The pads have been on for a few days, but Thursday was maybe the most competitive trenches battle we've seen. In the miserably humid South Florida summer, the Dolphins put their best foot forward as steady progress is demonstrable across the roster.
Here are the highlights from our seventh practice of camp:
Practice 7, August 3, 2023
Throw a dart in the running back room and you're likely to hit a player who flashed Thursday. Rookie De'Von Achane had the biggest gain of the day with a 30-yard gallop running wide. Achane's vision, feel and ability to press inside helped him gain the angle, then open up his 4.2 speed to the perimeter.
Salvon Ahmed and Chris Brooks both found the end zone in red zone work while Raheem Mostert continues to weave his way through traffic on multiple runs per day. After practice, he explained the importance of continuity in the room, but also the jolt that the rookie third-round pick has given the offense.
"Today was actually a good day for him," Mostert said." He came out and definitely showed a little bit of that versatility and that burst. So myself and the rest of the group were definitely pleased with that."
I’ve seen various things, where he has a little more short-area explosiveness, where you’re able to manipulate yourself in the pocket at a more explosive rate. I don’t know this to be facts, but it appears by my layman’s eye that he has more pitches in his arsenal, like he can layer stuff and drive it just with even more command than he’s already pretty adept at, considering his accuracy. Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel on QB Tua Tagovailoa’s offseason training carrying over to camp.
It's becoming repetitive to shine a light on a strong camp by the Miami quarterback. Converting on six-of-seven opportunities during a third-down period, with the lone failure due to a dropped pass, Tua Tagovailoa displayed the same money-down prowess from a season ago.
Back to Coach McDaniel's observation, that was evident on the second play. Tagovailoa got pressure off his left and up the middle. In a matter of two steps, the southpaw hitched up and escaped to his left, all while dropping his arm angle to a three-quarters slot to deliver a frozen rope to Jaylen Waddle.
Coach had to feel pretty good about that proclamation after his QB immediately affirmed it.
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The defensive backs had plenty of ball production on Thursday. Xavien Howard had his hands on a couple of passes including an interception during one-on-ones. Rookie Cam Smith had arguably the play of the day when he prevented a touchdown with yet another diving pass breakup.
Christian Wilkins blew up a play by running through a block before tripping up Ahmed for a loss. Wilkins' partner-in-crime, Zach Sieler, produced a bull rush sack of his own amid countless stack-peek-shed reps – a drill he reps relentless during individual period, then carries it over to 11-on-11.