Armando Salguero

Gase: Miami Dolphins offense taking shape despite setbacks

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler is trying to get caught up with his teammates on offense.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler is trying to get caught up with his teammates on offense. AP

PHILADELPHIA -- For a while there Monday it was looking like the Miami Dolphins offense was having a really good day.

Quarterback Jay Cutler, on the team exactly two weeks, was moving around the pocket, finding secondary receivers, throwing touchdown passes. Tight end Julius Thomas, until now noticeable mostly because passes haven’t been going his direction, had two long gains against the Philadelphia Eagles defense.

Jarvis Landry, who has averaged four touchdowns per seasons his first three years in the NFL, caught two scoring passes from Cutler in one red zone practice period.

The Miami offensive line, an ever-changing unit since the start of training camp, looked almost entirely complete -- with four of the five starters we should see in the regular-season opener actually lined up where they’re expected to be.

All told it was a good look for Miami’s offense. There was production, there were points.

It was good.

Miami Dolphins QB Jay Cutler talks about missing football while he was retired, his ex-teammate Alshon Jeffery and more.

But as with so much of what we’ve seen from these Dolphins this preseason, there was the bad news element that could not be ignored. That would not go away.

The Dolphins have lost offensive lineman Kraig Urbik to a knee injury now. Coach Adam Gase said “there’s probably a chance he misses the [regular-season] opener.”

Gase said Urbik “possibly” will need arthroscopic surgery which in coach speak must mean he’s having it for sure because Urbik is having surgery for sure and will be out out several weeks.

Losing Urbik on its face is not end of the world stuff. This injury is more concern than crisis.

So the Dolphins, who think guards are easily replaceable, are seeking a replacement already. The team will look to one of its third-string guys -- Anthony Steen, Jesse Davis or Jake Brendel -- and plug one in like nothing ever happened.

But this injury doesn’t come in a vacuum. Urbik, you see, is the second starting left guard candidate the Dolphins lose the past three weeks. The team already lost Ted Larsen for at least half the season because of a biceps injury.

And the offense adds replacing Urbik to the list of things to do along with ...

Replacing Ryan Tannehill.

Jarvis Landry meets with reporters after Thursday's joint practice with the Eagles.

Making sure Mike Pouncey doesn’t hurt himself -- again -- in the preseason.

Making sure Ja’Wuan James, who’s been nursing a shoulder injury, gets better rather than getting worse.

“Now it’s trying to get Jay caught up, get those guys together and start working and figure out what are we going to do at left guard,” coach Adam Gase said. “We’re rolling quite a few guys in there when Pouncey’s in there and all of the sudden it starts looking like what we think it’s going to look like. We’re still trying to get Ja’Wuan James a little healthier ... so I think we’re close.”

We’ll know how close the offense is when it actually scores some touchdowns -- something the first-team players haven’t done the first two preseason games.

But don’t worry about that. Gase is confident all is well. He thinks I believe the sky is falling for merely wondering if all is well.

I know Gase is thinking this because he said during his press conference Monday, “I know for Armando, the sky is falling.”

Look, I don’t think the sky is falling. I think Ryan Tannehill fell. And Ted Larsen fell. And the Dolphins are not practicing Pouncey a ton because they’re worried he might fall. I know the offensive line needs work together for a few days in a row without, you know, someone else falling.

Did the Dolphins go hard against the Eagles Thursday? Ndamukong Suh knows no other speed.

It’s not the sky we need to worry about with these Dolphins. It’s the injuries.

Anyway, Gase mocks my concerns. He says all is well and his offense will be ready to rock and roll by the regular-season opener Sept. 10.

“Yes, absolutely,” Gase said, looking at me like I have a hole where my nose should be for even wondering. “This is the NFL, that’s what they do. This is what these guys do ... We’re just trying to see if we can get as much cohesiveness as possible, as fast as possible. We kind of had to start over a little bit when Jay came in just trying to get him caught up to speed. We had to back off a little bit, but our guys handled everything in stride. They do a good job. They don’t get frustrated with anything. They just keep plugging along, keep moving, and find ways to get better.”

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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