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NOTEBOOK: Albert Making Strides; Other Notes

Posted Aug 17, 2015

Branden Albert, the Dolphins Pro Bowl left tackle, continues to make headway in practice as he works his way back from injury.

Branden Albert’s steady progress continues.

The Pro Bowl offensive tackle took another significant step Monday when he took part in team drills for the first time this training camp.

Albert, who is coming back from a November knee injury, got a handful of reps at left tackle, first with the second-team offensive line and then with a group that included Dallas Thomas, Mike Pouncey, Jamil Douglas and Ja’Wuan James.

Albert also continued Monday doing individual drills.

“It’s all about getting him confident and back in a rhythm and obviously he’s a veteran player who knows how his body feels,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said after practice. “He knows what it’s like to set against a wide rusher or take on a bull rush and so each day he’s making progress. We’re going to see if we can continue to give him a little bit more work as he goes.”

Philbin said no decisions have been made as to how much work Albert will get Wednesday and Thursday when the Dolphins practice against the Carolina Panthers at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

“It was great to have him working on the things that he’s going to be doing throughout the course of the year,” Philbin said. “We’ll just see how he feels, see where we’re at before we decide to put him into a (game-like) situation. Let’s face it, the competition is going to be turned up when we go down there on Wednesday and Thursday, which is good. We’ll see.”

LAST LOOK

The practice Monday was the last one of training camp this summer open to the public, and 992 fans showed up at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University.

“It’s been fun,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said after practice. “I always look forward to training camp and practicing in front of the fans. Just feeling their energy, feeding off their excitement. You hit a big play downfield or break a long run, you always hear the fans cheer. It definitely adds excitement and energy to practice.”

The Dolphins don’t practice again in Davie until next Monday after their two practices in South Carolina and a day off Sunday after the preseason game against the Panthers on Saturday night.

TIGHT BATTLE AT TIGHT END

The competition at tight end behind Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims took a turn Monday with the release of 2014 fifth-round pick Arthur Lynch, and Philbin said the battle remained tight between Jake Stoneburner, Gerell Robinson and rookie free agent Tim Semisch.

“I think the first two guys distinguished their play throughout the course of camp,” Philbin said, referring to Cameron and Sims. “I think it’s pretty up in the air after that. Those guys are all competing. We’ll see what happens.”

Philbin said he had no set number of tight ends in mind for the 53-man roster: “It’s possible that we have three, it’s possible that we have four and it’s possible that we have two.”

PARKER UPDATE

While wide receiver Kenny Stills returned to practice Monday and Albert took another step, first-round pick DeVante Parker briefly did some light jogging on the side while his teammates practiced.

The Dolphins, however, still don’t know when the wide receiver from the University of Louisville will be ready to practice.

“I think it’s really a day at a time,” Philbin said. “That’s step one. We don’t want him to get out here with the other guys until he’s ready to go. It’s hard to put a timetable on that right now.”

PASSING THOUGHTS

Backup quarterbacks McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Josh Freeman had identical 21.9 passer ratings in the preseason opener against Chicago, and Philbin said he’s looking to see improvement from both of them.

“This week in practice is big for both of them,” Philbin said. “We told them right from the get-go that obviously I think they both know, they’re both pros, that’s not acceptable quarterback play. They need to both improve and they need to compete to see who’s going to go into the game next.”

THIS AND THAT

Caleb Sturgis handled the kicking chores and made 3 of 4 field goal attempts, including a long of 51 yards. ... WR Christion Jones returned to practice after missing time because of a hamstring injury. ... CB Will Davis also worked after sitting out practice Sunday. ... LB Koa Misi (calf) and LB Jordan Tripp (ankle) were the only two players on the active roster to miss practice. ... Matt Hazel and Cobi Hamilton came up with the two nicest catches during practice. Hazel made a diving grab over the middle, while Hamilton made a nice adjustment near the sideline. ... Bethel-Thompson practiced some drop kicks after practice. ... The musical selection for the stretching period inside the bubble was “R.I.C.O.” by Meek Mill featuring Drake.

LAST WORD

“We’re really deep. I feel great about our corps right now. From top to bottom, I think that they are talented. I feel comfortable with any of those guys in the game, whoever’s in, whether a guy needs a breather or a guy gets dinged, I feel comfortable with whoever’s in the game that they’re going to be able to get open and be in the right spot at the right time.” — QB Ryan Tannehill on the WR corps
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