There probably wouldn't be many analysts out there who would argue that Mike Gesicki is among the better receiving tight ends in the NFL, so it's always noteworthy when he has the kind of stat line he had in the Miami Dolphins season opener.
For only the second time since the end of his rookie season, Gesicki was held without a catch in the 17-16 victory against the New England Patriots and his 21 snaps represented his lowest total since the last game of that rookie season in 2018.
Those two stats came as the apparent result of the game plan, which focused more on the tight ends blocking than receiving in this particular game, something that just might happen again at some point during the 2021 season.
And while it might not please Gesicki's fantasy football owners, he certainly wasn't about to complain about it — particularly after the team won.
“I approach it the same every single day, the same as I have since I’ve gotten here," Gesicki said Thursday after practice. "I’ve been through the adversity, the getting the ball, the not getting the ball. At the end of the day, I have my routine. I go through it every single day. I follow the things that have gotten me to where I am and I think that’s just the best way that I can approach this. I think that also at the end of the day, we won a football game in a place that we haven’t won a football game too many times in the past couple of years. That was good. I’m excited to move on and get ready for Week 2.”
It could be that Gesicki will be needed in that Week 2 game against the Buffalo Bills, as he was last year when he had a career-high 130 receiving yards in a 31-28 loss against the Bills at Hard Rock Stadium in Week 2.
Or maybe he won't be a big role again.
“I think we’ve got a bunch of different packages and a bunch of different guys that go in for different roles," Gesicki said. "When you get the personnel on the sideline and you go in — whether you’re in or not — you’ve got to go out and execute or be ready for when your personnel grouping gets called. I think going into a game, there’s many different ways that a game can go depending on if you’re up, down, things are working, things aren’t working. You just try to go into it with an open mind and be ready to go out there and execute when you are given your opportunity or when your name is called.”
It was because of blocking that Durham Smythe got 38 snaps to Gesicki's 21 against New England, and rookie third-round pick Hunter Long and newcomer Cethan Carter combined for 31 snaps, which cut into Gesicki's playing time even more at New England.
Gesicki said Thursday he understands that the perception of him is that of less than an ideal blocker, though he said he's not interested on what anyone outside the Dolphins facility thinks.
But let's face it, Gesicki wasn't a second-round pick in 2018 because of his blocking ability. And whatever his next contract looks like — he's scheduled to become an unrestricted next offseason — most of the compensation will be meant for his pass-catching ability.
And that's why his stat line against New England was newsworthy.
But Gesicki said there was no need for a talk with co-offensive coordinator/tight ends George Godsey after that game.
"At that point, you go in the locker room and everybody is happy," Gesicki said. "We won the football game. You come back in and watch the film the next day, go through all of your reps and figure out what you did well and what you didn’t do well and try to improve. At the end of the day, there were times last year, times in 2019, times in 2018 where there were also games where I didn’t get the ball. That’s just how this thing goes. This year, we have a 17-game season. There’s a lot of football left to be played.
"For me, I’m just sticking with my routine. I feel like some people are ready to throw in the hat already on everything. It was Week 1 and we got a win, and that was the most important thing. Now we’re going on to come back home to Hard Rock Stadium and I’m excited to have another opportunity to play this game.”