Miami Dolphins: Charles Clay

DENVER -- Here are the Miami Dolphins' inactive players for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos: Analysis: Clay, who has hamstring and knee injuries, is a big loss for the offense. He's third on the team with 39 receptions and takes away a reliable weapon for starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Backup tight end Dion Sims will get the start in place of Clay. Finnegan, as expected, is out with an ankle injury. This is a big game for backup corner Jamar Taylor in his second career start.
DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins (6-4) will travel this weekend to play the Denver Broncos (7-3) in a big game for both teams.

Here is the final injury report for Miami:

Out: LB Jonathan Freeny (hamstring)

Doubtful: CB Cortland Finnegan (ankle), TE Charles Clay (hamstring, knee)

Questionable: G Daryn Colledge (back), RB Lamar Miller (shoulder, knee)

Probable: S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring), LB Koa Misi (ankle), WR Jarvis Landry (shoulder), G Mike Pouncey (hip), LB Jordan Tripp (chest), QB Ryan Tannehill (left shoulder), WR Mike Wallace (calf), LB Kelvin Sheppard (hip/groin)

Analysis: The Dolphins are banged up heading into this big game. Clay is a big loss for the offense, despite not putting up huge numbers this year. Dion Sims is expected to start in place of Clay. Finnegan also is not expected to play. Backup cornerback Jamar Taylor most likely will make his second career start. Miller's questionable status is a bit surprising. He has a new knee injury that was first reported on Friday. The Dolphins need Miller in this game. Colledge said earlier this week that he’s optimistic that he’s ready to return and is listed as questionable. For the Broncos, tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) is questionable and receiver Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) is probable. Running backs Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot) are ruled out.
Miami Dolphins starting tight end Charles Clay will be a game-time decision in Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos, a source tells

Clay's status is in question following a recent hamstring injury he presumably suffered in practice this week. Clay practiced on Wednesday and a hamstring injury was not listed on the official injury report. However, he sat out Thursday due to a hamstring and a lingering knee injury that he's played through all season.

Clay is Miami's third-leading receiver with 39 receptions to go with 346 yards and two touchdowns. If Clay cannot suit up Sunday, backup tight end Dion Sims will start against the Broncos (7-3). Sims has nine receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown this season.
The Miami Dolphins allowed a season-high five sacks in Thursday’s 22-9 victory against the Buffalo Bills. Despite the win, pass protection is a huge area of concern, especially with the loss of Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert (knee) for the rest of the season.

After reviewing the game, here is what went wrong on those five sacks:

Sack No. 1: At 10:30 mark of the first quarter. First-and-10 at Buffalo 33

Analysis: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill offers a play-action fake to tailback Lamar Miller on the right, but two defenders do not bite. Tannehill is put in an awkward spot almost immediately after the fake. Buffalo's Jerry Hughes beats tight end Charles Clay, and Stefan Charles beats guard Shelley Smith. Charles gets to Tannehill first for minus-12 yards.

Fault: Clay and Smith

Sack No. 2: At 1:48 mark of the second quarter. Second-and-10 at the 50

Analysis: The Dolphins line up in a shotgun formation and leave right tackle Dallas Thomas one-on-one with defensive end Mario Williams. Thomas barely gets a hand on Williams, who uses a quick step outside and a swim move to accelerate to Tannehill.

Fault: Thomas

Sack No. 3: At 11:36 mark of the third quarter. First-and-15 at Miami 34

Analysis: Williams lines up very wide, which was perfect for Miami's play call. Williams doesn't bite on Tannehill's play-action fake. Dolphins tight end Dion Sims fails to get to Williams fast enough and Tannehill doesn’t have a chance. Sims misses his block, but that is a poor scheme to expect a backup tight end to block Williams one-on-one.

Fault: Sims

Sack No. 4: At 7:21 mark of the fourth quarter. Second-and-2 at Buffalo 49

Analysis: Williams lines up wide again, which puts him in a one-on-one matchup against Clay. Williams’ initial effort was stuffed, but he proves to be too strong for Clay on the second push. Thomas also fails to hold his block and allows Corbin Bryant to team with Williams to sandwich Tannehill.

