Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins begin the post-Dustin Keller era Monday morning after the tight end suffered a near complete destruction of the interior of his knee.
Keller was hit in the lower leg by Houston Texans defender D.J. Swearingen, legally, and according to multiple reports, tore his anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, and lateral collateral ligament and dislocated his kneecap.
As soon as Keller’s leg bent awkwardly, most football fans and observers knew the injury was very bad. Keller is done for the season and it leaves a gaping hole in offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s offense without a viable replacement.
The Dolphins often speak of next-man up, meaning just because a starter went down with injury; the next man in line has to step up and pick up the slack. In this case, that may be nearly impossible given the players the Dolphins have on the current roster and Keller’s unique ability at tight end.
Currently, the Dolphins have rookie Dion Sims, second-year player Michael Egnew, and Charles Clay at the tight end position.
Sims was drafted out of Michigan State University primarily on his blocking ability. Clay has been with the Dolphins for a few seasons, but has never made a major impact. Egnew was a complete bust last season and while he has improved his blocking, his first play with the first team against the Texans ended with a holding penalty against him.
The Dolphins were expecting big things out of Keller and he had already developed a good rapport with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The second-year QB also started to find wide receiver Mike Wallace more in the Texans game and if they develop a good chemistry, that should help ease the loss of Keller.
Still, one of the trio of Egnew, Sims, and Clay will have to step up their game and it would be better for the Fins if more than one of them was able to stay on the field to help give Tannehill more protection or to open up more running lanes.
For Keller, he bet on himself and his health this year by turning down long-term deals that weren’t for what he thought he was worth and signed with the Dolphins. Keller was hoping to have a standout year for Miami and then get the richer contract he felt he deserved as a top tight end.
Unfortunately for Keller, his roll of the proverbial dice came up with a snake eyes.
Now, the Dolphins have to change their luck at tight end and hope for the best with the regular season just two weeks away.