5 Things Miami Dolphins hope Jay Cutler shows tonight

 Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler is ready to ball. Right? (AP)

MIAMI GARDENS — Only a few hours before Jay Cutler makes his debut as a Miami Dolphin, against the Baltimore Ravens at Hard Rock Stadium tonight, so much is unknown.

And while it would be unfair to draw any immediate conclusions about if Cutler has a chance to be decent (or more than decent?) as he comes off the studio set and back into the NFL, some will anyway.

But make no mistake, tonight is an opportunity for Cutler to inspire confidence in the notion that this season is not lost, before it even begins.

Here are five things the Dolphins hope Cutler shows tonight:

  1. Patience. It is in Cutler’s DNA to go for it all at once. To try to make things happen. To make a big play. In his first game in aqua and orange, it makes perfect sense for Adam Gase to allow Cutler to get into a rhythm with shorter passes, including to his running back. It’s OK to check down, Jay.
  2. Smart decisions. Cutler made fewer bonehead decisions as a Bear in 2015, under Gase, than he had in previous seasons. The Dolphins would like to see Cutler take calculated risks, not illogical ones. In his first game as a Dolphin, it would behoove Cutler not to throw into double-coverage more than once tonight. It would also behoove Cutler not to hold the ball too long behind a makeshift offensive line and fumble.
  3. Arm strength. OK, look. This is a man with a howitzer. A cannon. A rocket arm. He showed it off in his first practice as a Dolphin. No reason to think he can’t open eyes with his arm talent, the velocity (and hopefully, the accuracy) he shows when he’s at his best.
  4. Sense of timing. I don’t mean a sense for the theatrics and stage. I don’t mean Cutler needs to prove to the world he’s ready to be better than Ryan Tannehill ever was — tonight. I mean it would be nice if Cutler connects with Jarvis Landry and Julius Thomas more regularly and consistently than he has in practice. It takes time to develop rhythm and chemistry and timing. As Cutler says, it could take days — or weeks, it if happens at all.
  5. Knowledge of offense. Gase has said over and over that Cutler knows the playbook. Because it’s very, very similar to the playbook they used in Chicago. But the verbiage is different. So pay attention to how close to the end of the play clock it is before Cutler calls for the snap of the ball. It seems obvious that Gase would call plays Cutler is most comfortable with, especially if he’s only going to be in the game for two to four series.

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