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Miami Dolphins

Another Lopsided Loss – Dolphins Browns Recap

Travis Wingfield

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Familiar results making an unwelcome return, Dolphins blown out by Browns

Baker Mayfield brought his Browns offense down the field on seven plays to put the first seven points on the scoreboard at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday against the Dolphins. Miami’s defense showed little resistance to an avalanche of points from that point as Cleveland rolled up 467 yards and 41 points on the afternoon.

Stat Dolphins Browns
Total Yards 284 467
Rushing 92 147
Passing 192 320
Penalties 8 (94 yards) 7 (70 yards)
3rd / 4thDown 6/15 (40%) 4/8 (50%)
Sacks For 1 4
TOP 23:54 36:06

 

The historical references attaching the 2019 Miami Dolphins to some of the league’s all-time worst teams were rampant in September. Linear progression, culminating in back-to-back victories, had pundits (myself included) thinking a 5-11 finish was a realistic possibility. Now, after consecutive drubbings, the top of the draft beckons once more.

Despite the under-manned roster, fans (again, myself included) clutched to the promising marks in the areas of the game that take no talent. Effort, penalties, and circumventing the catastrophic errors that doom a team lacking marquee names like Miami. Sunday, in Cleveland, the Phins didn’t do anything right.

Miami more than doubled its average penalty yardage, most of which occurred in the receiver-defensive back battle when Cleveland possessed the football. Some of the flags were warranted, no doubt, but at times it seemed all O’Dell Beckham or former ‘Phin Jarvis Landry had to do was plead for referee aid.

The Dolphins defense busted early, the offense’s sputtering matched the futility, and the game was out-of-hand in a flash.

Fortunately, for Miami, the out-of-town scoreboard proved rather beneficial regarding the Dolphins’ long-term pursuit.

We’ll assess draft order in the recap; let’s get to the individuals.

Quarterback

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the prototype quarterback for this 2019 Miami Dolphins team. Passionate, exuberant, and a hefty dash of moxee makes for an entertaining three hours on an otherwise difficult viewing experience. Fitzpatrick extended several plays, moved the chains with his legs, and accessed both a pterodactyl screech and a ‘Frank the Tank’ impression that would surely earn Will Farrell’s approval. All of that coming from one touchdown celebration.

Fitzpatrick turned the ball over twice, the first a pass off the facemask of Albert Wilson. The turnovers are inherent with him, but so is his galvanizing spirit. The energy he brings to the locker room is the extension of the coaching staff’s message required to keep this train anywhere near the tracks down the stretch. In addition to throwing for 214 yards, Fitzpatrick more than doubled Miami’s top tailback in rushing (45 yards to 20).

Running Back

It’s another week, and another dreadful performance from the ground game of the Dolphins. Kalen Ballage sits atop the throne of mediocrity with another game under two-yards-per-rush. Ballage’s statistical season truly is historic; he’s on-track to become the first back with over 100 carries and less than a two-yard average. His most entertaining moment came when he took a wildcat snap and did an impression of Brucie from The Longest Yard (Adam Sandler edition).

Patrick Laird worked in for a few reps, had a nice stat line, but nothing else. He dropped the only target headed in his direction. There’s a reason he’s not getting more work, and I’d argue the speed of the game looks a little bit much for him at this stage, especially in pass protection.

Wide Receiver and Tight End

We’ve come full circle on my Devante Parker evaluations. Miami should explore extending his contract this offseason. Parker is signed through next year, but his commitment to the craft and turnaround in this program would serve as a tremendous example for the rest of the roster. Plus, he’s only going to get more expensive.

Parker is more than just a likable figure and story, he’s a production machine. Another cool 91 yards on six grabs brings his 16-game prorated stats up to 67 receptions, 1,011 yards and six touchdowns.

Allen Hurns is quite clearly Fitzpatrick’s next favorite option since the Preston Williams injury. Hurns doesn’t run a complex route tree — he typically uncovers on slow-developing drag routes against man or hook-ups against zone — but Fitz always knows where to find him. Four for 42 yards Sunday is right in-line with Hurns’ recent production.

The aforementioned Fitzpatrick prehistoric flying creature reference came after a Mike Gesicki touchdown — the first of his career. I was most pleased with Gesicki’s block on an outside run into the boundary Sunday, running from a double Y set. He and Durham Smythe combined to create a big lane off that outside edge.

Offensive Line

The lack of running game is destroying any offensive progress, and those immediately stalled-out drives are wearing down an already paper-thin defense. Julie’n Davenport was back in at left tackle, and while things were better than last week, it’s still an adventure out there.

Shaq Calhoun returned at right guard for Evan Boehm, and his performance was rather forgettable. They tried to get Calhoun in space a couple of times and he whiffed. His pass protection pairing with Jesse Davis has not been good at any point this season.

