It’s been a crazy and wild off-season for the Miami Dolphins as they have purged several players off the team but have also brought in suitable replacements and in some cases, upgrades. When talking about the wide receiver position, the Dolphins cleaned house, getting rid of Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson. To replace them, they traded for Kenny Stills but everyone in the front office has said that they aren’t done with the position just yet.
When talking about the newest receiver on the team, Joe Philbin said that Stills seems to be a good scheme fit for what Bill Lazor will be doing with the offense. One of the things that stood out to the Dolphins was that his catch percentage is one of the best in the NFL.
The coaching staff also liked the fact that Stills was good with a lot of the routes that Ryan Tannehill is comfortable throwing. That’s important because there will almost always be limitations in a quarterback’s game and it’s up to the coaches to figure out how to disguise those weaknesses. Bringing in receivers who can run routes that Tannehill does well with is a step in the right direction.
Many have said that the Dolphins need to bring in a veteran wide receiver to mentor the young guys and those in the front office tend to agree as they said this week that they are looking to bring in a veteran but it likely wouldn’t be until after the draft. If for some reason that didn’t happen though, Philbin isn’t concerned about the youth in the room, calling them productive over the past few years.
Some have said that it doesn't matter who the team brings in because if Tannehill can’t throw the deep ball, defenses will continue to stack the box and not respect the threat of a long pass. However, Philbin said that we shouldn’t be so quick to blame Tannehill for all of the struggles.
“I wouldn’t just say he struggles with the deep ball,” Philbin told Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post. “We’ve got to cut down on our sacks. It’s easy to say ‘we’re going to throw the ball deep, attack the field vertically down field.’ But there’s a few things you need to get that done and the first thing is protection.”
Instead, Philbin said that it’s all going to come down to developing confidence with the new wide receivers and getting into a rhythm with them early and often. He hinted that this wasn’t always the case with Mike Wallace and others in the wide receiver room. That’s not a surprise if you’ve watched the Dolphins over the past two years – there were definitely chemistry concerns.
Now that the team has moved in a different direction, the hope is that the young guys all grow together and form a relationship with Tannehill that will take the offense to new heights beginning in 2015.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs