DAVIE — The Dolphins were full of anticipation for Ryan Tannehill’s return to the practice field, and he has not disappointed.
After six Organized Team Activities practices, coaches and teammates have been impressed by his command of the offense and mobility. He looks good as ever, maybe better, as he progresses toward his comeback season.
“He’s looking great in practice,” quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree said this week. “He was moving around (Thursday) in two-minute drill, which was our first day… He was making some plays, unscheduled plays like we expect him to do, an athletic quarterback. He’s looking good.”
Offensive and defensive players have given Tannehill positive reviews during the first two weeks of OTAs, and a couple of them have pointed out that it’s not just the plays he makes. His leadership, including firing back at the defense when it starts talking trash, has been refreshing after his extended layoff.
Tannehill has not played a game since December 2016 and had not practiced since his left knee gave out in training camp last August. He strung together some of his best games late in the 2016 season, his first one working with Adam Gase, and looked poised for a breakout year when he shined in OTAs last spring.
The Dolphins never got to see the results of that progress. Instead, they turned to Jay Cutler as their starter last year with spot appearances by backups Matt Moore and David Fales.
To Tannehill’s credit, he continued to stay fully involved in the offense. He was at practices, in meetings and had an earpiece on the sideline while standing next to Gase during games last year. That helped him continue to develop his grasp of the offense despite not playing, and that experience has shown already in OTAs.
“It just helps you make quicker decisions,” Hardegree said. “The big thing at the quarterback position is being able to play fast and think less, and just go out and react… We’re rolling, trying to play fast and he’s doing a really good job of that.”
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