DAVIE, Fla. -- New Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor did wonders with the Philadelphia Eagles last season. As Philadelphia’s quarterbacks coach, Lazor helped develop Nick Foles from a previously unknown quarterback into a Pro Bowler in Foles' second season.
So is it also safe to assume Lazor will easily take Miami third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill's game to the next level in 2014? Not so fast, according to Lazor.
“If it was one key, it would be easy and we could bottle it and sell it, right?” Lazor explained. “Each guy is different. I think that is important.”
Lazor is one of the Dolphins’ most important additions and aims to jump-start the offense. Miami finished No. 27 in total offense and became predictable under former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. It also stunted the growth of Tannehill, who was a first-round pick in 2012.
After his work with Foles last season, Lazor is starting to develop a reputation of a quarterback guru. That reputation will only increase if Lazor is able to also get Tannehill over the hump. Miami’s starting quarterback is just 15-17 as a starter entering a crucial third season.
The early impression is that Lazor is a demanding coach. He is detailed and already has a clear expectation of the offense and starting quarterback.
“I want to see the ball coming out on time, letting his football tell him when it’s time to throw it, and I want to see that he trusted us that this is how it all fits together,” Lazor said of Tannehill. "The quarterback has got to play at game speed every day in practice. The receivers will catch up to him."
Miami cannot afford to have inconsistent quarterback play this season. This is a big year for many in the organization. The Dolphins have not been to the playoffs since 2008, and the easiest way to end that drought is for Tannehill to develop into a franchise quarterback.
This week’s start to organized team activities proved there is still work to be done. Miami's offense made various mistakes and looked well behind the defense, which has played in the same scheme for the past three seasons.
“There’s still a learning curve. It’s not going to come overnight,” Tannehill said this week. “It’s going to take some time, not just for me but for all of our guys.”
The question Dolphins observers in South Florida want to know is how long it will take Miami’s new offense to click. Will it be in training camp? During the preseason? Or will the Dolphins take a steep learning curve into the regular season where the offensive can potentially cost them games that matter?
“How long it takes is a work in progress. It’s day-to-day,” Lazor said. “What we did today isn’t going to be good enough tomorrow. We made that clear to the players afterward. They’ve got to get better, and there is no ending point.”
The Dolphins are hoping Lazor and Tannehill can be a power pair this season. Much of Miami's success this year is riding on it.