Perhaps the biggest thing that stood out when it came to the participation and usage of the Miami Dolphins players in their 26-24 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday night was the long list of those who did not play, but there was also an eye-opening starter.
While the Dolphins gave 17 of their top players the day off, tight end Mike Gesicki not only dressed, but was in the starting lineup against Tampa Bay.
Remember, this is a guy the Dolphins will pay $10.8 million in 2022 as a franchise player.
Unsurprisingly, the decision to start Gesicki was one of the first questions the media asked head coach Mike McDaniel in his postgame press conference.
“In general, it’s not easy to play tight end on offense, so we thought it would benefit him to get him a little bit involved, but again, we’re also trying to protect people, so you We’re just trying to deal with all those things,” Mc- said Daniel. – Having prospects for the entire preseason, we thought it would be good. We wanted to touch him and make him feel the offense and also protect him, so I was happy. Before watching the tape, I was pleased with the way he played and the way he approached it — again, it wasn’t a penalty at all.”
Gesicki ended up playing nine snaps against Tampa Bay, two more than fellow tight end Durham Smith and eight more than second-year tight end Hunter Long.
Gesicki caught a 13-yard pass from rookie Skylar Thompson on the Dolphins’ first drive, but the fact that he was in the game at all is certainly noteworthy.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS ON DOLPHIN DISTURBANCES
— Stopping at tight ends for a second, Long only played three snaps, certainly interesting, though he’s listed as the third-team player on the depth chart, so his roster spot looks secure.
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— Kethan Carter led tight ends with 28 tackles, but interestingly, many of those tackles came at fullback. Remember, Carter has experience as an H-back from his time in Cincinnati, so using him at fullback isn’t surprising and will likely happen in the regular season if Alec Ingold isn’t available like he was on Saturday Tonight.
— What stands out at wide receiver is that Lynn Bowden Jr. played just eight snaps on offense. We bring this up because Bowden was one of the most productive players on offense, and you’d think he’d be on the field a lot more. No, he just zoomed in on his shots. On those eight snaps, Bowden was targeted four times, catching three passes for 55 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown and a 29-yard reception early in the second half.
— The other notable receiver the Dolphins are reportedly shopping in the NFL, Preston Williams, had five times more snaps than Bowden with 13, but was never targeted. He had two catches for 13 yards.
— On the offensive line, 2021 seventh-round pick Larnell Coleman got a long look after starting at left tackle in place of Terron Armstead. Coleman played 42 of 45 snaps on offense, the second most on the team behind only Thompson, who played all 45. That makes sense considering Coleman needs all the reps he can get after spending his entire rookie season on IR. For those wondering about the three projected players who played against Tampa Bay, Robert Hunt, Liam Eichenberg and Austin Jackson played 11 snaps — the Dolphins’ first two offensive drives.
DOLPHIN CONSERVATION OBSERVATIONS
— While the Dolphins used three projected starters — Raekwon Davis, Jaylan Phillips and Brandon Jones — against the Bucks, it was Noah Igbinogen who was the player to watch on defense tonight, and he , certainly had a lot of work to do. Igbinogen played 47 defensive snaps against the Bucks, ranking third on the team behind only Verone McKinley’s 61 and D’Angelo Ross’ 50. It won’t be much of a revelation to say that Igbinogen still needs a lot of reps.
— As for the three players above, Jones and Phillips each played 13 snaps, while Davis played 12. With those defensive players who were rested, it seemed like three full years of NFL experience was the cutoff point for getting an off night.
— Rookie third-rounder Channing Tindall, the team’s top pick in the 2022 draft, had a pretty busy night with 25 tackles on defense and 14 more on special teams. Get used to seeing him get a lot of special teams snaps because it still says that’s where he’ll get the bulk of his work as a rookie.
— Among the insiders, it was surprising to see Duke Riley (32) outscoring fellow insiders Tyndall (25) and Calvin Munson (25) in defensive tackles. Riley is a seasoned veteran who was really good in camp and played again against the Bucks, so the saying here is that he really didn’t need to be out there all that much.
— Finally, always look to special teams snaps as an indicator of who will make the roster (not automatically, but sometimes it’s a good indicator) and you’ll see seventh-round pick Cameron Hood leading the way with 15 special players. teams rushing against the Bucs, followed by Tindall and Hunter Long with 14 players.