Fault: Clay and Thomas

Sack No. 5: At 5:34 mark of the fourth quarter. Third-and-3 at Buffalo 32

Analysis: The Dolphins are trying to eat up clock and close out the Bills. But Williams gets one more surge with a bull-rush through Thomas to sack Tannehill. It's questionable that Miami's coaching staff continually blocked Williams one-on-one. That made it easy for Williams, who finished with 3.5 sacks in the game.

Fault: Thomas

Sack fault tally: Thomas 2.5, Clay 1.0, Sims 1.0, Smith 0.5

Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

November, 11, 2014
Nov 11
The Miami Dolphins fell to 5-4 after a 20-16 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Let’s take a look at whose stock is rising and falling in Miami:


1. Offensive line: Miami’s offensive line was beaten at the line of scrimmage for one of the first times all season against Detroit. Detroit’s stud defensive line sacked quarterback Ryan Tannehill three times and stuffed Miami’s running game, which averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. Miami also lost starting left tackle Branden Albert for the season with an ACL and MCL tear in his knee. Albert was by far the Dolphins’ most indispensable offensive lineman.

2. Lamar Miller, running back: Miller rushed for a season-low 10 yards on four carries against the Lions. Miller simply didn’t look the same playing through a shoulder injury. The Dolphins need their leading rusher healthy. But Miller probably won’t be 100 percent in time for Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Bills. Backups Damien Williams and Daniel Thomas must step up.

3. Charles Clay, tight end: Clay did not have a poor game. He had seven receptions for 45 yards. But it was the catch Clay failed to make in the end zone in the fourth quarter that lands him in the “falling” category. Clay couldn’t finish a potential touchdown play that could have put Miami up seven points. Clay called it a drop, although it’s debatable that Detroit’s defender impacted the play. Either way, Clay believes he should have made the touchdown catch.


1. Cameron Wake, defensive end: Wake recorded two sacks on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and was a thorn in Detroit’s side all game. Wake also had two additional quarterback hits and a tackle for loss. He improved to fifth all-time on Miami’s sack list with 60 for his career. Wake also leads the Dolphins with 8.5 sacks.

2. Jarvis Landry, receiver: The rookie is becoming a consistent threat and tied for the team lead with seven receptions against Detroit. Landry also had a 46-yard kickoff return that helped Miami with field position. Miami’s second-round pick is wise beyond his years and does not make rookie mistakes.

3. Brent Grimes, cornerback: Although it wasn’t enough, Grimes brought his “A” game against Lions all-pro receiver Calvin Johnson. Grimes finished with two tackles and an astounding one-handed interception while defending Johnson. Still, Johnson won his share of battles and finished with seven receptions for 113 yards, which included a 49-yard touchdown catch over Grimes. This was a good battle of two Pro Bowlers with each side making impressive plays.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (5-4) held their first light practice Monday in preparation for Thursday's game against the Buffalo Bills (5-4).

The biggest injury listed is starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was limited Monday with a right throwing shoulder and ankle injuries. Tannehill was sacked three times and hit several more times in Sunday's, 20-16, loss to the Detroit Lions. Tannehill has been sacked 10 times in the past four games, in addition to running the read-option, and the hits are beginning to take a toll.

Miami only had two players who didn’t practice Monday: cornerback Cortland Finnegan (ankle) and guard Daryn Colledge (back). The status of both players are up in the air for Thursday’s game.

Here is the full injury report from Monday's walkthrough:

Did not participate: G Daryn Colledge (back), CB Cortland Finnegan (ankle)

Limited participation: QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle, right shoulder), TE Charles Clay (knee), LS John Denney (knee), DE Dion Jordan (hamstring), RB Lamar Miller (shoulder), LB Koa Misi (ankle), LB Kelvin Sheppard (hip, groin), TE Dion Sims (toe), S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring)

Full participation: DT Anthony Johnson (back), DT Earl Mitchell (abdomen), G Mike Pouncey (hip), Derrick Shelby (knee).
The Miami Dolphins (5-3) will travel Sunday to play the Detroit Lions (6-2) in a big game for both teams.

