Despite training camps around the league just getting underway, the old dreaded injury bug is starting to make its way around the league. Jeremy Maclin and Dennis Pitta have made early headlines as two of the big injuries that will have a big impact on their team.
The Dolphins have had a couple of bumps and bruises to start camp yet have stayed relatively clear of the injury bug to date. That being said we found out this weekend that WR Rishard Matthews will be out several weeks with a significant injury. In addition, it was announced that Armon Binns is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. While Matthews and Binns weren't a significant part of the Dolphins plans in 2013 it does leave the Dolphins a little thin at wide reciever.
Recently signed free agent Brandon Gibson is slated to move into the slot this season, however, the team doesn't have much of a backup plan should Wallace or Hartline go down. The Gibson signing came with some doubt from fans but it is clear that coach Philbin and Sherman intend to feature some routes which will highlight his skill set. Gibson has been quiet so far in camp but he will have a lot to prove filling into fan favorite Davone Bess's shoes.
With Davone Bess now in Cleveland the Dolphins can't afford any more injuries to their thin receiving core. It is still early, however, Jeff Ireland might want to start looking for a backup plan. Second year WR Marvin Mcnutt has made an impression early on in camp but he will have much to prove before he even stabilizes a roster spot.
The song remains the same for the Dolphins, they continue to look for a strong group of WR's who can make plays, make big plays and score touchdowns. Can this group of WR's get the job done? Can they do it consistently?
There is already word out that there has been a case of the drops in Dolphins camp, so has Ireland done enough to help Tannehill? That question won't be answered until well into the season.
If you really play how you practice, there could be a staggering number of Dolphins drops this season
Free agent receivers Laurent Robinson and Steve Breaston could be potential options however waiting until more camp cuts come out might be a better option for the team.
UPDATE: The Dolphins will work out former Cowboys and Jaguars receiver Laurent Robinson on Tuesday. He met with he Patriots and Jets last week but left without a deal.
Give McNutt a chance...He proved himself at Iowa to be a clutch receiver...He has great height. speed & hands..
There's some panic over Armon Binns' injury, and some talk about Ireland needing to bring in a name to replace/augment receiver depth. Here's a few names: Joe Morgan, Dwayne Harris, Matt Willis, Ryan Broyles and a 33-year old Deion Branch. Those are the No. 4 wide receivers on the top-five passing teams in the NFL last year. They averaged 15 receptions on the season.
This isn't to compare the Dolphins to those offenses in any way. The point just goes to illustrate the impact of a fourth receiver. Barring injury to one of the top three, signing Robinson or Breaston shouldn't be considered. Especially when you consider who the true third, fourth and fifth options will be -- Dustin Keller, Charles Clay, Dion Sims, Lamar Miller and various other non-WR players.
@seanldonovan Signing a player like Breaston, Robinson, Doucet or even Brandon Lloyd would give the Dolphins a solid plan B if one of their top 3 WR's goes down with an injury at anytime in the season. These free agents won't be available much longer as many teams around the league will be searching for injury replacements. It's better to act now and at least try out one of those options.
Also, aside from the top 3 of Wallace, Hartline, Gibson, the rest of the WR core is unproven. Signing a veteran would provide the team with a more proven target at the No. 4 spot.
@DolfanDaniel It just doesn't make sense to me. Let Matthews or McNutt win the spot and play special teams and hopefully develop. How does a temporary, 'proven' veteran help you as a bench player?
Look at other teams... who is the Packers WR4? Charles Johnson or Jarrett Boykin. The Falcons? Kevin Cone or James Rodgers. Broncos? Tavarres King or Greg Orton. All are 'unproven', but WR4 just isn't a vital role. Like I said, this player rarely contributes anything of significance anyway.
It's not a spot to invest in or give to a non-special teams contributing veteran. In my opinion.
@DolfanDaniel Exactly, let them play it out a little. If no one emerges as a viable option for depth or further injuries take place, there's a long list of stopgaps that can be brought in and eased into the system. And it's nice to have a player who's actually produced at some point behind the starters, but truth is these players (like Robinson) have been worked out by other teams and are nothing more than in-case-of-emergency options. I'd rather have a young, developing special teamer than a more expensive worn-down veteran, personally.
@seanldonovan You make valid points. I like what I've seen from McNutt, I think he will make this team and contribute. Like Binns, Mathews is also dealing with an injury so his status going forward is up in the air.
While I'm quite satisfied with the WR core as a whole, I would prefer a player like Robinson over Tyms on the team.
If Bumphis and McNutt impress throughout camp and preseason then there is no urgency to sign a free agent at the position.