DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The big news coming out of Miami Dolphins camp on Thursday was the injury suffered by starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Fortunately for the Dolphins, it looks like Tannehill is going to be ok as an MRI revealed no structural damage.
The expectations surrounding Miami’s offense are higher than they have been in quite some time.
The Dolphins have talented playmakers at all the skill positions, from the running backs (Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake, Damien Williams), to the tight ends (Julius Thomas, Anthony Fasano) to the wide receivers (Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills).
On Thursday the team made several members of its offensive coaching staff available to the media.
Here are some of the best quotes from each:
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CLYDE CHRISTENSEN
“I think Damien [Williams] gives us a really solid backup [running back]. I think Kenyan [Drake] continues to push forward and get better. He has a chance to be a really, really good back in this league. He’s explosive. They’re getting a ton of reps. They’re really good special teams players. I think we got a deep room there, especially when Jay [Ajayi] is healthy and rolling. That’s a deep room.”
“[Left tackle Laremy Tunsil] has been solid. He hasn’t been perfect, but I think he looks at home there. I think he is what we all thought he was, and he has a chance to be really good. He has had some ups and downs. This defensive line, it’s really good practice for him going against this defensive line. We get good work on these guys. We haven’t handled them well, but I think there’ll be some benefit down the road that we’ll get better and better and better, and then all of a sudden hopefully when the game comes, we won’t see any tougher situations than we’re seeing even in practice.”
“We just got to get the quarterbacks with a good feel for what [Julius Thomas] does well. Where does he like the ball? Is it over the top? Is it back shoulder? Is it a jump ball? What does he like? I think it’s more the quarterbacks feeling Julius out than … Adam [Gase] knows how to use him. He’s had him and they’ve had a lot of experience together. But the quarterbacks have to get the same thing. It doesn’t help that the head coach says, ‘Here’s what he does well.’ You’ve still got to get a feel for, how fast does it happen, when does it happen, where does he like the ball – those kind of things – how does he come off contact, all those things.”
OFFENSIVE LINE COACH CHRIS FOERSTER
“I love the guys we have. We have a great group of guys, a good group of guys returning from last year. They got a year [of] experience. We picked up a lot of guys midseason last year. When you look at Jake Brendel and Jesse Davis and some of the young guys you have coming on. You have [Anthony] Steen last year that was pushed into a starting role. Now he’s in more of a backup role and competing. You have guys that got playing time last year that will be starting, playing time last year that could be backing up. I feel real good about putting together a good group of guys. [There is] a lot of competition still to go. We’re just starting the evaluation process right now; but it’s a great group.”
“Laremy [Tunsil] is doing great. He’s doing an outstanding job. He missed a little bit last year by playing guard, but it did help him. It’s been a great transition the whole offseason. It’s like going back home. He played well at guard last year, but it was a whole different learning experience for him. This year, he’s back where he’s been his whole life.”
“All of those [backup centers] are doing an outstanding job. Obviously Mike Pouncey is a great player and we want Mike out there; but at every position, we have to have somebody ready to go if something goes wrong. The great thing is [Anthony] Steen played a lot of ball last year, [Kraig] Urbik played a lot of ball last year, Jake Brendel has come on and done an outstanding job last season and this season, and you even have Ted Larsen who can play center. We are well prepared and trying to be the best we can be prepared if indeed somebody else had to play center.”
QUARTERBACKS COACH BO HARDEGREE
“I think [Ryan Tannehill is] doing a great job just with communication with everybody. Everybody is on the same page. Everybody is in an open forum, so we’re all on the same page when we come out on the practice field. He’s having fun. That’s most important.”
“That’s the great thing about Year 2. You kind of find how these guys, when they’re coming out of breaks … Obviously you’d like everybody to be the same, but that’s why during the special teams period, these guys will come over and we’ll work on one or two routes and that way these guys can get their footwork right and kind of know those indicators to be on time with the ball.”
WIDE RECEIVERS COACH SHAWN JEFFERSON
“We have three talented receivers and the good thing about it is that they work. They work and they’re very smart too. You guys have seen in the spring how DeVante [Parker], his maturation has been outstanding, and he’s still progressing even through this training camp. I do have three good guys. We’ve just got to continue every day to put the work in and I think we’ll be fine.”
“He’ll be a monster. If he keeps progressing like we think he can, he’ll be invited to the ‘Monster Bowl’ after the season is over. His name is not DeVante; he’s a monster. So if he keeps performing like this he’ll get invited to the Monster Bowl after the season is over.
“Well I just think because when you see a guy like [DeVante Parker] with his talent, his movements, his lateral movement in his hips, and all [of those skills] like that, for a tall guy like that, DeVante has really loose hips. He runs well without the ball. So he has all of those things that you look for in a top-flight receiver. He has that ability to affect the game, i.e. [Miami’s win over the] L.A. Rams last year.”
“Hopefully we give [Kenny Stills] a lot more opportunities to catch more touchdown passes. He’s our deep threat guy and he’s also our leader, one of our leaders on the offense. So he’s done well for me. He’s a guy that I know is going to be in the right spot at the right time every single play.”
RUNNING BACKS COACH DANNY BARRETT
“The beauty about the running backs that we have is that I think they’re all three-down backs. You’re talking Kenyan [Drake] being one of those guys, Damien [Williams] being one of those guys as well, and obviously Jay [Ajayi] was working very hard this offseason and throughout camp to be the same thing. I’m in an enviable position as their coach, having a stable of guys that I feel good about. [I have] a lot of confidence in each guy when he gets on the football field.”
“Consistency more than anything else. It’s just [Kenyan Drake’s] overall consistency has been better. [He has been] more reliable, more dependable, being where he’s supposed to be – especially in our passing game – so the quarterbacks have a lot of confidence knowing that he’s going to be where he’s supposed to be.”
“The biggest thing for Damien [Williams] this year, from what I’ve seen from when he’s been back, even in the spring, is the leadership role for himself. Now in Year 4 for him, his second year in the offense, he has a lot of confidence in the things that we’re doing and just being a leader. One of the older guys in the room, you talk about being in his fourth year, he has really accepted that role and done a good job. Now, in the situation that we are in now, he’s the guy that is stepping up and taking control of the group and making sure guys do what they’re supposed to do.”