Here is a look at Miami’s final injury report:

Out: TE Dion Sims (toe)

Doubtful: G Daryn Colledge (back)

Questionable: RB Lamar Miller (shoulder), LB Koa Misi (ankle), DT Earl Mitchell (abdomen), S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring), LB Kelvin Sheppard (hip/groin)

Probable: TE Charles Clay (knee), G Mike Pouncey (hip), LB Jordan Tripp (ankle), DT Anthony Johnson (back), LB Chris McCain (foot),

Analysis: The Dolphins had good participation in practice this week, and most are expected to play. The biggest concern is Miller, who has been limited throughout the week with a shoulder injury. Miller is a big part of Miami’s offense, and backups Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams would share the load if Miller cannot play Sunday. Colledge most likely will miss his second straight game, and backup Dallas Thomas expects to start at left guard. The Dolphins will have two games in four days, which will be taxing physically and mentally for the team. Miami will play its next game Thursday against the Buffalo Bills.
The Miami Dolphins (5-3) picked up an impressive and dominant 37-0 victory Sunday over the San Diego Chargers (5-4).

Here are five additional observations from Sunday’s game:
  • Jones
    Dolphins safety Reshad Jones is playing some of the best football of his career. Jones tied for the Dolphins lead with five tackles and also recorded his second interception in three games. Miami's secondary play raised another notch once Jones returned from his four-game suspension. Jones showed up in good shape and made immediate contributions. During the Dolphins' current three-game winning streak, their defense is only allowing nine points per game.
  • It’s not a coincidence that Miami's offense produced a season-high 37 points once starting tight end Charles Clay and wide receiver Brian Hartline were involved. The two veterans combined for 10 receptions, 115 yards and a touchdown. Both players have been mostly quiet during the first half of the season, but new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor made it a point to get both capable veterans involved against San Diego. Miami did score 38 total points in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, but seven points were credited to the defense when cornerback Cortland Finnegan returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown.
  • Dolphins guard Mike Pouncey brought up a good point in the locker room after Sunday's game. The win over the Chargers was the first time Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill hasn’t been sacked all season. For an offensive line, this is the baseball equivalent of pitching a shutout. Tannehill dropped back 34 times and wasn’t sacked once by San Diego.
  • Miami rookie receiver Jarvis Landry is wise beyond his years. Landry is always thinking on the field and continues to do subtle things that lead to winning football. Landry made several nice cuts to elude defenders and turn short catches or returns into bigger gains. His 14-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter showed toughness to stay in bounds on the sideline and get the ball over the pylon. The Dolphins already were up 30 points, but Landry continued to give maximum effort.
  • The Dolphins are playing playoff-caliber football. But don’t assume the road to the postseason in the AFC will be easy. Miami is currently the No. 9 seed in the AFC; the top six seeds make the playoffs. The wild-card teams currently are the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) and Kansas City Chiefs (5-3). Yes, the Chiefs have the same record as Miami. But Kansas City owns a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Dolphins with its Week 3 victory at Sun Life Stadium. Miami also is behind the Buffalo Bills (5-3) and Cleveland Browns (5-3) due to various tiebreakers. The Dolphins will host the Bills in Week 11 in an effort to split the season series.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- After each Miami Dolphins victory, coach Joe Philbin hands out game balls to the players he feels are most deserving.

This Sunday, the postgame routine was different.

After a dominant 37-0 victory over the San Diego Chargers, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross handed a game ball to Philbin, who spent two days away from the team last week to mourn the death of his father, Paul, at age 93.

"He almost broke down, but he kept his composure," Dolphins center Samson Satele said of his coach in the locker room. "It's just great to see a big smile on his face after all that's happened to him."

