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Brandon Gibson's return a feel good story

Brandon Gibson is the Dolphins starting slot receiver now. And he's again becoming one of quarterback Ryan Tannehill's favorite targets, as the touchdown throw and catch between quarterback and receiver in the first preseason game proved.

Does that sound mundane?

It should not.

Gibson, you see, seems to be about in the same place he was during training camp 2013 and indeed last October. And the fact he is no worse for wear after he blew out a patellar tendon in a game against New England 11 months ago speaks to a great recovery.

How great is that recovery?

Well, the Dolphins were unsure it would happen. They were so unsure they drafted Jarvis Landry in the second round in April to make sure they had enough healthy receivers to play this season. Landry, like Gibson, is a slot receiver so it is pretty obvious who he was drafted to replace.

But Gibson has been a case study in a steady, good recovery. How good? Well, Landry is among the most impressive rookies in camp. But he's still behind Gibson.

Gibson has been managed during the offseason and there are days he still is limited in practice. But he's starting at his position. And he'll start at that spot in the regular-season opener against New England.

That's a far cry from that October day in Foxboro last year.

"I tried not to let it get me down," Gibson said Thursday. "I know today, with how good doctors are, as good as rehab is, I looked at it from the standpoint of an opportunity for me to get better. I didn't want to take any time off and be lazy. I wanted to use the time to make everything right. I wanted to make sure I stayed on top of my game. I told myself that I wanted to make the most of this opportunity and I want to capitalize whatever way I could."

Gibson was capitalizing when the injury happened. He was among the league leaders in converting third downs at the time and he was trying to make a mark on his new team after signing as a free agent. So obviously the timing of the injury was horrible.

"The ups and downs of playing in St. Louis and then coming here in free agency and looking forward to making an impact with my new team, it was disappointing not being able to continue playing and getting better and helping my team," Gibson said.

But this is a new year and there are new opportunities. And Gibson is likely to get plenty of them because he's improving with each passing day. That chemistry he had with Tannehill last year?

It is still there.

"I think when he left the team or got hurt in New England, third down, he was one of the leaders in the league in terms of percentage of conversions and those types of things," coach Joe Philbin said. "I think he’s a quarterback-friendly guy. He’s got very good hands and he’s smart. He can read coverages, understands the leverage, when I turn out and turn in, when I should stay on the move, when I should sit down. So I think the quarterbacks, most of them, get comfortable with him pretty quick."

So can Gibson pick up where he left off? Well, he doesn't want to think in terms of being 100 percent or not. He said coaches are managing him well and he expects to contribute as much this year as he was last year.

And the Dolphins seem to expect the same.

"I think it was a significant injury, number one," Philbin said. "Number two, he was very diligent in the offseason working hard. It’s taken some time, there’s no question about that. I thought we did a good job managing some of his repetitions early in camp. He now kind of looks to be hopefully rounding into form, if you will. I thought he played well the other night. Hopefully, that will continue.

" We are still monitoring the reps. We don’t want to give him too many yet. I think he’s feeling better and I think he’s moving better. That usually translates into a better performance. Hopefully, that trend continues, you know. I see positive signs toward that."

So do I.

Comments

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Funny how WR went from weakness to strength in such a short period of time for the Fins. I like Gibson, Landry, Hartline, Mathews. I even like Williams and Binns. The one who has been inconsistent since his arrival is Wallace. If he doesn't play huge this year I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Fins part company. They have enough young talent who can play in Lazor's offense and keep moving the chains. Wallace's money could be spent on a stud defender that may be needed as his contract winds down and Grimes gets older. Should be interesting to watch.

Gibson is a beast, a complete football player. Go Gibson! Go Dolphins!

I agree with jpao. I'm sure the other receivers benefit from the attention wallace requires from the dbacks. That certainly does bot justify the money wallace is getting.

jpao, I was just thinking the same thing.

Remember in Hard Knocks a few years back, besides Hartline, our best receiver was Clyde Gates.

Its crazy how our WR corp has done a 180. But it looks like it was at the cost of the oline and LB's.

The problem is Wallace does not fit in the skill set of our QB or our offense.

Could we go four wide a lot and use Landry in the way most teams use there tight ends. fill the middle and confuse and overwhelm the LB's? Especially if Moreno turns out to be what he was last year.

