How Does Miami Replace Gibson
Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Gibson (10) is congratulated by teammate Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline (82) after catching a touchdown pass against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Brandon Gibson’s injury on Sunday looked painful as the receiver hopped off the field. The look on his face said it all, as the cart went directly past my seats and into the Dolphins locker room. Gibson was enjoying a banner year from the slot, and was looking like one of Jeff Ireland’s best signings this offseason. He enjoyed great chemistry with Tannehill, and was making his presence felt more and more each week. Through seven games, he made his presence felt both at the goal line and in key situations as a go-to threat, creating memorable plays through the midway point of the season. Today, Miami officially placed Gibson on injured reserve, ending his season.
With Gibson out, Miami appears thin at wideout in regards to depth. Rishard Matthews is an underrated young talent at WR that Miami grabbed in round 7 of last years draft. A player who in limited opportunity has made plays and shown a chemistry with Tannehill as well. Barring a shocking and unexpected trade today that sees a talented wide receiver come to Miami, the majority of Gibson’s snaps will most likely be absorbed by Matthews. Fans should expect Matthews to provide a steady target hooking up with Tannehill as their chemistry grows further.
If Miami does indeed stay quiet on the trade front for a wide receiver, expect to see more reps for a handful of other individuals as well. Miami ran several intriguing packages even prior to Gibson’s injury on Sunday, and they were packages that enable Miami to mask their formations and play calls by keeping the same personnel on the field. Charles Clay, Michael Egnew, Dion Sims, Lamar Miller and Marcus Thigpen all spent time on Sunday either split out or in the slot, occasionally on plays that went with five receivers split. Quite frankly, this is something that Miami needs to see more of, as they can run nearly any formation if the above players can line up all over the field. Egnew or Clay have shown they can play out of the backfield, at tight end, split wide or in the slot. Miller and Thigpen can effectively line up at wide receiver or running back, and Sims can line up at tight end or receiver depending on the situation. This is a good thing.
Being able to mask personnel packages and formations gives the team a greater ability to put the defense on it’s heels and create mismatches that are advantageous to the offense. Barring the blockbuster trade, I would hope to see these formations continue to utilize the various packages, as it will only help the offense to improve and move down the field. If Miami promotes a player from the practice squad, the most likely candidate would be Ryan Spadola.
The Dolphins brought in four players today for a workout at the wide receiver position, but all left without a contract offer. One intriguing possibility for Miami would be to look into bringing back Chad Bumphis, who could be signed off the Broncos practice squad. Bumphis was a fan favorite for Miami in the preseason, with several explosive plays under his belt. Whomever Miami brings in, unless it is a big name receiver, expect them to see the field very little if at all as Miami continues to deploy their various new offensive personnel packages.