With top wide receivers Brian Hartline and Davone Bess both “dinged” up, the Miami Dolphins are now left in a difficult position – who is going to step up at the already thin wide receiver position for rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill?
Enter rookie wide receiver, Rishard Matthews. Matthews was Miami’s seventh round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft out of the University of Nevada. Matthews finished his career with 146 receptions for 2,243 yards and 13 touchdowns, per the Miami Dolphins official team site. Matthews was originally slated as a 4th to 5th round talent, but many scouts were concerned that he lacked “elite speed”.
The 6’0” 210lbs wide receiver is a decent route runner with above average hands. Although he does lack “break away speed”, Matthews is still a decent option in today’s game. Matthews’ big body allows him to get a quick release off the line of scrimmage – which is always a plus in the west coast system. Not only does Matthews’ strength help him with his release, but he is also a decent blocker in the run game. With Miami’s short-style pass attack, the bulky receiver may have landed in the perfect situation to suit his skill-set.
The former Nevada star has played in 6 games for Miami so far this season, catching 6 passes on 11 targets for 78 yards (4 first downs). He has received more targets due to the injuries in the past few weeks, which is allowing the coaching staff to see what he has to offer – 9 targets in his last three games compared to just 2 targets in his first three games. With Matthews becoming a bigger part of the offense, Miami can now become more creative with their play calling. Offensive Coordinator, Mike Sherman, did an excellent job last Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars – attacking their weaknesses. If Sherman can utilize Matthews’ 4.47 speed, Matthews can help stretch the defense with the strong arm of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
With Miami lacking a true threat on offense with the absence of Davone Bess and possibly Brian Hartline, look for Rishard Matthews to make a name for himself this week against a weak Buffalo Bills pass defense.
———-ALL STATISTICS TAKEN FROM ESPN.COM———-