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Dolphins tight ends need to get better

A football team is like a series of links fastened together as a chain. When one link is weak, it weakens the entire chain.

Think of that when considering the Dolphins offense. And now tell me which is the weak link?

Well, the wide receivers, right?

It's not just me saying it. Coach Joe Philbin has made the point that he's not completely comfortable with the group. General Manager Jeff Ireland has said the group has several No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 receivers but he's yet to see someone step up as a No. 1 or No. 2.

So that being established, the receivers are the weak link. And the problem is that affects the other links. And the link I see that could probablly be considered acceptable if the receivers were strong but now gets scrutiny is lacking because the receivers are lacking is the tight end position.

Miami's tight ends have potential. But so far that potential is unmet.

Anthony Fasano is today the best tight end on the team and we all know he is never going to be mistaken for Jason Witten or Rob Gronkowski. He's is a good blocker and would be fine as the second TE behind a dynamic pass-catcher that can threaten the middle of the field and dominate in the red zone.

But the Dolphins don't have that.

"Fasano is very steady," Philbin said. "You kind of know what we have with Anthony. He’s a guy that has good experience, he’s a good in-line blocker, he’s got good hands."

The problem is that while the Dolphins believe they have talent behind Fasano and potential behind Fasano, the production of the players behind Fasano falls off a cliff.

Charles Clay is developing but he was simply terrible the first two weeks of practice. He's been better lately but it's a long way between better and really good and consistent.

"I think Charles Clay has quietly had a good camp," Philbin said. "Early on there were some things that we weren’t totally fired up about, but I think he has really developed the last couple of weeks. The last two or three weeks he has really stepped his game up. We’re going to need him to do that obviously through the course of the year."

The Dolphins drafted Michael Egnew to be an Aaron Hernandez type of player. They want him to tear down the seam of the secondary and make it his personal pass-catching playground. Instead, he's had a terrible first training camp and has been equally bad in games. He's dropped passes, missed assignments and generally not played very fast. He has what I call the thousand yard stare, like he is overmatched with what's going on.

"I said to Mike Egnew on the field today that I thought I saw some progress with him on the tape," Philbin said this week. "Even some more with him blocking wise, where we knew he was going to be behind the curve due to his experience in college, but there are some signs there."

The Dolphins also have Jeron Mastrud and Les Brown in camp. But let's face it, Mastrud is like Fasano except not as productive, not as good a blocker and not as experienced. The team wants to upgrade from him in the best case scenario. If he's on the team, something went wrong with Egnew or Clay.

Brown? He's done. He couldn't block when he arrived in camp and he still cannot. That would be somewhat acceptable if he was a dynamic playmaker in the passing game. He is not. He gets open sometimes but the speed simply does not translate consistently enough. He should strike fear into the hearts of linebackers covering him. But they stay with him.

And I believe the Dolphins are ready to end the experiment. There will be cuts on Monday and I would expect Brown to be among them. He certainly is not making the 53-man roster. It's a shame because I love the idea of a TE that runs 4.4 in the 40 yard dash. (I wouldn't mind re-signing Brown to the practice squad and seeing if he can develop over the next month and give signs of hope.)

"Mastrud is very steady and doing a nice job, and Les, Les is learning day-by-day," Philbin said. "It’s a good group and we’re going to need those guys. We’d like to be a versatile as we can be and get different personnel groups and use them in different spots, so I think they’re capable. They’re smart guys, and they’re giving us a good work ethic, so I think we’re going to be in good shape."

I don't.

You see, getting back to the chain, the lack of dynamic receivers begs for the Dolphins to find passing yards from the tight ends. If they were great, the need at receiver would be very well hidden. Look at the New England Patriots. Aside from Wes Welker, they haven't had any great receivers on the field for a couple of years. But they've had excellent tight end play from Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. So the problem at receiver is covered up a bit. (Obviously the Patriots realized this and signed Brandon Lloyd this offseason).

But the Dolphins have neither the dynamic receiver nor the dynamic tight end. They have one "steady" tight end and two or three projects.

That's rough.

The hope, obviously, is for Clay to suddenly explode with the advent of the regular season. If he can learn the offense to the point it is instinct to him, I believe he has the potential to be the answer. The Dolphins need that to happen.

They need to tighten up that weakened chain.

Comments

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It took the Patriots 1 dradft to find 2 Probowl caliber TE's. It's taken the Jeff Ireland 5 years and we still have 0.

Yep.

Has anyone considered switching D Thomas to tight end? Seriously. Dude's 245. He could be the Hernandez type receiving TE.

