By Abraham Gutierrez
Just because the Miami Dolphins are in the midst of a bye week — meaning there will not be an official Injury Report published in Week 8 of the 2016 NFL season — doesn’t mean there aren’t personnel issues to address. With their back against the wall at 3-4 on the year, there’s no question the Fins are going to need all hands on deck in order to try and sneak into the NFL playoffs.READ MORE: Doral Police ID Officers Injured In Friday's Shooting
Tight End In Need of Help
Thus, the lack of depth at the tight end position is not only uncertain, but it also limits Ryan Tannehill’s options. With all the pressure the NFL has faced following the numerous lawsuits and the “Concussion” movie, it’s no secret that head injuries are being taken a lot more serious now than ever before.
In the case of the Dolphins, something peculiar has happened this year, as both the first and second-string tight ends have been forced to sit out due to concussions. And while one of the two cases is clearly more severe than the other, it’s worth updating the current health status of tight ends, Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims.
In Cameron’s case, there have been rumblings all year regarding the possibility that this latest concussion could mark the end of his NFL career. With a long history of head injuries, Miami has decided to treat Cameron’s situation with kid gloves, and with good reason.
Thus, the former USC standout has been riding the pine for a month in his sixth NFL season. However, the organization was well aware of the risk involved when they signed him in 2015, as he had suffered three concussions in the two years leading up to his deal. On Wednesday of last week, Fins head coach Adam Gase addressed the possibility that Cameron may not ever play another snap in the National Football League.READ MORE: Six People Hospitalized Following Boat Explosion In Dania Beach
“We’ll just see,” he said. “I’m not going try to rush anything. I want him to be healthy. We want things to be right, so we’re just making sure we go through all the necessary steps and we’re going to keep talking to the doctors and making sure he’s 100 percent before he even walks back on the practice field.”
It’s been reported that Cameron was seen participating in light workouts at the team’s training facility, as he continues to work through the NFL-mandated concussion protocol. It has also been reported that Cameron is currently in Step 2 or 3 of the program, but when/if he will ever play again remains a mystery.
The former Cleveland Brown’s career numbers consist of 173 receptions for 2046 yards and 14 touchdowns. This season he’s registering 8 catches for 60 yards and a score through the first three games. In his second year with the Fins, Cameron has produced 43 catches for 446 yards and four touchdowns.
The other tight end in question is Dion Sims (2016 NFL season: 8 catches for 94 yards), who was starting in place of Cameron this season. However, the Michigan State product was forced to sit out last week’s (Week 7) game against the Buffalo Bills due to a concussion.
Sims suffered the injury in Miami’s Week 6 (28-25) victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and did not participate in team practices in preparations for last week’s game against the Bills. Even though there is no timetable for his return, sources dictate that there’s plenty of optimism about Sims being back in time for the Week 8 showdown with the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium Nov. 6 (Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET).
This is particularly good news for Miami considering that no one has been able to step up in Cameron and Sims’ absence. Prior to last week’s game against Buffalo, MarQueis Gray was promoted to the starting spot, and did in fact play in 62 of the 73 offensive snaps. However, the fourth-year man out of Minnesota failed to receive a pass and was never targeted by Tannehill.MORE NEWS: Florida Is Ditching Palm Trees To Fight Climate Crisis
According to the Dolphins’ depth chart, the last remaining tight end on the roster is Dominique Jones, so this is a significant issue going forward. With all three potential tight ends playing in their fourth NFL campaign, it’s worth noting that Sims’ career numbers include 56 receptions for 537 yards and 4 touchdowns, Gray has 15 catches for 225 yards, while Jones brings up the rear with 6 grabs for 54 yards.