A six-pack of Miami Dolphins notes on a Friday:
▪ Jets coach Adam Gase, who returns to Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, still will have some fingerprints on Miami’s offense — which makes sense, considering he’s been gone for less than a year.
According to league sources, here’s the background on Gase’s role in plucking some of the offensive pieces that remain on the team:
Tight ends Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe were drafted largely (not entirely, but largely) because Gase really wanted both, according to a source.
Gase saw Gesicki as a great red zone threat and Smythe as a terrific in-line blocker. Gase was convinced Gesicki would be the big receiving threat this franchise has lacked at the position for the most part over the past 20 years. And there have been signs of growth from Gesicki this season.
Gase also was behind the signing of receiver Albert Wilson (the biggest advocate in the building or that) and Jesse Davis’ emergence into a bigger role. And to his credit, Gase and his staff got the most out of both players.
According to a source, Gase never expressed a position on running back Kalen Ballage or receiver Jakeem Grant before they were drafted. Interestingly, owner Stephen Ross told the front office, before the draft, that he really liked Grant but didn’t pressure his executives to draft him.
And Gase soured on DeVante Parker because of what he perceived to be mental mistakes and inconsistency. Parker would not have returned if Gase hadn’t been fired.
▪ After the embarrassing first two weeks, Flores has extracted the most out of this team the past three weeks, and this rebuilding project in a way allows him to use this year to become a better coach for when the team is ready to win.
“It’s all been a learning experience for me and I find myself constantly writing down things that I would do better and things that I would do differently in an effort to just improve what I’m doing,” he told New York writers this week.
“Look, I don’t have all the answers, but I’m certainly willing to kind of learn and try to improve daily [on things like] timeouts, challenge flags, conversations with officials.”
▪ One MVP (most valuable person) this season is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s wife Liza, who has looked after their seven children in Tampa while her husband plays professional football in South Florida.
“I would say it might be a little easier this year with seven kids rather than me being home and having eight kids around,” he said. “Because I’m not very good at bedtime with getting the kids all riled up. Especially when she travels and does things, I’m almost in the way sometimes.
“She’s unbelievable and she does it with a smile on her face every day and just has a great love for life, and that’s something that trickles down to our kids. I got very lucky in finding her. It’s been awesome. It’s been a lot of fun and she makes my life a lot easier.”
Fitzpatrick communicates with his wife and children through FaceTime and he tries to visit Tampa on off days.
Sometimes, the kids will come down to home games, either by flying or by loading into their “big ol’ Nissan Envy – a 12-passenger van that basically is just a people mover that she’ll drive back and forth,” he said.
▪ One reason the Dolphins thought cornerback Eric Rowe could make the transition to safety — where he has played the past two weeks and might be needed again Sunday with Reshad Jones again unlikely to play — is “he’s a guy that’s a physical tackler, a guy that gets people down consistently,” defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said.
Rowe has played capably in the role. “Whether it’s safety, corner, whatever it may be — covering tight ends, backs or receivers — I think he’s done a good job of competing and getting his hands on people, and that’s really helped us as a defense,” Graham said.
Coach Brian Flores on Friday wasn’t ready to say whether Rowe is better suited to safety or cornerback.
“I think it depends on the week,” Flores said. “His versatility is important to us and it’s allowed us to do a few different things. He’s in a good place right now and hopefully he continues to grow in the position that he’s in now, but that could change very quickly. What I know about Eric is whatever we need, he’ll do his best and try to give it to us. I love that about him.”
▪ One thing that has been working offensively: quick slants to 6-foot-3 DeVante Parker and 6-5 Preston Williams.
“I think [their size] helps greatly,” offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea said. “To have a size wide receiver, which I think we have in both of those guys, is something that makes it hard on the defensive backs, and I think that they do a good job of using their size as a strength. That’s something that you can’t replace, is size.”
It’s no coincidence that Parker and Williams have been playing by far the most among the receivers, with Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns and Jakeem Grant a distant third through fifth in snaps, in no particular order.
▪ Pro Football Focus rates every Dolphins starting offensive lineman among the worst in the league at his position. At tackle, Jesse Davis is rated 67th and J’Marcus Webb 74th among 74 qualifiers.
At guard, Evan Boehm is rated 70th and Michael Deiter 76th of 79. And at center, Daniel Kilgore (expected to miss a third consecutive game with a knee injury) is 29th of 32. Rookie guard Shaq Calhoun - who has been starting with Boehm filling in at center - told me he won’t start Sunday.
One other quick note: The Dolphins re-signed receiver Isaiah Ford to the practice squad and cut former Lions receiver Andy Jones from the p-squad.
Here’s my other nugget-filled Dolphins notebook Friday.
Here’s my Friday in-depth piece on the Marlins’ depth of quality pitching prospects and where it could lead.