Aug 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller (81) is carted off the field during the first half against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Next Up for Keller-Less Dolphins


The Miami Dolphins finally had a good tight end. A tight end that could block for and catch from quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Reports from training camp indicated that Tannehill had an easy time developing chemistry with Dustin Keller, but now it’s all over.

It all ended with a hit from Texans linebacker D.J. Swearinger, whose helmet made contact with Keller’s knee. Regardless of whether or not you think the hit was dirty the end result is the same: the former Jet tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL.

So what does this mean for the Dolphins? It means Jeff Ireland’s drafting and scouting ability comes under even more scrutiny. The in-team options are all draft picks from the last three years. There’s rookie Dion Sims, who was taken in the fourth round, second year player Michael Egnew, taken in the third round in last year’s draft, and Charles Clay who was taken in the sixth round in 2011. Sims is still an unknown, but Egnew was less than impressive in his first season, only being activated for two games, and Clay has dabbled at halfback more than tight end in the past.

If those options don’t pan out Miami will find themselves searching waivers as well as the available undrafted free agents, but they are going to have a hard time matching what Keller was going to do this season. The short list includes former Dolphin Randy McMichael, Kevin Boss (if he can get cleared to play), and Todd Heap.

Keller had a great ability to get open quickly and cause mismatches against linebackers and safeties. With issues on the Dolphins offensive line the blocking was going to prove critical. Keller provided hands on the offensive side of the ball in a way that Miami’s tight end corps has lacked in recent years.

None of the options currently out there will match the impact Keller would have had this season as a safety net of sorts for Tannehill. That being said Miami went above and beyond this offseason and has three strong receivers to help carry the load as well as several running back options.

As critics and fans we now have to give the offense — as well as Tannehill — a bit of a break to find chemistry with another tight end. Keller was becoming Tannehill’s safety blanket, but his injury will certainly put a change in their plans for the season. There’s no question this team lost a serious play maker and his absence is going to leave a significant hole.

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Tags: Dustin Keller Miami Dolphins Ryan Tannehill

  • Johnny

    Tore his ACL, MCL, PCL and dislocated his knee cap!! Done?? For this season and maybe his whole career!!(and millions$$) This punk a$$ rookie ruined Keller’s career!!! Not just season.. Playing on a 1 year contract and if he had a good year.. He would have gotten his last long term contract with Millions of dollars connected to that contract.. Now, maybe league 1yr league minimum contract.. This. cheap, horrible, launching helmet into knee (tackle?) cost Keller his career!! (And the Dolphins about 800yds and 6 TDs)
    It’s a shame!!!
    (Ireland should be on the phone, looking for a trade.. Some good TEs on teams’ bubble… Rather then out of shape, don’t know playbook, over the hill FA Tight ends)

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  • edan

    Dirty hit. You could see it on Swearinger’s face after the hit. He knew he had cut Keller right on the knee. SOB!!! I feel for the entire team. Keller was the brightest spot on a much improved offense. Oh well. Hope the young group can pick it up. I’m sure there’s nothing on the waiver or a free agent that can fill that hole. Take care Dustin, we were all looking forward to watching you have a fine season.

  • tpl

    Yeah, it was a dirty hit, but Miami has to move on. Hopefully Egnew, Clay or Sims will step up. I am hoping its Sims. He’s the better blocker than keller. May not be the seam threat Keller was.