What’s the next best thing to Peyton Manning playing for the Dolphins? Imparting his wealth of knowledge on Dolphins players.
Manning, the future Hall of Fame quarterback who retired this offseason, has visited Dolphins camp multiple times in recent months, largely because of his friendship with coach Adam Gase.
And Manning took his involvement to another level over the past two days: He addressed the entire team for seven minutes on Sunday night, then spent 40 minutes meeting with the quarterbacks and then attended practice on Monday.
“For him to swing by was great; he always has a good message to deliver to the guys,” said Gase, who coached Manning in Denver and attended his retirement party two weeks ago.
During the Sunday address to the entire team, Manning emphasized “the importance of studying and not taking things for granted, putting your phone away at night and getting into the playbook, even if it’s 30 minutes, an hour,” quarterback Brandon Doughty said.
When Manning met with the quarterbacks separately on Sunday, he answered a lot of questions, discussed “protections” and changing plays, and advised them to work on their hot reads.
With protections, “he walked through some of the stuff that they did,” Doughty said. “It’s very similar to what we’re doing, so being able to pick at that guy’s mind, it’s unbelievable, he’s a future Hall of Famer. Ryan [Tannehill] picked his mind. Peyton Manning, holy cow, I mean, this is like a star-studded performance here.”
Tannehill didn’t speak to reporters Monday, but in May he said he appreciated Manning’s input after his first visit to Dolphins camp.
“When he came in the offseason and worked out in the back of our weight room, running on our treadmill, I would go back there and say he’s my favorite player,” defensive end Chris McCain said. “I’m honored to shake his hand and be around him.”
Running back Jay Ajayi missed practice Monday with a bone bruise to his left knee, which was sustained when he collided with linebacker Jelani Jenkins during Sunday’s practice, but said he expects to return in a couple of days.
Ajayi had chronic knee issues in college, with a lack of cartilage in the joint of his right knee. The latest injury was to his left knee.
Running back Isaiah Pead opened with the starters in team drills on Monday but left with an unspecified leg issue.
“Pead did a good a job,” Gase said.
Running back Arian Foster also got some first-team work and “he is going to be working with the ones the whole training camp,” Gase said. “His résumé speaks for itself. He’s playing this year. Whether he’s the guy that will be the first snap of the game, time will tell. He is going to be rolling with the ones.”
Meanwhile, Gase said running back Damien Williams will come off the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday.
▪ Cornerback Xavien Howard, recovering from knee surgery, said he has been running and hopes to be back for some preseason games. “I feel good,” he said. Howard said he never had knee problems before and was injured when he was undercut on the final day of minicamp.
▪ Linebacker Zach Vigil remains out with a back problem. “We’re trying to figure out what the best plan is for him right now,” Gase said.
▪ Quarterback Matt Moore was given a pre-planned day off to rest his arm, but Gase said he won’t do that with Tannehill.
▪ Rookie receiver Jakeem Grant had a good day, beating Michael Thomas and others for several completions, and Gase said: “I see a guy who has the skill set for a slot player we love. We love the quickness. We love the speed. We’ve got to slow him down a little bit.”