Say it with us:
It was only scrimmage.
And it was only one day.
Say it again if you need to.
Because in Saturday’s Dolphins vs. Dolphins scrimmage, the offense had an all-too-familiar feel.
Sacks. Penalties. Stalled drives resulting in long field goal attempts.
And the only touchdown coming from third-stringer Brock Osweiler.
“I didn’t feel like today was up to our standard,” said quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was unofficially 3 of 6 for 22 yards in two series of action. “I feel like this week, we’ve had some really good practices, excluding today. We’re pressing forward and continuing to get better each and every day. I don’t feel like today we came out and executed to our level of expectation. I wouldn’t say that we took a step backwards, but we definitely didn’t take a step forward today.”
And he was right.
Here’s how ugly it was:
Miami’s first-team offense went three-and-out the first time it got the ball.
Against the Dolphins’ backup defense.
And on drive No. 2, Miami’s O likely would have turned the ball over if Charles Harris was permitted to strip and sack Tannehill when Harris had a clear shot on him.
Plus throw in as many as a half-dozen pre-snap penalties and the Dolphins’ starting offense did not exactly put on a show for the thousands of supporters who sat through a hot August morning at Hard Rock.
“The only thing I noticed was the pre-snap penalties,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “We’ve just got to get that cleaned up. The delay of game, I’ve got to figure out what really happened there. I don’t know if we were a little slow, either me calling it or relaying it in, or whatever happened there. We didn’t change personnel. That was odd.
“We’ve got to do a better job of not losing five yards on a no-play,” Gase added.
All that being said, Saturday was a step forward in one important way:
Tannehill showed that he can and will use his legs as a weapon.
The starting offense’s biggest play was when he kept the ball on a naked bootleg, gesturing to tight end MarQueis Gray to block for him instead of expecting a pass. His mobility and durability have been question marks, at least on the outside, after Tannehill suffered two major knee in the span of eight months.
But it’s been almost a year now since he got that left ACL fixed, and every day in practice Tannehill is proving what he said Saturday:
“I feel like I did before everything happened, so I feel good.”
As for that scramble that had the fans cheering: “I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now, and even in the spring, so it’s not significant. It does feel good to be out back on the grass and back in Hard Rock Stadium for the first time in a long time. I don’t think our performance on offense was up to our standard of what we want it to be; but as far as coming out here for the first time in a long time and to be back on the grass and back to doing what we do, it felt good.”
Those type of calls are particularly effective, Tannehill said, because they pair well with the Dolphins’ outside zone plays “that are going to be a foundation for this offense. You kind of have to have those in order to counteract the outside zones. It’s going to be big for us.”
Tannehill looked fast despite wearing a brace on that surgically repaired left knee. He said the apparatus is “a bit cumbersome, but it doesn’t limit me from doing anything.”
As for Tannehill’s arm, there was not a large enough sample size to make any sort of sweeping judgment. The offense just missed on a big play downfield when Danny Amendola could not reel in a slightly overthrown ball across the middle.
The Dolphins will need to hit on those this fall, particularly if they’re staring at first-and-15 a bunch due to what has become a worrisome trend of committing avoidable procedure penalties.
Gase’s punishment for those who commit them this spring? Gassers.
Is it working?
“Did it look like it was working?” Gase replied. .”... We’re just going to have to fix it. We just have to focus and understand the cadence is for us on offense to help us, not to hurt us.”