I’m hearing Shuler (6 foot 4, 251 pounds) has been getting second-team reps this week ahead of Mastrud and is a potential monster on special teams, so the Dolphins could be close to filling this void.
“He did a nice job today; he had a good practice today,” Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said Thursday when I asked him what Shuler had shown in his first two practices. “I’ve been impressed with what he’s done mentally because the [Vikings' and Dolphins'] systems aren’t the same; they’re not even close.
“We’re talking words to numbers and numbers to words in some situations. So the formation part of this thing, which he has about 100 of them going into a game, I think it’s all new for him. He did a good job. [Wednesday] he jumped right in there and did some good things, and then today I thought really got a lot better. This guy can run, and today was good because we had pads on. Saw him block a little bit, so that was good.”
Physically, Shuler has all the measurables you’d look for in a tight end. His Pro Day at Penn State, where he flashed a 37 1/2-inch vertical, was legendary.
The bloodlines are there, too, with his father of the same name spending 14 years in the NFL, most of them tormenting Dolphins fans with the Jets.
Once Shuler gets the terminology down after spending the past five months immersing himself in the Vikings’ West Coast Offense, he should be good to go, possibly as soon as Monday night against the Patriots.