The Miami Dolphins have played turnover-free football during their four-game winning streak, with one exception: Rookie receiver Jakeem Grant muffed a punt last week in a key spot against the San Diego Chargers.
The fifth-round pick had a shaky day on special teams. In addition to the fumble, Grant bobbled another return and overall didn’t look comfortable.
But Grant and the Dolphins must turn the page Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. Miami could need a boost on special teams to pick up its second road win of the season.
“I think the first thing you do is you have to make sure he knows that we have confidence in him; his teammates have confidence in him,” special-teams coach Darren Rizzi said of Grant. “I think sometimes a mistake by a young player can snowball, at any position, not just as a returner.
“One of the things I said to him – once I knew he was getting kind of hard on himself – was, ‘Listen, we all believe in you. You’ve already made plays. You’ve already shown what you can do. We have to correct, improve, move on.’ That’s really the biggest thing.”
The third phase of the game has been fruitful for Miami this season. Grant’s biggest play was a punt return for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans. Fellow rookie Kenyan Drake also returned a kickoff for a touchdown in a win over the New York Jets.
It's up to Grant not to get down on himself and string together multiple bad games on special teams. The rookie has a chance for a bounce-back performance on Sunday.