Before Wednesday's media session the Dolphins staff pulled aside tight end Michael Egnew and gave him a quick tutorial on speaking in circles and not answering questions directly. It was a lesson in moving the lips without really saying anything.
This little lesson was apparently necessary because everyone knows Egnew, a rookie who has been inactive every game this season, is expected to finally be in uniform Sunday for the first time this regular season. The injury to Charles Clay makes Egnew the next guy up and so, barring a disastrous week of practice, the numbers necessitate Egnew be active.
(One word of caution: The Dolphins have Kyle Miller on the roster as well so he's a possbility, but he arrived in Miami only three weeks ago so it stands to reason Egnew is ahead of him in familiarity with the offense.)
Anyway, Egnew absormbed his lesson on media double-speak like a champion.
He was asked if he's ready to take care of business on Sunday.
"Right now, all I'm trying to do is get better every day. I let the decision-makers make the decisions," Egnew said. "I prepare for the game every week."
Does that mean he's ready or not?
Does Egnew realize that fans ask about him a lot? And does he feel any added pressure to get his career started?
"I prepare for the game every week," he said. "For me it's just another week and if I'm called upon, I'll be able to go."
Is that a yes? Is that a no?
I'll say this, if Egnew washes out as a tight end, he should go into local politics because he has the non-answer answers down pat.
But that's not a terrible thing. That tells me something. And here it is:
It tells me Michael Egnew is not dumb. He is a quick study. He obviously can learn fairly quickly as I've just shown you. That should be encouraging because if one can elminate an inability to learn as one of the reasons he has not been playing, we can get more easily get to the real reason.
Here it is: Blocking.
Egnew came out of college with absolutely no idea how to block.
Before the gaggle of reporters crowded around him Wednesday, I spent a couple of minutes alone with him and asked him, directly, if the reputation of University of Missouri (his college) tight ends not knowing how to block is fair.
He nodded his agreement without protest.
And then I asked why it is so many Missouri tight ends go to the NFL and have the reputation for not blocking.
"I think we're not asked to do a lot of it," Egnew said. "The offense we run doesn't call for the tight end to do a lot of it so that's not something you work on enough."
So to boil it down for you, Egnew arrived at the Dolphins not knowing how to block. He was picked in the third round of the NFL draft without a solid foundation of blocking.
Let that marinate for a moment ...
You know that football is about tackling. And running. And passing. And catching. And blocking.
Those are the fundamentals.
But Egnew apparently wasn't taught blocking in college -- at least not at a level proficient enough to get him started in the NFL. The Dolphins have had to work from the ground up in this area.
That and some other reasons having to do with familiarity of Miami's offensive foundation are why Egnew has not played this year.
So here's the bottom line question:
How long does it take somebody to learn to block?
Again, Egnew is not a dumb kid. He's bright. He clearly learned the Dolphins system for saying nothing very quickly. I believe he should be able to learn to block somewhat quickly.
Why he hasn't learned to the coaching staff's satisfaction is a question that lingers.
But ready or not, here he comes Sunday. Unless things are much, much worse than we thought.
Follow Armando Salguero on twiiter.