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Miami Dolphins

5 Most Disappointing Miami Dolphins of 2018

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In a year littered with disappointment, it was hard to pick 5 players that outweighed the others.

On one hand, we didn’t have to bribe a quarterback out of retirement, Miami’s bye week occurred right on time, and no one was (caught) snorting cocaine at the office.

By most accounts, 2018 was actually an improvement over its predecessor. But that improvement doesn’t mean we weren’t disappointed with the outcome.

Our savior, Ryan Tannehill, was finally back after being resurrected for a 7th NFL season. Our mad scientist, Adam Gase, finally recruited the army of minions he always wanted; building “his” culture.

And then Miami finished 7-9; right back into the same familiar territory any Dolphins fan under 30-years old is used to.

While there is plenty of blame to go around, we can focus that energy on a handful of players who decided to stand up above the rest and become our 5 most disappointing players of 2018:

5) Charles Harris

Based on his 2017 performance and his 2018 salary, Charles Harris performed as expected. But that’s the problem, he was simply “Just A Guy”.

Former 1st-round picks don’t always pan out, but the hope is that they develop into cheap roster space that can supplement the more-expensive veterans on the roster.

Miami already had a dud of a 1st-round pick in DeVante Parker, so they really couldn’t afford another one in Harris. Though ultimately, it’s what they deserve.

Similar to DeVante Parker (and Mike Gesicki, as well as others), the Dolphins believed they could take a “talented” athlete and turn them into a football player. They were wrong in the past, and they are wrong once again. The last time the Dolphins went against that train of thought, and drafted a football player while ignoring the person’s (possibly lackluster) physical attributes, they drafted Jarvis Landry.

It’s possible Harris still evolves and develops, especially with a new coaching staff. But with a new defensive scheme expected to be implemented, Harris is an odd-man out. His ability to diagnose the run and set the edge is poor, he isn’t reliable in coverage, and his pass-rushing ability isn’t great either, which means he’ll be unable to survive in a 3-4 defensive front as an outside linebacker. And in this scheme, he’s too skinny to play with his hand in the dirt.

You have a better likelihood of William Hayes returning and being more productive than Charles Harris.

Like a bunch of other players on the roster, it’ll be interesting to see if the team tries to get something in return for the underwhelming defensive end. Though I’m hesitant to think that the team will desperately trade their under-performing talent, as Chris Grier was behind the selections of Harris, Parker and Gesicki; selling these players for pennies on the dollar is admitting a defeat that Grier might not be able to afford to admit.

Although it’s easy to play this game in retrospect, Miami drafting Harris at 22 cost them players like Evan Engram (drafted one spot after Harris, at 23), Jabrill Peppers (25), Takkarist McKinley (26), Tre’Davious White (27), David Njoku (29), T.J. Watt (30) and Ryan Ramczyk (32). Or in other words, everyone drafted after Harris in the 1st-round was a better option other than Reuben Foster. Even Taco Charlton has been more-productive than Harris, and at least he comes with a name we could meme.

4) Mike Gesicki

Saying the Miami Dolphins drafted the worst tight end in the 2018 NFL draft is actually not that much of an exaggeration. The only tight ends that performed less than Gesicki were either injured before their careers could get started, or they were lower-round draft picks. 1st-round pick Hayden Hurst did have less receptions and less yards than Gesicki, but he also participated in 4 less games than the former Penn State tight end.

Combined with the lackluster performance of our other rookie tight end, Durham Smythe, it’s clear this team is working without any production from a quarterback’s friendliest receiver.

While Smythe’s production can be excused because of his blocking ability, there is nothing we can excuse with Gesicki.

Another example of a superior athlete that has no business being on the football field, Gesicki was drafted to be the redzone threat the Dolphins have been missing since Charles Clay.

Instead, his biggest threat came when the defender had no idea what Gesicki was doing…only to find out he was tripping on air and falling before he could break his route. Sometimes he didn’t even break his block before falling to the ground.

If you enjoyed teasing Brian Hartline for all of the shoestring tackles he endured, you’d get a real kick out of Gesicki’s phantom falls.

Also, this never happened:

3) DeVante Parker

You would think DeVante Parker’s inclusion on this list would have more to do with the culmination of his NFL career rather than the 2018 season alone; but even by Parker’s standards this was a poor year.

Regardless of the statistic, Parker had the worst year of his career:

  • Receptions: 24 (next lowest: 26, Year: 2015)
  • Targets: 47 (50, 2015)
  • Yards: 309 (494, 2015)
  • Yards per Reception: 12.9 (11.8, 2017)
  • Touchdowns: 1 (1, 2017)

This also coincides with Parker’s least-taxing season on his body, as he had his lowest snap count of his 4-year career.

