Dolphins TEs stepping up to fill void left by Kellerís injury

8/25/13 in NFL   |   IvanRogers   |   1352 respect

Despite five weeks of practices and three exhibition games, the Miami Dolphins’ offense has still shown troubling signs on the field. But with the last week of the NFL preseason schedule finally kicking, the Dolphins desperately need to pick up the pace and resolve any hang-ups left on the offensive side of the ball.
First off, second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill still needs to make faster decisions and improve his accuracy, when throwing deep passes. The running game also figures to require additional work so that it can develop into the sound support Tannehill can rely on while he is still improving. However, currently the Dolphins’ running game is facing struggles of its’ own.
The tight end position has emerged as a major concern for the Dolphins, ever since Dustin Keller went down with a season-ending knee injury. The Dolphins were previously counting on the Keller for a productive season, after signing him this May. But the five-year veteran Keller tore his ACL, PCL and MCL in the 24-17 preseason loss to the Houston Texans after taking a hit from DJ Swearinger.
Even though Keller will miss the entire season due to the devastating knee injury, the Dolphins continue to hold out hope at the position, by turning their gaze to the young talent remaining on the depth chart.
The Dolphins draft tight ends in each of the last two years, as well as this past April.   The team selected tight end Charles Clay in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, Michael Egnew in the third-round during 2012, while rookie Dion Sims was picked up in the fourth-round this year. Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said that all three had practiced well and sort of stepped up at the position ever since Keller went down with the knee injury.
“The loss of Keller is disappointing because he was making so much progress even as a blocker, and then fitting into our offense,” Sherman said, told the Miami Herald. “The other three guys have really done a nice job. Obviously, they have a lot on their shoulders now with the loss of Dustin, so they need to be able to pick up the slack there.”
“I think the tight ends have really made a lot of improvement,” Sherman added. “I think [tight end coach] Dan Campbell is a tireless coach and stays after them and gets the best out of his players.”
Obviously, none of these three tight ends can match the former first-rounder Keller’s talents. But the Dolphins are hoping that somehow together, all three can lessen the blow on the team’s offense following Keller’s loss.
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