The Miami Dolphins come into the 2017 season with the same core wide receivers, including Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and the re-signed Kenny Stills. The team will also be looking for expanded roles from second-year receivers Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant, as well as possibly adding rookie Isaiah Ford to the offense. The receivers group is a crowded one, but one that the team expects to have a big year.
“Just being able to play fast,” Stills said this week of the expectations of the offense heading into the second year under head coach Adam Gase. “I think that’s one of the biggest things Coach Gase stresses with us is going out there and flying around. The fact that we know our responsibility, we know our job (and) we’re more comfortable out there, we can fly around and play this game at a high speed, high tempo.”
Last season, Landry caught 94 passes for 1,136 yards with four touchdown, earning his second-straight Pro Bowl selection, while Parker added 56 receptions for 744 yards and four touchdowns, and Stills picked up 42 receptions for 726 yards and a team-high nine touchdown catches. “I’m not here to predict anything, but we’re here working and trying to build on what we had last year,” Stills answered reporters when asked if the Dolphins receivers can see those numbers grow this year. “If we can stay healthy, we know we can do something big.”
The receptions are not the only thing the position is working to improve this year, however. Repeatedly, Stills commented that he, as an individual, and the group as a whole, are working to be “complete” wide receivers. “You’ve seen the receiver group down the field blocking in those games where we weren’t really throwing the ball as much,” Stills explained. “(Wide Receivers) Coach (Shawn) Jefferson really stresses us being complete wide receivers and tells us all the time, ‘No block, no rock.’ That’s something we’re always focusing on and we’re trying to help this team any way we can.”
The Dolphins have stated that they expect to see a more prominent role for running back Jay Ajayi in each game this year, so the “no block, no rock” mantra could become a huge part of the game plan for the Dolphins receivers. They all need to show they can be a part of the offense, a part of the blocking downfield for Ajayi as well as catching passes. If the Dolphins receivers truly become “complete” receivers, the Dolphins will likely have an even more explosive offense this year.