Perhaps the Dolphins’ two most impressive receivers Sunday might not even crack the top four on their opening-day depth chart.
With an impressive touchdown catch, Jakeem Grant continued what has been an excellent camp. And Isaiah Ford has been a revelation after missing his rookie year with a mangled knee.
Both at this point are not only likely to make the team, but based on how they have played, deserve consideration for playing time.
Which would give the Dolphins six wide receivers that meet that description.
The others are Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson.
Simple math tells us that no more than five can appear on the field at any time, and pass protection needs to be incredible to pull that off. It, so far this camp, has not been. Then there’s this stat from Pro Football Focus: The Dolphins did not go five-wide once last year.
So there’s no way that the Dolphins would be able to use all six of these guys with any kind of regularity without putting some serious money on the bench. Stills, Amendola and Wilson all have annual salaries of at least $6 million.
Dolphins offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains was cagey on the team’s plan Sunday, but hinted at some of its broader strokes during meeting with reporters Sunday.
“The most important thing for us is to figure out exactly, not define their role, but figure out their skill set,” Loggains said. “Once we figure out their skill set of what does Wilson do well, what does Amendola do well, Stills, Parker, all these guys that we have – the list goes on and on – is now put them in those situations.
“Inside the matchups, sometimes that will change,” Loggains continued. “It’s not going to change dramatically where one week you’re going to see a guy play 80 snaps and the next week you’re going to see 10, but there will be a rotation. There will be things that each guy does well. … It’s not black and white. It’s very fluid.”
Loggains said the players will determine their roles based on perform during training camp.
Those roles might not be as expansive as some Dolphins players expect, which could lead to tension in the locker room. And yet, Loggains has not felt compelled to sit them down and manage expectations. Jarvis Landry led the league with 112 catches (on 160 targets) last year; it would not be surprising if no Dolphins had more than 80 this year.
“The conversation is, ‘Get better every day. Worry about what you can control,’” Loggains said. “If you don’t catch a ball in practice, when we’re watching tape, you better be getting better. There are always things … Sometimes you don’t catch a ball. There have been days when DeVante has had two catches, but it might’ve been his best practice, because he got better at his break points and he’s better sitting in zone and separating in man. He can’t control that stuff, but what he can control is lining up, doing the right thing play after play and when the ball comes your way, you need to make plays.”
Other Loggains takeaways:
▪ Amendola, signed this offseason, “has a great feel for zone coverage. He’s got enough quickness to beat man coverage and he has a knack because he understands defenses so well, of when to sit.”
▪ After a rough start to camp, Brock Osweiler has looked better the last two days, Loggains said. The Dolphins assistant coach would not handicap the team’s backup quarterback battle between Osweiler and David Fales. “Really what we want is who can consistently day after day stack good days. That’s how the battle will unfold.”
▪ The Dolphins want to run the ball more than they did in 2017, when they were most pass-happy team in football, throwing it 63.8 percent of the time. “The thing we need to do a better job of this year (as opposed to) last year is we need to be in control of more of those games and not let these things get lopsided.”