The Miami Dolphins opened their 2013 training camp last weekend, holding practices throughout the week. During one of those workouts, NFL Network and NFL on CBS analyst Solomon Wilcots checked out the action, then spoke with Dolphins radio host Jesse Agler about his observations on the team's passing attack.
"What they did during the offseason is really to try to help his task in 2013 to be a little bit easier," Wilcots began, speaking of second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. "It won't be easy, but it should be a little bit easier with the weapons provided to him within the offense. I think, as we saw in practice today, Brian Hartline is still the thing that I think is going to be the best about the passing game.
"There's no doubt that Mike Wallace is going to provide the deep threat, he's going to lift coverage. But the consistent component right now, at least from what we saw in today's practice, is really what Brian Hartline provides, which I think is a huge safety valve for the young quarterback Ryan Tannehill."
Agler then asked Wilcots about Hartline, and how the addition of Mike Wallace will help the Dolphins leading receiver from 2012.
"Brian Hartline, 79 catches over 1,000 yards last year, only one touchdown," Wilcots replied. "I'm sure he wants to improve on that. But, he got that done as the focal point of the passing game. With defenses really trying to take him away. There's no doubt, if I'm a defensive coordinator, and I'm trying to take something away from Ryan Tannehill in the passing game, I've got to come in and I've got to focus on Mike Wallace.
"Mike Wallace is going to draw double coverage. I think he's going to create more space and more room for guys underneath, Brandon Gibson as well, Dustin Keller, along with Brian Hartline. These guys should have more room to operate in the underneath coverage, simply because Mike Wallace is on the field."
Finally, Agler asked about what Wilcots can take out watching a single practice in training camp.
"I try not to over-react to whatever it is I see, because it is one day and it's just one practice," the former NFL cornerback explained. "But the quarterbacks are always a tell of what you can expect to get from a football team. And, from what I saw from Ryan Tannehill were some good signs. His ability to control the huddle, to control the tempo of practice, which is something I know is very important to their head coach Joe Philbin. He was able to slow things down a little bit, get the offense lined up, he made his checks at the line of scrimmage in a cool, calm, authoritative manner, and he threw the ball with great accuracy. You don't want to see the ball hitting the ground when the quarterbacks are going against air, so Ryan Tannehill, as well as Matt Moore, shows a great deal of control and accuracy when throwing the football . I think those are really good signs. You could tell the quarterbacks are light-years ahead of where they were at this time last year."