"It was definitely emotional," right tackle Ja'Wuan James said. "He's a strong guy -- I can say that -- to go through that situation and come back and coach a football game. He remained positive. He never changed or wavered.

"When your leader can do that, your respect level [for him] goes up even more."

The Dolphins certainly played with an emotional edge. According to guard Mike Pouncey, players promised Philbin this week they would "go out and play our best football game of the year." The Dolphins (5-3) accomplished that and extended their win streak to three by dominating the Chargers (5-4) from start to finish.

Miami recorded its first shutout victory since December 2006. Sunday also was the first time in 241 games that the Chargers were held scoreless, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Dolphins executed a terrific game plan that rattled Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (138 yards, four turnovers) and controlled the pace of the game on offense. That combination produced a 20-0 lead at halftime.

"I have to give our assistant coaches and players a ton of credit," Philbin said. "I kind of just showed up for the game."

It was that kind of week for Philbin -- a rarity when football becomes secondary for a football coach. Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor ran practice Thursday, and the staff put the final touches in place Friday. Philbin returned the following day.

Dolphins players said they were impressed with Philbin's even-keeled demeanor under tough circumstances leading into Sunday's game.

"It's big when you lose someone in your family. That's something no one can prepare for," tight end Charles Clay said. "But he came back, and you could never tell just from talking to him that he's going through something like that. He's a tough individual -- probably one of the toughest individuals that I've been around. It shows in the way we played today. To come out here and get a win for him is big."

Philbin credited his parents and family after the win Sunday.

"I was lucky to grow up in a house with two wonderful parents and five siblings," Philbin said. "I was blessed to have that, and I still have one parent that's alive, and well, I have another who's in heaven."
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (3-3) completed their second practice in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6).

Here is the full injury report for Miami:

Limited participation: S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring), LT Branden Albert (elbow), TE Charles Clay (knee), CB Cortland Finnegan (neck), WR Brandon Gibson (hamstring), CB Brent Grimes (groin), C Samson Satele (hamstring), TE Dion Sims (stinger)

Full participation: LS John Denny (knee), LB Philip Wheeler (shoulder)

Analysis: The Dolphins are in very good shape as every player on the roster participated Wednesday in their full-padded practiced. Wilson was the only major injury concern. He missed last week’s game against the Chicago Bears with a hamstring injury. But Wilson returned on Wednesday, which bodes well for his chances of playing Sunday. Grimes (groin) and Sims (stinger) were both injured against the Bears, but the ailments do not appear to be serious.

CHICAGO -- So this is what Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill looks like at his absolute best.

Miami's 27-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday finally showed what a consistent, dominant Tannehill looks like under center. Better yet for the Dolphins, it happened over four full quarters -- not the usual one good half or quarter Tannehill has provided this season.

How locked in was the third-year quarterback? On his second touchdown pass of the day, the Bears took away his first and second options. So Tannehill went to his third progression -- which he rarely does successfully -- to complete a 10-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace.

Wallace said after the game that the Dolphins (3-3) couldn't even hit that play in practice. But with Tannehill in the zone, they made it look easy when it mattered most, giving Miami a lead it never relinquished.

"I was the last read on the play," Wallace said. "On that play in practice, I've been working that [route] probably since I was in Pittsburgh and never got the ball, not one time, on that play. That was the first time.

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastQB Ryan Tannehill capitalized on short passes to lift the Dolphins over Chicago in Week 7.
"You could fall asleep on that play, but you gotta stay focused. Honestly, I got that same play on Tuesday or Wednesday in practice and he threw it. We didn't connect on it, and I told him I will be better on it the next time. Tonight was our next time, and we were better."

There have been games when Tannehill was good, but never the best player on the field. That changed in Chicago. Afterward, backup quarterback Matt Moore got a chuckle out of Tannehill by telling him, "You inspire me."

