"I was very happy with Day 1 because it was a purposeful practice," Head Coach Mike McDaniel said Thursday. "To me, you can't – a good practice to me is that the practice was worth something moving forward meaning that both sides of the ball had their best intent so you got an actual physiological rep in the process. And if you weren't successful, then you can actually – you won't have to learn that lesson in a game when you're running full speed."
Linear improvement and measuring yourself against, well, yourself – that's Head Coach Mike McDaniel's preferred route to progression here at Dolphins camp. Another day of work is in the books as we look at the takeaways from practice, key quotes from coach and player media availability and another episode of the Drive Time Podcast coming your way this evening, available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
To find the press conferences of Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and much more, check out the team YouTube page.
Here are the takeaways from Day 2 of training camp:
1. Cheetah and Penguin
"Just his energy. He's going to be the same guy each and every day on the field and off the field," Jaylen Waddle said of Tyreek Hill. "He's a high energy guy and he's a great player. It's fun to see him out here making plays."
It's only Day 2, but it feels like we're inching towards the necessity of a disclaimer that we'll be discussing these two players every day – copy and paste. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle bring an element of explosiveness to this Dolphins offense that could have a ripple effect of ramifications. It should help create space for other receivers, it should influence the way defenses play, and could help turn short catches into game-changing plays.
Hill caught a gorgeous, arching pass from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa early in practice for 40 yards, but through two days both Hill and Waddle have both been active underneath.
1. Watching individual drills, Waddle comes off the line with a purpose and is gone in a flash. That showed in a team period today on a simple five-yard route. His quick release immediately threatened the cornerback, allowing Waddle to slam on the breaks and get himself open for an easy completion.
2. Tyreek and Tua have talked a lot about their chemistry this offseason and that is on display early at Dolphins camp. During team drills, Tagovailoa ripped a throw down the field outside the hashmarks before Hill even broke off the route. The pass was on the money as Hill picked up another chunk gain.
It's an absolute pleasure to watch.
2. The other side of the coin
The Dolphins safeties don't simply sit back and let Hill and Waddle dictate the pace; they've made a handful of plays in their own right. The NFL's top defense in passes defensed in 2021 (91) was at it again getting hands on footballs throughout the session.
Jevon Holland made a play he had no business even being around on a picture-perfect back-shoulder ball from Tagovailoa to rookie Erik Ezukanma. Coming from the far hash, and with the ball in the air almost immediately after the snap, Holland came from nowhere to separate the rookie's hands at the last moment.
"It's just about understanding what you do," Holland said. "When you know the job and assignment you have in the defense then you can just react. I just reacted reading off the quarterback. The defense is going to always be a step behind because we're always reacting. However I can shorten that time or reaction, I try, and as you saw there that was one of the opportunities."
Brandon Jones drove on a pass over the middle for a near-interception later in practice. Eric Rowe routinely came from depth to close and cut down plays in the flat for a short gain. At cornerback, Nik Needham got in on the fun with an exceptional day in coverage, including a near-pick of his own.
Rookie Kader Kohou finished practice with a diving pass breakup on a deep shot.Trill Williams had another pass breakup after a pick-six yesterday.
3. Rookie Flashes
The aforementioned play made by Holland was just about the only one that didn't go Ezukanma's way on Thursday. He plucked several passes, fought through re-routes, and had a memorable play in today's practice. The former Red Raider secured a short catch off-balance, put his hand down to stabilize and let the defender fly by as Ezukanma stayed up and turned it into a long run after the catch.
On the other side, blink and you'll miss Channing Tindall. Yesterday, we saw him shoot the A-gap for a tackle for loss. Today, on an outside run, he beat the back and the offensive line to the edge, scraped around the outside and funneled the play back inside with a hard edge.carrier.
Check out photos from training camp on July 28.
4. An Immoveable Object
Raekwon Davis made at least four or five excellent plays today. One one, he stacked up a run and was part of the final tag off – celebrating with a loud yell. Chase Edmonds mentioned after practice how good it is to learn against a challenging defense and Davis is quite a force to try and run against.
5. In the Trenches
The Dolphins brought in two free agent offensive lineman this season – a tackle (Terron Armstead) and a guy that can play anywhere (Connor Williams). The latter signing was explained in great detail by McDaniel Thursday.
First and foremost, we weren’t going after Connor because it was like, ‘hey, this guy is a center.’ We think he is a good offensive lineman that can play multiple positions. That’s why those types of signings are intriguing because you can try stuff and I know he’s going to do everything to be the best that he can be at that position, but if the team is better off with him at another position, that’s the great thing about Connor, is that he’s learning the offense from the inside-out at the position where you learn everything – the center position. Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel
Williams continues to show a sturdy anchor against Miami's quality interior rushers. That's a nice pairing with his athleticism and football IQ.
Liam Eichenberg's football IQ was also evident today. On one rep, his man backed out, so he helped the man to his right. Once that block was secured, he found more work and helped out the man to his left.
There is no roster news to report today. The team will be back at practice tomorrow and Saturday before a day off Sunday.
For more analysis, check out the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield coming your way this evening, available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.