LONDON—The Dolphins brought Julius Thomas in because they badly needed a playmaker at tight end and Adam Gase thought he could get back to something along the lines of what he did for Denver in 2013 and ’14.
That did not materialize over the first two games, and Gase believes that has a lot to do with defensive schemes. Thomas has been targeted eight times (out of 77 passes by Jay Cutler) and has six catches for 42 yards. While that’s not the production he or the team had in mind, he’s not stressed by what is perceived as a slow start.
“I trust our staff,” Thomas said after today’s practice at Allianz Park. “We haven’t been seeing a lot of the coverage we were expecting and probably hoping to see. This is a team game. Regardless of whether I’ve been having the best looks or not, I still have a lot I can do to help this team execute well on offense and hopefully win.
“Going week to week, you never know who’s going to have the best matchups, but you just go to whoever has those. You can’t have an ego about it. It’ll come.”
The majority of Cutler’s attempts have gone to Jarvis Landry (26) and DeVante Parker (19). Those two account for 58.4 percent of his throws. Kenny Still is next with 15.
The goal for the Dolphins is to get Thomas, who is 6-foot-4, 251 pounds, matched up with a safety or linebacker. That should create openings for him, but the Jets and Chargers played a lot of zone coverage, which made it tougher to get Thomas open.
Part of that problem is rooted in teams playing Miami to run first, which is a reasonable strategy considering how much the team has relied on Jay Ajayi the past two years. That’s unlikely to change unless the Dolphins breakthrough in the passing game and force teams to play more man-to-man.
“We haven’t got the coverages that make him a difference maker,” Gase said. It might be part of the reasons why we’re not getting it… We’ve got to win our one-on-one matchups and find some ways to pop some guys free and try to find some consistency.”
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