It has come to this—the final preseason game. Winner takes all. Well, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic but you get the gist. After competing for the third quarterback spot all summer, the decision to keep either Brandon Doughty or Zac Dysert may very well come down to the Dolphins final preseason game this Thursday.
When asked, neither head coach Adam Gase nor Ryan Tannehill were willing to outright give one the edge over the other. Dysert, the fourth-year man out of Miami of Ohio has been on several teams' practice squads, battling to keep his dreams of being an NFL quarterback alive. Doughty, the local kid from Davie, Florida who went on to having a record setting college career at Western Kentucky also has dreams—of playing for the team he grew up rooting for.
Tannehill was asked about Dysert, whose experience in the offense gives him an immediate edge on Doughty: “He’s progressed a lot. He’s really playing well right now. I saw a lot of great things out of him this past game. There was a big third down there that sticks out in my mind. It was third-and-9 I think, or third-and-10. He went through his progressions, stood in the pocket, stepped up and made a great throw. Another play, he moved a little bit to his right and found a guy. He’s really done a good job.”
Tannehill also noted that Dysert’s experience in Gase’s offense has helped: “He knows this offense; he’s been it, I guess, three years now. So he’s seen it, he knows what’s going on and he’s comfortable. He’s finally hitting a rhythm as far as his play goes so it’s fun to see.”
Dysert has also been an invaluable resource for Tannehill as he still works on mastering the nuances of head coach Adam Gase’s scheme: “On a few things. I think him just having prior knowledge of some concepts, like ‘What did you call it?’ or signals or ‘How did you see it?’ so it’s been nice to have him around."
Gase agrees that Dysert’s familiarity with the offense has translated to on the field performance: “He was with me last year for a week in Chicago, as well.” The Dolphins head coach has noticed that Dysert has somewhat gotten over the proverbial hump: “I feel like the other day was a huge step for him. He did a really good job as far as running our offense, getting the ball out on time, getting completions, getting first downs. The whole week he had a different mentality and then he played like he practiced.”
But to think that Doughty is somehow handicapped by his lack of experience would be foolish. The seventh round pick has impressed both Tannehill and Gase, with Tannehill in particular taking notice of Doughty’s ability. Just don’t ask Tannehill to pronounce Doughty’s name: “I asked him because I don’t know what I called him at first, but I don’t think it was right. So I asked him, I was like, ‘How do you say your name?’ And he said ‘DOW-tee.’”
Tannehill has had no such trouble identifying what makes Doughty stand out on the field: “He’s learning. He’s getting better and I think I’ve seen some flashes from the kid. It’s really exciting to see. He’s got some talent. Once he settles down and gets comfortable, he’ll be making plays for us.”
Whoever wins the battle, the next tough choice will be keeping three quarterbacks on the active 53-man roster or stashing them on the practice squad. Both have their risks. But with this decision looming, it will make Thursday’s final preseason game against the Titans much more compelling than usual.
This story was written by Richard Wilt. Follow him on Twitter: @richardactor71
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