DAVIE, Fla. — Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase says he’s confident quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be ready for the 2018 season, but 2017 is out.
The Dolphins placed Tannehill on injured reserve Saturday because of his left knee injury, sidelining him for the entire season. Tannehill and the Dolphins decided surgery will be the best option for his torn anterior cruciate ligament.
When asked about his conversation with Tannehill, Gase said: “It was probably tougher for me. It’s more and more real. It’s unfortunate for him. He worked so hard.”
Tannehill’s replacement, Jay Cutler, practiced for the second time Saturday and might play in Thursday’s exhibition game against the Baltimore Ravens.
“If he feels good enough to go on Thursday, where the pocket feel is there and he feels like he’s in a good place, then he’ll go,” Gase said.
Cutler, who parted with the Chicago Bears after eight seasons, postponed retirement and his TV job, signing a $10 million, one-year contract.
Tannehill will still be around the team this season, Gase said.
“There are going to be times where he’ll be rehabbing at other facilities,” Gase said. “But there will be some weeks where he’s going to be around a lot, and he’ll be able to help the coaching staff and help the players.”
To fill Tannehill’s roster spot, Miami signed linebacker Junior Sylvestre, who spent part of the 2017 offseason with Buffalo and the 2016 offseason and training camp with Indianapolis.
Tannehill missed the final four games of last season with two sprained ligaments in his knee, and he reinjured it a week into training camp. The Dolphins consulted with specialists before the team and Tannehill decided on surgery.
Tannehill chose to avoid surgery after last season’s injury. He instead rehabilitated the partially torn ligaments and underwent stem cell treatments.
Saints’ Thomas primed
to thrive as new No. 1 WR
METAIRIE, La. — Saints receiver Michael Thomas sounds eager to accept the responsibility of being a “No. 1” receiver in New Orleans’ prolific offense, even if he doesn’t necessarily like such labels.
“Whatever I have to do to add value to this team and put points on the board, that’s what I’m going to do and do it at a high level,” Thomas said after practice at Saints training camp Saturday. “If I’m No. 1, No. 2, whatever I am ... I’m going to do it to the best of my ability and, ultimately, every time I touch (the ball), I’m going to try to score.”
The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Thomas lines up at the “X’’ position that Saints career receiving leader Marques Colston held from 2006 to 2015. And in his second NFL season, he often will be quarterback Drew Brees’ first read. He will draw matchups against opponents’ best defensive backs — and routinely run routes in double coverage.
So far, signs point to Thomas thriving in that role.
As a rookie, he led New Orleans in catches with 92 and touchdowns with nine. His 1,137 yards receiving ranked second on the team, only 36 yards behind the total put up by Brandin Cooks, who was traded to New England this past offseason.
And as quarterback Drew Brees pointed out, Thomas had a lot to learn as a rookie, and looked considerably more comfortable during the latter half of last season.
“For any young receiver when they come in, yes there’s raw talent, but then there’s the fundamentals of playing the position at this level,” Brees said. “Your releases vs. bump-and-run, the way you set up routes and the nuances to our system and the concepts within our system — it just takes time to understand those and be confident with them.”
Redskins place Murphy
on injured reserve
RICHMOND, Va. — The Washington Redskins have placed linebacker Trent Murphy on injured reserve with a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, and signed Jamari Staples to bolster their injury-depleted wide receiver corps.
Murphy, the Redskins’ top draft choice in 2014, was hurt in their 23-3 loss to Baltimore in their preseason opener on Thursday night.
“It’s too bad,” coach Jay Gruden said before practice Saturday. “He was really having a great offseason then he followed it up with a really good training camp so far. It’s unfortunate, you know, just wrong place at the wrong time.”
Safety Su’a Cravens also sustained a knee injury in the game, but is considered day to day.
“We’re going to just keep a close eye on it and go day by day with this thing,” the coach said. “See how it does the next couple of days, get the swelling out of there and see if he can practice.”
The team also waived injured offensive tackle Kevin Bowen.
Browns’ Crowell remains calm in final year of deal
BEREA, Ohio — Patience is a virtue that Isaiah Crowell is familiar with, having gone undrafted out of Alabama State three years ago.
The powerful running back is relying on it again as he enters his final season under contract with the Browns.
“I feel like God controls everything, so I’m just trying to be patient,” Crowell said Saturday at training camp. “I know my time is coming. I am just being patient, going to stay working and keep working hard, and trying to be the best I can be.”
Many positions — including starting quarterback — remain in flux for Cleveland, but there is no uncertainty in the backfield.
Crowell is entrenched atop the depth chart after rushing for a career-high 952 yards and seven touchdowns last season. The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder also made a personal-best 40 receptions and gained 1,271 yards from scrimmage during the Browns’ franchise-worst 1-15 campaign.
“Crow is a guy who isn’t scared to run through the smoke and just hit the hole hard,” Cleveland center J.C. Tretter said. “If you give him a little crevice of space, he’s going to take advantage of it. Offensive linemen love blocking for a guy like that.”
Crowell signed a one-year, $2.75 million tender on Feb. 28, believing it would expedite negotiations on a long-term pact. When they didn’t materialize, the 24 year old hired noted agent Drew Rosenhaus to conduct future talks.
Whether Crowell hits the market as an unrestricted free agent or chooses the Browns, he is in line for a significant pay raise. He earned $1.54 million over his first three NFL seasons — and repaid the franchise by scoring 20 touchdowns and gaining 2,265 yards on the ground.
“Each year, I’ve had to prove myself how good of a player I am, but I’m used to it,” said Crowell, who has never missed a game as a professional.
“I feel like it’s a constant battle, but it’s not a big deal. I know what type of player I am, what caliber of player I am.”
The soft-spoken Georgia native added that he believes he ranks among the league’s elite running backs. Crowell mentioned himself, Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman, Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell, and Arizona’s David Johnson as the cream of the crop.
Freeman made headlines earlier in the week by signing a five-year, $41.3 million contract to stay with the Falcons, including $22 million in guaranteed money.
“Yeah, you do go and think about it,” Crowell said. “I feel like he changed the (pay scale) for all the running backs that are out here right now that deserve to get paid. I feel like it’s a great deal for him.”
Freeman, Bell and Johnson all rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2016, and each has been named to a Pro Bowl.
Crowell has yet to accomplish either feat, nor has he helped Cleveland finish with a winning record. He plans on changing both this fall.
“I put myself up there at the top with them because I feel like I can get out there and get the job done in any way,” Crowell said. “All I can do is just work hard and really try to help my team get some wins.”
QB Brock Osweiler, who started Cleveland’s preseason opener Thursday against New Orleans, worked with the first-team offense. Cody Kessler played with the backups, while rookie DeShone Kizer took the third reps, but was on the field with many starters. “It’s too early to name a quarterback,” coach Hue Jackson said testily. “The only difference today is we’re back in training camp mode.” . DE Nate Orchard spent his first two NFL seasons at LB before being moved by new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
“Hands down, he’s the best human being I’ve ever been around and the most interesting man,” Orchard said. “Everyone gravitates toward him. It’s just like having another pops around, but in a different way.”