Dolphins defense steps up on Day 1 of joint practices with Buccaneers. Notes and highlights

·5 min read
Chris O'Meara/AP

For the better part of two hours at the AdventHealth Training Center Wednesday morning, the Dolphins offense and defense worked on adjacent fields, going head-to-head with the opposing units of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dolphins’ 11th training camp practice — and first of a pair with the Buccaneers ahead of their preseason opener Saturday — featured a promising effort from the defense and an efficient day from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Tua Watch

Tagovailoa got plenty of work in 1-on-1, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills against a defense that finished ninth in Football Outsiders’ efficiency ranking last season. The following is a breakdown of his 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work:

In his first 7-on-7 action, Tagovailoa went unofficially 3 for 4 with short completions to tight end Durham Smythe, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and running back Raheem Mostert. His sole incompletion was his first attempt, a pass to tight end Mike Gesicki. Tagovailoa was also forced to hold the ball on a coverage sack.

In his first 11-on-11 work, Tagovailoa completed a pair of passes to Waddle and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. In the following 11-on-11 drill, Tagovailoa, throwing to his right and against his body, completed his only attempt, an intermediate pass to Hill along the sideline.

In the next 11-on-11 drill, Tagovailoa was 3 for 3 with intermediate completions to Hill, rookie wide receiver Erik Ezukanma and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr.

In 11-on-11 work that featured the offense driving the length of the field instead of staying at one spot like previous sessions, Tagovailoa was 4 for 6 with a pair of completions to fullback Alec Ingold and passes to Wilson and Waddle. Ingold dropped Tagovailoa’s first attempt in the flat and Tagovailoa’s final attempt to Gesicki was slightly late, but linebacker Lavonte David made a nice play on the ball to deflect the pass, too.

In Tagovailoa’s final team drill, 11-on-11 work that simulated a two-minute drill, he was 5 for 6 with a pair of completions to Chase Edmonds and Hill and another to Waddle. His sole incompletion was on his second attempt, a pass to Waddle. However, a short run was stuffed on third down and the game clock expired before the Dolphins could get their kicking unit set on the field.

Plays of the Day

Cornerback Keion Crossen laid out to deflect a seam pass from Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert that was intended for wide receiver Vyncint Smith. Crossen got his hands on the ball multiple times Wednesday.

On a pass from Tagovailoa that was slightly behind Wilson, the veteran receiver made an acrobatic effort to reach back and secure the pass over the middle of the field between defenders.

Notable

On the two-minute drill for the Dolphins defense, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady unofficially completed 5 of 8 passes. Four of the passes were short, but he completed a long pass along the sideline with cornerback Noah Igbinoghene in coverage. The completion set up a made field goal for Tampa. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah batted a Brady pass and registered a sack on the drive.

For most of the morning, the Dolphins defense limited runs by the Buccaneers offense and kept most passes in front of them in team drills. However, Tampa Bay practiced without wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, who remained sidelined with injuries.

Igbinoghene was targeted and gave up several completions in team drills. He was also beat multiple times in 1-on-1 drills, ceding completions to wide receiver Julio Jones and Jaelon Darden.

On Tagovailoa’s first pass of 1-on-1 drills, he targeted Hill on a deep pass but cornerback Carlton Davis III broke up the attempt.

Undrafted rookie wide receiver Braylon Sanders beat cornerback Zyon McCollum on a deep route in 1-on-1s, and Ezukanma later got behind cornerback Don Gardner to bring in a long pass from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater threw a pair of interceptions in team drills. The first came in 7-on-7 action; Davis undercut a pass that was behind wide receiver Preston Williams. Bridgewater was later picked off by linebacker Devin White on a tipped pass.

The Dolphins running offense failed to get much traction against a talented Tampa Bay defensive front. In one 11-on-11 session, Edmonds and Mostert were stopped early for short gains.

There were a few dustups between the teams but nothing that escalated dramatically. Defensive line Christian Wilkins stuffed running back Leonard Fournette on a short carry, but Fournette took exception to something and took a swipe at Wilkins. It was quickly broken up.

Buccaneers players were later upset about a pair of plays involving Brandon Jones, in which the third-year safety made more contact on an offensive player than the Tampa side appreciated. On both occasions, players were quickly separated.

Availability Report

Multiple players returned to practice, including offensive lineman Michael Deiter (foot), safety Clayton Fejedelem (undisclosed) and cornerback Elijah Campbell (illness).

Defensive back Sheldrick Redwine (undisclosed) and fullback John Lovett (undisclosed) were spotted at practice and wearing their jerseys but not pads.

Punter Thomas Morstead (undisclosed) returned to practice but was limited.

Ingold remained in a non-contact jersey.

Cornerback Byron Jones (Achilles) remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Undrafted rookie Kader Kohou sustained an apparent injury in team drills and was later seen working with trainers.