Dolphins OTA Observations (Week 1): Tua throws a dime to Preston Williams

Dolphins OTA Observations (Week 1): Tua throws a dime to Preston Williams

Mike McDaniel and his coaching staff seem to be setting the tone for the type of team they want the Miami Dolphins to become during the team’s first organized team activity session open to the media — which was far more physical than expected.

Practice in pads and shorts usually doesn’t feature physical runs during 11-on-11 sessions, but the first team period Tuesday featured plenty of run plays, and there were instances where offensive and defensive players were on the ground.

Salvon Ahmed had a couple of nice runs, using his speed to bounce to the outside. Austin Jackson did a fantastic job opening up a running lane on one of Ahmed’s cut-back runs, which went for 20 yards.

With Chase Edmonds not in attendance and Raheem Mostert doing a rehab assignment for the knee injury he suffered in last year’s season opener, Ahmed is getting a chance to show the playmaking ability he showcased last training camp and during his rookie season.

The most pleasant surprise on Tuesday was the fact the offensive line was creating running lanes.

But the Dolphins’ rules on reporting what happens during OTA sessions prevents the media from saying who is working where. But I can say Connor Williams, who worked on his snapping during his time in Dallas, might not be a lock for the starting left guard spot.

I can also say that Liam Eichenberg looks like he’s put on some strength to his frame because his shoulders are broader than they were during his rookie season.

After practice, Terron Armstead spent 20 minutes working with Eichenberg and Robert Jones on their stances and movement.

Tua Tagovailoa’s arm has made some noticeable improvement.

It’s not drastic, but it’s noticeable, especially in passes over the middle. He rifled in two passes in the middle of the field during 7-on-7s — one to Mike Gesicki and another to Jaylen Waddle — that got there with some zip.

However, the biggest play of the day came on a pass where Tagovailoa threw it 30 yards downfield with some arch on it. He dropped the ball right in the bucket for Preston Williams along the left sideline. When cornerback Nik Needham failed to deflect the pass and ended up on the ground, Williams ran it in for a 75-yard touchdown during 11-on-11 drills.

Williams, who was a standout during training camp practices the first two years of his career, seems to be showing the new coaching staff the talent that made the undrafted rookie an immediate starter in 2019.

Don’t sleep on Williams sticking around because it’s clear he’s in the upper echelon when it comes to talent. The problem he’s had throughout his career is mastering the playbook. …

New punter Thomas Morstead was booting punts on Tuesday. It was very noticeable that he’s got a big leg because most of the returners had to back up an extra 10 yards to field the ball. …

Jaelan Phillips was wearing an orange jersey during Tuesday’s practice, which means he was the top performer from Monday, which is a new McDaniel policy.

As the top performer, Phillips gets to pick the music for the next day and it was a heavy Kanye West, Lil Uzi and Playboi Carti. Phillips was very noticeable on the field, especially from a technique standpoint. With Emmanuel Ogbah sitting out the OTA session, Phillips got a chance to polish up his pass rushing technique and edge work. …

Teddy Bridgewater was very impressive in the session open to reporters. The decisions were quick and the passes where on the money. He connected with Tyreek Hill twice downfield. …

Rookie tailback ZaQuandre White had a nice cut-back run to the right side. …

Cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, who saw a lot of action because Xavien Howard and Byron Jones were not participants on Tuesday, had a nice breakup on a pass from Tagovailoa to Waddle. …

Waddle caught a nice pass against Brandon Jones during 7-on-7s. …

Defensive tackle Adam Butler was doing field sprints instead of practicing, but he did get involved for the individual and position work.

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