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2019 Scouting Combine Through a Dolphins Lens – Offense

Travis Wingfield

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Players, Traits, and Scheme Fits for the Miami Dolphins

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The two most talked about quarterbacks, as it pertains to the Dolphins, were in the news over the weekend, starting with the incumbent.

NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport reported that Miami will look to trade Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill’s $18.75 million salary attached to his potential acquisition, however, makes that unlikely. The Dolphins will then resort to releasing the eighth overall pick in the 2012 Draft.

Everyone’s top option to replace the former Aggie (and a former Aggie in his own right) is reportedly already off the board.

Quarterbacks

Moving on from Tannehill and out of range for Murray (and likely Dwayne Haskins)Miami hops on the quarterback treadmill until 2020. The value at pick 13, or even in a trade down, does not lend itself to the signal-callers. Daniel Jones, for all intents and purpose, looks like an undraftable player for my money. Drew Lock’s inconsistencies in his release make for a steep learning curve and anyone else falls into the day-three territory.

The on-field drills only confirmed the things we already knew from the film:

Dwayne Haskins can flat spin it.
Daniel Jones, Will Grier, and Ryan Finley don’t have the requisite arm strength to play at the next level. This is true of a lot of the other quarterbacks but they don’t warrant mentioning.
Drew Lock has a sharp, quick release, but the varying launch points cause extreme inconsistencies in his accuracy.

Both Chris Grier and Brian Flores alluded the importance of a quarterback commanding the respect of the locker room, being a clear communicator and winning in the preparation aspect of the game.

Haksins is the best fit to that description, but he’s not surviving the top six picks. The cost to move up is too steep for a player with concerns over his ability to beat pressure looks and mechanics that need to be tweaked at the next level.

Without the ability to maneuver for a franchise quarterback, the Dolphins should look to a developmental prospect on day-three. My personal preference for these types are the physically impressive balls of clay that need refinement.

Jarrett Stidham is a strong-armed former five-star recruit. Tyree Jackson can throw the football out of the building and offers plus-athleticism. Those are the two players Miami should start to think about in round-four and beyond.

If Gardner Minshew makes it out of draft unselected, Miami should make the Washington State alum (Go Gougs) a priority UDFA. His physical traits don’t wow you but his engaging, energetic style is infectious. He’s a sharp processor and can spark a huddle when the starter goes down and you need a gamer in a pinch.

Franchise Quarterback Prediction:

Brian Flores will ultimately be attached to the guy that Miami eventually selects with a first round draft pick. We’ve already covered that it’s unlikely that happens in 2019; so it’s on to 2020.

Throw out the tank idea. If the Dolphins lose enough games to warrant the first pick in the draft, then Miami has a Head Coach problem. The list of Head Coaches to survive catastrophic seasons is small, and the list of coaches to survive and then turn things around is even smaller. It hasn’t been done since Jimmy Johnson last did it in the early-90’s.

If you value Brian Flores and think he has assembled a good coaching staff, the Dolphins will not fall into that 2-win range.

Dec 1, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) celebrates after a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second quarter in the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

That means no Tua Tagovailoa.

It means Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Washington’s Jacob Eason, Utah State’s Jordan Love, or Georgia’s Jake Fromm. And, of course, the very likely scenario where an unknown rises to the surface.

My way too early prediction is that Jake Fromm winds up in a Dolphins uniform. Even at age-18, Fromm’s appearance on the Netflix series QB1 showcases a young-man mature beyond his years and an undying love for football (there’s a great scene where he is entirely distraught about an AC joint sprain that forces him to miss time, despite trying to play through it).

That love of the game is exactly what Flores and Grier both highlighted when asked about their preference in a quarterback last week.

Fromm has the big stage experience, the physical traits you want to see, and a tremendous aptitude for the cerebral side of the game.

As a cherry-topper, Fromm’s experience managing a team with a strong defense and running game coincides with what I believe the Dolphins want to build under Flores.

Offensive Line

It’s difficult to identify exactly what Miami’s offense will look like. There’s no readily apparent blueprint for the specifics of Chad O’Shea’s preferences. We know he wants to be multiple, but the Pats have rostered a wide array of offensive linemen varying in all shapes and sizes.