When you start investing prime resources in positions of impact then you can start expecting performance. The reason why Fasano is our best TE? He was a star at Notre Dame and a second round pick who only became available because he played behind one of the best.

Reason why Reggie Bush is our most dynamic player? 1st round pick.

Reason why Ryan Tannehill is our most promising player? 1st round pick.

Jake Long and Mike Pouncey our best linemen?? You got it ... 1st round picks.

When you don't spend 1st or 2nd round picks or big free agent contracts or trades on areas of need, you can't expect diddly.

Unfair to expect 3rd and 5th round picks to perform exceptionally.

Perhaps if the franchise decided to invest in areas of impact instead of in the trenches where football games were won 40 years ago but not recently ... then the team might be better.

He's 230 lbs. Great idea convering him to TE. He could be Les Brown Part Duex.

Why is Les Brown not being developed as a WR? This has been bugging me since they first signed him. He's underweight for the TE position, and that shows in his blocking and everything else.

Even on Hard Knocks, you hear mention of "he is more of a WR type" but no follow through on what should be the obvious next step.

It seems like a clear switch to me. He's got the size, he's got the speed, blocking is less of an issue (though still important). Put him on the practice squad, coach him up on his routerunning and blocking, and you've got a diamond in the rough there.

Switching Thomas to te would only shed light to Ieland being wrong again.
And we know this clown cant accept his own mistakes and admit wrongdoing.
Nor make a desicion not engulfed with the antiquated theory that its better to strive for 4 probowl o linemen than to have two of them and 2 skilled weapons down field.
Ohh and the qb , wait till yr 5 to nab one
Yay Jeff , at least Parcells will be pleased you are still his puppet!

Eggnew?? YUCK

There's No Chain, Its more like a Rope. Nice and soft.

Put him on the practice squad, coach him up on his routerunning and blocking, and you've got a diamond in the rough there.

Posted by: CJ | August 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM

What you have in les brown is someone who can help you in the accounting / finance dept. more than on the football field.

D Thomas should be cut before next sesason. He's useless. 3 picks sacrificed for him and he cant play his position. Unreal Ireland.

Timmy, D. Thomas may be playing right guard soon if he keeps growing!!!

CJ, Les Brown reportedly can't get open against linebackers, if that's the case, I don't like his chances against NFL corners. Then we may have two fast WRs who can't play. At least they would provide betting entertainment in races for the rest of the team. I got $50 on Gates!!

Another thought, Les Brown may be in camp so Jeff Ireland could cut his grass and move in on his girl... just a thought.

Ireland states we have a bunch of 3's 4's and 5's WR and he looking for some 1's and 2's. WTF isnt it his job to find a number 1 or number 2 WR? How the fock can you expect a 3, 4 or 5 WR to all of a sudden make a jump to 1's or 2's. This guy is on crack. This team will be in the cellar until Ireland is fired.

Wheb Ireland traded 3 picks for D Thomas the draft room broke out in hysterical laughter

"CJ, Les Brown reportedly can't get open against linebackers, if that's the case, I don't like his chances against NFL corners. "

He can't block, because he doesn't have the mass or the technique.

He can't get open, because he doesn't have the technique, but he does have the speed.

Kid hasn't played since high school, he's not going to be polished, but technique can be learned.

Seems to me, that you have a better shot of him learning the routerunning to go with his speed, than you do of having him bulk up AND learning to block.

I couldn't agree more CJ...but then, that would require clear , innovative thinking.....let's hope Coach Philbin has more of that than Jeff Ireland has shown.

On the topic of 1st round picks...hoping with all my might that Ryan T is the real deal.....so far things look promising.....if he has a successful season....I think Jeffy-boy saves his job for another season....


....time will tell....GO PHINS!!!!......and Go Braylon Edwards...find some more gas in the tank...we could use a major reincarnation here..!!!!!

..Mark in Toronto. Great post @10:20..

I think if we really look at the history of the Ireland drafts..(I'm saying the last 3) we have to look at the teams needs each draft.

In 2010 we signed Marshall. Everyone on this blog believed he was the missing link to the offense. We were going to dominate. Defense was the issue. I remember winning a bet with Cuban Menance. he believed the first 3 picks in that draft would certainly be defense...he was almost right..We can analize the Odrick and Misi pick and call them poor all we want. Fact was we needed defensive help. The players may stink, but the idea was the right one for that team.

