If there’s any winning to be done by the Miami Dolphins this season, the team has a lot of work to do as they head into the bye week.
Brian Flores knows it.
After facing off against a tough line-up of opponents to kick start the 2019 season, and his head coaching career, the Dolphins have been largely embarrassed on the field, now having been outscored 163 – 26.
Brian Flores has a grand and unenviable task on his hands to keep an inexperienced locker room together, to direct and oversee improvement and to keep his players focused on the remaining 12 games ahead.
Flores met with the media on Monday afternoon to discuss his reflections upon the season to date and to express his thoughts as to where he has seen improvements so far.
On the team’s attitude overall after a winless start, he said:
“We’re going to move on and really look towards the next day and the next challenge. I think they’ll do that, but obviously there’s some disappointment in that locker room reflecting on the first four weeks of the season…”
It seems that Flores will always demand that his players remain mentally and emotionally strong. He wants them to stay determined and “Always upbeat, always positive. That’s what I’m looking for out of this group. To go the other way – it helps no-one.”
As for the first quarter of the season? Flores’s response as to how he thought it had gone was delivered with some of his trademark honesty:
“Not so good. We made a lot of changes to the roster, kind of building the team on the fly in a lot of ways… At the same time, trying to build a team, build some camaraderie, communication and build some rapport – I think that’s been a big part of these first four weeks. I think that’s trending in the right direction as far as the team coming together, getting to know each other, building relationships in the locker room, off the field, on the field. That to me is very, very important on a team… As far as on the field, we’ve got a long way to go and I think they [the players] know that.”
Flores noted that he has begun to see more positives show themselves, particularly in the past 2 weeks, but he is fully aware that they are “not good enough”. He added that the level of communication had improved “across the board”, as well as some improvement on 3rd down which had enabled them (at times) to sustain drives.
He was clearly and visibly irked by the handful of missed scoring opportunities and mentioned inconsistency with tackling and coverage as issues which needed to be fixed.
The first 4 weeks have come to a close and Flores’ goal for the 2nd quarter of the season is to “Put a full game together… Got to string more plays together consistently. And that’s everybody – players and coaches… But there’s a lot that goes into that. Culture, coaching, execution, fundamentals, conditioning.”
However, despite an 0-4 start to his head coach campaign, Flores doesn’t at all sound like a man who has been broken, beaten down. Instead he exudes the quiet confidence of leader and a teacher who has plans to obtain the best out of his students.
Flores claims to like his running back group, who have been largely unproductive and inconsistent behind a makeshift offensive line. He praised Kenyan Drake for his production and hard runs against the Chargers but added that Drake “Has to do a better job with ball security – that’s 2 weeks in a row where he lost one… We’ll do a lot of evaluating, we’ll evaluate the whole team…”
Defensive End, Taco Charlton, who leads the team with 2 sacks in his 2 games as a Dolphins is still learning the defense. Flores noted that Taco was out of position on a few snaps but added that he brings and energy and toughness to the defense. He has a “long way to go” from a pass rush standpoint in putting all of his skills together, but “there’s a lot of potential… [Taco had a] couple of good rushes, couple of not-so-good rushes. We’ll just keep working and I think he’ll help us.”
One thing you’d probably bet on, on a Brian Flores led team, is a certain level of discipline when it comes to penalties. In fact, despite some understandable miscommunication amongst such a rag-tag group, the Dolphins currently sit 4th in the league in terms of fewest penalties per game (5.8).
You’d be also entirely correct to assume that Christian Wilkins’ suplex and the resulting 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty during Sunday’s loss annoyed him:
“It’s 10-10. We just missed a field goal and we’re right in it. We don’t need those. He knows that, I think everybody on the team knows that. I thought it was a bad penalty… I love Christian. He knows that. I’m gonna coach him hard, especially a kid like this who’s got so much ability and leadership potential. I think he’s gonna be here a long time and be the face of what we want to be about – and that’s not it… I was upset. I’m still upset, but it’s football. You’ve gotta get over things quickly.”
