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The Dolphins opened training camp 2010 on Friday and had all
their draftees signed and rookies in camp on the first day, but the
highlight of the afternoon practice session was newly acquired wide
receiver Brandon Marshall, who schooled second year man Sean Smith on
the crude art of being toasted.
Marshall beat Smith badly on two plays and drew cheers from
the crowd in demonstrating the kind of skills the Dolphins hope will
make him the receiving threat the team has lacked for many years. On
one play, Marshall knocked Smith to the ground when Smith attempted to
jam him at the line of scrimmage and ran free down the field to catch
a Chad Henne pass for a touchdown. On the other play, Smith slipped
and Marshall hauled in a pass over his head for a big gain.
It was an auspicious debut for the latest Dolphins' high
The first practice started at 2:00 PM and was held in shorts,
shoulder pads and helmets. This meant that the contact was limited,
but it was much more extensive than the mini-camps and provided for
some interesting moments.
While Brandon Marshall was providing highlights, Pat White did
not show up for practice on Friday. There was no official word on why
White did not show up, but there was a wide variety of speculation and
rumor, ranging from "White is going to retire" to "White will be in
camp on Saturday". As of this writing, White is reportedly in camp on
Rookies John Jerry, Jared Odrick and Koa Misi started with the
first team for the first practice, putting three draft picks in the
starting lineup. Jerry worked at right guard, Odrick at right
defensive end and Misi as the strongside outside linebacker.
The only other new offensive starter was Cory Proctor at left
guard. The rest of the offense was unchanged from the end of last
season, with Brian Hartline getting the start at wide receiver
opposite Brandon Marshall.
In addition to Odrick and Misi, the starting defense featured
Davis and Smith as the corners, Clemons and Bell as the safeties,
Crowder and Dansby as the inside linebackers, Cameron Wake as the
starting weakside linebacker and Langford as left defensive end. Randy
Starks is the new starting nose tackle, although he will probably not
be playing the inside the same way that Jason Ferguson did.
Brandon Marshall drew almost all the attention on the first
day, making the highlight catches and exciting the crowd.
Unfortunately, the victim of most of his exploits was Sean Smith, who
had one of the tougher days of his career.
Vontae Davis drew praise from Marshall when he was in
coverage and did not give up any big plays to the new number 19.
Both Marshall and Ronnie Brown appear to be well on their way
to recovery after their recent injuries and neither was limited in any
way on the practice field. Of course, practice was not in full pads
and it's only the first day.
Koa Misi was reportedly handled easily by Jake Long, but it
would be a huge surprise if the Dolphins' veteran pro-bowl left tackle
did not handle the rookie on the opening day of training camp.
There was not much news on the other rookies, although the
fact that both Jerry and Odrick lined up with the first string makes a
strong statement about what the coaches think they might be capable
Tyler Thigpen worked with the 2nd string offense, while
Pennington worked with the third team. Thigpen tossed the only pick
of the day, throwing into double coverage.
Pennington has lost 8 pounds in the off-season and is
reportedly now as fast as he was when he came out of college - which
isn't fast at all, but is better than he has been since coming to
CB Evan Oglesby was also not in camp on Friday and there was
no word on why he was absent.
Brian Hartline started opposite Brandon Marshall at wide
receiver, but all the receivers have been told that the receiver
position is going to be a "fluid" position.
While Pennington is practicing with the third team, that is
only to give Thigpen more reps. Pennington would be Henne's backup if
the season started today.
With Phillip Merling hobbled, Odrick will get his chance to
start. Reportedly, new veteran Marques Douglas played behind Odrick.
Cam Wake and Koa Misi started as the outside linebackers,
while Charlie Anderson and Ikaika Alama-Francis were their backups.
Alama-Francis is listed as a defensive end on the roster at 6-5 and
290 pounds. He is a 5th year veteran from Hawaii who started his
career with the Detroit Lions.
Jake Grove regained his starting center spot, with Cory
Proctor starting at left guard. Donald Thomas and Richie Incognito
worked as the backup offensive guards, with Nate Garner moving to
backup offensive tackle.
No one was on the injury report or the PUP list on the first
day and every player who was present worked on the field, with no one
sitting out or riding the stationary bikes.
CB Evan Oglesby has been listed as having a non-football
related illness, but no further details are available at this time.
The Dolphins will practice twice on Saturday, July 31st at 9
AM and 5 PM. Saturday is also "Family Day" at Dolphins' training
camp, with lots of family activities in addition to the practices.
See the Dolphins' official website for more details.
Things started about as expected on the first day. The
Dolphins' management has placed some severe restrictions on the media
at this year's training camp, effectively banning them from the entire
training facility without an escort and even keeping them out of the
team parking lot after practices.
Electronic reporting from practice has also been severely
curtailed, both for reporters and fans alike, so real-time updates on
camp are very limited.
You can see player interviews and reports on the official
website, but those are produced by the team and will only feature
officially sanctioned statements.
It was great to see Brandon Marshall so productive on the
first day, but also a little disappointing to see Sean Smith abused so
royally. Things will undoubtedly even up some as camp progresses, but
the Dolphins' weaknesses defending against the pass last year were a
big part of the reason the team finished with a 7-9 record.
The Pat White situation is very confusing. Initial reports
made it sound like he had had a change of heart about playing football
and was hanging up his shoulder pads permanently. There was talk of
him retiring or being placed on the PUP list. But as of this morning,
he is back on the field today and working at quarterback.
We may never know exactly what happened with him on day one,
but let's hope this is not the start of another Matt Roth-like mystery
tour for the team.
Personally, while I normally refuse to make judgments about
2nd year players and their future with the team, there is nothing I
have seen from Pat White that leads me to believe he will ever be an
important contributor to the Dolphins. I think it may be best for
the team to cut ties with him now and move forward without him.
There is a rumor (unsubstantiated, but published on a news
site and not just in a fan blog) that the Dolphins are out looking for
another quarterback. If that's true, we will know soon whether or not
Pat White will stay in South Florida.