Roster Depth Being Tested At WR After Marlon Moore's Injury

Posted Nov 2, 2011

Nearly half way through the 2011 NFL season it is commonplace for teams to continue to shuffle their rosters due to injuries and other issues. Depth becomes the key.

Things aren’t any different for the Miami Dolphins as they watched their wide receiver corps get further depleted on Tuesday when Marlon Moore was placed on Injured Reserve with a foot injury. He joined Roberto Wallace (quad) as the second receiver to go on IR.

Now Head Coach Tony Sparano has just four active receivers at his disposal and only three are 100 percent healthy – Davone Bess, Brian Hartline and Brandon Marshall. Rookie Clyde Gates is battling a groin injury that kept him out of last week’s game at the New York Giants.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to do with the spot yet. We’ll see as the week goes on,” Sparano said. “Whenever that happens we look at all of the options, either practice squad people or contingencies outside, any of those things. Right now I have four guys that are working out there so I’m pretty concerned.”

Marshall, Bess and Hartline are three of the top four receivers for Miami through seven games as it is in receptions, having combined for 73 receptions, 1,118 yards and two touchdowns. Gates has just one catch for eight yards but leads the team in kickoff returns with 19 for 419 yards an average of 22.1 per return.

Quarterback Matt Moore relieved starter Chad Henne after Henne suffered a season-ending non-throwing shoulder injury at San Diego in Week 4. He relies on the veteran trio of Bess, Hartline and Marshall quite a bit in the passing game, so their health is now a major priority and each one of them knows it.

“It is a sense of urgency because obviously guys are down and you’ve just got to really take the extra time and really take care of your body,” said Bess, who is second behind Marshall with 27 catches for 323 yards. “It’s a long season and you just need to stay focused and keep doing the positive things as far as the cold tub and hot tub. I think a lot of it has to do with the way you prepare and how you treat your body, especially this time of the year. It’s the halfway mark and it’s a long season.”

Whichever route Sparano and General Manager Jeff Ireland in filling Moore’s spot on the active roster, that player also can expect to be asked to help out on special teams. Moore was arguably the team’s top one or two special teams players and was especially adept at downing Brandon Fields’ punts inside the opponent’s 20.

Fields, who is second in the NFL with 15 punts inside the 20 and third overall in the AFC, knows how important Moore was to his success. He knows what a loss it will be to both the offense and to the special teams.

“Marlon made a lot of great plays on special teams, including the punt team,” Fields said. “For me that will definitely be big shoes to fill, but we have some other guys that will step up to the plate and get the job done.”
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