Dolphins Sign Former Rams WR Brandon Gibson

Posted Mar 15, 2013

Passing game upgrades continue to be a priority.

Not long after adding a proven threat at tight end to the roster in Dustin Keller, the Miami Dolphins signed former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brandon Gibson today.

Clearly, General Manager Jeff Ireland is not resting on his laurels when it comes to upgrading the team’s passing game and weapons surrounding second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Gibson does not have imposing size at 6-foot and 210 pounds but he is a proven possession receiver coming off of the best season of his career and becomes the third offensive player added through free agency. He joins Keller, previously with the New York Jets, and former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace, who was signed Tuesday.

“We are happy that Brandon is joining the team,” Ireland said. “Coupled with the earlier addition today of Dustin Keller, we feel that we have added some very good pieces to our passing game.”

Gibson led the Rams with five touchdown receptions in 2012 and caught 51 passes for 691 yards, an average of 13.5 yards per catch. His touchdown total exceeded his combined total in the previous three seasons by one and the Dolphins got to see his potential in person during their 17-14 victory at Sun Life Stadium in Week 6. Gibson caught seven passes for 91 yards, which was his second best performance of the season.

In fact, his 22-yard catch in the closing minute of the game was a jaw-dropper that kept the Rams’ final desperation drive alive. He somehow contorted his body in mid-air near the left sideline and made an incredible one-handed catch, stopping the clock with 46 seconds left. St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher sent rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein out to try a 66-yard field goal as time expired. It had the distance but eventually sailed wide left.

“That’s a catch you probably won’t see too often. I can’t say I’ve made that catch before,” said Gibson during a conference call with the South Florida media. “But I think my think is just to be consistent. If I’m consistent I think that’s a big thing that can help the offense move the ball up and down the field and score points.”

Gibson confirmed that during his meetings with Head Coach Joe Philbin and Ireland that play came up “once or twice.” And though he has been described as a slot receiver, he actually lined up in the slot less frequently than elsewhere along the line of scrimmage.

Philbin has always emphasized the fact that in his and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s offense there are no specific designations for the receivers. He likes players that are interchangeable and can line up anywhere and that’s just what Gibson considers to be his strength.

“I think my ability to get open is what kind of sets me apart and I’m a pretty good route runner,” he told The Finsiders while sitting in as a guest on the radio show. “I do a good job of making plays when it counts and whether it be first-and-10 or 3rd-and-5, I just want to get open and make plays. … My ability I think allows me to play in a lot of places. I can play slot, I can play the No. 2 or No. 3 and I really think my football allows me to get open from a lot of places on the field.

“I feel like Coach Philbin and Coach Sherman’s offense is going to be a good fit for me. I felt a sense of security here and that’s what I really liked. I really felt that they’re going to do a great job of opening things up. Mike can stretch the field and my role is kind just to I guess be the adjustor off of that and see what happens. There’s no significant place I’m going to play. I could be inside, I could be outside, I could be a Y, you never really know. I might line up in the backfield. Who knows?”

For his career, Gibson has 174 catches for 2,090 yards and nine touchdowns to go along with five rushes for 44 yards over four seasons. He was originally chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round (194th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Washington State and then he was traded to the Rams on October 20th in exchange for linebacker Will Witherspoon.

Gibson, who spent some with current Dolphins running back and kick returner Marcus Thigpen in Philadelphia, will head back to Seattle to get some things together and then head to St. Louis to get the rest of his stuff. Then he will come down to South Florida to start getting acclimated to the heat and to the training regimen, as well as spend some time with Tannehill so the two can get a feel for each other.

“I’ve watched tons of film and I really think he’s going to be one of the better young quarterbacks in the NFL,” Gibson said. “He’s got a big arm and he’s very intelligent and a very good athlete and I think that can go a long ways.”

So will a renewed chemistry among Gibson, Tannehill, Wallace and Keller on that side of the ball.
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