  • 2018: 411
  • 2017: 675
  • 2016: 735
  • 2015: 468

Of course injuries play a part in this, but it’s not like the injuries are anything new for Parker. Over his career, Parker has been active for 55 (out of a possible 65) games (84.62%), but his status has been suspect in most of those games. What’s more eye-opening is the fact that Parker has started just 31 games out of a possible 65 in his career (47.69%). For a former 1st-round pick, that’s undesirable.

Offering the 5th-year extension to a constantly-injured and eternally-inconsistent player was evidence enough that the Miami Dolphins still believed Parker could eventually shine as the beacon of hope we originally (and continued to) believe he could be. Instead, there’s a good chance Parker is on another roster in 2019.

2) Robert Quinn

Mike Tannenbaum couldn’t stay away from shiny objects. Ndamukong Suh was exhibit A, and Robert Quinn is the latest attraction.

A former 2x Pro Bowler and First-team All-Pro over half a decade ago, the thought of obtaining someone who has a history of multiple-sack seasons in their early-20s was too much for Tannenbaum to pass up on.

Sold as a player the Dolphins could fix because the Los Angeles Rams were playing Quinn out of position and the Rams have no clue what they’re doing, Quinn was brought on to cover up the other mistake Tannenbaum made by drafting Charles Harris in the 1st-round of the 2017 draft.

After toying with Ndamukong Suh, overpaying Andre Branch, continuously paying Cameron Wake and obtaining Robert Quinn, we finally figured we had it all together.


Quinn had a decent second-half of the year, but it wasn’t enough to mask the disappointment we felt the first 10 weeks of the season.

As the most expensive player on the team (cap hit wise), Quinn was expected to change the course of games – simultaneously forcing the opposing quarterback off his rhythm AND making life easier on the secondary – and instead, he finished with 6.5 sacks, 38 total tackles and only 9 tackles for a loss. He did hit the quarterback 15 times, but he also started 16 games for the Dolphins, so that average is still underwhelming. (For reference, Wake hit the QB 17 times in 14 starts – and that was a “down” year for him).

Rebuilding in 2019 may be the blessing the Miami Dolphins need in order to purge themselves of these shiny objects they believe they can “turn around”. They do a good job of obtaining guys who may bounce back (Branch, T.J. McDonald, Kiko Alonso), but they do a terrible job paying them.

Just to solidify how poor the team handled Robert Quinn, I give you an excerpt from an article by Jason Lieser back in June of 2018. It’s a tad long, but it encompasses this team’s inability pretty well:

“…When the Rams offered [Quinn] for the mere price of a fourth-round pick. Miami defensive coordinator Matt Burke thought Adam Gase must have been messing with him.

“Yes, I’m good,” Burke replied. “Absolutely, 100 percent. I’m on board.”

Still, Gase insisted they do their due diligence anyway, so Burke went to freshly hired defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and told him they needed to watch Quinn’s film from last season to make sure there weren’t any red flags. It’d have to be a quick review because Mike Tannenbaum, Gase and Chris Grier didn’t want this opportunity to get away from them.”

On the opposite end, the Rams were celebrating as they relieved themselves of Quinn’s huge cap hit, allowing them to spend more-freely on the rest of their roster. This allowed them acquire the likes of Aquib Talib, Marcus Peters and Ndamukong Suh. I don’t think I even need to ask which scenario you’d rather have.

Honorable Mentions

Below are some additional players that disappointed us this season…just not enough to revel in the pantheon of under-performers:

Stephone Anthony – Is it really his fault he was a 1st-round bust for another team and our team stupidly paid a 5th-round pick to relieve them of their problem?

Andre Branch – Even though we knew he would be bad, he was atrocious. He actually disappointed our already nonexistent expectations.

Isaac Asiata – Asiata hasn’t contributed in the past and he continued his lack of contributions in 2018.

Jesse Davis – Davis played all 920 offensive snaps for the Dolphins this season, but he was expected to evolve; instead, he regressed somewhat mightily. His reliability saves him from being on this list.

Ted Larsen – He filled in and contributed 751 snaps at left guard, so it’s hard to fault him for his reliability. He was also reliably bad, so I guess we can’t fault him for being consistent, either. Larsen is also one of the main reasons why we beat the New England Patriots last season, so he gets a pass from the bottom-5.

