Monday 1 p.m.: ESPN's Todd McShay said today he rates UM junior Brad Kaaya second among all QBs who will be draft-eligible next spring, behind only Clemson's Deshaun Watson.
McShay's take: "Kaaya is listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, so he'll need to add some bulk and strength to his frame. But he can really excel in a precision/timing-based offense. Decisive with his full-field reads, Kaaya showed very good accuracy on short-to-intermediate throws and consistently made good pre-snap decisions."
LOTS OF DOLPHINS
Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said Monday that the starters will play more in Friday’s second preseason game against Dallas, that the team would like to know its starting offensive line before the third preseason game and that his entire offense simply must get better. And quickly.
“We are going to play our guys a little bit more [in game 2]," Christensen said. "Coach Gase said 'We are going to play them.' When he’s seen enough, then we’ll put them out. I’m excited about that. We’ll get a chance to look at guys play a little bit more, get in a little bit more of a groove.”
Christensen made clear today that he expects more from Ryan Tannehill (especially in getting the ball out more quickly), his offensive line, his tight ends (not enough impactful plays) and his receivers (in terms of beating man coverage).
Here’s what Christensen had to say:
• Has the offensive line met your or the team’s standards? “Probably not yet. These next two weeks, everything should speed up. We should play better. We have to protect our quarterback better. We have got to run it better. We got to throw and catch it better. These next two weeks, if we don’t see some big improvements, then we better get a little bit nervous. We should see some big improvement these next two weeks.”
• Do you have a sense who starting guards will be Sept. 11? “I don’t. I’m kind of making sure I don’t. At the end of this [Dallas] game, we have to start thinking about it a little bit because the third game is when we’re trying to play the starters a good chunk, and the fourth game is kind of a wash. I do think coming out of this game we got to start funneling the thing down and getting a lineup and giving them a chance to play together.”
Dallas Thomas, as usual, started and ended team drills as the starting left guard, with Billy Turner at right guard. But Laremy Tunsil also got some first-team work at left guard, with Jermon Bushrod at right guard. Thomas also got some right guard snaps.
• Are you confident you will emerge with a good offensive line? “I am confident. I am extremely confident we are going to end up not only with a good offensive line but a deep one. I think we are going to end up pretty good. I think we’re going to have more guys than you usually have at this point. You’re always nervous about left tackles. We’ve got them stacked on top of each other. So that’s a luxury and I believe we’ll end up being a really good offensive line and deep.”
• Why has your group sputtered to extent you have? “Knowledge and too much thinking. We’ve given them a lot to think about. That slows folks down. We look like a team that’s kind of thinking and making sure we’re trying to do the right thing. Once you know and you don’t have to think about how to get lined up, and what the play is, now you can go do it faster. We’re challenging them, these two weeks, that ought to start showing up. Stuff ought to look sharper. We ought to beat man coverage better. And we ought to do everything better and faster.”
• What did Isaiah Pead show you Friday in gaining 50 yards on 10 carries? “Pead has been extremely impressive all through the offseason and all through training camp and he’s stayed healthy and he’s doing a good job on special teams. I don’t think anything is set. We’ve got to turn some question marks into exclamation points.”
“Pead has been extremely impressive. DT [Daniel Thomas] was extremely impressive in the fourth quarter. DT stayed healthy through the camp. Special teams will have a lot to do with those positions. There are going to be hard decisions there.”
• Is Tannehill getting ball out as quickly as you want? “No. I don’t think anything is as quick as we want. Nothing – the protection, the run game, the pass game, the routes, nothing is as quick as we want. That has to all speed up if we want to get where we want to go. Especially the up-tempo and some of those things all have to become second nature. I hope in the next two weeks, we start seeing the results.”
• Is doing everything more quickly as simple as repetition? “It’s knowing what you’re doing and it should be the technique stuff. Beating man coverage takes some time. It’s hard to do. Blocking them one on one. Pass protecting one on one, all those things that I think probably the defense is ahead of us right now. We have to catch up and be good at it.”
• How tough is it to judge Tannehill? “He played seven snaps, got hit a little bit. When we did protect it up, we had some miscues. And quarterbacks made their miscues. It’s hard to evaluate a lot of things until things start hitting right. That’s what the preseason is for. Get some combinations, find some guys who can do it.”
• What about Miami's talent? How good is this team’s offensive talent? “It’s hard to judge it until we see them go fast. It’s premature to do it until we give them a chance of hey, now I know what I’m doing. Let’s see what we can do… today, third down wasn’t very good. That’s where it shows up. We come out of this game and get a great evaluation. Now we got to start making some decisions. Guys got to make some plays and show what they can do. That’s what these next two weeks are for. Fourth preseason game will be kind of getting ready for opening day. These are two huge weeks for the offense, personnel wise, schematically in every way.”
• Has Jakeem Grant done enough to create a package for him? “I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s on his way… that every time he goes in there something good happens. Brandon Doughty as a third quarterback has been that way. Those guys aren’t very pretty but they both have an ability to run a wrong route and converts a third down. Or make a wrong read and we get a completion. That’s a good ability to have but we have to fine tune it and corral it.
"He [Grant] has shown he’s a playmaking guy. Every practice we’ve put him in since we’ve been here, he’s made something happen. That’s this league. In this league, you’ve got to get some big plays out of people. When you have that ability, that’s a great trait to have, when everytime you go in there, something big happens.”
• What about your tight ends. Why no more activity or production?
“We had a couple shots in the game. We dropped a ball that should have been a 20-yard plus play. Of every position, the tight end position is the most learning. They have to know the protection, they have to know the run game, they have to know the pass game. They will be the last ones who the speed I'm talking about shows up where it just becomes natural. They’re out wide, they’re in the slot, they’re part of the run unit, they’re in the backfield as a protector. Their's will be the slowest. We need some big plays out of that room. We know that, that’s where your matchups are on third down. They’ve got to win and we’ve got to have some good stuff for them. We’re not there yet.”
• The Dolphins practiced for about 15 minutes in driving rain today. How did the offense look?
“We didn’t look good enough. I was disappointed. We’re going to play in some rain games. That was great work for us. We need wet balls and we fumbled a couple snaps and that’s unacceptable but as a coach I’m glad it came up where we can address it. We had too many fumbled snaps and operation issues in the ball game. That can’t happen. We needed that wet day. We needed some of that. Like to tell you we were way ahead of the game and we’re not. We got to clean that up.”
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