TAMPA, Fla. — Mission accomplished for the Miami Dolphins’ defense: They were determined not to let the Tampa Bay Buccaneers embarrass them once again. And they didn’t.
Instead, the first of two joint training camp practices by these teams separated by 260 miles was a strong defensive day by both sides.
We get into that and much, much more in our Dolphins-Buccaneers practice report.
Miami Dolphins-Tampa Bay Buccaneers joint practice report
The last time the Dolphins’ defense faced Tom Brady, it was a bloodbath. The GOAT torched Miami’s secondary for 411 yards and five touchdowns in a 28-point beatdown.
Fast forward 10 months to the day, and it was a far more competitive affair.
In fact, Brady seemed a bit frustrated at times as Miami’s defense kept Tampa Bay’s offense out of the end zone during 11 on 11 reps throughout the entire two-hour session.
“That was on my mind 24/7,” said Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who gave up multiple touchdowns in coverage when these teams met in October. “It still is. So I feel like that brings a little bit of fire to it. I feel like if you want to get motivated, you can watch that game, the people that were there last year, and they see what they did to us.”
Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah added, “We’ve been waiting on this day. We feel like we got embarrassed last year. We’ve got to go out there and do better this year. It was a good practice against them, and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Certainly, it helped that the Buccaneers weren’t at 100% Wednesday. Wide receivers Mike Evans and Breshad Perriman and tight end Cameron Brate were all held out due to injury. And Russell Gage pulled up lame early in practice and didn’t return.
But it’s not like the Dolphins were at 100% either. Cornerback Byron Jones hasn’t practiced all camp due to a foot/Achilles issue, and his replacement — Noah Igbinoghene — got picked on a bit. Igbinoghene allowed a long completion in a two-minute drill that led to a Buccaneers field goal.
But beyond that, there weren’t any major breakdowns. Ogbah was disruptive, getting pressure on the quarterback when he could and getting his hand up for deflections when he couldn’t.
Christian Wilkins mixed it up with Bucs running back Leonard Fournette, provoking Playoff Lenny to smack Wilkins in the facemask (never a wise idea). And Brandon Jones was a heat-seeking missile, drawing the ire of Buccaneers players for what they thought was unnecessary physicality.
None of those heated moments boiled over into an actual fight, but there’s still another practice and a game on Saturday.
Buccaneers’ defense keeps Dolphins in a box
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed a lot of passes for not a lot of yards. We unofficially had him at 14 of 20 for 130ish Wednesday. He didn’t throw a touchdown and didn’t have a pick.
Tagovailoa — who, based on practice tendencies, might throw the ball to Tyreek Hill 150 times this year — feasted on short and intermediate routes. But he never really threatened Tampa over the top. Tua’s longest attempt was a 50/50 ball to River Cracraft in the end zone. The pass was incomplete.
Backup Teddy Bridgewater threw two interceptions, both on attempts to Preston Williams, who has been the subject of trade talks. The first pick was by Carlton Davis III in 7-on-7 drills. The second was by Devin White on a deflection.
Davis said this of Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill: “He’s a different kind of receiver all-around. He brings something to the game that no other receiver does.”
One more note on the Bucs’ defense vs. the Dolphins’ offense: Credit Chase Edmonds for not retaliating when Joe Tryon-Shoyinka dragged him to the ground by his facemask.
Quick hits from Dolphins-Buccaneers joint practice
- The Buccaneers had a scare Wednesday when center Robert Hainsey was carted off the field late in practice. The update from Tampa reporters had to come as a relief to their fans: He was only simply cramping up. Hainsey is an essential piece of Tampa’s offensive line after losing Ryan Jensen indefinitely with a knee injury.
- Center Michael Deiter (foot) was one of three Dolphins players to return to practice Wednesday after missing multiple days of training camp. Defensive backs Elijah Campbell and Clayton Fejedelem were also back, while Sheldrick Redwine and John Lovett remain unavailable.
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