Veteran coach Jim Caldwell remains very much in the minds of the Dolphins offensive coaches after taking a leave of absence, but there's plenty of confidence they have what it takes to get the offense ready for the start of the regular season.
The Dolphins announced in mid-July that Caldwell, the longtime NFL head coach who had been hired as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach, would have to step aside to deal with health issues, though he would remain with the organization as a consultant.
"Certainly, we miss Jim Caldwell," offensive coordinator Chad O'Shea said after practice Sunday. "He's a wonderful coach, and an even better human being. We miss him as a person and he is a valuable member of our staff. But one of the great things about our staff is we have a lot of experience on the offensive staff. We're going to use the entire staff in different roles in different ways, and use their strengths because we certainly have a strong staff, and I really look forward working with all those guys."
Head Coach Brian Flores said at the start of training camp that every coach on the offensive staff would be asked to do a little more to make up for the absence of Caldwell.
One of those coaches is assistant QB coach Jerry Schuplinski.
"The good thing about working with Jim for four months together is we built a great relationship," Schuplinski said. "He's someone that I really respect on a personal level and then getting to work with him has been really good. I think we were kind of working together as a unit anyway, which has been really beneficial to us. As sad as we are not to have him here right now, I think we just kind of took it as business as usual minus one guy. I wish he was here, but that's just the case."
"When you have the staff that we do in place," O'Shea said, "they have a lot of experience with different positions, and they're able to work and cross-work with different positions. Again, we're very fortunate to have a strong coaching staff, one that I enjoy working with every day. We certainly miss Jim and think about him often, but we feel real good about the staff we have in place and the ability to coach the players we do."
While there are decisions to be made at every position on the offensive side, and much work remains to be done, the focus not surprisingly has been and will continue to be on the quarterback position.
Flores said he was not in a rush to decide on a starting quarterback.
"I think the quarterback competition has been competitive," O'Shea said. "We've asked both of those guys to come in and improve daily. I believe that we have. There's areas that they both need to improve in. There's areas where they've done really well in. So, I think right now, it's competitive.
"Right now, all positions are competitive on our roster. I don't think anything right now is set in stone. There's no starters. There really aren't. There's a lot of players that are working for roles on the team, and we've asked the players to do whatever's best for the team. They've done that. They've worked hard and done what we've asked them to do (have)."