Dec 2, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Rishard Matthews (86) makes a catch in front of New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (37) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Patriots won 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins' Rishard Matthews, The Bess Replacement?


The Miami Dolphins recently sent fan-favorite slot man, Davone Bess, to the Cleveland Browns for next to nothing.

Although this move shocked many, it really was not too shocking to avid fan members. Bess possessed no elite qualities and his production can be easily replaced.


Yes, I understand “Mr. Third-down” was the most consistent “hands catcher” the Dolphins have had over his tenure with Miami, but the former undrafted free agent can be replaced.


Perhaps his replacement is already on the squad?


Last year Miami spent a seventh-round draft pick on a little known prospect from the University of Nevada. Although this wide receiver was an incredibly reliable target during his time at Nevada, his draft stock took a hit after running a slow forty-yard dash (4.62) and possessing no elite qualities at the wide receiver position (sounds a bit like Bess..).


In his two years at the University of Nevada, this wide receiver totaled 147 receptions for 2,243 yards and 13 touchdowns.


Who is this player? This is Rishard Matthews.


Miami also spent a sixth-round selection on Michigan State wide receiver, B.J. Cunningham. Cunningham was quickly beat-out by Matthews and UDFA Jeff Fuller, a former Texas A&M WR, for a roster spot. Cunningham was then quickly snatched up by the Philadelphia Eagles.


Back to Matthews.


In his first season with the squad, the 6’0” 212 lbs. receiver reeled in 11 receptions on 19 targets for 151 yards and no touchdowns (13.7 ypr). Not bad for a seventh-round pick, eh?


Matthews saw action in Miami’s final five games of the season and had his best showing in Miami’s season finale facing off against the division rival New England Patriots. Matthews snagged three receptions on six targets for 36 yards.


So, in five games Matthews was able to reel in 11 receptions for 151 yards. Let’s take a look at this over a sixteen game season.


Receptions Per Game: 2.2

Yards Per Game: 30.2


16 Game Season Receptions: 35.2 – round it to 36 we will give him the benefit of doubt.

16 Game Season Yardage: 483.2 – round to 484 as stated above.


If Matthews matched his production of two receptions per game and averaged 30 yards receiving per game, he would have had a better rookie season than the likes of Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson, Roddy White, and Demaryius Thomas (We can assume Matthews would have snagged a few touchdowns over a sixteen game schedule).


The bottom line is that I want to see this kid given a shot. I understand the fact that the team signed Brandon Gibson, whom starred in a slot role for the St. Louis Rams. But Matthews is similar to Bess in that he does not do anything spectacular, but he is a solid hands catcher and runs clean routes. I would really like to see what this kid can do being featured primarily as a slot receiver.


Now, Matthews is no lock to make the team either. We can assume that Hartline, Gibson and Wallace are the only “locks” at the wide receiver position to make the squad. The team also has Matthews, Jeff Fuller, Armon Binns Jr., and Brian Tyms battling for the fourth and fifth receiver spots – Miami typically will carry five receivers on their 53 man roster.


The team has also signed a plethora of UDFA receivers in Miss St.’s Chad Bumphis, Mount Union’s Jasper Collins and Chris Denton, Northern Iowa’s Terrell Sinkfield, and Ark. St.’s Taylor Stockemer.


My prediction as of today is for Matthews and Fuller to make the 53 man squad. Matthews and Fuller both have the upper hand over the rookies. While Binns did not impress me at all last season and Tyms is still incredibly raw.


I like Matthews as Miami’s fourth receiver in four and five receiver sets, while also seeing some snaps at the slot position spelling Gibson. And I see Fuller as Miami’s big red-zone target. Not to mention he and Miami quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, had a nice connection at Texas A&M University.


I’m extremely excited about these two kids.


Next Dolphins Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep1:00New England PatriotsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Brandon Gibson Davone Bess Jeff Fuller Miami Dolphins Rishard Matthews

  • me

    You’d like to think the route running can be corrected nut the one thing you can’t teach is Speed, thus leaving hopefully Collins makin it on the roster.

