The dog days of camp are officially here as the Dolphins looked to make Wednesday's practice a little steadier opposed to a practice of riding waves on Tuesday. Yesterday, longer periods of dominance occurred between either side. Today, the two sides showed better balance, just what Head Coach Mike McDaniel was looking for.
"When effort, intent, assignment and technique are good – which does happen – that, generally, somebody wins a down," McDaniel said. "I really like the periods within the period of back and forth. That's when I am simultaneously happy because you're going – every play doesn't work on both sides of the ball ever."
To find the press conferences of Mike McDaniel, Tua Tagovailoa, Raheem Mostert and more check out the team YouTube channel. For more analysis on today's practice, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield – available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
To read the previous 13 training camp notebooks, click here.
Here are the takeaways from the Day 14 of training camp 2022:
1. Snowman heating up
Though it's not often you spot a snowman in the August heat, it's impossible to neglect Jevon Holland at Dolphins practice. One of the NFL's most productive safeties in his rookie season, Holland's having some kind of a week of practice. For the second-straight day Holland returned an interception 40-plus yards, finishing Wednesday's run in the end zone.
Holland also kept a potential touchdown off the board when he intercepted an end zone pass ticketed for today's orange jersey owner, Durham Smythe.
2. QB report
Tagovailoa had his fair share of touchdowns and big plays. It seems like every practice begins with a chunk play to Tyreek Hill and it was the same story today. That battery produced three big plays in this practice with a handful more coming from Teddy Bridgewater, who was precise with both his location and timing.
After a practice of drastic swings on Tuesday, Tagovailoa described today's practice as more even-keel.
"I think everybody got better from yesterday," he said. "I think yesterday seemed one-sided in the first half, if you will, from the first two team periods. Then I would say the defense started to pick up their morale and they brought it yesterday as well. I think today was a really good back and forth with the offense making plays and then the defense making plays and continuing to go back and forth with that."
3. Effectively conveying urgency
I try not to major in it. It’s kind of philosophically – I don’t enjoy yelling, but you have to do what you have to do to let them know exactly the urgency of the moment. But I’ve always philosophically thought that if you pick and choose those moments, then that state that you don’t really like to be in is purposeful. I just know from my personal experience, at some point in time if you’re just yelled at consistently all the time, then the yelling sounds like normal talking, and that’s not the idea of it. I think it’s important to build relationships and try to develop players as players and people. Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel on creating urgency
Head Coach Mike McDaniel is, by nature, a positive person. So, when he gets a little animated, the point sticks a little firmer.
"I think it's good to see that side of him," Tagovailoa said. "We never get to see that side of him. I think it's good to see that side of every person that people think is too nice, or they are too chill, or too mellow, because you understand the competitor in them, you understand that they mean business. For me, and for the guys, when we hear Mike raise his voice, we've got nothing but respect because that's not something that he does. When he does do it, it's that much more meaningful."
Running back Raheem Mostert, who knows McDaniel from their time together in San Francisco, talked about coach's messaging.
"Yesterday, as a team, it wasn't particularly our standard," Mostert said. "Especially, like you said, in a meeting he told us when the defense gets scored on a lot in the red zone, that affects everybody as a team. We all took it personal and as you can see, today was just an example of how to overcome those things like with what happened yesterday. That's why he was a little bit more animated today because he saw the type of practice he wanted moving forward. We have a standard for this team and that's to win, first and foremost. But we want to come out here each and every day and try to be one percent (better). That was the big thing."
4. Talking trenches with Rob Hunt
The most entertaining drill in football, pound-for-pound, remains the one-on-one pass rush drill. A rinse-repeat, firehose of action between two of the world's best athletes trying to move one another against their will.
Today, Robert Hunt showed his strength and development in that drill. He didn't allow a single rush to the imaginary quarterback by my count, then carried it over into the team period. His feet consistently stay active through contact and he rolls his hips as smooth as possible for a 335-pound mountain of man.
"He cares about this. He cares about it, man," Hunt said of McDaniel. "You can tell all the guys that he's hired here, too, care about it. It's a great thing to have on your team … when he's passionate about what his job and how it looks and how it feels. He's won the game, so he understands what it takes and that's us just believing and following his idea."
Check out photos from training camp practice on Aug. 16.
5. Notable standouts
Staying on the line, rookie Kellen Diesch displayed some of the traits that attracted draft gurus to his game. He's super quick. On one play, he got wide on a big Sony Michel run and hit the key block to spring the back. Diesch's pass protection was up to par today as well, as he afforded his quarterbacks plenty of time to distribute the football.
On the other side, fellow rookie Cameron Goode had three sacks in practice. This coming off an impressive preseason debut of setting the edge and defending the run last week at Tampa Bay. Undrafted rookie Ben Stille, who also showed well in the game Saturday, popped in today's practice. His strength is noticeable.
Cornerback Noah Igbinoghene saved a sure-touchdown when he was all alone with Tyreek Hill. Cheetah came out of his break in perfect synergy with an accurate football arriving from Tagovailoa. Looking like the next splash play of camp, Igbinoghene was able to get his arm around Hill and punch the ball free. That's back-to-back strong days for Igbinoghene.
Elijah Campbell continues to make plays in the secondary. He looked solid in coverage both in one-on-ones and in the team periods of practice.