I really can see a ton of options for Lazors quick offense with Hartline, Gibson, and Landry. Maybe this is the plan. You have a poor run blocking line so you use the pass like a run. Crap Joe Montana did that for years. So did Dan.

I think the right creative play design could really throw the AFC for a loop. Especially if you actually ran a quick pace offense.

Pass baby pass. You guys wanted to get rid of the Paarcells way well here you go. Grin and bear it. Biggest mistake we made was letting Bush go.

Go Dolphins!!

last year at this this time the anticipation of gibson and dustin keller in the slot had me totaly psyched, what a combination, this was to be a testament to philbin(the architect behind the rebirth of an explosive miami offensive), keep in mind NO miami coach has been able assemble an offense this dynamic since the days of shula, quite a feat! anyway, dustin keller's injury minimized the middle of the field dominance miami was to enjoy, but now,,, enter the BIG MAN Dion Simms! i think with the depth of jarvis landry, charles clay and what should be a massive wrecking ball in DION SIMMS..miami is almost garunteed to own the slot, and we all know that that will leave WALLACE open for some easy catches! you go philbin. you've done a really nice job here in miami, one can definately say that this offense looks to rival that of your work in greenbay, all said, there can be NO denying that you had a LOT more to do with greenbay's explosive offense then had been given credit, to transform a horrible and stagnating miami offense into what it is today, in so little time speaks volumes, thank you.

budtki,nice to see something posted that is positive for a change. Instead of the constant negative garbage day after day.WTF Believe me,I get it. I have been a fan since 1966 and have never given up on the Dolphins through good years and bad,and sadly the past few years have been bad,but I never give up hope that we will be a contender again and it looks like that will happen sooner than later with the talent that they have assembled for this season. IMO

Well we will see Offense should be better overall, he defense is the worrisome problem for me especially at the linebacker positions.

Too bad Jordan and Jones can,t play against the Pats, Jordan did a good job last year of covering grok and should be moved to outside linebacker in my view.

I hope they have a plan to cover him because he has always burned us before until Jordan played him last year.

I am glad football season is here I am hoping for a 2-2 start to the season until Jordan and Jones can return. The o line should be better than last year how much we will see but I think they will get better during the season, RB is still a weak spot have to address that next year, I love the receivers GO FINS!

Excellent point about the middle. It was a big hinderance for most of last year. RTs weakest area.

Gibson's signing in Miami was regarded as another JI overpaid, meh affair as experts and fans alike thought he was an undistinguished receiver with average hands, no speed and little break-away ability. However, Gibson had been used as an outside receiver in previous settings and appears to have blossomed as the slot guy in Miami.

Hurt early in the 7th game last year, Gibson had come on to become one of Tannehill's favorite targets. He had 30 receptions for 326 yds and 4 TDs at the time of his injury. That's the kind of production that Miami can little afford to be without. Glad he's looking like his old self.

Gibson, Matthews, Landry, Clay, Moreno, Hartline, Miller when needed. Quite a few weapons for the intermediate game. If we are to move up in the rankings, we need to look at the success of some of the better AFC teams. NE, Denver. They had and have guys like Welker and both the QB have made a living of exploiting match ups and YAC.

IF THE DEFENSE CAN KEEP US IN THE GAME

Then we can run our whole offense and we should be really good.

Good read over at the sun sentinel about how Miami's second and third round draft picks over the last 5 years haven't panned out. I've been saying this is the main reason the team is stuck in mediocrity for a long time. Thanks Jeff Ireland! At least this year's picks made by Dennis Hickey look like they will contribute! I think the team in general has drafted poorly since Don Shula was still the coach! JJ built an amazing defense but check out his offense based draft picks- horrible! Don't even get me started with Wanny Speilman and Sabans drafts either! Think about all the mediocre drafts over the last 30 years! If Dennis Hickeys 2014 draft nets James, Landry, and Turner as legit starters, name one Dolphin draft in the last 30 years that even comes close to being this productive!

Philly put up 31 points last night in their dress rehearsal game against Pitt. Lots of movement and motion on the offense...can't wait to see Lazor's new scheme unveiled Sat night. I've been saying it for years, score 24 points per game and you win 10+ games.

I too like the 4 wide w/Landry in the slot and Moreno in the backfield. Weapons galore!

Fly Ball

Caught

I really like Gibson. Not a guy who lit up the combine or the most athletic guy but his football IQ is off the charts. The chemistry he has with Tannehill is extremely important.

