And should his recent progress continue, Clay could convince the Dolphins they don’t need to spend big money in free agency — or a high pick in April’s draft — on a tight end. Fasano’s contract is set to expire at season’s end, and rookie Michael Egnew hasn’t been good enough to even sniff the field all season.
As for Clay, he has been mostly a nonfactor since the preseason, and was on the field for fewer than a quarter of the Dolphins’ snaps at Buffalo two weeks ago. That’s what made his breakthrough game Sunday so surprising.
Yet Philbin dismisses the idea that some light magically came on in recent days.
“I’m not sure it was any kind of revelation for him,” the coach said. “I thought he just did the things we asked him to do [and] did them well.”
Maybe it was just a matter of getting his head straight. Self-confidence was a problem for Clay earlier in the season — prompting Campbell to give him a strong dose of straight talk.
But Dolphins coaches say that’s no longer an issue.
“The play he caught for a touchdown, [I asked him,] ‘Is this something you can do, and something [for which] we can count on you?’ ” Campbell recalled.
“He looks at me like, ‘Are you crazy? Yeah I’ll make that catch.’ I can see it in his eyes, and he did.”
• The Dolphins cut offensive lineman Ryan Durand on Tuesday, just a week after signing him.
• Ryan Tannehill has been nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week honors, and the Dolphins’ come-from-behind win over Seattle is up for the league’s Moment of the Week award. You can vote at NFL.com.
• The Dolphins will waive all service fees from 10 a.m. Wednesday through 5 p.m. Friday on tickets sold to the Jaguars and Bills games.