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Hyde5: Five thoughts on Dolphins Saturday scrimmage

The Dolphins had a glorified practice in the form of a scrimmage on Saturday morning before an estimated 5,000 fans at Sun Life Stadium . This was a good day for Ryan Tannehill, who will be the focus of my coming column. Beyond that, make of it what you will, but here were five quick thoughts on the workout:

1. Lamar Miller showed a flash of good. On his first carry up the middle against the No. 2 defense, linebacker Jason Trusnick had him set up for a loss. Miller eluded him. Safety Walt Aikens then had him in his sights for a short gain. Miller eluded him, too. He was pulled down from behind after a 14-yard gain. Considering he only had two runs longer than that in 2013, that’s notable. On third-and-1 that series, he found a hole, eluded a tackler and got a 8-yard gain. To cap off that drive, he was left uncovered in the flat to catch a touchdown from 9 yards. Again, it was against the second-team defense. And when the first-team defense came in for a series, Miller ran twice for no gain. But he did pick up Philip Wheeler in a blitz – another concern with him last year. For this kind of scrimmage, it was some stuff you need to see from Miller after two disappointing season.

2. Good news at center! No problems with the center-quarterback exchange (at least for the first two teams)! This has been a strange issue in camp thus far. But the center position looks like it has some resolution now with Nate Garner moving into the No. 1 spot and Sam Brenner, back from injury, the No. 2 center. It’s pretty obvious  the Shelley Smith experiment has played out. He hadn’t played center in a NFL game, and some trying times in training camp has been moved back to guard. So now that the center snap isn’t a dangerous play for the Dolphins, we move on to seeing how well the interior of the line forms for what’s expected to be at least four games without center Mike Pouncey.*

(* We found out what Philbin thought of the center play when the Dolphins went out and signed Samson Satele later Saturday. So now there is complete resolution - Satele will start until Pouncey can play.)

3. The No. 1 defense wasn’t throughly awake at the start.  Or maybe the No. 2 offense led by Pat Devlin was just great? What played out was the second-team offense drove the field on the first-team defense Saturday.  Damien Williams ran for 10 yards. Gator Hoskins caught a 16-yard pass on Brent Grimes. Mike Gilleslee ran over linebacker Philip Wheeler to go for 9-yard gain. Jimmy Wilson had a pass-interference penalty. T he drive ended when Cam Wake had a phantom sack (It was a scrimmage, no sacks). By the second half of the day, when they went against the No. 1 offense, the defense was ready and had a three-and-out series. Make ofall this what you will.


4. The Dolphins appear like a functioning business on days like this. For years, the football side of the franchise in Davie and the business side at Sun Life Stadium weren’t on the same page. There was Dolphins North (football) and Dolphins South (business), as those in the building called them. It wasn't just a geographical gap. It was a schism in the franchise. This was an inherited part of the Joe Robbie/Don Shula days in which the busienss and football sides separated. Former owner H. Wayne Huizenga tried to bridge that gap with things like joint holiday parties. But it remained evident it was still an internal concern when Bill Parcells didn't want to scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium - which the marketing department wanted to help sell tickets. That started to loosen when Parcells left. Now Philbin, General Manager Dennis Hickey and team president Tom Garfinkel appear to be putting the two sides as much on the same page as possible. On Thursday, a practice that was closed to the public was watched by team employees (and long-time employees were recognized). On Saturday came this intrasquad scrimmage that to appeal to more fans, maybe sell some tickets. It's a small thing. But evidence of progress inside the franchise.

5. Charles Clay went off the field and had a ice wrap around his right knee. This is the fear of the day, though it didn't appear serious as he was moving around on the sideline afterward. What it did mean, however, is Tannehill was without his two, top targets in this new offense. Mike Wallace already was out with a minor hamstring issue.



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