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I Said It: OTAs Day Eight

Posted Jun 12, 2018

Head Coach Adam Gase, running back Kalen Ballage, defensive tackle Akeem Spence, linebacker Jerome Baker and safety Walt Aikens addressed the media after the OTA practice Tuesday. Here were some comments that stood out, along with some perspective:

“He worked hard to come back, been very productive this spring.”

— Gase described wide receiver Isaiah Ford’s return from a knee injury that cost him his entire 2017 season. Ford had been showing promise as a rookie seventh-round pick last summer before his season ended prematurely. Ford is one of many talented young wide receivers on the Dolphins roster.

“When he gets moving down the field, it’s impressive to see because the speed increases very quickly.”

— Gase liked the downfield ability of rookie tight end Mike Gesicki, who had a strong day at practice Tuesday. Gesicki put up impressive numbers at Penn State before coming to the Dolphins as a second-round pick and the hope is he can make an impact in the passing game.

“I’m learning the playbook pretty well, but now it’s focusing on the details.”

— Baker is in the same situation as every Dolphins rookie trying to absorb a lot of information quickly before going out to practice and putting that information to use.

“I‘m known for coverage, but I feel I can do everything you ask me to do.”

— Baker, the third-round pick from Ohio State, is looking to show Dolphins coaches he’s a well-rounded linebacker who can help in every situation. Baker’s speed is what stands out about his game, but he considers himself a complete linebacker.

“I felt like it was the best way to give back, me going back to these local communities and showing these kids that no matter where you are or where you’re from, you can always make it.”

— Aikens talked about his decision to become a national spokesman for the The National Association of Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL), pointing to his participation in the program as a child in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“This is home. Any other team was just a second option at that point.”

— Aikens talked about his decision to re-sign with the Dolphins after he became an unrestricted free agent in the spring. Aikens will be heading into his fifth season with the Dolphins in 2018.

“There’s nothing I don’t like about it. It’s a nice offense to play in, for sure.”

— Ballage has been trying to learn the playbook like every other rookie, but the fourth-round pick from Arizona State has liked what he’s seen so far.

“When I catch the ball, I want to make a difference in the passing game.”

— The offense makes good use of the receiving skills of running backs, and that’s something Ballage clearly can contribute to the Dolphins. Ballage has shown good hands in the practices open to the media; he also had 62 catches for Arizona State the past two seasons.

“I’m a quick-twitch guy, I get up the field, make plays in the backfield.”

— Spence, who addressed the media for the first time since he was acquired in a trade with the Detroit Lions in early May, provided a scouting report on himself. Spence came to the Dolphins with 41 starts in five NFL seasons, including 11 starts for the Lions in 2017.

“Coach Kris, he’s all about ball. Next to his wife, it’s football. Everything he says, he means well.”

— Spence has been reunited in Miami with his former defensive line coach in Detroit, Kris Kocurek. “Coach Kris,” as Spence referred to him, has quickly gained a reputation for his intensity and Spence provided some insight as to what its origins might be.