Going into week 11 of the regular season the Miami Dolphins and their tight end corps will be going up against the Denver Broncos, a team that is a negative-12 in turnover differential and gets outdone by their opponents in every statistic except third down percentage, something that even that, is by the skins of their teeth.
This provides a prime opportunity for Miami to work in more of its newly-developed two or three-TE sets that we’ve seen glimpses of over the previous few weeks.
Gesicki, Smythe, Shaheen: Slowly Growing into a Force in Miami
Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Adam Shaheen, the Dolphins’ tight ends, account for 26-percent of the team’s receving yards through Miami’s nine games this season. 61 targets, 39 receptions, 533 yards and six touchdowns, this effective trio has silently been becoming more and more critical to the Dolphins’ game plan in recent weeks in snap count, blocking and scoring.
While Gesicki is responsible for 24 receptions and 371 yards of what the group has put up, each of them has still stolen the show in the end zone a pair of times this season. Smythe has hauled himself in nine receptions for 85 yards, while lastly Shaheen has 77 yards off his six receptions and the two each have two TDs. Most of the numbers for Smythe and Shaheen have come since quarteraback Tua Tagovailoa was made the team’s starter for week eight against the Los Angeles Rams, and since then, the team has implemented a system that involves all of the TEs. In doing this, it has also allowed big holes for the run game to take off, giving the Miami offense a new look and versatility for the first time in more than one season.
Smythe Speaks On Success of Offense
“I think the offense is playing pretty well, or played well, like you said. The last four or five weeks have been pretty interesting from the offensive side of the ball just because the defense and special teams are giving us a short field a lot of the time, which is obviously nothing to complain about,” Smythe said. “We put an emphasis yesterday on trying to be able to run the ball a little bit more efficiently, which I think we did. Tua (Tagovailoa) made some throws when we needed those too. I think overall we played pretty well. Obviously there are things to clean up in all phases and all facets; but for the most part, I think we’re trending in the right direction.”
More of the Broncos’ defensive production comes from their secondary, with that and the improved involvement of Smythe and Shaheen since Tagovailoa has taken the helm, the Dolphins should see consistent production from their TEs on Sunday unless Denver coordinator Ed Donatell plans to cover them with defensive backs as opposed to linebackers.