A weekend off did little to help the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line, which was again bad Tuesday when going up against an NFC South team.
Struggles from the preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons carried over to the Dolphins’ joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The worst of it?
Three sacks allowed and a false start by the starting offensive line — Laremy Tunsil, Michael Deiter, Daniel Kilgore, Shaq Calhoun and Jesse Davis — in a span of four plays during team drills.
“I think that’s something we need some improvement on,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. “I thought that was evident. [Buccaneers defensive coordinator] Todd [Bowles] does a great job defensively. He’s got a myriad of schemes. It’s what we’re going to have to deal with.
“I think we could have done a better job there,” he continued. “That’s good. We need to see that. It’s better for that to happen in a practice setting. We’ll learn from it and make the corrections and hopefully that’s better in the game. But, yeah, that’s part of the learning process here.”
Flores seems inclined to ride out the growing pains of his two rookie guards, Deiter and Calhoun, saying “these situations for those guys, specifically the young guys but really the entire line working as a group, this is good.”
One rookie lineman who doesn’t seem likely to crack the lineup any time soon: Isaiah Prince, who was pulled from a drill and chewed out by an irate line coach Dave DeGuglielmo early in Tuesday’s practice.
DeGuglielmo has ramped up the intensity and accountability since taking over for a fired Pat Flaherty two weeks ago.
“He’s a fiery, high-energy coach,” Flores said. I “think we’ve got a lot of coaches on that staff with that temperament. He, like myself, gets worked up at times. I think we all do, for good and bad plays. And that’s a good thing. We’re trying to stay on them, on the players, and help them improve and get better.”
There were smiles, hugs and even an in-play love tap from nose tackle Beau Allen for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who returned to the practice facility he spent the past two seasons as a member of the Buccaneers.
“Being on eight teams, this has happened more than once to me, where I’ve gotten to go back,” Fitzpatrick said. “But this one, having played here the last two years and just the irony of being able to practice this year with them, I got to see a lot of the guys. But still some people I can’t wait to say hi to. Maybe even a couple of you. Maybe. It’s a great place. This is a great place to raise a family. This is a great building and organization. A lot of smiles in coming back, for sure.”
Fitzpatrick shared a special moment with Jameis Winston, introducing Tampa Bay’s quarterback to his newest (and seventh) child, Jake.
News and observations
▪ Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake limped off the field with a member of the medical team early in practice, sustaining what appeared to be a lower-body injury. Flores did not provide an update on Drake when he spoke with reporters later in the day.
▪ Flores was noncommittal when asked if defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, who signed with the Dolphins last week, will be healthy and ready for the start of the regular season. He is on the physically unable to perform list and still his rehabbing a knee he injured last December.
“Rob’s doing everything he can to get back and better as quickly as he can. We’ve got a plan in place for him. He’s working, and he’ll be back as soon as he can.”
▪ Dolphins held out of practice Tuesday due to injury: Nkemdiche, safety Walt Aikens, safety Reshad Jones, linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, linebacker Chase Allen, wide receiver Jakeem Grant, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, linebacker Quentin Polling, defensive back Cordrea Tankersley, linebacker Kiko Alonso and safety T.J. McDonald.
▪ Cornerback Eric Rowe returned to practice after missing the first preseason game with an unspecified injury.