PHOENIX (CBSMiami) – Many experts believe the two main reasons for the Miami Dolphins surprisingly successful 2016 season go hand-in-hand.
The arrival of head coach Adam Gase and his work with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Miami enjoyed a ten-win season and a trip to the NFL Playoffs, things that had not happened for the Dolphins since 2008, and the coach-QB combo played a huge part in that.
The team’s ultimate potential for last season will forever go unknown thanks to rash of injuries to key players, especially Tannehill.
Enjoying the best season of his five-year career, Tannehill suffered a sprained ACL and MCL during a December win over the Arizona Cardinals and did not play another down.
At the time it was speculated that Tannehill could have returned to Miami’s lineup had they advanced to the second round of the playoffs, but that’s just another thing that will never be known.
The best news though was that Tannehill would not need surgery and was expected to be good to participate in team exercises during the offseason.
Gase spoke to the media from the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix on Tuesday and gave an update on his quarterback’s status.
“As far as I know, he’s been doing everything he can do,” said Gase. “There’s no restrictions on him.”
Tannehill underwent treatment that included the use of adult stem cells and multiple reports have commented on how quickly he has healed.
“I’m going to be more interested to see how he feels when he hits OTAs,” Gase said. “I’m expecting him to look pretty close to how he did when he got injured.”
Those OTAs will likely come sometime in May, as will rookie camps and mini camps.
The NFL Draft is April 27th through the 29th and after that is when teams began to take the practice field.
Tannehill is coming off a season in which he had career-highs in passer rating (93.5) and completion percentage (67.1).
Gase and Tannehill will look to take the next step with Miami’s offense in 2017, with an extremely strong group of playmakers rounding out the unit.
The Dolphins three starting receivers from 2016, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker are all returning. Miami will have two new tight ends in Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano, and their backfield will features returning Pro Bowler Jay Ajay along with Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake.
Additionally, the Dolphins are expected to have a strong offensive line featuring 2016 first round pick Laremy Tunsil at left guard, free agent Ted Larson at left tackle, Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey at center, Jermon Bushrod back at right guard after starting 16 games there last season and 2014 first round pick Ja’Wuan James at right tackle.