The only difference in the Miami Dolphins receiving corps this season is the addition of rookie speedster Clyde Gates (17.9 YPC in 2010 for Abilene Christian). He will immediately provide the squad with a deep threat (sub 4.4 40) to keep defenses honest. At the very least, he will be a decoy designed to stretch the defense, but should make impact plays sprinkled in throughout the season.
Expect to see all six Miami receivers this year as all provide something a little bit different. Gates and Marlon Moore are the speed guys, Brandon Marshall and Roberto Wallace offer the size and strength, while Davone Bess and Brian Hartline provide consistent hands and crisp route running.
Bess has become Henne’s go-to receiver and the chemistry between them is a step above the others, while Marshall looks more explosive coming into the season after a big preseason.
Reggie Bush will also be used at receiver at times, so offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has plenty of toys to work with on the outside. The question is whether he has a quarterback to deliver them the ball when and where they need it.
At tight end, Anthony Fasano returns to the starting lineup and will provide the well-rounded game we’ve been accustomed to. While he isn’t flashy, he is effective in that he is a positive factor as both a receiver and blocker.
Behind him there’s rookie Charles Clay who will primarily play fullback but has the versatility to line up all over the field. Finally, there’s the newly added Dante Rosario who caught 32 balls for Carolina last year.
Gates is the X-factor for the Dolphins this year. He will make Chad Henne’s life easier if he is able to consistently beat the defense down the field, as he did often during the preseason. He could climb up the depth chart in a hurry because no other receiver comes close to matching his jets. They haven’t had speed like this since Tedd Ginn, but unlike Ginn let’s hope this rook isn’t afraid of getting hit.