Miami Dolphins: The Mike Gesicki conundrum

Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki
Photo Credit: Willfredo Lee/AP Photo

The Miami Dolphins have a conundrum on their hands and his name is Mike Gesicki. Gesicki, now playing for his third head coach in five seasons, seems to be the odd man out in Miami these days. New head coach Mike McDaniel is bringing the only offense he has ever coached to the Dolphins: the Shanahan-inspired wide zone running scheme. His newly franchise tagged tight end may not exactly be a perfect fit.

With his most challenging training camp coming to a close soon, Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki finds himself in a precarious position.

The biggest hurdle

The biggest question mark around Mike Gesicki’s game has, and always will be, about his blocking ability. As a rookie, former head coach Adam Gase put him in far too many situations where he was blocking pass rushers one on one.

The next regime and their 43 different play callers were able to maximize his strengths. Putting the big body tight end either in the slot or out wide allowed him to flash his freakish athleticism as a pass catcher.

Whether it was Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jacoby Brissett, or Tua Tagovailoa throwing him the ball, Gesicki shined. 

New challenges

Mike Gesicki’s struggles as a blocker are now even more highlighted in this new offense. Miami’s second preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders was an example of where Gesicki will struggle. He struggled for most of the night to block efficiently. Even his greatest strength failed him on a third down pass early in the game that bounced off his chest. 

Gesicki’s performance on Saturday has been the topic of discussion since the game ended. Tua Tagovailoa, Mike McDaniel, and tight ends coach Jon Embree were all asked about his struggles against the Raiders. Each expressed confidence in his ability to bounce back and continue to improve.

Gesicki bounced back in a big way in Tuesday’s practice, and saw more action than he typically has in camp. Wednesday’s joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles saw Gesicki make an impressive grab in 11-on-11 periods. 

What does the future hold for Mike Gesicki?

Reports of Miami seeking to trade the tight end have been shot down by local beat writers. So what does Miami do with Mike Gesicki? If they plan to have him on the field, it is going to be in a more traditional tight end role. His price tag absolutely dictates him being on the field.

However, his blocking ability, or lack thereof, will always stop him from being a fit for this offense.  He can improve as a blocker, but will always be limited. He’s a tall and lanky player, with much more upper body strength than lower. Blocking will always be a mission.

This may be Gesicki’s last year with the Dolphins, but he at least appears to be in their immediate plans.

Dolphins cornerbacks have great opportunity vs Tampa Bay

With the Miami Dolphins heading to Tampa for joint practices with Buccaneers, the depth of the cornerbacks room in Miami is going to be tested

Miami Dolphins cornerbacks
Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are heading north for a Sunshine State showdown. Miami will be practicing and playing a preseason game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa brings the challenge of an elite passing game for the Dolphins to compete against. However, being just the first preseason game, those are not the names to be focused on. Miami will be without Byron Jones for this game and will likely only give Xavien Howard limited playing time.

This week can give the Dolphins a great look into where their cornerback depth stands thanks to Tampa’s excellent receiver depth. 

The Dolphins Cornerbacks are thin on the back end 

With Byron Jones not practicing, the Dolphins have been able to get a glimpse of what life would look like if one of Jones or Howard were to go down. Seemingly every receiver on the roster has been able to get open downfield and make a big play in camp. Without Jevon Holland on the back end, it may be even worse. 

The Dolphins will have an opportunity to get a look at players like Noah Igbinoghene, Nik Needham, Trill Williams, and many others. Right now, it is a great opportunity for any of them to earn more playing time as the third or fourth cornerback.

However, it is also an opportunity for the coaching staff to decide whether or not to consider working out veteran corners to add some depth to the room. 

Great challenge ahead of the Dolphins Cornerbacks

The Buccaneers have one of the best wide receiver rooms in the NFL, both in terms of top talent and depth. The receiver room in Tampa outside of their starters features Breshad Perriman, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Jaelon Darden, and the newly-acquired Russell Gage.

The three practices, as well as the game, serve as a great challenge for the young Miami cornerbacks. There is a combination of players with legitimate NFL experience, as well as promising young players. If Tampa is able to throw the ball with ease throughout the week, the Dolphins may need to start weighing options and potentially looking for upgrades in the middle of their cornerbacks depth chart.

Synopsis

The Miami Dolphins have an incredibly expensive cornerbacks corps with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. However, both have had some injury issues in the NFL. Depth at cornerback is extremely important with the ever-changing league. More sets with three or four receivers have led to an increase in cornerback value.

If Miami does not like what they see this week, they can pursue some veteran depth options. Names such as Chris Harris or Xavier Rhodes make the most sense.