Miami Dolphins tight end Adam Shaheen is dealing with a knee injury that has held him out of practice this week. Now, it appears that injury will also keep him from playing in this weekend’s game against the Carolina Panthers. Head coach Brian Flores spoke with the media on Friday, updating about the availability of Shaheen for Sunday, and how it will give an opportunity to rookie tight end Hunter Long.
“It looks like we are not going to have Adam this weekend,” Flores said. “Hunter has done a good job practicing really over the course of the entire year. He’ll step into that role and he’ll get an opportunity and, again, against a very good team. We’re going to need him to step up and play well for us.”
Flores continued, expounding on Long’s abilities. “He’s a young player. He’s trying to improve and get better every day – technique, fundamentals. He has a lot of talent and potential,” the coach explained. “There’s a lot of work that goes into playing in this league, specifically playing tight end in this league. There’s blocking, there’s route running, there’s a lot that goes into that position – protection, from a protection standpoint. A lot of potential. He’s doing a lot of good things, or he’s done a lot of good things in practice I would say, and he’s developing. It’s a little bit of a deep tight end room and he’s learning from those other guys whether it’s Durham (Smythe), Adam (Shaheen), Mike (Gesicki) or Cethan Carter. He’s made improvements in practice and he’ll get an opportunity this week.”
Long has played 29 snaps this season, with 18 of those coming back in Week 1. He has been inactive for eight of the team’s 11 games this season, including each of the last five contests. A third-round pick by the Dolphins this year, Long has been targeted once this season but has yet to record a reception.
This weekend could be his opportunity to begin putting some stats into the record books.