DAVIE, Fla. -- Here are five observations on the Miami Dolphins, gleaned from their July 29 training camp practices:
1. There is a reason -- and Saturday's two practices reinforced it -- Dolphins coach Nick Saban has religiously avoided confirming that Daunte Culpepper will be ready for the Sept. 7 prime-time opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and why no one has quantified exactly where the veteran quarterback is in his recovery from three torn ligaments in his right knee.
At least to this set of eyes, Culpepper didn't move quite as well on the first day of camp as he did at the team's June minicamp, which we also attended, and appeared to be a little more tentative in some areas. It was most noticeable in Culpepper's pass-drops, when he appeared to have a hitch on some occasions and to be overly deliberate on others. None of this should be too alarming. For one thing, Culpepper is still only nine months removed from a catastrophic injury some people originally felt might be career-threatening. His recovery to this point has been nothing shy of remarkable. Second, it is training camp, and the demands are more challenging than during a three-day minicamp.