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Miami Dolphins

Chandler Cox, 21-Personnel, and the Miami Dolphins New Identity

Travis Wingfield

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“We’re going to have a fullback one way or another. We’re going to have a tough, physical team.”

Aside from resurrecting the old logo, and making the throwback uniforms permanent, nothing will satisfy the senior generation of Dolphins fans more than that quote from new Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores. Throwing the game back to the days of Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris, and Jim Kiick, the Dolphins intend to zig where the rest of the league zags.

“As things transition more to the spread [offense], not a lot of teams know how to defend a two-back run game,” Flores said. “Having the ability to do that may be an advantage.”

Flores’ history with the Patriots is living proof of the successes that can come from 21-personnel, and the utilization of the NFL’s endangered fullback. Over the course of New England’s nine-game, post-bye stretch that culminated in a sixth Lombardi Trophy, the Patriots ran the football to the tune of 159.7 yards per game.

For comparison’s sake, the Seattle Seahawks led the NFL in rushing in 2018 with 160 yards per game on the nose.

Fullback James Develin averaged 21.5 snaps per game prior to the bye week; New England averaged 108.5 rushing yards per game during that stretch. The 50-yard increase in average rushing yards coincided with Develin’s workload jumping from 21.5 snaps per game up to 30.5.

The last fullback to grace Miami’s roster was Jorvorski Lane in 2012. The Dolphins transitioned from a two-back, and two-tight end heavy offense, to a more spread-out, 11-personnel-base offense in Joe Philbin’s second year. Signing Brandon Gibson and Mike Wallace ushered Miami into the modern age of the NFL.

Then, after hiring Adam Gase, the fullback crossed over the endangered line to full-blown extinction between the 2016-2018 seasons.

Now, under Brian Flores, the throwback position returns in the form of a bubblegum chewing, ass-kicking young man called Chandler Cox.

Cox, who was honored at Auburn’s Unsung Hero banquet last month, arrives back in his home-state to begin his NFL career. The former Apopka High School Football star took his many talents to U of A where he lined up all over the offensive formation.

“Chandler has always been passionate about football,” said Larry Porter, Auburn’s Tight End and H-backs Coach. “[Cox] would play so hard in practices throughout the week that I would have to pull him out because I needed him on Saturday.”

A prep standout for his work carrying the football, Cox quickly transitioned into his new role at the collegiate ranks. From an article written by the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad over the weekend, “I’d much rather block for someone than go score a touchdown,” said Cox, “I just want to move somebody out of the way.”

It’s comments like that, that will bring Dolphins fans back to the days of Rob Konrad, Lousaka Polite, and even Reagan Maui’a — better known as the Juggernaut.

Chris Kouffman put together some clips showcasing Cox’s best traits. From the aforementioned PFF data, Cox functioned as a multi-faceted feature of Auburn’s offense; though his work as a lead blocker and short yardage pass catcher will serve as his primary duties.

Cox will have to carve out a role in a scheme that promises to adapt to its opponent each week. The Dolphins offense, under Chad O’Shea, will take on the form of the best personnel that coach has at his disposal.

Therein lies an issue with regards to roster numbers, as well as contingency plans behind Cox. Even if Cox proves his mettle from the word go, the position is such a rarity, that one injury could potentially cripple a staple of Miami’s playbook (21-personnel).

That’s where Nick O’Leary comes in. Again, thanks to Kouffman, we get a side-by-side look at the work O’Leary did in 2018, and how it aligns with the skillset of Cox.

This shift coincides with Miami’s emphasis at the tight end position this offseason — another spot Cox is familiar with. In March, Miami penned a deal with former Patriots Tight End Dwayne Allen. Allen, once known as an athletic pass-catching matchup nightmare, made a mid-career transition to an inline, earth-moving run blocker. Allen played 69.4% of his snaps in 2018 inline or in the backfield and 30% of his work came as a route runner in the passing game.

