Minneapolis — Jakeem Grant had 6 catches for 141 yards and a 65-yard touchdown on Thursday night, but it turns out Dolphins coach Adam Gase had started to gain increased confidence in the receiver months ago.
“It changed in the spring,” Gase said. “We noticed a big difference and (Grant) hard to cover out there. Usually when you put a small guy outside, you’re just worried that he’s going to be grabbed by the bigger corners and held up, but what he does is he’s so shifty that he’s hard to get hands on and gets by you quick.”
Grant has seemed a completely transformed player the last three weeks.
He’s becoming more consistent in practice. He not only secured a roster spot, but put himself in a position to threaten Leonte Carroo for Miami’s fourth receiver spot.
Could Grant’s emergence change how Miami utilizes him in the regular season?
“No, we kind of had a good plan coming into this season,” Gase said. “(Offensive coordinator) Clyde (Christensen) made a great suggestion about moving him outside in the spring. It’s something they had done in Indy with a couple of guys before. We thought, we wanted to give him the best opportunity we could to make sure that he was part of this offense and he could step up if somebody went down. We feel good at that position with him and Carroo.”
Grant sometimes struggles on high-velocity, short- and medium-length routes over the middle.
But he can blow past slower defensive backs and is becoming a home run threat in the mold of Kenny Stills.
It’s easy to envision a gimmick role on offense for Grant. But he’s shown in the last few weeks that his record-breaking receiving production at Texas Tech was not a fluke.
It’s not easy to get a ton of reps on an offense featuring Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Stills.
But Grant has responded well to increased playing time.
“We had some opportunities,” Gase said. “I think almost every one was just one-on-one. Quarterbacks did a good job of holding the safety in the middle of the field and gave him the chance to go get a couple of balls. We had a chance at another one that we almost [hooked] up on. It was good to see him have more opportunities.”
Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamperon Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.