One of the building blocks for success the Miami Dolphins believe they are laying this year is the growth of rookies Jakeem Grant and Kenyan Drake.
Both are fast.
Both are learning.
Both are still kind of raw.
But we are starting to see the Dolphins introducing these rookies more and more in hopes of using their big-play talents on both special teams and offense. And, yes, both have been mostly special teams guys so far. But I predict you will see as they mature and grow, both will become bigger factors on offense.
“They really have some juice to them,” offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said Wednesday. “We tried to get a little Jakeem package going. I told you we were going to try and do that, and he dropped the one. It was kind of a little bit of a setback, but we’ve got to keep doing it. They make plays ... As soon as they go in there, they make plays. The more we can get them in there, the more we can find things to do with them.”
Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi can put either Drake or Grant on kickoffs -- and often puts both in return slots. He obviously is using Grant with Landry on punt returns. In other words, the rookies are giving him options to think about.
“It’s a good problem to have. It’s definitely a good problem,” Rizzi said. “This is my eighth year here, and certainly, it’s something I’ve always been striving to get to a point where you have multiple guys and have some options. Certainly, we have a lot of guys in the building that have proven they can do that.
“You look at a play like Sunday, when you have a guy back like Jakeem and Kenyan together, and you back the ball up five yards, it’s, ‘Okay, which guy are you going to kick it to?’
For Rizzi, the addition of the two rookies to Jarvis Landry and Damien Williams has given him what he believes to be unique situation compared to his other years with the Dolphins.
“This is the first time in eight years, I think, we’ve had this many guys that I feel comfortable putting back that I think can make a huge play or game-breaking play,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of guys who can do it, had a lot of guys who could’ve been very efficient at it and statistically have been good. But this is really the first time we’ve had this many guys that I think at any time could break one and make a big play.”
It seems everyone has been taking responsibility this week for getting receiver Jarvis Landry the football only three times against the Jets last Sunday. On Monday, coach Adam Gase it was his fault because he didn’t call enough plays for Landry.
On Wednesday, Christensen said it was Gase’s but rather his fault that not enough plays were called for Landry.
“It really wasn’t coach Gase’s fault as much as mine, because I usually give him those suggestions,” Christensen said. “So, it was really my responsibility to get it to him. We knew he was winning. We knew he had a hot hand. We just had trouble getting the ball to him, and that falls back on me. Coach Gase probably took my bullet on that one. That’s really my fault.”
My take? It’s good the Dolphins recognize getting Landry the football is a good idea. But I haven’t seen this being a habit. So relax, folks...
So, yes, Matt Darr dropped a punt snap on Sunday. So did Rizzi rip Darr about the mistake that almost helped cost the Dolphins the game?
“I didn’t,” Rizzi said. “He’s his biggest critic. I know he was going to be hard on himself. After I let him cool down for a minute, I just told him not to be too hard on himself.
“Listen, guys drop passes. As receivers, some of the best receivers ever have dropped a pass. He has never shown that he’s a guy that’s going to drop snaps or something like that. As far as I’m concerned, it was a one-time thing, and we’re not going to overdo it. Once in a while, I get a little upset on the sideline, as you may have noticed. Once in a while. But those aren’t the things I get upset about. That’s going to happen.”