Top News: Playing For Each Other

Fire up the DVR and pull up Sunday's Dolphins game in San Francisco. Jump ahead to a big play – there are plenty of them – and fix your eyes on the Miami sideline and the reaction of the players in general. Amid Christian Wilkins racing into the frame faster than Jakeem Grant on a 100-yard kickoff return, you'll find the guys in aqua and orange lining up for their turn to dap up their teammates involved in the moment.

Feels Like Family

New Dolphins center and captain Ted Karras spoke on Thursday about the makeup of the locker room.

"I think it comes down to the guys we have in the locker room," Karras said. "We have guys that work hard and want to do things right, and we care about each other. We hold each other accountable and genuinely enjoy playing the game of football."

Defensive tackle Zach Sieler answered the same question about the atmosphere developing around the building.

"It comes from the top down. The coaches preach family and preach to be excited for everybody," Sieler said. "If someone makes a good play in the game it might give you an opportunity later on to make a big play. We're a team, we're family and we're going to keep grinding and celebrating those big plays."

Passion produces result in any field.

Sieler is off to a strong start with 1.5 sacks, five quarterback hits, a tackle for loss and two passes defensed. The guys he sees in practice every day on the interior offensive line are also getting after it on game day. General Manager Chris Grier and his personnel staff remade the offensive line with four new starters, including both guards and the center.

Between Karras, fellow free agent signing Ereck Flowers, and rookie Solomon Kindley, the Dolphins have only allowed pressure 16 times with one sack on the interior. The triumvirate have combined for 621 pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus, giving opposing interior rushes a pressure rate of just 2.5 percent. A year ago, that figured was at 5 percent. So, through five games, the returns have been promising by cutting interior pressures allowed in half.

On the outside, at right tackle, Robert Hunt made his first start of the season. His performance earned praise from Karras, who says that in order to score 40 points (Miami scored 43) you need everyone's best, including the right tackle.

"I thought Rob (Hunt) did an excellent job," Karras said. "We aren't going to be able to score 40 points without a right tackle doing his job. Going into your first NFL start, it can be too big for some guys but not for Rob. He played really well and we'll need him to continue playing well moving forward."

Jesse Davis serves as the lone incumbent of the group. Playing both tackle positions this season, his versatility goes in line with the requisite prototypes of being a Miami Dolphin. Davis checks a lot of those boxes, in fact. The captain's patch that he wears on game day, not unlike Karras, provides an opinion that carries a little extra weight.

"I think (Robert Hunt) prepared very well for a rookie coming in, not having any starts, not having any playing time at that position," Davis said. "I think he did a good job along with Solomon (Kindley) on the right side. I'm proud of those guys."

Preparing and Finishing

The three hours fans get to see on Sunday is the product of a week's worth of hard work. Players arrive at the facility early, they leave late, and they have nightly homework. Karras credits the study habits of the three rookie proteges along the offensive line as well as their receptiveness to coaching.

"Great men that want to do the right things that are eager to learn," Karras said. "They're ego-less in trying to get better. It's a very talented group, highly-drafted guys. Guys that want to listen, work and do things the right way."

The two rookies who started Sunday -- Hunt and Kindley -- have fully immersed themselves in the quizzes designed by Head Coach Brian Flores to help slow down the game on Sunday.

Earlier this summer, safety Brandon Jones detailed the coaching staff's penchant for putting players on the spot in order to keep their mind's fresh with the coursework.

The right side of the Week 6 starting offensive line (Hunt and Kindley) quiz each other after the day is done.

"Throughout the whole week, we always talk about assignments, how the safeties look, how different defensive linemen rotate," Kindley said. "We have little tests at home and look at film so we can get comfortable and have the game slow down on Sunday."

Kindley is earning a reputation. There are few compliments an offensive guard can receive that are better than the famed phrase, 'player X plays with a mean streak.' Playing through the echo of the whistle, a true mauler – any trope phraseology you want to use – Kindley lives it. He credits his upbringing for the way he plays the game.

"Growing up and how I lived, it puts me in a position for how I am today," Kindley said. "I always want to finish and drive. I take real life and put it onto the field."

Kindley developed that mindset from an early age. He developed the desire to never put anything less than 100 percent effort on tape for fear of getting called out by the coaches during film study.

"I never want to be a person that coach can point out as someone that didn't give enough effort," Kindley said. "I make sure anything I do, I finish to 100 percent."

Thursday Injury Report

Miami Dolphins (Did not participate and limited participants listed)

For the entire injury report, click here

Table inside Article
Player Injury Thursday Practice Status
DT Davon Godchaux Biceps DNP
DE Shaq Lawson Shoulder Limited
TE Durham Smythe Knee Limited
LB Kyle Van Noy Groin Limited

New York Jets (Did not participate and limited participants listed)

For the entire injury report, click here

Table inside Article
Player Injury Thursday Practice Status
OL Mekhi Becton Shoulder DNP
QB Sam Darnold Right Shoulder DNP
RB Frank Gore Not Injury Related DNP
CB Bless Austin Calf Limited
DL John Franklin-Meyers Foot Limited
OL Alex Lewis Shoulder Limited
WR Breshad Perriman Ankle Limited
DL Quinnen Williams Hamstring Limited

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