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2021 Miami Dolphins Training Camp Preview: Specialists

Today, our training camp preview series takes us inside the specialists room for a closer look at the kickers, punters and long snappers. To reserve your spot at Miami Dolphins training camp, click the photo below.

Personnel Changes

Table inside Article
Additions Departures
Michael Palardy (CAR) Matt Haack (BUF)

Coaching Staff

Danny Crossman's special teams unit performed among the league's best in 2020 (ranked sixth overall via Football Outsiders) and produced a first-team All-Pro in kicker Jason Sanders. For Crossman's efforts during his two years in Miami, he earned a promotion to assistant head coach this offseason. He spoke about duties that come with the promotion earlier this year.

"Brian (Flores) and I have a very similar philosophical belief on a lot of things," Crossman said of his promotion. "Some of the things have been going on for a couple years, during the season and on game day. And then there are some other things we've added. And we've done some things this offseason in terms of some things with the staff. I'm just very fortunate to be in an organization where top down I feel like we see things very similar."

Group at a Glance

The Dolphins kicking operations were on-point in 2020. Sanders broke a handful of franchise records, rookie Blake Ferguson went the whole year without a failed snap and Jakeem Grant contributed to the record book as a return man in his own right en route to second-team All-Pro honors.

There's one change in the fold – veteran and South Florida native Michael Palardy takes over the punting duties.

The Cast

Palardy missed the 2020 season after playing the previous four with the Carolina Panthers. He's played 55 career games with 342 punts for a total of 11,011 yards – a 40.3 net punting average. Palardy averaged 46.0 yards per punt in 2019, which tied for 13th in the NFL that season.

The place-kicking section of the Dolphins record book was rewritten by Sanders in 2020. With 36 successful field goals on 39 attempts, Sanders' 92.3 percentage was the best single-season rate in club history. His 22 consecutive field goals made between 2019-2020 are a franchise best and his 144 points scored tied the Miami single-season mark. Sanders' 36 field goals made were the second-most in team history and second-most in the NFL in 2020. He also converted 20 field goals of 40-plus yards, which led the league. Finally, Sanders was perfect on extra point tries (36-of-36).

Sanders made a pair of game-winning kicks in 2020. His 50-yard kick in the final minute proved to be the difference in the Dolphins' 34-31 Week 9 win in Arizona and his 44-yard boot with one second on the clock gave Miami its 10th win of the season in the Week 16 victory in Las Vegas. That dependability earned Sanders a five-year contract extension with the club this offseason.

Playing all 16 games as a rookie, Ferguson was the long snapper for each of Jason Sanders' record-breaking field goals. The Dolphins punt team was perfect in terms of snapper-to-punter exchange and did not have a blocked kick all season. Ferguson contributed with a pair of tackles, to boot.

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