Very active in practice can be defined as Miami’s tackles had trouble with the kid.
So the Dolphins have asked the 242-pounder to gain 10 pounds of muscle this offseason and count on getting the opportunity to earn snaps as a pass-rusher in the fall.
That kind of player begs mentoring. And that’s the value, along with the added production, a veteran player such as Umenyiora or Dumervil can immediately bring.
So why would either of those veterans be the least bit interested in Miami after playing for a two-time Super Bowl champion in Umenyiora’s case or the 13-win Broncos in Dumervil’s?
The Dolphins have some salary-cap space to use that was previously allocated for Jake Long. Long left to St. Louis and although the Dolphins do want to add another offensive tackle, they have no plans to use all the money they budgeted for Long on that tackle.
So there can be room to add the pass-rusher.
The Dolphins also have won growing credibility around the league even as skeptics argue they have much to prove. Wallace could have gone to a couple of other teams and Greg Jennings was very interested in signing with the Dolphins if Miami shifted interest to him.
But the Dolphins actually had their pick of the two receivers. And both were willing to come, because, aside from wanting big money, both trusted that quarterback Ryan Tannehill could help make them as successful in Miami as their previous teams.
I grant you that takes faith because to these, eyes Tannehill has only proved he is a 12-touchdown, 13-interception quarterback. But Dolphins coach Joe Philbin looks at Tannehill and sees something much more.
“I think he’s going to be a very good quarterback, yeah, I do,” Philbin said. “You only have 1,100 plays or a 1,000 plays [in a season], but you’ve got a lot more on the practice tape and you can see him making vertical throws. You can see him making out-breaking route throws. You can see him making in-breaking route throws.
“You can see him move around. He’s athletic and he’s smart, so there really no warning signs right now to me that would say he shouldn’t develop into an excellent football player.”
Some veterans have already shown they agree with Philbin. Others might also before free agency is done.