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Miami Dolphins Film Room: Mike Gesicki, Week 4 @ New England Patriots

Rookie Mike Gesicki received the bulk of the snaps at TE. Let’s dive in and see how he looked in Foxborough.

Tennessee Titans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Mike Gesicki played 41 of 49 snaps Sunday vs. the New England Patriots. Without further ado, here’s 22% of his snap count in GIF form...

Note to audience: not all film is glamorous.

The Tape

Sam Young reports as eligible so the Miami Dolphins are in a pseudo-12 personnel, with both TE’s to the left, Mike Gesicki on the outside.

Does this block get the job done? Yes. Does it look a little clumsy? Yes. At first I thought, “man, how does Gesicki lose his balance after 2 steps of being engaged in the block?” I watched this play a few times and it looks like Patrick Chung grabs Gesicki on the right shoulder with his left hand (you’ll notice the hand still there towards the end of the GIF). Whether this is a hold or not on Chung, eh, I don’t know. This type of stuff probably happens all the time.

Gesicki’s block did enough to keep his defender from making a play on the ball, but I can’t say I like the initial set-up: head way past his feet, it’s almost like he begins the play lunging. Better balance is needed coming in to the “engagement” part of the block, in my opinion. As he matures, I think you’ll see him drive with his legs for the power, and use upper-body for positioning and “accuracy” of the blocking angle. Gesicki has him by 30 pounds, and you want to see him maintain the leverage the entire time (although again, admittedly, Chung pulls on the right shoulder).

The Dolphins used this route combination a few times on Sunday, including the very first play of the game (good for 22 yards to Kenny Stills). Gesicki and Stills are running “deep drags” (intermediate crossing routes) and this time, it’s not so effective. Gesicki is matched up on Chung, and Ryan Tannehill throws a pretty dangerous ball. I like that he trusts Gesicki enough to try and make a play on that, but he’s almost throwing across the field here and that’s QB 101 big no-no.

Here he is in a pass blocking situation, helping Ja’Wuan James. He’s matched against Kyle Van Noy, a solid edge piece for the Patriots and I would not expect him to win this match-up 1-on-1. Van Noy gets Gesicki right on the numbers and able to “stand him up” - Gesicki is a tall guy so he’ll have to work on staying low even when engaged. Part of that will come through a regular season and subsequent off-season of NFL strength, conditioning, and nutrition.

Gesicki is lined up all the way to the right on the line of scrimmage, allowing his guy to shoot the gap. Luckily the play goes immediately away from the chaos, but a running play in that situation gets blown up. This could’ve been a miscommunication between he and Sam Young (#79) in terms of who had which gap. Looks like Young starts moving left and then looks back and sees the immediate penetration to his right and tries to shuffle back in time. Unfortunate because Jesse Davis needs absolutely no help on this play.

At any rate, none of this affects the play that occurred. But you want to see better communication and execution, even on the weak side of the play.

Dont’a Hightower significantly redirects Gesicki as he comes out for his route. The Patriots were chucking him at the 5-yard zone, and I expect him to be able to brace for contact better and to use his basketball background in these short quarter situations. The pass is forced to him, and Tannehill seemed to rush the throw as the OL held up admirably on this snap. Too often we saw Tannehill locking onto targets in this game - this offense is best spreading the ball around and going through the progressions.

As Gesicki runs more routes into the seams, absorbing contact from defenders or using his athleticism to circumvent them, will be of utmost importance in the Dolphins vertical passing attack. On this particular play, however, I don’t think there’s any way he could’ve made a play on the ball.

Jason McCourty 5’11”, 195. Mike Gesicki, 6’6”, 245. Again, just talking about the 5-yard contact zone, you expect a 50-pound advantage to be your asset at this juncture. An in-breaking route here yields results in my opinion. I don’t know if it was sheer play design or if Gesicki had reads/options there in the route he ran, but the middle of the field is wide open.

At any rate, you don’t like to see Gesicki lose in the contact zone against someone 50 pounds smaller. An out pattern to the wide side of the field here? We could’ve sent Gesicki on a better route by my estimate. Let him use the 7-inch, 50-pound advantage on a deeper curl route - something that allows him to “box out”, use his body, and take advantage of his size. If McCourty trails the play, you push the seam. Hell, I’d rather have seen a wheel route and put him in a jump ball situation. Either way, we’re using body size and jumping ability over lateral agility.

He’s matched up 1-on-1 with Van Noy, again. You know how I feel about that. Not a match-up I expect him to win. A tad more resistance is required, though. Van Noy disengages and flowing to the play immediately after 1st contact. He had the inside position and just had to square his shoulder better to make Van Noy take a more extreme angle in pursuit.

His sole catch. Leaked out after helping chip for Laremy Tunsil. End of 1st half soon afterwards.

I like this block by Gesicki, although you might think to yourself: “Dude! Hightower tosses him like a rag doll!” Well the play completely switches directions, and it wasn’t a designed misdirection. He can’t see where Drake is going, and he thinks this play is going to the right edge. Van Noy gets upfield and makes Drake abandon the initial play direction to the other side. I can’t fault Gesicki for that, and he maintained his block much better than some of the other GIF’s we saw. Hightower is a big, powerful LB, too. Effective block by Gesicki: sliding feet (think “defensive slide” in basketball) and maintains a good blocking angle and engagement until Drake peels off the other way.


I know what you’re thinking to yourself: “SUTTON, the Dolphins didn’t draft this guy to block.” DING DING DING! You’re right. More routes run/game are desired.

Yet, with the health of the offensive line and tight end group, we’re having to make adjustments on the fly to maintain pass protection and generate rushing lanes. This means throwing Gesicki to the wolves so-to-speak in terms of blocking assignments. I doubt this is the way the Dolphins wanted this to go with the kinds of situations and wrinkles in the playbook they wanted to use for Gesicki. But here we are.

Perhaps this steep learning curve will allow Gesicki to mature into the all-elusive “dual-threat” TE in the NFL.

The Cincinnati Bengals have been vulnerable in the seams with some of their zone coverages, and Gesicki looks to be a favorable match-up against the Bengals LB’s. Let’s see if the OL can hold up and Gesicki can afford to be out on more routes and making plays.