Coming into the 2014 offseason, one of the deepest positions on the Miami Dolphins was the wide receiver spot. With firmly entrenched starters in Pro Bowl receiver Mike Wallace and the Dolphins single-game receiving yardage record holder in Brian Hartline, along with promising slot receivers Brandon Gibson and Rishard Matthews, it looked as though it was one of the strongest spots on the roster. But in the NFL, depth is key at every position, as you’re only as good as your weakest link.
Miami went out and reinforced the outsides by adding an explosive receiver with returning experience in Damian Williams, taking a chance on a possible long red zone target in 6’5 Stephen Williams, and most notably, spending a second-round pick on a jack of all trades in Jarvis Landry.
People are taking notice about the competition at the wideout position, including a certain former Dolphins All-Pro pass catcher in Nat Moore. In an interview with Greg Likens of The Finsiders, Moore talked about the depth and the competition building at that spot, and how competition will only make the receiving corps better.
He believes that competition breeds success, and that the top guys in the ‘Fins receiving group will be made even better by having players hot on their heels behind them.
“Both he (Mike Wallace) and Brian Hartline are being pushed by these other guys,” said Moore. “When you’ve got guys that say ‘you know what if you slip a step, I’m going to have your job’, it forces you to continue to grow and get better.”
The player many expect to have the biggest impact of the new additions is Landry. During his time in college at LSU, Landry played the role of Swiss army knife for the Tigers as their leading receiver in terms of both yardage (1193) and touchdowns (10), putting up better numbers than his counterpart Odell Beckham Jr., who was selected in the first round (12th overall) by the New York Giants. He may not be the best burner in terms of blowing by defensive backs, but he can do just about everything else.
“I think that he’s the up and coming guy that can do everything,” said Moore. “I watched him (in practice) and he made some phenomenal catches, but what I love is that he gets his head around. When he comes out of that break, he drops his weight, squares up and comes out of the break getting his around and locates the football, especially on screens and curls and turnouts and things of that nature. He has such soft hands that you don’t hear that pounding that you normally here with some guys when they get surprised.”
Moore is hoping to serve as a mentor for some of these younger receivers. The Dolphins as an organization are getting more proactive in bringing back former players to observe practice and provide valuable teaching and experience to the current players, in addition to the coaching they already get. This past week, Dolphins greats Jason Taylor and Sam Madison served as guest coaches, mentoring some of the younger players on the team. The former favorite target of Bob Griese and Dan Marino thinks that having past stars come in is invaluable.
“That’s something that you can’t find anywhere else, and truly with the amount of alumni, guys that we have around here and guys that played this game at a high level, guys that are potential hall of famers, pro bowlers,” said Moore. “I think that we have so many guys that have been through what they’re going through, and sometimes what happens is players start to feel like it’s tough, it’s hot. But when you get other guys that say ‘hey, there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’, you become one of those players that help brought that elite status back to the Miami Dolphins organization.”
With the way the team is coming together, Moore holds high expectations not only for the receivers and the offense, but for the team in general. He believes that the sky is the limit, and that they have a chance to be really special this year.
“You’ve got a group of young men that if they can come together with the same common goal, they have a chance to do something special, said Moore. “They have a chance to write their name in South Florida as the next great team to bring the Dolphins back to that elite status. That’s what we’re all looking for and hoping for. So when coach and his staff allows us to come out and help mentor and talk to the guys, or just whatever we can do, that’s what we all want.”
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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.