Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida
By CHARLIE McCARTHY  |  Last updated 8/20/13
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins began life without Dustin Keller in earnest on Tuesday. The team practiced for the first time since the tight end suffered a season-ending knee injury during Miami's preseason loss at Houston on Saturday night. "Certainly, he presented challenges for defenses and also some opportunities for us," Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said. "I'd say we have some talented guys behind him that will have to step up. I'd prefer not to change what we do, necessarily, but it depends on who steps up. "If our receiver package is stronger, and we put (Brandon) Gibson on the field -- which certainly has its strengths -- and then Tiger (two-tight end package) gives us some strengths in the run and pass game as well, I'm hopeful we'll still be able to use both packages with equal productivity." The challenge for someone to step up was heard often following the morning-into-afternoon workout. Keller had been expected to play a significant role in the passing game after signing a one-year free-agent deal. His loss means opportunity for second-year tight ends Michael Egnew and Kyle Miller, rookie Dion Sims and H-back Charles Clay. But you can be sure general manager Jeff Ireland is keeping a close eye on roster moves around the league involving tight ends. Even coach Joe Philbin said the Dolphins were "investigating a lot of possibilities." "It's tough," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said of Keller's injury. "We brought him in for a reason, and he was doing very well for us. It's definitely tough to lose a player and person like Dustin." Tannehill, in his second year, has spent the past several months building rapports with Keller and new receivers Mike Wallace and Gibson. Now he'll need to strengthen his bonds with the other tight ends. "Every guy's different, just like every receiver or every running back, you kind of have to get to know each guy," Tannehill said. "We have good guys in the room. I'm looking for some guys to really step up and take advantage of the opportunity." Just what did Tannehill see in the backup tight ends? On Egnew: "We've seen him take a big jump this camp from where he was last year. He's really done a great job for us. Now that he's going to get more reps, I expect him to continue to get better." On Clay: "He's been doing a good job for us. He's got speed to get down field." On Sims: "A big body. He's done very well for a rookie, and he's going to get thrown in the fire. We can't look at him as a rookie anymore. He has to step up and play." Sims, a fourth-round pick from Michigan State, insisted his focus and approach had not changed with Keller's injury. "It's pretty much the same," he said. "We just have to step up, have a positive attitude and move forward. "I feel like we won't miss a beat. We'll come out and get the job done. We'll push each other everyday. We're going to be fine." Egnew and Clay escaped to the locker room without speaking to reporters Tuesday. Miller, claimed off waivers from Indianapolis in November, returned to practice Tuesday after being sidelined last week with an undisclosed injury. He said Keller's injury should not affect Miami's offense. "I don't think it really changes it, to be honest," said Miller, son of former NFL quarterback Mark Miller. "We've got guys who can do everything Dustin can do. I'm not saying that he's not a big loss, but it's more just shuffling around guys into the right spots rather than trying to replace him. "We can all run routes, catch the ball and block. It's just maybe a little different technique, might look a little different, but we'll get the job done." Charlie McCarthy can be reached at mac1763@bellsouth.net or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks were more free-flowing before triangle emphasis

Report: Deal in works for Raiders to play at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas

Yoenis Cespedes: MLB would grow if they played with Latin culture

Georgetown fires John Thompson III after 13 seasons

GGG, Canelo Alvarez reportedly resume fight talks

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Shaq comes clean on flat earth talk: ‘I’m joking, you idiots’

NFL to discuss possibility of reviewing penalties

Report: Paul George wants to play with Gordon Hayward

Reds pitcher Raisel Iglesias injures elbow, hip in shower fall

Report: Top NFL draft prospect Fabian Moreau has torn pectoral

Five teams that could trade down in the NFL draft

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/22: Team USA is heading to the championship

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker