There is plenty of action on the field at the Baptist Health Training Complex as the Dolphins take the field for 2023 training camp. Each day, we'll recap the on-field work through top plays and quotes from your Miami Dolphins.
Practice 1, July 26, 2023
Towering homeruns, three-pointers from the logo, long bombs for six – nothing excites the sports fan like a big play. The Dolphins offense produced countless explosives in 2022 and continued that theme in the first practice of 2023's camp.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was sharp and decisive. The ball rarely touched the ground with No. 1 under center, hitting a crescendo when he dropped a gorgeous deep ball in the bucket to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Tagovailoa demonstrated proficiency in the offense by getting the ball out quickly, creating run-after-catch opportunities for his play makers. That's part of his maturation in Year 2 of Head Coach Mike McDaniel's system.
"Last year we put a lot on the quarterbacks in terms of how to communicate and being in charge of everything," McDaniel said about Tagovailoa. "He was literally speaking a foreign language and doing it at a pretty high level. This year, he owns the language."
After peppering accurate passes to the short and intermediate portions of the field, QB1 saw his chance to hit the big one. He didn't miss.
Waddle got out of the blocks like an F1 car at lights out, putting immediate pressure on the defense. Out of Tua's left hand before Waddle had chewed up 20 yards, the ball intersected with the star receiver 45 yards down the field.
Waddle got hands on the ball first before corralling a deflection, impressing standout safety Jevon Holland in the process, who dapped up his former draft classmate after the grab.
That long completion was just one example of the talent gracing the Baptist Health Training Complex practice field. Eyes will be affixed to key players like cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey and wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Waddle when fans are in the stands for the first time Sunday.
What I’m pumped about is those four guys specifically are competitors that want to win in the worst way and want to be the best version of themselves. So what the gives you a chance to do is dictate the competitiveness of your entire team, but it’s also a burden because if you don’t come to play one day, it affects a lot of people. Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel
Last summer, Hill's talent and speed injected a different energy into Dolphins practice. With the defense getting a similar jolt in Ramsey, we got our first glimpse of all those proven talents matching up.
Howard was glued to Hill on a route coming back to the quarterback during team period. In vintage 'X' fashion, Howard drove back down the stem of the route and broke up the pass from Tagovailoa. The defensive sideline erupted, surrounded Howard to congratulate him after the stellar rep.
More Top Performers
Rookie cornerback Cam Smith had two pass breakups and forced a third incompletion during team drills. Going back to OTAs, his length stands out each day.
Running back Salvon Ahmed hit two explosives, one in the passing game and one as a runner. On both, he put his off hand into the air as if to celebrate running to daylight and six points.
Wide receiver Erik Ezukanma ate up yards in the short passing game. At Texas Tech, he was a run-after-catch maven and that skillset was on display today.
Dolphins fans are going to love getting a look at new linebacker David Long Jr. His read and react skills are as good as they come and we saw that today on a tag off behind the line of scrimmage.
Defensive tackles Raekwon Davis and Brandon Pili also made stops in the backfield against the run.