A decision on Ryan Tannehill’s availability for Sunday will come sooner rather than later.
Adam Gase wasn’t ready to rule Tannehill in or out for the Dolphins’ playoff game in Pittsburgh when he met with reporters at lunchtime Monday. Gase again suggested he wants to talk more with doctors and see Tannehill practice before making any kind of decision.
What is beyond dispute: Tannehill, who sprained his ACL and MCL three weeks ago Sunday, has had made a near-miraculous recovery.
He walked around the Dolphins locker room Monday with nothing but a sleeve on his injured left knee. Tannehill did not appear to have a limp.
Gase said he needs to be comfortable with his quarterback’s mobility and the knee’s integrity before even considering putting Tannehill in a game.
“I need to know where he’s at,” Gase said. “I’m going to have to see him practice. I’m going to have to feel really good about this.”
Tannehill, of course, desperately wants to play. And his health might allow it.
“You guys all know that guy’s a freak of a nature,” Gase said. “I mean the amount of hits he’s taken over his career. We’ve all seen him take worst hits than that during the season. I mean that one was bad but there was a couple of other ones that were pretty bad. His body is unique and the way he heals, the same way. So we’ll just take it one step at a time.
Gase added: “I’ll have a better idea, especially once we hit Wednesday, but probably Tuesday.”
Meanwhile on Monday, Gase remained steamed that the Dolphins were not competitive in their 35-14 loss to New England the day before.
“I want to see us play better than we played this last week,” Gase said. “Yesterday was awful. For us to show up and look the way we looked against a team that has dominated this division for the last … What have they won it, 15 out of 17 (years), whatever it is? For us to show up and get smacked around in our own stadium is terrible."
The Dolphins had hoped to use Sunday’s regular-season finale as a statement that they belong in the playoffs. Here’s the message that most of the betting public took from their loss: They aren’t ready for prime time.
The Dolphins are Wild Card Weekend’s biggest underdog; the Steelers are favored by as many as 10.5 points in some sports books, even though Miami beat Pittsburgh by two scores earlier in the season.
Cornerback Bobby McCain called it disrespectful for a team that won 10 games, including nine of its last 11.
“We know we're a good team,” McCain said. “We knew it a long time ago. Beginning of the year, we didn't put everything together. We started coming along, coming together. It's been a trickle effect throughout the year.
Added safety Michael Thomas: “The first time we played Pittsburgh, nobody gave us a chance. It's not surprising to us that we're 10-point underdogs this week. It don't phase us. Go and prepare like we always prepare. We actually like it that way.”
It’s unclear if getting Tannehill back would change many minds. Matt Moore, who’s thrown eight touchdowns to just three interceptions since Tannehill went down, hasn’t been the problem. More has “done exactly what I want him to do,” Gase said.
Rather, the Dolphins’ real issue is their defense, which allowed the most yards in team history this season.
Pittsburgh in January isn’t the best place to figure things out.
Gase on what his young team can expect in the playoffs?
"It's adrenaline for the entire game. And you feel it."