Seldom is there as much urgency surrounding the NFL preseason as the Dolphins are placing on their own, paricularly on the offensive side of the football.
Chris Perkins for the Sun-Sentinel reports Dolphins head coach plans to give his starters a long look against the Cowboys on Friday, although that’s not necessarily unusual. Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen describing the work in two upcoming exhibition games as “huge,” on the other hand, is putting a lot of emphasis on what is often described as meaningless football.
Ryan Tannehill took Christensen’s assessment one step further. The fifth-year quarterback says it’s “now or never” for the offense to reach its potential in the next two weeks, before the club begins preparing for its regular season opener in September.
“It’s time to go,” Tannehill said, via Adam H. Beasley for the Miami Herald. “I think we feel that urgency. This week has been a good week for us. I think we got a lot better.”
“I saw some great strides from the offensive line the past couple of days, just protecting and giving me time to get the ball out, and guys are winning downfield. We still have a lot of work to do but I think we’re headed in the right direction. The past couple of days, we’ve seen some great strides.”
If Tannehill is overstating the situation, it might be a result of the perennially disappointing growth of the offense during his tenure. Last season, Miami ranked 26th in the NFL in yardage and 27th in scoring, which no doubt prompted the hiring of Adam Gase as head coach.
Even if Tannehill and the offense come out firing on all cylinders these next two weeks, it could have little impact on how 2016 plays out. Opposing defenses aren’t necessarily game-planning for Gase’s schemes or Miami’s weapons right now, or even playing all of their starters, which can lead to misleading results.
Regardless, the Dolphins are approaching these games as if they are super important, which isn’t entirely untrue when installing a new offense. To the extent that whatever Tannehill’s group manages to accomplish in the preseason will signal an offensive renaissance in Miami, that part remains to be seen.