It was a good sight during Miami Dolphins practice today when center Mike Pouncey took snap after snap of first-team snaps during 11-on-11 drills.
Yes, he eventually shared some snaps with Jake Brendel. But the volume of work he got Monday was an obvious change from the approach stated by coach Adam Gase for managing Pouncey’s return from hip surgery.
The Dolphins have been going with the “bubble wrap” approach as Gase describes it -- meaning Pouncey doesn’t practice much, doesn’t need to, thus is protected from re-injuring the hips which knocked him out after only five starts in 2016.
But Monday Pouncey seemingly emerged from the bubble wrap and got physical during a full padded practice.
“It felt really good,” said Pouncey, a former Pro Bowl player. “I’m just happy to be back out there with the guys, just getting back, better at football, doing the things I love to do and I’m just glad I’m back out there.
“Physically I feel great. I feel like we have a great plan, a great schedule that I’m going to stick to throughout this whole camp. We’ll see how it goes whenever the start of the season gets here.”
During his practice repetitions Monday, Pouncey got work against both Ndamukong Suh and Davon Godchaux -- the team’s starting defensive tackles. Suh gave Pouncey something of a reminder what practicing can be about ...
“Suh gave me a stinger on my left side,” Pouncey said. “It shut my whole left arm off for a little bit. I miss those hits. It felt good. It hurt, but it felt good to have it again.”
Pouncey is currently on a one-day on, one-day off regimen for practice. That is a change from earlier in camp when he wasn’t really practicing at all. Eventually, the team will have to decide if Pouncey needs to play in the preseason at all in order to have him ready for the regular-season.
“Honestly, I just want to [play] because I’m a competitor; but I’ve been in this situation where I haven’t played any preseason games and missed the first four games of the season and came back and played well,” Pouncey said. “I’m not too much concerned about it. The competitor in me wants to be out there and go out there and do the plays that the rest of the first-teamers are doing, but we’ll see what coach Gase wants to do as we get along.”
My advice: Save Mike Pouncey for the regular season when, you know, the snaps really mean something. Work him in practice. And then play him in the opener.
He’ll be fine.
Some amazing notes from Salguero:
First-round pick Charles Harris didn’t get a sack or even a tackle in last week’s preseason debut so defensive line coach Terrell Williams talked to him about approaching Thursday’s game -- and practically every game after -- with a different point of view.
“The No. 1 thing is just to go,” Harris said. “I think I was really hesitant. I was kind of hesitant and didn’t want to mess up, whatever. But coach T and coach D (Assistant Defensive Line Coach Andre Carter) just told me I just need to go. My best attribute is my speed, so get off the ball and then reacting, playing instinctively and not thinking about things too much.”
The play of the day on Monday was a 40-yard pass from starting quarterback Jake Cutler to DeVante Parker.
Cutler seemed to throw the pass over the wrong shoulder and slightly behind Parker. But no worries.
Parker stopped, turned, tracked the ball and caught the pass while a cornerback was drapped over him. The play showed major ball skills as well as good hands.
Mike Hull will start Thursday night at middle linebacker against the Baltimore Ravens, one week after inheriting the job (for now) following Raekwon McMillan’s knee injury.
Hull had a nice tackle for loss during full team drills Monday so there’s that. And Lawrence Timmons, the team’s most experienced linebacker, is pleased with what he’s seeing and hearing, yes hearing, from Hull.
“I feel like he’s a high-energy guy,” Timmons said. of Hull. “He knows the defense, makes good calls, hard-nosed football player. He tackles really well, so I’m looking forward to it.”
The Dolphins are obviously going to see if Hull is up to the job before deciding if they have to look for another answer for the position from outside or inside the team. So ask Timmons if coaches have approached him about possibly taking over in the middle and the answer is succinct.
“No,” he said.
Coach Adam Gase said Monday he has not made a decision whether Jay Cutler will play on Thursday but that he is “trending” toward using Cutler.
And this is where I tell you, I have been told Cutler is going to play.
And this is where I tell you, I have reported Cutler is starting.
Cutler, by the way, is listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart.
And this is where I tell you that the depth chart is meaningless right now.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero