A week into camp, the Dolphins are mostly healthy and they might have last summers rancorous labor dispute to thank for that.
Although its still early, the contentious Collective Bargaining Agreement, with its focus on player safety, appears to already be a success at least in Miami.
Twice-daily, full-contact practices, once the place where seasons went to die, are now a thing of the past. And although catastrophic injuries were once as common during NFL training camps as sunburns, the Dolphins have lost just one player to a major issue so far (reserve safety Kelcie McCray, who broke his foot Monday).
Perhaps, its just coincidence. Or maybe its the dawn of a new era.
I really think its a game-changer, said Richie Incognito, the Dolphins starting left guard. The two-a-days really took a toll on your body, both mentally and physically.
Said defensive back Jimmy Wilson: This games become faster and more mental nowadays, to where you really need to have a good body and a good sound mind entering the season.
Even when the Dolphins do practice at full speed, coach Joe Philbin has made it a point to limit the collisions. The team worked in shorts Friday, and Saturday mornings scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium will be the first time the Dolphins will have run a full-contact, goal-line drill all year.
Its a tough line you have to walk, Philbin said.
Brian Hartline (calf) wont play Saturday after missing much of camp, but he should be back soon. He looked fast running gassers Friday morning. Receiver Clyde Gates (hamstring), defensive end Jarrell Root (undisclosed) and running back Jonas Gray (undisclosed) also were limited.
In the middle of his Friday news conference, Philbin casually let slip a significant personal detail: He is a skin cancer survivor.
Philbin, 51, told reporters that he has had a series of malignant growths removed, including two from his face earlier this summer.
Ive had some skin cancers in the past, nothing life-threatening, thank God, said Philbin, who spends some two hours in the sun every day theres practice.
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, with more than two million cases discovered each year. Although usually treatable if caught early, skin cancer does kill around 12,000 people annually.
Nothing brings a group of men together like competitive facial hair growing. A full-fledged mustache competition has broken out at camp, with Anthony Fasano well ahead.
Fasano, fellow tight Jeron Mastrud and their position coach, Dan Campbell, were sporting the always-fashionable Fu Manchu on Friday morning.
Quarterback Matt Moore, on the other hand, is rocking the full upper-lip stache.
Moore is part of a three-man quarterback derby with David Garrard and rookie Ryan Tannehill, and although such battles have been known to divide locker rooms, Philbin said that its not a concern with this team.
I think they are good people, good human beings these quarterbacks, Philbin said. And I think the receivers and the tight ends see the work and the effort that these guys put forth, and they respect that.