I, as much as any of you, was excited to see what D. Keller was going to bring to the Phins Offense this year. Tannehill and he had great chemistry, we finally appeared to have a seam threat who could passably block. But I am not going to go into all of that right now. Hakuna Mattata, Que Sera Sera, Cest La Vie and All That Jazz. It doesn't matter it is in the past. At least that is how I am trying to look at it. Keller seemed like a potent playmaker and an all around good guy, I hope we see him in Aqua and Orange again.
But, where does that leave us? I know the possibilities of trades and waver wire claims exist, but what do we already have, that is the question I am asking. I know Kevin and all the site writers are covering the topic. And the main focus has been, Who's up next?, with the emphasis on outside help. Nothing wrong with that, great information, speedy delivery as always. Thumbs up. But, we "fanposters" (couldn't come up with a better term) love to play the speculation game. Ergo, my mission throughout the next 1,000 words or so will be to do just that speculate. Think I am right, think I am wrong, think I am a crazy, I care not.
Charles Clay- Aka Clay-maker, 6'3 250 lbs 3rd Year player out of Tusla. A 6th Round Draft pick by Jeff Ireland
He flashed as a rookie and had a position change in his sophomore season. He is at a point where he could become a potent offensive weapon. He looks buffed up from last season and has turned himself into a potent lead blocker and and underestimated seem threat. IF the coaching staff can get him to play both positions well, he could be a solid piece for us for years to come. He is my first man up in term of adjusting for Keller's absence. With some solid improvement by the younger guys behind him, our offense can still hum and tick without changing out too much personnel.
Consistency has been an issue for Clay. He makes Hi-light worthy catches now and then but he also drops a lot of balls. I know the argument here is better ball placement from the QB. I actually agree to an extent though I think we will see a it gel much better in the next couple of weeks. As we begin to cut closer to that 53 roster spot delegation the focus begins to become the starters. No media or fans, just the team beginning to REALLY prep the starters. This is when the QB gets to figure out exactly how fast each guy is and where he will be. The more experienced the QB the faster that process is, however getting to run with a consistent group of guys will certainly help. I think as the year goes on RT17 will get better and better and placing the ball to his WR's. Clay isn't fight for a roster spot for really the first time. He is however going to get more 1rst team reps than ever before and hopefully develop that rhythm. I hope he does, because I think him stepping up as both TE and FB will be a key to fixing the missing Dustin Keller with in-house solutions.
Dion Sims- 6'5 262 TE out of Michigan State. Rookie drafted in the 4th Round by Jeff Ireland.
Sims is an interesting prospect. He is big, real big. And man can he block. He is almost another OL on the field. But he isn't exactly 1 dimensional. He has "soft hands" to quote Joe Philbin. What Ireland said one of the things he liked the most about Sims was that he cut almost 20lbs pre-combine. Michigan State Spartans have a run first and second and maybe even third down type of team. He was used primarily as an O-linemen. But Sims cut the weight because to be successful in the NFL he would have to be multidimensional. His 4.72 40 time isn't fast but it is respectable considering his size. But he looks leaner and fast each week. With a 35 inch vert he can certainly pose a red zone threat. At minimum it will draw coverage.
He's stiff in the hips and it takes too long for him to get out of his stance and into a route. He gains speed well but it is a slow start. He is going to have to correct this in order to be a 5-15 yard mid level threat. That is what he is looking to be. If the Jack-Knife Clay concept is going to work, then we need Sims to become more than one dimensional, just like Javorski Lane, it can't be obvious we play him only to when we run the ball. He has to be able to catch the ball routinely in the middle of the field at short to medium range, pass block and run block. 2 out of 3 won't cut it. Luckily though he could be able to do that easily enough with the NFL speed and conditioning he has been getting. Overall I am looking for him to develop into a taller Fasano, that is why we drafted him, that is what he can become and every team needs one.
Micheal "The Maligned" Egnew- 6'5 252 lbs out of Missouri. 3rd Round pick last year by Jeff Ireland.
Michael Egnew has disappointed fans a lot. Simply by doing nothing. Well, by not being able to come in and contribute immediately. But remember he is a converted WR. He played WR until his junior year when they switched him to TE so he could have a hope of being drafted. He boasted a 4.62 40 time which is quick enough to beat LBer's and at 6'5 tall enough to mismatch against a safety. Missouri played him as a WR basically. They played him out of the slot and never really asked him to block. This is a common theme for that program and so they have "bad TE's". But they aren't really TE's in the traditional sense. He is the Seem threat we are looking for, and maybe he was slow to pick things up, but it appears he has learned quite a bit. Philbin named him one of camps most improved players.
I am not saying the dude is ready for stardom either. He is having the same problem as Dion Sims but in reverse. However it should be pointed out, his blocking has gotten a lot better. If he can continue to see first team reps in Keller's absence then he might able to get to play speed by the season opener. He needs to eliminate mental errors. He took an earful last year from the coaches and he was a nervous rookie. But it actually looks like he has responded well and made the off-season steps to get better. I honestly have hope for the kid and think he can do some good things for us if he can stop being a liability in the blocking game. We can't have a "Egnew's in, it has to be a passing play." A lot of coaches will play like that, but Sherman and Philbin won't. They also believe in their ability as teachers to fix these inadequacies. And to be honest I am seeing progress across the board from this team.
I mentioned each time that these guys were Ireland draft choices. The club will be hesitant to trade for a player that is an immediate starter because that would be an implication we can't trust our own guys. We took Keller in the off season because he was coming off injury and willing to take a prove it 1 year contract. It gave a nice padded year to develop our new guys. Niether Philbin or Sherman have come from programs that usually trade for big name players. They promote from with-in as a rule of thumb. They'll bring in guys to push people they think have potential. See John Jerry/ Lance Luis. That is why I believe that they will claim someone off the waiver wire to push Sims and Egnew. Kyle Miller will get cut and if no one claims him, shouldn't happen, he will go back to the Practice Squad for another year. Evan Rodriguez will most likely get the nod over Javorski Lane. It would allow is to run a 2TE I-formation set (great for screen plays and roll outs) with the most effective personnel grouping to play the pass or the run. Either way, it should be interesting to watch unfold.