Jordan Phillips – Phillips wasn’t on the roster long enough to completely disappoint us,  but his entire career has easily been a disappointment. So, like Andre Branch, his 2018 production isn’t a surprise, it’s just continuously disappointing. This is one draft bust we won’t forget, but we certainly won’t miss.

1) Ryan Tannehill

Come on, did you really expect it to be anyone else?

After starting 3-0 and being well on his way to purging any thought that he wasn’t a franchise quarterback, Ryan Tannehill shed his ironman status and missed time for his third-straight season.

Finishing the season at 5-6 as a starting quarterback, the future for Ryan Tannehill in Miami is about as bleak as the Dolphins projected record in 2019.

Statistically speaking, Tannehill didn’t have a “poor” season. Over the course of his 6 years as a starter, Tannehill’s stats were about as good as they have been:

  • Completion %: 3rd (best in his career – out of 6 seasons)
  • TD %: 1st
  • Yards per Attempt: tied-2nd
  • Yards per Reception: 4th
  • QB Rating: 3rd
  • Game Winning Drives: tied-1st

This probably explains why we should have discovered this problem earlier. 2018 was right on par with the rest of his Dolphins career. Problem is, it featured no evolution. No quarterback whisperer seducing him in his ear. No reason to believe that 2019 will be any better than 2018 (or 2017 or 2016 or any other year this century).

Between injuries, inconsistent quarterback play, inconsistent offensive line play, and an offensive gameplan that was predictably stale, our judgement is still clouded on the 7-year quarterback. We’re done with Tannehill because we don’t want to go through another year of uncertainty, not necessarily because he’s a poor choice.

We watch him do this:

And then we watch him do this:

Teammates simultaneously praise him and bash him as both a leader and a player. If the Miami Dolphins can’t mold Ryan Tannehill into a consistent franchise quarterback, it might be time to give someone else a try. Because all he’s going to do next year is continue to disappoint us.

Growing up a passionate Dolphins fan in Jets territory, Jason learned from an early age that life as a Dolphins fan wasn’t going to be easy. Previously the Sports Editor for his university newspaper, Jason has experience writing columns, creating game recaps and conducting interviews with Hall of Fame athletes (Harry Carson and Yogi Berra are two of his proudest interviews). When he’s not dissecting the latest sports news, you can find him perplexed over the Dolphins offensive line woes or involuntarily introducing music to his neighbors.



  1. Avatar


    February 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    I don’t think Robert Quinn deserved to be on the list. Newcomers, I think should get a pass on their first year. I would have put Asiata or Anthony in there instead. He did struggle for most of the year but that last quarter the d-line really played well and Quinn was the star in that bunch as he accumulated 3 sacks, 3 TFLs and 5 qb hits in that timespan.

    • Jason Hrina

      Jason Hrina

      March 1, 2019 at 11:22 am

      He did step up towards the end of the year, Melody, I agree! From my perspective, his inclusion centers more around his cap hit as well as the cost it took to acquire him (4th-round pick). It hit us pretty hard in two different areas and he didn’t make too much of a difference until that final stretch. I’m not against bringing Robert Quinn back and think he can still perform, it would just have to be on a much cheaper contract than what he cost us in 2018. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll get the chance and I think Miami parts ways with him in 2019.

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Miami Dolphins

Tua Yards Away, One Step Closer – Miami-Washington Week 6 Recap

Travis Wingfield



Dolphins 2-Point Conversion Fails, Team Falls to 0-5

It’s difficult to imagine a better game-script for the Dolphins fan that finds him/herself in the cumbersome position of rooting for better draft positioning. A chance to win on the game’s final play, a strong effort and overall improvement, but the ultimate prize remains unspoiled for a team in transition. For the first time this season, the box score didn’t tip heavily in the opposition’s favor.


Stat Dolphins Washington
Total Yards 271 311
Rushing 84 145
Passing 187 166
Penalties 5 (45 yards) 6 (56 yards)
3rd / 4thDown 5/16 (31.3%) 2/11 (18.2%)
Sacks For 0 5
TOP 32:39 27:21


The Dolphins were dead in the water under the direction of second-year quarterback Josh Rosen. His three quarters of work produced a pair of interception, five sacks and three points from the Dolphins offense.

Enter Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The fired-up Fitzmagic passed for 132 fourth quarter yards en route to two Dolphin touchdown drives. The final play of the game — a failed two-point conversion dropped by Kenyan Drake — was the third bizarre play in critical situations during Miami’s ferocious surge.

A common play in today’s league — especially from Chad O’Shea’s New England influence — Drake short-motioned into the formation behind a pair of bunched receivers. The throw was a little bit off Drake’s back hip, but the back never secured the ball, ending the play before it had ever a chance.

