Brian Flores pulled the escape hatch yesterday when addressing the status of two of Miami’s more explosive offensive weapons, WRs Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson.
It certainly isn’t time to panic. After all, it is mid-April, training camp is still several months away and the Dolphins aren’t going to play a significant snap for another 5 months. Both Grant and Wilson went under the knife last fall, so it is a little surprising to hear that neither Wilson’s hip or Grant’s foot have healed enough over the last 6-7 months to be considered ready.
The Dolphins, in the meantime, will make due. Even with a new coaching staff, the team is fortunate enough to know exactly what they have in both players.
Wilson, his durability aside, is an explosive slot receiver who has the ability to make big plays in the open field. Just ask the Chicago Bears. The speedy Wilson led the NFL in yards after catch at the time of his injury in 2018 and was one of the booming successes of the speed experiment implemented by the Dolphins last year. But ultimately, his success as a player will be dictated by staying on the field. There’s work to be done, but Wilson is not yet able to focus himself there until his rehab is complete.
As for Grant, his special teams value guarantees him a spot, no matter what. The film shows Grant budding as a legitimate receiver as well, so long as his foot injury doesn’t linger into 2019 and beyond.
Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant, two receivers who accounted for eight of the Miami’s touchdowns before ending the season on injured reserve, haven’t been cleared to participate in on-field work, coach Brian Flores said on Tuesday.
“Those guys are working extremely hard to get back out on the field,” Flores said. “They are doing everything they can to get back on the field.”
Wilson suffered a hip injury in late October during a 32-21 loss to the Detroit Lions, and opted against having his hip surgically repaired, chosing to rehab instead.
Before suffering the injury, he was Miami’s most productive receiver and led the NFL in yards after catch. The former Port St. Lucie High standout finished his first season in Miami with 26 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.
Grant suffered a season-ending left foot injury in a 31-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers in November. He did have a surgical procedure, and has not been cleared by team doctors.
Grant, who also serves as Miami’s primary returner, caught 21 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns, and returned both a kickoff and punt for a touchdown last season.
Without Grant and Wilson, the Dolphins have to make it through voluntary camp with six healthy receivers. Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker, who was re-signed this offseason, are Miami’s returning starters, and Brice Butler and Isaiah Ford are two returning veterans.
The Dolphins signed former Cleveland Browns receiver Ricardo Louis and former AAF receiver Reece Horn last week, adding them to the 90-player training camp roster.
Jakeem Grant is running again! Well, sort of. The diminutive and explosive Dolphins receiver gave us all an update on his rehab as he looks to bounce back from an injured Achilles tendon. And Grant looks good! He’s running on an ‘Alter G’ line of treadmill, which is designed to reduce weight and impact on the user.
Without having any direct knowledge of Grant’s rehab window, it’s impossible to say how close he may be to progressing to running in different conditions, but Grant, who last month said he hoped to be ready to go by training camp, continues to forge onward with his rehabilitation.
Grant has become a fan-favorite here in Miami, thanks to his underdog story and his thrilling contributions on offense with suddenness, toughness and trick plays.
But he did need surgery for the injury, thankfully avoiding the devastating Achilles tendon tear, which would have put him into a much longer recovery window.
With all the changes, it is easy to forget that Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming into an offense that features a well known deep threat in Kenny Stills, a big-time playmaker after the catch in Albert Wilson and another speed-demon in Jakeem Grant. All three of these receivers can give opposing defenders fits, especially Grant and Wilson, in the open field and after the catch.
The Dolphins have their quiet leader in Kenny Stills. Kenny has averaged 15+ yards per catch the past two seasons — with four different starting quarterbacks, no easy feat.
Both Grant and Wilson are currently rehabbing and recovering from 2018 injuries, but they both have time to get back to form.
Remember, Wilson destroyed a great Chicago defense with six receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns. One of those scores went for 43 yards, the other 75 yards.
When you combine all three, Stills can take the top off of the defense and open up additional spacing for Wilson and Grant to work underneath and create after the catch.
Dolphins fans will have some adjustments ahead — new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is much more aggressive taking shots down field than Ryan Tannehill ever was. As a result, this offense can make plays.