Miami Dolphins: With Dustin Keller Out, Who Is the Next Man Up at Tight End?

During Saturday’s exhibition game against the Houston Texans, the Miami Dolphins and their fans suffered a loss.  It’s been reported that Dustin Keller is out for the season with a severe knee injury.  With an offense already struggling, this was a loss that the team would’ve liked to of avoided.  Not too long after Keller was carted off the field, did the Miami Dolphin tight ends realize they were needed now more than ever.

It’s been reported that Keller tore not only his ACL, but is MCL and PCL as well.   He joined the Phins as a free agent in the offseason when he signed a one-year $4.25 million contract.  After spending his last season with the New York Jets, mostly hampered with injuries, Keller was ready to prove he still had it.  Considering the events of Saturday’s game, one can’t help but to wonder if he will ever return to playing form.  Keller told NFL.com otherwise.

“I want everyone to know that as disappointing as this is I don’t want anybody feeling sorry for me,” Keller said in an email to NFL.com. “I promise I’m going to come back stronger, faster and be a better player than before. I’d like to thank all my family, friends and teammates for their prayers and support.”

In the meantime, the Dolphins need to consider their options.  Currently on the roster there are a few tight ends that could contend.  There’s third-year player, Charles Clay, second-year players: Kyle Miller and Michael Egnew and rookie Dion Sims.   The player who can grow a similar chemistry that Dustin Keller had with Ryan Tannehill will fair the best.  The addition of Keller gave the Phins the strength they were lacking last season with Anthony Fasano.  Coach Joe Philbin and the team will carefully examine their next move.

“I like the guys we have. Again, we’ll have to see what happens. As you said, it’s very early in this whole process. We’ll take a look at what we have and what our options might be,” explained Philbin.

Amongst the four available tight ends, Clay carries experience and the complexity to play a number of positions.  As for Egnew, his rookie season was lackluster, but he’s shown decent improvement in training camps.  Miller lacks consistency and is possibly the least likely of the bunch to be great.  The rookie Sims, continues to show promise through his poise and hard work.

It should be noted that when Egnew, Clay and Sims were on the field Saturday, their impact wasn’t great or even mediocre.  The bunch only accounted for a single catch, and was penalized on three different occasions.

No one is saying that these tight ends won’t step up for the job.  However, there’s chatter if there best will be enough to not only fill the shoes of Keller, but to help align a besieged offense.

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