Dolphins OC Bill Lazor: Pass protection better than run blocking in opener

08/11/2014 12:00 AM

08/11/2014 7:07 PM

In terms of measuring progress, the first preseason game of the Bill Lazor era was a step forward — at least when it came to the offensive line.

The Dolphins didn’t allow a sack until the fourth quarter in Friday night’s loss to Atlanta, and that was surrendered by backups. Yet Lazor wasn’t about to dance in the proverbial end zone two days later.

“I thought our pass protection was better than our run blocking,” said Lazor, the Dolphins’ first-year offensive coordinator. “I thought we got edged a little bit in the run blocking. I expect it to be better.”

The Dolphins averaged just 2.5 yards per carry against the Falcons.

• As for Ryan Tannehill, Lazor had a measured response to his quarterback’s strong start to the preseason. Tannehill completed all six passes on his only drive against the Falcons, leading the Dolphins to a touchdown.

“I thought he had 10 good plays,” Lazor said. “I thought he showed command. I thought he was very decisive on the field; the ball came out of his hand on time with all of [the throws]. He has really got a good grasp of what we’re doing.”

Lazor added: “My job right now is to push him. I’ve got to make it very hard for him out here on the practice field. I heard a rumor that some people reported that we’ve made it hard for him on the field. That’s on purpose. That’s how you build a quarterback, and he’s coming.”

a mixed bag

It was a good-news, bad-news type of day on the Dolphins’ injury front.

The good: starters Olivier Vernon, Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace, as well as Matt Moore and Pat Devlin all practiced after missing Friday’s preseason game because of injury.

The bad: A.J. Francis, who has a good shot to make the team as a reserve defensive tackle, will be out for a while with a knee issue.

Also, running back Mike Gillislee (leg) and tackle Jason Fox (undisclosed) left practice early.

With Gillislee, Daniel Thomas (hamstring) and Damien Williams (lower extremity) all ailing, the Dolphins have three healthy running backs: Lamar Miller, Knowshon Moreno and Orleans Darkwa.

this and that

•  Cortland Finnegan was an unannounced absence Sunday. He indicated on social media that he had a death in the family.

Jamar Taylor worked at starting cornerback in his place.

Said Taylor, who will presumably be the team’s nickel corner while Reshad Jones serves a four-game suspension: “I feel like I played pretty well [Friday]. Dude caught one ball on me. It is what it is. Just got to fix the little things. Just try to get better every day and try to get better for this next game on Saturday.”

• The Dolphins’ hottest practice of the year was also their most unique. They didn’t do any team drills Sunday (which had a 1 p.m. start time) but instead focused on individual fundamentals and special teams.

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