Around mid-season last year, a 6th round pick out of Tulsa regained his health and emerged as a contributor in the role of H-back.
That player was Charles Clay, a versatile athlete without a position who took advantage of his opportunities with the look of a diamond in the rough.
His 13.8 yard average and 3 touchdowns served as evidence for bigger expectations of the young H-back this season.
There were times in OTAs when it seemed Clay was destined to be a major factor in Miami‘s passing game from 2 Tight End sets.
His versatility to play on the line, flexed out wide, in the slot or in the backfield was supposed to be a mismatch nightmare for opposing linebackers and safeties.
So far Clay has been a was, could, and should but hasn’t lived up to expectations type player heading into this week’s match up with Arizona.
It’s understandable that rookie Fullback Jorvorski Lane‘s strong play has cut into Clay‘s reps in the backfield and overall play count.
But those are excuses, considering Clay is still seeing enough reps to make an impact.
So what’s the problem? Why isn’t he finding Ryan Tannehill passes coming his way?
Is it poor route running? Does Tannehill not trust his hands or dependability in being in the right spot at the right time?
Could it be the play calling? Whatever it is, it needs to work itself out.
Any outsider would think a passing game like Miami‘s, predicated on the quick short game, would suit the Tight End position well.
So considering starter Anthony Fasano‘s limited production, maybe Clay should get a pass too, but those thoughts are dashed as Fasano is asked to do more from a blocking standpoint while Clay is asked to serve as a receiving threat.
So while they are playing the same position, their roles are different and Clay is being sent into patterns at a higher frequency.
Running a higher percentage of routes on a good amount of snaps, the opportunities are there to get open and Clay so far has been unavailable to the Quarterback.
On a team with no true #3 Receiver behind Davone Bess and Brian Hartline along with Fasano‘s lack of speed.
Clay’s emergence as a dependable seam threat weapon will be pivotal to this Offense’s success as the season progresses.
Let’s hope Clay finds himself in time to be on the receiving end of some Tannehill passes when Miami takes on the NFL‘s 2nd ranked scoring Defense this Sunday.