When the Miami Dolphins re-tooled their offense during the offseason, they went out and got a playmaking tight end. Over the past five years, the Dolphins have started Anthony Fasano, who is a very good blocker, but not a down-the-field threat. His inability to stretch the field made him only a weapon in the red zone and in short-yardage situations. Without any real speed receivers on their roster, this forced Miami to play a very boring offense.
Miami signed Mike Wallace to be a speed receiver on the outside, but still needed a tight end to go down the middle of the field. They brought in former New York Jet Dustin Keller to be that guy. In the preseason, you could see the instant chemistry between he and Ryan Tannehill, which got Dolphins fans excited about a Tight End for the first time since Randy McMichael.
However, in the third preseason game, Keller tore his ACL and was put on injured reserve. With no legitimate options in free agency, the Dolphins decided to go with Charles Clay, Michael Egnew and rookie Dion Sims as their rotation. Egnew, who was a third round pick in 2012, played in only two games during his rookie season and failed to catch a pass. Clay was going into his third season and is known more as a position less player. He has played full back, running back, H-back, tight end and receiver in his career.
In his first two seasons, Clay had 34 catches for 455 yards and five TDs. Due to his experience, he was the No. 1 option to replace Keller, and has not disappointed. So far in 2013, Clay has caught 42 passes for 474 yards and four TDs. He has also rushed the ball five times for 15 yards and one TD. On Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, Clay led the team with six catches for 90 yards, including a 39 yard TD reception in which he broke four tackles.
San Diego was able to limit Wallace and Brian Hartline, but the play of Clay was the difference in the game. With Miami back in playoff contention, they will need those two receivers to contribute more, but having Clay as a fallback option and a playmaker at an important position will be the key to them contending for a Wild Card spot.