Barry Jackson

Here's one glaring issue Brock Osweiler must solve in his bid for Dolphins' backup QB job

Quarterback Brock Osweiler (8) is trying to salvage his career and win the Dolphins' backup quarterback job. His accuracy has been erratic in offseason practices.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler (8) is trying to salvage his career and win the Dolphins' backup quarterback job. His accuracy has been erratic in offseason practices. snavarro@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Friday:

Watching Brock Osweiler throw in Miami Dolphins practices the past three weeks at times has been akin to watching a pitcher with control problems.

During one sequence late in Tuesday’s practice, he badly missed high on a pass to Jakeem Grant and badly missed low on another throw.

There have been some good throws, too, the type of passes that make you believe he could possibly recapture the magic that helped him during a seven-game stretch for Denver in 2015, when he threw 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.

What’s frustrating is the inconsistency with accuracy. On Wednesday, he followed one great throw to Albert Wilson with a pass that was off the mark.

Then he had pass swatted away by Andre Branch at the line of scrimmage. And that was followed by a really well-thrown ball to Grant.

Osweiler needs to level out his performances — and curtail the poor throws — if he’s going to beat out David Fales and underdog Bryce Petty for the backup quarterback job this summer.

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said he didn’t want to compare the performance of his backup quarterbacks through three weeks of practice but offered a glass-half-full view on Osweiler.

“What Brock has is unbelievable command of the offense,” Loggains said. “He was in it. He got to learn from the best in the game — No. 18 [Peyton Manning] — and when you watch his huddle etiquette, his line of scrimmage procedure etiquette, he does an outstanding job there.”

The Dolphins have tinkered with Osweiler’s mechanics, hoping to salvage a player who has 20 touchdowns, 21 touchdowns and a poor 72 rating for Houston in 2016 and Denver in 2017.

The results, to be kind, have been mixed. At this point, Fales has been the best of the backup quarterbacks, but this battle will come down to August preseason games.

And what about Petty? He, too, has been inconsistent with accuracy, though he had several good throws this week, including a TD pass to Drew Morgan in red zone drills.

“Bryce is a guy that is extremely talented,” Loggains said. “We’ve got to coach him hard and get that stuff out of him. He’s got some things in his footwork and those things. We’re working really hard to get consistent and create more accuracy for him.

“It’s something we talked to him about is there’s not enough time in the offseason anymore. It used to be in January we start working with these guys and February, and they just grind quarterbacks. It’s hard now. Every Monday when he’s off and every Friday when he’s off and on the weekends, he needs to keep working on his drops and the consistency in his footwork, because if he gets that part of it all right, he has enough talent in his upper body to play.”

Petty was cut earlier this month by the Jets, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2015. He has four touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a dismal 57.7 career passer rating.

Among Dolphins greats, nobody has watched tight end Mike Gesecki more than fellow Penn State alum O.J. McDuffie, the Dolphins’ leading receiver in 1998. And McDuffie believes the Dolphins have landed an exceptional talent.



McDuffie’s scouting report on Miami’s second-round pick: “I think Mike is an amazing talent. He did so many good things for Penn State. You can line him up anywhere. He’s athletic as hell. And his ability to high-point the ball along with his height makes him tough to guard. He’s a great kid and was a great leader at Penn State. He’s a uniquely tall and fast receiving tight end. So I can’t think of anyone quite like him.”

One thing the Dolphins have tried to emphasize this offseason is players policing themselves — something the coaching staff had in mind in reshaping the roster.

“I think it’s part of every good football team," Loggains said. "Coach Gase and the coaching staff can only do so much and peer accountability is more important than anything. When it becomes their team, then we’ll be a good football team. Every good football team … I’ve been part of 13-3 teams and I’ve been part of 6-10 teams and the difference was the veterans on the team. They created a culture in the locker room and they held people to the standard and the accountability that needs to take place to win. [Tuesday] we didn’t have our best practice offensively. Credit to the defense.

“We just didn’t have the urgency that we needed to and missed a couple small things. It starts to create sloppiness. The message to all of those guys was, ‘[Daniel] Kilgore, [Danny] Amendola, [Ryan] Tannehill, [Josh] Sitton — all you guys that are pros, that are veterans — Frank Gore — we can say it as much as we want, but until it becomes your football team and you guys talk about it and you guys hold these young players to a standard, all we’re going to do is talk about it. We can’t go on the field and affect change like you guys can.’ And that’s why Coach Gase did what he did. He built the team he wanted to coach.”

And that last line succinctly explains one of several factors that drove offseason decisions – along with salary cap constraints and the need to shore up glaring weaknesses, like coverage of tight ends and running backs.

Though it’s difficult to judge offensive line play in unpadded June practices, it’s clear the Dolphins still need more consistency from Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James.

James has been beaten for a few sacks and Tunsil has had a few penalties in practice after finishing tied for fifth in the league with 12 penalties last year.

Loggains’ impressions of his two starting tackles?

“Really athletic,” Loggains said. “Both of them are young, but they have the ability to really move and they should be good in pass protection.

“The thing that’s really going to help them and Laremy is going to talk about this experience five years from now is going against Robert Quinn every day. You can’t put a value on that. You’re facing one of the best edge pass rushers in the game one on one for 30, 40 snaps a day and it’s going to make him better. It makes you go to practice with an intent and purpose, because if you don’t, then he will expose you.”

Among those attending Dolphins practice in recent days: FIU coach Butch Davis, FIU assistant athletic director (and former Carolina Panthers quarterbacks coach and UM quarterback) Ken Dorsey, longtime former NFL defensive coordinator Dom Capers and former Dolphins executive Dawn Aponte, who’s now the NFL’s chief administrator of football operations.

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