Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel updates injuries, Tua and more before first training camp practice

David Santiago/dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said cornerback Byron Jones, who had offseason surgery, “is fully expecting to get himself ready for Week 1,” and Jones and Elijah Campbell will be the only players not practicing at all when training camp opens on Wednesday.

Jones had a March procedure in the ankle/Achilles area. The timetable for a return was originally projected at three months, but the team is being cautious.

McDaniel said every other Dolphins player will participate in at least a portion of practice, including those coming off offseason surgery. Left tackle Terron Armstead is among those working back from surgery. McDaniel said Armstead — who had a knee procedure early in the offseason — would practice at least some on Wednesday.

“We have to be cognizant of competitors and make sure they don’t do harm to themselves and rushing,” McDaniel said. “I’ve been very happy since I’ve been here with a lot of things, one of those things being our training staff and how diligent they are.

“As it relates to veterans it’s very important you don’t make an abstract [statement of] ‘we’re going to limit this guy.’ There are a handful of guys that will be practicing [in half of practice. Some guys] will be involved in different portions of practice.”

McDaniel addressed other issues Wednesday before the first training camp practice:

Asked about where his team stands entering camp, he said: “This group I was very excited about how they came back, mission oriented, day to day operation, getting better, a thirst and competitiveness and fully understanding how much they owe their teammates and organization.”

He says he’s looking for players who don’t say “F this” when adversity comes.

How intense will training camp be?

“Your job is to maximize the athlete at his craft. The philosophy, and the one we’re employing here, is full-speed intensity every practice. We won’t have as many reps. Practice won’t be as long as previously. There’s no such thing as going through the motions.

“When we practice, we want to practice with intensity, purpose, speed that separates itself from the rest of the league. That’s hard to do...

“My expectation is their standard is to practice hard and they’re trusting me that I don’t overload them but challenge them. I’m not in the business of making players worse.”

Asked if he shares his personal journey with players, McDaniel said: “It’s important from connection purposes to share things so they can get to know me and they have that experience. There’s some vulnerability in that which players expect.”

What’s the message for Tua Tagovailoa about approaching camp practices?

“It’s deliberate intent on each player. He put in more time this offseason than he has with football. What I really want to see from him is Tua is super hard on himself, which is a good thing. But anything in excess is not a good thing, either. He holds himself to a high standard. I don’t want that to impede when things don’t go the way he wants; I don’t want that to impede the next play.

“He has such a natural presence on the field. Who cares if there’s one [misstep]? Those short-term memories is what you can really work on in training camp and moving forward as the leader of our team.”

On cornerback Noah Igbonighene’s chance with Byron Jones out for now: “It’s a tremendous opportunity. It’s what the team needs to be the team we want it to be, that people recognize each and every rep like an opportunity and use it to your advantage. More reps against Tyreek Hill hasn’t hurt anybody unless they have confidence issues. You are on an island as a corner. You have to have a short memory. This opportunity is only going to help him.”

On his opportunity with the Dolphins: “You’re in this position you’ve worked your whole life for, and a lot of times against all odds, and you get there and now it’s time to depend on everyone else. That’s something no head coach is able to have success without an immense amount of people you’re depending on.”

McDaniel said he won’t decide the team’s captains. “The point of the captain is to be a leader on the field for the other players. I appreciate democracy in general. The players are the best ones to tell you who they want representing them. We’ll do that after we set the 53” man roster. “There are a lot of possibilities. I see the cream rising to the top.”

He said the signing of receiver Mohammed Sanu is an “opportunity to add a veteran I know. A physical player who has passion for the game adds value.”

On Tyreek Hill praising Tagovailoa repeatedly on his podcast in recent weeks: “As a coach, you really appreciate when people believe in each other. If not the No. 1, he’s up there with the most competitive players I’ve ever been around in my life. He’s brash, extremely convicted and competitive, and that’s his driving force. If Tyreek is saying it, it’s because he believes it. They are developing a great relationship and rapport. Tyreek believes in his quarterback, and that’s a good thing.”

NEWS NOTE

The Dolphins signed cornerback Tino Ellis, according to a source. Undrafted out of Maryland, he played for the Saints in 2020 and Dolphins in 2021 but hasn’t appeared in a regular-season game. He spent the spring playing for the USFL’s team in Michigan.

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