His happiness was justified. The Dolphins’ much-scrutinized left guard not only held his own against the Panthers’ stout front seven, he thrived.
“I feel like going against our D-line had us prepared to go against their D-line,” Thomas said. “We were ready.”
This is final exams week for the Dolphins’ interior offensive line.
Thomas and right guard Billy Turner will either win a starting job or see the Dolphins turn elsewhere — perhaps even outside the organization.
Free agent guard Evan Mathis is still available. The Dolphins have yet to make a suitable offer to Mathis, waiting until they know for sure what they have in their own guys.
Between last week’s preseason game and Wednesday’s practice, the Dolphins might believe they have enough.
“I thought it looked relatively good,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “I didn’t think our third-down period was as good; there were a couple of blitzes they hit us with. Sean McDermott, who’s a heck of a coach, he was in Philadelphia with Jim Johnson ages ago, and some of that stuff is still good.
“They caught us on a couple.”
DeVante Parker is on schedule to be on the field for the team’s regular-season opener on Sept. 13, the Miami Herald has learned.
And Parker’s recovery from foot surgery took an important step Wednesday. The Dolphins activated Parker and safety Don Jones (shoulder) from their physically unable to perform list.
Although Parker did not practice Wednesday, Jones did on a limited basis.
The Dolphins probably need Jones more than expected because of Wednesday’s injury to Louis Delmas, who sustained what appears to be a torn ACL in practice.
Thanks in part to good protection, Ryan Tannehill picked apart the Panthers’ defense during 11-on-11 drills — albeit on mostly underneath routes.
Tannehill appears to be building a rapport with tight end Jordan Cameron, who caught several passes.
As Tannehill’s confidence grows, his swagger shows. A reporter asked him Wednesday if there was an advantage practicing against a playoff team (the Panthers won the NFC South in 2014).
His response: “I think we’re a playoff team, so there’s competition on both sides.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Panthers receiver Ted Ginn Jr., a former first-round draft pick of the Dolphins who never met expectations, said it was “bittersweet” practicing against his old team.
▪ Linebacker Chris McCain had an interception off a pass Delmas deflected before his injury.
▪ Linebackers Koa Misi (calf) and Jordan Tripp (ankle) did not practice. Left tackle Branden Albert (knee) was in uniform but worked in drills that were against other Dolphins players.
▪ McCain (born in Greensboro, North Carolina) and wide receiver Matt Hazel (who grew up two hours from Spartanburg) had their own rooting sections at Wednesday’s practice.