    • TylerMcMullen

      I’d like Collins. I think Miami could stash him on the PS and develop him a bit more, though.

  • Crocodile

    “Mr. Third-down” was the most consistent “hands catcher” the Dolphins have had over his tenure with Miami…….

    Not true !
    The most consistent catcher was Greg Camarillo !

    • TylerMcMullen

      Nope. Camarillo was a fine receiver, but Bess has the most consistent hands on the team since he entered the league. Not to mention it says “hands catcher”. Camarillo was nutorious for using his body in short slants . Bess…not so much.

  • Crocodile

    If Matthews matched his production of two receptions per game and averaged 30 yards receiving per game, he would have had a better rookie season than the likes of Brandon Marshall…….

    But he is NOT Marshall ! He is Matthews !

    • TylerMcMullen

      Never said he was Marshall…

  • Crocodile

    Now, Matthews is no lock to make the team either.

    Really ?! And I thought he is close to Brandon Marshall !

    • TylerMcMullen


  • Crocodile

    I like Matthews as Miami’s fourth receiver in four and five receiver sets…..

    Yes, this could happen. We will see.

    • TylerMcMullen


      • kidjoker1991

        Honestly guys matthews is an underrated reciever is not about height and fourty times. This guy runs great routes has consistent hands. We dont know if he is a mr.3rd down but he has flashed his talent and he was my sleeper i expect him to battle gibson and my sleepers this year is chad bumphis he is decievingly quick and makes defenders miss after the catch if he can. And sinkfeild. Sinkfeild has speed and tools but lacked competitiin because of his division he also didnt produce as much due to qb play and 3 other wideouts who receied equal playing time

        • TylerMcMullen

          Preach my man, PREACH!!! Haha thanks for the read and the comment mann!

          • kidjoker1991

            No problem dude you know im always around. And you predicted the jamar taylor pick dont think i forgot. Im still wondering how does the 4th best cornerback fall in the draft he was predicted to be an mid first round to late first rounder. And i was surpised with the will davis pick that guy is a little inexperienced but he is another sleeper he.made the transition from running back to corner played a little cb before his senior year. But his senior year he flashed tons of talent im excited the film they have on youtube isnt very good he isnt going to be dominant every dow but in that film you can see his cover skills are pretty good he gets beat a little like any other cb but in my opinion he is a smaller less experienced xavier rhodes he sucks in run support and sometimes shys away from tackle but coverage wise he is great.

          • TylerMcMullen

            Thanks man! Yes I did do that, didn’t I! I love Taylor. Still boggles my mind how he fell to 54, but I am sure as hell glad he did!!

          • kidjoker1991

            Hell yeah glad we have him paired wit grimes. But if we have the healthy grimes hopefully we can get an contract extension or just take best available corner in the second round but im ready for this season now

          • TylerMcMullen

            I love the Grimes pick-up man! Just curious to see if the team rolls with Patterson or Marshall – mind you one WILL be getting cut. I like Marshall here. I think a Grimes-Taylor combo will start with Marshall manning the nickel roll.

          • kidjoker1991

            I doubt the cut patterson he showed some talent and was consistent before his injury. If he continues to play that way he will likely be asked to take a paycut

          • TylerMcMullen

            While he was consistent, cutting Patterson does not count against the cap. I can honestly see the team cutting Patterson due to this reason and restructuring Marshall’s deal. I like Patterson, but he will be looking for a decent deal and there’s no reason to keep him as the fourth corner especially for a decent amount of money.

          • kidjoker1991

            True but due to injuries it doesnt hurt to have a fourth corner especially in a passing league also another bold prediction is will davis will beat out nolan carroll and don jones will beat out jimmy wilson.

          • TylerMcMullen

            Agreed. Called that Don Jones pick, also. Love the kid. I think Davis beats out Carroll and Patterson for the fourth corner spot, but the team keeps Carroll due to experience (and he’s cheaper). Jones and Wilson are very similar in that they have a similar skill set versatility wise. I think Jones sticks on the roster somewhere. Let’s not forget about my boy Kelcie McCray either. I’m excited to see what he can do in his first full-season with the team. I’m expecting him to be Clemons’ replacement.

