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Miami Dolphins Film Room: Nick O’Leary, Week 6 vs. the Chicago Bears

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Nick O’Leary is a recent acquisition of the Miami Dolphins, filling a key niche in the offense at TE. Let’s delve into the tape.

Chicago Bears v Miami Dolphins Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

The Golden Bear’s grandson, Nick O’Leary, didn’t become a Miami Dolphins TE very long ago. Yet, he logged 53 snaps this Sunday vs. the Chicago Bears. Here’s 12 of them in GIF form...(in chronological order)

The Tape

Left uncovered. Makes the sure catch. Rumble, bumble, stumbles for a good gain. 1st down on the 2nd play of the game. Jesse Davis sustains his block juuuuuuust enough for Brock Osweiler to get it out into the flats.

What if I told you Nick O’Leary and Danny Amendola would stonewall Khalil Mack and keep him 5 feet away from the QB on a snap before the game?

You’ll see this “misdirection” block theme elsewhere in the tape study. Dolphins bring O’Leary in motion and use a misdirection block: a pull block across where the OL is going. He squares up with Khalil Mack, knocks him back a tad. Mack ends up making the tackle, but I also think if Frank Gore didn’t have to cut so far laterally, there was a crease inside (made possible by O’Leary knocking Mack off the spot).

Lines up as a fullback. Gets outside of Eddie Jackson, shows the soft hands and lunges forward for the only score of the 1st half.

He’s matched up with Leonard Floyd here. Love the 2 chop steps before he anchors for his block, able to square up. Knocks Floyd back a tad, but stays engaged with him long enough to make sure he doesn’t lay a finger on Gore.

OK, big fella! OK! I see you!

Aggressive play call here. He had a bunch of space in the flats, turns upfield, hurdles a dude (at 722 pounds of chiseled rock, that’s impressive), and gives the Dolphins much needed breathing room after Jordan Howard coughed up the fumble at the 1.

1-on-1 with Khalil Mack. Mack ends up making the tackle, but I really, really like O’Leary’s leverage here. He stays engaged with him, not once is O’Leary retreating or giving up momentum. Gore just happens to run right into Mack - Kenyan Drake bounces this run outside in all likelihood. At any rate, I think O’Leary handled this battle quite admirably considering he’s facing one of the most feared defenders in the entire NFL.

He peels back to get Danny Trevathan here, able to get him sealed off despite not having the greatest initial “engagement angle”. Trevathan makes the tackle after he’s able to fight off O’Leary, but it’s after a chunk yardage run.

I’m gonna need some Aunt Jemima, because I just saw a pancake off to the far left against Leonard Floyd.

Cool little trap play by the Dolphins. O’Leary has the wham block and stops the DT in his tracks.

Motion him to a weak-I look. Gets a quick chip on the DT as he leaks out, and takes it for a nice gain.

Same play as earlier, just later in the game and a better result. Misdirection block with O’Leary, he takes a different approach here by going low, and Drake takes it for a solid gain late in the game.

Conclusion

Impressive debut for the young man. With the injuries and lethargic road to the top for most rookie TE’s coming out of college, O’Leary filled a crucial niche in the offense and performed it well. He offers just enough as a receiver and remains completely fearless as a blocker.

Having complementary TE play allows more of the playbook to be unveiled, and allows Adam Gase as a play caller to be more creative and use more formations.