The Miami Dolphins will host the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night and they will play Jay Cutler at quarterback.
According to reports out of Miami via Adam Gase’s post practice press conference, the Dolphins will likely play Jay Cutler on Thursday. His first game as a Miami Dolphin. Cutler joined the Dolphins after Ryan Tannehill re-injured his knee. Tannehill was of course placed on IR and will have surgery. Rather than go with Matt Moore the Dolphins head coach lured Cutler out of his quasi-retirement.
Cutler finished the last two days of training camp working primarily with the first team unit and as expected, Matt Moore slid to number two with the same degree of class that he has displayed since joining the Dolphins in 2011. That does not mean that Cutler will take first team reps on Thursday night.
Cutler is expected to play according to Gase but for how long remains to be seen. It’s more likely he sees extensive action in week three of the pre-season when teams generally play it more like a regular season contest.
The Dolphins are expected to play most of their starters for a short time on Thursday. Most sat out the first pre-season game and they will also sit out the final game of the exhibition season. Gase also told the media that he has not yet made a decision on running back Jay Ajayi. Ajayi returned to practice over the weekend after missing time with a concussion.
The Dolphins have three more games before the regular season starts. After today’s final training camp practice, Gase spoke with the media. Here are today’s transcripts courtesy of MiamiDolphins.com.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Head Coach Adam Gase
(Why the decision to go walkthrough today as opposed to a practice?) – “We’ve been going pretty hard. The guys have really been working in some pretty extreme temperatures at practice and nobody said anything and just kept working. We had some guys banged up and fairly tired being towards the end of really, the last day of training camp, and I just thought it was a good chance for us to get work in; but at the same time, kind of rest them up a little bit and get them out of the heat just so we can freshen up a little bit for the game on Thursday.”
(Question about the two Jays. One, confirmation that QB Jay Cutler will be a go on Thursday and second just the status of RB Jay Ajayi returning?) – “I think right now everything looks like Jay’s going to go – Cutler – that’s going to mess me up. (laughter) And then Ajayi, I’m still kind of thinking about it. We’ll see.”
(How good was it to have RB Jay Ajayi back out of the protocol?) – “It’s been good. I think he was excited to get back out there. The things that he likes to work on, especially at this time of year, the passing game, he’s always wanting to do more. Losing … He lost of reps with the amount of time he missed. I know that’s one of his things. He wants to get out there and keep working on that.”
(What’s your reservation about playing RB Jay Ajayi?) – “Well I think we’ve got him slated down for 500 carries right now. (laughter) So we want to limit those. When you play that position and you’re used how we use him, we just needed him to be ready for the regular season and everybody kind of understands the drill with him.”
(Does the way you use RB Jay Ajayi in training camp change because of the injury now?) – “No. I don’t see it like that. I think it’s just more of I want to see where we’re at health-wise and what’s best for him. We’ve kind of discussed what our plan was going into it. Now I’m just trying to figure out are we good enough, like does he feel good enough for us to do that.”
(How’s RB Jay Ajayi looking?) – “He looks good to me. He’s been … He’s executing really well and we just want to keep giving him reps just so he can really have the whole offense down.”
(Can you let us know on C Mike Pouncey, C/G Kraig Urbik and T Ja’Wuan James? Which guys are likely or unlikely…?) – “I didn’t even … Tonight’s the night that I do that. So I’ll have more of an idea. I haven’t talked to Pouncey yet. I’m avoiding him. (laughter)”
(What do feel like you’ve accomplished during training camp?) – “Well it hasn’t been easy. We’ve had a lot of guys banged up and young guys have had to step up, which is … That’s kind of what we have to do. We’ve had some things happen that were unforeseen, but that’s the NFL. Guys have kept plugging along and kept finding ways to get better. I really liked how our guys have been locked in. They haven’t been distracted by anything that’s happened outside the building. They’ve done a good job of having that bunker mentality and focusing on the things they can control. That’s what we just have to keep doing. Moving forward, just worry about what you can control.”
(Correct me if I’m wrong. In training camp, you’re going over a lot of this stuff that you’ve already taught them in OTAs and in minicamps and so forth. So is one of the measures of success of training camp is whether you can stay healthy or not?) – “It’s just an unpredictable factor of the game. A lot of the injuries we’re having are things that you can’t control. We haven’t had a ton of soft tissue injuries, which really that’s the biggest thing you’re preparing for. A lot of our injuries have been ACLs, biceps, you know things that … It’s a part of football. It’s the worst part of it, but there’s nothing that you really can do to prevent it. You do everything you can physically in the weight room and try to prepare yourself and try to schedule practice right and not fatigue your guys to the point where their bodies are breaking down; but at the end of the day, training camp is meant to be hard. It’s meant to harden you up. It’s meant to get you in condition. So you’re not going to prevent everything.”
(What has CB Alterraun Verner shown you and what kind of camp has CB Bobby McCain had?) – “I thought Bobby’s had a really good camp. He’s done a good job. You can tell he’s getting … He’s so much more comfortable then he was last year. He really has a great feel for exactly his – the detail – his job. I mean he’s been very tight on coverage. It’s been really tough to complete any balls in the slot. And then as far as Verner goes, I mean for him to just jump in here and start competing the way he’s competed has been very impressive. He has fit in really well with us and I guess I didn’t really know how good outside he was until I had really seen him out here. He really has impressed me, being able to play corner as well as he has. He’s really tight in coverage and he’s got his hands on balls and being able to slide inside, I mean the value is high. It’s just tough to find guys like this.”