Daniel Kilgore had some rough looking reps. Sheldon Richardson feasted on Miami’s interior line all game long.

Defensive Line

Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins are going to be a nice pairing going forward. Both made a number of plays that get over shadowed by the team’s generally ineffective run defense. They both do a great job and shooting their hands and holding the point. Godchaux got involved as a pass rusher in this one more than usual.

Charles Harris is listed as a linebacker, but his sack came as a true edge position in this game. He reset the tackle with an up-field stab, then transitioned underneath with a successful bull rush. He’s made a few plays in each of the last three games.

Gerald Willis made his Dolphins debut, and he looked like a rookie. He was rolled out of the ground game on a couple of occasions.

Linebackers

This position has turned into a problem the last two games. Last week, the group was without Raekwon McMillan, but his return was unceremonious Sunday. McMillan was not his usual, heat-seeking self. He was absorbing contact, opposed to dishing it out, and it resulted in some big runs where he could’ve shut the play down near the line.

Jerome Baker is going to be an interesting case study going forward. He does a lot of things well, but he really doesn’t jive with the Dolphins want out of their linebackers. He’s not big enough to consistently fit the run, and he’s not a good enough rusher to consistently make an impact against the pass.

Andrew Van Ginkel made his debut, though I don’t recall seeing him out there for any defensive snaps — unless that happened late in the fourth. He did, however, make a nice stop on kickoff team.

Defensive Backs

Just five days after placing Bobby McCain and Reshad Jones on the injured reserve, the Dolphins secondary were exploited. Even on the plays with good coverage, the Browns expensive receiving corps made plays.

Ken Crawley got attacked downfield before he left with an injury, then it was Ryan Lewis’ turn to play the victim. Lewis actually fared well with some positive reps, including a ricochet interception.

Nik Needham had moments too; moments of good and bad. It looked like the rookie’s confidence was shaken on some questionable early penalties, and it’s difficult to blame him for that. O’Dell Beckham doesn’t need help against rookie defensive backs, but he got it any way.

Eric Rowe makes plays every week against the opposition’s tight end, and he’s been heavily involved in the run fits this defense asks of its strong safety. He’s in-line for a new contract, preferably as one of three safeties that plays a lot on Sundays (Miami will need to import the other two).

Jomal Wiltz makes Miami a much better tackling team, but he got turned around by Landry in the slot a few times.

Steven Parker was a beat late in coverage on a few occasions.

Recap

It’s difficult to extract a lot of positives from this game. The slow start and sloppy showing were two things Dolphins fans thought to be a thing of the past. The uptick came from Miami’s best third quarter of the season, in which the Phins outscored Cleveland two touchdowns to none.

Injuries continue to leave a thin roster even more decimated than the week prior. Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson both left the game hobbled — Grant’s apparently serious, as he left on a cart. The running back room is already bare bones, working behind an offensive line that just isn’t at an NFL level, and now the receiver group is down to Parker and Hurns.

Add that to a defense that’s lost all five starters on the back end for the season, and a front-seven that never had a shot at generating a pass rush, and December is looking rather bleak.

Or is it?

Miami received plenty of help near the top of the draft with Sunday’s out-of-town results. Washington notched its second win of the season, catapulting Miami into the third position of the draft. The Dolphins still sit behind the Giants solely on strength of schedule tie-breakers.

The Jets and Bucs picked up their fourth wins of the season respectively, giving Miami a bit of a cushion in the top five. If Miami loses the final five games, they are assured to pick no worse than second in April’s draft.

Cincinnati’s decision at the top of the draft would then dictate Miami’s foreseeable future.

It’s going to be a fascinating offseason.

@WingfieldNFL

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    David O'Connell

    November 25, 2019 at 12:28 am

    2nd pick would be good. Burrows or Young. Then we go offensive line and running back.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Extend DeVante Parker

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

One of the longest-tenured players on the team may very well be a Miami Dolphin for life.

According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Miami Dolphins have extended DeVante Parker through the 2023 season.

All of the details are still being flushed out, but the deal is a 4-year, $40m extension, with an $8m signing bonus (which is guaranteed).

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Parker will earn $4.5m guaranteed in 2020, and $7.7m guaranteed in 2021.

Parker signs this extension in the middle of a career year. His 55 catches are 1 shy of his career-high (56, 2016), his 882 receiving yards surpass his prior career-high by 138 yards (2016), and his 6 touchdowns are only 3 less than his career total coming into the 2019 season.

Whether it’s Chad O’Shea‘s offense, a shift in Quarterback mentality, or the receiver finally coming into his own, Parker has shown that he can be a #1 receiver in this offense. Though some fans may be hoping for DeAndre Hopkins or Odell Beckham Jr. “elite”, the truth is, Parker isn’t that far behind.

