When Erik Ezukanma was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, many people were left scratching their heads. After all, Miami already had a loaded wide-receiver room after signing Cedrick Wilson, trading for Tyreek Hill and drafting Jaylen Waddle in 2021. However, if Saturday’s performance from the man nicknamed “Eazy-E” is any indication of his future success with Miami, the Dolphins got themselves a hell of a steal this offseason.
Against the Raiders, Ezukanma nabbed six balls for 114 yards, including a spectacular one-handed reception for 34 yards on a pass that was under-thrown from Skylar Thompson. The rookie contorted his body to make the acrobatic catch.
Ezukanma’s emergence as a big-bodied, downfield threat is a beautiful sight to see. He is a lock to make the 53 man squad once the final roster is set.
Mike Gesicki hasn’t taken to Mike McDaniel’s new offense
Mike Gesicki has never been known for his blocking prowess, however in new head coach, Mike McDaniel’s, scheme, solid blocking from the tight end position is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, on Saturday against the Raiders, Gesicki showed the world that he has a long way to go in that department.
On a play that saw Miami deep in their own territory, Gesicki completely whiffed on a block that led to a safety from quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater. After the contest, McDaniel took the blame saying he shouldn’t have put Gesicki in that position with the playcall. However, if Miami is to be successful in disguising their plays - runs versus passes - when the regular season rolls around, they’ll need a tight end that is proficient in both run blocking and pass catching. We know Gesicki is one hell of a pass catcher, but can his run blocking improve? The clock is ticking and McDaniel, Gesicki and the rest of the Miami Dolphins’ decision makers on offense are running out of time regarding a final answer to that question.
Dishonorable Mention - Miami’s rushing offense... again
Last week, Miami’s running backs ran for 24 yards on 13 carries. This week, they didn’t fare much better - amassing 39 yards on 15 attempts. That’s an average of 2.25 yards per rush over the past two preseason contests. That will need to be sorted out before the regular season if the Dolphins hope to have a proficient offense.
More injuries test Miami’s CB depth
After Trill Williams went down with a season ending injury last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all of us were hoping that would be the last of the injuries - especially to the cornerback room - this offseason.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
On Saturday, a trio of Dolphins’ depth defenders suffered injuries against the Raiders. Nik Needham, Keion Crossen and Mackensie Alexander all left the game early. The extent of the injuries aren’t fully known at this point, however Mike McDaniel said that none appear to be season ending. Let’s hope that he is correct, because Miami cannot afford to lose anymore players at the CB position - especially with starter, Byron Jones’, status still up in the air.
How do you feel about Miami’s performance against the Raiders on Saturday? Do you have hope Mike Gesicki can turn it around? How do you feel Erik Ezukanma’s regular season will go? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13! Fins up!