On an earlier third down and nine, nine-year veteran Center Daniel Kilgore rolled a snap to Fitzpatrick that killed the drive. The possession prior, Fitzpatrick threw a hook-up route over the middle to Mike Gesicki, who had already been thrown to the ground. If any of those three plays is executed, Miami probably comes out of this game with a victory.

Though out-gained for the fifth-consecutive game, the Dolphins moved the chains 21 times to Washington’s 13 first downs. Miami also won the time-of-possession battle for the first time, and scored multiple touchdowns in a game for the first time.

There was enough energy and excitement to fulfil the quota for an admirable Dolphins effort, but the scoreboard not only keeps Miami in the driver’s seat for the first pick of the draft, it essentially gives the Dolphins a two-game buffer over Washington.

With strength of schedule serving as the only draft order tie-breaker, Washington’s likely greater S.O.S. means that if both teams finished with the same number of victories, the higher pick would go to Miami.

The only team left in Miami’s way is the 0-6 Cincinnati Bengals.

Let’s get to the individuals.


Last week, on The Locked On Dolphins Podcast, I referenced an article that featured quotes from prominent NFL Draft busts at the quarterback position. Joey Harrington and Brady Quinn discussed the difficult circumstances surrounding their respective insertions into the league. To summarize, they both feel that situations can ruin quarterbacks.

That feels prevalent in the case of Josh Rosen. From an armchair evaluator that was never big on Rosen’s game, the flaws he’s exhibiting have been developed. Consistently lifting his feet upon release, stepping out of clean platforms and into traffic, the kid has no trust in his surrounding parts or his own ability to dissect the defense.

His timing remains late, he’s not managing the pocket and finding space even at the level he was three weeks ago, and everything looks like a challenge for him in this offense.

Rosen will start going forward, I suppose, but this is broken quarterback that needs some time in the shop.

Fitzpatrick was excellent. He provided that classic, bearded spark that rejuvenates the team in a pinch. He was on-time, accurate, and navigated the same pass protection with no issues (no sacks, no turnovers).

Running Backs

The most interesting factoid from this position group came from Kenyan Drake’s post-game presser. Mark Walton began the game as Miami’s starting back, and Drake revealed that the two-point conversion play call had been repped all week by the Dolphins apparent new starter, and former Hurricane, Mark Walton.

Walton, after blowing a pass protection assignment on Miami’s first possession, was the most creative runner for the Dolphins. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry, a season-high for a Phins back, on six carries. Walton’s production was greater in the passing game. He caught another five for 43 yards, giving him 75 yards from scrimmage on the game.

Drake consistently churned out yards as well (10 for 40). He added six receptions for 30 yards — he and Walton’s 15 targets made up more than a third of Miami’s target-share.

Then, there’s the forgotten man, Kalen Ballage. He had three carries and no pass targets. Though Ballage bulldozed into the end zone on a goal line plunge, he has been almost entirely phased out of the offense. He’s essentially a short yardage back at this stage — can’t catch, can’t play tailback in this offense.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

It was a lot of fun to see the Dolphins receivers make some plays in a functioning offense. Devante Parker’s touchdown reception was an extremely difficult catch sliding into the end zone (go out in your backyard and try to catch a ball at your knee caps in a full sprint).

Preston Williams catch-rate remains atrocious (caught 2 of 6 targets Sunday), but his 21-yard stab on Miami’s final touchdown drive put the offense in scoring range.

Mike Gesicki is coming on, and I will not shut up about out from now until further notice. The athletic ability to catch contested balls up the seam should not be underplayed, and that catch he made to start that final drive was a godsend for this offense.

We’ll have more to say about the other tight ends in the film room session on Wednesday’s podcast.

Offensive Line

Another week of shuffling, another week of heading back to the drawing board — or is it? With Rosen in the game, the line was manhandled (five sacks). Once Fitzpatrick entered, the quarterback remained clean, and the offense produced at a rate better than league average (13 points on four drives, more than a point better than NFL average).

Jesse Davis was a tough watch at left tackle before the injury, and things did not get better working on the right side. He’s frequently a beat slow, and can’t gain the necessary depth to take on elite speed rushers. And calling Ryan Kerrigan’s speed rush elite at this stage is probably generous.

Michael Deiter remains a considerable work in progress. His tendency to get out over his skies, which makes him vulnerable to tackles that can rush effectively with lateral agility, shows up on tape each week.

