Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said Monday that the offensive starters will play more in Friday’s second preseason game against Dallas, that the staff would like to know its starting offensive line before the third preseason game and that his entire offense simply must improve. And do it quickly.
“We are going to play our guys a little bit more [Friday],” Christensen said, after the starters played only two series (with no first downs) against the Giants. “Coach [Adam] Gase said, ‘We are going to play them.’ When he’s seen enough, then we’ll put them out. I’m excited about that.”
Christensen made clear he expects more from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the offensive line, the tight ends and the receivers (in terms of beating man coverage).
“We have to protect our quarterback better,” Christensen said. “We have got to run it better. We got to throw and catch it better. These next two weeks, if we don’t see some big improvements, then we better get a little bit nervous. We should see some big improvement these next two weeks.”
Asked if Tannehill is getting the ball out quickly enough — a key in this offense — Christensen said: “No. I don’t think anything is as quick as we want. Nothing — the protection, the run game, the pass game, the routes, nothing is as quick as we want. That has to all speed up if we want to get where we want to go.”
Christensen said the play of the offensive line hasn’t met the Dolphins’ standards. He also said he would like to identify the starting offensive line before the third preseason game Aug. 25 against Atlanta in Orlando.
He said he has no idea who the starting guards will be, and “I’m kind of making sure I don’t.”
Dallas Thomas, as usual, started team drills as the starting left guard Monday, with Billy Turner at right guard. But Laremy Tunsil also got some first-team work at left guard, with Jermon Bushrod at right guard. And Thomas took some right guard snaps, too.
Christensen blamed some of the team’s offensive struggles “on too much thinking. We’ve given them a lot to think about. That slows folks down.”
And Christensen also was unhappy how the offense looked Monday during a driving rainstorm that lasted several minutes.
“We didn’t look good enough,” he said. “I was disappointed. We need wet balls and we fumbled a couple snaps and that’s unacceptable.”
▪ Asked if the Dolphins might carve out an offensive package for speedy rookie receiver Jakeem Grant, Christensen said: “I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s on his way. … Every practice we’ve put him in since we’ve been here, he’s made something happen. In this league, you’ve got to get some big plays out of people.”
▪ Christensen said running back Isaiah Pead, who had 50 yards on 10 carries Friday, has been “extremely impressive all through the offseason and all through training camp, and he’s stayed healthy and he’s doing a good job on special teams.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Cornerback Byron Maxwell returned to practice, but six others sat out with injuries: running back Kenyan Drake, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, tight end MarQuies Gray, defensive linemen Earl Mitchell, Farrington Huguenin and Julius Warmsley.
▪ Fans with an active SunPass account will be able to use the prepaid toll program and get a $15 discount, to park in outside lots for Dolphins and UM home games. Go to SunPass.com for more information.