Take a drink this month every time someone uses the term “quarterback whisperer” when referring to Adam Gase. The Dolphins’ new coach comes into town with a reputation built on his ability to work with quarterbacks, some great, like Peyton Manning, and some not-always-so-great, like Jay Cutler, who looked revitalized last season with Gase as his coordinator. Now take a drink every time someone asks whether Ryan Tannehill will “take the next step.” It’s a repetitive talking point, but it’s the big question nonetheless: Will Gase’s guidance resonate with Tannehill, who has been simply unable to move forward as a QB? And if it doesn’t, is it time for the Dolphins to give up on the 27-year-old?
The Rookie: Laremy Tunsil’s incredibly bizarre draft night briefly took the conversation away from his extreme talent. That won’t be the case come training camp. Tunsil, who the Dolphins anticipate will be a staple of their offensive line for years to come, is expected to start at guard in 2016, but it still won’t be automatic—he took second-team reps in minicamp behind Dallas Thomas and will have to earn his snaps this summer.
Position Battle Spoilers: After allowing 31 passing touchdowns last year, Miami is in need of improvement at cornerback. Byron Maxwell will be a boost, but who’ll be starting on the other side? It’s going to come down to two youngsters: Xavien Howard is the Baylor product the Dolphins traded up to take in the second-round of this year’s draft; Tony Lippett is a former college receiver who saw special teams work during his rookie year in 2015 and has been transitioning into a corner role. Lippett has a year of pro experience on Howard, but he’s not a natural corner. Howard’s comfort level at the position (he had 93 total tackles and nine interceptions in his two full seasons), will ultimately give him the edge.
The Stat: 61.9%, Ryan Tannehill’s completion percentage in 2015 … and Ryan Tannehill’s average completion percentage over his four-year career. It’s the same old story with Tannehill. His progress is stagnant; his upward trajectory nonexistent. Gase was brought in to change that.
Preseason Watchability Guide: The Dolphins’ preseason slate isn’t particularly watchable, but a Week 2 road trip to Dallas will give us a few drives’ worth of Ndamukong Suh vs. that incredible Cowboys offensive line.