Armando Salguero

The Miami Dolphins plan at TE heading into final preseason game and roster cuts

Miami Dolphins tight end Julius Thomas catches a TD pass in an NFL preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Miami Dolphins tight end Julius Thomas catches a TD pass in an NFL preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. AP

*Third in a series

The most important thing you must remember after having read this post is the answer to the following question: Who catches touchdown passes in the red zone?

The answer, of course, is tight ends.

Tight ends.

Tight ends, tight ends, tight ends.

The Dolphins have gotten precious few touchdowns from tight ends -- red zone or otherwise -- in recent years. They got five last year from two players ... Seven the season before from three players .. Five the year before that from two players -- and that included three from Charles Clay before he got a big payday in Buffalo.

(Yeah, I’m sure Clay is going to love his season with the Bills since they’re obviously selling off talent to stock up on draft picks for the future).

Anyway, this season the hope/idea/expectation/prayer is that Dolphins tight ends factor. The hope/idea/expectation/prayer is that they do more than disappoint.

The Dolphins brought five tight ends to training camp hoping this group would finally do what the team hires tight ends to do.

And what is that?

Catch TD passes in the red zone.

When the Dolphins cut their roster to 53 players in the coming days only four of those men will stick around.

Julius Thomas is on the team. He scored 24 TD passes while playing for Adam Gase in Denver in 2013 and ‘14. If he does half that amount of damage the next two years, that’s a win for the Dolphins in my book. He’ll have the chance to get that done starting this year because he’s on the team.

Anthony Fasano is a very good blocking tight end and an underrated pass catcher. (He’s better than Dion Sims). So he’s on the team.

MarQueis Gray is little known ... but when he had to step in for the perpetually injured Jordan Cameron last season, he played well. He caught 14 passes for 174 yards. This preseason, he’s caught four passes the first three preseason games. So he’s done enough to make the team.

What does that mean for Thomas Duarte and Chris Pantale? They’re not making the squad.

Duarte seems a practice squad candidate again (for the second consecutive year) and needs to use that time to blossom into whatever type of player he’s going to be because he’s not getting a third practice squad year in 2018.

So three tight ends for the Dolphins: Julius Thomas, Anthony Fasano, and MarQueis Gray.

Even I could figure this out.

*The series continues Wednesday morning with a look at the wide receivers, thus finishing off the offense. The defense will follow.

If you need to catch up ...

Here’s the post on the Dolphins’ plan for their running backs.

Here’s the post on the Dolphins’ plan for their quarterbacks.

Here’s the post that tells you who won the punter competition and how Jordan Phillips has rallied in trying to regain his starting job.

And here is my social security number and some credit card numbers. Wonder how many are clicking this link?

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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