The Dolphins on Saturday made their coordinators available to the media for the first time since the NFL draft and here are some highlights from the availabilities:
Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen wasn't in the draft room when the Dolphins were on the clock during the draft. He watched on TV from his office at Dolphins camp. And as he saw offensive lineman Jeremy Tunsil drop, he started getting more and more interested.
"I was ecstatic," Christensen said. "It's always kind of a work weekend for me and I had it on and watching. And the further he dropped, it felt myself getting a knot in my stomach. And I'm thinking, 'don't get your hopes up, you know better than to do that. Don't get your hopes up, there's five [slots] to go.' And even when there was one spot away, I'm going, 'Someone's trading up, do not let yourself get your hopes up. You don't this before. It's no fun. You'll be disappointed.' And when it did happen, man, I couldn't believe it happened. What a great way to start the time here for the new staff and the franchise."
Why was Christensen so excited?
"Just because he's such a good player," he said. "He's a good athlete. He has a great disposition for an offensive lineman. He's been impressive in this camp with how he's attacked his learning. Even with the adversity, how he handled it, that could shipwreck you."
(I must say this: Tunsil was completely at ease during his presser today, which was a significant departure from the defensive, shellshocked kid that was introduced the day after the draft. Tunsil admitted his allergic reaction that day was because of mahi-mahi, which he says he's not be eating again.)
Christensen said the Dolphins thought Tunsil was "the best lineman in the draft."
Christensen says he's not in evaluation mode with quarterback Ryan Tannehill yet. "We're in a teach period," Christensen said. "Evaluation will come in training camp. Training camp we have to be able to apply this stuff."
Special teams coordinator is very excited about some of the rookies, particularly Jakeem Grant and Kenyan Drake as returners.
"Drake has actually played a lot of core teams as well," Rizzi said.
Both rookies will get the opportunity to be both punt and kick returners. Grant didn't do it in college games, but did it in practice all the time. Drake had a big kick return for Alabama in the national title game and will get a look-see on punts as well.
The past couple of years the Dolphins have felt a need to use starting receiver Jarvis Landry as both the punt and kick returner. Not optimal, considering Landry's increasing value as a receiver.
"I'm a big believer in collecting guys and having options and in the past years we haven't had as many options as we've wanted particularly in the return game," Rizzi said. "If he's our best option, then yes, [he's doing the jobs]. He'll be back there. I always use the Antonio Brown example. If he's the Pittsburgh Steeler best punt returner and one of the best receiver in the league and he's still back there returning punts and making game-changing plays.
"I'd like to think moving forward, guys like Grant and Drake and other guys we're bringing in are going to know be options for us and make the decision at the end, 'Can this guy do what we want?' Having more options for me and the football team in general is the best scenario."
With Grant and Drake onboard, there are no options. But, Rizzi said, if Landry is better than either or both, he probably continues returning kicks.
Incumbent kicker Andrew Franks doesn't have the job locked up for 2016.
We develop more options, that will make us more dangerous as a team," Rizzi said. "
Rizzi said Matt Darr "can be an elite NFL punter if he's not already. Some things Darr will be working on this year? Net punting, location, hang time.
Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said second round pick Xavien Howard will be competing for a starting job, but "I can't guarantee" he'll be a starter.
Joseph said Howard, 6-foot and 201 pounds, has size and movement. "He's a six-foot guy with 5-10 corner movement skills," Joseph said. "That's special."
Joseph realizes he didn't get but two players out of the draft -- Howard and fellow cornerback Jordan Lucas -- but he said he looks as the addition of Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell from a draft trade down with Philadelphia as major addition from this draft.
"We're fine," Joseph said. "It was a great team draft. Our team got better last weekend and that's a plus."
Interestingly, Joseph said neither Howard nor Lucas are awed by the jump to the NFL.
"It won't be too big for those two kids," Joseph said. "They want to come in and play. Most guys come in and they're wide-eyed. These two kids are not. They're ready for prime time."
Joseph says the team won't be certain about Cam Wake's status until training camp. He added, "my guess is he's ready to go Week One."
Wake is recovering from October 2015 surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles.
Joseph called middle linebacker Kiko Alonso a "long, tall MIKE backer with great instincts."
"He covers a bunch of ground, he has great eyes," Joseph said. "He's been a great leader in the huddle. And that's been surprising. He's been very vocal. And that's very good to see from him."