Tight End Transition

The tight ends were the big topic of conversation at Dolphins camp on Monday when the team began its preparations for the season opener at the Georgia Dome against the Atlanta Falcons. As expected, the Dolphins made a move with David Martin, putting the veteran on injured reserve. To take his place on the roster, the Dolphins claimed rookie Davon Drew off waivers from Baltimore.

Drew joins a tight end group that also includes starter Anthony Fasano, Joey Haynos and rookie John Nalbone.

While everyone but Fasano clearly benefits from Martin's departure, it's Haynos who stands to have the most to gain, as he goes from the No. 3 guy to No. 2.

Keeping in mind that the Dolphins use a lot of two-tight-end formations, that means a significant increase in playing time for Haynos.

"I'm ready for it," Haynos said Monday. "Last year, especially the Jets game, really prepared me for knowing the ‘F' position, which was David's position and getting that game experience really helped, so I'm ready to go."

Haynos came to the Dolphins last year when they claimed off waivers from Green Bay, but he really lacked the strength to be a major contributor.

Coach Tony Sparano indicated Monday that Haynos put in a lot of work over the offseason to get that problem under control.

The 6-foot-8 Haynos brings interesting possibilities to the position because of his height, but he wasn't expected to become this significant a player this soon.

"Maybe not now, but somewhere down the line I would have been in this position and it happened now and I'm ready for it, so I'm excited.

"I'm very excited. I think there's a good amount of playing time for me and I've got to make the most of it."

The newcomer, Drew, was a fifth-round pick of the Ravens who Sparano said the Dolphins really liked coming into the draft.

At 6-4, 256 pounds, Drew has good size and he's also got good athletic ability, as evidenced by the fact he was a quarterback his first two years out of East Carolina.

Word out of Baltimore is that the Ravens tried to sneak Drew through waivers with the idea of putting him on their practice squad.

"I have nothing against that organization," Drew said. "It's a great place, but I'm here in Miami now and I'm excited for the opportunity and I'm going to try to take advantage of it."

In the middle of all of this is Fasano, who is coming off the best year of his three-year career.

He caught 34 passes last year and very well could be in line for more this season. More importantly, though, he now has to take on more of a leadership and mentoring role at tight end.

"I don't know how much my role is going to change," Fasano said. "We (Martin and Fasano) traded off some here and there, but we played some different positions usually. I think my role steps up kind of as more of a role model in our position group and in our classroom and on this team. For us to step up, we're going to have to depend on them and it's my job to kind of help them get ready for it."


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