Waddle, two young DBs make big plays in Dolphins training camp Day 9. Notes and highlights

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·4 min read
David Santiago/dsantiago@miamiherald.com
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Day 9 of Miami Dolphins training camp featured an interception from a young defensive back trying to forge a place in the league, an up and down day from Tua Tagovailoa and excellence from Jaylen Waddle.

Here’s what happened at Saturday’s practice:

STARS OF THE DAY

▪ Waddle:

He made a handful of catches for significant gains, including a 65-yard catch-and-run from Tagovailoa for a touchdown. That pass to Waddle covered 25 air yards, with Waddle then getting down field, past pursuing defenders. And Waddle ended practice with a 10-yard deflected TD pass from Tagovailoa.

Waddle has had a very good camp, benefitting from the tinted contact lenses that coach Mike McDaniel suggested he wear. In the receiver room, give honorable mention to Erik Ezukanma, who had another good day on Saturday.

Teddy Bridgewater:

The backup quarterback had a very good practice for the second day in a row, completing passes of 15 yards or more to Tyreek Hill, Waddle, River Cracraft and Raheem Mostert. He also made a great deep pass to Braylon Sanders, who dropped it. Bridgewater hasn’t thrown an interception in several days.

And an honorable mention to Skylar Thompson, who threw his first camp interception but delivered several big throws for long gains.

▪ The run defense:

The defensive line and linebackers held at least a half dozen runs to minimal gains. Andrew Van Ginkel, Duke Riley, Christian Wilkins, Melvin Ingram and Zach Sieler all had notable stops.

Noah Igbinoghene and Verone McKinley III:

McKinley had an interception off Skylar Thompson, and Igbinoghene had a disputed interception of Tagovailoa. It was unclear if Igbinoghene made a clean catch of the ball.

PLAYS OF THE DAY

▪ McKinley, the undrafted rookie from Oregon, dived for an interception of Thompson, the first interception in training camp for both players.

▪ Tagovailoa, Bridgewater and Thompson all dropped passes into a net from 45 yards away, delighting the crowd. Tagovailoa pumped his fist, and the crowd erupted, after the second time he hit the net. Bridgewater also accomplished the feat twice.

▪ Rookie tight end Tanner Conner, a wide receiver at Idaho State, made a long catch from Thompson. Conner has had three long receptions over the past three practices. He’s making a strong case to make the practice squad.

▪ Igbinoghene got a good break on pass from Tagovailoa and appeared to intercept it as he dove to the ground, though it was unclear if Igbinoghene held onto the ball long enough for it to be called an INT. The pass was intended for Waddle. (Igbinoghene also stopped a running play for no gain.)

▪ Ezukanma jumped to catch a 45-yard TD pass from Thompson, beating Tino Ellis. The rookie uses his 6-2 size and strength to consistently make contested catches.

NOTABLE

▪ Center Connor Williams continued to have some difficulty with snapping. None of his snaps have been outrageously bad in camp, but once again, a few were a bit high.

▪ Tagovailoa overthrew a few passes, including one to Waddle (with Jevon Holland in coverage) and another to Cedrick Wilson Jr. He also underthrew Hill.

Tagovailoa was 1 for 4 in the first set of 11 on 11 drills, with Chase Edmonds catching the only completion.

Then he threw the disputed pick to Igbinoghene in the second set of 11 of 11s and failed to connect with Hill on a long downfield pass with double coverage.

And Xavien Howard broke up a Tagovailoa pass on a third down.

On the positive side, Tagovailoa made two beautiful throws to Waddle for sizable gains, with both passes traveling 20 to 30 yards in the air. Tagovailoa thread the needle on one of those throws. Then he ended practice with a 10-yard throw to Waddle in the end zone; the pass was deflected but Waddle caught it.

▪ Though Thompson threw his first interception of game, he was very good otherwise, completing passes of 20-plus yards to Waddle, Connor (for a long gain) and two passes to Ezukanma, who jumped over Tino Ellis to pull down one and scored on a 45-yard touchdown on the other.

▪ Hill had a sizable gain on a running play. Waddle had a modest gain on a running play.

▪ Wilkins wore the orange jersey, meaning coaches honored him as the best performer at Friday’s practice. The player in the orange jersey gets to pick the music played at practice.

▪ Edmonds fumbled early in practice and Holland recovered. Holland was a takeaway machine at Oregon, and that skill has translated to the NFL.

▪ Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel - in competition with Melvin Ingram - has had a very good camp, with at least four sacks. He flushed Bridgewater out of the pocket with more pressure on Saturday.

▪ Cornerback Trill Williams, in competition with Igbinoghene for the No. 4 cornerback job, had good coverage on Hill on a deep throw from Tagovailoa.

AVAILABILITY REPORT

▪ Cornerback Byron Jones (ankle/Achilles), center Michael Deiter (foot), safety Clayton Fejedelem (undisclosed injury), Sheldrick Redwine (undisclosed injury) and punter Thomas Morstead (undisclosed injury) were not spotted at practice.

▪ Running back Sony Michel, linebacker Ingram, running back Raheem Mostert and fullback Alec Ingold participated in parts of practice. They’re on maintenance programs in the wake of previous injuries or surgeries.