DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is completing 81 percent of his passes in the preseason. Naturally, as the quarterback, Tannehill has received a lot of credit this summer.
But one underrated aspect of Tannehill's progression has been changes at receiver to better fit Tannehill's skills. New additions such as Greg Jennings, Kenny Stills and tight end Jordan Cameron have meshed well with Tannehill this summer. Holdovers Jarvis Landry and Rishard Matthews also had the best training camps of their careers, and first-round pick DeVante Parker (foot) will join the Dolphins early in the regular season to make for a very deep group of pass-catchers.
"Every day you see more guys getting better and getting to the point where, as the coach, you can picture all these guys helping you," Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. "That's what you need. We know it's a long season. ...I think the group is rising as a whole. I'm really excited."
Tannehill worked hard this offseason on two areas: accuracy and the deep ball.
The Dolphins are aiming for more "chunk" plays of 25 yards or more this season, which means Tannehill must be able to complete more deep passes. Tannehill hit more deep balls in this training camp than he has in his first three camps combined, which is a good sign. Tannehill has yet to connect on a deep ball in the preseason, although Cameron dropped a potential big play in coverage last week against the Carolina Panthers.
Tannehill's accuracy also has improved in practices and games. He completed a career-high 66.4 passes last season, which looks good on paper. But too many of those completions were off the mark -- too high, left or right to prevent players from making the run after the catch. As a result, Tannehill averaged 6.8 yards per attempt.
This preseason, Tannehill is hitting his receivers more in stride and allowing them to get more yards after catch (YAC), which could result in more first downs and extend drives.
"The guy has worked his butt off physically doing it the right way, getting better," Lazor said. "He's worked his butt off mentally and knowing where everyone is. He's worked at it. That is by far the No. 1 thing."
The Dolphins will be at full strength once Parker returns from foot surgery. The initial goal for Parker was Week 1 of the regular season. But he has yet to fully practice with a little more than two weeks remaining.
Miami has enough depth not to rush Parker, who showed a lot of flashes in the spring.
"It's what his body can do and what the roster looks like on game day," Lazor explained. "From what we saw of him in the spring, I have no doubt that he has the physical ability, he has the mental capability to do it. So as fast as he can come along, I think we'll do a good job of not overdoing it to hurt him, at the same time, when he's ready to go, we're ready for him."