J’Marcus Webb continues to struggle with speed rushes off the blindside edge, but that should be expected. After all, Webb was a street free agent. Miami found a way to help him as much as possible, but the leaks from the other side caused Miami to dial up even more max protection.

Isaiah Prince is serving the role that I always thought was best for him — sixth lineman when the formation goes heavy. I’m intrigued to look at the job he did in that role today, but I don’t have that evaluation ready just yet.

Defensive Line

Christian Wilkins is getting better as this season goes along, and that should realistically be the most important development on the roster. Wilkins’ ability to collapse pockets from the inside will determine what kind of line this group is going to be on the other side of the rebuild. He’s not getting many opportunities to do it just yet, but he’s showing up every week with impressive reps against good players.

Taco Charlton has replaced Charles Harris at the left defensive end position. We’ll have snap counts tomorrow, but Charlton is a fundamentally sound edge defender that typically funnels things back inside — something Harris struggled to grasp for 2.5 years.

John Jenkins put a nice move on Washington Left Guard Ereck Flowers, but was quiet for the rest of the game.


Raekwon McMillan is probably the team’s MVP to this point. He’s a decisive run defender that finds his fit and explodes through contact. This staff has discovered the best route for McMillan to be an effective player, and he’s rising to that challenge.

Jerome Baker was better in this game. He was able to put pressure on the quarterback at least a couple of times from my count, including a nifty inside move on Washington’s Left Tackle.

Vince Biegel is an interesting rush-package player — he was in the Washington backfield at times.

Deon Lacey was with Miami in camp a few summers back. He went to Buffalo and contributed on special teams, but he’s back in South Florida doing the same thing for the Dolphins.

Defensive Backs

Xavien Howard practiced throughout the week, but didn’t play Sunday, and the impact was palpable. Washington Rookie Terry McLaurin made big plays in Howard’s absence, including a touchdown against his replacement, Ken Webster.

Eric Rowe had his best game as a Dolphin. He showed recovery speed and made plays on the football a couple of times.

The same was true of rookie Nik Needham. After his call-up from the practice squad, Needham had a pass breakup and didn’t allow any catches on the day.

Reshad Jones was active against the Washington run-heavy attack. He picked up nine tackles and was a regular in the backfield.

Bobby McCain’s had a good day that included a crucial pass break-up in the end zone, but it was his profanity-laced interview post-game that caught reporter’s attention. Expressing this frustration should come as no surprise for a team captain that pours his all into this game.


The Fitzpatrick jolt should provide fans with some confidence in the coaching and the plan going forward. Suddenly, the passing concepts were effective, Miami found chunk plays to the backs, and Gesicki was unlocked up the seam.

Brian Flores’ and Patrick Graham’s defensive structure has been sound for the most part this season, and the defense’s effort was good enough to win. Washington scored 17 points on 12 possessions Sunday. The rush scheme, and consequent effort to fill those vacated areas, made life difficult on Washington’s antiquated offensive attack.

The Dolphins simply have to get better in multiple areas from a talent standpoint. The quarterback play, the offensive line, the interior rotation and edge rush, and secondary all need an infusion of players. The draft capital will allow Miami to put premium assets into those groups, then, and only then, can we adequately judge this Dolphins staff.

The Steelers are railroading the Chargers currently, so the dream for a pair of top-three picks will be put on hold, for now.

Miami’s battle with Cincinnati for the top pick could come down to a week 16 showdown in South Florida. The Bengals do have dates with Pittsburgh, the Jets, Dolphins, and up-and-down Browns to round out the season.

Given the Dolphins weak S.O.S., a victory shouldn’t interrupt the Miami’s collision course with the first pick next April. Washington’s remaining slate features only two more losing teams — it’s difficult to find another win for a team that survived a last-minute scare from the NFL’s unanimous doormat.

A win today would’ve made the path to the first pick treacherous. The loss instead, however, keeps Miami in the catbird seat to land Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.


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NFL Draft

Scouting College Football’s Top 2020 QB Prospects – Week 7

Travis Wingfield



Recapping Week 7 of the College Football Season

During the college season, here on Locked On Dolphins, we’re going to keep an eye on quarterbacks all throughout the country. Our primary focus will be on the big four, the options that Miami will likely choose from with an early pick in the 2020 draft.

Those quarterbacks are:

Tua Tagovailoa Scouting Report
Jake Fromm Scouting Report
Justin Herbert Scouting Report
Jordan Love Scouting Report

2019 Week 1 Recap
2019 Week 2 Recap
2019 Week 3 Recap
2019 Week 4 Recap
2019 Week 5 Recap
2019 Week 6 Recap

*LSU’s Joe Burrow has been added to the prospect watch list.

