The surest sign summer is nigh?
Because it’s Dolphins minicamp time. After Thursday, the team (and many of the reporters who cover it) will disappear for a month.
But this wasn’t the time for senioritis. There is much Adam Gase wants to accomplish before school’s out for summer.
The biggest news coming out of camp Tuesday:
Ndamukong Suh wasn’t among those present for the mandatory camp.
He was excused with a family matter. No cause for concern, however; Gase said he’ll be back Wednesday.
Suh’s absence was illuminating for one reason, however: It showed just how much trouble the Dolphins would be in this fall if he gets hurt. It would force guys like rookie Davon Godchaux to play high volume snaps, if not start altogether. Godchaux got plenty of exercise in Suh’s absence Tuesday, but that was also due in part to Nick Williams sitting out Tuesday with an undisclosed injury.
The biggest question on the Dolphins’ defense this year is how Jordan Phillips will perform as a starter, but perhaps the biggest concern should be what does Miami do if Suh, an iron man by NFL standards, ever gets hurt.
▪ It’s looking all but certain now that center Mike Pouncey and linebacker Koa Misi won’t practice until training camp. Both sat out Tuesday’s session; neither is ready after significant 2016 injuries. Misi is recovering from major neck surgery and the Dolphins, as promised, have kept Pouncey in bubble wrap after repeated hip injuries.
The offense line was a mess in general Tuesday. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who injured his hamstring in recent days, did rehab work on the side. That left just three starters on the offensive line. The Dolphins have very little depth at tackle; other than their starters and backup Sam Young, no one has looked the part of an NFL contributor.
▪ Ryan Tannehill’s accuracy was good last year, and he’s carried that over into the spring. It’s been “really good” during practice, Gase said. But there will still be hiccups. He threw what looked to be a terrible interception to Tony Lippett, missing Anthony Fasano badly. It’s unclear if there was a miscommunication, or if Fasano simply is not as fast at age 33 as he was when he left the Dolphins four years back.
“I think I've always tried to be hard on myself,” Tannehill said. “I think as soon as you think you've got it, then you run into trouble.”
Gase has told Tannehill to “let it rip” in Year 6.
The picks were apparently contagious. Matt Moore had one too, intercepted by Michael Thomas. And David Fales’ rough spring continued; Walt Aikens intercepted him Tuesday.
▪ Receivers Rashawn Scott (foot) and Francis Owusu (academic commitment) did not participate in minicamp Tuesday.
Jarvis Landry, meanwhile, remains determined not to make his contract situation a distraction. He wants a new deal, but hasn’t made waves; the latest example: he was a full (and enthusiastic) participant Tuesday. After snagging a one-handed catch across the middle, Landry rifled the football off a nearby fence.
Rookie Isaiah Ford had an excellent practice with a number of receptions, including one for a touchdown.
“He’s improved as it’s gone on,” Gase said of the seventh-round pick. “It’s a little bit more difficult than you realize. He’s able to visualize it and transfer it onto the field.”
▪ Months after the second of two surgeries on his right thumb, Kiko Alonso still wears a protective wrap on the hand during practice.
▪ Gase was on the field Tuesday despite dealing with an illness the last few days. He was hoarse when he spoke to reporters.