Go back to last year..2010 defense not great, but improved. The offense in 2010..Putrid. Part of the reason the offensive line, part of the reason Quarterback. We didn't have a premium pick to take a quarterback, so we solidified the line. We did take a running back in round 2..something again that can be debated as far as the player..But not the idea..We did take a position that is considered a playmaker. We don't know what Thomas will do, how he performed..He was pretty good last year when healthy.

I think that is the real issue. I think the ideas have been spot on. It has just been the results of the players who were selected to perform have come up short.

Les Brown should of been cut on the first day of camp instead he just taking reps away from someone who might actually make the team

he sux.

Mark, exactly. We need to invest in skill position players, higher in the Draft. These acorns have low probability of success, and then we act surprised when they don't succeed.

Dashi,

Haven't seen you before. Are you new or just someone with a changed name?

I enjoy the 3rd person. :)

Posted by: Ohio Dolfan | August 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Whoa DC, (from last post)

Remember.............

ignoring = troll repellent. Attention is what they want most.


Really Ur Starting today Already?

@10:33 and 10:35
--------------------------------------------------------

Egnew and Clay are the Future at the Position.

Les Brown can't play Wr. If he can't make it against Clay or Egnew. Do u think he will beat out the dirty dozen at Wr?

D.Thomas had more Rushing Yards than the 2-2nd rd Rb's the Patriots picked ahead of D.Thomas combined. Yeah, Ireland wasted 3 picks. a 3nd a 5th and a 7th for a 2nd rd pick. The PAtriots wasted 2 higher 2nd rd picks on 2 garbage Rb's in the Same Draft.

Be Easy buddy. Just Cause D.Thomas didn't gain 1001 Yds doesn't make him a bust.

Yeah Ohio, I know. Every now and then I slip and play into their game.

DD- you must be in a generous mood today, if you are giving credit for at least getting the broad needs of the team right... but not the right players!

Clay has talent, and might be useable, but again, the inconsistency is the first sign you don't have a legit star. It's still early for him, what 2nd year, but he needs to improve greatly this year to be given a chance next year. Philbin's first offseason will be deciding who he wants to continue to try and develop, and who he'd rather just toss and start fresh with HIS guy. There's isn't much time to show what they have for many of these players.

By the way, you know you're in trouble when you have Mastrud make the team year in and year out. Has he EVER shown ANYTHING? Yet, he can't be upgraded? Bad sign.

Well you know I have too in the past DC. :) They also hate when they don't have a good comeback, so then they just attack with name calling, lol.

Does anyone think Fasano will shine a little bit more with the new offense and new QB? Or will it be the same as previous years?

Yeah..right on Tom......just about every Dofan knows the needs....it's making the right choice that separates the professional GM from the rest of us....

....now if only Steve Ross would buy into that idea....hmmm???

Ohio, Dashi is new to the Season.

Not to be confused with the Clown with the 1001 names. Who is apparently at it again today. After I told him yesterday to stop.

I guess I hit a Nerve and he's back to impostering me. Dashi Told him If U are going to impersonate the Great One. At least show me some respect and Don't post Corny Nonsense under my name.

DD, good points. In turn it would be fair to expect the offensive line, defensive line, secondary, and soon quarterback to be leading this team because that is where the investments have been made. We need Odrick to be a double digit sack guy or a lineman that puts up a stone wall against the run. We need Sean Smith to play like he practices. We need to stop making excuses for the offensive line. These guys have a mint invested there. They need to lead this offense at least for this year.

And we need Vontae to stop being drunk.

People who speak in the 3rd person = failure of epic proportions.

you aren't the first Dashi and won't be the last.

But normally they come up with some cute altered version of your name to do that with.

like DC Gasbag, or Ohio idiot, or Krissy, lol

So much creativity in here. :)

Mando there are 2 postings of this thread thus 2 different lines of commentary : (

Good morning guys,

The difference a very good TE can make in any offense is obvious. It's close to the LOS and QB and makes the QBs life a whole lot easier. Miami lacks skill players because Ireland blows at finding skilled, skill players. That goes without saying. As a unit they could be a good group if somehow the lightbulb goes on in Egnew's head.

Fasano - good blocker not great, good hands not great, good at finding the open spot in a zone not great, terrible vs press coverage. A decent #2.

Clay - He's a versatile guy. He drops a lot of balls but I think that's more of a confidence thing as opposed to a lack of skills. I don't think he's a natural TE. His size at 6'1 230 doesn't fit the mold of a TE and he doesn't have elite speed that makes up for his lack of height. He's a good H-back type that should be used in a variety of ways, TE, FB, RB and that would be the most effective way to use him IMO.

