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Miami Dolphins

Brian Flores Quotes from OTAs

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Miami Dolphins / Jason Hrina

If there’s one thing Brian Flores wants you to understand, it’s that the Miami Dolphins are not going to be a New England Patriots prototype.

Flores has been inundated with questions and comments comparing his Dolphins team to the evil empire up north. It seems trivial to continue traveling down that road, as any team is going to install it’s own unique brand, but we genuinely won’t know what this Dolphins team will look like until the season begins.

As Flores mentioned often during his press conference this morning, it’s only OTAs #2 and the evaluation process has barely begun. We are all clamoring for an answer at starting quarterback (it’ll be Josh Rosen) and where Minkah Fitzpatrick is going to line up; but none of us – not even Flores – will have an answer until training camp begins.

Until then, we impatiently wait and see how this franchise’s rebuilding efforts take shape. See everything Flores had to say at press conference earlier this morning:

On His Potential Starting Quarterbacks:

Ryan Fitzpatrick and his ‘status’ as a backup:

“(Ryan brings) a wealth of knowledge and a lot of experience. Again, there’s competition, but we’re trying to build a team. We’re all trying to help each other become the best version of ourselves on the field.”

“I expect him to be the leader that he is. He’s done a good job of that so far.”

Josh Rosen:

“Obviously he’s a talented player. Big arm.”

“Like everyone else, (Josh) has a long way to go. Fundamentals. Technique. Playbook. It’s so early…we’re not going to cut the roster today.”

“There’s an evaluation process here that’s ongoing. Until we get into the nitty-gritty of OTAs to veteran minicamp to training camp to preseason games…everyone kind of knows the schedule here.”

Flores’ doing his patented “list every possibility” speak again.

Quaterbacks in general:

“Looking for leadership. Looking for accuracy. Looking for an understanding of what we’re trying to do offensively from a protection standpoint; from an alignment standpoint. We’re looking for guys who can consistently move the ball down the field.”

Brian Flores sighing, rolling his eyes, and “entertaining” poor questions by reporters is going to be one of my favorite things going forward. There was another instance of this later on in the press conference, but when Flores was asked “what he’s looking for in a quarterback” it seemed like he had to hold back his laughter.

I understand reporters have to get their own unique content, but some of these questions are so cliche and basic that the answer is equally as cliche and basic. Flores is a good sport and answers the questions as sincerely as he can, but I wonder if Flores in Year 4 answers these questions with much more moxie than Flores currently does in Month 4.

I get the feeling he’s still trying to play nice.

On Minkah Fitzpatrick’s Evolving Role:

Greater need for Minkah at cornerback than Safety, given the lack of depth there?:

“We’re going to play guys in a lot of different roles. Minkah is obviously a very versatile payer. But we have a lot of versatile players in the backfield. We’ll move guys around and try and get the best 4-5 guys on the field at the same time.”

Accurate Minkah will get snaps at CB?:

“I’ll know what he’s doing, you guys probably won’t.”

On the Rest of the Secondary:

Like what you have beyond Xavien Howard?:

“We like what we have, but it’s early – it’s OTA #2 – there’s time for players to get better, learn the system.”

“It’s so early in the process that it’s tough to make an evaluation.”

“We’re not there yet (to make true evaluations).”

Was Eric Rowe brought in because he’s a good fit?:

“Eric is smart. He’s tough. He has a lot of athletic ability. Tall. Long. Good speed. Tackles. There’s a lot of things we like about him.

“(He’s) doing everything he can to improve on a day-to-day basis.”

On Miami’s Offense Potentially Mimicking New England’s:

“From a format standpoint, a little bit of that. But each team is different. We have different types of players. To go out there and “copy and paste”….that (won’t) fit.”

“We’ll do what’s best for the team. If some of those things align with what we did in New England, so be it. But that’s not necessarily the case.”

Change verbiage or is verbiage the same:

“Yeah, we changed the language.”

If Flores thought he had a hard time containing his laughter when asked ‘what he looks for in a QB’, this question was an even bigger challenge. I’m not sure anyone reading this article assumed the team would use the exact same language, but in case you were wondering if the team would literally copy New England’s offense word-for-word, you now have your answer.

The Miami Media is going to breed Bill Belichick 2.0 with all of these questions….and I’m all for it.

