Tua Tagovailoa sits out with illness. And other observations from Dolphins’ OTA practice

·4 min read

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa didn’t participate in the Dolphins’ organized team activities practice Tuesday because of a non-COVID illness, coach Mike McDaniel said.

Tagovailoa participated in last Tuesday’s session, the first open to media, and was afterward named practice player of the day, which gave him the honor of wearing an orange jersey and controlling music the following practice.

“He earned it. I think his teammates acknowledged that,” McDaniel said. “What have I seen from him? I’ve seen a guy that’s attacking the moment, a guy that really likes to play football. In the process of college evaluations, you’re in the National Football League in a different conference and you hear people describe a quarterback’s instinctiveness. It’s kind of probably how it hits your ear than it hit mine, where that’s intriguing, but I didn’t quite know what that meant. Now I have a better idea of what that meant, but I still don’t have a better way to describe it besides instinctiveness.

“But you can tell the player has played the position for a long time and that he thinks about the game of football through the lens of the quarterback position. I’ve been very excited about his development as far as the offensive plan and being the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.”

Tagovailoa’s absence meant increased practice reps for the two remaining quarterbacks on the roster, Teddy Bridgewater and seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson passes during the NFL football team’s organized team activities at Baptist Health Training Complex in Hard Rock Stadium on Tuesday, May 24, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida, in preparation for their 2022-23 NFL season.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson passes during the NFL football team’s organized team activities at Baptist Health Training Complex in Hard Rock Stadium on Tuesday, May 24, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida, in preparation for their 2022-23 NFL season.

With Tagovailoa sidelined, the defense have the advantage for much of the practice. Safety Jevon Holland came away with an interception toward the end of the session, and the defense kept most of the pass plays in front of them.

Thompson had a particularly strong practice, hitting wide receiver Jaylen Waddle in stride on two intermediate passes. He also connected with rookie wideout Braylon Sanders on a deep pass over two defenders that was the highlight of the afternoon.

Running back Gerrid Doaks also reeled in a one-handed catch from Bridegewater that got a strong reaction from his offensive teammates.

McDaniel on Ingram

Newly signed linebacker Melvin Ingram III wasn’t spotted at the voluntary session but McDaniel provided comments on the veteran addition for the first time.

“He’s a veteran player that has been very productive in this league. In conjunction with the scouting department — [general manager] Chris [Grier], myself and the rest of the scouting department and the coaching staff felt very excited to have the opportunity to add him to the team. He’s a veteran presence, a guy who has been in big games, a guy that for a young team can be very impressionable and a playmaker to boot.”

This and that

New punter Thomas Morstead, speaking to local reporters for the first time since joining the Dolphins, said he reached out to Miami after he saw the team didn’t have a punter on the roster.

Morstead, 36, said he still wanted to play after 13 seasons and was willing to take a veteran minimum salary to do so. The Dolphins signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.075 million.

“I love doing everything there is to it,” Morstead said. “I love the training. I love the grind of the workouts. … I just love being a part of it. I love being depended on and it’s special being a part of an NFL locker room. Especially when you have a first-year coach with, I think, some reasonably high expectations. It’s fun to be a part of that and be a part of building something and building a culture. I’m just excited to be here.”

Veteran safety Eric Rowe said he saw the offseason speculation that he could be a cap casualty but, “I don’t think of that.”

None of Rowe’s $2.5 million base salary is guaranteed in 2022.

With Holland and third-year player Brandon Jones expected to start at safety, Rowe is projected to be the team’s top backup safety.

“We do have a lot of good safeties,” he said. “Just each and every year, it’s competition. Right now, the only thing I control is what I can. If I get out there, just got to ball like I’ve been doing.”

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