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Summary from the Final Week of Camp
After a strong performance in Week 2 of the preseason, the Dolphins held out Tua Tagovailoa in Week 3. It was an overall positive camp for Tagovailoa, who appears much improved after a shaky rookie season. With Tagovailoa under-center this preseason, the offense had seven possessions. The results: drives of 83, 75, 66, 60, and 52 yards. The sixth series was a two-minute drill that covered 20 yards on two plays to set up a field-goal attempt, and the seventh series a three-and-out to open the preseason. While the Dolphins say they are pleased with Tagovailoa, the team remains interested in Deshaun Watson. Charles Robinson of Yahoo! reports that Miami has emerged as the front-runner for Watson. While a deal isn’t imminent, the specter of Watson hangs over Tagovailoa’s head. Backup Jacoby Brissett also sat out the preseason finale, leaving third-stringer Reid Sinnett to go the entire way against the Bengals. Sinnett took advantage of the opportunity, throwing for 343 yards and leading a late comeback with a spectacular Hail Mary throw on the run for the winning touchdown. At the very least, he earned himself another year on the practice squad.
With Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown, and Salvon Ahmed entrenched as the top three, the focus of the final week was the battle for the final spot or two on the roster. Gerrid Doaks made his case against Cincinnati, rushing for 56 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Patrick Laird caught three passes for 28 yards, but the team decided to release both runners and go with a three-man backfield for now.
The receivers are finally getting healthy. Will Fuller V returned to practice mid-week, saying he felt “real good” and could have returned to the field sooner. Fuller, who has not played since Thanksgiving, will have to serve the final game of a suspension in Week 1 and is still knocking the rust off. Fuller has not made it through a full non-walk-through all camp but did train with Tagovailoa in the offseason. “Fun to watch Tua,” said Fuller. “Very accurate quarterback; I love that about him. You know where the ball is going to be; you build that trust and know he’s going to put the ball where it needs to be.” DeVante Parker returned to practice. Albert Wilson is also nearing a return. Despite the starters returning, the week's focus was on sorting out the last few spots at the bottom of the roster. Preston Williams was finally activated from the PUP list and joined the competition.
Mike Gesicki had a solid finish to camp and remains the top option. He caught passes of 30 and 50 yards despite only playing a handful of preseason drives. He also made several long catches in joint practices, showing he is not just a red-zone threat. Rookie Hunter Long is healthy after returning from what looked like a potentially serious leg injury. He will push Adam Shaheen for the backup role.
On top of an excellent secondary, the strength of this Miami defense should be the depth and versatility in the trenches. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was consistently productive throughout camp. Fellow defensive tackles Raekwon Davis and Adam Butler also proved challenging to block. Andrew Van Ginkel and Emmanuel Ogbah have been standouts rushing off of the edge.
Summary from Week 3 of Camp
Tua Tagovailoa was nearly perfect against the Falcons. He completed 16-of-23 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. With another year removed from the hip injury he suffered his final year at Alabama, he is putting more zip on his throws. While Tagovailoa’s stock is rising, we shouldn’t overreact. With the starters getting plenty of work in two days of joint practices, the Falcons held out nearly everyone in the game. Thus, Tagovailoa’s strong first half was against the Atlanta backups. Jacoby Brissett continues to play well and gives Miami an above-average backup who can keep the ship afloat should something happen to Tagovailoa. He was a perfect 8-for-8 for 99 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta.
Is head coach Brian Flores toying with our emotions? Last week, Malcolm Brown dominated touches and snaps with the first-team offense, and Myles Gaskin played mainly with the second-stringers. The usage flipped completely in Week 2 with Gaskin dominating touches with the first-team offense and Brown relegated to playing in the second half. Unlike Brown last week, Gaskin made the most of his time with the starters. He scored touchdowns on each of the first two drives of the game. Gaskin rushed for 27 yards on six carries and caught all four of his targets for 44 receiving yards. Salvon Ahmed was the change-of-pace back in the first half behind Gaskin. Does this mean Gaskin is back atop the depth chart, or is it a proper 50/50 committee on first- and second down?