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.

Ravens Report: Preseason Week 3 Preview & Rambling

Welcome to the ATB Ravens Report featuring the team’s Preseason Week 3 Match up vs the Washington Football Team. Enjoy!

Hey everyone, so I know this is kinda last minute and out of the blue but we are less than 24 hours away from kick off & there’s some things that need to be discussed. As I sit here & type this waiting on my work laundry to get done on Friday August 27th, 2021, I’m thinking about what the team is getting ready to do tomorrow for their 6pm EST Battle of the Beltway showdown vs the Washington Football Team.

Washington coming off a 17-13 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals are looking to put an end to the Ravens’ preseason win streak. Will that happen? I sure as hell hope not. Ryan Fitzpatrick doing pretty decent with the staters in the first half according to the box score stats on ESPN.

Taylor Heinicke looking sharp too. 11/13 attempts for 80 yards, not bad young buck, not bad. Their defense also looking fairly good. 55 total tackles, 36 solo, 1 sack, & 3 TFL. They put a deal on the Cincy offense.

Now this may seem like I’m giving the WFT too much credit but you know, gotta give it when it’s due. On the other hand, it’s a different story when Baltimore comes to town.

You all know when Baltimore comes to town it’s to make a statement.

Whether it’s in the Pre, Reg, or Post Season, the Ravens are here to get the job done. Save the lecture about the playoffs, they got the job done vs Tennessee but for the rest just have to be patient. This week we’ll have some first string fun again. LJ8 & Co looking to get on a rhythm in Q1, hopefully we’ll get a taste of Hollywood Brown & Ronnie Stanley being back on offense. On defense, look for the entire starting defense to completely dominate Washington’s air & ground games.

Now I’m gonna be honest here, I’ll probably miss half or most of the game when it’s live due to working 9:30a-6:30p then going out to eat with my wife and in-laws right after. That will take a lot of time away from any live tweet reactions. Plus I have to make another free trial, so maybe can catch it on GamePass replay. So this preview & rambles will have to do till later Laugh Out Loud.

Depth is both a blessing & a curse.

As most of us have seen & heard about the Shaun Wade trade to the patriots for a 2022 7th rounder & 2023 5th round pick has the fan base torn. All in all, he was probably going to be cut after this preseason/camp even with the phenomenal stats he was putting up. Soooo…. why not get something in return instead of letting that value go to waste.

With that being said I imagine that Tavon Young, Nigel Warrior(pictured to left or below), & Chris Westry will continue to step up and make plays within the secondary. These guys will stay on their assignments and make WRs miss. Now I’m not gonna dig into their full breakdowns cause the CB/DB’s aren’t exactly my strong suit.

But since we’re still in the secondary chat room, let’s talk about Brandon Stephens & Ar’Darius Washington for a second. Granted these are the only 2 Free Safeties behind DeShon Elliot, they’ve really been stepping up and making that back-up position battle tough. I feel like these two are gonna make it hard for the coaches to make a decision once they show out their skills one last time against Washington.

My prediction is that one or two of these guys will have an interception or forced fumble in the game.

The trenches are getting intense.

Ben Cleveland finally returns to practice, does that mean we finally get to see him suited up and play?! I sure as hell hope so. I’m not a Georgia Bulldog fan unlike a good friend of mine on twitter but man after seeing the Ravens take the chance at Big Country the tank of a man, I got excited to see the iOL competition heat up.

Prediction on him individually, the team is probably still easing him so we’ll either see him very early on in the game in basic packages or towards the end when they’re trying to wrap things up.

But for the rest of the OL, be prepared for a game of shuffle, as the versatility game continues and don’t be shocked if you see something along the lines of:

  • LT: Trye Phillips
  • LG: Ben Bredeson
  • C: T.C.C (Because he stay clutch at the Center position.)
  • RG: Foster Sarell
  • LT: Adrian Ealy

Now you can quote this, tell me I’m right or wrong, but this is something we can see happening tomorrow evening. But a major name that we’ll probably see perform well and make the 53 man roster will most likely include Patrick Mekari. The guy is a versatile machine that can execute well in the Center, Guard, or Tackle spot. Be on the look out for a good amount of pancakes coming out of him too.

When one man falls, another rises.

To dig into last week’s article about LJ Fort going down & the next man up mentality that the Ravens have. Malik Harrison has been promoted to the official starting WLB. Harrison has proven himself worthy of the spot with progression made from all his hard work last season to this TC/Preseason. On either the ATB Week 1 preview or review, managed to sit & listen to the Ravens’ Lounge pod featuring this guy and man let me tell you, it’s hard not to like this guy.

Which also means Otaro Alaka, Chris Board & Kristian Welch, hell even Daelin Hayes have to step up for the traditional Will OLB position. All of these guys are in a do or die situation coming up tomorrow evening.

Before we run to the other big men, let’s stop and talk about my guy for a second. If anyone remembers my article before it got deleted on Hayes knows that this kid can play just about an OLB spot you can think of from Traditional to EDGE. I would imagine he’ll show out and make his case to stay on the roster.

Who is gonna make their case to stay in the trenches.

We’ll see Williams, Wolfe, Campbell, McPhee, & Bowser make note for them to have their starting spots but what about the rest of them? Justin Houston, Odafe Oweh, & Justin Madubuike are for sure roster spots secured but what about Crawford, Ellis, Washington, Smith & Sack Daddy Ferguson?

These guys have been putting up numbers but there’s not enough room for everyone but while they have the chance expect them to put Washington OL & backfield on their asses. Ellis & Washington, I can see making their cases but some of the other depth is what gets me alittle worried because well OL/DL is my thing.

Just look for all these guys to have fun out there.

Last minute notes and wrapping up

There’s a bunch of close contests in this last preseason game that make all of us question and/or praise coach & front office decisions. The WR & RB room wars are crazy right now, Tyler Huntley is solidifying his QB2 Spot with this game, and is this team gonna keep an official TE3? We don’t know for sure yet. I would take a wild guess that it’s gonna be 6 WRs, 3 TEs, 3 RBs and probably still 1 dedicated FB on the official roster.

The 2021 Ravens are going to break history and win 20 preseason games, but if it doesn’t happen I won’t be mad.

With everything being said now and it being late where I’m at typing, don’t forget to follow the Around The Block network on the website and all forms of social media. Also don’t forget to like & comment any feedback you have on the article wherever you may be. Have a great night & day everyone!

Dolphins All Over the World

Despite what can only be described as a trying past two decades for the Miami Dolphins, the expansion of the NFL overseas has resulted in the fan base growing astronomically. While the Dolphins may not be one of the most supported teams in terms of numbers in the US, internationally they have generated a substantial fan base, all full of die hard Dolphins fans who can not get enough of the aqua and orange.

Despite what can only be described as a trying past two decades for the Miami Dolphins, the expansion of the NFL overseas has resulted in the fan base growing astronomically. While the Dolphins may not be one of the most supported teams in terms of numbers in the US, internationally they have generated a substantial fan base, all full of die hard Dolphins fans who can not get enough of the aqua and orange.

With the introduction of the new 17 game regular season beginning in 2021, NFL owners have also approved a new format for the International Series games. Starting in 2022, atleast four games will be played internationally. The new system will see four of the 16 new AFC-NFC extra gameweek matchups moved to to overseas venues. The new approach will ensure that the NFL’s objectives of tapping into markets outside of the US are fulfilled, while ensuring that teams and fans do not lose home games as a result.

Unfortunately, there is a very small part of the US fan base for the Dolphins and the NFL in general, who sit there on their high horse looking down at international fans. Fans of which maybe haven’t supported the team since the 70s, are new to the sport, or those who have not been to games at Hard Rock and are therefore unworthy of the true Dolfan status and are presumed to not know what they are talking about. As an international fan myself, I take deep offense to such assumptions. It may therefore be a surprise to some, as to how passionate and committed us fans are. Let us not forget the Super Bowl kicks of at 11:30pm, the first pick in the Draft is not until 1 am in the UK, while even later in continental Europe.

United Kingdom

The UK has been the pinnacle of the NFL’s efforts to expand overseas. Since the beginning of the International Series in 2007, the NFL has achieved consistent growth, and now has more than 13 million fans in the UK. The game has expanded from showing around 10 minutes of highlights per week in the early 80s, to now having is own dedicated channel on Sky Sports showing around the clock coverage of the league. A total of 31 of the 32 teams have featured in London over 28 games, played across three different stadiums, hosting 2,226,356 total fans for an average attendance of 80,941 (all sell out games). In comparison, the average attendance of a game hosted in the US is only 67,042.

In the UK, the fan base has changed drastically. In the early 80s, many thanks to Dan Marino, the Dolphins were able to begin to establish a solid fan base, along with Washington, Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers. Fans are reminded of these days regularly as the vintage fashion trends that sweep the nation, see the return on 90s Starter jackets, spellouts and the customary vintage jerseys. The Dolphins remain in the top 3 or 4 most supported clubs in the UK which is constantly growing following the rise in popularity of the sport, and the fact that the Dolphins have been a consistent presence in the International Series games.

