The Miami Dolphins’ Organized Team Activities have come and gone and the offseason is full steam ahead. We have heard plenty of positive storylines and reviews for many of our favorite Dolphins, and unfortunately some negative ones as well. Although it’s often unwise to put too much weight into what we hear during the summer months, you never know when a tidbit of information could foreshadow something significant for the regular season. With mandatory minicamp starting tomorrow, let’s take a look back at the past few weeks and review where a few key players on the team stand going forward.
Thus far, we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the 2017 first round pick. He’s reportedly looking as talented and dominant as the Dolphins had hoped he’d be, and he’s even beaten Laremy Tunsil off the edge multiple times throughout OTAs. Harris has also been very professional and confident around his teammates, looking more like a polished veteran than a nervous rookie. It looks like he might not be sitting on the bench for very long after all.
The undrafted free agent wide receiver certainly had an uphill climb to make a crowded wide receiver depth chart coming into this offseason, and while he still has a ways to go, he’s begun the climb at an unbelievably quick pace. It seems as though we can’t go one day without hearing favorable reviews from coaches and reporters about the former Arkansas Razorback. His quickness, route-running acumen, and strong hands have been on display, and are helping him make a good impression on just about everybody. Morgan is a name to watch going forward.
According to just about every source imaginable, Tannehill’s knee looks to be at full strength. He’s reportedly just as mobile as he was pre-injury, and despite the possibility of wearing a knee brace for the rest of his career, Tannehill himself seems content with where he’s at athletically. If all continues goes well, it appears the team made the right decision by electing to forgo surgery. Tannehill should be completely ready for Week 1 of the regular season.
Parker has received appraisal from coaches and reporters for his newfound work ethic and professionalism thus far. His coaches have specifically mentioned his dedication to a proper diet, a more regular sleep schedule, and the fact that Parker is giving full effort, something that was seemingly absent in previous seasons. Expectations are very high for him to finally “make the leap” into full-time number one receiver status. Should this upward trend continue, Dolphins fans should be excited for what Parker has in store for us this season.
Much like his contemporary across the line of scrimmage, Howard has heavy expectations on his shoulders for this coming season. Coaches, fans, reporters, and everyone in between are waiting to see if he can emerge as a full-time elite starter. Howard, like Parker, has received very encouraging evaluations, and they are supported by the fact that he has come up with multiple interceptions and pass breakups during first-team practice reps. Like I noted above, this sort of news often has little impact on regular season production, but the confidence that Howard gains from good play during practice can absolutely help him out once live bullets begin to fly come Week 1.
We knew coming into this offseason that we would see very little of the oft-injured star center during practices, but boy is it agonizing waiting to see if he’ll be healthy come regular season football. Gase has previously said that he was going to keep Pouncey in bubble wrap with the hopes of him being able to play “16 plus” games in 2017, but thus far we’ve seen practically nothing from Pouncey at all, and the idea of him beginning the season on the PUP list has begun float around. All we can do for now is hope that Pouncey’s hips hold up so that we can really see what Jay Ajayi and the rest of the offense can do with a completely healthy offensive line in place.
Much like every wide receiver not named Landry, Stills, or Parker, Scott came into the offseason with no guarantee of a roster spot. Well, Scott’s task to hold onto a depth chart position became a whole lot harder a few days ago when it was announced that he suffered an injury. The Dolphins quickly replaced his pair of practice drill hands with former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Mitch Mathews, and every other wideout on the depth chart has continued to gain reps while Scott recovers. He reportedly has a chance of being ready for training camp, but he’s losing valuable time to make an impression on the coaching staff.
McCain endured a very up-and-down 2016 campaign. At times he looked like a reliable starter at the slot corner position, while other times he was thoroughly beat by bigger and stronger wide receivers, giving Dolphins fans and coaches fits of frustration. While he has taken first-team practice reps against Jarvis Landry so far, players like Michael Thomas and Cordrea Tankersley are being given the opportunity to take his starting role from him (yes Michael Thomas is a safety but the coaching staff is also trying him out at cornerback to test his versatility). McCain will have to show that he’s capable of holding down the fort if he wants to remain atop the depth chart.
Williams held out from signing his RFA tender for a considerable amount of time this offseason, trying to earn a bigger contract, but he ultimately decided to put the team first and return to offseason practices. That decision may not end up helping him hold onto his number two running back position though, as Kenyan Drake has received plenty of positive reviews from the coaching staff thus far. He’s certainly in the running to take Williams’ job as the primary backup to Jay Ajayi, and Gase specifically has not held back in voicing praise for the second year runner. In a recent interview, Gase explained that he sees Drake as the type of back who can step up in virtually any situation, and that he’s liked what he’s seen during practices so far. Don’t be surprised if Drake enters Week 1 as the number two running back on the depth chart.