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Dolphins' Julius Thomas avoids frustration after slow start

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase has an easy answer as to why tight end Julius Thomas has 86 receiving yards and zero touchdowns in four games.

“I can ask the other coordinator to play man,” Gase said Wednesday. “But I don’t know if they’re really going to listen.”

The Dolphins acquired Thomas in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars in March to create mismatches. However, Thomas and the entire offense are struggling at the quarter mark of the season. Miami is ranked last in scoring (10.3), passing yards per game (156.5) and total yards per game (231.3) .

Thomas is not being involved consistently and has just nine receptions in four games. He was expected to bring a strong red zone presence but has been targeted in the end zone just twice, resulting in an interception against the New Orleans Saints and an incompletion against the Tennessee Titans. Thomas had back-to-back seasons of 12 touchdowns during his previous stint with Gase while both were with the Denver Broncos.

“The frustration is something that I can’t allow,” Thomas said. “If I’m sitting there thinking about my past all the time, it’s going to be really hard to adjust to live in the moment. That’s something that I’ve been working on in my personal life and work life.”

Gase said Thomas hasn’t gotten the favorable matchups the Dolphins exploit.

“His value comes when he is matched up on safeties and linebackers,” Gase said. “When you put a corner on him, it’s not as easy for him to get as open as what he’s done in the past. If you get a safety or a linebacker on him, it’s a good matchup for him. He’s got a good skill set that makes it tough on them. We haven’t really seen a lot of man. We have a lot of guys that can win one-on-one coverage and we’re seeing a lot of zone.”

Gase added that play-action has helped at times this season against zone defenses. However, tight ends often are held back in pass protection during play-action passes.

Thomas has a chance to play a bigger role in the offense this week. Dolphins’ leading receiver DeVante Parker has an ankle injury and his status is up in the air for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. Parker didn’t practice on Wednesday.