Rookie Dolphins receiver Eric Izukanma may make his regular season debut on Sunday against Buffalo if Cedric Wilson Jr.’s agonizing rib injury makes him unavailable.
Dolphins’ talent for wide reception – and coach Mike McDaniel’s belief in former 49ers receivers Trent Sherfield and River Cracraft – aren’t the only reasons Ezukanma hasn’t been active in the first two weeks.
Izukanma said last Friday that he was asked to learn a new job. Having played the Z future position in training camp and pre-season, he said that in recent weeks, he has also been asked to find out where the F future will be located.
“Cedric is the starting F and he doesn’t have a main support,” Izukanma said. “F is one of the most difficult positions to learn. F is the adjuster that moves in or out. I was playing [only] Z in pre-season.
Izukanma said that not playing – or even being active – was “a bit frustrating. [Before the Patriots opener]I was really frustrated with myself.”
But he also appreciates the thinking of the technical staff, because it takes time to learn a new position.
He said, “I understand it.” “I have to prove that I can learn the rules of the game. There is a learning curve.”
Ezukanma said he continues to work on the future Z position as well. He knows that understanding how to play both Z and F will increase his versatility and value to the team.
McDaniel said he told Ezukanma last Monday that while he’s inactive, he should “deal with the environment.. and be more detailed in your game plan. It gives the rest of his team the confidence that he can own game plans week and week, from multiple locations, that won’t He’s having that problem anymore, which he understood.”
Wilson’s Sunday put into great question; McDaniel said Wilson’s ribs hurt “very bad” but did not break.
In addition to the heavy workload on elite receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, McDaniel gave offensive shots to Wilson, Sherfield and Cracraft, who earned their first NFL touchdown on Sunday, their first TD passes in the fourth quarter from Tua Tagovailoa.
Dolphins will soon face a decision on whether to promote Cracraft from the training team to the 53-man roster.
NFL teams can “raise” coaching team players three times during a season — up two a year ago — and Cracraft, who has value as a receiver and special teams, has already been promoted twice.
Ezukanma was 12th in the NFL in the pre-receiving period with 156 meters, in 10 receptions.
Reception coach Wes Welker made a glowing recommendation to general manager Chris Greer after watching Ezukanma work privately with Dolphins in Lubbock, Texas, before the draft.
“I knew coming from the attack he was coming from, there were so many cues, so many one-word plays, lining up in the same spot over and over, there’s a huge learning curve going on with that,” Welker said last month. Really this crime and understand how important it is. Because he has the physical ability. He has the talent and all of those things.”
Tight end exercises
The Dolphins – who have lost two tight ends due to injury – have had four tight ends this week: Daryl Daniels, Ryan Izu, James O’Shaughnessy and Dionne Wilder.
Daniels has appeared in 61 games, starting at 18, and has 13 catches for 132 yards. He started four games with Arizona last season.
Izzo has played in 19 games and made 16 appearances and has 19 catches for 316 yards. He appeared in only one game last season (for Tennessee); Carolina released him in August.
O’Shaunghenessy has appeared in 80 NFL games and started in 40, including six for Jaguar last season, and has 112 career receptions for 1,108 yards.
Yelder has played in 31 games and started two games and has 11 career goals for 86 yards.
Dolphins only had three healthy, tight limbs available on Sunday: Mike Jesicki, Durham Smith and Tanner Conner.
Hunter Long sustained an ankle injury last week – it’s unclear if it occurred in practice – and missed Sunday’s game. Cethan Carter is still in a concussion after an injury he sustained at a Patriots match.
Dolphins do not have tight ends on their coaching staff.
this and that
▪ Betonline improved the Dolphins’ odds of winning the Super Bowl from 40 to 1 (less than two weeks away) to 25 to 1 after Sunday’s win. Only 10 teams have shorter odds. Miami tied with Denver in eleventh place.
Teams with short odds: Buffalo, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Green Bay, The Chargers, Rams, San Francisco, Baltimore, Minnesota.
▪ McDaniel and Jimmy Johnson are the only Dolphins coaches to start their career here 2-0. Johnson did so in 1996.
▪ Sunday’s 547-yard Dolphins ranked fifth in franchise history. Team record: 584 in 1988 against the Jets.
▪ Tagovailoa’s 469-yard pass on Sunday ranked fourth in Dolphins history, after Dan Marino’s three games: 521 against the Jets in 1988, 473 against the Patriots in 1994 and 470 against the Rams in 1984.
Tagovailoa finished 36 games for third place in Dolphin history, behind Marino’s two games: 39 in 1986 against Buffalo and 38 in 1997 against the Patriots.
▪ Not only was Miami’s 28 points in the fourth quarter the largest in the fourth quarter in the Dolphins’ history, but that also tied for the most points the Dolphins had scored in any quarter in team history. Miami scored 28 points in the second quarter on December 17, 1967 against the Boston Patriots.
This story was originally published September 20, 2022 12:22 PM.