However, Watkins moves his feet well and appears to have a decent burst off the line. It will be interesting to see what Miami’s coaching staff can get out of Watkins. Watkins' jersey number is 62.
  • There were two curious absences Tuesday. Miami third-string quarterback Pat Devlin and long-snapper John Denney were not present for practice. Denney’s wife was expecting a child soon, which may explain his absence. Devlin’s situation is unknown.
  • Miami rookie cornerbacks Will Davis and Jamar Taylor missed their second straight practice. Davis wore a boot Monday but didn’t have one on Tuesday. Taylor is recovering from a hernia injury and strained groin. Chances are dwindling that either cornerback will play Sunday considering they've both missed two important days of work.
  • The Dolphins cut backup center Josh Samuda to make room for Watkins. That leaves a hole behind starting center Mike Pouncey. Versatile backup Nate Garner took snaps at center behind Pouncey in the portion of practice open to the media. Garner is a key backup at all positions on Miami’s offensive line.
  • Dion Jordan continues to be full-go in practice. He is on schedule to make his NFL debut Sunday against Cleveland. Jordan, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, is on pace to complete two straight weeks of practice without issues.

I will have more on the Dolphins following practice. Check back at and follow @JamesWalkerNFL on Twitter for all the latest.
MIAMI -- The Miami Dolphins lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10 at intermission. It was an up-and-down start for the Dolphins.

Here are several thoughts at halftime:
  • The Dolphins started sloppily in two phases of the game. Miami made two crucial mistakes on special teams and one on defense that are sure to upset the coaching staff. Cornerback Nolan Carroll mistakenly touched the football on a punt return when the ball hit his helmet and the Buccaneers recovered deep in Miami territory. Two plays later, Dolphins starting cornerback Brent Grimes was flagged for pass interference in the end zone, which led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Buccaneers tailback Brian Leonard. Marcus Thigpen also fumbled his first punt return, which led to a 38-yard field goal by Tampa Bay kicker Rian Lindell.
  • Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins' starting offense played fairly well in the first half. Their first drive was solid. Tannehill completed six of eight passes during a 77-yard drive that led to a field goal by rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis. However, Miami’s offense struggled with penalties and inconsistency for a long stretch after that first drive. Following a Tampa Bay turnover, Tannehill finished the first half strong, with a touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Gibson. Tannehill was 17-of-27 for 150 yards and a touchdown. He was also the victim of a couple drops.
  • Miami projected starting guard John Jerry made his preseason debut Saturday. Jerry has been dealing with a knee injury suffered in the first week of training camp. Jerry played just one quarter before he was replaced by backup guard Josh Samuda at the start of the second. The goal for Jerry is to work off the rust and be ready for Week 1.
  • Miami defensive tackle Jared Odrick got off to a fast start. He’s had his way with Tampa Bay’s offensive line and recorded two tackles, one sack and one tackle for a loss. Odrick has done a good job in training camp to beat out Randy Starks for a starting job in Week 1.

Miami's starters are expected to play some in the third quarter of this dress rehearsal. We will have a full report on the Dolphins at the end of the game.