On Signing Mark Walton – who was arrested multiple times in the past few months alone:

“Brought him in for a tryout, thought he did well in the tryout. Had multiple conversations with him and felt comfortable signing him to the team. Felt like he could help us”

Seems Adam Gase wasn’t the only coach keen on bringing in troubled talent as long as they can improve the football team (think Laremy Tunsil on draft day). Guess you can say the same about Belichick (Josh Gordon and Malcolm Floyd are two recent examples that come to mind).

Flores also seemed a bit skittish answering this question, as he knew the signing could reflect poorly from a public relations perspective. A solid follow-up question would have been to ask Flores about signing Walton and how it associates with his view on leaders, but no additional questions about Walton were asked.

On Leadership:

Who will be the leader of the clubhouse?:

“If I had a crystal ball and could predict the future, I would tell you that. I don’t know…I can’t tell you who that’s going to be.”

Are there certain guys that “must be leaders” or do you leave it up to the players:

“If you work hard and put the team first, you’re a leader. Some people think you need to be a rah-rah, emotional, get everyone hyped up to be a leader and that’s simply not the case.”

“So I want to have 53 leaders on my team. I want 90 on my team right now. That’s something you can develop…something you can talk about.”

“So Pro Bowls….you can be a pro bowler and (be) lazy. And if that’s the case, you’re not a leader. You’re an elite talent.”

Love the way Flores views the players on his roster. I’ve said this before, while I don’t think Adam Gase (and all the other failed former head coaches) necessarily wanted anything different from their players, there’s something about Flores’ demeanor that commands more respect than the demeanor Gase put forth.

Does showing up (or not showing up) to Voluntary Minicamp affect status of being a “leader”?:

“(There are) players that have shown leadership over a long period of time that haven’t shown up to the voluntary camps – I wouldn’t say that (not showing up doesn’t mean you’re a leader).”

“I would say every situation is different.”

Reshad Jones has been a common topic during these press conferences, and rightfully so. Jones enters 2019 as the most-expensive Miami Dolphin. His cap hit ($17.2m) is nearly double the next-most expensive player on the team (Xavien Howard – $10.35m).

This question came at the end of the press conference and implies that it’s directed at Jones’ absence from Voluntary Minicamp a couple weeks ago – as well as his absence today.

It actually brings the press conference full circle as the session opened with the media asking Flores about Jones’ overall absence from the team.

On Specific Players:

Reshad Jones’ absence from OTAs:

“We’ve had a few conversations. I’m going to keep those conversations between he and I.”

“I expect him to be at the mandatory minicamp.”

Kalen Ballage:

“Very impressed with him. Smart. He’s talented. But he has humility and a work ethic I really like. He’s doing everything he can to improve on a day-to-day basis.

“You see the improvement. From April 1st through yesterday’s practice, he’s continued to improve everyday. I’m looking forward to working with him….good young player.”

Flores is like Jon Gruden when he was in the booth for Monday Night Football. He loves every player, and you walk away believing he struck gold with each one.

Albert Wilson’s health:

“Albert is working. He’s been very diligent. He’s working hard to get back. He won’t be out there today, but he’s doing a good job from a rehab standpoint.”

Jakeem Grant’s health:

“He’s doing well. He’s been out there a little bit, we’ll see what that looks like today.”

“All those guys (that are dealing with stuff) are doing what they can to get back on the field.”

Jakeem Grant seems to be in a much better position than Albert Wilson does at the moment.

We all love the electricity Wilson brings to the offense, but after suffering a nasty hip injury last year, it’s tough to gauge how productive he’ll be this year. We hope he’ll be able to return at 100% by the time the season begins.

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.

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  1. Avatar

    kool-mar-lo

    May 14, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    We always read about players getting better day after day.we read it about T-Hill for years and he was same day after day, not better. Howard and Tunsil are about the only players that noticably got better yr after yr. If players got better daily, everybody would be All-Pro.

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Miami Dolphins

Taco Charlton: New Acquisition Analysis

Travis Wingfield

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Dolphins go back to the 2017 first round defensive end well, claim Charlton from waivers

The 2017 Dolphins were, sadly, one of the more anticipated teams this organization has assembled in recent memory. Fresh off a surprise 10-win season, heading into year-two of the new system, and bevy of players returning from injury had fans feeling optimistic.

