It’s bad news for one of the few bright spots on the Miami Dolphins offense, as wide receiver Brandon Gibson is out for the rest of the season with a torn patellar knee tendon. Gibson had come into his own over the last few weeks, scoring twice against the Buffalo Bills and once against the New England Patriots before leaving the game with his injury.
Life without their No. 3 receiver will feature Rishard Matthews and Marcus Thigpen in the slot position, after the Dolphins elected not to sign any of the four receivers that were reported to have worked out for the team today in Davie at the Dolphins’ training facility. Mohamed Massaquoi was the most notable of names to have been invited, according to numerous reports. In all likelihood, with a roster spot still remaining, the Dolphins will probably look to their practice squad, where they can bring in Nathan Palmer or Ryan Spadola.
Being that it is an extremely short week for Miami, as they are getting set to take on the Cincinnati Bengals this coming Thursday night, it was highly doubtful that anyone the team signed would have been on the field, given the lack of time they would have had to prepare for the upcoming game.
Now more than ever, the Dolphins’ top two receivers, Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, have to become a bigger part of the offense to fill the void of the injured Gibson. Ryan Tannehill liked to look Gibson’s way on third and short passing situations and was becoming his favorite target in the red zone over the course of the last few games.
If Miami wants to utilize the size matchup in the slot, they should slide Matthews or Thigpen to the outside and bring Wallace or Hartline into the slot so that Tannehill can still take advantage of the matchup in situations where the Dolphins need to convert on a third down or to score points inside the red zone.
Another offensive possibility is that the loss Gibson means that Miami could use less three receiver sets and bring in an extra tight end. This could also, in theory, provide favorable matchups to help protect a struggling offensive line. Bringing the extra tight end could help give Tannehill a little extra time to find the open receiver, or for the receivers to get better separation.
Whatever the Dolphins decide to do, they must do quickly. The Bengals lead the AFC North with a record of 6-2 and feature the league’s 8th ranked defense in yards allowed and 5th in points allowed.