It was back on the practice field Monday for the Miami Dolphins as training camp continued in Davie - and NBC 6 sports anchor Ruthie Polinsky has all the latest, including some great news for the team's most publicized rookie.
- Linebacker Jerome Baker was back at practice after he lleft Friday’s practice with a trainer and was evaluated as day-to-day.
- Linebacker Kyle Van Noy left practice with an apparent upper body injury.
- Cornerback Noah Igbonoghene and running back Patrick Laird also left practice.
- It was a great day for rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with more flashes from the former Alabama star, throwing three touchdown passes.
- The Dolphins are re-signing former Miami Hurricanes linebacker Trent Harris, per his agent.
WHAT THEY SAID
From head coach Brian Flores' press conference before practice:
- Regarding Sunday’s NFL COVID-19 testing issue of 77 positive tests tracing back to the same facility: “I think the league has protocols in place to – they’ve got protocols in place and basically what we do, is we just follow the protocols. I think that’s what every team does and I think if you do that, from a testing standpoint, you may lose a player for a day; but for the safety of the entire team and organization, that’s a small sacrifice to make sure that everyone is safe and healthy. I think from a protocol standpoint, the league has done a good job.”
- On linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel: “Well, Andrew is a tough kid. He’s got length, he’s got some speed. I thought he did a solid job for us in the kicking game a year ago, over the last six games of the season. He’s a smart kid. It’s very important to him and he’s improving and getting better. He’ll hopefully get some opportunities – well, he’ll get some opportunities definitely throughout training camp. We’ll see what happens when we get to the regular season. He’s improving. He’s getting better and I’m happy with where he is.”
- On wide receiver Preston Williams being used as a punt returner: “Well, anyone who can return punts, we’re going to work them back there. Preston, obviously with the injury a year ago, he’s somebody who we’re just trying to be – I don’t want to say cautious, that’s probably the wrong word; but we want to watch his reps and watch the amount of reps we’re putting on him. He’s working hard. He wants to be out there and he wants to return every punt and wants to go out there for really every snap. If we didn’t manage him, he’d be out there every play. Coming off the knee (injury), we’ve got to manage him, which we’ve done. The punt return is part of that management.”
- On the team's visit to Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday: “It was good. I think we need to – a lot of guys, we have a lot of new players that have never been there. They’ve never seen our locker room. They don’t know where the training room is or where the equipment room is or where the showers are, how we walk out to the tunnel. I think it’s good to get out there. It’s our home stadium, so where is the game clock? Where is the 40-second clock? I think those things – as a coaching staff, to check the headsets and do a dry run from that standpoint, I thought it was good. It’s always good to go to the stadium and get on the grass there and get a feel for where we’re actually going to play the games that we’re preparing so much for. We’re putting all of this hard work and energy into these practices and it’s good to get out there, even in a walkthrough setting, to kind of feel the atmosphere of being at the stadium. I think we got a lot out of it.”
- On new addition, safety Nate Holley: “He obviously had a good year in the CFL a year ago. He’s fast, he’s tough. As far as positions, right now we’re just going to get him out there probably more in the safety role – safety/special teams. But he’s played some linebacker. Look, his role is going to be what he makes it, like we tell all of the players on the team. I don’t consider myself – I’m not a really good recruiter. That’s not – that wasn’t my role in this; but he came in, he worked out, he did a good job on the workout. I think an opportunity to play on any NFL team is a privilege, so he took the opportunity and we’re happy to have him.”
- How often does he forgets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s age (37 years old): "Probably every day. I’m 39 and it’s hard to think that I could go out there and get in the huddle and run around with these guys as much as he does. (laughter) Look, it’s a testament to the way he works in the offseason and his work ethic and his talent and ability. He’s a good player. He’s a competitive guy. He’s smart. He just has a good feel for the quarterback position. He’s got good leadership, so probably every day.”
- On cornerback Xavien Howard’s progress as he rehabs knee injury: "Obviously, we just got him back into the building. He’s just working his way back. It’s early so just from a conditioning standpoint and getting your legs back, it’s very early. We’ve just got to keep trying to progress this one day at a time and when we feel like he’s ready, we’ll make a transaction. But that conversation is between myself, (General Manager) Chris (Grier), (Vice President of Football Administration) Brandon (Shore), the coaching staff, the training staff, the strength and conditioning staff, just to kind of see where he’s at from a conditioning standpoint, from a health standpoint. Hopefully we’ll get him back as soon as possible.”
Fitzpatrick noted he’s played in games with less than 13,000 fans in his life, but is excited about having people in the building while adding he trusts the organization to make it safe for everyone.
On thoughts of opting out in 2020, Fitzpatrick said: "It wasn’t heavy on my mind, us as players, we put a ton of faith in this organization that they were going to do things the right way."
Williams said that overall, he wants to be a better player - the game has slowed down for him now and thinks he’ll have a better year. He added that offensive coordinator Chan Gailey's offense is simpler, adding he feels he fits into this offense really well.