Patching up the perceived holes on the roster — like the defensive end position — started with an atrocious Andre Branch extension, and ended on the draft’s opening night with a handful of edge rusher prospects ripe for picking.

Derek Barnett came off the board before Miami could pluck the future Super Bowl hero, but everyone else was available. Jonathan Allen was selected five picks ahead of the Dolphins, but he was billed more as a three and five-technique inside player, not a true edge rusher.

That left Charles Harris, Taco Charlton, Tak McKinley and T.J. Watt. Two of those players are off to sterling starts in their young careers — the other two are nearing their respective last legs, and both are now Miami Dolphins.

Charlton received his release from the Cowboys earlier this week after an under-whelming 34-game stay in Big D. Taco’s snap count is revealing of the feeling about the player among the Dallas staff.

 

Year Taco Charlton Defensive Snaps Played (% of Cowboys’ Defensive Snaps)
2017 399 (38.2%)
2018 401 (39.2%)
2019 0

 

A 40-percent snap-taker is typically indicative of one of two things for an edge player. He’s either a situational savant — whether that’s to support the run game or pin his ears back and get after the quarterback — or that he’s the second option in the rotation, A.K.A. a backup.

Charlton’s production suggests that he was the latter, and only because of his draft status. His descent into a game day inactive signaled the end of his time with the club that drafted him.

Rumors of a trade were speculated as the reason Charlton was a healthy scratch for the season’s first two games, but Head Coach Jason Garrett referred to the numbers game. “We have 10 guys on the active roster on the defensive line and we dressed eight for the game. It felt like the guys we had up there gave us the best chance,” Garrett said via a report from Bloggin’ The Boys.

Still, we have 800 reps to look at to figure out where it went wrong for Charlton, and if he possesses a legitimate shot to fit this scheme and carve out spot in the future plans of the NFL’s most steadfast rebuild operation.

First, let’s start with the type of player Charlton was supposed to be coming out of Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan program.

The Dolphins are a team that adheres strongly to prototypes all over the field, but particularly in the trenches. Explosive metrics aren’t nearly as important as length, strength, read-and-react skillsets, intelligence to process and execute a variety of roles (stunts, twists, slants, picks), and most importantly, playing with heavy hands.

His fit begins with his build. At 6’6’’, 270-pounds with 34.5-inch arms, Charlton looks like plenty of defensive ends in a Brian Flores (Bill Belichick defense) before him. Charlton doesn’t check off all those boxes from the previous paragraph, but he hits enough of the buzz words to justify a flier.

This from Lance Zierlein of NFL Media.

That immediate get-off and quickness would’ve suited him better in Miami’s wide-9 alignment under Matt Burke. The length will benefit him, especially as he forces tackles to quickly get into their pass sets. The challenge will be developing a secondary move to work back inside and underneath the tackle.

The glowing praise for his twist, bend, and lower-body control will serve him well in a defense that will stunt, stunt, and stunt some more.

Most of all, the length will help him excel in this scheme as a run defender. To lock out and hold the point of attack are keys, and those are areas that put Charlton on the map as a first-round prospect.

The weaknesses from that blurb are alarming. Getting washed out of his gap by power and allowing blockers into his frame will earn him a quick ticket right out of town — those are the departments where the surprise cuts in Nate Orchard and Dewayne Hendrix struggled.

Lack of consistency, takes plays off, needs a coach that will push him — those are the final takeaways from Zierlein’s conversation with an anonymous AFC Executive.

If there’s any one thing you can point to with Flores as far as his football acumen — this excludes leadership and communication — it’s his ability to coach football (novel idea, huh?) This feels like a Flores pet project.

Let’s get into some of Charlton’s Dallas tenure, starting with his metrics from Pro Football Focus.

Charlton has 38 total pressures in his two years as a pro (4 sacks, 8 hits, 26 hurries). He compiled those numbers on 464 pass rush reps, a pressure on 8.2% of his pass rush snaps — not good. His 4.1 weighted pass rush productivity mark in 2018 ranked 132ndamong all edge rushers.

Charlton missed four tackles on 34 opportunities — an 11.8 missed tackle percentage, also not good. He made 23 run-stops on 346 snaps against the ground game. That mark — 6.6% — landed Charlton at 73rd among edge defenders in 2018, and 143rd in 2017.

