Two interceptions on the final two drives of yesterday’s practice translated into a forgettable day for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
But great NFL quarterbacks, even the good ones, find a way to bounce back. And that’s exactly what Tannehill did today, leading the white team to a 34-33 victory over the aqua team in an intrasquad scrimmage that culminated Dolphins minicamp in style.
It was a 50-yard game-winning touchdown drive by Tannehill, in which he connected with the likes of Rishard Matthews on a clutch fourth-down pick up, Marvin McNutt on a 16-yard touchdown toss, and Brian Hartline for the game sealing two-point conversion, that was the deciding factor.
Tannehill had three touchdown passes in all during the scrimmage, also hooking up with tight ends Charles Clay and Dion Sims for scores. And his day should have been even better. Brian Hartline, who is usually sure handed, reportedly dropped a would-be touchdown on a well-placed 47-yard strike. But Hartline made amends with the winning two-point conversion.
“The end, we couldn’t have scripted it better ourselves if we had planned it that way,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “It was excellent.”
Tannehill’s game-winning drive was the perfect ending to a minicamp that served as the grand finale to one of the most memerable offseasons in franchise history.
Nolan Carroll shines
Cornerback Nolan Carroll has been an afterthought this offseason after the Dolphins loaded up on defensive backs in free agency and the draft. But he reminded everyone that he could have something to say about how the depth chart shakes up at corner with a fantastic performance in today’s scrimmage.
Carroll took a Matt Moore interception all the way back to the house and downed a punt at the one yard line. Carroll could make earning playing time a tall order for rookies Jamar Taylor and Will Davis if today’s showing was a sign of things to come in training camp.
Backup pass rushers step up
The Dolphins clearly hope to get more production from their pass rush in 2013. Trading up to the third overall pick for defensive end Dion Jordan is a testament to that.
A couple lesser-known rushers made their presence felt today, though. Second-year end Derrick Shelby made life miserable for Miami’s offensive line, sacking the quarterback a whopping three times during the scrimmage. Rookie Emeka Onyenekwu added another two sacks, both on Ryan Tannehill.
In a league that is dominated by elite quarterbacks, a defense can never have too many pass rushers. The Dolphins’ rush suddenly doesn’t look like a one trick pony anymore. Help may finally be on the way for All-Pro defensive end Cameron Wake.
Sturgis booms 58-yard field goal
In the battle to see who becomes the Dolphins’ starting kicker, fifth-round pick Caleb Sturgis stole the show during today’s scrimmage. He crushed a 58-yard kick through the uprights and was a touchback machine according to reports.
Dan Carpenter, meanwhile, missed a 51-yard attempt, further distancing himself from retention of his job. If Sturgis can simply begin to showcase accuracy and consistency when training camp arrives, he’ll be Miami’s new place kicker in 2013.
Nothing new on the injury front. Cornerback Jamar Taylor (sports hernia), right guard Lance Louis (knee), and tight end Dustin Keller (undisclosed) all did rehab work on the sideline for the third consecutive day. Third-overall selection Dion Jordan is still at Oregon finishing up his finals.
Looking at Keller’s situation in particular, Michael Egnew took first-team reps in his place. Egnew didn’t make many plays during minicamp, but he had a few solid OTA practice sessions. If he can improve his blocking when training camp rolls around, he’ll likely secure his spot on the 53.
Countdown to camp begins!
With minicamp in the books, the Dolphins’ offseason training program has officially concluded. The next time the players hit the practice field in Davie training camp and the start to the 2013 season will be upon us.
Veterans are said to have a July 20th reporting date, meaning we are one month and one week away from Dolphins football.
Sources: Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, MiamiDolphins.com