Tannehill's day started with 14 straight completions, and he finished with 277 yards and two touchdown passes. He posted a career-high 123.6 passer rating and didn't have his first incompletion until 54 seconds left in the first half.

First-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is getting a better grasp of his quarterback's capabilities. The Dolphins used a well-devised game plan that highlighted Tannehill's strengths: throwing short and intermediate passes. His longest completion was for 26 yards to backup tight end Dion Sims. Tannehill also used his athleticism by rolling out of the pocket on passing plays, rushing for 48 yards on six carries.

Dolphins tight end Charles Clay said Tannehill's confidence was at an all-time high, especially after getting hot early.

"It's hard to pinpoint, but it was just something about him," said Clay, who had four receptions and caught Tannehill's first touchdown pass. "It gave me confidence, and I'm sure it gave everybody else in the huddle confidence."

Tannehill said he has never completed 14 straight passes to start a game at any level. He did complete 14 straight between the second and third quarters this season against the Oakland Raiders, but this performance was from the start and more dominant.

On this day, if you were open, Tannehill easily identified it and made the right decisions. He completed 78.1 percent of his passes, and eight Dolphins players had at least two receptions.

"Everyone was getting open," Tannehill said. "It's fun to be able to spread the ball around like that."

Was this a one-game performance or a potential career turning point? That remains to be seen.

One of the biggest critiques of Tannehill is he rarely strings together strong games in back-to-back weeks. This season alone he has struggled from half to half. That is one of the major reasons Tannehill is just 18-20 as a starter and still trying to prove he is Miami's long-term solution.

But Sunday's lights-out performance at least provided a one-game snapshot that Tannehill is capable of dominating a game. He has good athleticism and can make most of the throws needed to thrive in the NFL, with the exception of a consistent deep ball.

After six games, it's clear the Dolphins will go only as far as Tannehill takes them this season.

"We're definitely playoff-caliber, and if he's playing like [Sunday], we could be Super Bowl-caliber, honestly," Wallace said. "But we got to put in the work every day. We know it's not going to just come to us. We have to keep grinding and stay focused."

Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19

CHICAGO -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 27-14 win Sunday over the Chicago Bears.

What it means: The Dolphins continue their roller-coaster ride by picking up a key road victory and improving to 3-3. This was a complete performance on both sides of the ball. Miami cashed in on three red zone touchdowns and forced three turnovers on defense, bouncing back from a last-second loss in Week 6 to the Green Bay Packers. The Dolphins, who have yet to win two in a row, will try to work on their consistency.

Stock watch: Dolphins fans have been clamoring about the lack of fast starts. Miami finally got it going early by jumping out to a much-needed 14-0 halftime lead on the road. The offense moved the chains and had early touchdown catches by tight end Charles Clay and receiver Mike Wallace. The defense also picked off quarterback Jay Cutler and held the Bears scoreless in the first half. The second half wasn't as clean. The Dolphins allowed two touchdowns defensively and had a field goal blocked. However, Miami was good enough in the first half that it didn't matter.

Jones, Shelby make impact: The Dolphins received key contributions from two players who were recently suspended. Miami starting safety Reshad Jones had his best performance of the season in his second game back. He recorded seven tackles and a second-quarter interception to set up a Miami touchdown. Sunday also marked the first game back for Derrick Shelby, who missed one game after being arrested at a nightclub. He registered an early sack off the bench.

Game ball: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets his second game ball of the season. Tannehill was locked in and threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 123.6 passer rating. Tannehill produced a near-perfect first half by completing his first 14 passes. His first incompletion happened with 54 seconds left in the second quarter.

What's next: The Dolphins will continue their stretch away from Miami with another road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6). The Dolphins will play four of their next six games on the road.

W2W4: Miami Dolphins

October, 18, 2014
Oct 18
The Miami Dolphins (2-3) travel Saturday to play the Chicago Bears (3-3).