We’ll go in chronological order from when the games were played.

Justin Herbert vs. Colorado,Win 45-3
Stats: 18/33 (54.5%) 261 yards (7.9 YPA) 2 TDs

Regardless of what happens throughout Justin Herbert’s professional career, he will flash moments of brilliance. The consistency of those spurts, however, remains uncertain. When the defense reacts according to the play call, it’s over. Herbert’s ability to quickly drive the ball down the field excites scouts everywhere.

The issue of inconsistency remains, well, consistent. Lapses in accuracy, proper mechanical alignment and anticipatory throws raise concerns over Herbert’s ability to translate at the next level. When there’s no urgency, everything is rosy. Herbert can adequately process and adjust his throw type when he’s free of adverse circumstances.

When Herbert is forced to speed things up — get away from an unexpected free rusher, anticipate a route opening up against the leverage of the defense — errors occur. Balls on the wrong hip/shoulder, late throws into tight windows, there’s a lack of trust in what he sees post-snap.

The upside is difficult to ignore, but those issues have to become hardwired corrections for Herbert to ever realize that potential.

Jake Fromm vs. South Carolina, Loss 20-17 (OT)
Stats: 28/51 (54.9%) 295 yards (5.78 YPA) 1TD, 3 INTs

The first 54 minutes of this game were a struggle from Fromm and the Georgia offense. After early success that has Fromm accomplishing whatever he wanted against the Gamecock defense — man or zone — Fromm’s decision making and location went south during a 42-minute scoring drought.

The good version of Fromm showed anticipation, timing and location on point, as they all typically are. Fromm’s interception on a throwaway attempt to close out the first half started a cascade of poor football. His accuracy waned, his normally perfect communication with the receivers went awry, and Georgia trailed with just six minutes to play at home against an inferior football team. Fromm also lost a fumble on a failed quarterback-center exchange on the doorstep of the red zone.

Executing a 96-yard, game-tying drive when he had to have it speaks highly to Fromm’s character. The NFL will present adversity, and Fromm has showcased the ability to overcome hurdles. Still, at the end of the day, he made too mistakes for Georgia to win this game.

One week after elevating his draft stock ahead of Justin Herbert and Jordan Love, Fromm comes back to earth and makes one thing abundantly clear — there’s a big gap between Tua and the rest of this class.

Tua Tagovailoa at Texas A&M, Win 47-28
Stats: 21/34 (61.8%) 293 yards (8.62 YPA) 4 TDs, 1 INT

On a day where Tua wasn’t as finely tuned as we’ve come to expect, he surpasses A.J. McCarron for the career touchdown passes record at Alabama with another four touchdown day. Tua’s second touchdown was a classic example of his pre-snap acumen, post-snap mechanical alignment, and precise ball location against an A&M blitz. Quickly getting to his spot and setup, Tua throws it right in behind the blitz and right on the bullseye for a big play.

The fourth touchdown was a fantastic anticipation strike to Henry Ruggs. Tagovailoa’s trust in his own eyes and processor allows him to anticipate better than any passer in the country.

He also showcased his fluid pocket mobility. Whether it’s escaping, or climbing up and wading through the trash, the only thing more dangerous than Tua on-script, is the improvising version of Tua.

The trust can lead to some mistakes and easy turnovers, however. Tua’s interception was a carbon copy of one of his INTs in the SEC Championship Game in 2018 against Georgia. Tua checked his backside read and attacked play side with the information he gathered. He was wrong in thinking the safety was bailing out. Instead, the safety robbed a dig route from Jeudy, and Tua was late with the football for an easy pick.

There were additional accuracy issues (available in the video thread) in the game, but not by a significant margin. Typically, when he makes a mistake, he erases the wrongdoing on the next play. Tua can play better, certainly, but I sometimes wonder if we hold him to an unrealistic standard.

A career 9:1 TD:INT ratio will do that (81 TDs, 9 INTs).

Joe Burrow vs. Florida, Win 42-28
Stats: 21/24 (87.5%) 293 yards (12.2 YPA) 3 TDs

Kirk Herbstreit said it best early fourth quarter after Joe Burrow beat another Gators blitz. Herbie referred to Burrow having all the answers for the looks Florida threw at him, and it led to a strong, efficient performance.

Burrow not only threw on-time and on-target within the structure of the offense, he navigated murky pockets and extended plays with big results.

Burrow’s growth in year-two in this offensive system makes for a master attacking the middle, intermediate portion of the field. Dropping the ball in behind linebackers and underneath the safeties, Burrow’s accuracy on crossing routes leads to big plays after the catch for the talented Tigers receivers.

