MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins resumed their organized team activities (OTAs) on Monday morning at the teams practice facility in Davie. As the workouts have progressed over the past week, improvements can be seen on both sides of the ball. The focus remains on the offense though, as in recent years much of the Dolphins struggles can be attributed to the lack of scoring.
Miami has taken several steps to ensure that their offensive woes don’t continue in 2014. One of the first moves the Dolphins made during the offseason was to hire new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who had previously been the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Lazor has been credited with the successes of rookie quarterback Nick Foles who was one of the most efficient passers in the NFL last season, leading the league with a 119.2 passer rating and 27:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio which is also a league record.
Creativity and innovation are things that have been lacking in the Dolphins offense since the years of the Wildcat. Expectations under Lazor will be much higher and there will be a much larger emphasis on scoring points, but so far the Dolphins players seem excited about the changes on offense.
“It’s really interesting. I’ve never been in an offense like this, how it’s called, how it’s run, the combination routes,” said Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline following Monday’s OTA practice. “There’s a lot of things going on that I haven’t done. It’s really exciting and actually I’m really enjoying it. You can tell it puts a smile on my face. I can’t wait to learn more, do more and then put it into action.”
Another key asset for Miami’s offense is the receiver starting opposite Hartline, and that’s speedster Mike Wallace. Last season it was clear that Wallace and quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a hard time getting on the same page.
There were several occasions where Wallace found himself open down the field but Tannehill couldn’t quite get him the ball. A lot of that blame can be attributed to the Dolphins offensive line not allowing Tannehill proper time to let Wallace’s routes run their course but there were also several times where the two just missed each other.
Both Wallace and Tannehill know that they need to work together and establish a strong rapport if Miami’s offense is going to reach its full potential. The process began in the spring when Tannehill started working with his receivers to learn the new offense. Now that the team has taken the field together, it’s time to put all that work to the test.
“It’s all right. It’s getting better every day,” Wallace said on Monday. “Last week, we didn’t hit any passes. This week, we hit a couple already. It’s a work in progress, but I think every day we’re getting better.”
Wallace has always considered himself one of the best receivers in the NFL. Though his 2013 season was productive, it was not indicative of the kind of results he wants to bring to Miami. Wallace knows he can do better.
“A lot better,” Wallace exclaimed. “Last year, I didn’t even have 1,000 yards. So we can be a lot better, so much better. It’s not just moving around, it’s just playing football in general, just myself, being a better player and putting in more work. I always feel like I work hard, but work even harder. Just try to get better every day.”
With plenty of time between now and September 7th when the Dolphins open the season against the New England Patriots, Wallace and company are hoping that all their hard work will pay off.
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