Seconds ticking away. Ryan Tannehill calling signals, knowing he eventually needs a touchdown, but first needs a fourth-down conversion.
And, a minute later, Dolphins celebrating in the end zone.
“We couldn’t have scripted it any better,” coach Joe Philbin said Thursday, after his offense “defeated” his defense 34-33 in the final workout before training camp opens in late July.
Given the Dolphins’ struggles in converting red-zone opportunities into touchdowns, even success in simulated game action was cause for optimism. Tannehill, entering his second season, hit Rishard Matthews to convert the fourth down, found free agent Marvin McNutt for a 13-yard touchdown, then passed to Brian Hartline for the two-point conversion on the final play. Tannehill had driven the offense 50 yards in 1:37.
“That was fun,” Tannehill said. “Any time you can practice the two-minute situations, it makes it more natural in the game. To be able to execute a two-minute, we have a patchwork offense out there, a patchwork defense, it really tests communication.”
Philbin said he intentionally mixed up personnel.
“I didn’t want guys that had always been together to be in the same group,” he said. “I wanted to kind of put everybody in a pot and stir it up.”
No surprise that Tannehill considers himself “a good deal” ahead of when he entered training camp competing with — and edging — Matt Moore for the starting job.
“Last year, I didn’t even know what position I was going to be in, as far as the depth chart,” Tannehill said.
Tannehill impressed Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese, the club’s radio analyst watching practice.
“I made a big improvement my first year to the second year,” Griese said. “I saw it in Dan Marino when he went from his first year to his second year, and I anticipate that being the case with Ryan.”
“When you’re in the huddle and somebody is talking and you’ve got to call a play, when you’re a rookie, you kind of look over and say, ‘Uh … uh … Mr. Larry Little, can you please be quiet, ‘cause I’ve got to call this play?’
“The second year, you say, ‘SHUT YOUR MOUTH!’ “
Tannehill appears on board.
“I got to grow as a leader over the camp, the spring,” Tannehill said. “Take control of the offense. Take control of setting things up.”
Standing out: Kicker Caleb Sturgis, the fifth-round pick out of Florida who is competing with incumbent Dan Carpenter, made a 58-yard field goal, then drilled the ensuing kickoff through the uprights. Carpenter missed from 51 yards.
Matthews made a nice sideline grab of a pass from Tannehill, who also threw a TD to tight end Dion Sims. Lamar Miller scored on a 38-yard run.
Cornerback Nolan Carroll had an interception for a touchdown.
Broadcast team set: With Dick Stockton “not available,” the Dolphins said, Jesse Agler, studio host on the club’s radio network, will be the team’s TV play-by-play man during the exhibition season, joined by analysts Nat Moore and Griese. The regular-season radio team will be Jimmy Cefalo (play-by-play), Joe Rose, Griese, Kim Bokamper and Keith Sims.
Gimme shelter: With lightning approaching just a few minutes into practice, everybody ducked for cover inside the bubble, but Philbin the meteorologist made the bold prediction of sizzling practices once camp opens. Nobody has to warn defensive end Olivier Vernon, who played at the University of Miami.
“We’re not going to have all these ‘bubble moments’ all the time,” Vernon said.
Personnel moves: The Dolphins signed wide receiver Joe Hastings and defensive tackle Tracy Robertson on Thursday. Both participated in this week’s mini-camp. Miami waived receiver Courtney Gardner and fullback Ina Liaina.
Hastings was on San Francisco’s active roster for several games in 2011 but did not record a reception. Robertson was most recently on New England’s practice squad.