Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell stressed changing the team’s practice habits in his introductory press conference. It appears some of those changes were inspired by an incident involving Ryan Tannehill in London last Saturday.
The National Football Post first reported that Tannehill had been getting rattled during practice sessions last week and let his frustrations out on practice squad players.
The Miami Herald and FoxSports.com both confirmed the guts of the story, in which Tannehill became angry at a practice squad player that picked off one of his passes. Tannehill had reportedly become increasingly frustrated by his poor practice performances and the attitude of the practice squad players.
The National Football Post said Tannehill told the player: “Enjoy your practice squad paycheck, enjoy your practice squad trophy.”
NFL Media’s Jeff Darlington strongly disputed that Tannehill ever said anything about a paycheck. But there is no doubting that Tannehill took offense during a heated practice last Saturday. The Miami Herald reported linebacker Chris McCain did something more aggressive than usual during a Saturday walk-through, which set off the incident.
Campbell essentially addressed the situation on Monday without directly mentioning Tannehill.
“To me, the best teams that I’ve been a part of are the ones that, during the week, they go after each other,” Campbell said. “Whether it’s practice squad versus the defense. They’re giving the look of practice squad versus offense, but it gets heated. And it’s intense, and it’s people that are fighting to win. they want to get noticed or they want to do their job. It’s not just going through the motions.”
Campbell is pretty clearly calling out the team’s old practice methods. Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez noted that many teams ask their scout team members to simulate opponent schemes rather than try to make plays on the football. The National Football Post reported that former coach Joe Philbin told the practice squad players to “take it easy” on Tannehill after weeks of intercepting him in practice in an effort not affect the quarterback’s confidence.
Now Philbin is gone, and it’s safe to say Campbell won’t want any players taking it easy on anyone in practice.