Chris Clemons was back on Wednesday with the first team, opposite Reshad Jones, at safety — one of the most competitive positions on defense. Jimmy Wilson had taken first-team snaps in the previous three practices, including two days when Clemons was sidelined by a bruised knee.
“I see myself as a starter,” Clemons said. “Don’t let anyone take anything from me. Nothing. I feel like I’m the leader.”
Wilson and Tyrone Culver appear to be in the lead in the competition for the third and fourth safety jobs, if neither beats out Clemons for a starting spot.
Anderson Russell, who intercepted a Matt Moore pass Wednesday, appears to be in a tight battle with former Vikings safety Tyrell Johnson for the fifth safety job, if the Dolphins keep that many.
Wilson and Jones also had interceptions Wednesday, and Jones’ pick of a Moore pass would have gone for a touchdown if the play had continued. Johnson broke up Ryan Tannehill’s end zone pass to Chris Hogan.
Kelcie McCray, who had been competing at safety, underwent surgery on his broken foot Wednesday.
• The Dolphins continued to get good work from several defensive linemen. Randy Starks had two sacks and forced Moore to fumble on one of them. Tony McDaniel sacked Moore and tipped one of his passes. Olivier Vernon and Paul Soliai stuffed two running plays. …
Tight end Charles Clay dropped a couple of passes, and receivers Julius Pruitt, Jeff Fuller and Roberto Wallace dropped one apiece. Reggie Bush fumbled twice. … Legedu Naanee stretched out for two nifty catches — one from Moore, another from David Garrard. … Davone Bess, Marcus Thigpen and Bush got work on punt returns.
• Eight of the 13 questions posed to Philbin during his Wednesday news conference concerned Chad Johnson, including three about Johnson’s decision to paint his fingernails black.
“I didn’t notice that,” Philbin said of Johnson’s choice in nail polish colors. “There are certain things that are important to me. Fingernail preference isn’t high on my list right now. That’s an interesting tidbit though. I don’t know if black was probably a bad color for [Wednesday]. He probably should have used a light blue or something.”
Then Philbin was asked — drum roll, please — if fingernail painting concerns him. “We’ll see,” he said. “I told [owner Stephen] Ross, I told the players, we want these guys to represent the franchise the right way on and off the field.”
• The Dolphins signed one undrafted rookie offensive tackle ( Chandler Burden) and released another ( Dustin Waldron).
PLAY OF THE DAY
Garrard’s 79-yard bomb to Wallace, who beat Jonathan Wade for a touchdown at the close of practice.
Wallace also caught a long pass from Moore. Bess and Naanee also distinguished themselves among the receivers.
“The other night we were walking out, because we had the day off [Tuesday], and I said, ‘Chad, where are you going on your break?’ He said, ‘I don’t [know], but I’ll probably be open.’ ” — Moore, relaying a conversation with Johnson. Moore added: “He’s really been a pleasure to work with so far.”
The Dolphins have 10 remaining training camp practices, all open to the public. Eight of the 10 will be held at 8:40 a.m. at the team’s Nova Southeastern University training facility in Davie, including Thursday’s session. Admission and parking are free at all practices.