“Maybe I need more of a poker face,” Miami Dolphins coach jokes
Reading the Dolphins’ roster these days is a lot like reading the phone book.
For every name that’s familiar, there are dozens more that are a mystery.
Such as Jomal Wiltz, the defensive back who has never been on a 53-man roster, let alone appear in a game, since entering the league in 2017.
But the beauty of the Dolphins’ situation in 2019 is that guys such as Wiltz will, perhaps for the first time ever, not only get a real chance to make the team, but to perhaps even start.
With Reshad Jones still missing from OTAs, Wiltz is one of several young — and largely anonymous — defenders getting a long look from a Dolphins coaching staff that insists every job is open to competition.
Wiltz, who was with Brian Flores the past two years as a member of the Patriots’ practice squad, is determined to make the most of his chance.
He was everywhere in practice Thursday, intercepting one pass and breaking up several others.
“I think I have a great opportunity,” Wiltz said, “but I’m just coming in, putting in the work, putting in the hours in, grinding and putting my best foot forward and let that handle the situation.”
Wiltz, undrafted out of Iowa State, has had plenty of time to think about how he would approach such a situation.
The experience of being part of a team that went to two straight Super Bowls, winning the most recent, but never asked to play was “definitely bittersweet,” he said.
“I would say it’s definitely been challenging at times, but that’s part of life,” he said. “That’s also how they stress, [Flores] and them, all the coaches stress an ability and how you’re going to handle adversity. There’s been some ups and downs as far as, like, goal-wise, but I’m just here working, grinding each and every day and not worrying about it too much. When it happens, it’ll happen.”
It could happen this season. Given Flores’ defensive back-heavy scheme, it’s not crazy to think the Dolphins will keep nine or even 10 secondary players.
What Wiltz lacks in size (5-10, 190), he makes up for in speed (he ran a 4.43-second 40 at his pro day) and toughness.
“He’s got a smaller frame, but he’s got a lot of bite,” Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald said. “You see him. We’ve got some guys like that in the locker room. We haven’t put the pads on yet, but you can tell by how he’s out here, how he flies around, explosive. He can move around.”
Woltz added: “It’s not the size of the dog, it’s the bite. And my heart. I’ve got a big heart. I’ve been small all my life, so I had to push through no matter what.”