Egnew - I know he's an athletic TE with the size to play the position but just from the little bit I saw of him on Hard Knocks he looks like a p***y. He looks scared when the coaches called him out. He needs to get tough but the NFL isn't exactly the place where you decide to toughen up. He looks like he never had it in the first place. I think he's a future 3rd round miss.

Shush Tim....don't wake him up !!!

Tom...Yeah pretty much. Imagine if Odrick was a beast on the defensive line, and Misi had played like the player the team projected? Both were positions on the defense that needed help that year..Now if you want to make the argument that we should have kept our pick in 2010 instead of trading back for the additional second..That is fine. Should we have taken Earl Thomas? Probably looking at it in hindsight. But nobody here was shouting hang Ireland when he got that second pick that year..Yes Odrick was out of left field. But the plan to sure up the defense was met with aplause that year..Remember we signed Marshall, so Dez Bryant wasn't happening.

Same for last year..We had the 16th pick. Personally I though we should have drafted another defender. But taking the safe route with Pouncey made sense. We needed help on the line..He was the best offensive lineman available. Then the "trade" ..Here is that skill position player people are crying for..He may not end up being dynamic, or the peoples choice for excitment. But he was taken within that second round crieria esablishe for sure fire no pressure playmakers.

Fast forward to this year. Coukd we have taken a tight end in the second round? Yup. Will this group ever solidify this spot..Probably not. This said 3rd rounders IMO are not sure fire starters, but they should contribute in some way..Except for this team..Again right idea(TE) perhaprs the wrong player, and a round late..

And That's why ur my Bottom B!tch.

Don't start today. Give it a Break. Stick to the Script

Les Brown should be hired to be Dawn Aponte's Bottom B!tch.

His problem is Everything except Athleticism. Can't Block, Can't run Routes, Is a Little Light. Give him a year on the practice Squad. If he gains 20 lbs and learns how to block and run routes? He's young enough to be real good.

Again NE wasted 2-2nd rd Picks on Te's. We wasted a 6th and a 3rd. Give Egnew and Clay a couple Seasons. Clay is not really a Te. He's more of a H-back. Can line up at Fb and Te or in the Slot. Egnew is more of a Wr/Te. Not a true Te either. Right Now they have enough that they can go no huddle and play with the 3 Te's out there. They were a Couple plays where i've seen Fasano line up at FB in the I-Formation.

I'm sorry to obsess on D Thomas, but I want something for those 3 picks. I need it. I deserve it. Me. I need and deserve it.

The dude's real weight is 245. Look at him.

There is excuse why he can't get 1400 total yards or 800 if he has to share with Bush.

Bush and Thomas should combine for 1800 all purpose yards. Actually I guess they did that last year, but what I don't understand is why 245 pound Thomas isn't getting 1200 of them.

Ohio, I think Fasano could be better if utilized better. However, I agree, he has a ceiling (he'll never be Gronk). The question I have is will Clay ever be Cooley? If so, he'll be able to fill-in for Fasano's deficiencies. If not, then we'll have a huge hole at TE.

clay can't catch.

egnew can't catch.

?

drive killas.
1/4 killas.
1/2 killas.
game killas.
season killas.
phan killas.
c a pattern.?.
lol

dey ain't good enuff to over come mistakes.

Clay can catch.

Stop judging him because you saw a few things on Hard Knocks.

Moore went to Clay for some great long passes last year. Sherman tore into Clay to get him to step up this year. We'll see if it works.

Egnew has all the markings of a failed draft pick...granted its only pre-season. But from what I've seen thanks to Hard-Knocks, the guy looks scared, over-matched, and not ready to make the leap to the NFL.
Body language is 90% of all communication and from what I've seen, he is neither confident in his abilities, or willing to take the necessary criticism to increase it...3rd round draft pick fail yet again.

i don't watch that pathetic show ohio. he can't catch from last season k???

..Dashi.Who were the 2 picks NE wasted? If you are saying Gronk, and Hernandez were wasted picks. What is a prudent one? Those guys are better then anyone we have on offense with 1 arm.. We can hate on NE all we want. But those were outstaning picks. Would they have been wasted if the tables were turned? And the Pats had selected 2 guys 3rd round and 6th round that still neee development. In the interim our guys were ballin'It would be an Ireland suck fest here if he could draft players like that(rightly so)

2 watt,

clay had 3 recieving touchdowns and 12 of his receptions were for first downs.

12 catches for first downs is good for a rookie TE/back.

