Saturday, May 03, 2014

Miami Dolphins Confidential Issue 4 TE

The offseason goal of every team in the NFL is to improve their team.  The primary wave of free agency has passed. Next up will be the NFL draft followed by the bargain shopping in the free agency after the draft. GM’s and fans alike tend to focus on the new additions to the team when trying to get a feel for how much improvement the team will show.  However, a very important aspect of the success of all teams will hinge on how the players remaining on their rosters from the prior season improve or decline.  We at Bitchin Dave’s thought it would add some intrigue to the offseason lull to have a discussion on where we feel the team is at and where they are headed.
The prognosticators will be Carl “The Ref” Leone , Chad “ The Baumhower” Ronnebaum and some Richard ”Macho” Machado“. We will be having a position by position debate on where the Dolphins ranked in 2013 as well as where we see them ranking at the end of 2014.  We are going to start with our pre-draft rankings and then will update this post draft and probably once or twice prior to the start of season as the final free agent signings and injuries shape the team during training camp and the preseason.

Scale: We are using a 10 point scale to rank where we felt the positions ranked against the rest of league in 2013 as well as where we predict they will rank in 2014.  5 out of 10 for example would mean we rank the unit as about the 15-16th best unit in the league.  10 out of 10 would basically feature pro bowl players at the top of the league and 0 out of 10 would be dead last or the worst unit in the league. Issue Four will review the tight end position.

                                                                                      Tight Ends

                                                               Chad’s Take                                 Carl’s Take                 Richard’s Take

2013 Position Rank
3 out 10                                   6 out of 10               3 out of 10
2014 Prediction
Pending                                   7.5 out of 10            4 out of 10


Predicted Depth Chart
2014 Improvement/Decline Prediction
Charles Clay
+1                                                       +1                          +.5
Unknown Additions
0                                                         +.5                         +.5


Carl: I love the Dolphin's cheerleaders I have been looking forward to this issue!
Chad: No Carl wrong Tight Ends SMH
Carl: Oh that is easy it starts and ends with Charles Clay! 

Chad: Carl you must have had too much of Grandpa’s cough syrup when watching the last two games of the year. I know Charles Clay had a breakout year. However, in the NFL you need to be able to run two TE formations. In particular in the 4th quarter when you have a lead or in games where the weather conditions are poor.  Miami lost BOTH games to Buffalo because they had no ability to run a two TE set. In both games they were forced to stay in a 3 WR set for most of the time and Buffalo’s D-Line controlled both games. 

Carl: We played pretty good in Pittsburgh in the 4th quarter, but you are correct Chad. We can‘t depend on being able to throw the ball in a mess and especially late in a game or late in the year. 

Chad: For sure Carl and “Go Go” Sherman loved to throw on 3 and short. Charles Clay is a hybrid “H Back” type player. He does not have the size to be an effective blocker.  On the bright side he is very difficult for linebackers to cover which is a nice advantage because you don’t want to commit a safety to him with Wallace on the field.  Clay does have a unique skill set for Bill Lazor to work with and I think he will get Clay into favorable matchups.  I give Clay a +1 to improve on his excellent 2013.

Carl: Lazor will have Clay’s numbers above the 69 catches for 759 yards which ranked him 7th in the league last year. He could hit 85-90 catches easily. I think he does and so I give him a +1 too.

Chad: I am not going to even rank the rest of the TEs. 

Carl: Do I sense dismay in the total unit?

Chad: Dion Sims is a blocking TE that was not that great at blocking. He does have potential to get better but I would be stunned if Miami’s plan was to go into 2014 with Sims and Clay as their starters.  Michael Agnew only made the team because Dustin Keller was hurt in the preseason so it was too late for Miami to have much for alternatives.  If he makes the team this year the position will be bleak at best.

Carl: I know neither Sims nor Agnew are studs but they will make the roster and I think they will improve enough to add a half point to the unit’s total score.  

Chad: Carl! Lay off the cough syrup, Agnew could not block my grandmother or beat her if she used press coverage on him. If Eric Ebron falls to number 19, I think there is a very likely chance Miami will draft him.  A double TE formation to use that featured Clay and Ebron would be a massive upgrade.

Carl: I don’t think we are drafting a Tight End unless we trade down and get 2-3 extra picks so we could spend one in the late rounds.  Lazor could always use another O-Lineman to run block late in the game.

Chad: If Miami does not draft a TE in the early rounds, then I think their fall back plan will be to roll dice on Finley or possibly even Keller again.  That is not appealing to me due to their injury risks but it would still upgrade a dismal position.

Carl: Good point Chad. I forgot about Keller. But he ain’t blocking no one anyway. Let’s face it, Sims and Egnew are gonna have to find a roll or they will eventually get cut.

Richard: I do not really envision that much of a change in the TE position. I think it will pretty much stay the same and we will have a below average TE group, barring any big time additions through the draft. I see Clay making a little bit of an improvement but I am not expecting dramatic differences. I think he will be more involved and average around 4 catches a game, and he will have that one eye opening catch or play every so often.

Chad: Richard don’t drink things Carl hands you. The plan was to use Keller and Clay last year.  Even with line upgrades you have to have a dual TE formation that can threaten run or pass in the league. Philbin knows this and has already made it clear to Hickey to get him a TE. Could you imagine if Clay gets hurt right away like Keller and all we had was Agnew and Sims. My gut feeling is the Dolphins have a TE targeted in the draft and if the chips don’t fall right they are going to roll the dice on Finley on a one year deal.
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my opinions on tight ends are as follows: Charles clay is a keeper. I was not very happy with his rookie season but he did step up last year and make some great place to contribute to our team. I don't know what to think about Dustin Keller I think the guy is a good athlete but his injuries scare me that's about the same way I feel about Jermichael Finley. I saw him get smashed up last year and it wasn't pretty. Tight end is a pretty hardcore position. Egnew and Sims I think could still fight for that #2 spot.....we'll see how that plays out with our new oc and o line. I bet we take a te in 6 or 7.


I think if we could get Troy Niklas in the 3rd round after drafting a Tackle in first or second and then a Safety in 1st or 2nd or we can get C.J. Fiedorowicz in the 6th round.


Macho Machado lol.


I am a Iowa guy Carl so I know Fiedorowicz well. He has a great size for the position but he disappeared a lot in the Iowa Offense. Some of that is due to the poor QB play at Iowa. But expect a NFL starter to dominate in college. He is one of those guys loaded with talent but it has not translated on the field.