It has been slow going for Jabar Gaffney since he arrived on the Dolphins roster three weeks ago.
He was rusty because he really didn't go through training camp with New England due to an injury. He was clueless because the Dolphins offense was new and foreign to him. And so, he was not a factor as he was inactive for the two games the Dolphins played after he arrived.
But he is progressing. He is getting a feel for Miami's system and culture.
And he might be on the verge of finally being active and on the field Sunday when the Dolphins play the New York Jets. The final decision on that -- believe it or not -- might come Wednesday when the Dolphins go through their game plan for New York.
On Wednesday, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman wants to see Gaffney fully integrated into Miami's plan. And the coach wants to see the player react seamlessly. As they say in the NFL, the coach wants to see Gaffney play fast.
If Gaffney can practice fast on Wednesday, without mistakes, he's probably playing Sunday.
"Well, I think any time you sign somebody and Gaffney’s been in this league for a while and has some success obviously, that’s why he’s here," Sherman said of Gaffney. "I think there’s always an urgency to get him to move forward. MarlonMoore plays a fair amount of special teams snaps as well. He can get gassed up pretty good, so we definitely have to push forward and move Gaffney ahead of the learning curve at this point. I think he’s getting there. I thought his last practice before we broke was probably the best practice. He looked like he was more comfortable with what we’re doing and then again today he looked a lot more comfortable. I guess he’s got to go 100 miles-an-hour, but they have to process and, as they’re processing, they don’t go quite as fast. Now, he’s stopped the processing and he’s going faster and making plays.
"I’m anxious to see what does when we get back on Wednesday."
The Dolphins want Gaffney to practice well and show he can be counted on because that would give Miami a third wide receiver option. That would open up the three-wide formations for Miami and, with Moore, allow the flexibility of using a four-wide if Sherman wants.
Why, you may ask, don't the Dolphins just go with Moore as their third wide receiver? They did that to some degree against the Rams and he caught a TD pass.
But Moore is still inexperienced and, as Sherman says, the special teams work he does is so important that the team doesn't want to take him away from that. So the team is hoping Gaffney can plug in on offense and let Moore continue doing his work on special teams.
Is that fair to Moore?
Maybe not. But Gaffney isn't a special teams player so that's how it is.
And Wednesday we'll find out if that's how it's going to be.