Amid trade rumors that never materialized, Dolphins coach Adam Gase made clear on Wednesday that he values impending unrestricted free-agent receiver Jarvis Landry but could not unequivocally say that he will return next season.
Landry, meanwhile, said he was pleased that he wasn’t traded and reiterated that he wants to be here next year.
The Dolphins must decide, after the season, whether to attempt to re-sign Landry, perhaps by using a franchise tag that could pay him $16 million in 2018. Gase couldn’t say whether Landry will return next season because “I don’t negotiate the contracts.”
The Miami Herald reported Tuesday morning that Landry had been told he wouldn’t be traded before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. NFL trade deadline, and Gase confirmed that.
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“We told him a long time ago he wasn’t going anywhere,” Gase said. “We have a vision for what we want that wide receiver room to look like, and we expect him to be a huge part of that.”
Landry said he “had no doubt in my mind that I would be here. That’s been the plan all along. I want to be here [long-term].”
Landry said of the Jay Ajayi trade: “I was in shock, as everybody else was. I don’t have a good answer. My emotion about it is not only was he a teammate, he was a friend. You hate to see him go. You hate to say it’s part of the business. [But] we’ve got two backs who can catch the ball, a little shiftier.”
Besides the Ajayi trade, Gase said that changes would be made in other areas.
“We’re just not going to stay the same,” Gase said. “We’re not going to keep doing the same thing and bang our head against the wall. We made some changes with how we’re meeting, how we’re going to walk through, how we’re going to schedule things, how we’re going to practice … the way that we’re teaching, the way that we game-plan. That’s what we should be doing.
“If we sit here and do the same thing over and over again and just keep saying it’s execution or I’ve got to call different plays and things like that, then we’re really kidding ourselves. We’ve got to find the right way to teach, we’ve got to find the right way to learn, and then we have to find what allows us to execute best on Sunday.”
Gase was encouraged on Tuesday and Wednesday because “I do sense a sense of urgency, from the offense, especially.”
▪ Players on Wednesday did not dispute Gase’s public comments on Friday that multiple unnamed players, including some of the team’s best, need to do a better job studying the playbook.
“It’s something we all can do as a team,” Landry said. “That helps us. I wouldn’t say it’s going to ideally win the game for us, but it helps us be prepared for a lot of situations. The more we know, the faster we can play. That is a good point. That, I know myself personally [is something I] can do more of.”
Of Gase imploring his players to be better-prepared, center Mike Pouncey said: “It’s something you shouldn’t even have to talk about at this level of football. We’re all professional athletes. We are here for one reason, to play football. You need to be fully prepared. It’s your job. It’s not just out there having fun any more. We want guys to know what they’re doing on every play.”
▪ Quarterback Jay Cutler, who missed one game with cracked ribs, and DeVante Parker, who missed the past three games with an ankle injury, practiced fully and intends to play Sunday. Cutler said he would not wear any protective covering on his ribs.
But defensive end William Hayes missed practice with a hamstring injury and defensive end Andre Branch, who missed Thursday’s game with a groin injury, was limited in practice. Guard Ted Larsen, eligible to come off injured reserve since a training camp biceps injury, did some individual work but said he did not know when he would be ready to play in a game. He said his injury is healed but that he needs to readjust to the “speed of the game.”