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Head Coach Adam Gase addressed the media on the first day of the rookie minicamp, but a lot of the questions he answered dealt more with veteran players.
Among those was the status of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his recovery from the knee injury that cut short his 2016 season.
“He looks normal to me,” Gase said. “He just looks like he did last year. The difference is he’s got a better grasp of the offense at this point compared to last year. He moves around fine. He’s got a good edge that I like to him right now. You can tell that he wasn’t real happy about getting hurt last year. I like the way he’s working right now, and we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing. I know he’s really trying to make sure that he’s one of the reasons that we’re taking the next step. He’s really been pushing himself.”
Gase also talked about what the arrival of tight end Julius Thomas could do for the offense.
Thomas, acquired in a March trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, earned a Pro Bowl invitation in his two seasons (2013-14) with Gase as his offensive coordinator when the two were with the Denver Broncos.
“Anytime you have a tight end that can really cause issues in the passing game, especially down the middle of the field, it benefits the run game and the other players on the field,” Gase said. “Anytime you can single a guy up and there’s a matchup problem, whether it’s a safety or linebacker on him, if he can win, it’s a big-time issue (for the defense). We had a lot of success doing that. Teams quit doing that against us and the next thing you know they’re playing cover two or some kind of quarters and then we start running the ball, next thing you know you’ve got an 1,100-yard back that nobody thinks can run the ball.”
“We’ll go through the process and see what happens,” Gase said. “It’s hard for me to say who’s playing where. I know they’re all going to play linebacker. That’s the best I can give you right now. We’ll figure it out as we go. We’re going through our meetings with the vets and then once the rookies kind of come back, then we can figure out where everybody is going to be at and who fits best where and who’s going to play where in base compared to sub. There’s just a lot of moving pieces we’ve got to kind of figure out.”
Back to the offense, Gase also discussed the progress and expectations for tackle Ja’Wuan James, on whom the Dolphins picked up the fifth-year option this week.
“Where we were at, at the beginning of the season, and as we moved along, I think he’s done a good job of trying to head in the direction we need him to head,” Gase said. “I still think we have a lot of room to where we can help him, and I think there are some things that he can help himself on. There are still big strides for him to make. I don’t think we’re even close to where his ceiling is. I don’t even think we’ve even come close to reaching it. I see a guy that’s really coming every day and he has a little bit a different look to him trying to do what we’re asking him to do. … If we can get him better, that’s going to be real beneficial to the entire line.” <B