Opening Observations

The opening of training camp always creates a lot of excitement, and this year was no different for the Dolphins. In fact, there might have been more enthusiasm this time around because of the optimism created by last year's season-ending six-game winning streak and the offseason moves, headlined by the acquisitions of quarterback Daunte Culpepper. So what was the first practice like?

Well, it was interesting that the Dolphins immediately made use of the bubble because of a downpour. Ironically, Nick Saban had said this week he didn't want to use the bubble for the first 10 days because he didn't want to create an atmosphere where his players would start looking at the bubble every time it got hot.

But he really had no choice Saturday morning because it was PORING shortly after the Dolphins were done with their stretching.

The inside of the bubble is very impressive, much bigger than it looks from the outside. And the weather, thanks to air conditioning, was very comfortable. In fact, quarterback Joey Harrington would later say it was cold.

Now on to more pertinent first-practice observations:

-- WR Marty Booker not only was ready to practice after his ankle injury during the veteran minicamp, he starred. Booker made a couple of really tough catches, one reaching back from an underthrown pass and the other a play where he had to jump over a defender.

-- Rookie third-round pick Derek Hagan also made a couple of nice catches.

-- On the flip side, both Chris Chambers and Fred Beasley dropped easy passes.

-- Daunte Culpepper looked a little more tentative with his right knee than he seemed to appear at the June minicamp, but there obviously is nothing wrong with that arm. He was throwing the ball with a lot of zip, and hit Chambers with a perfectly thrown deep ball.

-- Shame not to have first-round pick Jason Allen in camp on time. This will become a major issue if Allen misses too much time.

-- Saban said second-year defensive tackle Manuel Wright had lost some weight since the June minicamp, but the truth is Wright still looks like he's got a ways to go. It's sad to watch a guy with Wright's physical tools not getting himself in better shape for the start of camp.

-- Saban said linebacker Eddie Moore was waived Friday because of a failed physical, and then Saban seemed to start saying he would welcome him back if he got healthy but never actually got around to using those words.

The truth is, Moore really had bad luck after joining the Dolphins as a second-round pick, but he also didn't show anything special in those moments when he was healthy.


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