DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins wrapped up their first of three practices at mandatory minicamp Tuesday. The AFC East blog was live at Miami’s practice facility to take in all the action.
Here is a recap:
The big story Tuesday was the return of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Randy Starks, who held out of all of Miami’s voluntary activities due to getting the franchise tag. Starks signed his tag for $8.5 million. Therefore, he was required to show up or risk a fine. Starks didn’t take part in any team work, and it appears Miami will bring him along slowly. Starks didn’t discuss his contract situation, but he did discuss missing OTAs. “It was kind of lonely at first,” Starks said. “It was something to get used to. But I kept in contact with some of my teammates and felt like I was still here a little bit."
It was a good day for Miami starting receiver Brian Hartline, who made a series of nice catches in team drills and 7-on-7 drills. Hartline made two deep, sideline catches from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and also made the routine plays over the middle. Hartline recorded his first 1,000-yard season in 2012 and could be poised for another good year in 2013.
It was also a good day for interceptions on defense. There were four picks by my count in team drills by Miami defenders. Dolphins starting safety Reshad Jones, linebacker Philip Wheeler, safety Chris Clemons and cornerback Don Jones all recorded interceptions. The Dolphins are focusing on creating more turnovers this offseason, and it was a good day for the defense in that regard.
As far as attendance, everyone was present with the exception of rookie No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan, who has a quarters academic system at the University of Oregon and cannot attend. Jordan also is recovering from shoulder surgery and will not join the team for practice until training camp. Fellow rookie second-round pick Jamar Taylor (sports hernia) worked on the side and didn’t practice. Starting tight end Dustin Keller also sat out of team drills on Tuesday, and backup tight end Michael Egnew got plenty of first-team reps.
Dolphins receiver and free-agent pickup Brandon Gibson is looking more comfortable this week in the slot. He seemed a step hesitant earlier this offseason but looked more fluid running and catching inside on Tuesday. Gibson did not play much in the slot during his time with the St. Louis Rams. But Miami needs Gibson inside after trading Davone Bess to the Cleveland Browns this offseason.
Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman offered high praise for Tannehill, who is entering Year 2 as Miami's starting quarterback. According to Sherman, the growth in Tannehill is apparent. "He's doing more as far as what he sees," Sherman said. "He's doing things better than he did a year ago."
A player who had a surprisingly good practice was undrafted rookie wide receiver Brian Tyms. He flashed several times Tuesday with some tough catches and displayed good size and athleticism. Miami is stacked at wide receiver, so Tyms could be a long shot to make the 53-man roster. But Tyms could be a developmental possibility for the practice squad if he keeps making plays in practice.