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The Dolphins’ last practice of training camp took place entirely inside the bubble Thursday because of the rain that fell on the Fort Lauderdale area in the morning.
While the players no doubt appreciated avoiding the heat and humidity associated with practicing outside, there was an even bigger reason to celebrate afterward: The end of training camp means no more staying in a hotel and no more 8 a.m. practices.
“Bravo!” wide receiver
While Wallace might have been exaggerating just a bit, there’s no question this is a day that players look forward to every summer.
“We finally get to get done with the grind, but it doesn’t stop here,” center
As the Dolphins get ready for the preseason game at Houston on Thursday, Head Coach Joe Philbin expressed satisfaction with what the team accomplished since practice started at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University on July 21.
“It’s been good,” Philbin said. “We’re probably upward of almost 2,000 competitive snaps against one another. We provided a lot of opportunity for guys to compete for a job, at the same time taught our system, taught them our schemes, put them in tough, difficult situations to see how they’d perform. I think it's been a good camp.”
NEW PLAYER IN TOWN
New defensive end Antwan Applewhite said he did some research on the Dolphins before working out for the team and eventually signing a contract.
What he found was a talented young defense, one he hopes to be able to help with his experience.
“I know it’s a young, fast, quick defense coming up in the ranks fast from what I could see and researched,” Applewhite said. “Just trying to bring a little bit of experience and any knowledge that I have about the game to the team.”
The 6-3, 258-pound Applewhite joined the Dolphins with five years of NFL experience after joining the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He has started games in the NFL as a 3-4 outside linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end.
“I’m going on my seventh year and I know pretty much how the team schedule and defenses go,” Applewhite said. “It’s just learning all the new verbiage and put it in my head the way I can understand it.”
DOLPHIN FOR A DAY
Teenager Matt Smith got a small taste of life as an NFL player Thursday as the winner of South Florida Ford’s Become a Dolphins Player of a Day contest.
As the title suggests, Smith became a “player,” complete with the signing of a one-day contract after meeting General Manager Jeff Ireland. Smith’s experience also included a visit to the auditorium, the locker room, the weight room, the Finsiders studio and the bubble to watch practice.
Smith, who celebrated his 18th birthday on July 22 by attending the Dolphins practice, also visited the quarterbacks room since it was “the position Jeff Ireland has told me that I will be playing. That was cool, drew a play or two that I learned from Madden.”
Wearing a number 1 jersey he was given, Smith watched practice with his mother, Cindy, who was wearing a vintage Dan Marino jersey. While on the sideline, Smith even played a little catch with Ireland.
“Amazing,” is how Smith summed up the experience. “One of the best days of my life, seriously. Awesome.”
CATCH THE DOLPHINS LIVE
Dolphins fans anywhere in the country will be able to watch live Saturday night’s game at Houston, as well as the other two remaining preseason games, thanks to the NFL’s Preseason Live package.
For $19.99, fans can have access on their computer or tablet to out-of-market games not televised nationally. For details, go to dolphins.com/preseasonlive.
The game at Houston will be broadcast live in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area on WFOR-TV (CBS 4), in Fort Myers on WBBH-TV (Channel 2), in West Palm Beach on WTVX-TV (Channel 34) and WWHB (Channel 48-Spanish); and in Orlando on WRDQ (Channel 27) and WFTB MegaTV (9.2 as well as on digital cable via Comcast channel 209, CenturyLink Channel 10, Cox Cable 118 and Decca Cable channel 717).
Jesse Agler will provide the play-to-play call, with former Dolphins greats Bob Griese and Nat Moore providing analysis.
For those who can’t catch the game live on Saturday, it will be replayed by the NFL Network on Sunday at 1 p.m., Tuesday at 3 a.m. and next Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m.
THIS AND THAT
THE LAST WORD
“You make a lot of friendships with a lot of guys. It's just a fact of the business that this is going to happen. It's going to happen to everybody. Sooner our later you’re going to get off the train, whether you’re kicked off or you leave of your own accord. So you have to know it going into it and be professional about it.”