Dolphins TE’s Fail To Step Up


Aug 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Miami Dolphins fullback Charles Clay (42) during the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. The Texans won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Let me preface this by saying last night was one game since the Miami Dolphins lost TE Dustin Keller to a knee injury.  Let me preface this by saying it’s been one week and five practices since the Dolphins have looked internally for his outright replacement.  Let me preface this by saying that what is available on the street right now, isn’t worth a whole lot of looking.  So with that being said, last nights TE performances left nothing to be thrilled about.

Charles Clay took the starting role in Keller absence.  He was abused and more importantly lacked any real focus or appearance of desire to be there.  For a player that has been with the team the longest at the position, he looked lost in his route running, short armed his blocks, and flat out dropped passes.  At least he didn’t fumble.  On an overthrown pass towards the end-zone by Ryan Tannehill home announcer Bob Griese stated on the replay that Tannehill likely threw the ball away rather than attempt to get it to Clay who ran his route with little effort.  Or something to that affect.

The reality is that Clay looked off.  His timing with Tannehill was completely off.  On one specific third down play Clay ran a mid-seam button route but when he turned back towards the QB he didn’t stop but instead backpedaled a yard or two more down the field.   The ball was knocked away by the underneath corner who would have been blocked out by Clay’s body had he stopped his route like he was supposed to.  He later dropped an easy pass completion over the middle with no traffic.  If Saturday night was Clay’s chance to shine, he failed.  If it was his only shot to prove he could handle the role, he failed that too.  The Dolphins will likely give him more opportunities as thin as they are.

Michael Egnew entered the game in and out but failed to register a catch last night and wasn’t really targeted all that much.  Dion Jordan appeared in the 2nd half and made a very nice 18 yard grab but remained quiet most of the night as well.

Tonight however was the Charles Clay show and frankly it bombed at the box office.  The Dolphins this morning will begin reviewing tape of the game in order to see if the mistakes he made last night were breakdowns in assignments, misreads between he and the defenders, or a different type of mistake that can be easily sorted out and fixed.  Coaches tape shows much more than what we see on a televised broadcast with a lot more angles and more single player focus.  That same tape may also show that a player is not improving.  Which could lead the Dolphins to picking up the phone again if they haven’t already.

Towards the end of the game the camera crew panned to the Dolphins sidelines where Clay was standing hands up under his shoulder pads.  Head down.  Somber look on his face.  Yes, it was that kind of night and yes he played that bad.