Burrow forced his way into this discussion. The big four have become the big five and Burrow could wind up top-three if he continues this success.


We’re entering the portion of the season where we can begin to compare common opponents. Fromm earned his way into QB2 status with steady, consistent play through six weeks, but Fromm had his ugliest showing of the year Saturday.

That three-interception performance comes against a defense that Tua carved up for 444 yards and five touchdowns. The already significant gap between QB1 and QB1 increased after the performances of Tagovailoa and Fromm this weekend.

Herbert has nothing to prove against inferior foes. His physical talents are too much for poor defense, especially units that are poorly coached like Colorado. For Herbert to enter QB2 status, he’ll have to show out in adverse circumstances — something he really hasn’t done in his career.

Love was off this week; perhaps the bye week we’ll supplement his familiarity in yet another system. Burrow has passed all of his tests this season, but he still has a way to go before he’s even considered a one-year wonder.

Half way through the college football season, my quarterback big board goes:

  1. Tua Tagoavailoa
  2. Jake Fromm
  3. Jordan Love
  4. Joe Burrow
  5. Justin Herbert


Additional Prospect Video Threads

Alabama Linebacker, Anfernee Jennings

Oklahoma Center, Creed Humphrey

Oklahoma Wide Receiver, Ceedee Lamb

Oklahoma Linebacker, Kenneth Murray

LSU Edge, K’Lavon Chaisson

Penn State Edge, Yetur Gross-Matos

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Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins Aren’t Tanking, They Just Suck

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of people want to tell you that the Miami Dolphins are tanking, and depending on how they’re looking at it, they’re either entirely right or woefully wrong.

You see, each player on this football team is attempting to put forth their best effort. They are trotting onto the field branding aqua and orange with the intent of being as successful as they can be.

There may be particular instances where a player prioritizes their health over a few extra yards, but overall, they aren’t going out there just to collect a paycheck.

These people have played football their entire lives. It’s insulting to assume they aren’t trying to maximize the one thing they’ve passionately performed since they were a toddler.

It’s also insulting to assume that this fanbase is so oblivious and naive that rooting to lose means they are not a “real fan”.

When linebacker Jerome Baker called out Dolphins fans (that are actively rooting for a “tank”), he was making a fair point, but he did so without acknowledging what these fans are actually rooting for deep down.

There isn’t a single fan that genuinely enjoys losing. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that fans are rooting for one miserable season with the hope that it breeds 10 successful ones.

But Baker is right, the players are performing as hard as they can. They’re pridefully going out there and trying to build their resumes for the other 31 teams to see. These snaps will be meaningless in a few weeks (when the Dolphins are unofficially eliminated from the playoffs), but you can’t sell that to a person looking to boost (or, heck, just ensure) a paycheck going forward.

The thing is, the performance that these players are putting out there is the reason why Miami is not just 0-4, but historically one of the worst teams in NFL history.

The front office may have helped create this mess, but they aren’t the reason why people assume the players aren’t trying.

A Surprising Development

2019 was supposed to be a season filled with growth and progress. Establish who your building blocks are, and mold them into a youthful core that can lead the new franchise quarterback to victory.

But all of that growth and progress we expected to see has been virtually nonexistent. In fact, there have been more “surprises” than there have been developments that we can rely on. And while that’s great for the players we had lower expectations for, it speaks minimally for either the players we expected to develop, or the coaching staff we expected to develop them.

Raekwon McMillan has been Miami’s best linebacker so far this season. Though we have to provide the caveat that it comes with a limited snap count, McMillan has been a force in the running game. Did McMillan have too much on his plate last year? Did he finally (fully) recover from his torn ACL in 2017? Is he flourishing without the expectations? Is this really just a flash in the pan?

It’s hard to pinpoint why McMillan has improved so much this season, but this is a welcomed site to see. I’m not expecting 2020 starting middle linebacker or even an elite talent from the former second-round pick, but McMillan has gone from an afterthought to a necessity on this 2019 team.

With just 121 snaps (compared to Sam Eguavoen‘s 251 and Jerome Baker’s 279), I hope defensive coordinator Patrick Graham finds a way to incorporate McMillan a bit more.

After watching the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals for 5 weeks, fans are legitimately concerend that Josh Rosen will win too many games this year. While judging Rosen has always been one of the primary objectives of 2019, it was only 3 weeks ago that we expected Ryan Fitzpatrick to start a majority of the season because Rosen wasn’t picking up (or processing) the playbook well enough.