My best guess is that they’ll approach the interior positions from an athletic standpoint with elite movement skills. Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James fit that bill on the outside so, if James is retained, that’s a good indicator of the tackle preferences.

The two things to keep an eye on for this position group are the feet (3-cone and shuttle) and the explosive drills (broad and vertical jumps).

This is a good time to need a center – this draft is loaded with them.

North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury won the day. He’s an elite mover that measured well in the power metrics (bench, broad, and vert).

Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy was runner-up. He’s technically refined. He’ll climb to the second-level with ease and can drop the anchor in pass pro.

Elgton Jenkins from Mississippi State is a power-player, but his choppy feet and effortless glide in the mirror drill was encouraging from a movement standpoint. Miami would be wise to pinpoint any of these three players come Late-April.

The guard class isn’t too shabby either.

Alabama’s Jonah Williams is adamant that he’s a left tackle, but Miami could well draft him with the 13th pick and get Quentin Nelson-like production out of him at left guard.

A true left guard, Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom had a tremendous workout. Daniel Jeremiah insists that Lindstrom is a Patriot via the second-round. Miami can intervene and use the 48th pick on a player that figures to be a day-one starter.

Penn State’s Connor McGovern has the feather feet that could attract the Dolphins. He changes direction nicely and showed a good burst throughout the drills.

The tackle situation is impending.

If the Dolphins and James can’t reach an agreement, USC’s Chuma Edoga won Offensive Line MVP at the Senior Bowl and doubled-down with a great workout in Indianapolis.

Dalton Risner might be my favorite line prospect in the entire class. He plays all five positions and might be an option in a round-one trade back. He has a nasty mean-streak and finishes plays – he showed both of those traits in the on-field work.

Ohio State’s Michael Jordan is a mountain. He’s long and covers a ton of ground on his kick slide but he’s a bit heavy-footed.

Two more names that impressed were Georgia’s Lamont Gaillard and Charlotte’s Nate Davis.

Running Backs

Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage should feel comfortable in their roles as the 1A and 1B backs in 2019. But if we’re to adhere to the New England model, you can never have enough backs – especially those that can contribute in the passing game.

Feb 28, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Penn State running back Miles Sanders (RB20) speaks to the media during the 2019 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to college football’s integration into the NFL, there are plenty of backs with pass-catching prowess.

Penn State’s Miles Sanders was the best of the day. He likely tested his way out of Miami’s range as a day-two pick, but he’d be an excellent option as a third-down back in 2019 and to replace Drake if the Dolphins don’t re-sign the three-year vet.

Washington State’s James Williams caught 89 passes last year and it showed in his workout. He’s a jitterbug with a full route-tree. He can make tacklers miss in the open field and tracks the ball well in the vertical game.

Justice Hill’s (Oklahoma State) 4.40 speed is difficult to ignore. If Miami operates in a zone-blocking scheme, it only takes a small crease for Hill to impact a game with a 75-yard gallop.

More traditional backs are available as well. Georgia’s Elijah Holyfield forces defensive backs to make business decisions and Washington’s Myles Gaskin is ultra-productive (four straight years of 1,200 rushing yards).

Boise State’s Alexander Mattison will remind you of another former Bronco-turned-Dolphins and Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams has the character and production that Miami will love.

Tight End

The tight end position is difficult to figure because of the unknown commodities that are Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe. Both will get a fair shake to demonstrate growth in year-two, but the Dolphins could look to add more inline Y-types.

Rob Gronkowski’s playoff performance didn’t fill up the stat sheet but he was an integral part of the Pats running game.

Notre Dame’s Alize Mack comes from the same power-running program that gave Smythe to Miami. He’s more polished as a pass catcher than Smythe was as well.

Alabama’s Irv Smith is a perfect prospect for what Miami might like at the position, but he’s going to be drafted far too high for consideration.

San Diego State’s Kahale Warring looks impressive in gym shorts. He measured well across all tests, goes 6-foot5-five, 252 and looked comfortable catching the football. The SDSU program is dubbed Stanford-South, so you know he has that lunch pail mentality.

New England rostered a traditional fullback in James Develin and that’s something O’Shea might prefer to have in Miami. Conversion players like West Virginia’s Treyvon Wesco are worth a look on day-three. Wesco showcased good striking-power in the bag drills, but also balance and natural hands on the route and gauntlet drills.

