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Dolphin Training Camp & Preseason Game 1 Review

By Alex Fernandez and Matthew Calvino

On August 11, the Miami Dolphins hosted the Atlanta Falcons for their first preseason game of the 2023-24 NFL season. Miami and Atlanta decided to rest mostly all of their starters to give other players a chance to prove themselves worthy to make the final 53-player cut to start the season.

The Dolphins started the preseason with a good 38-yard return from their rookie running back Devon Achane, who was one of the few bright spots from this game. The Dolphins led by QB Mike White drove it down the field into the redzone, but failed to capitalize when White forced a pass into double coverage in the endzone leading to an interception.

A few drives later, the Falcons ran over the Dolphins defense leading to the first score of the game. With the Falcons up 6-0 (Atlanta Kicker Koo missed extra point), the Dolphins were unable to score until the second half, even though WR Eric Ezukanama and RB Myles Gaskin had impressive 30+ yard runs.

In the second half, Skylar Thompson subbed in for Mike White, and the Dolphins went downhill from there. Although the Dolphins scored their only points with a field goal by Jason Sanders, Skylar threw two picks, including a pick 6, and fumbled the ball when sacked. Also, the Falcons scored a punt return touchdown, leading the Falcons to a decisive 19-3 win over the Miami Dolphins.

Overall, the Miami Dolphins loss was tough to watch, but was sparked with a few bright spots to look forward to for the regular season.

On the defensive side of the ball, rookie cornerback Cam Smith had two key 3rd down stops with a pass deflection and a tackle for loss. On the offensive side of the ball, Myles Gaskin and Eric Ezukanma proved that they may require a roster spot as they both ran for over 50 yards. For the receiving end, rookies Devon Achane and Elijah Higgins were leading pass catchers from the preseason game, demonstrating that they may be targets that Tua can use during the season as well.

Dolphins Training Camp Perspective (Alex Fernandez)

The Dolphins Training Camp was something I have never experienced before. Watching the players playing scrimmages against each other was the closest I have seen them playing in my life. I was most impressed with how quickly Tyreek Hill got open. I have always heard and known he is fast, but seeing it in person that close is completely different than watching from TV. At the training camp, I could see the whole route and see how fast he got to his spot for Tua to throw him the ball.

To add to Tyreek, Robbie Chosen Anderson looked like he had solidified himself as the wide receiver as he caught the second most catches at the camp (Jaylen Waddle did not practice). As the receivers were thriving, the run game struggled a bit, but Raheem Mostert broke one opening that would have been a touchdown if it was a real game. The offense looked great.

Dolphins Training Camp Perspective (Mathew Calvino)

Dolphins Training Camp was a special experience that gave me and Alex a very unique sneak peek into the way the Dolphins were looking as a whole before the preseason game against the Texans. The camp was focused mainly on scrimmaging that day, so the offense and defensive starters were put to face each other in a two-hand touch, situation-based matchup. There were a couple of different situations played out like your average first-and-10, 2-minute offense, and even working from the 50-yard line to the end zone.

The three quarterbacks changed places every play, allowing all of them to get the same situational practice. Mike White was the only one that threw an interception, and Tua was throwing very well. Considering the problems the offense had last season with underthrowing Tyreek, this appears to be a major step forward. Tyreek was playing like the best WR in the league, and Chosen was showing up too, making some great catches and breaking away from the defense a couple of times for runs to the end zone. The defense also looked good, however, it appears that they were trying to take it much easier and let the offense focus on completing the plays instead of truly going all out. However, there was still some good work being done on that end as well, with Xavien Howard making an appearance for a couple of plays and doing a perfect job of covering Chosen and the deeper pass plays. It was all and all a good showing and provides hope for the prospects of success this season.

High School Kickoff Event:

Monday was a particularly eventful day at training camp with the invitation of over 25 different high school football teams and their players to watch the training camp. This event gave the students the opportunity to watch their heroes and idols practice. It also showed them part of what it takes to be a professional football player.

The young men were also talked to by Tyreek Hill and the manager of the team, Chris Grier. Grier's message to the attendees was to continue to pursue their dreams while also working hard at their craft. Tyreek's message was a little more stern, calling out attendees who were on their phones or talking while Grier was speaking. He noted that Grier could be the one drafting them in a few years and that they should be absorbing every ounce of knowledge they could and continue to work hard.

Norland QB Ennio Yapoor took in as much as he could from the event, saying, "The experience allows us to see how a true, professional program is run. These are people who we look up to, people we want to be. This is a great stepping stone for our team to look up to."

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