DAVIE—It’s been a relentless year for Jakeem Grant as he tries to maintain his spot as the Dolphins’ top punt and kick return man as well as earning a place in the offense.
Grant knows that goal, and his career as a whole, hinges on whether he can clean up the ball control issues that frustrated him and the team last season. The San Diego game was a low point for him, and his miscues spurred him through his offseason workouts.
“The drops were my main focus. I need to be more consistent,” he said today. “I’ve been striving. I’m making sure I catch it and secure it. Those drops drove me insane.”
Grant asked punter Matt Darr to come work out with him in Texas during the offseason and has spent hours working on his hands after practice. Throughout Organized Team Activities and minicamp, he stayed late catching punts and passes off the machine.
Grant’s been solid (not perfect) through three days of training camp–the team has also repped undrafted rookie Drew Morgan in the return game–and is making his case for a bigger role in the offense. Last year he had one carry and did not catch a pass, but he wasn’t deterred by the lack of snaps.
“That made me motivated even more,” he said.
Grant had a touchdown catch Friday and has been impressing the coaches so far.
“He’s doing extremely well on both (offense and special teams),” Adam Gase said. “On offense, he’s really making a huge jump for us. He looks so much more comfortable and he’s making a lot of plays. He understands how he fits in.
“It’s fun to watch him play because when he gets the ball in his hands and he gets a little bit of space, you see the defense start to panic because if they don’t get near him, he’s gone. A guy like that, they’re rare. We want to keep trying to put him in position to make plays and when we hit the preseason, the same thing. We’ll see if we can get him going at receiver. It makes him more valuable. He’s not just a special teams guy.”
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