No, the pressure of a late-game field goal in December cannot be replicated on a practice field in June. Nevertheless, Andrew Franks’ development this spring has been impressive, with his improved accuracy — and a strong leg — giving him an early leg up on undrafted rookie Marshall Koehn in the Dolphins’ kicking competition.
Franks said Tuesday that his field-goal percentage has been “very high” during the offseason program. Franks nailed all seven attempts Tuesday, including one from 59 yards.
“I’ve only missed three in the past couple weeks — all over 45, two over 50,” he said. “My strength is I have a strong leg. Long field goals are my true game. … [And overall], compared to last year, I’m leaps and bounds from where I was. I’m a lot more consistent, and I feel a lot more confident because of it.”
After working with longtime NFL kicker Phil Dawson last offseason, Franks spent this offseason studying his own tape, plus tape of Dawson and veteran NFL kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Franks attempted only 16 field goals last season, fewest of any full-time kicker, and made 13. “Because we had so few attempts, it did hurt me,” he said. “There’s still a lot of me that hasn’t been seen yet.”
Franks, who made 33 of 36 extra points, said he wasn’t surprised the Dolphins signed Koehn, who did not kick Tuesday and has been erratic during practices open to the media.
“I figured that would happen,” he said. “I didn’t hit that many field goals. I love competition. With Caleb [Sturgis] here last year, it drove me to take his seat.”
PARKER HELD OUT
Wide receiver DeVante Parker was held out with an undisclosed injury (not to his surgically repaired foot), but coach Adam Gase said he would do some work Wednesday.
“I kind of screwed that up [Tuesday],” Gase said. “He should have gone through individuals [Tuesday]; he was cleared. I’m just being a little cautious.”
Linebacker Neville Hewitt and receiver A.J. Cruz also were held out because of injury.
▪ Safety Reshad Jones, protesting his contract, sat out the first day of minicamp and can be fined $76,000 if he misses all three days, as expected. But Gase said he has “zero concern” about Jones learning the playbook.
Defensive linemen Mario Williams and Jason Jones were the only other players not at minicamp, but their absences were excused.
▪ Linebacker Koa Misi, involved in a fight in a Broward nightclub last month (no charges were filed), said he has not been disciplined by the team.
“It was a bad situation and something that I should have walked away from,” he said. “I learned from my mistakes.”
Misi had a strong practice Tuesday. “It seems he’s always doing the right thing,” Gase said. “He’s been consistent day in and day out.”
▪ Tight end Thomas Duarte, the rookie seventh-round pick, practiced for the first time in weeks because he was completing classes at UCLA.
“When you’re a rookie and all of a sudden, you come in and we’re on Install 11, that’s got to be a little overwhelming,” Gase said. “We like his skill set as a receiver. We will see when we get pads on in training camp as far as a run blocker and pass protector.”
▪ Rookie cornerback Xavien Howard picked off a Ryan Tannehill pass intended for wide receiver Kenny Stills and also made an excellent pass breakup. “His ball skills are really impressive,” Gase said.