Dee Milliner has struggled most of the season in his first year in the league. Credit: Getty Images
Dee Milliner has receiving anything but passing grades in his first season in the NFL.
The rookie cornerback has struggled in nearly every facet of what has been a rocky season, with Sunday's 23-3 loss to the Dolphins just the latest example.
Milliner was to blame with 1:02 left in the third quarter on a Ryan Tannehill pass to Mike Wallace. It was a simple out pattern from Wallace that should have been a 9-yard completion for a first down. Instead, Milliner tried to tackle Wallace around his waist, using only his outstretched arms.
Wallace danced through the grasp and into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown and a 20-3 Dolphins lead. It was poor technique and yet another mental guffaw from Milliner.
“I should have came up and put my shoulder into him and just completed the play and make the tackle,” Milliner said.
Milliner had shoulder surgery prior to the draft which precluded his participation in rookie minicamp and offseason workouts, including June's minicamp. A training camp holdout, followed by other injuries, including one to his hamstring, have limited him physically. Couple all these factors along with his acclimation to the speed and size of NFL wide receivers and he has struggled mightily.
The secondary as a whole looked lackluster against the Dolphins, allowing Tannehill his fourth 300-yard passing game this season. Milliner was benched in the second half as his struggles continued to mount.
This wasn't what he envisioned with the Jets.
“No, not really. I just wanted to come in and try to get some games in front of me to play [and] try to help the team out the best way I can,” Milliner said. “I've been struggling here but you know how it is. Just got to get over it.”
Head coach Rex Ryan refused to single out Milliner after the game saying, “I have to do a much better job, that's where I'll start with.”
Several weeks ago, Ryan said he saw Milliner progressing and that by season's end he'd be the top cornerback from this draft class.