DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins took the practice field on Thursday for the team’s final full workout prior to Thursday’s preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
The big star of the day was quarterback Jay Cutler.
Miami’s new QB was slinging the ball all over the field, connecting on several deep passes and looking sharp during red zone drills.
Cutler hit both DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills deep down the field while also finding tight end Julius Thomas for a touchdown. Cutler and Thomas have been quickly developing a nice rapport.
The bomb to Parker, which appeared to be around 50 yards, was the highlight of the day. It happened during a two-minute drill.
The early parts of practice belonged to the Dolphins offense. Later in the morning the defense began to respond and make plays, such as a nice tip-interception from defensive lineman William Hayes.
Fellow lineman Ndamukong Suh and Andre Branch had sacks on consecutive plays, with Suh also forcing a fumble.
Defensive backs Alterraun Verner and Torry McTyer made nice plays in the secondary to break up passes.
Verner has been quietly impressing since being signed early in training camp and McTyer has come on strong of late as well.
Following practice the Dolphins made several players and head coach Adam Gase available to the media.
Here are some of the best quotes from each:
“We’re just trying to slowly get [LB Rey Maualuga] going in individual [drills]. We’ve got a workout plan for him. He’s been doing a lot of work with [Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Dave] Puloka. We’ll see how he feels tonight and tomorrow and then if we can get him some reps [against Minnesota], that would be great.”
“The more experience you get, the better you’re going to get at those types of things, where I think early in his career was more about that firmer ball down the field, more on a line, and now he knows what type of ball to throw. So he’s gotten really good at it and he’s had a lot of experiences with some bigger guys that he’s been able to make more of the touch throws down the field [with].”
“That’s hard for me to say [how many roster spots are up for grabs]. We’ll get together on this over the next few days and start talking the beginning stages of what our numbers are and where we have to make decisions. We wanted to make sure we gave a full four games to do our evaluation and we have plenty of time afterwards.”
“[Laremy Tunsil has] been good in practice. I know he was really frustrated last week. It’s rare for him to get beat in a game. He’s finally back at a position that he loves playing. When you have a guy that athletic and who has the ability to have … His awareness is really good. I felt like he had a good camp. I just want him to keep getting better and keep getting comfortable with Jay [Cutler] back there. It’s different. Guys move differently.”
“[The trade rumor] came across and a few people sent it to me, but Coach Gase did an amazing job. He called me in and he just talked to me, explained to me the situation and everything that’s going on and that that’s false, and that’s all I really needed to hear from him. We’ve been working ever since.”
“[Coach Gase] understands pretty much each and every situation and he’s had the opportunity to go through this with Julius [Thomas] in Denver, ‘Bay-Bay’ [Demaryius Thomas], Emmanuel Sanders – a lot of different guys. Obviously [they are] different situations, but he’s just taking it out of himself to come down and talk to me and really clear my head about the whole issue.”
“This is the game I love. Obviously [contract negotiations are] something that comes with it; but at the same time, I’m not going to rush guys’ timing. Whenever it happens, it happens for me, and that’s what I believe in, that’s what I have faith in and that’s what I have trust in. I’ll just leave it in God’s hands.”
“[Jay Cutler’s] ability to come out here and pick up everything so fast [has been a pleasant surprise]. Again, he’s been in an offense. So for him to come out here and hit DeVante [Parker] on the long ball here in the 2-minute [drill]. [He’s] still hooking up with me, myself, Kenny [Stills], Julius [Thomas], just forming that chemistry that we need going into the season. It’s a big shout out to him for that.”
“I feel like this is my best preseason, training camp, everything. I’ve been sticking to the grind.”
“I’m just playing harder, honestly. Everything’s just coming together. Everything’s a lot slower.”
“I’d say the best thing about our [defensive lineman] room is that we’re keeping the same guys in there – the same core guys. We know how each other plays. We brought on some great rookies that should help us out, and we should continue from what we did last year, just a little bit better.”
“[Coach Gase] talks to people. He gets to know his players. You want to play for him. You want to work hard for him. You don’t want to let him down and he shows us love. Nobody practices in this heat like we do and you see this week we’re here in the bubble. He’s not taking it easy on us. We’re getting our work done, but he’s giving us that little extra motivation. He’s giving us a bonus, so we’re going to work hard for him.”
“[Defensive coordinator Matt Burke is] the same way [as Coach Gase]. He’s a player’s coach. He listens to us. We listen to him. He’s open to ideas. He communicates well. He gets angry, but he understands where we all are coming from. I wouldn’t say the age thing is in there, but he’s a young guy too. I feel like we just relate to him really well.”
“Competition in every room is a great thing. It brings the best out of everybody. You can’t have a letdown in practice. You can’t have a letdown in a game. Especially in our room, we have a high standard for everybody. Any spot can be taken at any point.”
“[This defensive line is] probably one of the most talented groups that I’ve been with. We’ve just got to continue to work and work and work so we can become one of the best to play this game. You’ve got all the pieces. It can be scary if we all start hitting on the same page.”
“If you’re getting blocked and you can’t get off the line, you might as well go ahead and throw your hand up. I’m just real big on trying to do all I can. I figured I wasn’t going to get to the quarterback, so I try to be an extra pass defender and get my hands up and try to knock the ball down.”
“I think it was good [how Jordan Phillips responded to being moved to the second team]. I feel it made him compete a little harder and he had to earn his spot back. That’s what this league is about. Every day, it’s a ‘prove yourself’ business. Since then, he has been coming out, he’s a totally different football player. [He is] working a lot harder and just grinding, and I can appreciate that.”
“We’ve got Cam Wake here. (laughter) I can assure you I’ll be on the sideline [on] third down cheering, and I don’t have a problem doing it.”
“[Coach Gase is] relatable. He wants the same thing we want. Everybody wants to win. He has a good spirit about him. He’s a player’s coach, but he’s also a discipline coach. He’s not taking that from nobody. That’s what separates him from really any other coach I’ve had where he has been really, really, really structured, like really structured. At the end of the day, he lets us do what we want to do. He lets us play the game we want to play. He doesn’t have but so many rules.”
“I’m not trying to hold back no secrets [from the younger guys]. Anything I know, I try to give it to them. When I first got to the league, I had Jevon Kearse and Kyle Vanden Bosch. They took me under their wing, so I plan on doing the same thing. [If I’m] holding back a secret [it] isn’t going to help us get better as a unit. If anything, I can tell a guy that can help him out. I’ll give him all the advice I possibly can.”
“[Defensive coordinator Matt Burke is] just passionate about trying to push yourself to the limits. That’s what you can appreciate about him. You know every week he’s going to give you his best game plan. He’s going to give you his best foot forward. That’s what I appreciate about him.”