His extension is in line with his production, and it’s fair to say that Parker’s potential still hasn’t been tapped. It’ll be interesting to see how much Parker builds off of his career-year, especially if the Dolphins can solidify their offensive line and give their receivers a chance to get open (more often).

Parker joins Ryan Tannehill and Mike Pouncey as the only other 1st-round picks drafted this decade to have signed an extension with the team.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins roster move round-up: Week 15 sees several more changes

Shawn Digity

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Miami Dolphins Linden Stephens
Linden Stephens defending Los Angeles Rams tight end Johnny Mundt

MIAMI (Locked On Dolphins) – Miami Dolphins continue to change up the roster

The Miami Dolphins have continued their roster churning in Week 15, leading up to their prizefight against the New York Giants on December 15.

While it’s been a mainstay strategy for the Dolphins this year, to comb over the waiver wire and the free agency market, there was a significant uptick in waiver wire awards last, totaling four new players being claimed.

Last week’s claimed players included Trevor Davis, Mack Hollins, Zach Zenner, and Zach Sieler. Zenner’s Miami stint was short-lived; he was waived on Tuesday, December 10 to make room for the newest wave of Dolphins signees.

Along with Zenner’s release, the Miami Dolphins added cornerbacks Ken Webster and Ryan Lewis to the Injured Reserve list.

Those three transactions allowed the Dolphins to scoop a player from the New England Patriots’ practice squad, defensive back Nate Brooks, a second player from the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad, linebacker Jamal Davis II, and a third player, offensive lineman Adam Pankey, who was waived by the Green Bay Packers.

Nate Brooks is a rookie defensive back that played at North Texas and has spent time with the Patriots and Arizona Cardinals.

Jamal Davis II is also a rookie. He entered the league from Akron. As mentioned above, he spent time with the Titans earlier this year before the Miami Dolphins signed him.

Adam Pankey is the most traveled player the Dolphins have added. Pankey went undrafted in 2017 out of West Virginia and has had two runs with the Packers and a short one with the Titans.

On December 7, cornerback Linden Stephens was added to the roster in a last-minute shuffle before the Dolphins-Jets game. Cornerback Chris Lammons was released to make room for Stephens on the squad, per Adam Beasley.

Stephens has had tenures with the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. He formerly played at Cincinnati in college.

In practice squad news, cornerback Rashard Causey was added to the group on December 12, per Safid Deen. Causey played college ball at UCF and has spent time with the Denver Broncos.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Giants Week 15 Preview

Travis Wingfield

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Dolphins set to run it back in New York

Who: Dolphins (3-10) @ Giants (2-11)
When: Sunday December 15, 1:00 East
Where: MetLife Stadium — East Rutherford, NJ
Weather: 35 degrees, partly cloudy
Vegas Slant: Dolphins +3

DolphinsGiants

The Miami Dolphins did not equip Brian Flores with a competitive roster for the 2019 season. Despite taking a path traveled by nobody else in the league, Miami sits with a better record than three teams in the league, and Sunday will pit the Fins up against one of those teams.

The Giants thought they were constructing a playoff roster that could run the football behind former number-two overall pick Saquon Barkley, and disrupt both the run and pass with an influx of high resources spent on the defensive line.

Even with half the cash payroll of the next lowest team on that notorious list, and 11 of its original opening day starters gone for one reason or another, Miami enter a week-15 road game as mere three-point dogs.

Still, with three or four new bodies working into the rotation every week, Brian Flores’ Dolphins have won three games since the bye week, and been within a score in the fourth quarter for all nine games.

Does either team want to win this game? Of course the players and coaches will want to be rewarded for a long, arduous work week, but what good does a victory do in the grand scheme of things? Flores has proven that he can coach his ass off, while Pat Shurmur is assured to lose his job whatever happens these final three weeks.

The cost, for the Giants, could be Chase Young. For Miami, perhaps even more severe as the best quarterback prospect of the last several years could suddenly be available because of medical concerns, should the team land in the top five.

A victory Sunday will likely remove Miami from that perch as the Lions and Cardinals are both underdogs, and would each jump the Dolphins with a one-game difference in the standings.

The Scheme:

Offense:

Mike Shula’s scheme is as 11-personnel heavy as any in the league, but things have changed due to injuries. Without Evan Ingram to provide the ultimate flexibility between 11 and 12-personnel packages, the Giants have lacked much variety in his absence. Using 81% one back, one tight end (3rdmost in football), Miami will be afforded the opportunity to get creative on defense altering its pre-snap look from the same package.

The Giants are successful on just 41% of their plays from this personnel grouping, including 12 interceptions, 31 sacks and just 6.6 yards per passing play. New York only runs one other package (12-personnel) and also doesn’t have a lot of success out of that grouping. Adhering to old school principles, the Giants don’t throw from run formations, and the predictability has the Giants averaging just 5.7 YPA from 12-personnel.

