Barry Jackson

Gase makes team’s philosophy very clear; Dolphins notes

Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase congratulates wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) after scoring in the third quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017
Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase congratulates wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) after scoring in the third quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017 adiaz@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of Dolphins notes:

• The Dolphins’ philosophy on building this roster is now pretty clear, but Adam Gase reinforced it in no uncertain terms this week.

"I think we've done a good job from the front office on down communicating to our players that our goal is to build our team from within and keep our own guys and not go out and chase guys outside in free agency,” Gase said. “We feel like if we draft right, which with (General Manager) Chris (Grier) running our draft and our scouts doing what they do and after going through that process last year; you talk about as a coach just being able to completely walk away from the situation because you have so much faith and trust in that crew. They do such a good job that you know you're going to get the right kind of players.

“You know that you're going to get our kind of players, the guys that we keep talking about that we want. We feel like those guys are going to be here for second contracts for us. That's really our goal is how many guys can we keep re-signing that are our guys. When you keep bringing guys back, you can't be naïve and say you're never going to sign anybody outside the building. I can't say that's never going to happen; but the fact that we like our guys, they perform well for us and they do what we need them to do, it makes life - those transitions from one year to the next - it makes life very easy for myself because they know me.

“They understand how we're going to do things. They understand how our coaching staff is going to work. They understand how our building works. They know our program. The less in-and-out you have where guys don't know how to do things our way, your transition from year-to-year goes a lot quicker. You start rolling in the spring right away. You get going on that first day and it's competitive; guys are doing things right. You don't have to worry about constantly re-teaching them everything. It's more of the refreshers. You're able to come in there, play fast, and execute."

• The Dolphins’ running backs on the roster at the end of last season - Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams - presumably will be the Dolphins’ running backs to open this season, presuming something unforeseen doesn’t happen with Williams, who remains a restricted free agent.

Does Gase think about the possibility of another team making Williams an offer?

"Yes. You always ... you're aware of it. I'm not going to push it to anybody. I mean you guys all know that I love Damien (Williams). I love what he brings in every facet - special teams, offense, third downs. Just (his) attitude. I just like being around him. When that guy steps on the field, that guy is all football."

• Still, Gase wants a look at his two other backs under contract - former UM player Storm Johnson (who transfered to UCF) and former Bears running back Sinorise Perry, who went undrafted out of Louisville in 2014.

“I'm really interested to see what they can bring in spring and in training camp. I've been around Senorise before. I know what he brings to the table. I want to give him an opportunity. Storm was a guy that coming out, there was a whole bunch of us that thought he had a really great skill set, and being able to give him an opportunity with us having five guys, I really like the way that those five work together and they're all trying to get each other better and they work extremely hard in practice. There are a lot of times where people probably don't pay attention during the season. For two practice squad guys, they were always kind of pushing it to keep those other guys going as well. That group, there's something that's special about that group. They do a good job together."

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase speaks with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.

• It will be difficult for former seventh-round pick Thomas Duarte to make the roster, because the Dolphins seem set at tight end with Julius Thomas, Anthony Fasano and MarQuies Gray. But Gase is eager to give Duarte a long look.

"I think he just keeps improving from what he showed last year. I feel really good with him in the passing game. I know he's working really hard to become a better run blocker. He's going to consistently stay in the weight room and try to figure out ways to increase his weight and his physical stature, which I think he's done a good job with. He's become a thicker, bigger guy throughout the season and now when we head into training camp, that's really going to be the key for him. When we put the pads on, how does he do? How does he handle his physicality going against these defensive ends one on one? We have a lot of time. He's got a lot of traits that we really like."

• Gase, on Patriots owner Robert Kraft saying Tom Brady could play another six or seven years: “If he can play that long, that's great. He's great for the league. I think that our organization, we can't be an organization to run and hide. We should want to go against the best team every year and the fact that they're in our division, we should look at that as a great challenge. That's what we're trying to do. We know that our goal has to be win the division because if we do that, we're probably pretty good."

• Gase said the Dolphins will stick with their wide nine defense but “we're going to make some adjustments. Obviously, that would be bad ball on our part if we didn't make any adjustments. There are some things we know that we need to do differently and we'll make those adjustments throughout the spring and training camp. We feel like there are some things we can lean on to help our guys to feel better than I guess what we've learned going through last season. Going back and looking at things, we know there are some things that we want to do a little different, whether it be executing the scheme, doing something different, changing some things up. We're not going to try to hang exclusive like, 'This is the only thing we're doing.' So we're going to try to mix in some things there, but at the end of the day, that is our base to start."

• Gase said he hasn’t told any of his linebackers what positions they will play because the labor agreement prohibits football talk between players and coaches this time of year... Gase said he told Jay Cutler he’s available to help him, but “I never brought up anything about him coming with us because I like our situation. I love Jay, but I do like the situation that we've got going on right now at our place."

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