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The Miami Dolphins opened this week's organized team activities (OTAs) Tuesday with perfect attendance, including Ndamukong Suh, the high-priced free agent defensive tackle who traditionally skipped spring workouts in Detroit.
Coach Joe Philbin was glad Suh chose to participate.
"That being part of the team is important, contributing is important, being out here for practice is important," Philbin said. "The big thing that we've talked to the team about since April 20, the things that we're doing today are going to make a difference in September, October, December, January, February.
"Even though the season seems a long way off, September 13, there are still a few more months before we get there. Everything we do is important."
To that end the Dolphins should be glad quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the passing offense were sharp.
Tannehill, who had career bests last season in touchdowns (27), interceptions (12), passing yards (4,045), completion percentage (66.4) and passer rating (92.8), was under moderate pressure from the veteran defensive line.
But for the most part the pass-catching crew, led by wide receivers DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, Greg Jennings and Kenny Stills, as well as tight ends Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims, did a nice job. They seemed in sync with Tannehill, who is entering his fourth season, and not many balls hit the ground.
Parker, the first-round pick from Louisville who is physically imposing at 6-foot-3, 211 pounds, continued his ritual of catching darn near everything thrown his direction.
"DeVante was great today," Tannehill said. "You've been seeing it the past few weeks, just working on air. But today you got to see him make some tough catches with defenders on his back, in traffic, and that's what you want to see, that a guy with a big body is able to make strong catches with his hands in traffic."
The offensive line was so-so overall. Left tackle Branden Albert, recovering from right knee surgery, didn't participate. Instead, the Dolphins had veteran backup Jason Fox at left tackle. That's a change from last season when Miami moved right tackle Ja'Wuan James to the left side when Albert got injured and inserted Fox as the starting right tackle.
As for other injured players, free safety Louis Delmas (knee) and cornerback Will Davis (knee) were both limited Tuesday, but it appears both could be ready for training camp.
And although the passing game looked relatively sharp with Tannehill throwing good short and intermediate routes all over the field, the most impressive unit was the defensive line.
Among tackles Suh and Earl Mitchell and ends Cam Wake and Olivier Vernon, they were too much for the offensive line. And the backup defensive line of ends Derrick Shelby and Terrence Fede and tackles Jordan Phillips and Anthony Johnson manhandled the second-team offensive line.
It was very encouraging and a bit discouraging.
Regardless, Miami feels good overall about its chances of making its first playoff berth since 2008. And the Dolphins are especially glad that Suh, one of the team leaders, opted to participate in the OTA.
"Everything is voluntary as we all know," Philbin said. "We've told the team what we believe in in terms of the significance of the offseason program. Just happy that everybody was here today."