The Miami Dolphins offense has been a roller coaster of talented and over rated and then back again. They’ve had their breakout moments only to take a step back. They’d jump out into an early lead only to stumble late in games. When it seems they were all on the same page moving the chains, they’d stumble to get into the end zone. It had to have been frustrating to watch as both a fan and a coach. Looking back on the past few seasons, there had to be something missing. That missing piece was a true red zone threat. Could the new threat be newly acquired, Julius Thomas?
Inside the 20 yard line, the tight end becomes the most valuable target for a quarterback. Since being drafted in the NFL, quarterback Ryan Tannehill has never had a true red zone tight end. The closest he’s ever come was the former tight end, Charles Clay. While fans enjoyed watching Clay on Sunday, due to his smaller size he would often disappear as the Dolphins approached the goal line. When he did get into the end zone, it was on a short pass behind the line of scrimmage, then a foot race to the end zone. Without a big bodied tight end to follow, opponents would crowd the Dolphins offensive line, bunching up formations and taking away room for receivers.
After Charles Clay, the team made a move for former pro bowl tight end Jordan Cameron. Cameron would’ve given the Dolphins the size and speed needed to spread out defenses and make plays on balls thrown out of reach of defenders. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Cameron’s talent was never fully on display. After a series of concussions, the young tight end’s career was cut short when he decided to retire instead of risk serious injury. The Dolphins would have to go back to the drawing board again.
Insert Julius Thomas.
In a move set up by last year’s first round drafting of left tackle Laremy Tunsil, the Miami Dolphins acquired Julius Thomas for tackle Brandon Albert. Albert was made expendable for a younger more athletic Tunsil and Miami pounced on the chance to get better. Thomas had been the focal point in Adam Gase’s offense in his time with Denver and could work out to be the best move of the offseason. Needing a fresh start after struggling in Denver, Thomas has the skill set to be a 10 touchdown tight end. If he can stay healthy he takes pressure off of defenders trying to shift to whichever side of the ball Jarvis Landry lines up on. The tight end should be able to take advantage of a lot of one-on-one matchups as defenses will try to double cover Landry, Stills or Parker this season. When healthy and used properly, Thomas can be a leading tight end in the NFL. Can he return to form down in Miami?