Player Health, Team Development Major Talking Points On Day 3 Of Dolphins OTAs

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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins wrapped up their first week of Organized Team Activity workouts on Thursday with their third practice in as many days.

Unlike the first two, Thursday’s OTA was open to the media which gave an opportunity to see quarterback Ryan Tannehill working on the field for the first time since he suffered a season-ending knee injury last December.

Just as his coaches and teammates have been saying for months, Tannehill looked just fine.

He showed no ill effects of the injury and by all accounts, is in tip-top shape.

As has been the case all week, four Dolphins players were provided to the media on Thursday and they were Ryan Tannehill, Andre Branch, Laremy Tunsil and Ted Larsen.  Head coach Adam Gase also spoke to the media.

Here are the best quotes from each:

RYAN TANNEHILL

“The brace doesn’t really do anything for stability. It’s more just protection and getting used to it, getting comfortable. I am going to be wearing it during the season, so I just want to wear it now so that I’m comfortable throughout the year and it’s just second nature at that point.”

“That was one of the concerns when I first started wearing the brace back in January, just moving with it. I’d worn one previously in college, and I kind of thought that. So, that was kind of my hesitation: ‘Aw, man. This thing is going to really limit me a little bit.’ But it doesn’t at all. That’s one thing that I’m excited about. I guess the brace technology, the fitting is a little better. There’s an extra strap on there that I think that wasn’t on there on my previous brace and that kind of holds it in place and allows you to keep the mobility.”

“It started feeling good probably at the end of January. I was rehabbing it hard every day – a few hours every day. I really got comfortable with my rehab and kept pushing and pushing and pushing. It finally got to the point where I’m comfortable with it, I feel like I can make any cut, and I trust it. That’s the biggest thing is do you trust it? Are you able to move without thinking about, ‘Is something going to happen?’ Once it got to that point, I really felt great about it.”

“Everyone is confident in the knee and what it can do and that it’s ready to go. You wear the brace just to try to prevent another freak thing like I had happen the first time. I’ve been hit a lot in my career and never had anything like that where my cleats are in the ground and it just hit me at the right angle and I couldn’t get them out and just put that stress on the knee. That’s kind of the reason for the brace, just to prevent that type of thing from happening again. To answer your question, everything is good and strong, and I shouldn’t have any issues.”

LAREMY TUNSIL

“It feels good to be at the natural spot I was drafted here for. Playing left guard, I learned a lot. It was a different position, different everything. I’m glad I got the opportunity to play (guard) so I could learn the game inside and out.”

“I am playing the blind side, so it does mean a lot. I can’t let that get to me. I’m always hard on myself because I’m always trying to perfect every craft that I have.”

ANDRE BRANCH

“I’m more comfortable than I was at this point last year. These are my brothers. I had to earn their respect. And now, it’s just… We’re rocking and rolling now. We’re just fine-tuning everything, going against our offensive line and just getting better each and every day.”

“It’s always work. It’s going to be work regardless of if I’m the starter or backup. No matter what, I’m going to work my tail off. It’s showing the younger players we have in our room, how to work; and then for the older players, we just compete against each other.”

On rookie DE Charles Harris- “Explosive. Very explosive. And he’s willing to learn. He doesn’t think he’s bigger than the d-line or bigger than the team. He’s willing to learn.”

“We were a new group last year. We did pretty well. We had our times where we could’ve definitely been better; but it was our first year together. So now, we’re flowing more. It’s not as much teaching as it was last year. You either got it or you don’t; and if you don’t, then you’re not in there.”

On Laremy Tunsil- “Athletically, I’d put him up against any left tackle that’s in this league. He’s willing to learn. Every time we get a rep together, he’s always asking questions. So he’s a student of the game. He’s played guard. He’s played tackle. So he knows exactly the ins and outs of everything. I don’t look at him as a second-year player. He’s a vet in my eyes. That’s how we treat each other.”

TED LARSEN

“You’re always working on technique and trying to learn the scheme and do everything right. There is some stuff that you can’t do without pads on, so you try to judge your game a little bit, but you still try to go out there and compete.”

“The o-line room is solid. A lot of young guys, but a lot of guys that have played a lot of football, and it’s a really good room.”

ADAM GASE

“I thought he looked the same as the last time I saw him playing. It was a good week for him. He looks good. The only thing that looks different is he’s wearing a knee brace where last year he wasn’t.”

“I felt the guys did a good job with the tempo of practice. Execution is always going to come the longer we go in the spring, but (there’s) a lot of carry over. The guys seem to remember a lot. They did a good job paying attention in the first two phases so when we got out there, it wasn’t a lot of mistakes. (There are) just little details we need to clean up.”

ADAM GASE ON INJURED PLAYERS

Koa Misi, William Hayes, Ja’Wuan James, Jermon Bushrod and Mike Pouncey were all held out of practice.

Misi and Pouncey are expected to be brought along slowly while the others are just nursing minor injuries, according to head coach Adam Gase.

“There are some guys in the spring you hold out,” Gase said. “If a guy has a minor, some kind of minor injury or something, we’re not going to see how tough they are in May and June.”

On Pouncey, Gase elaborated: “He’s just working on the side. He’s been doing a lot of cardio. Doing more lifting. He has a lot more little steps that we’re taking each day.”

And on Misi: “We’re going through the proper medical procedures with him. We’re not going to rush a guy that had the type of injury he had.”

Hayes and James: “With Ja’Wuan and William, they had a couple things come up over the last two weeks that… William practiced for a couple of days and today we held him out. And Ja’Wuan has tried to do as much as he can. We’re trying to be smart with what we’re doing. We got four days before our next OTA and I don’t want to throw them out there just so we can say we throw them out there and he’s at 85 percent where in four days he might be 100 (percent).”

Bushrod: “He’s doing the same thing where we’re just being cautious on little tiny things. We pushed them pretty hard in the Phase II area with individual and running and we just want to make sure if a guy has… If he tightens up a little bit, we take him out. We don’t mess around with that trying to see how hard these guys can push through an OTA practice.”

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