Here are three things we're looking for from Miami's perspective:

Road warriors: If the Dolphins turn their season around during this crucial stretch, it will have to be away from home. Miami will play five of the next seven games on the road. That includes Sunday's game at Chicago and other tough road dates at the Detroit Lions (4-2) and at the Denver Broncos (4-1). Miami struggled in its only true road game during a 19-point loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins also beat the Oakland Raiders in London on a neutral site. The Dolphins have to show up consistently on the road in order to stay in contention.

Jumpstarting Clay and Hartline: Two key players on offense must get it going if Miami's offense aims to reach its potential. Veteran receiver Brian Hartline and starting tight end Charles Clay have not made much of an impact this season. Hartline has just 161 receiving yards and Clay has 146. For perspective, rookie Jarvis Landry has just one start this season and recorded more receptions (18) than Clay (17) and Hartline (16). New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has introduced a scheme that hasn't gotten Hartline and Clay involved. Miami's coaching staff believes the plays will eventually come for both veterans.

Sacks down: Last year sacks were a major point of contention for the Dolphins. But the improvement has been apparent this season. Miami has allowed just 10 sacks in five games thus far this season. Miami is on pace to allow 32 sacks this year, which is significantly fewer than its franchise-record 58 sacks in 2013. The Bears have 15 sacks this season, which includes defensive end Willie Young's NFL-leading seven sacks.

Ten surprising Dolphins statistics

October, 15, 2014
Oct 15
The Miami Dolphins have been up and down this season, which is reflected in their 2-3 record.

Here are 10 surprising statistics to help explain Miami's season through five games:
  • Miami is a below average team at home. The Dolphins are just 5-6 in their last 11 games at Sun Life Stadium.
  • Miami rookie receiver Jarvis Landry is currently second on the team with 18 receptions, which is ahead of starting tight end Charles Clay (17) and starting receiver Brian Hartline (16).
  • Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is on pace for 3,625 yards, 25.6 touchdowns and 16 interceptions this season.
  • Tannehill also is Miami's third-leading rusher with 102 yards on 16 carries. Tannehill also averages an impressive 6.4 yards per carry.
  • Miami backup running back Daniel Thomas leads the team with 7.1 yards per carry.
  • The Dolphins have been outscored 30-13 in the first quarter of games.
  • The Dolphins have been dominant in the third quarter coming out of the locker room, outscoring opponents 56-28.
  • Derrick Shelby remains second on the team with two sacks, despite serving a one-game suspension.
  • Ten of Miami's 109 first downs this season have come via penalties.
  • The Dolphins have converted on 22.2 percent (2-of-9) fourth downs this season. Miami's opponents have converted on 57.1 percent (4-of-7) of fourth downs.

The Dolphins will travel to face the Chicago Bears (3-3) on Sunday.

Dolphins-Packers injury report

October, 9, 2014
Oct 9
The Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers are getting closer to their Sunday showdown at Sun Life Stadium.

Here is Thursday's injury report for both teams:

Dolphins (2-2)

Limited participation: RB Knowshon Moreno (elbow), LB Koa Misi (ankle), CB Cortland Finnegan (neck), WR Brandon Gibson (hamstring), C Samson Satele (fibula), G Shelley Smith (knee), DT Randy Starks (back), WR Mike Wallace (foot), LB Philip Wheeler (shoulder)

Full participation: LT Branden Albert (shoulder), LB Jelani Jenkins (abdomen), TE Charles Clay (knee), RB Lamar Miller (foot), G Dallas Thomas (shoulder)

Packers (3-2)

Did not practice: WR Jarrett Boykin (groin), DE Datone Jones (ankle)

Limited participation: OT David Bakhtiari (back), LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), DT Josh Boyd (knee)

Analysis: The Dolphins had perfect attendance for the first time this week after Finnegan and Gibson both joined practice as limited participants. Miami should be nearly at full strength in this game. The only real question mark is Moreno, who is still trying to feel his way through wearing an arm brace. I asked Moreno in the locker room Thursday what's complicated about the brace, and he responded "everything." His status most likely will be determined Sunday.