The Miami Dolphins are slowly installing a new offensive system this year, one that clearly is not ready for the regular season. It has been the focus of a lot of attention over the past few practices, including with head coach Adam Gase saying the offense was “sleepwalking” last week. It has not been a pretty start to training camp, but the team does have a month until their first regular season game, and they should be better than they have been the last couple of days.
On Tuesday, the offense began to show a little life. It was not a lot, it was not deep passes gaining large chunks of yardage, but it was a little. There were completions, there was rhythm, and there was scoring. Not a lot, and not something to make anyone think the team will be a juggernaut in the 2016 NFL, but at least it was something.
“We came out and practiced well today,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said after the practice. “I think the guys came out with purpose, with intensity, with enthusiasm and executed. That’s what it comes down to – coming out, pushing the tempo, pushing each other and executing. I think we did that today.”
“Some of the new stuff we’re just putting in (now),” Tannehill continued, commenting on the offense not appearing to be up to game speed yet. “We’re still installing, so some of the stuff we’re putting in is still new. (We are) still going through some of the thinking. That’s going to happen at this stage of training camp with the new offense (for) myself and everyone else. That, obviously, slows us down and keeps us from playing as fast as we want to play. The more reps we get, the more practices we go through, that’s going to continue to decrease the amount of thinking that goes on and the more playing we can do, and that’s when you’re going to see us really play to our full potential.”
“I thought today was one of those days were I felt like he came out with a purpose and was very aggressive as far as he was chirping a little bit out there, especially amongst our guys,” Gase said about Tannehill specifically, with that purpose driving the offense on Tuesday. “I think he was more focused on our group, just really preaching what we’ve been talking about like sticking with our process, positive plays (and) getting completions. I thought he did a good job of when we did get some pressure, he got rid of the ball (and) wasn’t trying to hang on anything. Today was a good day for him as far as, I felt I saw some growth there as far as his personality coming out and taking control of the offense.”
The offense spent the day with many of the passes remaining short, safe options, with the majority of the passing offense clearly targeting Jarvis Landry.
Gase said of the passes heading to Landry throughout the day, “I told him, ‘One day, I tried to script every play to where he wasn’t in the progression and somehow the ball gets to him.’ The guy is like a magnet. It really is. I’ve never seen anything like it. He does his job right and the coverage seems to take Ryan (Tannehill) there a lot of times. I’d be more concerned if I was like, ‘Why are you forcing this throw?’ But that’s not what’s happening.”
One player Miami needs to have step up, to relieve some of the pressure off Landry and to open up options for Tannehill is second-year receiver DeVante Parker, who returned to practice after a few off days dealing with a hamstring injury. “It was good in the fact that I know he’s been driving (Wide Receivers Coach) Shawn Jefferson crazy as far as ‘Why won’t they let me back out?’” Gase said of Parker’s return. “But that’s two (injuries) since spring so we were going to go through our process. We’re not going to have, you practice for two days and then we don’t see you for two weeks.”
“It’s nice to have DeVante back,” Tannehill added. “(In) that two-minute drive, I threw the comeback to him, got him back in the huddle, and I said, ‘Man, it’s nice to have you back.’ It’s one of those things. He’s a good player. He stretches the field for us. You put him on one side, Kenny (Stills) on the other side, Jarvis (Landry) in the middle and we have three really dynamic playmakers. When you take (DeVante Parker) out of the equation, obviously it’s a little bit tougher. It’s nice to have him on the field. That’s where we want him.”
The Dolphins face the New York Giants on Friday in the first preseason game for both teams.