Actually Tannehill has excellent chemistry with all his receivers ... well except one. Hopefully that chanes for the better this year.

Glad to hear Gibson is recovering nicely. He was our most reliable receiver when he went down last year. Some people thought he was wasted space but he most certainly can be a big part of our offense.

Check

Frank, Jeff Ireland had multiple drafts that produced multiple starters. he drafted more starters and productive players than most of his counter parts around the league.

he faltered from two things:

His roster management was poor. For example the linebacking switch was overdone ... the avoidance to the o line (which Hickey seemed to do as well - as far as addressing immediate concerns anyway)

He didn't draft enough pro bowl or game changing type players. Which I believe Hickey probably didn't do this year either. he went the Ireland way of solid and safe too.

NH, didn;t we score 30 on that Pitt defense last year too? it had a 13th ranking in yards allowed last year. I'm not sure how that happened because I've seen them lit up several times it feels...

Mark, youre correct Ireland couldnt find one stud and IMO thats whats missing from the Fins whether its on D or O we need a consistent playmaker that other temas have to account for.

I guess on D its Wake on O maybe Clay..Fin can really use a stud LB. Mcclain looks like he will make the team, Wheeler days are numbered

EVIDENTLY THE COWBOYS HAVE ISSUES ON D

So we should look good tomorrow.

Brandon Gibson is the key to this teams success. IF he stays healthy, the oline does their job and our D shows up. The fins have a pretty good chance to be respectable this year

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | August 22, 2014 at 09:09 AM

Ireland missed more than he hit, and often didn't address obvious weaknesses.

Fins need to win 10 games this year. There was only a handful of games they got blown out in last seaon. The key word for this season should be FINISH STRONG.

ericatl its actually Tannehill

For all supporters of Mike Wallace-
Tannehill has great chemistry with all of his receivers, with Wallace being the only exception as MIT just mentioned. If you have half a brain, you'll realize that the problem lies not with Tannehill, but with Wallace.

Posted by: ericatl | August 22, 2014 at 09:14 AM

Our running game and ability to stop the run are our major concerns heading into this season. We can't put all our eggs in one basket with expecting Tannehill to win us every game with an unbalanced offense.

On defense we are looking soft against the run and use soft pass coverages, that experienced OCs and QBs can exploit.

If we don't get these fixed soon we are not looking as strong as the new Lazor offense makes it out to be.

IRELAND MISSED MORE THAN HE HIT
- Darkoak

I disagree. A number of our players left as free agents and now start for other teams and we got nothing in return.

Regular, I also neglected to throw in he didn't properly address the Qb situation until it was too late for him.

I think he drafted that stud LB last year but he's playing 4th string DE for some reason.

Before any OTAs or Training Camp started I was convinced Gibson was going to be cut. He performed very well for us last season but the injury would have been too much. On top of his contract and on top of Landry being drafted.

I'm glad we didn't cut him to save some cash. He is blanket #2 for Tannehill (behind Hartline).

Darkoak, every GM misses more than he hits. I wouldn't say his drafting was the best but I would say that it was top ten.

As far as not addressing obvious weaknesses, well yeah, that goes back to his roster management. I don't think Hickey did much better this year either though as our guard play didn;t need to be this big of a question for example. And everyone knew our LBs sucked but what high pick or vet did he add? The o line and LB play may be fine in time with Dion Jordan (sounds more and more like he will EVENTUALLY be moved), Tripp, Turner, and James ... btu how much better will those units be to start the season .. probably not as good as they could've been if they closed on guys like Beadles, Borland, or D'Qwell jackson for example.

FckFace,

I would still agree that Ireland is still accountable for "missing" on those players that he let walk.

The Jake Long pick was great until he went to the Rams. The Vontae Davis pick looked pretty good until we traded him to the Colts. Nolan Carrol and Chris Clemons were solid picks that we let walk (seems like we aren't missing them now though).

It is still Ireland's job to attract and sign/re-sign players. He failed to hold onto them.

He nailed the pick, but missed on keeping them on this team.

Yes, it's absolutely incredible and unbelievable that the 3rd overall pick in the 2013 draft is part of a 4-5 player rotation at DE and is not even a starter.
I guess that is what happens when you draft a prototype 3-4 OLB and try to make him a 4-3 DE. At least move him to 4-3 OLB so that his talent is a good fit for the position. Square peg, meet round hole.