The Dolphins first came to London in 1988 in American Bowl pre-season game against the 49ers, featuring Marino, Montana, and Young in front of a capacity crowd of 70,000 in the old Wembley stadium. The fins emerged victorious 27-21. The Dolphins returned in 2007 for the first regular season game to played outside the US. Miami lost 13-10 to start the season 0-8, the rest of the season we will not mention. However, all can be forgiven as the Giants later went on to end the Patriots hopes at the perfect season in Super Bowl XLII.

It would then be seven years before the Dolphins would return to London in 2014, where they defeated the Oakland Raiders 38-14, a game of which I was unable to get tickets. Rather it seems that the powers above wished for me to endure a 27-14 loss against the Jets in 2015, whereby Ryan Fitzpatrick proceeded to torch the Dolphins secondary on one of the first plays of the game. Unfortunately for me that game was the highlight of my experiences of watching the Dolphins in London, as what followed was a 20-0 shutout against the Saints in 2017, a game that solidified my true feelings towards Jay Cutler. It is hoped that the Dolphins fare better in London this season in the week 6 matchup against Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Before the International Series games, in good British fashion fans meet up in the pubs and bars surrounding Wembley for charity meet ups organised by Fins Nation UK Fan Club, where over 400 fans descend from across the world. The UK fan club organise annual weekends where fans travel across the pond to attend a pre-arranged game, along with huge organised parties throughout the weekend with other fan clubs. On their last trip in 2019, 35 fans made the trip to South Beach making them the second biggest fan club behind only the Mexicans. Despite living 4500 miles away from Miami, many fans feel closer to the Dolphins than any other team or sport. The community of Dolphins fans across the world is something you just dont get from other sports in the UK.

Fins Nation UK Fan Club Boasts over 1700 members

Charity is a major focus of the UK fan club and since 2017 they have raised an outstanding £30,000 for various charities. Most recently the two founding members walked 160 miles in 6 days (equivalent to a marathon a day) from Somerset to Brighton for their fan club weekend.

“The greatest thing about the Miami Dolphins is NOT the team, it’s the FANS of the Dolphins community. It is without doubt the best in the NFL. In the 4 short years since Fins Nation UK was created I have made many friends for life, not only in the UK or USA, but worldwide. We have affiliate fan clubs in Germany, France, Italy and Mexico. Although I have met many of the Dolphins players past and present, give me a tailgate with the fans at East 12 outside Hard Rock Stadium anytime!”

Wayne Collard- Founder of Fins Nation UK


Just like the UK, Germany also hosted an American Bowl game in 1992 in a 31-27 win against the Denver Broncos in Berlin, featuring both Marino and Elway. Since then, football in Germany has been constantly growing. NFL metrics classify 3.5 million Germans as “avid fans”, with a total fan base of 19-20 million, rivaling that of the UK. Weekly television viewership has grown by more than 20% annually since 2017.

Like in many other European countries, soccer is still by far the biggest of sports, meaning that football fans remain in the minority. The German fan base for the Dolphins ranks top 5 in number of fans, with the Seahawks and Packers battling it out for the top spot. Following their success over the past 20 years, the Patriots have also grown in numbers, as many fans sought to jump on the bandwagon. However, the Patriots fans lack a centralized organization of hardcore fans like the Dolphins and other top teams have within Germany. Miami Dolfans Germany are a very active Facebook community including Fans from Austria and Switzerland, reaching almost 2000 fans and the active community group exceeds 1100 members.

More than 250 German Dolphins fans attend the London games, as since the American Bowl days, there have been no more games outside of London other than in Mexico. That may soon change, with the possibility of games in Germany becoming ever more likely. As it stands there are currently three locations in mind including, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, with expectation that Germany will be able to host an annual game as soon as 2022. It is speculated that the NFL is hoping to exploit the tourism generated from Oktoberfest, the famous annual beer festival, for which Germany is renowned. I for one, as I am sure many Brits would happily make the trip across the continent.

“We think that football is family, especially with Dolfans, no matter where they live”

Marcus Merten- Founder of Miami Dolfans Germany


In comparison with the UK and Germany, the NFL has evolved much slower in France. There is not a huge football community in the nation as a whole, as it seems there are quite stark cultural differences between the two countries. However, French Dolphins fans are numerous and active through social media and are popular within the general NFL fan community within the country. The Miami Dolphins French Fan Club is relatively new and ambitious fan club. Despite facing difficulties in language barriers, they are still well motivated and keen to express themselves when they make the trip to London for the games.