Add 2018 fourth-round pick Durham Smythe — essentially an extra lineman in Notre Dame’s nation-leading ground game in 2017 — and Miami have certainly developed a prototype at the position.

The offensive line follows that same mold. Jordan Mills, Michael Deiter, and Isaiah Prince each made their names in the running game. Even Miami’s undrafted free agents, as well as the players plucked from the defunct AAF, all arrive with a mauling mentality.

None of this work in the spring will guarantee Miami another undefeated season, or back-to-back Super Bowl victories. So while the identity shift back to the franchise’s glory days is a breath of fresh air, it’ll be on the Dolphins coaching staff get the most out of this revamped roster.

One thing is for sure, this IS your grandpa’s Dolphins team.

@WingfieldNFL

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Melody Mackey

    May 14, 2019 at 11:50 am

    He can take a hit. I will say that.

  2. Avatar

    Paul Smith

    May 15, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Its about time we started punishing defenses again and winning in the 4th quarter.

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Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen 2018 Passing Chart – Week 17 at Seattle

Travis Wingfield

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Football, more so than any other sport, requires context to tell the full story. Box scores provide the casual fan with a general idea of the cumulative result of any given game, but without isolating each player’s performance, many details go unnoticed.

This project is entirely based around isolating the play of Josh Rosen. Traditional data points will tell you that his rookie season was one of the worst in the history of the league. Watching each drop back multiple times over, breaking down the most impactful plays, and charting the data that tells the true story, this is the 2018 Josh Rosen charting project.

Jump To:

Week 4 vs. Seattle
Week 5 at San Francisco
Week 6 at Minnesota
Week 7 vs. Denver
Week 8 vs. San Francisco
Week 10 at Kansas City
Week 11 vs. Oakland
Week 12 at LA Chargers
Week 13 at Green Bay
Week 14 vs. Detroit
Week 15 at Atlanta
Week 16 vs. LA Rams
Week 17 at Seattle

Week 17 at Seattle –

By the time this season finale came to an end the entire Cardinals operation had to breathe a sigh of relief. A disaster season, that came to a crashing conclusion, was finally in the rearview. For Josh Rosen, the last month of the season was a recurring nightmare. Rosen threw 146 passes in December and the only one that crossed pay dirt was a busted coverage in this Seattle game.

Some of Rosen’s strong suits didn’t travel to the Pacific Northwest. Throwing into contested windows, play-action passing, and third down conversions each brought back less than satisfactory returns.

The Cardinal passing offense converted 3-of-14 3rd downs. Rosen was 2-of-14 for 23 yards on contested throws and 5-of-10 for 56 yards on play pass.

Rosen was chucking-and-praying once again. The average air yards per throw tallied 10.8 yards, while the Arizona receivers only amassed 51 yards after the catch (34.2% of Rosen’s passing total).

The short passing game was far more fruitful than the vertical attacks.

 

Portion of the Field Accurate Pass/Number of Passes
20+ yards 0/3 (0%)
11-19 yards 0/3 (0%)
0-10 yards (or behind LOS) 11/16 (68.8%)

 

The game was littered with mistakes from the Cardinals QB. Rosen registered 14 mistakes (11 from accuracy, 2 ball security issues, and 1 poor read). Rosen lost two fumbles and had two would-be interceptions dropped by the Seattle defense.

The personnel deployment featured more versatility than recent weeks. Rosen’s passes were supplemented by the following personnel packages.

 

11-personnel 31 snaps
12-personnel 3 snaps
21-personnel 4 snaps

 

As has been the case all season, Rosen was under frequent pressure. Seattle arrived for 11 pressures (6 sacks, 3 hits, 2 hurries) at an average time from snap-to-pressure of 2.19 seconds.

The busted coverage touchdown was Rosen’s one red-zone completion (1-of-3). He was in the gun for 25 snaps and under-center for 13.

Another week, another low conversion rate. The Cardinal passing game converted 8-of-38 plays into first downs (21.1%)

It’s difficult to imagine a more trying rookie season than the one Rosen experienced. The offensive line play was poor, the only consistent pass catcher was Larry Fitzgerald, and Rosen had his own share of rookie mistakes to compound things.