The majority of Charlton’s work came from the right side of the defensive line (position vacated by Robert Quinn, currently held by a cast of many in Miami). Charlton lined up for pass rushing situations on the right side for 67.3% of his total reps.

Now, for the tape.

If Charlton can piece together the finer points of his game and develop a better arsenal or rush moves, he’ll stick as a building block. The decreased workload this year, his lack of production dating back to college, and inconsistencies makes one wonder about the drive and work habits.

We’ll quickly find out about the character of Charlton. If he embraces this opportunity, it’s a great landing spot for him. If not, he’ll be back on the unemployment line in short order.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen Named Starting QB vs Cowboys; Claim DE Taco Charlton

Chris Kowalewski

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Only minutes after the Miami Dolphins’ Week 2 loss against the Patriots, Head Coach Brian Flores maintained that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback… “Right now”.

By Thursday afternoon, it became clear that “right now” had passed as Josh Rosen was announced to take over the starting QB position ahead of Miami’s first road trip this Sunday against the Cowboys.

Fans had caught intermittent glimpses of Rosen’s abilities through the preseason and he has seen the field during replacement duty in Weeks 1 and 2, so far completing 8/21 passes for 102 yards, 2 INTs and a 38.1% completion percentage.

While Rosen has not yet led the Dolphins to regular season points, the second year passer will find his opportunity to do so in Dallas and the Dolphins will be able to make further evaluation of 2018’s tenth overall pick.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s veteran standing and experience had given him the early advantage, but the time has arrived in for the Dolphins to see what the future may bring – if anything – for Josh Rosen in Miami.

Whilst the national attention seems to be focused on Chris Grier’s rebuild of the roster, the Dolphins have claimed former first round pick, DE Taco Charlton, released by the Cowboys on Wednesday.

Charlton was the Dallas Cowboys’ first round selection in 2017, having played in 27 games (7 starts) and registered 4.0 sacks and 47 combined tackles.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Cowboys Week Three Preview

Travis Wingfield

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Dolphins Search to Stop the Bleeding in Big D

Who: Dolphins (0-2) at Cowboys (2-0)
When: Sunday September 22, 1:00 PM East
Where: AT&T Stadium — Arlington, TX
Weather: Dome
Vegas Slant: Dolphins +21

The hits keep coming for Miami. Another prominent fixture of the roster has been jettisoned, and another loaded team is on the docket for the downtrodden Dolphins.

This current iteration of the Dallas Cowboys is akin to what Miami hopes to build in a couple years’ time — stout trench play, emerging young quarterback, and star-studded skill positions.

Three touchdown underdogs for the second consecutive week, the Dolphins are introducing college point-spreads into the National Football League. Miami’s 19-point home handicap last week was the biggest such spread for a host team since the 2007 season, and the Dolphins are now channeling the 2013 Broncos-Jaguars game that climbed up over 25 points before betting closed.

The Dolphins were far more competitive last week, even if the scoreboard didn’t show it. Contributions from star Cornerback Xavien Howard, upstart Linebacker Jerome Baker, and surprising recent addition Vince Biegel were the silver linings in the 43-point thrashing; we’re looking for more of those in Dallas.

The Scheme:

Offense:

The switch from Scott Linehan to Kellen Moore might’ve been the biggest upgrade in the NFL this offseason. Moore, a coach’s son that made it to the NFL for his cerebral prowess at the quarterback position, is dressing up Dallas’ offense with disguise, misdirection, and tendency breakers.

Dallas varies it’s running scheme, but the talent to execute simple gap-schemes and power concepts allows Moore to get creative with the play action game. Cowboys players praise Moore for his nuance and emphasis on getting players in position to exhibit their best traits.

Scheming chunk-plays in the passing game, running the football to keep the offense on schedule, and devising red zone concepts to free up pass catchers in the condensed area already has Moore’s name circulating as the next hot head coaching candidate.

Defense:

On top of impeccable front-seven talent, the Cowboys borrow concepts from some of the most accomplished, revolutionary defensive schemes in the history of the league. Rod Marinelli still carries the title of Defensive Coordinator, but it’s a co-op with he and the up-and-coming Kris Richard.

