While Dolphins first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick leads the NFL in passer rating against by a cornerback, and third-round pick Jerome Baker is fourth on the Dolphins with 52 tackles, second-round pick Mike Gesicki has posted modest numbers: 17 catches for 151 yards and no touchdowns.
Quarterback play certainly is a factor in that. So is the fact he has shared playing time with several others.
But coach Adam Gase admitted Monday that the team has been surprised about how defenses have focused in on Gesicki.
“In my head, I was thinking we were going to be able to, especially early on, get 1-on-1 coverages and make the defense think ‘We got to take him away,’’ Gase said. “It was strange. We started out and all of a sudden we’re getting two guys going out on him. He hasn’t caught a touchdown pass yet; why is this happening?
“A little bit of a surprise that they were respecting what he had done in college and not giving him an opportunity to have 1-on-1 matchups you are hoping he would have. We don’t see as much man as we probably anticipated leading into the season. That’s where he would have a lot of success going against the linebacker or safety. Instead, he’s getting a lot more corner — we are getting zone looks, two high [safety] type deals. That’s where we should be able to run the ball better and take advantage of that.”
Among some rookie tight ends selected after Gesicki, Philadelphia’s Dallas Goedert — playing behind Pro Bowler Zach Ertz — has 18 catches for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Baltimore’s Mark Andrews has 22 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
Gase confirmed the Miami Herald’s report that receiver Jakeem Grant is out for the season with a leg injury. He said the injury is not to Grant’s Achilles.
According to source, the Dolphins originally thought he would play again this season when they examined him last Monday. But after additional medical opinions, the Dolphins thought it would be best if he undergo surgery on an area in his lower leg, and he had the surgery Monday. Recovery time is four to six months.
“Good thing is he didn’t tear his Achilles’,” Gase said. “He’s able to get a procedure done to where we can get him back a lot sooner and still fix the things we need to get fixed and alleviated a lot of the pain we was going through. He was having a really good year. It’s a crushing blow for a guy that gives you everything he has. It’s not the Achilles. He’s had Achilles pain for probably four years and has played through it.”
Meanwhile, Gase said it’s possible that DeVante Parker might play Sunday at the Colts but it’s too early to know. Parker sustained a sprained AC joint in his shoulder in the loss to Green Bay.
▪ Kenny Stills has just 19 catches for 326 yards, and the Dolphins haven’t been able to get him the ball deep as effectively as past years. He has been affected by a groin injury recently.
“Now that we’re further away from his injury, hopefully he’s healthier than what he was,” Gase said. “It’s hard when they know he’s not probably 100 percent. He’s trying to give us everything he has. We’ve had opportunities where he does get behind the defense and get the ball to him. It’s a little frustrating to me. He doesn’t say much. We want to be able to take advantage of the fact he gets behind DBs. We haven’t been able to do that so far.”
▪ Gase, on the decision to sign 6-3 receiver Brice Butler, who has 73 receptions in 63 NFL games: “He’s a bigger guy, good speed, can go up and get the ball.”
▪ Cornerback Bobby McCain remains in concussion protocol… Gase said he had no update on offensive tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, who missed the Green Bay game with knee injuries. James said last week he should be fine for the Colts game.
▪ Gase spent a rare Sunday off day watching the Red Zone channel and a bunch of NFL games and was thoroughly impressed by the Colts, who enter Sunday’s home game against the Dolphins on a four-game winning streak.
“Andrew Luck is looking like what he used to look like,” Gase said. “Arm strength looks good. Their defense is playing fast, creating turnovers, getting to the ball, creating negative plays.”
Luck hasn’t been sacked in five games.
During the bye week, Gase said he evaluated the offense, defense and special teams to “see where we can make some changes. We feel like we have some things we can help ourselves with.... If we have better execution that would be ideal, especially in red zone in both sides of the ball. Biggest thing is eliminating the explosive plays; that’s been what’s hurt us more than anything. All it takes is one guy to slide out of his gap. That’s what it’s been.”