This game goes into the losing performance category marking eight consecutive games that Rosen failed to reach the winning performance category.

 

2018 Performance Results Number of Games
Winning Performance 2 (SEA, SF)
Inconsequential Performance 3 (@MIN, @LAC, @ATL)
Losing Performance 7 (@SF, DEN, @KC, OAK, @GB, DET, LAR, @SEA)

Winning Performance – The QB played well enough to garner a victory. He limited mistakes and made plays in crucial situations.
Inconsequential Performance – More of a game-managing role, the QB didn’t have the big plays, but mistakes were limited.
Losing Performance – The QB limited his team’s ability to win the game with his performance.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen 2018 Passing Chart – Week 16 vs. LA Rams

Travis Wingfield

Published

on

Football, more so than any other sport, requires context to tell the full story. Box scores provide the casual fan with a general idea of the cumulative result of any given game, but without isolating each player’s performance, many details go unnoticed.

This project is entirely based around isolating the play of Josh Rosen. Traditional data points will tell you that his rookie season was one of the worst in the history of the league. Watching each drop back multiple times over, breaking down the most impactful plays, and charting the data that tells the true story, this is the 2018 Josh Rosen charting project.

Jump To:

Week 4 vs. Seattle
Week 5 at San Francisco
Week 6 at Minnesota
Week 7 vs. Denver
Week 8 vs. San Francisco
Week 10 at Kansas City
Week 11 vs. Oakland
Week 12 at LA Chargers
Week 13 at Green Bay
Week 14 vs. Detroit
Week 15 at Atlanta
Week 16 vs. LA Rams
Week 17 at Seattle

 

Week 16 vs. LA Rams –

For the second consecutive game Josh Rosen didn’t finish under-center for the Cardinals. In a blowout loss, where it seemed like the entire game plan revolved around making life easy on Josh Rosen, Arizona still managed to get ran out of the building. Mike Glennon completed the final series for the Red Birds offense.

Rosen threw the ball only 23 times, but scrambled more than he has all season. The game plan also featured the least amount of variety, from a personnel grouping standpoint, all season.

 

11-personnel 30 snaps
12-personnel 1 snap

 

Rosen’s typical third down heroics didn’t show up. The Cardinals converted only 2-of-10 third downs in the passing game (one a QB scramble). Converting, as it has been all season, was a challenge in general — Arizona converted just 6-of-31 drop backs (19.4%).

Rosen was in the shotgun almost exclusively (3 under-center, 28 in the gun). This led to a limited play-action passing game (only one throw from play pass).

The four mistakes attributed to Rosen were largely deep shots. He missed on short pass, but two of the three inaccuracies came on balls down the field. One of those deep shots was an ill-advised throw into coverage despite a wide open Larry Fitzgerald coming across the formation (seen in the video thread).

Rosen’s depth splits were as follows:

 

Portion of the Field Accurate Pass/Number of Passes
20+ yards 0/3 (0%)
11-19 yards 0/3 (0%)
0-10 yards (or behind LOS) 11/16 (68.8%)

 

More than half of Rosen’s 87 passing yards came from YAC (54%). The average depth of Rosen’s passes was 9.22 air yards per throw.

Throwing into tight window was a futile effort. Rosen completed 1-of-7 contested throws for 7 yards. Pressure was a regular fixture, yet again, as Rosen was under duress on 11 drop backs (4 sacks, 5 hits, 2 hurries). The average time from snap-to-pressure was 2.30 seconds.

The war of attrition seems to have finally broken the Cardinals spirit. The team’s execution was lacking all year, but this game was something of a “white flag” effort from the coaching staff. Rosen gets tabbed with a losing performance for a lack of big-time plays, a few mistakes, and an awful holistic result.

