DAVIE (CBSMiami) – It was the first day in pads for the Miami Dolphins at practice on Monday.
The season kicks off on September 13th against the New England Patriots.
When the Dolphins hit the field Monday morning, there were a lot of new faces on the team but one player in particular is getting first class treatment as all eyes continue to be on rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was wearing the No. 1 jersey.
The first round pick worked in passing drills.
Tua starts camp as third string quarterback behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores knows the importance of Tua getting as much practice time as possible but also says they will take it one day at a time.
“He’ll be out there today along with the rest of the quarterbacks and the majority of the players on the team. He’s looked healthy in the OTAs and walkthrough type practices. This will be the first one in pads. Yeah, he’s looked healthy. We’re taking this one day at a time with Tua, as we are with every player, and hoping that he improves on a daily basis. Like any rookie, he needs the snaps and he needs the reps to improve and get better and give himself a chance.”
So what did Flores expect from the quarterbacks Monday ahead of practice?
“Obviously it’s the first day in pads. We’ve seen a good amount from these guys, I would say, over the last two practices, which were more O vs. D and team oriented. I want to see them get guys in and out of the huddle, good communication, good execution, good fundamentals at their specific position – just from a footwork, ball placement, accuracy, those types of things. We’re still in the early stages. Obviously it’s a new offense. We’re trying to execute at a good clip early on.”
Flores also spoke about how he feels the offensive line has progressed and what we can expect to see early on.
“Well, obviously we’ve got a young guys in that group with some veteran players sprinkled in like Ted Karras, like Ereck Flowers, who just got back, like Jesse Davis. (Michael) Deiter was here a year ago. We’ve got a few of the young guys as well. Look, there’s a lot of chemistry that has to be built there. I think that’s coming along. It could be better. We’re working on a few different combinations on the o-line; but you don’t really know what you have until you put the pads on. You’re literally fighting pressure with pressure and it’s another body, working a double-team, working the combinations in the run game, feeling the speed, the speed rush, power rush, bull rush, speed-to-power, converting to power and feeling those things. You don’t know what you have until you’re put into that setting, which starts today. From a walkthrough and a non-padded standpoint, I think they’re coming along. Obviously using those 14 padded practices will tell us a lot about that group and really the entire team.”
As for the shortened offseason, Flores says the team has no choice but to be ready both physically and mentally.
“We’re going out there today and if you’re not ready, then there’s going to be some problems; but I think we are (ready). I think the guys are raring to go.”
Coach Flores also says he can see friendships and bonds building between the guys on the team.
“That dynamic, I’m seeing it across all positions,” and added, “That only helps on the field from a communication standpoint, even from an asking-for-help standpoint. There’s some instances where you can sit and the offense comes out in something and you’re uncertain about it and you can ask the guy next to you, ‘Hey, what do you think?’ And you help each other get lined up. It’s the same thing offensively, the same thing in the kicking game. I think Tua and ‘Fitz’ and (Josh) Rosen as well, I think those relationships that are building, it’s just one example of hopefully what we’re getting from the majority of the guys in the locker room.”
The Dolphins will be back on the field Tuesday morning.
And don’t miss the season premiere of Camp Dolphins Monday night for more on the Dolphins first day in pads, plus much more from coach Flores and the players. Camp Dolphins airs weeknights right after the CBS4 News at 11.