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The Sports Brothers: Dolphins counting on big plays this season

The Sports Brothers | 8/22/2013, noon
It was every NFL head coach's worst nightmare. You are playing a valuable starter in a meaningless pre season game ...

It was every NFL head coach's worst nightmare. You are playing a valuable starter in a meaningless pre season game just to get some much needed work in. Fins Coach Joe Philbin was probably gonna get his regular guys out of the game in short order and then it happened. In a split second Fins starting tight end Dustin Keller's season was over. He is going to miss the entire season with a knee injury that leaves the team without much experience at tight end, many of us thought Keller would be a great security blanket for Ryan Tannehill and extend drives something this team desperately needed.

Keller seriously injured his right knee during Saturday's preseason game at the  Houston Texans, two people familiar with the diagnosis said Sunday. The injury if you saw it was hard to watch and we all pretty much knew. There goes his season. Now we all feel terrible for Dustin Keller.

He had just signed a $4.25 million, one-year contract with the Dolphins in March after five seasons with the New York Jets. His injury really hurts this football team and is a huge setback in the development of young Ryan Tannehill who seemed to be in sync with Keller almost immediately.

Miami ranked 30th in the NFL last year with 13 touchdown passes, but with Tannehill and Keller in such a groove as they showed in training camp big things were expected.

Keller was carted off the field after taking a hit in the knee from the helmet of tackler D.J. Swearinger, a rookie safety.

Swearinger sent a tweet on behalf of Keller, although he referred to him by the wrong name.

''Everybody pray 4 Justin Keller,'' Swearinger tweeted. ''I pray you have a speedy recovery bro...and kill it when you get back . . . definitelty wasn't intentional.'' This is football, it happens. The big question is now what.

I have always been a big supporter of Charles Clay  who has made 34 receptions in two seasons. Will he step up ? What about Michael Egnew, who played in only two games last year after being drafted in the third round ion Sims ?.

''We have other guys who have caught the ball down the middle,'' Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said after Saturday's game. ''We've got some big targets. Egnew is a big man. Sims is a big man. Clay has caught the ball down the middle before. We'll adjust".

Now we will see the value of GM Jeff Ireland's draft picks, the Fins have drafted a tight end the last three years it is time for someone to step up and prove that they can be a first string guy. These guys are young and in order to get better they need to play. Personally I will put my money on Charles Clay whom I always felt had big play potential. That is what this team is counting on this season, big plays. Losing Keller really hurts, now lets see how this team responds.