McDaniel Dolphins’ tackles offensive line and tight end issues

Tight end Mike Jesicki catches the ball during a passing drill.  On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, Dolphins gave the media access to video and filming players during light exercise and stretching sessions at the Baptist Health Training Complex at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Tight end Mike Jesicki catches the ball during a passing drill. On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, Dolphins gave the media access to video and filming players during light exercise and stretching sessions at the Baptist Health Training Complex at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

cjuste@miamiherald.com

Among the first big decisions Mike McDaniel’s regime made was whether to keep some tight ends of the team; importing a more talented blocker to replace the narrow end receiving slicker Mike Gesicki; Or re-sign with Gesicki and Durham Smythe while also moving forward with Hunter Long and Adam Shaheen.

The Dolphins chose Chapter 3 of those options, putting the franchise tag on Gesicki, re-signing Smythe and returning with the same group that was producing in 2021.

But in order for McDaniel’s offense to be at its peak, it must efficiently block a tight finish in a running game. Gesicki has been a will-blocker over the years, but that’s definitely not his strength.

McDaniel sees progress, although it’s hard to judge without sanitary pads.

“Mike has been as impressive as any player on the team in terms of pursuing a challenge,” McDaniel said Wednesday after a mandatory mini-camp. “The three points weren’t his centerpiece, and he’s been working really hard on the run and passing game to do the things this offense could show without taking the things that made him what he is.

“There are parts of that in the attack because we always tailor what we do to our players’ skill set. He attacked with full force, and he did a great job working on his feet in the running game. Hopefully that will carry over to the sanitary pads when that happens.”

Last season, Jesecki was asked to pass a block in just 11 of 827 shots. Among the tight ends, only Baltimore’s Mark Andrews played more shots (934) with fewer pass blocking missions (nine).

Conversely, the tight finish of Pro Bowl George Kittle — who has worked with McDaniel in San Francisco for the past several years — was banned in 70 plays last season. How about a ban on running?

Kittel had the second-most running hamper shots among all tight ends last season, with a score of 449. Jesicki is ranked 34th with a score of 234.

Pro Football Focus ranked Jesiki 62 out of 70 qualifying tight ends as a running hurdle. Incidentally, Jesekke has until July 15 to sign a contract extension if anyone is offered one; Otherwise it will play on the franchise mark.

Why did McDaniel and Chris Greer keep this tight set together?

“This was a process because you are reluctant to make prior conclusions from the statistics,” McDaniel said. “It took a lot of watching the tape. We just knew we were going to ask these people to do different things than they did in the past.

“Not only are they putting the good stuff on the bar but there is a lot of room for growth. They are the kind of people we want to represent as Miami Dolphins. It was both the bar and the people.”

this and that

According to the team, Dolphins’ internal options remain at the center are Michael Dieter and left-hander Conor Williams, who has been working at the center. Williams captured pre-season shots at the Dallas Cowboys center last year.

When asked if he strongly believes the 2022 starting center in Dolphins is on the current roster, McDaniel said: “I think you have to be careful to know who is doing what and when. It’s not fair to the process. If another player isn’t added, I’ll be confident. Very much in the starting position next year. I’m excited for who we have. But you don’t shut the door. It’s not fair in the process.”

Former Cleveland player J.C. Tretter remains the top free agent without a signature.

There was a sneak peek at the center and a big coincidence on Wednesday, but Dolphins’ media rules don’t allow reporters to determine which center made those mistakes.

McDaniel is pleased with the progress made by Austin Jackson. As the Miami Herald reported in March, Jackson was transferred to the correct treatment.

“A lot of information has been poured in about how all players are going after these technologies,” McDaniel said. “We’re really focused on the diversity of jobs right now. When Austin plays the right tackle, he’s very happy that he’s approaching it in the only way you can improve as a player, which is to fully commit to it. We’re asking people to do hard things at an elite level.. And he’s attacking it so hard.”

Four players remain outside after surgery: Byron Jones (off-season lower leg surgery), Raheem Mostert (knee surgery last September), Alec Ingold (a 10-week ACL injury) and Tyron Armstead (off-season knee procedure). Newcomer Melvin Ingram was in attendance but not yet fully involved.

“We’re trying to be very thoughtful and intentional with all of these guys,” McDaniel said. “We have not had a setback across the board. We are somewhat conservative.”

Xavien Howard, who was present but not participating in team practice (some veterans are at rest), got a peace sign tattooed on his neck because “I am at peace, happy where I am.”

He said that having Sam Madison and Patrick Serten in the coaching staff was “awesome. I’ve been talking to Sam and Patrick the whole time. They’re legendary here. They want to learn from them and pick their brains.”

“He’s pounding it now. He’s just getting better,” Howard said of Tua Tagoviloa.

Practice Achievements

Tagovailoa completed a 20-yard pass to Lynne Bowden Jr.’s mid-court slide…Bowden got another 20-yard diving catch from Skylar Thompson… Tagovailoa completed a 15-yard run off Jaylene Waddell…

Jeep collapsed on another pass, resulting in Tagovailoa’s failure to shine for Jesiki….

Gillan Phillips looked good, pressing Tagoviloa in one match. He also recovered falteringly… Jevon Holland broke Tagovailoa’s pass to Jesiki…. Tagovailoa faced heavy pressure on six throws…

Brennan Scarlett got a potential sack…Noah Igbonegen got a deep pass from Tagoviloa to Waddell in the last play of training….

Christian Wilkins Had a Possible Cyst..Andrew Van Ginkel Stressed…

Rising midfielder Thompson looked good; He completed only 11 of the 11 touchdown passes – one to Waddle and one to Trent Sherfield, which were interconnected between the defenders. Both had short TD throws…

Teddy Bridgewater soon threw in an objection.

“From an operational point of view, we adjusted to coincide with boot camp,” said McDaniel, who runs his first mandatory mini-camp as a Dolphins coach. “They taste like bootcamp day without the sanitary pads.

“This particular little camp, we collect all the things we’ve installed, and we use the meeting time to watch the tape.”

This story was originally published June 1, 2022 1:32 pm.

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Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written a Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.

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