Midway through Phase Two of the offseason program, Head Coach Adam Gase is pleased with what he has seen from his veterans so far this spring.
That certainly applies to quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Gase said that Tannehill clearly has some steps to go through as he returns from a knee injury that cost him the entire 2017 season, but he likes the early signs he has seen at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University.
"I haven't seen a change," Gase said Thursday. "I've seen a guy that's very confident. I know he's excited to get back out there. I know us as coaches, we're excited to have him out there. It's just very smooth with the operation that we've been able to do as far as what we're doing in practice or those throwing sessions.
"It just feels smooth. He has a great relationship with all those guys to where he communication is at a high level right now. He looks good to me, but at the same time he still has to go through all those steps with the doctors, with our trainers. We're just going through kind of the process of it all right now."
Backup QB question: The Dolphins currently have four quarterbacks on their roster, and Gase made it clear he has no intention of looking outside to bring in somebody else. Also expect an open competition for the backup job behind Tannehill. "There's a lot of confidence as far as the guys that we have here right now," Gase said. "That's going to be an interesting competition. We'll see how it all works out for us." Gase said the idea of signing Brock Osweiler, who he coached in Denver, was brought up early in free agency but he wanted to make sure it was a good fit before moving forward with that idea. The other quarterbacks on the roster are David Fales and Bryce Petty, who was claimed off waivers from the New York Jets last week. Gase said he was happy Fales got a chance to play in the 2017 regular season finale against the Buffalo Bills. "I was impressed with some of the things he did in that game," Gase said.
No McDonald move: While there has been media speculation that safety T.J. McDonald could be moved to linebacker after the selection of Minkah Fitzaptrick in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, Gase said Thursday that McDonald isn't moving anwhere. "T.J. is playing safety," Gase said without hesitation, "and if we have to make adjustments somewhere … he's not moving to linebacker. He's going to be a safety and then we're going to figure out a way to get our best 11 players on the field. How it all plays out, I can't tell you right now."
Rookie camp: As he did in his first two years as Dolphins head coach, Gase will use the rookie minicamp this weekend as an introduction to NFL life and how the team wants things done. Among the items on the agenda for the eight draft picks and the undrafted free agents will be discussions on football of course, but also on dealing with the media, how coaches want to run individual drills, nutrition and strength and conditioning. "Their job coming in this weekend is to kind of get used to the format of how we do things," Gase said. "We've had success doing it this way with our young guys. We want to make it so when they walk out there with the veterans, they're not lost; they understand how we want things done."
Stills story: Kenny Stills had the most receptions in 2017 of any returning Dolphins player, but Gase hesitated to classify him as the team's No. 1 receiver — simply because he doesn't like putting that designation on anyone. Gase did say Stills, who has 58 receptions last season, has emerged as a leader on the team. "Do I think he's the leader of that room? Yes," Gase said. "He's one of those guys that others look up to." Gase said that Stills has room for improvement as a receiver, but added, "He's a guy that creates explosive plays. He's a game-changer."