Darkoak @ 9:22

I do agree with you here. If opponents can put us in a hole early then it'll be 100% on the passing game and that will be a problem.

For though of you not supported of Wallace... Believe it or not hes the most feared WR on the team. Opposing DB actually have a hard time of covering Wallace if him and THill can ever get on the same page theyll be lethal..

It on both sides to get in synch not just Wallace

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | August 22, 2014 at 09:29 AM

Wow never realised you had such a high assessment of Ireland's drafting. I disagree and based on his current state of employment in the league I would wager most of the other NFL teams agree with me.

In regards to Hickey he took a safe route, and didn't take some opportunities to obtain draft picks or sign free agents. Too early to say about Hickey.

You guys ran B Marshall out of here, now you're trying to run Mike Wallace out of here makes no sense what-so- ever...

If Ireland was good at drafting players the Phins would have had a winning record during his tenure. He did get some good players, but so do all GMs. He did not get enough as the record speaks for itself. A GM cannot be good if the team has a losing record. He also had a tendency to draft players too high, and would wait until a position was an obvious need before addressing it (no vision).
For chrissakes, if I took a draft publication and ran the draft I'd end up picking some good player too.

Posted by: MiamiD20 | August 22, 2014 at 09:30 AM

A lot of the guys Ireland drafted that we let walk weren't that great to be honest. Carroll got burned regularly, Clemmons couldn't hit and never was around the ball, Merling bah, Gates bum, Davis lazy, soon Thomas bust, Egnew garbage......

Ireland never had a prototype player for almost any position on the team. It was a mismash of average players or good players playing out of position.

so they could have drafted a FS or OL instead of Landry
the next good draft will be the first good draft in a long time.
Who are the All Pros on this team?

Can anyone name one player Ireland drafted that has HOF potential?
Jake Long? No way - injuries have almost ruined him.
Pouncey? - Nope, I just don't see it.
Jordan? Now that just makes me laugh.
Tannehill - No way.
Now step back and think about the players he did not pick that have HOF potential.

MassD, I still don't think the pick was bad but if they wanted a true 4-3DE, the pick should've been Ansah. If oyu just wanted the better player, then Jordan is justified. Dion Jordan at 250 lbs could do a lot of things most NFL lbers could not do. He is a basketball player on an NFL field. He can run, he has this crazy wingspan, covers up a lot of space ... and if you choose to blitz him from a LB positon where he won't ahve to go up against premier LTs with his hand in the dirt, he will get to the QB. He is a very disrutpive force when used correctly.

Posted by: A Regular Here | August 22, 2014 at 09:39 AM

A 60 Million dollar #1 receiver needs to take over games IMO. Wallace never did that except for one game last year.

Hopefully with an OC that can move him around and take advantage of his strengths we can see that dominant player this season.

He hasn't been dominant like Megatron or Fitz, but he is paid to be.

I think our run game will be O.K. Not great but we can survive. Last year with Sherman and No O line and average running plays per game @ 18 we were still able to get almost 1500 yards. This year with a new OC, A successful intermediate passing game, Moreno in place of Thomas and hopefully improved O line, we should be able to run the ball. I know it is a lot of wishful thinking but as a fan I have to be optimistic.

MassD, if you want to judge GMs by how many HOF potential players they drafted, how many non qb HOF players do you think were drafted in the last 6 years?

Me, using a basis that they made the pro bowl more than half of their years in the league (I mean you have to be at least a 6 time pro bowler to get in it seems) I count..

Ndamukong Suh
Brian Orakpo
Eric Berry
Clay Matthews
A. J. Green
Jake Long (had a chance but injuries killed it)
Earl Thomas
*Eddie Lacy (very premature but pro bowl in year one is a nice start)
Maurkice Pouncey
Justin Houston
Kyle Long (see Eddie Lacy)
*Eric Reid (see Eddie Lacy)
Jairus Byrd
NaVorro Bowman (may fall into the Jake Long category)
Alfred Morris

That's 15 players over the last 6 drafts ... and I think I was being very liberal here. There just are not many to go around. And a lot of them were off the baord even before Miami got a chance to draft. really only Clay Matthews, Earl Thomas, Eddie Lacy, Maurkice Pouncey, Justin Houston, Kyle Long, Eric reid, Jairus Byrd, NaVorro Bowman and Alfred Morris even ahd a chance to be Dolphins. So if missing on these 11 players over a 6 year span made him a bad GM then most guys would be bad GMs. As it is, well they did get one of the 15 guys overall that were on their way at one point.