Wide Receiver

Slots and perhaps a boundary X are in consideration for the Dolphins this offseason. Miami’s focus will be on the in-game processing speed and the consistencies as a route runner. The steps, breaks and leverage have to be on time with the quarterback meaning Miami will value the white board sessions and 3-cone times above all.

Who else would we start with here besides Hunter Renfro. Renfro is that soft-throwing pitcher that you think you’re going to pop for a few hits and maybe a long ball but, at the end of the game, you look up and you’re 0-for-4 with four groundouts.

At Clemson, Renfro was the money-down option. He sells each route in an identical fashion and can create separation at the top of the route without great testing metrics.

Georgia’s Riley Ridley has the make-up to intrigue Miami. He catches the ball cleanly and could play in that X boundary role.

Louisville’s Jaylen Smith could wind up undrafted, but he offers a vertical threat from the slot positon – a rarity in today’s game.

West Virginia’s David Sills V is going to have a productive career. His background as a quarterback gives him a different approach to the game and he’s one of the best deep-ball trackers in this draft.

Andy Isabella from UMass would fit the bill of O’Shea’s new Julian Edelman.

Dolphins Confirmed Offensive Player Meetings (Shrine, Senior Bowl, Combine):

Quarterbacks:

Kyler Murray – Oklahoma
Drew Lock – Missouri
Daniel Jones – Duke
Will Grier – West Virginia
Jarrett Stidham – Auburn
Brett Rypien – Boise State
Jordan Ta’amu – Ole Miss

Receivers:

Riley Ridley – Georgia

Offensive Line

Jawaan Taylor – Florida
Andre Dillard – Washington State
Lamont Gaillard – Georgia

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Sign Chris Reed

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Looks like the Miami Dolphins have begun replacing the plethora of offensive linemen they either released or let walk this past offseason.

According to the Dolphins official social media account, the team signed offensive guard Chris Reed.

Details of the contract are currently unknown, but with the losses of Ja’Wuan James, Ted Larsen, Josh Sitton and possibly even players like Jake Brendel and Travis Swanson, the Dolphins need bodies to fill out their roster.

After signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of the 2015 NFL draft, Reed was placed on the team’s practice squad and wasn’t activated until September, 2016. Over the past three seasons, Reed has been active for 25 games and started 8 of them.

You can’t expect too much from this signing, as Reed is simply expected to compete for depth on the offensive line and it’s possible he doesn’t even make the team out of training camp. Then again, Ted Larsen was originally supposed to be offensive line depth and he ended up playing 1,272 snaps over the course of his two-year Dolphins career.

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Miami Dolphins

Rebuilding Previous Rebuilds

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we have accepted the notion that the Miami Dolphins are going to start rebuilding their franchise in 2019 (and as a result, a lot of losing will incur), we have moved on to the optimistic hope that this team is going to build their foundation “right”.

Hope is about the only thing that will temper the frustration that comes with going 6-10 with freshly signed Ryan Fitzpatrick as our starting quarterback, so over the next calendar year, you’re going to hear how most decisions are geared towards 2020.

Sure, Fitzpatrick will dazzle us with a couple 400-yard passing games and a few offensive performances that trick us into believing that we don’t need to desperately grab a franchise quarterback, but don’t let those extremely inconsistent anomalies fool you. Miami most definitely needs a franchise quarterback – one that leaves us with minimal doubts at the top of the draft.

Are they going to trade up for one in 2019? Or are they going to, um, conveniently lose in 2019 and attempt to save their assets for 2020, where there’s a chance that four starting-caliber quarterbacks come out of college – all of whom are possibly better than the top-2 quarterbacks in this class: Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray?

As Travis echoed on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins are building a treasure trove of draft picks that will allow themselves to navigate the murkiest of trade waters in either 2019 or 2020. With the trade of Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans netting Miami an extra 4th-round draft pick – along with the assumption that losing Ja’Wuan James to the Denver Broncos will return an extra 3rd-round pick as a compensatory selection – Miami will have the ability to tack on whichever mid-round picks are required to seal the deal for a top-3 draft pick.

But with all of these assets in mind, can we confidently assume that the Dolphins are just one year away from being a relevant franchise that can sustain success? No, not one bit.