          • kidjoker1991

            I was thinking the same but think about it grimes marshall and patterson are vets marshall can also play the safety position Which is why he has value and that is why i believe carroll gets cut . Marshall could help both don jones and mccray. but mccray will fill the free safety position nicely he was my sleeper last year but he was injured. Mccray was also four year starter put up great numbers each year and they are high on him but concerned about his injury which is why they signed back clemons for insurance dont forget behind clemons was jimmy wilson and mccray don jones is a proven nickle back and safet he will be an upgrade ocer wilson especially because of his speed and ability to play center field like mccray and clemons

          • TylerMcMullen

            Agreed! I’ve been huge on McCray ever since the draft last year. I was calling for his name last year in the sixth round. I am really excited to see how he pans out and see if we can pin-point his upside at the position.

          • kidjoker1991

            Forgot to mention jelani jenkins best pass coverage linebacker this draft he is a solid lineback slightly undersized. Heard he could battle misi for starting position early or be used in nickel packages as lb

  • cbradla

    Here is a suggestion: TIM TEBOW AS A TIGHT END. That would be a nice fit and counter punch against the Patriots! As long as there is no chance of him being used as a QB the media hype should not be an issue and he can also be used on special teams..

    • TylerMcMullen

      Mannn, you’re crazy!! He would be an interesting guy to bring in as a tight end, but I’m figuring he wants to be a qb. And I think that’s his best position – yes I know he cannot throw. But he preforms well in clutch situations – we Miami fans know that all too well.

      • cbradla

        He has ZERO shot at being a QB in the NFL, so his only chance is a position change. We desperately need an ATHLETIC Tight End. This guy will be extra motivated to play again and prove everyone wrong and he is extremely difficult to bring down once he has the ball. I think it would be a reach, but I think it would pay HUGE dividends for the Fins and Ireland if they took the chance. Plus, I am sure he will come cheap!

        • TylerMcMullen

          I beg to differ. I see a team trying to run that option style offense San Francisco perfected last season.

      • dade_county

        yes i damn sure remember,i was SOOO glad he did that to other teams

        • TylerMcMullen

          Haha so was I! Thanks for the read and the comment!

  • Johnny

    UFA MSU WR Chad Bumphis is more Bess-like but better.. Led the SEC with 12 TDs and got snuffed by the combine?? And obviously played against great defenses in the SEC.. Just keep an eye on “Bump” .. This kid is actually really good.. Check WR Chad Bumphis out..

    • TylerMcMullen

      I took a look at Bumphis a little bit yesterday after posting this article. I like what I see, and I wonder why exactly he went undrafted. He’s not very physical in the run game and is not a very good blocker. But I really like his route running. Very crisp and clean. Wouldn’t be surprised if he made some noise this off-season. Thanks for the read and the comment, John!

  • Matthew J Bailey

    I see Matthews as the #4 guy, with Jasper Collins or Chad Bumphis at #5. Sinkfield has insane speed, but the caliber of competition he played with and against was not much above high school level. I see him on the practice squad.

    Fuller has inconsistent hands. He actually hurt Tannehill in college, and I’ve heard nothing to suggest he’s shown significant improvement.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Agreed. I’m not a big Collins fan, to be honest. Like what I see with Bumphis.

      Just depends on what the team decides they want as the 5th guy. A bigger, red-zone type guy or a more finesse route running type guy. Thanks for the read and the comment, Matthew!

  • Professor Lou

    Philbin isn’t looking for a replacement for Bess because he doesn’t differentiate between receiver positions. Everyone needs to be able to play the x, y and z. Bess was strictly a slot receiver and that’s why he was expendable. This team is going with guys who are versatile. Besides, if Philbin wants to put someone in the slot as a pure slot he can use Thigpen who runs a 4.4. Other than that, Hartline played in the slot at Ohio St and can play there and on the outside.