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Dolphins tight end position needs urgent upgrade

While many people understand the Dolphins will be addressing the wide receiver position this offseason and I reported last month that everyone in the building knows the team needs a burner, I believe the Dolphins better address an equally important position for the sake of their offense and young quarterback.

The Dolphins need to urgently upgrade at tight end.

Currently, the team has five tight ends on the roster. Only two -- Anthony Fasano and Charles Clay -- have generated any statistics for the team. And while I don't think their statistics are impressive or satisfactory in any regard, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin begs to differ.

“Our touchdown production has been very good," Philbin said of the scoring production by Miami's tight ends. "I think Anthony (Fasano) has played well (and) made a great play in the game the other day. I think we’d like probably some more explosive plays out of that group. We’re starting to get some of them, but probably some more explosive (plays would be good).

"I think they’ve been good down in the red zone. We’ve gotten some touchdowns out of the group. I think, again, overall offensively and them, probably we’d love to see a little more production.”

Yes, coach finally got to the point after circling for a while. The Dolphins need more production out of their tight ends and (sorry coach) that includes touchdowns.

Consider:

Fasano has 30 catches for 233 yards and has scored four touchdowns. Clay has 16 catches for 204 yards with two touchdowns. That's a combined 46 catches for 437 yards and six touchdowns.

That happens to be in many respects the worst of any tight end group in the AFC East.

At the top of that comparison are the New England tight ends, obviously. Let's stipulate they are basically in another league altogether. So much so, it's not even fair comparing them to the Dolphins. But for the record, Patriots tight ends have 94 catches for 1,193 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.

Yeah, that's better than Miami.

But the trouble is even the lowly Jets and Bills in many respects are getting more tight end production than Miami.

Bills tight ends have 45 catches for 554 yards and eight touchdowns this season. That's one less catch than Miami's duo but 117 more yards and two more touchdowns.

Jets tight ends have 60 combined catches for 671 yards and four touchdowns. That's 14 more catches, 234 more yards, while scoring two fewer TDs.

I look at these statistics and look at Miami's tight ends and wonder, where's all this very good TD production? It's third in a four-team division.

Despite the sobering statistics that is not truly the reason I say the Dolphins need better tight ends.

This is:

The Dolphins want to utilize a go-fast offense that snaps the ball maybe 72-78 times per game and wears out the opposing defense, basically sucking their will to compete out of them. To do this you have to stay on the field and move the chains. You have to convert first downs.

Unfortunately for the Dolphins, they don't do this nearly enough and poor tight end production in that area is one major reason. Fasano has converted 14 first downs this year. Clay has converted eight first downs this year. The total of 22 first downs by Miami's tight ends is horrible.

The Patriots tight ends have converted 64 first downs. New York tight ends have converted 37 first downs. Buffalo's tight ends have also converted 37 first downs. All are better than Miami.

And, in fact, if you look around the NFL there are 20 individual tight ends that have converted more first downs than Fasano and Clay combined.

That means the tight end position is not, on most occasions, an outlet for quarterback Ryan Tannehill to extend a drive. Miami's tight ends don't help keep the offense on the field often enough.

Now, you might argue that's Tannehill's fault. Obviously, he has to take ownership in some of that. The passing game is the passing game and everyone is responsible for doing their part.

But Miami's receivers don't have this problem. They produce first downs. So I put it mostly on the tight ends.

Look, both Fasano and Clay fill a role. But if the Dolphins want to help Tannehill and make the offense more efficient and play as intended, the tight end position needs upgrading.

Urgently.

 

 

Comments

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MOntreal, I thought McMichael was pretty good - borderline pro bowler at some points of his stay here.

I have about had it with dolphin fans who choose to ignore our primary draft needs. We are currently ranked 27th in offense and and the nfl experts all say we have no playmakers for Tannehill, but we have people suggesting we draft every positiob but WR and TE.Our first pick should be cordelle paterson, the next pick should be gavin escobar.

gotta break with the norm and sign 1 impact FA, and that should be a proven WR or TE, without question--would provide an immediate impact, where rookie/drafted receivers often don't--then draft another WR/TE wherever it makes sense......early round picks should go toward CB and pass rusher. I like Fasano but I wouldnt re-sign him, not dynamic enough.

f4l, absolutely right. We also missed on elite talents like Earl Thomas and JPP in the first by trading down by trying to recoup that pick when we just should've treated it like a sunk cost. Also missed out on players many posters here talked about like Sean Weatherspoon who was lights out during the Senior Bowl week and is now rising in Atlanta, Derrick Morgan who is coming into his own in Tennessee.

All players talked about on this blog at naseum before the draft. Heck, if the Dolphins let the Herald bloggers conduct the draft on consensus, the Dolphins would have a lot better nucleus to their team. No joke.

What gives me hope is that in this year's draft Ireland did what a lot of bloggers have been aching to see the Dolphins doing for years and that is taking players in the mid rounds that had talent but slipped for whatever reason. Ireland did it twice with Vernon and Miller. If they continue this practice, they will be alot further ahead.

c'mon fin......are you gonna re-hash old drafts and the "picks we shoulda made" forever?--cant you say that about most teams, i.e. a lot of teams missed these and other players......easy to say all of this now but if teams knew that Graham or Gronk (or Brady......or MARINO!) were going to be as good as they turned out, they wouldve drafted them--geez, at this point, you could easily make a case that Gronkowski shoulda gone in the top 3-4 picks in the draft, knowing what we know now--but who had him rated THAT high?

Bit of a blinding glimpse of there obvious here, Armando. Even my mom knows the 'fins need a TE! As incompetent as Ireland is, no doubt he'll be looking for WR, TE & CB during Free Agency. Whatever he doesn't sign, he'll draft. Let's just hope that next season at least ONE FA Ireland signs can actually stay on the team.

Tight ends have been a non factor through most of the last 4 years as well with Fasano and other lessor tight ends being the common factor not the quarterback
Blame Ireland for doing absolutely nothing to upgrade the position after four years

Mando, just add TE to the growing list of needs for this team:

1. A New General Manager
2. A real #1 WR
3. O-Line upgrades - RG, RT or LT
4. 2 Corners
5. DE - Odrick is too slow
6. RB when Bush walks
7. TE - Fasano is a blocking TE who catches a few balls here and there, Clay is an H-Back not a TE, and Egnew was another wasted draft pick.

This will be a good team says the coach. And I think that this is not the actual answer because the team Dolphin has to play their best. Their strategies have been good and really with key important players like Anthony they will certainly go forward along with their team's performance.

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