Miami Dolphins planning more up-tempo, no-huddle offense

Ryan Tannehill plans to play this season wearing the brace on his left knee. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

DAVIE — The Miami Dolphins tried to go with coach Adam Gase’s preferred up-tempo, no-huddle offense at the start of last season, but the team wasn’t ready for it.

Now Miami feels it’s ready to re-launch the high-octane offense again.

“I think last year we were trying to do the no-huddle but struggled with speed,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Tuesday. “As far as communicating quickly. And this year we’ve put a lot of emphasis on that. We are communicating quickly. And clearly. And get up and go. From OTA 1 to now we’ve seen a big increase. Last year we got away from the no-huddle in Week 4 or 5. Hopefully we can keep that going throughout this year and put pressure on defenses.”

Gase has repeatedly mentioned the need for Miami to have more offensive plays in 2017.

“Every week can be a different theme,” Gase said. “As you go through training camp you try to figure out who you’re going to become during the season. Last year we obviously found out that it can change midway through the season. It’s an evolving process. You just try to set yourself up to when you have some kind of identity of what you really want to become.”

When the Dolphins offense found success last season it was because the team began to huddle and focus more on more carries for grinding running back Jay Ajayi.

But Ajayi, who operated in an up-tempo offense at Boise State, realizes the advantages that having the ability to go faster can create for an offense.

“We want to be able to dictate the tempo of the game, whether that’s doing it in no-huddle and using that to our advantage or using the weather to our advantage out here and really putting teams on their toes,” Ajayi said. “We want to be able to do that. Also, us huddling up, being able to do all our checks and balances and everything and being able to pick defenses apart that way as well. That’s why right now we’re really focusing on the details and being able to know the ins and outs of each style of game and being able to execute at a high level doing both.”

Gase noted that practicing faster more often is preparing the team to be able to operate more smoothly at the start of the season. But there must be more first downs in 2017, or the strategy will be scrapped again.

“It doesn’t do us any good if you go out there and keep going three-and-out, three-and-out,” Gase said. “If they’re constantly on the field and it’s lopsided play-wise to where there are 40 defensive plays and 15 offensive plays and then you get in the fourth quarter and you’re back in it but your guys are dead tired and its hard for them to stop anybody. That’s where we put ourselves in some bad situations last year.”

Tannehill is excited about the possibilities, but understands why the plan was altered last season.

“We didn’t know as an offense all of the details we needed to do to make it happen,” he said. “We were able to do it but we weren’t doing it quickly. And if you’re not doing it quickly you might as well huddle. And give everyone some time to think about it. The whole point of the no huddle is to keep the pressure on the defense. If you’re allowing defensive linemen to sub in and sub out and not keeping that heat on them then you might as well just huddle. So I think that’s kind of what we hit last year.”

Receiver Kenny Stills believes the team can execute a faster tempo this season. Most of the team’s offensive players, of course, are now in their second season of the Gase system.

“Guys are more comfortable,” Stills said. “We can play fast.”

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