Oh no! The Miami Dolphins don’t have a #1 receiver, the sky is falling, how will they complete any passes this season?
This seems to be the sentiment raging across Dolphins nation and I’m here to say, cut it out! This notion that a true number one receiver is needed in order to be effective moving the football is false.
Yes, I understand when you look around the league, the teams that are successful at moving the football posses one. But the fact of the matter is those successful teams have a quarterback who can make all the throws.
For Miami Dolphins Fans to understand what this season’s attack will look like, they don’t need to look far, just pull up the tape of when the Dolphins last made the playoffs.
Who was the number one receiver for Chad Pennington? Ted Ginn Jr? Greg Camarillo? Devone Bess? Neither of them can you consider a true number one but all they did was catch 50+ passes each and that’s not including the production provided by two solid tight ends that complimented each other in Anthony Fasano and David Martin.
The problem with that team was Pennington’s arm, yes he was as accurate as they come, but his arm strength was severely lacking. When playing against elite defenses, his inability to drive the football downfield with velocity became a hinderance when teams played shallow zones to take away the dinking and dunking.
Fast forward to this year’s Miami Dolphins, Devone Bess is much better than the receiver he was during his rookie year and Brian Hartline is a much better receiver than Camarillo was then. Anthony Fasano has also gotten better from that year, which was his first as a starter.
The roles that need filling are the ones of a deep threat receiver and a seam stretching tight end, that’s where two second year pros come in. Clyde Gates and Charles Clay need to take that next step. They have the ability to create mismatches and make big plays, so the faster the coaches speed up their development, the quicker this unit can perform.
As fans, we can pray for a surprise contributor to emerge from the likes of Roberto Wallace, Marlon Moore, BJ Cunningham, Rishard Matthews, and etc.. but we can’t count on it, what we can hope for is the continued development of elite skill sets that Gates and Clay posses and have yet to fully realize.
There are also options when it comes to personnel groupings that can maximize talents and get players in position to make big plays. Second year running back Daniel Thomas has made statements about improving his pass blocking in order for him to become the team’s third down back. If he achieves this, it would free up Reggie Bush to play a bigger role at receiver, creating mismatches on critical passing downs.
For a team that has yet to identify it’s starting quarterback, the approach of finding the open man is beneficial to the team instead of force feeding the ball to an alpha receiver. All three of the quarterbacks competing for the starting spot posses the necessary arm strength and accuracy to lead a productive offense.
The passing game will be in good hands only if the coaching staff puts their players in position to succeed, there is enough talent on this roster to be productive but if they’re utilizing them incorrectly, that production will suffer. By spreading the ball to multiple outlets from multiple formations, this will confuse defenses during their preparation and on field execution.
Let’s just hope the new coaching staff sticks to their word and asks their players to do the things they do well and play to their skill sets, instead of forcing players to play out of their comfort zone like the previous regime.