Though the Dolphins remain quite optimistic that left tackle Branden Albert will be healthy for the Sept. 13 regular season opener at Washington, Albert was non-committal about that on Thursday.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be quite ready for the opener,” he said. “I told everybody it’s going to be sooner than later. I’m ahead of schedule. We don’t want to push it too much. I’m happy to be where I’m at.”
The Dolphins hope he can play in preseason but Albert said he doesn’t know if that’s going to happen.
But there’s one thing he is sure about: “I’m fully, fully confident I’ll be the player I was.”
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Albert, whose practice participation Thursday was limited to the initial walk-through, said he feels no pain in his surgically repaired right knee, and the challenge is getting back “into football shape, getting my strength in my leg. I’m just happy I’m not on the PUP [physically under to perform] list.”
He said “the most challenging” part of the recovery from ACL and MCL tears last November “was learning how to walk, learning how to do the simple things I’ve been doing all my life.
“I was on crutches for three months. That was the hardest part. I told people I didn’t think I was going to play football again.”
In an attempt to reverse the team’s penchant for late-season swoons, coach Joe Philbin has shortened training camp practices and implemented other changes, including giving the team off Tuesdays instead of Fridays during the regular season.
“This is the most efficient training camp that we’ve ever had in terms of the way the schedule is,” he said. “The reps are down a little bit, not considerably. Practices are a little bit shorter. All of this stuff, we think it’s going to add up.”
The Dolphins lost three of their final four games last season and have gone 3-9 in their final two games over the past six years (the last three of those seasons under Philbin).
▪ Philbin said he’s not concerned about rookie receiver DeVante Parker starting training camp on the PUP list.
“I like what’s he doing; he’s going to be an excellent football player here for a long time,” Philbin said.
Parker’s agent, James Gould, has said he will be shocked if Parker isn’t ready for the Sept. 13 opener.
▪ Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he “wasn’t overwhelmed” by the one episode he watched of Ballers, the fictional HBO series that stars Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson and often mentions the Dolphins and “Mr. Ross.”
Said Ross: “It’s really crazy, with all they’re trying [to] glamorize something about football that’s not really real life. … I know my name is used.”
HBO is using the Dolphins’ logo. Asked if HBO had permission to do that, Ross said: “We’re having conversations. It’s noted, let’s put it that way.”
▪ Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, on Miami’s talent at receiver, running back and tight end: “We really have a stacked group. Everywhere you look, we have weapons.”
▪ Defensive end Cameron Wake returned unscathed after taking a picture with an uncaged, non-sedated tiger on his recent trip to Thailand.
“It’s probably more dangerous what we do out here,” he said. “Tremendous animal. The power is amazing. I feel I can relate a little bit.”