The Giants rank 26th in total offense, 22nd in passing, 26th in rushing and 25th in scoring.

Defense:

James Bettcher is a fan of sending pressure, and he will certainly try to heat up Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday. Fitzpatrick might have the last laugh with his ability to get the ball hot to the interior receivers working in behind the linebackers and winning one-on-one matchups with a young defensive backfield.

The Giants base is a 3-4 look, but elements of that defense are always sparingly used because of the nature of modern day football. Bettcher wants to get pressure out of his outside backers in Markus Golden, Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter, using his interior backers in a more traditional, off-ball sense.

New York blitzes 28.7% of the time — exactly the middle of the pack at 16th— but it’s safe to assume they’ll turn that number up on Sunday. The G-Men are in the middle of the pack in hurry rate, knockdown rate and pressure rate. The Giants 94 missed tackles are 13th most in the league.

The Giants rank 27th in total defense 26th in passing, 20th in rushing and 28th in scoring defense.

The Players:

Offense:

Eli Manning is Eli Manning. The Giants hung onto him for three years too long, and his storied career appears to be coming to an end in three weeks. Filling in for the injured Daniel Jones gives the Miami defense a chance to tee off on a quarterback for the first time since the home win over Sam Darnold and the New York Jets.

Manning can’t move, he can’t drive the ball, and there’s really no reason for him to be on a roster at this point. The Dolphins will hit him, turn him over, and dominate the Giants offense is he plays.

New York funneled a lot of resources into its offensive line, and it’s still one of the worst in football. Miami lacks true pass rushers, so it’ll be up to the stunts and games up front to get pressure. Expect Flores to blitz Manning relentlessly, likely with a lot of zero looks.

Holding Saquon Barkley has been easier for opponents this year. A lot of the Giants running game gets Barkley going horizontally, and he’s been able to make the big plays due to poor blocking and a nasty ankle sprain earlier in the year.

This game will be a big test for Taco Charlton, Vince Biegel, Andrew Van Ginkel, Charles Harris and the rest of the Miami edge players.

Defense:

Markus Golden stands to wreck this game for Miami. He’ll come down off the offense’s left edge, and that position has been an issue for the Dolphins all year long. Sliding protection and using a back or tight end to chip Golden is the only way Fitzpatrick will have any time to throw.

On the inside, the Giants offer the beef that Miami’s interior line struggles with the most. Dexter Lawrence is massive, and those are the kind of players that give Daniel Kilgore problems up front.

Alec Ogletree remains a focal point of the Giants defense, and that presents a lot of opportunities for the Dolphins. Look for Miami to empty out the backfield from 12 and 11-personnel, find Ogletree in coverage, and go to work.

The New York secondary is full of inexperience. Rookie DeAndre Baker has worn the rabbit hat (teams go after him) all year long while Janoris Jenkins appears to have past his prime.

This is a slow defense and I’d be surprised if Chad O’Shea doesn’t have his way with it in the passing game.

The Medical:

(Coming Friday)

The Opportunities:

If Devante Parker can go, there isn’t a player in the Giants defensive backfield that can handle his skill set. Regardless, Miami’s passing schemes will create opportunities for whichever players are healthy, especially Allen Hurns inside on mismatches from 12-personnel against linebackers. Patrick Laird should draw some favorable matchups in the passing game in his own right — expect a big day for The Intern.

If it’s Eli, expect a lot of pressure sent to overwhelm a bad Giants line and quarterback. If it’s Daniel Jones, expect Miami to play coverage and take the ball away from the rookie. Either way, this is the day the Dolphins defense gets healthy.

The Concerns:

The Giants skill players can make some noise. Darius Slayton’s speed is a problem, and he’s been producing regardless of who’s under center. The Dolphins added yet another pair of defensive backs to the injured reserve, and that’ll provide a challenge against Slayton, Golden Tate and Sterling Sheppard.

Miami haven’t been able to block many pass rushes, and they’ve created almost nothing by way of the ground game, so the Giants talented front is an issue. There will be one-on-one opportunities aplenty for Markus Golden, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams.

The Projected Outcome:

It doesn’t matter if it’s Daniel Jones or Eli Manning. Both are going to give the Dolphins defense opportunities to take the football away, and neither presents much fear to a unit that is full of undrafted free agents are largely unknowns. Manning doesn’t have the physical traits to scare anyone and Jones is on track for the most turnovers at the position per game of all time. If Jones plays, it will be on a tender ankle that robs the one trait he has — his mobility.

Miami beat the Jets in November in convincing fashion. Every other game since the bye week — with the exception of the Cleveland and Buffalo (home) games — have been white knuckle affairs. This game has the makeup of a blowout, but in favor of the road team.

A bitter, angry team off the loss last week responds to Brian Flores’ message and puts a beating on the Giants.

Dolphins 27
Giants 13

@WingfieldNFL

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