The Miami Dolphins have a talented group of players on the roster this year. More importantly, the Dolphins have a slew of young players with talent. Unfortunately, when you have a deep group at a certain position, some of the talent won't see the field. This is not a terrible problem to have, but the Dolphins have it nonetheless.
So, who are the players who are lost in a deep position group but deserve more playing time? Here's a guy from both the offensive and defensive side of the ball:
With chatter of Brian Hartline's struggles in the Dolphins new offense, it only makes sense to look further at options to receive his playing time.
Option one: Rishard Matthews. Matthews, now in his third year after being drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft, was the Dolphins most productive receiver in preseason and training camp. His toughness, catch radius, strong hands and ability to produce yards after the catch would greatly benefit the Dolphins offense.
Matthews has the toughness to take a hit on a route over the middle. Matthews has the toughness to be able to get open against press coverage. Matthews has the toughness to break a tackle and gain a first down on a short pass.
Matthews' catch radius and strong hands gives Ryan Tannehill a larger margin of error when throwing the ball. Tannehill doesn't have to be perfect, as he has to be with many of Miami's receivers, because Matthews has the ability to make a tough catch and bail his quarterback out.
Now, how many other of Miami's receivers possess the skillset that Matthews has shown? Toughness is a great trait for a WR to have in this offense. Matthews has it. Matthews, who scored his first touchdown of 2014 against the Jaguars, deserves more playing time.
Runner Up: Running back Damien Williams
Linebacker Chris McCain has played very little this year, appearing only in specific situations. McCain has taken snaps at both defensive end and linebacker. As a defensive end, McCain rushes the passer. McCain has one sack this year in this role. As a linebacker, he is mainly tasked with being a spy on mobile quarterbacks. McCain saw many snaps at this role against the Green Bay Packers.
The question with McCain is-- are the Dolphins putting enough on his plate? Are the Dolphins starving this talented defender in fear of overloading him?
The answer is yes. McCain is a very raw player who has a lot to learn before he can receive playing time at a traditional linebacker position. McCain has done very little work in coverage and would be playing as a bit of a loose cannon or chicken with his head cut off. McCain would put in the necessary effort and intensity on the field, but his lack of experience at off-ball linebacker would show if he was thrown into the fire of an NFL game.
McCain will one day be a good defender for Miami. But it's unlikely that he will receive more playing time at linebacker unless injuries force it.
However, I would give him more snaps as a pass rusher and blitzing linebacker. I would continue to keep McCain in as a staple of the "speed" pass rushing package on defense. When McCain is on the field, good things happen.
Runner Up: Defensive end Terrence Fede
Feel free to discuss any players you feel deserve more playing time in the comments.