There was concern in certain circles that the Dolphins were lacking at tight end after
Campbell was proven right because Clay not only has delivered as the new starting tight end, he’s putting up numbers comparable to any Dolphins player at that position through the years.
Through the first 10 games, Clay has 42 catches for 474 yards and a team-leading four touchdown receptions. Amazingly, Clay already has more receptions than any Dolphins tight end recorded in a season since 2006 when Randy McMichael finished with 62.
At his current pace, Clay would finish the 2013 season with 67 catches for 758 yards and six touchdowns. The first two numbers would rank as the second-best ever for a Dolphins tight end behind those of McMichael in 2004 when he had 73 catches for 791 yards.
To put himself at No. 1 on the single-season list for Dolphins tight ends, Clay needs 32 catches and 328 yards in the next six games, which averages out to 5.3 catches and 54.7 yards per game. Those certainly would seem like attainable numbers.
The top five receiving seasons, in terms of yardage, in Dolphins history:
* -projected totals
Clay has had two of the Dolphins’ top six receiving games this season in terms of yardage, with his 109-yard performance at Indianapolis in Week 2 and his 90-yard game on Sunday against San Diego, which was highlighted by his spectacular 39-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The 109-yard performance against Indianapolis ranks as the third-best among Dolphins tight ends behind a 117-yard game by Ferrell Edmunds against the New York Jets in 1988 and a 110-yard outing by Jim Jensen, who was a fullback/running back/H-back/tight end, against New England in that same 1988 season.
Clay actually is a similar player to Jensen in terms of the way he’s used. He’s also lined up at fullback and even got five carries, including one for a 1-yard touchdown in the Week 2 victory at Indianapolis.
Clay’s receiving day at Indy is one of 10 100-yard performances by a Dolphins tight end. As seen in the chart below, Keith Jackson and Larry Seiple are the only Dolphins tight ends in team history with more than one 100-yard game.
The top receiving games (in terms of yardage) by Dolphins tight ends:
|Ferrell Edmunds||117||2||at N.Y.Jets||1988|
|Jim Jensen||110||12||at New England||1988|
|CHARLES CLAY||109||5||at Indianapolis||2013|
|Keith Jackson||109||8||San Diego*||1994|
|Anthony Fasano||107||5||at Tennessee||2010|
|Larry Seiple||106||8||at Buffalo||1969|
|Larry Seiple||102||7||at N.Y.Jets||1969|
|Randy McMichael||102||8||New England||2003|
|Jim Mandich||101||4||at San Diego||1974|
Going back to the Indy game, Clay’s 67-yard catch in the first quarter was the second-longest reception ever by a Dolphins tight end and one of six in team history of 50 yards or longer.
The longest was an 80-yard touchdown from Dan Marino to Ferrell Edmunds against the New York Jets in 1988. The other Dolphins tight ends with catches of 50 yards or more were Troy Drayton in 1996, Keith Jackson in 1993, Dan Johnson in 1985 and Joe Rose in 1981.
Among tight ends around the NFL, Clay’s 42 catches has him tied for eighth with Chicago’s Martellus Bennett. Clay is tied for seventh among NFL tight ends with his four touchdown receptions along with Bennett, Tony Gonzalez, Garrett Graham, Jason Witten and Greg Olsen.
The Dolphins haven’t had a tight end finish in the top 10 in receptions in a season since 2006 when McMichael ended up seventh.
Clay’s 67-yard play at Indianapolis is the second-longest in the NFL this season by a tight end, topped only by a 74-yard touchdown catch by Denver’s Julius Thomas.
However you slice it, it has been quite a season for Clay, who already has more than doubled his number of career receptions (34 heading into the season) and is on the verge of doubling his number of career receiving touchdowns (5 coming into 2013).