The Dolphins may be no closer to naming a starter quarterback on Friday, but they’ll definitely be naming a leader in the pre-training camp clubhouse.
Coach Joe Philbin explained after the conclusion of this week’s three-day minicamp that the coaching staff will convene Friday to create a master hierarchy of all players, at every position.
“[W]e have a staff meeting at 9:30 in the morning and we’re going to rank these 1-45 on each side of the ball,” Philbin said, via quotes distributed by the team. “We’re going to rank each position 1-12, or however many players there are at each position. We’re going to do all that stuff and I would caution to say that we haven’t been in pads yet and we are still learning, but we obviously have a body of work now to make some evaluations. How accurate we can be remains to be seen.”
Since the practices so far have not involved pads, the assessments may not be very accurate.
“We’ll have better information with pads and games, but we certainly have a sense and we are going to do our diligence,” Philbin said. “It’s going to be fun. We did that after the first minicamp when we had five practices with these guys. We ranked the whole team by positions and on special teams, and we’ll do the same thing now. It’s kind of the fun part, because it’s interesting to see what guys have made progress and what guys have slipped a little bit, where we are strong personnel wise and where we may need a booster shot here and there. That’s all part of the evaluation process.”
Rookie Ryan Tannehill, the eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft, got his turn as the starting quarterback during Thursday’s minicamp session, and Philbin’s assessment was neither glowing nor glaring.
“I thought he threw a couple real nice balls, specifically a vertical ball down the middle of the field where I thought he had good location and velocity on it,” Philbin said of Tannehill. “I thought he made a couple of good adjustments in the protection in terms of good recognition of the pressure and where it was coming from, getting the line and backs squared away in terms of identification. I thought there were a lot of good things. Obviously there were some things; we can’t throw an interception in a two-minute drill, so we have to have better awareness on that and the route running as well. There was a little too much double catching out there, and I didn’t think our awareness in the passing game from an offensive standpoint was very good. . . . [On Wednesday Tannehill] threw a bad ball into traffic with three or four guys, he threw a bad ball, and you can’t do that.”
One dynamic that will impact the accuracy of the full ranking to be made on Friday will be the things players do — or don’t do — during their time off before the launch of training camp. “[W]e’re relying on the integrity of these guys, because to be a professional, you can’t take four and a half weeks off and be great at something,” Philbin said. “It’s all voluntary and we’re not going to be here coaching them up, but we hope that these guys stay at their task and work at their profession.”
Whether and to what extent they do will show once the show up for training camp, and then the real work will start — just as the cameras and microphones arrive to show the best (and worst) parts to a nationwide audience on HBO.