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NOTEBOOK: Watkins Looking For A Fresh Start; Other Notes

Posted Sep 3, 2013

Guard joins Dolphins after spending the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, who he had joined as a first-round pick in the 2011 draft.



Danny Watkins is 28 years old and has played in the NFL since 2011, but he felt like a rookie Tuesday.

After signing with the Dolphins Tuesday morning and going through his first practice with his new team, Watkins joked that he was volunteering to do tasks normally reserved for rookies.

“They were like, man, you’re not a rookie, you’re not going to do that,” Watkins said. “I’m not any different than anyone else here. I’m eager to learn and help and do whatever I’ve got to do.

“Coming in here and having a fresh start, that’s huge. It’s the most exciting time in my life again. I’ve had a grin on my face since this morning. It’s been great.”

Watkins came to the Dolphins after spending the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, who he had joined as a first-round pick in the 2011 draft.

The Canadian-born Watkins got a late start as a football player and got drafted out of Baylor as a 26-year old. He went on to start 18 of his 23 games with the Eagles over the past two seasons before being released this summer.

“It’s huge for me,” Watkins said. “It’s a very exciting time for me and my family and just speaking with the guys, you can tell it’s a very coordinate bunch of guys here. And they’re excited to win. And it’s really important to me to be part of something like that.

“I want to contribute and just do the best I can and start learning the offense and just push my teammates and have them push me and see what happens.”

SCHEDULE SWITCH

Tuesday usually is a day off for players around the NFL, but the Dolphins practiced after Head Coach Joe Philbin decided to switch things up. Instead of having Tuesday off, the Dolphins are practicing three straight days before having Thursday off and then beginning their final preparations on Friday.

“The thing about the first week of the season is it’s always weird because you get that extra Monday of practice and so things don’t really flow all that well,” veteran offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said. “It’s going to be nice on Thursday, I can tell you that. Talk to me on Friday if I feel like the rest late in the week helped me because I think it should. That’s the whole idea. Hopefully that works out.”

For his part, fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito said he hardly noticed.

“Honestly, we’ve been practicing so much, it’s been a long preseason, so Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday, whatever day, we’ve been practicing on all of them,” he said. “It’ll be nice once we get out of this to get into the rhythm of the regular season.”

JORDAN’S LOCKER

Rookie Dion Jordan’s seat in the Dolphins locker room was placed between those of fellow defensive end Cameron Wake and guard Richie Incognito, two players selected to the Pro Bowl last season.

And it didn’t happen by accident.

“Cam is a pro,” Philbin said. “He’s definitely a professional. The players can be the best example. I can talk all I want, but I think his example and the way he practices, the way he performs on a consistent basis is a great example for any young player.

“We give it thought about who’s the best match and where potentially influence can be had in the locker room. At the same point and time, we want the guys to mix in a little bit with other guys. We do it a little bit both ways.”

As for Jordan, he said he welcomed the opportunity to pick up any tips from the two veterans.

“I’m next to two Pro Bowlers,” he said. “And it’s a good thing for me because I get to watch them every day.”

CLUTTS’ WILD RIDE

New Dolphins fullback Tyler Clutts joined the Dolphins with quite the resume.

Before playing for the Chicago Bears in 2011 and the Houston Texans last season, Clutts had stints in the Canadian Football League, the Arena Football League and the Indoor Football League.

“Been through ‘em all, but I think it’s made me the player I am,” Clutts said. “It’s made me hungry to keep working for this. Now that I’m here I’m even more hungry for the next goal. It was an uphill battle. Luckily, I had a great support system around me with my wife and my family. I’m just glad that I could be here and I’m working to stay.”

THIS AND THAT

The Dolphins followed their normal pattern of going outside after starting practice inside the bubble, but they sprinted back inside the bubble after lightning appeared near the area. … The musical selections for the stretching portion of practice were “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and “FDB” by Young Dro.

THE LAST WORD

Center Mike Pouncey:
“I love the team, man. I love the players. You’ve got a bunch of guys that come into work and love work every day. And obviously we added a lot of key pieces to where we feel like we can win a lot of games this year.”
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