The Dolphins put on quite the show at Saturday's practice, the first with fans back in attendance this year. Tyreek Hill showcased his many talents throughout the day, beginning with his hype-man prowess to get things going in front of a sellout crowd at the Baptist Health Training Complex.
The excitement and energy brought by Hill and the Dolphins has been reciprocated by the fans. The organization announced it expects 2022 memberships to sell out next week, with 2023 memberships requiring a wait list for the first time in franchise history.
I mean it’s everything,” Head Coach Mike McDaniel said. “It’s important enough that I think it’s important to communicate it to the players. I think it’s something that we’re not entitled to, but it’s a competitive advantage and it’s kind of why you do what you do. It’s really something cool that the players know about. It means a lot to (them), and it’s just another reason for us to go about our daily process with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that we pay them back for their investment in us, and I think that’s something that the players, coaches and organization holds true to heart. Miami Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel
As if that wasn't enough, rookie offensive lineman Blaise Andries followed up Hill with an equally impressive hype session.
To find the press conferences of Mike Gesicki, Emmanuel Ogbah and more check out the team YouTube channel.
Here are the takeaways from the Day 4 of training camp 2022:
1. Tua airs it out
From a statistical and eye-test standpoint, Saturday was the best showing of camp for QB1. With just one turnover in four practices and countless touchdown tosses, Saturday upped the ante with a plethora of deep balls descending down the elevator shaft and into the proverbial bucket.
The first pass of the day was slightly over-thrown to Tyreek Hill with Xavien Howard in lockstep coverage, and that was all Tagovailoa need to correctly calibrate the deep ball. The play of the day – and of camp so far – was a 65-yard strike from the southpaw to the electric wide receiver. From his own 30-yard-line, Tagovailoa stepped up into a clean pocket and drove the football inside the opposing 10-yard-line. Hill accelerated under the pass as the stands erupted with chants in support of their quarterback.
Back to the one-on-one period, Tagovailoa found Jaylen Waddle on a strike from roughly 40 yards out for a score. He followed that up with deep shots to Mohamed Sanu Sr. and Cedrick Wilson Jr.
2. Chasing Chase
The deep passes get the loudest cheers, but Chase Edmonds did his part to match the explosives in the ground game. His speed to the edge, backside vision and burst through the crease were all clicking on Saturday. He had multiple runs in which he got clean to the second level. From there, it's tough to decipher the conclusion with safeties tagging off, but Edmonds had a few opportunities with Jevon Holland or Brandon Jones one-on-one and a chance to slip a tackle for a home run.
Even on the short and medium gains, Edmonds was decisive and explosive. The session was a good example of committing to a run game and churning out the short gains in hopes of springing a couple of big ones, which Edmonds paid off in the end.
There isn't a running game without quality blocking. Saturday was the best push the Dolphins line earned so far in camp. Liam Eichenberg continued his strong start to camp, Austin Jackson had a fantastic seal on one Edmonds rip and Robert Hunt created a few holes for the backs to burst through.
3. Heavyweight fight: pass rush vs. pass protection
Yesterday, we discussed the balance of good pass protection versus good coverage. The Miami quarterbacks have had their fair share of clean pockets to work with (see the 65-yard touchdown pass). It started off with a would-be sack from Christian Wilkins early in the team period (Wilkins has picked up right where he left off in 2021, for what it's worth). But then the offensive line stabilized for most of practice.
The pass rush had a few wins. Andrew Van Ginkel came with a picture-perfect double-hand swipe at the point before flattening to tag off the quarterback. Van Ginkel added an effort sack on a play in which Teddy Bridgewater had time but nobody open. Jaelan Phillips had a similar play rushing against Tagovailoa where he got behind the quarterback and likely could've swiped the ball clean in a live situation.
Aside from that, and a meeting by Emmanuel Ogbah and Melvin Ingram at the quarterback, the pass protection was again sterling. It's been getting better every day in practice and goes a long way towards helping the Dolphins pick up chunk gain after chunk gain.
4. Speed isn't just for the offense
Mike McDaniel informed the media on Saturday morning that he announces the top-timed speed each day in the team meeting and that Raheem Mostert earned that distinction from Friday's practice. Clearly, this team values speed, and not just on the offense.
Three players on Saturday gave fans a showcase of the team speed on defense.
First, Jerome Baker, who made a handful of plays in this practice, raced around the edge on an outside running play. He won the foot race and stayed tight to the formation to scrape off the engaged block and make the play for a loss.
A few plays later, rookie Channing Tindall burst through the middle and tagged off running back Salvon Ahmed in the backfield.
Finally, Jevon Holland came from depth to shut down a short pass to Cedrick Wilson Jr. Again, no live tackling, but given Holland's rookie highlight reel, he might've added another hit to that tape.
That's probably why McDaniel is thrilled about Holland being on his side.
"I like having him especially on the team that I'm on and not the team that I'm playing against," McDaniel said. "It's been cool. I didn't know too much about him before I'd studied our tape here and his play as a rookie was very impressive. The way he's been diligent about approaching his craft, he's serious about continuing to take his game to the next level and that as an impact player is something that the Dolphins team – all of us – are depending on."
5. Rookies making plays
The Dolphins didn't add their first rookie to the roster until the 100th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, but the class is making a splash early on. Braylon Sanders snagged the best catch of the day with an overhand, one-handed palm.
Defensive lineman Ben Stille made it into the notes a few times for his work in the running game and seventh-round pick Cameron Goode shut down a pair of outside runs during the team period.