With the Dolphins going through their fifth straight day of training camp with full pads, it’s clear that head coach Brian Flores isn’t shy about physicality. It’s also clear that the way he does things differs greatly from the past two coaching regimes. In doing this, evaluation becomes that much clearer because there’s no more need to put an asterisk next to everything. They’re being physical. They’re being aggressive. And above all, execution continues to be key. Of all the things that happened on day seven, that stood out the most.
So which players stood out the most as Miami goes all out in practicing and preparing for every possible contingency? Here they are.
Xavien Howard, CB
This should come as a surprise to no one, but Xavien Howard continues to be a lockdown corner. Now, this doesn’t mean he’s been flawless, even Hall of Fame make mistakes. But Howard has made the jobs of quarterbacks and wide receivers much harder in camp. This is a good thing, by the way. During Thursday’s practice, Howard broke up a pass intended for Preston Williams, and then jumped a route intended for DeVante Parker and intercepted it.
He was called for defensive holding on that play, but hey, it’s training camp.
The fact remains that Howard has been his usual elite self, giving receivers someone to really push themselves against. The better the competition, the harder they have to work to perform. They don’t come much better than Howard, and Parker and Williams will be better for it…mostly Williams.
Shaq Calhoun, G
The undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State has been getting starter snaps since the firing of Pat Flaherty. He – along with Michael Deiter – has been doing a fairly good job on that unit. That continued on Thursday. Calhoun is playing solid football at right guard under the tutelage of Dave DeGuglielmo. One has to wonder what Flaherty was looking for if all it took was a coaching change for two young players to shine.
Lots of draft pundits had Calhoun listed as a potential NFL starter before the draft, citing his grit, intensity and ability to surprise defenders by being more athletic than he looks. So far, it looks like things are going well for Calhoun. We’ll see if his development continues.
Brian Flores, HC
This might seem like a cop out, but what has stood out a lot these past several practices is how coach Flores is handling training camp. He isn’t a player, but he’s performing beyond initial expectations. His training camp is focused on execution, and if you don’t get it right, you have to fix it. It doesn’t get glossed over. Thursday, Flores also began running situational scenarios that the Dolphins have not done in some time.
They worked on hurrying to the line of scrimmage and stopping the clock, even the field goal unit got in there and worked on getting to the line of scrimmage, with Matt Haack spiking the ball. Every possible scenario is worked on, including Hail Mary passes. That dedication to any possible scenario being practiced is not something that’s been seen in years. Flores may not be in uniform, but he’s performing top notch so far.
Hopefully it continues when the bullets are live.