Spring is a time for rebirth.
It’s when flowers bloom.
And Dolphins players insist this season will be better than last.
Seemingly every week last offseason, a different underachieving Dolphin insisted to reporters that he had turned over a new leaf, rededicated himself to the game, shed the attitude that held them back the year before.
Jordan Phillips did it.
Charles Harris and DeVante Parker did too, among many others.
Some were true to their word.
Others, such as Harris and Parker, showed little progress.
Then there was Phillips, who didn’t even last the season, traded to the Bills after his clashes with Miami’s coaching staff went too far.
So what of tight end Mike Gesicki, the Dolphins’ second-round pick in 2019 who by his own admission had an unremarkable rookie season?
Gesicki said all the right things Thursday, after the Dolphins’ final voluntary minicamp practice.
Now comes the hard part: backing up his words with actions.
Give him this: He used the offseason to transform his body. He put on 13 pounds and is up to 253, yet insists the extra weight has not taken away any of his speed.
“I’ve been training each and every day with the mind-set that I need to come out here and be the best version of myself,” Gesicki said. “I’ve put myself in a position to not only be effective in the passing game but also the running game.”
He continued: “I feel like I’m in much better shape than I was this time last year. And I think that’s when I’ll be at my best, when I can play fast. I think last year, especially when I got here, the heat took me by surprise. I wasn’t in great field-conditioning shape. My thing is I need to be able to run fast, run by people, make plays in the passing game. It took awhile to get into that shape to get there.”
The Dolphins never drafted Gesicki to be an in-line blocker. They drafted him to run down the field and jump over safeties for touchdowns.
But that never happened in his rookie season. While he was tied for fifth among first-year tight ends in catches (22), he was one of eight without a score.
Granted, Miami’s failures on offense last year were not limited to Gesicki. There was ample blame to go around.
But he knows he must be better.
So along with bulking up, Gesicki spent the past three months self-scouting. He rewatched his plays from 2018, and while there was plenty he did well, there was more that needs improvement.
“You don’t even have to cover the Dolphins or know who Mike Gesicki is [to] know he’s still working on blocking, he’s going to focus on the technique, all that stuff,” Gesicki said. “You know the answer to that. And obviously continue to refine my route-running. Honestly, I’ll give you the same answer for the next 25 years.”
If his blocking does not improve, he won’t be here five or even two more years, let alone 25.
But the freakish athletic ability that made Gesicki attractive to the Dolphins in the second round didn’t go anywhere, so there is a place for him on the field. It’s just up to the coaching staff to figure out where.
The Dwayne Allen signing should help. Now, the Dolphins have a true Y tight end to fight in the trenches. That should allow Gesicki to play the Rob Gronkowski role in Chad O’Shea’s offense, which in theory will get him more targets and, yes, touchdowns.
“Mike’s a good young player,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. “Talented. Like everyone else on this team, there’s places where he can improve, get better, develop. As a young player, there’s a lot of room for development I would say, and really as an older player as well. Mike’s working hard. We see what everyone else sees. He has size, he has speed, he can catch the ball. There’s things that everyone can work on. He’s working on those things and he’s done a good job these last couple of days.”