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Camp Notebook: A Different Look For The Offensive Line

Posted Jul 25, 2014

Dolphins working to get the five best players on the field at one time.

With center Mike Pouncey beginning training camp on the physically unable to perform list, the offensive line had a different look for the first practice.

The most noteworthy change on the first-team unit involved free agent acquisition Shelley Smith moving from right guard to center. Veteran Daryn Colledge, signed shortly after the end of the June minicamp, lined up with the first-team offensive line at left guard and second-year player Dallas Thomas moved from left to right guard.

“We’re always attempting to get the five best players that we possibly can out in the field at one time,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “I would tell you that we’re going to be looking at a number of different combinations. This is practice number one. This is the way we wanted to look at it today. We’ll take a look at the film and go from there. But we will be moving some guys around and taking a look at guys and see how they respond.”

Smith never played center during his first three seasons in the NFL with the Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams, but said he saw some action at that position at Colorado State University and in high school.

Smith did get practice snaps at center during the OTAs and minicamp this spring, and is ready for the challenge if the move proves permanent.

“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win,” Smith said. “I just want to win games and contribute.”

Even though Colledge was participating in his first practice with the Dolphins, it shouldn’t have been surprising to see him work with the starters.

After all, Colledge came to the Dolphins after starting 124 of 128 games in his eight NFL seasons, including his first four in Green Bay when Philbin was an assistant coach there.

“Any guy expects to come in and be a starter,” Colledge said. “Anytime that you don’t come in and try to be a starter, I think you’re cheating yourself. I’ve got a lot of games as a starting left guard, so I want to come in here and compete as the starting left guard. If Coach decides that somebody is better and I’m the sixth man and that’s the best opportunity for me to be on this roster and that helps them the most, then so be it. But I promise I’m going to fight for that spot until they tell me I don’t got it anymore.”

POUNCEY STAYING POSITIVE

Pouncey, who reportedly underwent hip surgery in late June, worked on conditioning on the side Friday.

Published reports initially suggested he would be sidelined a minimum of three months, which would put his return to action as late September, but after practice he sounded upbeat about the recovery process.

“I feel like I’m already ahead of schedule,” Pouncey said. “My goal is not to miss anything, but I’ve just got to be smart about it so I don’t have any relapse. I’m just going to listen to the team doctors and Coach Philbin and whenever they tell me I’m ready to go, then I’m going.”

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill obviously was disappointed to lose his starting center, but he offered a different perspective on the situation.

“It’s tough to lose him early, but I’m kind of thankful at the same time, if we’re going to lose him, at least we have the whole camp to work with a new center and get on the same page,” Tannehill said. “He can use this time to recover and get back as fast as possible.”

JORDAN LEARNS LESSON

Defensive end Dion Jordan took part in practice Friday and said afterward his approach hasn’t changed despite the fact he’ll be forced to sit out the first four games of the regular season because of his league suspension.

Jordan is allowed to practice during training camp, but will have to stay away from the team once the regular season arrives.

“My mind-set is the same if I was coming in if I didn’t have to miss out any games,” Jordan said. “I’ve got to prepare and find a way to make myself better and figure out what I can do to help this team. It’s a one-day-at-a-time type of situation for myself. All I can do is make sure I’m ready when the time comes.”

Jordan, who is eligible to return to action for the game against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 5, was asked what learned from the incident.

“That you’ve got to be accountable,” he said. “The older you get, the more people depend on you. I figure if nobody can depend on you, then you’re really not worth nothing. I’ve got to grow up and learn from what I’m going through and just take it as a lesson, keep moving.”

THIS AND THAT

Cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Will Davis both wore fluorescent lime green shoes as the Dolphins began practice in the bubble at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University, although Grimes switched back to white shoes once practice moved outdoors. ... Tight end Charles Clay was the last player to finish working Friday morning after catching balls from the Jugs machine. ... The last player to finish signing autographs was Tannehill. ... The musical selections for the stretching portion inside the bubble were “Jump Around” by House of Pain and “Bring Em Out” by T.I.

LAST WORD

“They’re sleeping on us. We’re going to wake their (butt) up.” — Wide receiver Mike Wallace on analysts with low expectations for the Dolphins
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