Jarvis Landry’s throw was off target.
But the look he appeared to shoot his intended receiver afterward was right on the money.
After one-hopping a gadget pass to tight end MarQueis Gray on Sunday, Landry seemed to stare down Gray for a few seconds before turning his attention to the next play.
That exchange, caught by local TV cameras, was one of several flashes of frustration by Landry against the Jets. New York held Miami’s “best player,” in the words of coach Adam Gase, to a season-low three catches for just 33 yards. Landry came off the field hot on more than one occasion.
“He gets frustrated at times, but he’s a competitor,” Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “I just think his drive to win is extremely high and he’s very emotional. Sometimes he lets his emotions get up on him a little bit. In the end, he just wants to win, wants to do everything he can to help this team win and that’s what you want.”
Landry’s intensity has been a matter of great debate in the month since his illegal high block on Aaron Williams, which injured Williams and drew a stiff fine from the league. But don’t count Gase among those worried about Landry’s behavior toward both the opposition and his own teammates.
“I think there’s a lot of us that have a certain way that we deal with things,” Gase said. “I know there’s sometimes, and you guys can’t see it, that I’m losing a little bit of my mind. Everybody handles it different.”
By and large, that fire has been a blessing, not a curse, for Landry. Why? His intensity is transferable. He seems to run a defender over every week — Landry knocked off Jets safety Marcus Gilchrist’s helmet near the goal line Sunday — and every time, it fires up his teammates.
But Tannehill acknowledged Wednesday that there’s a fine line between intense and out of control.
“You have to be careful,” Tannehill said. “I think a guy like Jarvis, guys are watching him, people in the stands are watching, the other team’s watching. You see body language, you see how guys are affected. You always want to be uplifting to your teammates, the guys around you, and never pull away. I think there’s a constructive way to do that, and obviously, you never want to do it in a negative way.”
Gase spent time during the Jets game listening to Landry’s concerns. Tannehill makes it a point to regularly communicate with his No. 1 target.
But Landry might have to accept the reality that the Dolphins’ offense now runs through Jay Ajayi and not the passing game. The Dolphins’ season turned around when Ajayi got going, and Gase insists that he will continue to lean on his second-year running back the rest of the season.
That doesn’t mean the Dolphins can’t do a better job of getting Landry involved. Gase and offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen have each taken the blame for his lack of targets in Week 9; Landry has caught just 18 passes in the last four games.
“It sounds easy,” Christensen said. “In fantasy football you throw it to your best players, but it’s hard. It depends what they’re playing and how the game is going. Just because you dial up his number doesn’t mean the ball goes to him.”
Christensen continued: “But he was really hot and playing well and beating the guy playing over top of him. It wasn’t coach Gase’s fault as much as mine, because I usually give him those suggestions. It was really my responsibility to get it to him. We knew he was winning and had a hot hand.”
Said Gase: “We all want to sit here and say that we want everybody to act like everything’s all right all the time, that you’re not frustrated or upset about anything, but everybody has a different way of showing it. I don’t want him to worry about that. I want him to be who he is. Over time, the longer you play this game, you start handling things different. That’s a young player who’s competing and wants to do everything he can to help this team win.”