If it weren’t for so many dropped passes, Rosen would have a handful of highlights that make you think he’s the guy. Instead, those drops may be an omen that the Dolphins franchise quarterback isn’t currently on the roster.

But this is where the surprising storylines end. There have been plenty of other surprising developments in 2019, but none of them have been good. It’s these (lack of) developments that further explain why everyone believes the Dolphins are tanking.

Lack of Player Development

It all started somewhat shockingly before the season began when Vincent Taylor was cut. The former 6th-round pick was expected to be a starting defensive tackle for the next couple of years; instead, he was removed from the roster entirely with little explanation why.

Different coaching staffs have different philosophies and playing styles, but Taylor was a productive player with plenty of potential. Whether it was his attitude or the shape he was in when he reported to camp, Miami found a reason to remove a budding talent. Can’t blame the players for taking talent off the roster.

Linebacker Sam Eguavoen was expected to become a future starting linebacker for this team. And while he’s still raw, he hasn’t shown the same level of potential that fellow former CFL transfer Cameron Wake displayed when he joined Miami.

Next to John Denney, Jason Sanders was the only player you had unwavering confidence in.

Sanders has missed as many kicks through 4 games than he did in all of 2018. After making 18 of 20 kicks (and 35 of 36 PATs) in 2018, Sanders has made just 4 of 7 FGs so far this season. Are we adding kicker to the list of holes this team has to plug in 2020?

Jerome Baker hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype. Is it the extra work stacked on his plate? Is it just a sophomore slump?

We expected Baker to be a jack-of-all-trades linebacker who could cover the pass, stunt the run and rush the quarterback. So far, he seems a bit over his head. Granted, he receives minimal help around him, but this defensive front isn’t that much weaker than last season’s.

It’s safe to say that we all expected Baker to be a bit better at this point. If you’re going to “call out” the fanbase for cheering on long term success at the expense of short term misery, you better make sure your performance gives those fans a reason to think otherwise.

If Baker was meant to do everything up front, Bobby McCain was expected to be a Swiss army knife in the secondary. Not only has that experiment been subpar, but it appears more and more like McCain is a player without a position rather than a player that can do it all. It just makes me wonder what McCain “could have been” if the coaching staff left him in his natural slot cornerback position all these years.

After receiving a 4-year, $24m contract extension this offseason, Jakeem Grant has gone from a threatening #3 receiver – and a menacing kick returner – to a player that becomes cringeworthy when the ball is in the air. There isn’t a single person reading this that is confident when the ball is headed in Grant’s direction. Yet, just last month we felt we had a competent wide receiver for the next 3+ years.

There was LOTS of hype around Kalen Ballage when camp broke this offseason. He looked faster, quicker, more-toned and ready to take the #1 running back role from Kenyan Drake. Instead, Ballage has contributed more touchdowns to the opposing team than he has recorded himself. His 1.5 yards-per-carry (YPC) isn’t entirely his fault, as the offensive line in front of him is pedestrian at best, but that logic doesn’t seem to fit Drake’s 3.6 YPC or Mark Walton‘s 3.9 YPC.

I don’t need to tell you that Ballage has been a disappointment, I think we’ve all come to that conclusion the moment he ducked away from an RB screen pass coming his way.

What the Fans Want

Fans are tired of witnessing performances like this.

Every team has draft picks that flame out, but the Dolphins seem to load up on under-performing players. Is it this team’s “culture”? Is it terrible ownership? Is it terrible scouting?

Easily enough, 20 years of mediocrity can be summed up by the quarterback position. And right now, there are two entities that have identified that obtaining an elite quarterback solves ineptitude: fans and the Front Office.

If you were to say that the players are tanking, you’d be terribly wrong. If you were to say that the intellectual minds that make decisions for the Miami Dolphins are tanking, you are absolutely right.

You don’t trade away a cornerstone left tackle, your best wide receiver, your most-experience linebacker, and a handful of other assets if you’re trying to win as many games as possible.

Reshad Jones and Xavien Howard may not miss as many games if every game was crucial.

These are active decisions made (or heavily suggested) by the Front Office. They’re not asking the players to under-perform, they’re doing a good job of that themselves.

When all is said and done, it’s possible this coaching staff is the reason for the lack of development. They could all be in over their heads, and Brian Flores is just a temporary band-aid that allows the next coach to reap the benefits of stocked draft picks and abundant cap space.

I understand that it’s deflating to watch your team’s fanatics root against you, but their apathy isn’t the most disappointing part of the 2019 season. Give the fans a reason to cheer, and you might actually be reciprocated with applause.

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