Following the recent season ending ACL injury to Armon Binns, Jeff Ireland and co. tried out a number of Free Agent WR’s Tuesday afternoon at the Davie facility. The list of names included some relatively well-known pass catchers such as Laurent Robinson and Austin Collie. It was however a less “glamorous” name that would sign a contract with the Dolphins.
Former Dolphins special teams ace Julius Pruitt re-signed with the Dolphins last night and will immediately join his former teammates in camp, attempting to fill the gap left by Binns.
The decision to go with Pruitt over a more established name left some confused, and judging by my twitter timeline, very angry.
This decision did not come as a surprise to me personally. In Wallace, Hartline and Gibson we have a solid starting 3 WR corps that in truth would be the envy of many teams in the NFL. It’s a nice idea to think that all 5-6 of your WR’s could be starting caliber and will strike fear into an opponent every time they line up for a pass play, but it’s just not realistic.
“What if we have injuries?”…This was a question I’ve seen asked many times, it’s one I’ve even asked myself, but upon reflection, there aren’t many, if any teams in the NFL that are any more than 3 deep with established starters. Few teams can absorb the hit of losing 1 or 2 starting skill players without it affecting production, and the Miami Dolphins are no different.
Take the vaunted Green Bay passing attack of Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, or the mighty 49ers with Crabtree (out for the season), Manningham (injury prone), AJ Jenkins (didn’t catch a pass in 2012) and Kyle Williams, how about the Lions with Megatron and…ummm…well, you see my point?
The BEST teams aren’t as deep at WR as you may think, they rely on core guys and supplement it with young talent to develop. Historically, the job of WR’s outside of your starters is to contribute as and when called upon, to develop in the hope of one day being a starter and to…yep, you guessed it, CONTRIBUTE ON SPECIAL TEAMS. You will not find many more highly regarded as a special teams contributors than Julius Pruitt and that alone gave him the edge in his tryout.
Pruitt may not even make the 53, but the Dolphins would rather invest in a guy they KNOW will contribute in some way, as opposed to an older and more injury prone guy who may not even make it onto the field.
Rewind 12 months to Jeff Ireland's now infamous quote on Hard Knocks, implying we only had 4's, 5's and 6's...well now all we have is 1's 2's and 3's...lets not stress as much over guys that aren't locks to make the 53, but have something to offer the TEAM.