Jason Sanders, who missed field goal attempts of 51 and 53 yards on Sunday remains in Flores’ good books:
“He’s a good kicker, he can make these kicks. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him, I still do. I just said that in front of the entire team. We’ll keep kicking him, and he’ll make them… He makes them in practice day after day, after day, after day. I think he’ll be just fine.”
Flores specifically named lineback Avery Moss and rookie guard/tackle Michael Dieter as the most improved players he had seen on the roster since their arrivals. “Michael Dieter has really made a lot of improvements since he got here… Go back to the first presseason game.. he looked like a deer in the headlights and now he’s out here playing tackle against the Dallas Cowboys, in a hostile environment and he didn’t bat an eye.”
Flores mentioned that the is “optimistic” that the team will see the return of Jomal Wiltz, Bobby McCain and Albert Wilson for the Dolphins’ next game against the Washington Redskins on 13 October. As for now, the Dolphins head into their bye week and Flores expects he’ll be required to take some time away from the facility:
“I think my wife has got something planned, so whatever she says, we’ll do. If it was up to me I’d be here, but it probably won’t be up to me.”
Something tells me he won’t be away for long.
Local Residents Sue Miami Dolphins over F1 Race Track
This may be the last thing on the mind of Miami Dolphins fans everywhere, but there seems to be a prominent legal battle taking place in South Florida.
A new Formula 1 race track was recently approved (by a 6-6 vote) to be “built” around Hard Rock Stadium, with races beginning in 2021.
The F1 Miami Grand Prix will showcase Miami-Dade and Miami Gardens to the World. See new track below – world-class racing w/o using 199th St, and no racing during school hours. We hope the County Commission will support our effort to deliver this huge global event to you! pic.twitter.com/VqF5AnPMJT
— Tom Garfinkel (@TomGarfinkel) January 21, 2020
While city officials press to approve the new track, local residents are up in arms about the potential race. F1 cars are notoriously loud, and as we mentioned above, these races aren’t contained within an arena or stadium.
City officials believe this will bring in additional revenue for Miami and the surrounding area, as annual races are expected to be held around Hard Rock Stadium for the next 10 years. The local populous is arguing that these races are too loud for local streets, and will cause an enormous amount of disturbance and will be detrimental to the environment. Overall, this will cause a “serious degrade to their quality of life.”
Just so you can have a reference, F1 engines tend to run between 130-145 decibels. If you go to a concert and stand relatively close to an amplifier, you’re only dealing with about 100-110 decibels. The average lawn mower is about 90 decibels. Needless to say, these engines are LOUD.
Unlike NASCAR, Formula 1 (F1) race tracks are essentially “created” using local roadways that are already in place. Though there is obviously a lot of preparation that goes into “creating” the course (to ensure the safety of racers and fans alike), no new venues need to be built.
With that said, the City of Miami Gardens and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are attempting to host the race solely on Hard Rock Stadium grounds. Given Ross’ ownership in the land surrounding Hard Rock Stadium, it’s possible this race doesn’t officially occur on any public roads.
To give some background, Stephen Ross attempted to buy F1 a couple of years ago, but the sale ended up going to another group. Though he didn’t win the bid, he reached an agreement with the new owners and is now one step closer to making the Miami Grand Prix a reality.
Tom Garfinkel, President and CEO of the Miami Dolphins, issued the following statement on behalf of the approved 6-6 decision:
— F1 Miami Grand Prix (@f1miami) February 20, 2020
This recent vote was the biggest hurdle potentially preventing the Miami Grand Prix from happening. Though the legal battles aren’t over, it seems unlikely that the decision to host F1 races will be reversed.
Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts
The Miami Dolphins are beginning to bulk up the depth of their roster as they head into free agency.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Dolphins have signed tight end Michael Roberts. The exact terms of the contract are currently unknown.
