Written by Steven Wilson | Twitter: @stevenjwilson11
While the play of rookie Jarvis Landry has been a welcomed sight by Dolphins fans around the world, it leaves some the sinking feeling – especially those who went out and purchased a No. 10 jersey – that Brandon Gibson may not longer be a key piece to the Dolphins offensive puzzle.
“I like Brandon,” Head Coach Joe Philbin admitted. “If I’m not mistaken, before he was injured a year ago, on third down, he was one of the best receivers in the National Football League. His conversion rate was outstanding.”
In 2011 while amidst the NFC West, Gibon’s third-down conversion percentage of 45.8% was better than the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Lloyd, Sidney Rice and Vernon Davis. In fact, his rate was third highest in the division behind former Seahawks Doug Baldwin (54.8%) and Mike Williams (46.7%).
Before injuring his knee and riding the bench for the final nine games of 2013, Gibson tallied 30 catches for 326 yards and three touchdowns with the Phins in seven games.
“He’s a smart football player,” Philbin continued. “He’s got good hands. It’s not really necessarily an indictment of Brandon. I know [he’s] going to contribute here this season. I’m confident he will.”
Gibson was a projected starter in the slot this preseason, but he was injured before the Green Bay game. Last week in Chicago, he was a healthy scratch – not on the 46-man active roster. And that might be the case again this week for the Jacksonville gam
“I can play,” he told the Sun Sentinel this week. “There’s no doubt that I can play. It’s not really my call.”
This year, the seventh-year pro has a catch-rate of 54-percent according to Footballoutsiders.com. Compare that with last season’s catch-rate of 70-percent and you can see why Landry (71-percent catch rate) may have the upper hand in the slot.
That doesn’t mean Philbin doesn’t want to see No. 10 out there running routes in the middle of the field.
“I expect him to contribute,” Philbin concluded.