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The Miami Dolphins hit the field on Tuesday for the first of ten organized team activity (OTA) practices of the offseason.
The only players who didn’t participate in the workout were those who are injured. Every other player on Miami’s roster was on the field for the voluntary practice.
While it’s only the first step on a long road that leads to the beginning of the 2015 season, it’s nice to see the process beginning once again.
Anything that happens during these offseason workouts should be taken with a grain of salt. Players are working without pads, in drills where hitting and tackling is not permitted.
That being said, there are still some things that can be taken away from these workouts. Here are a few observations from the Dolphins first OTA of the year.
Lots Of Sacks
No quarterback in the NFL has been sacked more times in the last three years than Miami’s Ryan Tannehill. That is something that has to change if the Dolphins are going to have any success reaching the next level. If Tuesday’s practice is any indication of things to come, the offensive line has a lot of work to do.
Tannehill and Miami’s other quarterbacks would have been sacked quite a few times had contact been permitted. The Dolphins defensive line has been a major strength of the team in recent years and the unit could be even better in 2015. On the other hand, the offensive line has been one of the weaker spots on the team and Tuesday was no exception. Getting Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert back on the field will certainly make the group better, but in the meantime there needs to be some serious improvement, especially at the two guard spots.
Ndamukong Suh Is As Advertised
When Miami signed Suh as a free agent earlier this year, they knew that they were getting one of the best defensive tackles, if not the best, in football. He certainly looked the part during his first on-field appearance in a Dolphins (practice) uniform. Despite being one of the biggest guys on the team, Suh is extremely quick.
He spent a lot of time in the backfield and appeared to be in tip-top shape despite skipping the Dolphins voluntary workouts up until this point. While in Detroit, Suh regularly skipped voluntary workouts in order to train on his own and always showed up for the mandatory work in perfect shape. He looked great on this day, so anxious at times that he went offsides.
Three New Starters
A lot can change between OTAs and Week 1 of the regular season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate in May. Joe Philbin gave an early idea of where he sees his players lining up and there were three new faces working with the first teams.
Linebacker Chris McCain, cornerback Jamar Taylor and offensive guard Billy Turner all worked with the first team on Tuesday, perhaps a sign that they could be the favorites to start heading into training camp in a couple months.
DeVante Parker Looked Awesome
When the Dolphins took right tackle Ja’Wuan James in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft they had finally selected someone that could step right in and start as a rookie. It appears that Miami has taken that to another level in 2015 with the selection of wide receiver DeVante Parker 14th overall.
Parker gives Tannehill and the Dolphins something they have lacked during the quarterbacks tenure in Miami; a big target with great hands that can catch just about anything thrown his way. If Tuesday’s practice is any indication of things to come, Parker could be a very special player for the Dolphins for years to come. He made catch after catch, some more difficult than others, and many times while being covered by Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes.
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