There are plenty of reasons to think Ireland didn;t draft HOF worthy guys (well one had a chance) but nor drafting guys going to Canton I don't think is justified.

In what decade do we get a franchise QB.?

The problem is Mike wallace does not catch the balls he should. JMO

Example is that 3 wide screen that would of went to the house.

Yes, tanny missed him at times, but he also got lit up after each throw or the most part. He did not have time. Tanny had work to do, but Wallace should man up and say he needs to play better.

I've never seen a GM worse than Ireland. 19 draft picks used on skill positions and not one good playmaker to. Show for it.

It's unfair to judge Wallace on his time with Tannehill. We all saw whT he did with Big Ben.

Posted by: Darkoak | August 22, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Wallace never was or never WILL BE a dominant WR. That's not what he is. Miami overpaid because they needed to make a splash and thought his speed could open up the field for the offense. Just hasn't worked out that way. I didn't think we should've picked him up because I thought he was a 1-trick pony, and for the salary didn't think he was worth it. He's not an exceptional route-runner nor has exceptional size or hands, so other than exceptional speed, what's he got?

But we're stuck with him. So I hope he can improve and at least do what he's known to do better (of course, that's on him and his QB).

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | August 22, 2014 at 10:14 AM

JJ Watt doesn't make that list?

Good post Salguero.

I just thought that when you said how mundane....

You were going to go on and explain how Gibson is Injury prone always seem to be coming off a major knee injury.

The Fins did not overdraft Landry because Gibson was injured. They over drafted him because Gibson has a history of major injury. One more and he might as well retire.

Posted by: Stick to the Subject Not -I | August 22, 2014 at 10:30 AM

What other major injuries has he had?

Two of his 4 years with the Steelers, Wallace had sub par #'s. He averaged 65 catches @ 750 yards. To me that is not a 16M a year player. He is not consistent, whether with Ben or Tannehill. .

Posted by: DC Dolfan | August 22, 2014 at 10:28 AM

I hate using absolutes and closed statements in regards to players or in general. There are a lot of factors that go into making a successful NFL player or star. Wallace says the right things but doesn't appear to strive to be the best at his position. Just my opinion.

My goodness is it really surprise that Wallace isnt worth 16 million. The point is whether its a top 5 WR in Marshall or a Deep Guy in Wallace all of you find something to bish about.

Tired of hearing the argument that money could be used to find a stud at another position. STFU with that! Show me the guy. I wanted Vincent Jackson but Ireland was too stupid not to get him..

MIT,

I just looked at Jeff Irelands drafts for reference and perhaps I would have been more correct in stating that he didn't find enough impact players. But that does strengthen my argument about mediocre drafting. It is too early to tell if Hickeys draft will be more impactful than any of Irelands. But if he found two solid OL and a good starting WR with his first three picks, than he will have one of the most impactful dolphins draft in the last 30 years. That also doesn't even count Tripp, Fede, and Johnson and Williams as UDFA.

When someone dislikes someone it is hard or better said nearly impossible to look at them objectively.

Ireland did his job.

If not look at the current roster.

Hickey did an Average job this Offseason and they could still be a perennial playoff team if the O-line gets better.

Say what you want about N.Carroll. Still judging him on his rookie season.

Last year N.Carroll was the Dolphins #2 CB and did pretty well. He had more INTs than S.Smith or V.Davis ever had in a single season as a Dolphin. And more than S.Smith did last year.

But again just like Ireland, N.Carroll won't get a fair shake by some dolphin fans because they remember him getting burned as a Rookie and 2nd year player.

Thus blinding you from anything good he has done since.

And you know who is getting the same treatment this season. L.Miller.

The 2 preseason games that I have watched, I have seen a great improvement by L.Miller pass blocking.

Heck, he stopped G.McCoy in his tracks on the 3rd play where T-Hill throws deep to Wallace and MW couldn't stretch his arms out.(The same G.McCoy who made D.Thomas his woman last game)

And L.Miller is running harder this season. But him and any other RB that has ever played in the NFL can not break a tackle when they just received the hand off.

Even the great Barry Sanders couldn't break a tackle in the Backfield all the time.

Posted by: A Regular Here | August 22, 2014 at 10:44 AM

True VJ is the best available WR free agent in recent memory.

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