DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins became the first AFC East team Sunday to open training camp. The new-look Dolphins are back at work in a season filled with high expectations.
Here were some notes and observations from Sunday's session:
The was definitely a significant buzz to start training camp. The Dolphins received a large turnout of 2,700 at their practice facility, which included standing-room fans. It's further proof that Miami’s solid offseason has fueled optimism among Dolphins fans. This is the most talented team, on paper, that Miami’s had in several years. However, it’s up to the team to put it all together on the field.
Dolphins center Mike Pouncey refused to discuss the recent controversy involving his “Free Hernandez” hat. Pouncey and his twin brother, Maurkice, were teammates of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez at the University of Florida. Hernandez has been charged with murder and faces five additional gun charges. Both Pouncey brothers wore “Free Hernandez” hats at a recent social gathering, which sparked a national controversy. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin hinted that he wasn't amused. “I will tell you that it’s important for every member of this organization -- player or coach -- to represents the Miami Dolphins in a first-class manner,” Philbin explained.
The two stars in the first day of training camp were defensive end Olivier Vernon and wide receiver Marvin McNutt. Vernon looks improved and had two sacks on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. McNutt made several nice catches in team drills, which included two deep balls. The final two receiver spots are wide open, and McNutt made an early impression.
Veteran Dan Carpenter got off to a very good start in Miami’s kicking competition. Carpenter got all the kicking reps over rookie Caleb Sturgis and nailed 10 straight field-goal attempts at one point. That run included two made field goals from 49 yards.
Miami Pro Bowl defensive tackle Randy Starks continues to try to earn his starting job back in training camp. Starks held out of organized team activities in protest of his one-year franchise tag. Since returning in minicamp, Starks has played with the second team and also getting a few first-team reps behind converted defensive end Jared Odrick.
No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan will begin training camp on the non-injury football list as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Jordan was relegated to stretching and conditioning on the side. We have the full story on Jordan here in the AFC East blog.
The Dolphins will continue their first week of training camp Monday at 8 a.m. ET. The AFC East blog will be in attendance all throughout the week.