There are cases where the pieces just don’t fit, but cries of “chemistry” issues often mask larger foundational problems. Talent typically wins out, especially when players are given an ample amount of time to jell.
But that’s not going to quell the concerns of the eternally pessimistic football fan, for whom everything — experience, prior results, talent, etc. — is just a lurking pitfall that could derail a season. So, with this in mind, it’s no surprise that some wonder whether Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace will be able to get on the “same page.” Time is on their side, though that time — we’re still nearly four months away from training camp — is exactly what causes the over analysis.
O.J. McDuffie, a Dolphins receiver from 1993-2000 and current Finsiders analyst, doesn’t think chemistry will be an issue.
“They’re going to do so much side work,” McDuffie said. “These two are professional athletes. They’ll do work away from practice as well, but they’re going to get so many chances to be on the same page.”
The need for offseason reps can be a bit overstated — Brian Hartline missed nearly the entire offseason last year and he and Tannehill were just fine. Irving Fryar, too, didn’t get much of an offseason workload with Dan Marino when he arrived from New England prior to the 1993 season, McDuffie said, but he fit in seamlessly, catching 61 passes for 1,010 yards and five touchdowns.
Tannehill and Wallace will have plenty of time, though, augmented by the way the Dolphins are expected to run training camp practices again this offseason.
“When Coach Philbin practices during training camp, they’ve got two groups going at an amazing pace,” McDuffie said. “They’re going to get as many reps as absolutely possible, so don’t worry about those two. Don’t worry about chemistry.”
If anything would cause a disconnect, it would be an experience gap, McDuffie said. A veteran receiver in the later stages of his career, for example, may be hesitant to completely a trust a young quarterback. But Wallace and Tannehill are young players, both on the upswing of their careers. The two, more importantly, spent time together right after Wallace signed his deal, talking shop.
“Mike Wallace, just from what we saw (from) him in here, his whole disposition, I think he’s going to be a guy that gets along,” McDuffie said. “Won’t be a guy that’s ball hungry – we’ve seen that in this locker room before. He’s going to be more of a team player, the way it appears. I think that’s important.”
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