Dolphins who made team with range of emotions after final cuts – The Denver Post


The Miami Dolphins’ locker room at their practice facility was open to media for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, and a number of empty lockers were scattered around.

There would be a row of consecutive occupied stations followed by one vacant and then maybe a stretch of unoccupied lockers that were missing a nameplate above.

That’s an NFL locker room the day after initial cuts for the 53-man active roster — much more spacious on Wednesday than how crowded it was the five weeks prior during training camp. The roster was up to 80 on Saturday during the preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles and 90 two weeks earlier. Miami also still has a 16-player practice squad to welcome, many of those which were working with the team all camp.

For the ones still there following Wednesday’s practice, there’s a range of emotions: Some excited to earn their spot when the odds were stacked against them; others relieved after a role they previously had a stranglehold on was possibly in jeopardy.

For undrafted rookie cornerback Kader Kohou, he wasn’t sure until he officially made the team.

“It’s the NFL. I knew I made the 53 when it came out,” he said. “I was like, ‘It can go either way.’ But I just know I can play, though, so I knew, if I didn’t get a shot here, I’d get a shot somewhere else. I’m glad I’m here, though.”

Kohou, one of two undrafted rookies to make the final cut, along with tight end Tanner Conner, showed he can perform on the big stage this camp and preseason, making it through an injury-depleted unit that has Byron Jones on the physically-unable-to-perform list and Trill Williams and Mackensie Alexander on injured reserve.

“Just being able to compete,” said Kohou, a Texas A&M-Commerce alum. “Coming from D-II, it’s easy to say whatever you did at D-II will be hard for you to do in the NFL. It’s the best level. But just showing that I could play with them.”

Rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson, a seventh-round draft pick, made it as a third quarterback behind Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater.

“I never really have gotten caught up in being a late-round pick and what people say,” Thompson said. “All that stuff is really irrelevant to me because I know what I’m capable of doing. I believe in myself, and I’m a confident person. I just knew, if I came in here, took care of my business, something good would come of it.”

Defensive back Elijah Campbell said he never felt like his pick-six in Saturday’s exhibition win over the Eagles was a roster-clincher for him. He’s seen it go the other way for players who standout in the preseason finale.

“Being a bubble player, you never know if you’re going to get the call or not,” said Campbell, who contributed strictly on special teams with the Dolphins in 2021. “I was confident in what I did during the preseason.”

Campbell said coaches liked his speed on special teams and versatility in the secondary. He’s able to play safety and cornerback. After competing mostly at cornerback last year and safety during camp, Campbell said he’s at corner this week with depth low at the position.

Running backs Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed were key contributors each of the past two seasons, but in a new offense and under a new coaching staff that brought in three tailbacks in free agency, their spots were in danger. Ultimately, both made it, along with offseason additions Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, while Sony Michel was the odd man out.

“It was a stacked room,” Gaskin said. “Every day, you just come in to work. That’s the name of the game, and that’s how I came up, just as a kid.”

“Motivation, obviously,” he continued about what he felt when he saw Miami bring in as many new running backs as it did, “but at the same time, I was able to pick up a few things from these guys. I’m learning from Chase, me and him being the same type of backs, smaller type.”

Gaskin said he has been using flash cards and taking notes the past several months to learn new coach Mike McDaniel’s offense quickly. He described his confidence amid the changes: “As high as it’s ever been.”

Tackle Greg Little made the cut as a reserve lineman after missing time in the preseason but coming back for a strong performance in Saturday’s exhibition finale.

“The biggest thing was being mentally engaged and getting mental reps,” Little said. “You can still learn from not being out there, so try to be as engaged as possible. Talk to all the guys, see what they’re thinking still, so when I did get out there, just back into action.”

Waiver claims

The Dolphins did not make any waiver claims on Wednesday, meaning they are sticking with the players on their initial 53-man roster for now.

Michel, the South Florida product who was cut by the Dolphins on Monday after an underwhelming training camp, was signed by the Los Angeles Chargers. Defensive tackle Benito Jones, who had a strong camp and preseason for Miami but didn’t make the active roster either, was claimed by the Detroit Lions.

Practice report

Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Keion Crossen were seen during the early media viewing portion of Wednesday’s practice after missing Tuesday’s session. It’s unclear how much activity Waddle went through on Wednesday. …

Outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, cornerback Nik Needham and safeties Eric Rowe and Clayton Fejedelem were not seen at practice.



Source link