DAVIE (CBSMiami/AP) – With the NFL season around the corner, the Miami Dolphins kicked off training camp Thursday morning.
The Fins first practice started a 9:40 a.m. in the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.
First year head coach Brian Flores, who comes from the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots, is leading his first training camp.
“A lot of excitement,” Flores said. “We’re raring to go.”
Coming off a 7-9 season, the Dolphins are a 500-1 bet to win the Super Bowl, which makes them the NFL’s longest long shot. They’re more likely to contend for worst in the league, but according to Flores, there will be no maneuvering for the No. 1 draft pick and a shot at a franchise quarterback.
“We’re going to have a tough, smart, disciplined team that works hard and is not going to beat themselves,” he said. “We’re going to fight to win every week.”
Plenty of players will fight for starting jobs in the next few weeks, most notably at quarterback, where for the first time since 2011 camp began without Ryan Tannehill. He’s now a backup for the Tennessee Titans, and newcomers Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen are competing to replace him.
Fitzpatrick took most of the snaps with the first team Thursday, as he did in offseason workouts.
“I’m just trying to be the best version of me that I can be,” Fitzpatrick said.
Flores said the depth chart will be fluid at all positions, and to underscore the message that the roster’s far from set, the Dolphins hosted former Miami Hurricanes receiver Allen Hurns on a free agent visit. Hurns suffered a gruesome broken ankle in the playoffs last season with Dallas, and Flores said the Dolphins will evaluate his health before deciding whether to make a contract offer.
Receiver Albert Wilson, who missed the final nine games last season with a hip injury, was limited as he eased back into the practice regimen.
“I’m definitely getting stronger, and I feel like I’m getting faster,” Wilson said. “I’m feeling pretty good.”
Safety T.J. McDonald, tight end Dwayne Allen, linebacker Mike Hull and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley began camp on the active physically unable to perform list.
Flores roamed from one group to another during drills. The former linebacker was the defensive play caller last year for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, but said his attention on the field will be evenly divided between units.
“I’ve got my eyes on all parts of the team, all parts of the organization,” he said. “If someone needs a good yelling at, I’ll get where that needs to be.
“If someone needs a pat on the back, I’ll do that as well. You won’t see too many of those.”
The real test must wait until the Dolphins start to lose, but so far Flores’ players are praising his approach.
“He’s got a great demeanor,” said Fitzpatrick, a 15-year veteran. “He’s very genuine when he talks. With the message he’s trying to get across you know it’s coming from a good place.
“We haven’t played a game yet, but he has the attention, command and respect of the team right now. And that’s a hard thing to do so early as a coach.”
Flores said the goal is to improve every day. That goes for the coach too.
“I’ll try to cut the sweat down a little bit tomorrow,” he said with a chuckle as he gave his glistening forehead another swipe. “It’s my first day, all right?”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)