SPARTANBURG (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins completed their second day of joint practice with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday afternoon in advance of Saturday’s preseason game featuring the two teams.
Wednesday’s practice was marred by a fight between the two squads and a pair of season ending injuries suffered by Dolphins safety Louis Delmas and Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
On Thursday however, things ran much smoother and thankfully there were no major injuries or skirmishes.
The two players who started Wednesday’s brawl, Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon and Panthers offensive lineman Michael Oher, were held out of the early parts of practice seemingly due to their involvement in the fight.
Oher eventually joined his teammates during practice but Vernon didn’t, and afterwards it was revealed by Miami head coach Joe Phibin that an injury was the reason he didn’t participate.
“He had a little medical situation, we were just being preventive with,” Philbin said.
There was no word beyond that as to what the issue with Vernon was or if he’d be available to play on Saturday, but after being held out of practice it’s likely that the team won’t take any chances and hold him out of the game.
The Dolphins offensive line looked good during team drills, consistently opening up running lanes for Lamar Miller and Damien Williams.
Miller also had some nice runs during red zone drills, which there were a lot of on Thursday.
The o-line had a different look than it did on Wednesday as rookie Jamil Douglas was inserted as the starting right guard, taking the spot of Billy Turner.
These rotations have been a common theme during training camp as Philbin and his coaching staff evaluate the three players vying for the two starting guard spots.
“I think we’ll know a little bit more after [watching] the tape. I thought probably Dallas [Thomas] had the best day yesterday of the three,” said Philbin. “Again, it’s a fluid situation, so it could change. Like I said, I think [offensive line coach] John [Benton] and [assistant offensive line coach] Jack [Bicknell] have done a really fantastic job providing opportunities for guys to get in there and compete with different people.”
Douglas was seen limping off the field with a trainer later in practice but he eventually returned and didn’t look any worse for wear.
Left tackle Branden Albert was dressed in full pads but only participated in individual position drills, nothing that included live hitting with Carolina.
His progress continues to be slow and steady, but if it remains on this path he should be ready for the season opener against Washington on September 13th.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had another strong practice but the one blemish was an interception thrown near the goal line during 11-on-11s.
Later in practice Tannehill capped off a nice two minute drill drive with a touchdown pass to Rishard Matthews.
The Dolphins defense, particularly the secondary, had some trouble at different parts of Thursday’s practice.
Walk Aikens, who replaced Delmas as the starting free safety, was beaten several times but the one that stands out was when Panthers tight end Greg Olsen got the best of him for a touchdown during red zone work.
Miami’s other starting safety, Reshad Jones, had a stellar day. He came away with a pair of interceptions, one of which was being called the play of training camp.
Jones took the ball away from Jerricho Cotchery, almost right out of his hands, on what would’ve been a Panthers touchdown.
Cornerback Jamar Taylor had an up-and-down day as he continues to try and win the second starting job opposite Pro Bowler Brent Grimes.
Taylor was beaten by former Dolphin Ted Ginn Jr. on a deep ball for a touchdown, but shortly after he had a nice pass break up on another long throw.
The final play of practice was a good one for Miami as rookie cornerback Ced Thompson picked off a pass that was deflected by another Dolphins rookie, linebacker Neville Hewitt.
Thompson has a lot of raw ability and talent but he needs to work on his technique and refine his skills. There is a big time upside with the rookie from Minnesota.
Overall, Philbin said he was pleased with what his team did during the two practices in South Carolina.
“I thought our guys competed well both days and I thought our tempo was good and I thought we practiced fast,” he said. “I have to watch the tape from this morning, but yesterday’s tape, again, it wasn’t perfect, but as I said to the team, it’s never going to be perfect, but I thought we got a lot accomplished.”
The team doesn’t have an on-field practice scheduled for Friday but they’ll likely watch film and have a light walk-through in advance of Saturday’s preseason game against the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
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