#Dolphins are signing former #Lions TE Michael Roberts, source says. Roberts had four workouts the past week and more on the docket but will sign with Miami. Missed last season with a shoulder injury that nixed a trade to the #Patriots. Healthy now. 3 TDs in 2018 and can block.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 19, 2020
Originally a 4th-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Roberts has served mostly as a backup tight end; accumulating 146 yards on 13 receptions in 23 active games between 2017-2018.
Roberts was placed on injured-reserve towards the end of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury, and was traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional 2020 7th-round pick prior to the 2019 season. Due to medical reasons, the trade was voided a couple of days later.
The Green Bay Packers claimed Roberts off of waivers, but he was subsequently released by the Packers two days later for failing a physical. Roberts was not active for any games in 2019.
Signing Roberts doesn’t necessarily mean the Dolphins aren’t going to pursue tight ends in free agency or in the draft. Mike Gesicki is the only “lock” to make the 2020 roster, as Durham Smythe‘s blocking ability might not survive if the Dolphins find themselves in an advantageous situation at the position.
Look at this as a way for Miami to get ahead of evaluations.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) June 13, 2019
A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football
(Locked On Dolphins) – Last week, Person A dazzled us with their blind mock draft, and now we’re back with the next entry in the series.
Person B is ready to go with their mock.
Keep in mind that all the blind mock draft contributors have little to no knowledge of the NFL.
I had all the contributors standardize their boards and the process so that everyone was on an even playing field.
They all used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator with seven rounds, the predictive board, and had to choose the players manually.
Without further ado, here’s Person B’s mock draft.
(1) 5. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama
(1) 18. J.K. Dobbins – RB, Ohio State
(1) 26. Terrell Lewis – Edge, Alabama
(2) 39. Lloyd Cushenberry III – iOL, LSU
(2) 56. Xavier McKinney – S, Alabama
(3) 70. Rashard Lawrence – iDL, LSU
(5) 135. Chase Claypool – WR, Notre Dame
(5) 144. Justin Herron – OT, Wake Forest
(5) 147. Terrell Burgess – S, Utah
(6) 165. Lamar Jackson – CB, Nebraska
(6) 177. Jacob Breeland – TE, Oregon
(7) 223. David Reese II – LB, Florida
As I did with Person A, I reached out to Person B to get their reasoning behind the selections.
Me: “I noticed that you took Tua [Tagovailoa]. What led you to that decision with the fifth pick?”
Person B: “I knew the Dolphins wanted to get a QB, and Tua has been talked about so much that I just went with him.”
Me: “Which of your other selections did you feel particularly good about?”
Person B: “I need you to send me the link to my draft. I forgot who I picked since it took five attempts.”
[resends mock draft to Person B]
“I like my J.K. Dobbins pick. O-H-. And Rashard Lawrence. Because I figure he’s pretty good since LSU was really good this year.”
Me: “Your picks are really good. I’d put yours ahead of Person A. But it’s almost suspiciously good. Did you put your thumb on the scale somewhere along the line?”
Person B: “Well, by my 5th attempt (1 and 2: I didn’t select manual mode, 3: I didn’t pick 7 rounds from the drop-down menu, 4: I completed, but the site froze, and I lost everything), I figured out that I should probably pick from the top of the list first because if you don’t then those players just go like hotcakes.
So, I just matched up the positions the Dolphins needed to fill with the players highest on the list, and if I recognized a name or team, I would select them over someone I had never heard of.”
Me: “OK, well, we’re all out of time. Do you have any parting messages for Dolphins fans?”
Person B: “Well, I think the Dolphins are on the right track, and I hope that all of the true blue fans who have hung in with them for all these years will get to see another Super Bowl in the near future. GO FINS!”
And that wraps things up with Person B.
What are your thoughts on Person B’s mock draft? Leave a comment or tweet your thoughts at me directly on Twitter (@DIGITYnodoubt).
Tune in next time for Person C’s mock…
- Local Residents Sue Miami Dolphins over F1 Race Track February 20, 2020
- Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts February 19, 2020
- A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football February 19, 2020
- Top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019 February 14, 2020
- A Miami Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football February 12, 2020