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NOTEBOOK: Dallas Thomas Right At Home In 2014

Posted Aug 12, 2014

Get the latest news and notes from training camp following the Dolphins' practice on Tuesday morning.

Offensive lineman Dallas Thomas has done a lot of moving around since joining the Dolphins as a third-round pick in 2013, but it appears he might be settled in at right guard.

After working at guard and tackle as a rookie, Thomas spent the spring working mostly at left guard. After the Dolphins signed veteran Daryn Colledge, who has played left guard throughout his eight-year career, Thomas was switched to right guard.

Early in camp, Thomas also got reps at right tackle, but he’s gotten almost every snap at right guard with the first-team offensive line in the last couple of days of practice and started at that spot in the preseason opener against Atlanta.

“I just take it as another task to get better at,” Thomas said of switching spots. “They saw I did good at left, then they moved me to the right. Now I’m doing good at right. They’re going to throw another one at me, I’m ready for it.”

Thomas appeared in seven games as a rookie in 2013 but got only two snaps on offense. After making significant progress, he’s now in line to earn a starting job.

“You could tell when you watched the tape throughout the course of last year that he was developing and progressing,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “Fans didn’t get to see that on Sundays, but we got to watch it when we watched the practice tape, we watched the one-on-one drills. We saw some development. Then he had a very good offseason program. He’s made good progress. Certainly nothing is locked and loaded, but he has performed pretty well.”

BUSINESS AS USUAL

The arrival of new quarterback Brady Quinn potentially could signal competition for Matt Moore for the backup job behind starter Ryan Tannehill, but Moore isn’t going to waste time worrying about that possibility.

“That’s just the way it goes,” Moore said. “All I can control is what I can do and keep getting better and that’s just how it is.”

After battling a minor shoulder problem and sitting out the preseason opener at Atlanta on Friday, Moore has been a full participant at practice this week.

“All I can do is keep going,” Moore said. “(The signing of Quinn) really has no effect. If it does, I’m in trouble. Mentally, I just need to stay focused and continue to get better.

“We’ve got practices and preseason games coming up. I’m going to have opportunities, I’d imagine. You’ve got to take full advantage of them.”

UP IN THE AIR ... OR NOT?

One noticeable difference from last year that surfaced in the preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons was the presence of offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle on the sideline during the game.

Coyle and then-offensive coordinator Mike Sherman worked from the coaches’ booth last season.

The question now is whether this will become a permanent setup for this season. That answer has not been determined yet.

Philbin indicated this week he would leave up it to Coyle and Lazor.

“I thought things went very smoothly on the field last week with Bill and Kevin down, but I think it’s good for us to experiment in the preseason,” Philbin said. “Ultimately, they are the ones calling the plays. They have to be comfortable. So I don’t have a strong preference. I want them to feel confident, comfortable wherever they may be.”

Coyle said he would be on the sideline again Saturday when the Dolphins face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then have a discussion with Philbin and his staff.

For his part, Lazor said he wanted at least for the first game to get a close look at the offensive players during the game.

“Based on our players, I felt like I needed to be the first game on the field to see our players as they came off the field, to look in their eyes, to see what the leadership looked like on the sidelines, to see what their poise was on the sideline,” Lazor said. “I got a lot of questions answered Friday night. I was happy with a lot of what I saw, but we’re not quite done making the decision yet.”

PRACTICE PARTICIPATION

Veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan took part in practice for the first time since the preseason opener at Atlanta on Friday. Finnegan was absent Sunday because of undisclosed reasons and arrived midway through practice Monday.

Rookie linebacker Chris McCain practiced after not working Monday.

Still missing practice were tight end Charles Clay (knee), tackle Jason Fox (chest), running back Daniel Thomas (hamstring), tight end Gator Hoskins (hamstring), running back Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and rookie defensive tackle Micajah Reynolds (knee).

THIS AND THAT

Linebacker Philip Wheeler had a good day in coverage, picking off a pass in 7-on-7 drills and later stepping in front of a receiver to break up a pass. ... Safety Reshad Jones made a leaping interception in a 7-on-7 drill. .... Cornerback Jamar Taylor stopped a drive in team drills with a sack on a blitz. ... The practice ended with Rishard Matthews making an acrobatic leaping catch in the back of the end zone. ... The musical selection for the warmups inside the bubble was “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell.

LAST WORD

“He’s got big strong muscles. He’s a quarterback and he throws the ball. That’s how I really got from him. He’s proven in the NFL. He’s a handsome guy, I guess I can go with that.” — CB Cortland Finnegan on his impressions of new Dolphins quarterback Brady Quinn
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