ORLANDO — Laremy Tunsil may play in five Pro Bowls before his left tackle career is over, but any highlight videos will probably not include footage from the 2017 season.
“I saw a different side of him last year,” Gase said at the NFL owners meetings. “I saw a guy that started to notice that it’s not that easy. He went to work and he practiced hard and he was great in meetings. The way he was watching film and his development as a professional improved last year. I think he’s excited moving forward, getting (free agent guard) Josh (Sitton) in there and working with him, and to really be the guy that he’s wanted to be since he came out.”
Tunsil is a very agreeable, humble young man off the field.
It would serve Tunsil well to attack his work off the field more aggressively. And then to attack his opponent on the field more aggressively. That will be a charge for first-year offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn.
“There’s probably a lot of us sitting here that thought it would be an easy transition for (Tunsil),” Gase said. “It’s still left tackle in the NFL. I think it was tougher for him than what all of us anticipated; but I think at the same time, he felt the same way where there’s nothing easy about this.”
Last season, Tunsil acknowledged he needed to improve his practice habits. He also said that later in the season, he was able to think less about what he was doing and just react to the speed of the game.
After a solid rookie season at guard, Tunsil struggled some with the speed of some edge rushers. Tunsil allowed a few too many sacks, but also had too many pre-snap penalties. Those should decrease in his second season as an NFL starting tackle.
The Dolphins believe veteran Sitton is really going to help tutor Tunsil, in a way similar to Branden Albert did for Tunsil in 2016.
“I like where we’re at with our tackles right now. I think those two guys (Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James) are only going to become better with the guys that they’re playing with,” Gase said. “It will be interesting for us to watch. I like our depth. We’re just going to have to get that cohesiveness we need.”
Sitton said he’s on board with helping Tunsil any way he can.
The small things from a step here, a step there, an angle here, an angle there, watching the linebacker if he moves over a couple of feet,” Sitton said. “It’s really small detail things that you don’t think about as a young player because it’s such a difficult position… I’ll be able to help him with those things and help him grow as a pro and learn how to be a pro in this league.”