AFC East: Casey Cramer

Sparano explains why Wilford doesn't play

October, 23, 2008
10/23/08
7:47
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The most expensive mistake on the Miami Dolphins' roster is receiver Ernest Wilford.

Wilford

The Dolphins signed him to a four-year, $13 million contract with $6 million in guarantees. He has been a healthy scratch the past two games. They club also deactivated him for the season opener.

Wilford, who has one catch for 15 yards this year, has been a frequent topic at Dolphins coach Tony Sparano's news conferences, but Thursday's exchange with reporters was the most enlightening on why Wilford can't get on the field.

Part of Wilford's problem is he's not effective on special teams. Another reason is the Dolphins prefer to run more than throw -- Sparano said his ideal offensive balance is 40 runs and 25 passes -- and sometimes use two tight ends.

That said, Wilford's inability to get on the field is astonishing.

He hasn't been able to wedge his way into a receiving corps that includes beleaguered first-round pick Ted Ginn and three undrafted players: Greg Camarillo, Davone Bess and Brandon London. London made his NFL debut this year. Bess is a rookie.

So I asked Sparano what has been lacking from Wilford, the team's highest-paid spectator.

Sparano broke the situation down in great detail.

"I don't think it's something that's lacking one way or the other," Sparano replied. "One of the things we've been fortunate with right now is that we have not had a lot of injuries. As of late, we've had a couple of injuries. [Fullback] Casey Cramer wasn't able to play last week in the ballgame. [Tight end] David Martin got dinged up a couple weeks ago in practice, but you weren't sure maybe what was going to happen at the game, so you had to take another tight end and do some of those things.

"It depends largely on what personnel you think you're going to feature in the game plan. If you're going to feature three wide receivers in the game plan, then you should take five of them. But if you're going to feature what we call 'Detroit' personnel, which is two tight ends, or our '22' personnel packages, which is heavy two tight ends, sometimes three tight ends, then you're not going to take five wide receivers. You're going to try to take the extra tight end.

"Where Ernest falls into that is 'Hey, there's Camarillo, who's been one of the most consistent guys that I've had out there right now. There's Ginn, who's getting better and better. He returned some kicks for us last week. There's Bess, who does return the punts. He has a large role on special teams that way, is the third-down guy when we go out there and we play in half personnel. So you're at three, and then there's London, who's giving me 20 plays a game. I know he's giving me 20 plays a game when I go to the game. If he doesn't play one play on offense, he's playing 20 plays.

"So, that's kind of how [Wilford], unfortunately, falls into that. No different than [2006 third-round pick Derek] Hagan. They're both working hard. That's just the way it falls."

Miami waives FB Grigsby to go 'tight end-ish'

September, 9, 2008
9/09/08
1:12
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Grigsby

Less than 24 hours after their season opener, the Miami Dolphins waived fullback Boomer Grigsby and have signed Casey Cramer, who most recently played fullback and tight end for the Tennessee Titans.

"I'm out," Grigsby told ESPN.com. "They said they wanted to go in a different direction and make the position more tight end-ish."

Grigsby was among the new front office's first signings in March. He beat out incumbent Reagan Mauia, the only other FB in camp.

"It just goes to show how short-lived the NFL can be," Grigsby said. "You have to seize your opportunities. I know I seized those four preseason games, but I guess I didn't seize my one regular-season game."

Grigsby didn't make any glaring mistakes in Sunday's 20-14 loss to the New York Jets. He wasn't called upon for much. The Dolphins handed off to running backs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown 16 times all game and only four times in the second half.

Part of the reason Grigsby won the job was because he was a better receiver than Mauia. Grigsby caught four passes for 36 yards in the preseason.

Grigsby, converted from linebacker last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, is 5-foot-11 and 250 pounds. He apparently he couldn't handle this new role the Dolphins are envisioning.

Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington completed 26 passes on Sunday, and 12 of them were to tight ends. Anthony Fasano had eight catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. David Martin had four receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Cramer is a more "tight end-ish" 6-2 and 250 pounds. He has played 27 NFL games, mostly on special teams. He has two career catches. Last year for the Titans he played five games, including one of his two career starts.

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