Adam Gase: Miami Dolphins’ Julius Thomas is a better run-blocker now

Can Miami Dolphins tight end Julius Thomas regain form? (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — The whole idea is that Julius Thomas will stretch the middle of the field for Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins this season.

That Thomas will regain some of the explosiveness he showed when he played tight end for the Denver Broncos and Adam Gase was an assistant coach.

That Tannehill and Thomas will develop the type of chemistry the quarterback unfortunately never developed with Jordan Cameron, who once was supposed do to the aforementioned things as a notable free-agent acquisition.

But, of all things, what stood out to Gase about this more mature version of Thomas in mini-camp was a bit of a surprise.

Thomas can block now.

“I saw a different guy when it comes to the run game compared to when we were together in Denver; but it was a different scheme, so I think this fits him a little bit better,” Gase said this week.

In fact, Thomas (a college hoopster with minimal university football experience) was seen working on his blocking as much or more than any tight end or receiver during mini-camps. He was constantly working with coaches and blocking pads on the side of the field during and after practice.

This seems to be a committed Thomas, a player committed to showing he’s not at all the bust he was portrayed to be in Jacksonville.

Now for the pass-catching part.

Anyone who caught glimpses of Dolphins spring practice would suggest Thomas and Tannehill have a long way to go in the chemistry department.

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As much as Thomas has (and should have) a familiarity with Gase’s offense (since it’s very similar, of course, to the one they used in Denver)  the whole rhythm-timing-harmony elements of any successful quarterback-tight end combination are not yet present.

And hence, the very significant meaning of training camp (which opens Thursday) for Tannehill-Thomas.

“They spent a lot of time together, because he’s the newer face and him and Ryan (Tannehill) trying to get on the same page,” Gase said. “I like the process they went through. We had some good plays.”

A few good plays. A few not-so-good plays.

As Gase says (and he’s a straight-shooter) Tannehill and Thomas are trying to get on the same page.

If Thomas has improved his conditioning and is fortunate enough to experience improved health luck in Miami, he can be a valuable weapon for Tannehill, especially in the red zone.

Opposing defenses can’t possibly account for healthy and talented Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and Thomas with a balance that eliminates all aspects of the pass and run games.

As far as Gase sees it, someone should be open.

Miami’s offense has been built for big plays in 2017 (if the offensive line holds up, but that’s a novel for another day).

And so as Thomas, a very thoughtful, cerebral, intelligent player, tries to get the physical aspects of his game back on track (he has been, after all, a Pro Bowler), Gase sees Thomas also trying to process how he fits in.

Thomas’ role will be largely determined by how healthy he is and how much of Tannehill’s trust he can gain.

“(Julius is) trying to feel his role out in this team and he does a good job of that, because he’s a team guy first, and he’s always going to see how he fits in and where his skill-set fits in with the rest of the guys,” Gase said. “We’ll use him to his strengths and see how it fits in this year.”

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Adam Gase: ‘I don’t have to tell [Jarvis Landry] anything’ about camp, contract

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — The Miami Dolphins haven’t formally offered Jarvis Landry a contract extension yet, according to a league source, and yet coach Adam Gase has no concern about the mentality of his top wide receiver.

Training camp begins Thursday and Gase doesn’t feel he needs to even have a talk with Landry about it.

“I don’t have to tell him anything,” Gase said Tuesday in a press conference. “He does his thing. He comes in here and works. He’s trying to get ready for the season. It’s football for him. That’s what he’s doing.”

Landry has tried hard not to be a distraction. In fact, he’s pledged to continue to develop his leadership skills.

Landry feels (hopes, believes, etc.) that there will be a happy medium reached before the season.

Landry does not want to talk contract once the regular season starts so the clock is ticking.

Gase isn’t worried.

“I haven’t dealt with anything,” Gase said. “All the contract stuff, we never talk about it really, publicly. So I mean, that’s a different focus. Right now I’m worried about training camp.”

No player in NFL history has more catches in his first three NFL seasons than Landry, with 288.

As a second rounder, Landry hasn’t even eclipsed the $1 million mark in his first three seasons, but he figures to earn north of $13 million on his next deal.

If an agreement in that range can’t be reached, the Dolphins could always franchise tag him for 2018.

Landry is Miami’s emotional heartbeat on offense. And Gase does not want to restrain that in any way.

Gase has tolerated celebration and unsportsmanlike penalties from Landry in the past.

And Gase is even OK with Landry predicting the Dolphins will sweep the Patriots this season.

“Guys can do whatever they want,” Gase said. “They can say what they want. They can talk about the season. I try to emphasize what we’re doing right now. Because you can’t get there without doing the first part of it. And that’s why our main focus is let’s doing it right today. Because week 1, week 10, if we get lucky enough to get into the playoffs, all that stuff we did before is going to matter. You get into those single elimination games if you make the same mistakes you made during the regular season, it would be a short trip to the playoffs.”

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Miami Dolphins working out two veteran corners



Miami Dolphins LB Koa Misi is placed on injured reserve, will miss ’17

Koa Misi has been on the sideline during the Dolphins’ offseason. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE – Linebacker Koa Misi missed all but three games last season because of a neck injury and the Dolphins aren’t sure if he’ll be ready to compete for a job again.

Coach Adam Gase placed Misi on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon in advance of the opening of training camp Thursday.

Misi won’t be eligible to return off the injured reserve list this season, The Post’s Joe Schad reported.

“I don’t know where we’re at right now,” Gase said earlier Tuesday afternoon, when he addressed the media. “As soon as we get those results, then I’ll know more.”

Gase had said he’s confident Misi will play again “at some point.” But the move to IR puts  serious doubt on that. Misi would be a 31-year-old linebacker next year trying to come back from missing nearly two full seasons — a comeback with few parallels in this league.

Misi started only two games before injuring his neck last season but has not proved to be durable most of his seven prior NFL seasons. He played all 16 games as a rookie in 2010 but has missed at least two games in every season but one since.

His presence in camp would have been critical as the Dolphins revamp a linebacking corps that underperformed last season. Kiko Alonso is the lone certain holdover. The Dolphins added Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan in the second round of the draft and Pittsburgh’s Lawrence Timmons via free agency.

Gase said he’s “more confident” in his linebacking corps as a whole than some outside the building appear to be at this point.

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Miami Dolphins working out two veteran corners

Denver Broncos cornerback Tony Carter gets beat deep by Terrance Williams of the Dallas Cowboys in 2013. Denver defeated Dallas 51-48. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

DAVIE — The Miami Dolphins will work out veteran corners Alterraun Verner and Tony Carter, a league source said Tuesday.

Verner, 28, has started 70 games in in seven NFL seasons.

Verner, 5-feet-10, 181 pounds, has missed only two games in his career, with Tampa Bay and Tennessee.

Verner’s best season came in 2013, when he made the Pro Bowl and posted five interceptions.

Carter, 31, has played in 45 games, with 3 starts, in seven NFL seasons.

Carter, 5-feet-9, 177 pounds, had his best two seasons in 2012 and 2013 in Denver.

Verner and Carter are both smaller corners capable of playing the slot, a position currently manned by Bobby McCain and Michael Thomas.

“We have an extra spot, and I’ve had so many people tell me you can never find enough corners,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said Tuesday. “We’re checking guys out, but we do quite a bit with a lot of different positions and some don’t make as much news as others. We’re always making sure we have our ducks in a row just in case something happens in camp and we’ve gotta push forward and do something. When you start working guys out, you’ve got information on them—physicals. Everybody’s kinda on the same page and you can react a little quicker.”

The workouts were reported earlier Tuesday by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

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