<
>

Dolphins will enter training camp in good health

DAVIE, Fla. -- By all accounts, it was a successful spring of organized team activities and minicamp for the Miami Dolphins. Players were more comfortable in their second year in the system, the rookies often showed flashes of talent and, most important, there were no major injuries.

The Dolphins will begin training camp on July 27, when they return to the practice field, as a healthy bunch. The only new injury is to offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil, who was hurt but returned on a limited basis late in minicamp. Dolphins coach Adam Gase says the injury isn't serious.

"Right now I'm thinking we don't have any major issues entering into camp," Gase said. "We've got a couple of guys that haven't done anything."

Among the players who missed most or all of the practice time in the spring were starting center Mike Pouncey and defensive lineman Nick Williams. Pouncey is the biggest question mark following hip surgery. He hasn't played a full season since 2012.

The Dolphins are taking their time with Pouncey with the intention of him being ready for the regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 10.

"He's really improving," Gase said of Pouncey. "We feel like we're on a really, really good track right now and we'll wait 'til the next doctor's visit when we get kind of that report back and see what our next step would be. Or did anything change? Better? Worse? We're just trying to really focus on the steps that the doctors have for us right now."

It will be key for Miami to avoid a slow start. The Dolphins began last season 1-4 under Gase as the team struggled after implementing a new system on offense and defense. Miami won nine of its past 11 games to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Chances are history will not repeat if the Dolphins have another poor start to the season. Miami's schedule ranks as the sixth toughest, according to last year's winning percentages, and the Dolphins have nine games away from Hard Rock Stadium, with one being played in London in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints.

Staying healthy and having a productive training camp and preseason could be important factors in Miami picking up early victories.

"You can't predict it," Gase said. "Things have to line up right and you just need to do a good job of executing in camp and putting yourself in position to where, when you get to games, you play better than what we played last year."