Rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis carried the pads of punter Brandon Fields and kicker Dan Carpenter, as rookies do during training camp for their elders in a position group. Ironically, that subservient act might have been the most publicly inclusive moment for Sturgis with his older peers.
Training camp observers already have noted that Fields, Carpenter and long snapper John Denney often during down times are over here and Sturgis is over there.
“I feel fine in the group,” Sturgis said. “They’ve had their routine for five, seven years for those guys. I’m just coming in from college. I had my own routine there. It’s kind of finding my way.”
“They’re great professionals. I think they’ve seen it all. This is normal for them.”
Spending a fifth-round pick on a kicker, as the Dolphins did with Sturgis, sends the same message to your current kicker as flashing a divorce lawyer’s card sends to your spouse.
Denney, Fields and Carpenter have been the Dolphins placekick battery since Carpenter beat out Jay Feely for the kicking job as a rookie in 2008.
The specialists spend practices together as all position groups do. But they’re the smallest subset, a band of three, a setup breeding closeness. From 2007 to 2011, when all the lockers hugged the walls of the rectangular Davie locker room, the specialists’ lockers were in a clump, two lockers west of the southeast corner.
“If you are looking for professionalism out of a unit on this football team, you don’t have to look any further than the specialists,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “These guys are dedicated, they are here on time, they work extremely hard, they are very team-oriented guys, they are great on and off the field. He’s a guy competing for a job. These guys understand that’s what happens in professional football, and it happens for specialists.”
On Friday, Sturgis stood off to the side, shagged Carpenter field-goal attempts and even rode the exercise bike early in practice, an action usually reserved for the injured. He and Carpenter are alternating days kicking. On Friday, Carpenter hit from 48, but during the two-minute drills at the end of practice, missed wide right from 54 with the wind and wide left from 50 off the right hash mark into the wind.
“I kicked two days a week in Gainesville, then Brad Phillips took a day or two of reps, so it’s similar to that,” Sturgis said.
Sturgis analysis of his training camp: “Not very good so far. I’ve missed a few.”
This and that
• In 13 of the Dolphins 16 games last season, points were scored in the last two minutes of the first half or the second half. Only three of those 13 times did the Dolphins outscore opponents in those often pivotal time periods and, overall, they were outscored 59-33.
“[Friday’s] main emphasis in terms of situational work was two-minute [drills],” Philbin said. “I told the team last night we’ve got to play better in the last two minutes of the first half and the last two minutes of the game. The film tells you that. The statistics tell you that. It’s going to be a big emphasis for us as we move forward.”
• Not practicing Friday were rookie running back Cameron Marshall and rookie cornerback Jamar Taylor.