Adam Gase isn’t worried. He knows that gradual improvements are far more important than results in the NFL preseason.
But he also has eyes. And so when a player doesn’t seem to be up to par, it causes questions. But Gase thinks there is time.
He’s not panicked.
He’s not panicking about rookie Mike Gesicki (no preseason catches) or second-year linebacker Raekwon McMillan (returning from a torn ACL) or cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (self-described “trash” on Friday night).
There is, in his mind, time.
Lets start with Gesicki, who has been outstanding on some passing plays on the practice fields, but hasn’t made an offensive play yet in preseason.
There are 19 Miami Dolphins with a catch in the first two weeks, but not the prized rookie. Gesicki seems to be forced to block more often than not.
“He had his ups and downs,” Gase said of Gesicki’s performance against Carolina. “I’m always probably going to be a little hard on him because we’re putting him in a lot of positions to pass protect, run blocking, those type of things. We’ll get to the passing game when we need to get to the passing game.”
It would be nice to see Gesicki, who has been taking first team reps, get more pass-catching opportunities in the third, typically essential, preseason game.
Tankersley played very poorly on Friday, and he lambasted himself when it was over. Tankersley, a starter in 2017, seems to have lost confidence.
But it seems clear Gase isn’t ready to give up on the former third-rounder.
“I think we just need to find a way to level (Tankersley) out and get him to just play it one play at a time and compete,” Gase said. “Get your hands up. His length and his ability to run, those are his strengths. When we see him press, we want him to put hands on the receiver and jar that guy at the line of scrimmage. I think that’s the No. 1 thing. If he does that consistently, I think that’s where he really has an advantage over guys because even if he misses, he has that speed that he can catch up to that guy. He’s long and he can get his hands on balls.”
Similarly, McMillan has not played very well in the first two games of his career. McMillan has seemed a step slow at times, including on a passing touchdown to a Panthers tight end. But Gase feels after a rough first game, McMillan is trending in the right direction.
“Right now he’s doing a good job of going through the progression that we need to go through as really a first-year player,” Gase said. “I know it’s his second year, but we lost pretty much the entire season last year. We got a little bit of training camp and a little bit of the offseason; but he’s progressed well and I feel like he’s getting better. After watching this game, you saw some things where he cut it loose. He’s thinking less. That’s really the biggest thing. I know he wants to play well. He wants to do a lot of the things that you want a Mike linebacker to do. “