Looking for reasons to be encouraged about the Dolphins after their first week of OTAs?
There were plenty.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s arm looked polished and lively, even at age 36.
First-year coach Brian Flores showed he was serious about his team being disciplined and fit with all the running both during and after practice.
Plus Xavien Howard, the Dolphins’ $76 million man, said all the right things after the team gave him a life-changing contract extension. (“Most definitely I can get better. There’s a lot of stuff out there that I can work on to help my game and become the top corner in the league,” Howard insisted.)
But perhaps the biggest reason to cheer came from the smallest guy (and probably fastest) on the field.
Six months after undergoing surgery on his injured calf, Dolphins receiver Jakeem Grant was back at practice. That’s an improvement from last month’s voluntary veteran minicamp, when he was kept out of action.
Grant didn’t do everything last Tuesday, and it remains to be seen how much he will do Tuesday, when the Dolphins open their doors to reporters again for OTAs Week 2.
But it’s obvious that his rehab is ahead of Albert Wilson’s, even though Grant’s injury came later in the season than his teammate’s.
“Jakeem, he’s working,” Flores said last week. “He’s doing well. He’s been out there a little bit. We’ll see. We’ll see what that looks like today. But all of those guys who are dealing with stuff, everybody is really working to get out on the field as soon as they can.”
Grant was able to practice, even on a limited basis, because his body has responded well to treatment.
Plus, things could have been far worse. While many feared the worst when he hopped off Lambeau Field last November, Grant luckily avoided a major Achilles injury.
A half year later, he’s feeling good. Really good.
But the Dolphins are determined not to rush him back too soon.
They held him out of some drills last week, and could again this week.
Their thinking: The season is still four months off, and the team wants to make sure he’s healthy when it begins.
Grant, of course, wants to do more. And he soon might.
The sense is the Dolphins will soon take off the training wheels.
How soon? Maybe it’s during next month’s mandatory minicamp. Perhaps it’s the start of training camp in late July.
But barring a freakish setback, Grant should be back at full speed for the start of the regular season.
That’s good news for the Dolphins, who did not have the same explosion on offense in 2018 after he and Wilson got hurt.
And it’s great news for Grant, who wants to improve on last year’s four-touchdown half-season, particularly since his contract is up at the end of the year.