Since Chris Grier took over as the Director of College Scouting in 2007, Miami has had 5 drafts in which they have had at least 9 draft picks to work with. Although it’s obvious that not every draft pick is going to pan out, the assumption is that a team should be able to identify enough cheap labor to fill their roster. You don’t need superstars in every round, though it would be nice if the Dolphins drafted even one of them.

Before you get ready to soak in the success of 2020, I’m going to remind you of the somber past we have together. Hopefully, Grier doesn’t allow history to repeat itself:

2007

Chris Grier’s first year on the job yielded Miami with multiple draft steals, but came with an ample amount of draft busts as well.

Whether the selection was general manager Randy Mueller‘s, head coach Cam Cameron‘s, Grier’s, or a combination of the three, the Miami Dolphins shocked everyone by selecting Ted Ginn Jr with the 9th-overall pick in the draft.

Choosing Ted Ginn Jr over Brady Quinn proved to be the correct choice, but was Ginn really the player you wanted to commit a top-10 pick to? Especially when he was coming off of an injury and was seen more as a dynamic kick returner than an elite, #1 receiver?

Here are a few players taken shortly after Ginn was picked #9: Patrick Willis (11), Marshawn Lynch (12) and Darrelle Revis (14). I was going to include Lawrence Timmons (15th-overall), but I don’t think Miami fans are going to think too fondly of that linebacker (though let’s be honest, he was still a better pick than Ginn).

But the Miami Dolphins had 10 draft picks in 2007, and should have been able to build a team with more than just a failed 1st-round pick, right? Alas, this is what they graced us with that year:

Paul Soliai in the 4th-round and Brandon Fields in the 7th-round ended up being phenomenal choices for the Dolphins, as both players combined to play 227 games with Miami. Even Samson Satele was a good selection in the 2nd-round; Miami just doesn’t understand their own talent and allowed Satele to be a good starting center for two other teams instead of their own.

The rest of that draft class? Combined to be active for 32 games with the Dolphins. All of which were off the team by the start of the 2008 season.

2008

Coming off of a 1-15 season that felt less like a rebuild and more like a purgatory, the Dolphins were now poised to genuinely begin their ascension with the 1st-overall selection in the draft.

The thing is, Miami’s biggest mistake wasn’t selecting Jake Long with the #1 overall pick, but bringing an archaic Bill Parcells on board to build a team for the future.

Parcells figured there was no sense having a franchise quarterback if there was no one to protect him (the opposite logic of what the Dolphins did with Ryan Tannehill throughout his career), and selected Jake Long to protect whoever’s blindside.

You might be able to excuse Parcells for selecting a potential hall of fame left tackle (for the first four years of their career) over Matt Ryan, since Miami did have 8 more draft picks that year. Instead, this is how the draft shook out:

Kendall Langford was a solid player on the Dolphins defensive line throughout his rookie contract, but other than Jake Long he was the only player to plug a hole on the roster. You can say Chad Henne played prominently for the Dolphins, but we all know he was a detriment more than a solution, and even forced Miami to pick yet another quarterback in the 2nd-round the following draft.

Phillip Merling gave us that exciting interception against Brett Favre and the New York Jets the year Chad Pennington led the team to the playoffs, but other than that, he was basically an extra 1st-round pick that ended up being a complete bust.

After two years and 19 draft picks, the Dolphins should have set themselves up to be a young team worth reckoning with. Looking back, there were really only 5 players that filled a capable roster spot: Satele, Soliai, Fields, Long and Langford. For reference, NFL rosters held 52 players…

2009

After two failed drafts and nearly 19 wasted draft picks, the Miami Dolphins actually got a draft right. This comes with the caveat that it’s the third-consecutive year in which the team is selecting a quarterback in the 2nd-round, so it tells you just how lost the Dolphins really are.

Pat White was a fascinating college athlete to watch, but he had no business being a quarterback in the NFL. The football community was stunned to see White selected so high, but the Dolphins envisioned a quarterback that could complete their wildcat offense and keep opposing defenses confused at all times.

The only confusion White caused was on Miami’s offense, because the playbook was extremely small for the limited quarterback, and the offense was stale at best.

Miami’s best selections came from Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. The team also envisioned having a pair of young, cheap, shutdown corners to give Tom Brady, Brett Favre and whoever the Buffalo Bills had hell. And they were really onto something for a little bit, but Joe Philbin‘s inability to handle egos mixed with some immaturity on the player’s side “forced” the Dolphins to trade Davis and allow Smith to leave in free agency.

