The Miami Dolphins are understood to be very pleased with Albert Wilson’s progress following what appeared to be planning to move in another direction. The wide receiver looked to be on the roster bubble just a few months ago, with the team thought to be on the verge of an overhaul at said position. Admittedly, he seemed like a player who would be on the block.
While there’s still lots of work to do and still a ways to go, Wilson now looks like a player ready to stake his claim as he’s responded to the demands placed on him by the coaching staff. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins are very pleased with what they’ve seen from the player so far and are even keen on giving him a bigger role as they’ve been using him more on the outside.
“The Dolphins have been very happy with how receiver Albert Wilson looked in the offseason program and are even using him some outside because Jaylen Waddle projects as their top slot receiver,” Jackson wrote. “A player insisted to me that teammates were really impressed with Tagovailoa’s growth this offseason, and many on the team believe he’s going to be really good.”
Wilson’s improvement obviously bodes very well for Miami, and in several ways. If they find room outside for Wilson, rookie Jaylen Waddle will be free to take more snaps from the slot, something he’s used to, given it’s the way he played at Alabama last year. Should Wilson take things over from outside, it will allow the Dolphins to cease reliance on players such as Preston Williams, who doesn’t bring much to special teams and has shrunk in importance after incorporating Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller.
Furthermore, having more competition for places can only be good for the Dolphins. If Wilson could play to a level that will make it so that the team is happy to pay his salary, they’d be even happier to know their problems at WR last season won’t resurface.
As mentioned above, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and the most significant test will come in training camp, but, at the moment, Wilson looks like he could offer a viable solution. The Dolphins are currently 37/10 to win the AFC East, where online sports betting is concerned, yet those odds could shorten if Wilson comes into the season hot.
As it pertains to Fuller and Waddle, Jackson has used Pro Football Focus rankings to make his assessment.
“PFF says Fuller is “a genuine speedster who has proven to be one of the most dangerous deep threats at the position when healthy,” he adds. “Over 26% of his targets since 2018 have resulted in a 15-plus-yard gain, the eighth-highest percentage among wide receivers over that span.
“Despite missing significant time in each of those three seasons, Fuller came in at No. 8 in total receiving yards on vertical targets where he had separation on his coverage defender. [Fuller] on the field alongside Jaylen Waddle is a scary thought.”
Meanwhile, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been criticized after throwing five interceptions during a minicamp practice.
Tua hardly helped himself in the eyes of detractors with the performance, and there’s renewed conviction related to the notion of the player not being good enough to be considered the franchise QB.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) June 24, 2021
He still has many supporters amid all of the criticism; some folks reckon it’s an overreaction to one bad practice, albeit a terrible one.
“Obviously, you want to be smart; but if there is a time to make mistakes, now is the time to make mistakes,” Tua said on the back of the display. “We’re trying to see what we can fit in the hole, what we can throw within coverages, come into the film room and then learn from it.”
ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe wrote an article defending Tua on Wednesday in which he points to several factors which may have contributed to the five interceptions. Check them out right below:
- Coach Brian Flores told the quarterbacks that this would be an aggression-focused practice, and he wanted them to take more chances than normal to work on that specific element. As a result, backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett also threw two interceptions in fewer reps.
- It was a torrential downpour throughout most of the practice that day, weather bad enough that a run-based game plan would likely have been necessary if it were a meaningful game.
- One day later – June 16 – Tagovailoa followed his stinker with a great practice. He didn’t throw an interception and threw several touchdowns during a red zone and goal-line focused session. Among the highlights were deep completions to receivers Jaylen Waddle and Jakeem Grant.
“I don’t think Tua is going into a shell,” the head coach added, to the player’s credit. “I tell him to continue being aggressive. It’s using this time to practice pushing the ball downfield; then we’ll make the adjustments and the corrections.”
Miami appears to have the parts to make it work in 2021 but will have to find a way to make everything come together. Tua, of course, will be the most important part of the project.