The Dolphins have needed more production from their tight end position for several years now. It simply needs to improve and while Anthony Fasano is a solid player, he's not dynamic.
So some people hoped when the Dolphins invested a third-round pick on the position, the issue would be resolved. But Michael Egnew has so far not been able to be that solution.
And his chances of being that this year are practically nil, according offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.
"We're at that point in the season where you can't teach football weekly," Sherman said Thursday. "It's cumulatively. There's so much volume that if he hasn't had that rep two weeks ago, there's things we'll call in the game that we haven't ... we've walked through it. We've talked about it. But we haven't run it through full speed because there's not enough plays in practice.
And how does that affect Egnew?
"He doesn't have the benefit of cumulative learning of the offense so it limits him," Sherman said. "That's why it's so important and I tell rookies all the time, you have to come out of the blocks early because the guys that come out of the blocks get the reps. He didn't do that early. Now, he's getting better. He's working his butt off. I'm really excited about what he's going to be. But it's just harder to put him in there ahead of Fasano or ahead of [Charles] Clay at this juncture."
So don't expect Egnew this year -- at least not at this juncture. The Dolphins view of him today is it is basically a redshirt year.
And that leads me to this:
So any young offensive player that didn't get out of the blocks early, as Sherman says, is pretty much out of the question later in the season?
Seems to me the problem there is not only with the rookie's slow start but also with a system or approach that basically doesn't allow for a player starting slow and then bursting onto the scene once he gets his NFL footing.
New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham, for example, was raw and needed a lot of work when he was a rookie. And he didn't have a catch in any of his first four games and had only one catch through five games. But did the Saints basically store him away until his second season?
Graham was given the chance to grow in-season. In his final eight games of the 2010 season, he caught 26 passes. He scored four touchdowns the final three games of the season. Graham, who had played mostly basketball at the University of Miami, developed slowly as a rookie. But the Saints made room for that development and plugged him in as he improved later in the year.
Doesn't seem the Dolphins can do that.