Barry Jackson

More good news on Tannehill and Dolphins tidbits

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Thursday:

• The myth that Ryan Tannehill throws a poor deep ball has been refuted with data here and elsewhere.

And for those under the impression that Tannehill doesn’t thrive when he’s facing an extra rusher, Pro Football Focus offered this today:

Among all NFL quarterbacks, Tannehill had the fifth-highest passer rating against the blitz last season.

The top five: Tom Brady at 131.4, Matt Ryan at 120.4, Drew Brees 107, Dak Prescott 106.6 and Tannehill at 105.6.

The NFL average: 91.1.

## There are a few things that concern me about these Dolphins: Run defense. The lack of a proven No. 3 defensive tackle. And, to an extent, nickel cornerback.

Bobby McCain, the front-runner for the job, allowed a 113 passer rating in his coverage area. Unless the Dolphins move one of their boundary corners inside, then his competition is Michael Thomas, who has played well at times in the nickel role.

McCain is the front-runner and knows he must be more consistent.

“Slot corners play 75 or 80 percent of the game, especially in this division,” McCain said Thursday after an organized team activity practice. “And with Tom Brady. And Buffalo. You play most of the game. It’s important just because of that. You’re on the field all of the time. And it’s a passing league. You know you don’t see just line up in the I and run the lead. No. It’s stack options. There are all kinds of things happening inside, where you have to communicate. You have to good on your feet. A nickel corner is very important to a great defense.”

McCain, a ball-hawk at Memphis, has only one interception in 32 career NFL games. He had 11 picks in his final 22 games in college.

Causing more turnovers is an emphasis.

“Just getting hands on the football,” he said. “That’s what I want to do.”

Adam Gase said he and McCain “always kind of have that discussion of ‘We’ve got the leverages down, now let’s be tighter. Let’s make some more plays on the ball.’ He’s done that in this camp. He’s had some PBUs (pass breakups) and getting tight on some coverage.”

• Kraig Urbik, who would likely be the starting center if Mike Pouncey isn’t healthy, also is getting snaps at guard and believes he’s being given a chance to compete with Jermon Bushrod, Ted Larsen and rookie Isaac Asiata.

“I've been getting both guard spots,” he said. “I'm sure that will continue. I will prove myself.”

As for Pouncey, the Dolphins are handling him with care. Though he isn’t practicing, “he's feeling great and wants to get in there,” Urbik said. “He's eager and will be ready for sure” for the season.

• The Dolphins have only two rookie offensive linemen – Asiata, 26, and tackle Eric Smith, a four-year starter at Virginia who’s 21.

“Isaac is more mature [than both rookies],” Urbik said. “Both rookies have done a really good job grasping the offense. They don't have too much difficulty with a lot of nuances we've learned.” He said they’re able to understand nuances that take longer with some rookies.

• Colleague Adam Beasley will have more on the curious mind of William Hayes later, but I found it notable that Hayes, who’s 278, said he expects to get some snaps at defensive tackle.

• Random stuff: In two practices open to reporters, seventh-round receiver Isaiah Ford hasn’t made much of an impression. Former UM and Akron cornerback Larry Hope knocked away a pass to him on Wednesday… Undrafted Damore’ea Stringfellow had a catch and long run on Wednesday, but Drew Morgan remains the most impressive of the four undrafted receiver pickups. (UM’s Malcolm Lewis and Stanford’s Francis Owusu are the others)….

Terrence Fede had a sack Wednesday and remains a productive player in practice (that’s a compliment)… Cameron Malveaux, a 6-6, 270 pound undrafted rooke defensive end who had just 2.5 sacks in four years at the University of Houston, had a sack on Wednesday as well.

Here’s my six pack of UM nuggets today, including early feedback on ballyhooed QB N’Kosi Perry. And please follow me on Twitter (@flasportsbuzz) for instant links.