At the time, this was a very good draft, but looking back at it, it’s just some more disappointment:

Brian Hartline received a contract extension with the team and probably outperformed all of our expectations. Maybe it speaks to the lack of playmakers the Dolphins have had over their history, but Hartline has the 7th most receiving yards and 9th most receptions in Dolphins history. We can knock the extension as a separate topic, but selecting Hartline in the 4th-round was a very good draft pick.

Chris Clemons ended up playing 80 games with the Dolphins and served as a valuable depth player for 5 seasons.

This can be deemed a good draft for the Dolphins, but the problem is, we’re excited the team was able to find 3 starters. While every team would love to say they found 3 starters in each draft, the Dolphins didn’t have much of a roster around those guys, which meant the team hadn’t rebuilt much of anything up to this point.

A budding franchise looking to sustain success is going to need more than a good #3 receiver to escape mediocrity.

2012

2012 was another very good draft for the Dolphins that saw virtually no sustained success going forward. This is the point where you have to wonder if the Miami Dolphins legitimately try to win or if they’re fine creating media headlines and bringing in ad revenue.

Ryan Tannehill was the first 1st-round quarterback the Dolphins selected since Dan Marino back in 1983. Between all of the excitement and optimism, fans were sold on the fact that Tannehill was going to turn the team around (after he firmly learned the quarterback position). His old coach at Texas A&M, Mike Sherman, was set to be his offensive coordinator, so you know Miami was really building this thing right because, you know, “chemistry”.

7 seasons later, and there are no surviving members of the 2012 draft class. In fact, only one of them made it past year 4 (Tannehill) – which also happens to be the same number of players eventually arrested from this draft class (Jonathan Martin).

How can a team sustain success when the team doesn’t sustain any of their successful players?

Olivier Vernon and Lamar Miller proved to be great risks that Jeff Ireland took. Coming right out of the Dolphins backyard from the University of Miami, Vernon and Miller were underclassmen that Ireland saw potential in. And he was right.

Both outperformed their draft status and earned themselves wealthy contracts in free agency. This goes back to the argument that the Dolphins are incompetent when it comes to signing their own draft picks, so overall, this draft doesn’t seem like much, but this draft could have been much more than a free agent payday for 3 of their selections.

Rishard Matthews was one of the best 7th-round picks in Dolphins history, but Philbin’s deadpan personality placed Matthews on the bench for most of his rookie contract rather than the starting lineup ahead of players like B.J. Cunningham and Legedu Naanee.

As of 2019, the Dolphins are still looking for a player at every position from the list of 2012 draft picks (QB, RT, DE, TE, LB, WR and DT). You can say Miami doesn’t need a running back, but that’s also the easiest position to find and it’s not even like the team currently has a solidified running back room anyway.

2013

Identifying a “can’t-miss” athlete in an inactive market, Jeff Ireland made one of the best draft-day trades of the century and traded the team’s 1st-round pick (12th-overall) and 2nd-round pick (42nd-overall) to move up to #3 overall. That kind of trade would be unheard of today, where those top picks are commodities that you have to pry away with current and future draft capital.

So what did the Dolphins do with their robbery? Select a stellar athlete with a history of demons that rivals that of Josh Gordon.

Dion Jordan was built to be a football player, but he never actually wanted to be a football player. He wanted to escape reality and realized this was a profession he was good at. Fortunately for Jordan, but unfortunately for the Dolphins, Jordan took 5 years to mature past all of those inner turmoils and emerge as a defensive threat.

But like the theme of this article, his success doesn’t benefit the Miami Dolphins one bit.

Dion Jordan wasn’t the only player to fail Miami’s expectations yet perform better elsewhere.

2nd-round pick Jamar Taylor was always hampered by injuries and was shipped to the Cleveland Browns for a 27 slot draft boost in the 7th-round (a farcry from #54 overall). Dion Sims was a solid backup and blocking tight end before cashing in with the Chicago Bears. Mike Gillislee was a decent kick returner who has seen a good amount of success as a running back with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots. Even Caleb Sturgis was viewed as a “bust” and has since played 36 games for other teams.

