Why isn’t TE Julius Thomas producing for Miami Dolphins?

Miami Dolphins tight end Julius Thomas (89) defended by Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (25) catches a pass and carries it to the five yard line to give the Dolphins a first and goal at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on October 8, 2017. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—When the Dolphins picked up tight end Julius Thomas in the spring, Adam Gase envisioned getting him back to something along the lines of the outstanding production he put up when they were together in Denver.

That hasn’t materialized in the first four games, and it’s become a touchy subject with Gase. Thomas has nine catches for 86 yards so far, and Gase bristled this week when asked how to get him more involved.

“I can ask the other coordinator to play man,” he said. “But I don’t know if they’re really going to listen to me.”

Opponents’ zone coverage hasn’t been advantageous for Thomas. The best way to maximize his abilities, assuming he can still play somewhat like he did in 2014, is to get him one-on-one against a safety or linebacker. That’s a better matchup for him speed-wise, and those players aren’t usually as adept at defending passes.

Throughout the first four games, the Dolphins have faced mostly zone coverage, which means Thomas has been typically covered by a cornerback. While he’s got a significant edge in size over those players, they’re able to stay with him.

“He can body up a corner every once in a while, but that’s not always a route you’re running with him,” Gase said. “They can take things away by leverage and, at the end of the day, if he wins off the line of scrimmage, they can still catch up and get a hand on the ball.”

Thomas, 29, is undeterred by his slow start with Miami and wasn’t bothered by Gase starting Anthony Fasano over him last week.

His best two seasons were with Denver in 2013 and ’14, when he totaled 108 catches, 1,277 yards and 24 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl both years and was rewarded with a five-year, $46 million contract in Jacksonville.

It went downhill from there. He batted injuries with the Jaguars and never came close to the level he played at in Denver. He played nine games for Jacksonville last year and managed 30 catches, 281 yards and four touchdowns. He was going to be released before the Dolphins and Jaguars agreed on a pair of deals to send Branden Albert to Jacksonville and bring Thomas to Miami.

“Frustration is something that I can’t allow,” Thomas said. “If I’m sitting here thinking about my past all the time, it’s going to be really hard to adjust and live in the moment. That’s something I’ve been working on in my personal life as well. I can’t think about the past. It’s done. What happened then is then. I can just handle what I have to do today, and that’s try and become a better player.”

He added that he’s completely healthy with no lingering back problems.

The red zone has been a particularly disappointing facet for Thomas because the Dolphins hoped to establish him as one of their primary targets in that part of the field. At 6-foot-4, 251 pounds, there was a thought that he might be their best option there.

Jay Cutler still sees that as a strong possibility for Thomas, but pointed out part of the problem is Miami’s only ventured into the red zone six times in four games. Of his 10 passes, four have gone to Jarvis Landry (three catches for six yards) and three have gone to Thomas (one for 15). He was intercepted on a fade to Thomas at the start of the New Orleans game, but last weekend hit him for 15 yards in the fourth quarter to set up the go-ahead touchdown pass to Landry.

“We’ve got to get in the red zone more—I think that would be our first step,” Cutler said. “We haven’t had a lot of opportunities down there, so we haven’t been able to showcase him. If we get down there more often, we’ll get more opportunities.”

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