At this time it seems that there is not a comparable level of following in France to warrant the expansion of the International Series, nor is there the appropriate infrastructure to be able to host such an event. Nevertheless, French Dolphins fans remain hopeful that things will continue to grow, to enable their fortunes to change in the future.


The Dolphins have featured once in Mexico in 1997 in front of over 104,000 fans, which at the time was the third highest attendance at a game in NFL history. In an American Bowl matchup against the Denver Broncos, the Dolphins emerged victorious 38-19. Winning however did come at a cost with Zach Thomas sustaining injury to his left fibula causing him to miss the start of the season. The Dolphins are a top 7 team in terms of fans in Mexico with the Raiders being the most popular, along with the Cowboys, 49ers and the Patriots.

Since 2016, the NFL has scheduled a regular season game to increase the overall popularity of the sport. Mexico currently boasts the largest NFL fan base outside of the US and has become Mexico’s second most popular sport. Following the introduction of NFL Sunday Ticket, the game has continued to grow over the last 15 years.

Much to the dismay of the Mexican fans, their games over the past 3 seasons have all been cancelled as a result of poor field conditions and of course the coronavirus pandemic. However, looking towards opportunities for the future, it appears that as a consumer market, Mexico does not appear to be as valuable to the NFL as what the UK is. This may help to explain why the expansion of the International Series has been predominantly focused on giving more games in Europe, rather than to increase the number of games held in Mexico.


While the criticism of the International Series is understandable from a fans perspective, with the prospect of potentially losing the chance to see their team at Hard Rock, the new changes brought in by the NFL benefit everybody. When the Dolphins travel to London week 6 @ Jacksonville (technically), the roar of the European fans (including myself) will infact create a tenth home game for Miami, giving them a huge advantage over their rivals. The Miami Dolphins are now an internationally recognized brand, a premier brand, with a loyal and passionate fan base across the globe. Here is to hoping that fans across the world will be celebrating a successful 2021 campaign together. Fins Up!

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2020 Season in Review: Should the Dolphins have redshirted Tua Tagovailoa?

Despite what should be regarded as a successful 2020 campaign, this off-season has been full of question marks surrounding the future of starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Looking back with hindsight were the Dolphins right to play Tua in 2020?

Despite what should be regarded as a successful 2020 campaign, this offseason has been full of question marks surrounding the future of starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Following on from endless criticism from the likes of Colin Cowherd, Chris Simms and Skip Bayless amongst others, Tua finally broke his silence on his rookie season at the start of OTAs this past week. In what can only be described as an incredibly honest and self critical interview, much of what he said leads to the question, were the Dolphins right to play Tua in 2020?

Looking back, it is very easy to see the argument in favor of red shirting Tua. After all, the same approach was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs when they elected to roll with veteran QB Alex Smith and to sit the future MVP and Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes in his first season. Tua is not Mahomes. In fact Tua has endured a much more challenging ordeal. 

A rookie QB coming off a potentially career ending injury, with rehabilitation and a global pandemic hampering any chance of a productive offseason, to enable him to hit the ground running in his first season in the NFL. It is now clear that despite what fans were told about Tua’s hip being ready to play in the NFL, it was not ready for him to be Tua, the most efficient and accurate passer in college history; the Tua that Dolphins fans thought they were getting with the 5th overall pick.

Tua himself admitted to not having the confidence in his first year to make the appropriate alerts and checks, caused by his own failure of not knowing a playbook designed for Fitzpatrick well enough. It is therefore very easy to come to the conclusion that knowing this, the Dolphins should have elected to redshirt Tua, not risking the season or the health of an unprepared QB. So why did the Dolphins take that risk and did it pay off?

Following on from the 2019 season, nobody seriously expected the Dolphins to progress in their rebuild as far as they did. From improving from 5-11 to 10-6 in one season, highlights the direction of the team moving forward as a legitimate AFC contender. Whilst some questions may continue to linger throughout the media and on Twitter, had Tua not seen the field at all last season, even more questions would have arisen, following successful rookie campaigns of both Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert.

After being selected 5th overall and to not see the field over the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen, comparisons will have inevitably been made with Jordan Love in not being NFL ready. By allowing Tua the opportunity to make his mistakes in a weakened AFC East, with both the Jets and Patriots very much below par, meant that any rookie mistakes that were made did not come at the expense of winning in the moment.

Therefore, whilst it may be seen that electing to play Tua was setting him up for failure in 2020, it has subsequently created a platform for him to succeed in 2021 and beyond.

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