(I’ve seen some NFL coaches saying that they think that they actually get more out of joint practices than even some preseason games. What do you see as the great potential benefits of the Philadelphia trip?) – “Yes, because you’re in practice; but there’s a game feel to it, and it is very competitive. Really the hardest thing is to just keep everybody focused on what they need to do in practice to get better because they do know there’s no flags, you’re not going to get ejected from the game or fined, and that’s where it can get kind of messy and guys get in fights. If you can keep your guys focused on what you’re trying to do, it’s great competition. It’s fun for guys to go against somebody different instead of hitting their teammates. They’re going against a different team and a different style of ball. Like for us, we’re going to be doing Philly’s practice schedule and just for our guys to kind of have a different sense of what we do compared to what they do. It’s nothing but good experience when you get to do these joint practices.”
(Do you ask their coach ahead of time, if it’s happened already or in the near future here, ‘Hey I’d really like to run these drills a few times?’) – “You can ask that. When I had my discussions with (Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach) Doug (Pederson) I was like, ‘You tell us what you want to do and that’s what we’re going to do,’ because we’re going to them. I always kind of looked at it as we’re there, we’re going to do what they do, and it’s easy for us to adjust. If somebody was coming here, it would probably be more than likely we’d be using our practice schedule.”
(Do you tell them, specifically, these are the things we would like to work on or get achieved?) – “We all kind of do the same. It’s very close to the same stuff. Everybody’s working on the same things, especially (in the) third week of preseason you’re working on almost game plan-ish type stuff, so you’re getting those situations in and so there was nothing missing. If there was something missing, I would’ve just asked, ‘Hey, have you guys done this before or is there any interest in working on this?’ Usually you can make some kind of compromise there or change something around, but for what (Philadelphia does), it kind of matches up with everything we do.”
(Do you have a connection with Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson beyond being fellow coaches?) – “I’ve known him for a good amount of time. We were in the same division there for a while. I’m trying to remember when I met him, but I’ve known him for a while.”
(How live do you think you guys might go?) – “No, we’ll just be doing like normal practice.”
(Going into the second preseason game, what are some of the things you’ll be looking for from your team?) – “Well, it’ll just be good to get that first group out there for a little longer this time and see if we can get something going. That’s why it’s kind of nice that we’re playing Baltimore. It’s another tough opponent with a lot of good players. They’re going to be ready to go. (Baltimore Ravens Head) Coach (John) Harbaugh always has his crew ready to go very early and they’re going to be looking to work on certain things, and for us to be able to play them, that’s good for our guys.”
(With the offensive line, G/T Jermon Bushrod was the only starter that played last week. How much more of the first team do you think you’re going to get out there on Thursday and what do you hope to see from them?) – “Once again, I’m still trying to figure out who’s going to be available, but we should have more than what we had last week with that starting group. It’s just kind of getting those guys out there and getting rolling and see if we can create some holes, get in some kind of rhythm in the passing game, and get some drives under our belt. This is kind of still the starting point for us, so we’ve got a lot of time here between three preseason games. We’ve just got to keep getting everybody healthy and get them back out there and hopefully, by the time we reach the regular season, we’ve played together a little bit.”
(How has TE Julius Thomas been in camp and how prepared is he to offer something to the offense once games begin?) – “I feel like his camp has been about what it’s always been. It’s kind of about matchups for him. If he can get the right one, if it’s on a safety or a linebacker. I’ve really been impressed that he’s improved a lot in his running game. He’s a way better blocker than when I was with him last time. I think he’s provided a different perspective from a guy that was outside that had been with me before. He understands the offense really well and can kind of explain things to guys that maybe there is a misunderstanding or they don’t understand what I’m trying to accomplish in certain things, and he already knows. He’s been through it. It’ll be … I think for him, that’s probably a good thing. He just needs to be a part of it. He doesn’t have to do anything off the charts. He just needs to be one of those guys that when his number is called, he makes the play. When he gets the right matchup and he gets a one-on-one and we have a chance in the red zone, make the play, get the touchdown. I think that’s what he’s been working on and the good thing is it’s just another weapon for our offense and you just keep spreading the ball out and make it tough on defense.”
(I didn’t notice CB Tony Lippett out there. Can you update us on him?) – “So Tony tore his Achilles yesterday so he’ll be having surgery. That was obviously a little surprise yesterday halfway through practice.”
(So CB Tony Lippett is pretty much shut down for the season?) – “Yes.”
(CB Tony Lippett is headed to injured reserve?) – “Well, the way the rules are, it won’t be right away.”
(How does the loss of CB Tony Lippett affect the cornerback situation?) – “Well anytime you lose a guy who started every game for you last year, that’s not ideal. But that’s why we’ve collected the depth we have. That’s why we’re trying to get young players to go because this is what happens. We have to just keep developing these young players and that’s why every year we’re drafting a guy or when we get to college free agency, we feel like we found a couple of guys this year. We just want them to keep proving it to us. We feel like we’re pretty deep there and we just have to keep getting these guys better.”
(Is it fair to say that CB Cordrea Tankersley kind of moves up into CB Tony Lippett’s second team?) – “I don’t know if we’re looking at it like that. We’ve got a lot of guys that are competing right now. We’re just going to keep looking for the best fit for us. I like how our young guys play. Those guys just keep getting better and we’ll be in good shape.”
(Was CB Tony Lippett hit or did he step wrong?) – “He jumped up and then came down. No one touched him. That was it.”