Defense stuffs run as Tua hits multiple deep throws; plus stock up, stock down – The Denver Post



As the Miami Dolphins get set to host a pair of joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of Saturday’s preseason finale, they held their final intrasquad practice of training camp on Tuesday.

It was a shortened session with players inside for stretch and positional drills before heading outside for team portions of practice.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had multiple deep connections — to wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Mike Gesicki and even fullback Alec Ingold — in the day’s brief work, but the theme of the practice was Miami’s offense looking to get the run game going and the defensive front mostly stuffing it.

A variety of early runs for tailback Chase Edmonds, who was in the orange jersey Tuesday as last Thursday’s practice player of the day, didn’t gain much. Defensive tackle Zach Sieler had a tackle for loss during the early stretch. Outside linebacker Porter Gustin wrapped up Myles Gaskin on the edge for a loss later. Nose tackle Raekwon Davis and outside linebacker Cameron Goode were also among defenders with run stops behind the line of scrimmage throughout.

“It’s challenging,” said center Michael Deiter on facing the Dolphins’ defensive front in practice. “It’s such a fun task to go against such a tough run defense and a really good front seven, even eight. It definitely makes us better because, if we’re off even a little bit, we’re not going to have any success. If one guy’s off here, one guy’s off there, it can be really ugly versus a good NFL defense.”

The Dolphins want to get the run game going soon as they’ve averaged just 2.6 yards per rush in their two exhibition games.

“I think our offense is doing great building and learning from each other,” said Sieler of the run game’s progress. “The defense-offense is very competitive each practice, and it’s real exciting to watch.”

Edmonds was seen breaking through the line for at least one sizable gain in the team’s run game work.

Observations

Tagovailoa aired one touchdown pass out to Hill deep in single coverage against undrafted rookie cornerback Kader Kohou. He found Gesicki wide open over the top, presumably freed up by play design as safety Jevon Holland was chasing Gesicki down for what would’ve resulted in roughly a 65-yard touchdown after the run. Tagovailoa bought time stepping up in the pocket and went through a progression when he found Ingold open about 25 yards downfield along the sideline. Ingold said following practice he kept his feet in on the play. …

Teddy Bridgewater found River Cracraft multiple times for considerable gains. One was in the middle of the field for about 20 yards, and he later hit him wide open in the end zone on a defensive breakdown in coverage. …

The offense practice situations where it was backed up for first-and-10 at its own 2-yard line. Tagovailoa hit Ingold for 8 on his first play, giving the offense breathing room and then found Hill for a third-down conversion. Bridgewater had a poorly thrown third-down pass moderately deep broken up by Elijah Campbell. …

Duke Riley had a third-down sack of rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson. Melvin Ingram was in the backfield on one Tagovailoa throw to Hill for a loss where Ingram nearly got a hand on a pass that would’ve been dangerous for the offense if deflected. …

Kohou, while in the vicinity of a pair of long completions, also had a pair of pass breakups. On one, he caught up to fellow undrafted rookie Braylon Sanders on a Bridgewater pass that floated. Another was against Mohamed Sanu on a slant. …

The short day’s work ended with Bridgewater completing a pass to tight end Hunter Long in the flat on a fourth-and-2.

Stock up

Outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips had two sacks plus another instance where he affected Tagovailoa rushing upfield off the edge, forcing him to step up in the pocket and buy time. All this activity in a short practice where the run game played prominently in the offense’s work.

Stock down

Braylon Sanders committed a false start to begin one of the series where the offense was backed up at the 2-yard line. It only goes down as a 1-yard penalty, half the distance to the goal line, but it makes it that much tougher on the offense in a true game scenario when a wide receiver cannot be committing a penalty on the outside. Standing out earlier in camp and making three catches for 40 yards in Saturday’s preseason game against the Raiders, it’s still hard to imagine there being a roster spot for the undrafted rookie in this wide receiver room.

Injury report

Left tackle Terron Armstead returned to practice Tuesday and saw plenty of 11-on-11 activity. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle was also present early in drills for team stretch with a sleeve on his right leg but did not participate in team portions of practice. Tackle Greg Little also returned to practice on Tuesday.

Outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel was not seen at Tuesday’s session, nor was cornerback Keion Crossen, who coach Mike McDaniel called “day to day” after getting injured in Saturday’s exhibition loss to the Raiders. Running back Sony Michel and linebackers Brennan Scarlett and Calvin Munson were also not present Tuesday.

Safety Eric Rowe stretched with the team, but he watched team drills in shorts. Tight end Tanner Conner also stretched but did not participate in drills with a brace on his left leg.

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