DAVIE — The Dolphins drafted Mike Gesicki in the second round because of his incredible athleticism.
It’s something quarterback Ryan Tannehill is excited about already.
“He’s flashed a couple of times,” Tannehill said Tuesday. “I think it was last week, he made a great one-handed catch down the sideline on a deep pass. He’s young; he’s learning. He’s going to take his bumps along the way, but he works really hard. He’s locked in and trying to get better each and every day, and that’s what we want. He has all of the talent and the athletic ability and once he catches up to knowing what we’re doing, he’s going to be a big weapon for us.”
Gesicki can make acrobatic plays. He can split the seam. He can be a threat in the red zone.
But sometimes Tannehill will need Gesicki to run a very precise short route in which he turns around and Tannehill has already released the ball. There is a trust factor that must develop between veteran and rookie.
On an excellent video feature recently produced by the Miami Dolphins social media team, a wired Tannehill literally runs the route for Gesicki, verbalizing exactly what he needs the rookie to do.
“Sell the takeoff,” Tannehill is telling Gesicki, as he demonstrates the route. “Once you get to eight, step in the ground. The ball should be in the air.”
After they run the play successfully, Tannehill tells Gesicki: “Good work. Keep doing it. You’re getting better each and every day. Have your notes on what you want to hit. Come out here and work on it. That’s what this time of year is for, to get better. A little bit better, each and every day. Keep it up.”
Replies Gesicki: “All right, boss. Appreciate you.”
Tannehill was, of course, a very successful wide receiver and quarterback at Texas A&M.
“I was nowhere near the route-runner that any of these guys are, so I can’t say that I can do it any better; but I have been in their shoes so to speak of feeling how a practice is, feeling how the heat affects you through a practice and can kind of relate a little bit,” Tannehill said. “As far as coaching guys up on what I’m expecting in routes, I think when you get in the first year of an offense, it’s a little tougher because you’re learning the offense yourself. You’re trying to understand what the coach wants, how you see it and how that blends together. As you move to Year 2 and Year 3, you can really take ownership of it and say ‘Okay, this is what I want. I need you to be right here at this time.’”
Rookies like Gesicki, Durham Smythe and Kalen Ballage will be leaning heavily on Tannehill. Production from the tight end position would be a nice help. Due to injuries and failure to live up expectations, tight ends Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas did not provide much of a threat for Tannehill over the past two seasons.
“Guys are going to have to come in and play well,” Tannehill said. “Like I said, accountability is huge – being in the right spot at the right time. We brought in some young guys who are really athletic. We have MarQueis Gray, who has done a good job for us. A.J. Derby is athletic on the outside. It’s really up in the air right now who’s going to come out of that group and really lead the group; but we have some veteran guys, we have some young guys. We’re expecting somebody to really step up and make big plays with us.”