On Friday's injury report, Miami Dolphins tight end Dion Sims has been listed as out for the Dolphins game against the Chargers. While Sims is a second string player, this is a devastating injury because the Dolphins only carry three tight ends on the roster.
Not only will the Dolphins be short-handed at the tight end position, but they also lose their best blocking tight end. Sims, who is the Dolphins' biggest tight end at 6'4", 265 pounds, has been very good at sealing the back end of plays when the Dolphins run play action. Sims
Sims has been morphing into a solid receiving tight end in his second year in the league. Sims averages only one reception per game this season, but five of those catches have come in the past three games.
Many of those receptions have also been important, often going for first downs. Sims' one touchdown this season (pictured above) was a beautiful finger-tip grab that made up for an dropped touchdown pass earlier in the season.
Sims absence means the Dolphins will head into Sunday's bout with the Chargers with only Charles Clay and undrafted rookie Harold Hoskins as tight end. This means that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will likely be limited in his play selection as Clay is merely an average blocker and Hoskins is a liability as a blocker.
The flip side of that, however, is the Dolphins will be able to attack the Chargers linebacking corps, who will be without starting inside linebacker Manti Te'o, with two good receiving tight ends. We all know what Clay brings to the table as a receiver, but the guy who has a chance to prove himself to the world Sunday is Hoskins.
Hoskins, who scored 25 touchdowns in his final two years at Marshall, has shown the ability to be a threat as a pass catcher. Hoskins, despite being undersized for the tight end position at 6'2", was a touchdown machine in college, and ironically enough had an impressive touchdown catch in preseason on his first reception in the NFL (pictured below).
Hoskins is incredibly inconsistent, though, and has played in only four games this season. Hoskins caught his only target for a first down. However, this could be the game where Hoskins breaks out as Sims injury will force him into the lineup.
It's likely that the Dolphins will lean heavily on three receiver sets with only one tight end on the field, but Hoskins will still see the field when Miami runs two tight end sets. Hoskins has the ability to be a sneaky secret weapon for Miami who could have a big day as the Chargers focus on limiting the impact of Clay and the Dolphins' other weapons.
Sims injury is devastating as it leaves the Dolphins with only two tight ends on the roster and indicates that Miami's run game will not be at top level on a day where the running game needs to dominate. However, the silver lining is that we will get an opportunity to see Gator Hoskins, a fan favorite early in the offseason, get a good amount of action and an opportunity to showcase himself to the Dolphins' coaching staff and fanbase. Hoskins will make his share of rookie mistakes, but it will be interesting to see if Hoskins continues his playmaking habits against the Chargers.