Adam Gase: Jay Cutler start a ‘step in the right direction’

Miami Dolphins Jay Cutler NFL

The Miami Dolphins are ready for a 2017 NFL season with Jay Cutler as the starting quarterback, but the once-soon-to-be broadcaster is still working on readjusting to football’s most difficult role.

Nevertheless, head coach Adam Gase saw improvement during the veteran’s start against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

“It seems like his pocket presence is coming back pretty quick,” he said, per Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post. “He made some nice step-ups and kinda sliding and finding some lanes. It was a step in the right direction. Last week he was still kinda of feeling his way out, but now I think he looks more comfortable.”

Cutler finished the contest 5-of-8 for 105 yards and one touchdown, also launching a downfield shot that resulted in defensive pass interference. Excluding the one-play drive that followed an interception, the Dolphins scored twice on four possessions Cutler led.

He wasn’t perfect — the first drive ended with a sack-fumble, for example — but the former Bears gunslinger stayed calm throughout the night. After spending several months away from the game, that’s a legitimately encouraging sign for both Cutler and Miami.

The Dolphins wrap up their preseason slate Thursday, Aug. 31, with a road trip to a familiar foe for Cutler, the Minnesota Vikings. He then has 10 days before Miami kicks off the campaign in front of a hometown crowd against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Expectations shouldn’t be high for Cutler, but he’s showing enough progress that it’s reasonable to think the Dolphins will be competitive despite the loss of Ryan Tannehill so close to the season.