 

2018 Performance Results Number of Games
Winning Performance 2 (SEA, SF)
Inconsequential Performance 3 (@MIN, @LAC, @ATL)
Losing Performance 6 (@SF, DEN, @KC, OAK, @GB, DET, LAR)

Winning Performance – The QB played well enough to garner a victory. He limited mistakes and made plays in crucial situations.
Inconsequential Performance – More of a game-managing role, the QB didn’t have the big plays, but mistakes were limited.
Losing Performance – The QB limited his team’s ability to win the game with his performance.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen 2018 Passing Chart – Week 15 at Atlanta

Travis Wingfield

Published

on

Football, more so than any other sport, requires context to tell the full story. Box scores provide the casual fan with a general idea of the cumulative result of any given game, but without isolating each player’s performance, many details go unnoticed.

This project is entirely based around isolating the play of Josh Rosen. Traditional data points will tell you that his rookie season was one of the worst in the history of the league. Watching each drop back multiple times over, breaking down the most impactful plays, and charting the data that tells the true story, this is the 2018 Josh Rosen charting project.

Jump To:

Week 4 vs. Seattle
Week 5 at San Francisco
Week 6 at Minnesota
Week 7 vs. Denver
Week 8 vs. San Francisco
Week 10 at Kansas City
Week 11 vs. Oakland
Week 12 at LA Chargers
Week 13 at Green Bay
Week 14 vs. Detroit
Week 15 at Atlanta
Week 16 vs. LA Rams
Week 17 at Seattle

 

Week 15 at Atlanta –

We’ve reached the point in the season where the Cardinals coaching staff had to make a switch to prevent further damaging their 21-year-old quarterback. Josh Rosen, under duress all game, with very little help from the route concepts and plan to attack the Atlanta defense, was pulled for Mike Glennon in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons pass rush would’ve crippled the most grizzled veteran in the NFL; it completely debilitated Rosen. The Cardinal QB was under pressure 15-of-27 drop backs (6 sacks, 6 hits, 3 hurries) with an average snap-to-pressure time of 2.17 seconds.

Atlanta’s unrelenting pressure led to a season-low in average air yards per attempt (4.6 AYPT). The Arizona receivers picked up 82 yards after the catch counting for 62.1% of Rosen’s passing total.

Once again, a lopsided scoreboard forced Arizona into very little variety from a personnel grouping standpoint. Rosen was 4-of-5 with 37 yards on non-11-personnel calls. The issue there — Arizona was always in 11-personnell.

 

11-personnel 22 snaps
12-personnel 4 snaps
21-personnel 1 snap

 

Rosen only committed two mistakes in the game (one accuracy, one a poor decision). The biggest mistake was an example of nervous antics in the pocket and a decision Rosen would prefer to have back (available in the Twitter thread).

Rosen was under-center just 5 times (gun 22), and only threw from play action three times; Rosen was 2-of-3 with 13 yards on play pass.

The Arizona offense converted only 18.5% (5-of-27) passing plays into first downs. Throwing into contested windows was a 50-50 proposition — Rosen threw for 68 yards on 4-of-8 passing into tight windows.

Rosen’s depth splits were as follows:

 

Portion of the Field Accurate Pass/Number of Passes
20+ yards 1/1 (100%)
11-19 yards 2/3 (66.7%)
0-10 yards (or behind LOS) 12/15 (80%)

 

It was a miserable day for the Cardinals all the way around. Rosen never stood much of a chance to make a big time paly, or to make a game-changing mistake — but the one time he did make a crucial mistake, the game was already out of reach. This showing goes in the inconsequential column.

 

2018 Performance Results Number of Games
Winning Performance 2 (SEA, SF)
Inconsequential Performance 3 (@MIN, @LAC, @ATL)
Losing Performance 5 (@SF, DEN, @KC, OAK, @GB, DET)

Winning Performance – The QB played well enough to garner a victory. He limited mistakes and made plays in crucial situations.
Inconsequential Performance – More of a game-managing role, the QB didn’t have the big plays, but mistakes were limited.
Losing Performance – The QB limited his team’s ability to win the game with his performance.

@WingfieldNFL

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