After watching Jakeem Grant catch four passes for 68 yards in the preseason opener against the Giants, Dolphins fans were giddy about the possibility of Grant adding an explosive element to Miami’s offense, as well as on special teams.
But the Dolphins said Thursday that Grant isn’t ready to help on offense, and he will continue to share returns with Jarvis Landry and potentially others.
Offensively, Grant was the only healthy receiver who didn’t get an offensive snap against Seattle, and offensive coordinator Clyde Cristensen said: "Jakeem is a specialist right now. He’s learning. He wasn’t an option offensively yet. I think he will be down the road."
Meanwhile, special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi said Grant "did really well" with his three punt returns and two kickoff returns, but that the return job would not be his exclusively.
"Some people thought I was bluffing all preseason when I said Jarvis Landry would be part of our return game," Rizzi said. "He is one of best returners in the NFL. If it wasn’t for one return called back, he would have led the NFL in punt returns" last season.
Whether Grant or Landry is used "depends on how game plays out, where the ball is on the field, the situation," Rizzi said. "I would like to have as many options as we can."
In the opener, Landry had 16 yards on his one punt return, and Grant averaged just 5.3 yards on his three. But on kickoffs, Grant returned one for 45 and the other for 22, while Damien Williams returned 1 for 17.
TEN OTHER NOTES
• Asked if CBS’ Dan Fouts was correct in blaming Laremy Tunsil in part for Andrew Franks’ blocked 27-yard field goal, Rizzi said: "Our protection needs to be better. [And] the ball came out low. You see a lot of strange plays in the first couple weeks of the season. There were 17 missed field goals and PATs."
• Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said the Dolphins signed safety Isa Abdul-Quddus because "he was a missile in the run game, a great tackler. Where he has improved with us is pass coverage."
• Here’s how Joseph decides when to use Michael Thomas and when to use Bobby McCain, with each getting the same number of snaps against Seattle:
"Michael played in our big sub package. First [and] second down run/pass in the nickel spot. That is more run game. He is a better fit in the run game being a safety.
"Bobby played in our nickel package – all third down – where [it’s mostly] pass or two-minute [offenses]. Different package, different skill set."
McCain watched Doug Baldwin’s game-winning touchdown pass against him twice on tape and said he will learn from it. "His confidence is fine," Joseph said.
• Joseph said losing Earl Mitchell (calf) for at least half the season "hurts us. That’s a starting type player but Jordan is playing really well. Julius Warmsley will get better. Chris Jones is back. He had a really good camp. Having Terrence Fede back will help."
• It’s clear the team doesn’t expect to have defensive end Mario Williams back Sunday. He’s in the concussion protocol.
Asked about replacing Williams, Joseph said: "On base downs, Jason Jones’ role won’t change. On third and sub downs, we may have to adjust not having Mario."
• Joseph, asked what he could have done better Sunday: "Probably could have brought more pressure" on Seattle’s game-winning drive, but he worried about giving up a big play. "You’re up. A field goal doesn’t beat you. So you’re thinking make him drive the length of the field."
• Among the things that troubled Christensen about the Seattle game: "We were horrendous on third downs. First and second down wasn’t good enough to keep third down shorter, and a couple we screwed up and didn’t make a catch, didn’t make a throw…. The passing game is where we really broke down."
• Christensen said center Anthony Steen "was really, really impressive; best compliment was I didn’t notice him. He played really, really well."
• The Dolphins had four options to replace DeVante Parker last week (Grant, Justin Hunter, Leonte Carroo or more two-tight end sets with Dion Sims). They ended up using Carroo primarily; he played by far the most of those four.
"Carroo got in there by default," Christensen said. "We didn’t have much choice. He played extremely well. Physically mixed it up with a physical team. He mixed it up with some awful good players. He was another guy extremely impressive. He didn’t do everything right. But he played hard and game wasn’t too big for him."
• Arian Foster played 46 of Miami’s 53 snaps on offense and Christensen said "he didn’t want to come out."
• One other quick thing: DeVante Parker, Jordan Phillips and Jelani Jenkins practiced in the portion open to reporters. Mike Pouncey (hip) and Williams did not.
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