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Dolphins 2021 Week 7 Snap Counts ... And What They Mean

A lot of playing time for Mike Gesicki and Jevon Holland, among others, but limited action for Jaelan Phillips and others

When we examine the snap counts for the Miami Dolphins in the 30-28 Week 7 loss against the Atlanta Falcons, the 2021 draft class certainly comes to the forefront from both extremes.

On one hand, there was rookie safety Jevon Holland playing all 63 defensive snaps, joining cornerbacks Byron Jones and Xavien Howard as the only players on defense to do that.

It marked the second consecutive game Holland played every snap on defense after he played 97 percent of the snaps against Tampa Bay in Week 5, which pretty much tells us that Holland is now a full-blown starter in the Dolphins secondary.

On the flip side, rookie first-round pick Jaelan Phillips played only 15 snaps against the Falcons, though it's important to note he was limited at practice during the week because of an ankle injury and maybe that played a role.

In either case, it continues to be a rather uneventful rookie season for the 18th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

Continuing with the draft class of 2021, Jaylen Waddle again got a lot of work (84 percent of the offensive snaps), which shouldn't be surprising considering all the injuries at wide receiver, and Liam Eichenberg played every snap at left tackle.

As for third-round pick Hunter Long, the tight end from Boston College was inactive for a fourth time in seven games, which continues to reinforce our early point that this was a draft selection made with the future in mind and that Long never should have been expected to be a significant contributor as a rookie.

WIDE RECEIVER WATCH

The most glaring snap count number at wide receiver belonged to Albert Wilson, who played only three snaps on offense despite DeVante Parker being inactive and Will Fuller V on IR.

That Isaiah Ford got 19 offensive snaps after being elevated from the practice squad is pretty telling when it comes to Wilson's standing on the team these days.

Preston Williams played 30 of 73 offensive snaps in his return from a groin injury, and the fact he caught only one pass on four targets and had a drop might explain his lack of playing time.

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TIGHT END TIME

With Mike Gesicki continuing to deliver for the passing game, the Dolphins upped his usage against Atlanta when he played 82 percent of the offensive snaps.

It marked the first time since the 2019 game at Cleveland that Gesicki had played at least 80 percent of the offensive snaps.

Equally interesting at tight end was how Adam Shaheen was the clear second choice against Atlanta. He ended up playing a career-high 51 offensive snaps, almost twice as many as his previous high (28) for this season.

The playing time came at the expense of Durham Smythe, who played only 40 percent of the snaps.

INJURY FACTOR

The Dolphins reported three injuries in the press box Sunday: running back Malcolm Brown (calf), linebacker Jerome Baker (knee) and defensive back Jason McCourty (foot).

There clearly was a ripple effect with the injuries, particularly in the cases of Brown and Baker.

With Brown limited to five snaps before he left, Myles Gaskin resurfaced in the offense and played a season-high 46 snaps — we'd continue to make the argument he should always get the most snaps at running back.

Also of note with Brown, he touched the ball on every snap he played except for one, with three rushing attempt and one reception on a screen pass.

With Baker limited to 10 snaps, it was Sam Eguavoen who was the beneficiary of additional snaps at inside linebacker. He played 53 snaps (84 percent), his highest total since the 2019 Monday night game at Pittsburgh. His previous high this season had been 36 snaps in the season opener at New England.

LIMITED OR NO ACTION

Lastly, the Dolphins had four players dressed who did not play: QB Jacoby Brissett, CB Trill Williams, G Robert Jones and C Cameron Tom, who was elevated from the practice squad Saturday.

Additionally, five non-specialists didn't get any snaps on offense or defense. That list was headed by cornerback Justin Coleman, who just a week earlier against Jacksonville had played every snap on defense with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones both out with injuries.

The other four were TE Cethan Carter, SS Clayton Fejedelem, CB Elijah Campbell and G Solomon Kindley.