Miami Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry addresses the media after OTAs
Adam Gase expects Jarvis Landry to “go to another level” this fall -- an ambitious, but not surprising, goal for a Pro Bowl receiver entering his third season.
How Landry has prepared to take that next step, however, is far more interesting.
Landry has put himself a local wide-receiver boot camp with some of the best pass-catchers in the world.
This past offseason, Landry ran routes with close friend (and former LSU teammate) Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown -- Pro Bowlers, all three -- on a North Miami practice field.
A handful of talented corners, including Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes, had the unenviable task of covering this dream team of receivers.
And who was throwing them passes? Geno Smith, the Jets’ beleaguered quarterback.
In all, eight or nine current pros would get together for this all-star minicamp twice a week. They’re all friends. Most have a Miami tie.
And the drills? Unconventional.
“A lot of it feels like it's been made up by [Brown], but it's some good stuff in there,” Landry said. “A lot of footwork drills, get some one-on-ones against longer corners like Xavier Rhodes and guys like that.”
Landry looks to Brown, the Steelers star whose 1,834 receiving yards in 2015 led the AFC, for motivation.
Like Landry, Brown is under six feet. But the Miami native and Norland alum didn’t let his size stop him from becoming one of the league’s best outside receivers.
Meanwhile in Dolphins camp, Landry is the team’s AB.
Miami’s receivers room is among the youngest in the league, and Landry -- whose 1,157 receiving yards last year were sixth-most in franchise history -- has become its leader.
“He's done a good job,” Gase said. “With him, he's really a leader by example for the most part. Everything he does, you can tell how much he cares about what his job is. If he can help another guy, and usually some of the young guys, he'll lend a hand.”
Landry has an uncanny drive -- to be great, and to win.
He’s on his way with the former. The latter? It’s been rough go in his two professional seasons.
Landry was visibly distraught after several Dolphins losses last year, and despite the NFL’s unofficial 24-hour mourning rule, he remained upset until the team’s next victory.
“I hate losing,” Landry said. “It goes without saying. Until I get a win, until that next Sunday, it's really just stuck in my mind.”
Landry lost a lot under the previous regime.
What makes him confident that it will be different under Gase?
“Just out there having fun, competing with the guys,” Landry said. “I can speak from an offensive side of the ball -- just seeing how the guys have [taken] to teaching and let it translate to the field.”
Another point in Gase’s column? He doesn’t try to pigeonhole Landry as a slot receiver (even though Landry does that job as well as anyone).
Gase will use the third-year pro on the boundary this year -- giving Landry the chance to show off a few of Brown’s offseason tips.
“I pride myself on being able to do it all,” Landry said. “Being an all-purpose receiver, being able to play inside, outside, come out of the backfield. This offense allows me to do it.”
Landry continued: “Everybody gets touches [in Gase’s offense]. They chart catches, drops, [missed assignments] upstairs. The best part about it is, every guy is in the same range, as far catches, targets, things like that. Having the opportunity to spread the ball around, for us, is definitely key."
As for that “next level” Gase expects?
“Just be as consistent as possible,” Landry said.