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AC in the AM: Observations From Day 1 Of Minicamp

Posted Jun 14, 2017

Twelve things that stood out.

Tuesday was the first of a three-day Minicamp, the last chance to make an offseason impression before training camp starts in late July. Who stood out? What moments were most special? What themes came to light? Let’s take a closer look with these dozen thoughts:

• The no-huddle, hurry-up offense continues to be a point of emphasis during the offseason. Last year was about learning a new system. With so much to absorb, there just wasn’t the comfort zone needed to do things quickly. But now in the second season of Adam Gase’s offense, the players and coaches can take things to another level and that’s where the no-huddle offense comes in.

• Or as wide receiver Kenny Stills succinctly put it: “Play fast, think less.”

• Every day, or so it seems, a different young receiver steps forward. On Tuesday it was rookie Isaiah Ford diving to catch a pass over the middle and, on the next play, racing down the sideline for a touchdown. Last week it was free agent Drew Morgan. At times it has been second-year player Leonte Carroo. Bottom Line: Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker are set as the top three, but there’s a logjam of potential behind them. Do they keep four receivers or five? I can already see this is going to be a brutally tough decision on cut down day.

• Nobody, his coaches say, is harder on himself than Ryan Tannehill and that’s a good attribute for the starting quarterback. Tannehill explains it this way: “As soon as you think you’ve got it, that’s when you’re in trouble.”

• So the players take off on about a six-week break after practice on Thursday. What’s veteran defensive end Andre Branch going to do with his relaxation time? Uh, won’t be relaxing. MMA fighting three times a week. Strength training five times a week. Boxing training four times a week. Pilates three times a week. Yoga twice a week. Visit the chiropractor three times a week. Steam room daily. I got tired just listening to him. “I do take Sundays off,” he said. Thank goodness for Sundays.

• Nice interception at practice Tuesday by Walt Aikens. Easy to overlook this fourth year player, but he may be as good as any special teams player on the team and right now he’s spending time at both safety and cornerback and doing well.

• It is his route-running, more than anything else, that has been Jay Ajayi’s greatest emphasis this offseason, something that has been evident in almost every practice witnessed by the media.

• Speaking of Ajayi, he’s even impressed his coaches with the questions he has been asking, prompting Adam Gase to invent a new word, describing those Ajayi questions as “Quarterbackish.” Translation: He knows his stuff.

• Not sure I’ve seen a practice yet this offseason where cornerback Tony Lippett didn’t make at least one play that got my attention.

• Tough to watch left tackle Laremy Tunsil working out with a trainer during practice instead of manning his familiar left tackle spot. But the injury is minor and he’ll be fine for training camp. In the meantime, 6-foot-7 Sam Young is getting the first team snaps.

• Not only has No. 1 pick Charles Harris impressed the veterans with his on-field play, he has also impressed them with his humble demeanor. “He’s not a know-it-all,” said Branch.

• And finally, a better diet, eight hours sleep and a more refined conditioning program has brought the best out of receiver DeVante Parker. “I feel like I’m 100 percent,” he said in a press conference Tuesday, “and I can let it all out now.” We’ve been seeing signs of that all during offseason workouts.

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