With elements of the Tampa-2 from Marinelli’s days with the Bucs — and more recently in Chicago — fused with Richard’s rendition of the wildly popular scheme originated by Pete Carroll, Dallas is successful in a multitude of packages and pre-snap disguises.

Creating one-on-one rush opportunities from their elite pass rushers, while playing a variety of cover-3, 2, and 1 on the back-end, the Cowboys can apply pressure while dropping seven — the ultimate goal of every NFL defense.

Look for Chad O’Shea to attack this defense with more in-breaking routes. That means high-low and drive concepts (designed to displace zone coverage and attack the middle of cover-1 and Tampa-2 defenses) and seam shots with the Cowboys drop two deep.

The Players:

Offense:

Dak Prescott is off to an MVP-caliber beginning to his 2019 season. Prescott handles pressure in two ways — the type of pressure applied by ferocious fronts, and the pressure of big moments. He’s accurate, creates opportunities off-script, and allows Kellen Moore to utilize designed runs.

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Then there’s Zeke Elliot, who’s just getting rolling. Zeke, behind arguably the NFL’s best offensive line with the healthy Travis Frederic, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and La’El Collins, Dallas can line up and push teams off the football.

The Dolphins must get big showings from Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins to hold the point-of-attack and free up Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan to meet Zeke in the hole.

Amari Cooper is one of the game’s best route runners, and he pairs that with size and speed. He’ll be a tough matchup for Miami, unless Xavien Howard wants to travel with the Cowboys play maker. That opens up another bag of worms, especially as Miami will be working in a new safety alongside corner-convert, Bobby McCain.

Jason Witten is back, but he serves mostly as an additional lineman and the forgotten man in the red zone (as far as the defense is concerned, Witten has two touchdowns already on plays that schemed him wide open). Michael Gallup will miss this game while the resurgent Randal Cobb will help keep the Miami defense honest horizontally in the misdirection game.

Defense:

Jaylon Smith leads the defense with his instinctive, urgent playing style that pairs well with uncommon physical traits. He and Leighton Vander Esch set the tone in the middle of the Dallas defense, and a lot of the scheme is designed to free these two up to wreak havoc. Smith’s athleticism allows Marinelli to keep the Tampa-2 concept alive.

Demarcus Lawrence is set to have a field day. Miami haven’t been able to block anybody this year, and now will have to handle one of the game’s best pass rushers against deafening crowd noise.

Byron Jones has fallen out of favor in Dallas. The dependable Jeff Heath, and the underrated Xavier Woods make it so, while Chidobe Awuzie locks down the opposition’s number one receiver. Dallas’ vulnerability in this position group from the perimeter corner position opposite Awuzie. Jones has been playing corner to pair with slot specialist Jourdan Lewis and Awuzie.

If Miami can create one-on-one passing opportunities into the boundary, look for O’Shea to attack vertically and hope to steal some points — the best bet here is likely Preston Williams.

The Medical:

The Concerns:

Quite literally all over the football field. Dallas can line up with power and milk the Dolphins defense dry. They can attack vertically, or in the controlled passing game with well-timed shot plays built into the offense, all on top of exceptional red zone production in the early going of 2019.

Demarcus Lawrence leads the team in pressures, but he’s only pulled the quarterback down once — that ties the team lead. This Cowboys pass rush is going to be champing at the bit to pad those stats, and there’s no reason to think Miami can handle the relentless pressure, even without blitzing.

The Opportunities:

Special teams might be the one area Miami can spark some magic. The Dolphins are off to a slow start in this department as well, but Jakeem Grant’s big-play ability will be needed if Miami are to pull the miracle upset.

Finding vertical shots — whether it’s Mike Gesicki splitting the Tampa-2, Preston Williams winning an outside release into the boundary without safety help, or getting a fly-by from Grant, Miami needs some fireworks.

The Projected Outcome:

The game plan came together defensively in the first half against the Patriots, but it’s a challenge for even the league’s best stop-units to carry a lifeless offense. Unless the Dolphins can finally sustain some drives and convert in the red zone, this game will get out of hand. It’s doubtful Miami can do that, so look for an aggressive offense that tries to hit the big play.

Dallas just has too much star power and excellent coordinators for Miami to pick them off — or even cover.

Dolphins 6
Cowboys 31

@WingfieldNFL

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