That is exactly what we need them to be doing, moving the chains.

I like Fasano and have since he has been here. Clay looked good in games last year. This is a new system and for anyone that has ever played the game learning a new way to work in a second nature mode if very tough at high speed.
A team normally gets one draft pick per year. The higher the pick (top 5) the greater the chance of success. Stating the obvious but some fans think because a guy was drafted at 25 in the first round they should be in the Pro Bowl. I think some fans should realize the limitations placed on any team with respect to drafting players. Even FA's are at best a risk.
What Ireland is doing is doing because he is limited at the options available to him. He can't just run around signing ever guy in the NFL. And he doesn't have the advantage of hindsight to see what is going to happen on the field.
The team also had a rah rah coach that did nothing after his first season. The coach did not help his team adapt and get better but played the same ol, same ol. He also did not help his GM much by running the same ol tired plays. Watching the Wets go through the preseason, I am happy to see Sparano on the other side of the field.
The Phins are in a good position. Hopefully Tannehill works out and we luck out with what we have or we get a chance to select someone better next year to improve a decent team.

Ohio, 2 watt's saying he's inconsistent (which is true). He showed glimpses, but only that. Got lost in some games (just like he got lost in some Pre-Season games). He needs to show more in order to keep him. Otherwise, we have a bunch of 2's and 3's but no 1's. That's Mando's point. We need 1's in skill positions (QB, WR, TE, RB). RBs fine with Bush. QB, we'll see if Tannehill is a 1. But WR/TE, ummm, no comment.

6 of Clay's 16 catches last year were for over 20 yards, and one was over 40.

But then again DD were we in position to take a TE in the 2nd rd or a RT? Which was more important to the Team going into the Draft?

Yeah, Martin Doesn't look like much right Now. But if he works out. The Stability the O-line will have will outweigh getting a TE. Plus, Martin had a 1st rd Grade.

I agree it all matters on how we use each Te this year. We don't have that 1 guy that can do Multiple Things but from the Traditonal In-Line Spot. Egnew can Develop, but it would be nice if he could be our #2 Te not our #1.

Dashi has said all along Clay is a FB.

He wears #42 not a Te Number#. Give my boy some credit. He's not Matt Barkley. Charles Clay is 6'3" 250 lbs. A H-Back. He's a Big FB, Small TE, With Good hands and Average Blocking. He's not meant to be a Prototype Te.

Hey, the jets wasted a 2nd on Dustin Keller and he's not really a Te.

I agree DC,

I like Clay as an option though. Let's see how he does with the new system and QB.

But I do agree, we need so much more at the skills positions it could take more than 3 years to completely fill the spots. Unless we get lucky on an acorn or 2, which has proven not to happen.

I just seem to remember Clay showing up a lot when Moore needed somebody to go to for a first down.

I'm wondering if anyone on this message board has an opinion on the job performance of Mr. Jeff Ireland. I don't believe I have seen one.

Gary, Ireland sucks and should of been fired when Parcells cash out on the Dolphins

Dustin Keller is a fine player though. I'd take him over any of our TE's any day and if we had him, we wouldn't be having this blog entry.

I thought I saw an equal entry to this one just 5' ago. Must be my eyes.

The Dolphins passed on the following WRs to draft Michael Egnew:Mohamed Sanu, Chris Givens, Keshawn Martin, TY Hilton, Nick Toon, Juron Criner, Marvin Jones, Marvin McNutt, Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin. Conclusion - Ireland is an idiot!!!!! Get rid of the bum ASAP.

- What you think about this guy Eggnew, man. - Don't know, man, but he looks like some kind of Cro-Magnon man, man.

In the Same Draft Last Year. NE picked Shane Vereen at #56 and Steve Ridley at #73.

The Fins Picked D.Thomas at #62.

So I take that back the Patriots wasted a Low 2nd and a High 3rd. While the fins traded up a Lower 3rd, 5th, and 7th pick in the same draft to move to #62.

Plus the Bengals where Going to draft D. Thomas at the Top of the 3rd.

Now I agree With U. D.Thomas and R.Bush can threaten for a 1001 yds Each this Season. If we Run the Ball like we should I see no reason Why All the Rb's combined don't gain over 2000 yds as a Team. T-$izzle incl'd.

T-hill should gain at least 300 rushing yds as a qb. R.Bush over 1200, D. Thomas over 800 and L.Miller over 400. Dashi doesn't see any reason for Steve Slaton to make the team. 3 Rb's and MAybe keep a 4th if it's Thighpen. If not keep 6 Wr's.

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