At the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando, Florida this week, the coach’s breakfast interviews are the most anticipated soundbites of the NFL offseason, as it’s usually the first time fans hear from the coaches since the Super Bowl ended in February. This year didn’t disappoint, as Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase spent an hour talking to media while sipping his morning coffee, espousing on all things Dolphins.
It’s been a busy offseason for the Dolphins; in just two months they’ve made three trades, acquiring defensive end Robert Quinn, sending wide receiver Jarvis Landry packing to Cleveland when a long-term deal couldn’t be worked out, and acquiring 49ers center Daniel Kilgore to replace the recently departed Mike Pouncey.
The Dolphins also used some creativity with their salary cap, releasing tight end Julius Thomas, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and then restructuring contracts for quarterback Ryan Tannehill and safety Reshad Jones. Those moves freed up enough money for the team to bolster the offensive line with the additions of guard Josh Sitton, the aforementioned Kilgore, and add a key cog to the offense with wide receiver Albert Wilson.
But it was the signing of a second wide receiver that stirred up the most interest, as the Dolphins signed former New England Patriot Danny Amendola. Gase was asked questions on that topic at the breakfast meetings, including more than a few wondering why the Dolphins added Amendola when they’d already signed Wilson.
"See? You guys all think I'm crazy, huh? That's the third person to ask me about it,” laughed Gase.
Gase quickly adds that the main reason he wanted to bring Amendola in was for his leadership.
“He's an experienced guy, a guy that's been in big games, made plays in big games,” said Gase. “He's been part of an organization that's won a lot, and he's a guy that can absolutely be a huge impact in our locker room. He can help other players on offense and help our team in general. I think it will be good for our guys to see how he works, how he does meetings, and how he goes about his business.”
Gase has an obvious affinity for Welker, noting, “I remember when we signed Wes in Denver, that was one of the biggest things that he did; when our young guys saw him practice, they were shocked because they couldn't believe how hard he went and how fast he did everything. There was no half speed or take this play off. It just didn't exist. He was full speed all the time."
And by getting Amendola, Gase sees the same potential for improving the locker room in Miami.
“By getting Danny, we have the type of offense that really fits him,” says Gase. “I think he creates a lot of separation. He's one of those guys that makes the quarterback's job really easy. He doesn't just get a little bit open. There's a big window there; the quarterback has a margin for error. It's something that we're excited about, and I think he brings that element; he's a winner. He's played in a lot of big games. He's won Super Bowls. He's made big plays in huge games - game-changing plays. I think he's going to be a great example for the rest of our locker room."
But before fans start thinking that Amedola or Wilson will fill the shoes of a 100-reception receiver in Landry, Gase cautions, “I'm looking at that as more of a group effort. We're probably going to spread it out a little more. Ball distribution will be a little more wide-ranging than one guy. We'll kind of see how we play this out and who is playing where. We'll probably have guys moving around in multiple spots.”
And with an abundance of new targets, Gase is excited to see how this offense plays out. Tannehill is going to have plenty of place to put the ball on each snap, and the two new additions at wide receiver are just the tip of the iceberg in that regard.
“I think between DeVante (Parker) and Kenny (Stills), and now you add Jakeem (Grant) in there and you add (Kenyan) Drake in there, now you've got Frank Gore. We've got a lot of guys that we're going to need to get the ball to."
Fins up, Dolphins fans!
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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