You could argue that Don Jones was Miami’s best draft pick behind Dion Sims that year, and that’s only because he was a very good gunner on special teams.

Truth is, the Dolphins have had plenty of opportunities to rebuild and yet, years later, here we are, still trying to rebuild. So now that Chris Grier has ultimate control, will this be the rebuild the Dolphins finally turn it around? 6th time’s a charm, right?

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Miami Dolphins

Free Agent Analysis: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick

Travis Wingfield

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Buckle up, Phins Fans – the Fitzmagic Roller Coaster is coming to your town

Ryan Fitzpatrick is on his eight NFL team following a circuitous route that spans 14 seasons as a professional football player. The journeyman stopgap heads to America’s retirement home on a two-year contract that starts at $11 million and could escalate to $20 million if unspecified incentives are met.

Though details of the contract’s structure are not yet available, it’s a near certainty that the bulk of the money will be paid out in year-one. With the Dolphins eating a chunk of dead cap, and pushing assets down the road, this move not only helps Miami get closer to the salary floor, it secures a sturdy backup quarterback for the 2020 season.

Whether it’s Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm or any other quarterback prospect, Fitzpatrick has been heralded for his calm demeanor and approach to providing this very important element to his past teams.

Barring a trade-up for one of the top two prospects in this draft Fitzpatrick will be under-center when the Dolphins open the season on the second Sunday in September. Only one September ago, Fitzpatrick was on an unprecedented roll for a quarterback of his caliber – of any caliber, really.

After the three-game stretch of consecutive 400 yard outputs, Fitzpatrick throttled into a nosedive throwing for less than 250 yards in four of his next five starts. Cumulatively, his passer rating on the season was 100.4, but he failed to eclipse the 90.0 mark in all but one of his final six starts.

The strengths and weaknesses of Fitzpatrick’s game are abundantly clear. Where the flashes with Ryan Tannehill provided false hope, Fitzpatrick is an open book – it only takes a couple of games of all-22 to figure out exactly who he is.

First, the strengths. I’ve talked at length about the importance of a backup quarterback providing the locker room and huddle with a sense of comradery. Whether it’s this season or next, Fitzpatrick will eventually be relegated to the number-two QB. The Ewing Theory suggests that the rest of the roster can elevate its game when the backup enters the lineup, but that typically only applies when said backup is likable.

That clip also showcases the gamer-mentality of Fitzpatrick. With reckless abandon, he’ll take a hit for his team in a way you’d never want your franchise quarterback to play.

As for Fitzpatrick the starter, the strength of his game is also his biggest weakness. He trusts his eyes as much as any quarterback going right now and will let ‘er rip without hesitation. There’s a hint of Matt Moore in his game where he evaluates pre-snap and makes quick decisions based on the leverage of the defense.

The first touchdown of the season for Tampa Bay provides a terrific example of Fitzpatrick’s ability to move the defense with his eyes and hips. The clip also showcases his strength as a play-action passer when given a comfortable pocket.

There’s a reason he’s been on eight teams in 14 years, however. That anticipation, coupled with sloppy mechanics, gets him into a lot of hot water. If the defense is at all nuanced, and capable of disguising coverage, he’s going to turn the ball over a heck of a lot.

Randomly, the ball will sail as he is prone to rushing his setup and spraying bullets all over the field. Pressure in his face only amplifies this shortcoming.

All things told, this was the best veteran option available both in terms of playing time and veteran mentor to the inevitable draft pick coming in a year or two. There will be equal parts excitement and sheer frustration with Fitzpatrick playing in Miami.

As far as the Tank for Tua conversation, this signing likely solidifies that Miami will not be the worst team in football. I’ve argued that they would never reach those valleys to begin, even with a rookie or Luke Falk under-center. I believe too strongly in Brian Flores and the staff he has assembled for this team to lose a number of games in the teens. Fitzpatrick at least gets Miami out of the massive hole of unworthy NFL quarterback territory.

Ideally, the Dolphins find their quarterback straight away and never have to start Fitzpatrick. The more likely outcome is that he starts the season and puts the Dolphins in a tough spot regarding the playing time incentives in his contract.

This signing is great from a financial standpoint right now, but if the Harvard product (had to get it in) starts hitting those contract escalators, that would not be ideal.

@WingfieldNFL

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