Devlin Making The Most Of His Chances

Posted Aug 28, 2012

Lost in the buzz surrounding the competition for the starting quarterback job on the Miami Dolphins was the training camp second-year quarterback Pat Devlin put together. Thanks to HBO, that is no longer a secret.

Devlin has done nothing but continue to impress Head Coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, assistant quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor and his teammates. Signed as an undrafted free agent last year out of Delaware, the soft-spoken Pennsylvania native absorbed the new offense quickly from the moment he was introduced to it back in April and that along with his rookie experience has paid dividends on the practice field.

“In the offseason I was able to reflect on everything that happened and just kind of prepared myself for what it was going to be like this year,” said Devlin, who has completed 22-of-37 passes for 183 yards, one touchdown and one interception thus far in the preseason. “I think just taking those experiences and being able to grow and being able to progress as a player mentally and physically, I think that really helped.”

During last week’s third episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Miami Dolphins,” Devlin was featured prominently. Running back Reggie Bush was caught on camera during one practice saying to Matt Moore, “Devlin’s fired up,” and tight ends coach Dan Campbell compared Devlin to a young Tony Romo, having been on the Cowboys’ coaching staff to witness Romo’s development up close.

The fourth quarter of Miami’s second preseason game at the Carolina Panthers was Devlin’s time to shine against a live opponent and he was up to the task, coming within one play of pulling out a comeback victory. With his team trailing 23-10, Devlin engineered a 12-play, 86-yard scoring drive and capped it off with a 6-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Rishard Matthews.

Devlin got the ball back with 1:52 left at midfield and drove the Dolphins into the red zone, converting a 4th-and-10 with a 12-yard pass to Matthews. But with four seconds left he was picked off in the end zone trying to fit a pass into a tight window for rookie wide receiver Jeff Fuller, a throw he admits he’d like to have back. He did not get into last Friday’s game against Atlanta but is expected to see a lot of playing time Wednesday night in Dallas against the Cowboys.

“Pat’s made a lot of improvement, there’s no doubt about it, since April 10th,” Philbin said. “He’s a very bright individual, very hard working, and he’s made steady progress throughout the course of the OTAs, and training camp and some of the preseason games. So yeah it will be good to see him play a little bit here on Wednesday night.”

At the beginning of training camp when there were four quarterbacks in the room, all eyes were on the other three – Moore, rookie Ryan Tannehill and veteran free agent David Garrard. Devlin’s reps were limited in practice until Garrard suffered a knee injury just before the first preseason game, and then he jumped back into the mix.

Tannehill was designated the winner of the quarterback competition two days after the Carolina game and Moore was named the backup, but Devlin’s approach to the competition and his earned him the respect of everyone involved. To Devlin, he was just doing what he’s always done going back to the beginning of his college career at Penn State and continuing at Delaware after he transferred.

“From the beginning it was my job to just be ready whenever they put me in there,” Devlin said. “I think I just have to have that mind frame from here on out and I think that enables me to play better. Right now my focus is Dallas. They do a lot of things on defense and they have a lot of good players, young and old. So they’ll be a challenge for us up front and I think the secondary will challenge us as well. When I get out there I’ve just got to let it go. I can’t worry about when I get in, how many I’m going to get. I just need to play my game, make smart decisions and everything will take care of itself.”
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