Barry Jackson

Here are two very encouraging developments in first week of Dolphins practice

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill #talks to the media last week.  Dolphins players are impressed with what they've seen from Tannehill off knee surgery.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill #talks to the media last week. Dolphins players are impressed with what they've seen from Tannehill off knee surgery. dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Offseason practices should never be overstated, but here are two positive early signs from Dolphins' on-field work the past week:

1. Minkah Fitzpatrick is who the Dolphins thought he was, a ball-hawking safety with range and the ability to disrupt plays.

2. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has looked quick on the run, though the true test won’t come until preseason games.

“He looks good; he looks really good,” safety T.J. McDonald said of Tannehill.

As for Fitzpatrick, defensive back Bobby McCain revealed that the rookie has multiple interceptions in the first four days of 11-on-11 work.

"He's had some tipped passes and the ball seems to find him," McCain said. "He's going to be good for us."

Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake, who spent one season with Fitzpatrick at Alabama, knew immediately he would be a long-term NFL player.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill speaks to the media about his knee injury and being back to play football this year.

“A professional from the jump,” Drake said of the 2015 season at Alabama. “It’s rare you see a freshman come in and have that mentality of 'I want to work and be the best.' He never looked at [his] five-star rating. Just came in with head down and [worked]. He’s going to be in this league a long time.”

Tannehill, meanwhile, looks even better than he did before sustaining two injuries to the same knee since December 2016, according to McCain.

“Still moves his feet, still runs well,” McCain said. “He’s always been able to go outside the pocket with moves. He’s running the football and looks stronger than ever."

Miami Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain gets friendly with newly acquired and former New England Patriot receiver Danny Amendola during OTAs.

New guard Josh Sitton said: “I’ve seen him make a few throws, especially on the run. He rolled out (last week) after a play-action and threw a dime running to the left. I was like, ‘Damn, that was pretty impressive.’ He seems like a great leader. He always takes command of the huddle. He takes command of the meetings, so from that aspect, everything has been positive.”

Miami Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald talks to the media about sharing his position with two other high profile safeties; Rashad Jones and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Even a defensive player, T.J. McDonald, said that Tannehill's "leadership is what we missed the most.”

And new receiver Albert Wilson said he “loves” the way Tanehill throws: “He’s definitely good with the timing. He puts it to where you can make a play on the ball. It’s a great thing.”

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