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Dolphins at Vikings – Week 15 Preview

Travis Wingfield

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Who: Dolphins (7-6) at Vikings (6-6-1)
When: December 16 – 1:00 East
Where: US Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, MN
Weather: In Doors
Vegas Slant: Vikings -7

Dolphins-Vikings

One remarkable, unforgettable play has shifted the entire paradigm revolving around this Dolphins team. Resiliency, preparation, and a little bit of luck has propelled Miami from the despair of playing out the string of glorified exhibition games, to a legitimate playoff contender.

A victory Sunday in Minneapolis would put the Dolphins on the fast track to January football. But, in order to steal a win, Miami has to buck two negative recent trends:

1.) Winning against a quality team on the road
2.) Winning when there are expectations to do so

Miami have been up to the task in the role of spoiler in recent years. Adam Gase’s Dolphins find a way to get to the winner’s circle in one-score games (19-6 since 2016).

The big question for the opponent is the state of the offense. This will be the first time newly promoted Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski will call plays in his career.

Both teams are in need of a win to keep their playoff hopes intact. The winner will feel great about their chances to make the final push, while the loser can start thinking about renting their U-Hauls and setting winter tee-times.

Vikings Scheme
Offense:

This portion of the column is essentially a blank canvas. Previously the Quarterbacks Coach, new play caller Kevin Stefanski has been on the Vikings staff since 2006. He began his stint in the same role held by Dwight Schrute of Dunder Mifflin (Assistant to the Head Coach).

Since his arrival 12 years ago, Stefanski has coached the quarterbacks, tight ends, running backs and the quarterbacks again. He’s clearly well-respected by the Vikings organization.

How do you plan for an offensive scheme that has literally never been published? The key for Matt Burke and the Dolphins defense will be focusing on the individuals. The Vikings will strip things down and put their star players in position to do the things that made them stars.

For Adam Thielen, this means working the perimeter of the field with out-breaking routes. Stefon Diggs will almost assuredly lean on his curl-route prowess to lull Miami into a false sense of security before trying his patented double move.

Lastly, Stefanski will put Kirk Cousins in advantageous situations. Expect the Vikings to make a concerted effort to run the football, create some rolling pockets and get the ball out Cousins’ hands quickly.

Defense:

The Seattle tape could be a misnomer because of the Seahawks’ antiquated offense. Extra linemen in the heavy package far more frequently than the norm, Minnesota played a stack-and-shed defense that allowed the linebackers to shoot gaps.

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This would counter some of Miami’s more successful plays. The Dolphins have made haste on the inside trap with the tight end wham, but that only works against an aggressive one-gap penetrating defense.

Miami has also recently begun pulling the backside guard and tackle in more of a power-scheme. This would be effective in allowing Miami to climb to the second level and pick up chunk yardage on early downs.

One thing that hasn’t changed, in this Mike Zimmer defense, is the A-gap presence of the linebackers. They’ll bring Eric Kendricks and friends down into that position leaving it up to the offense to figure out if it’s legit or simply a bluff.

Interior pressure is the name of the game for this Vikings defense. Miami must find a way to mitigate that aspect of this swarming Vikings defense if they are to sustain offensive success.

Zimmer will always mix and disguise his coverages on the back end. The coverage revolves around the physicality and athleticism of All-Pro Safety Harrison Smith. He will rob the backside over-route, match the tight end man-up, cover the slot, drop into a two-deep look – he gives them ultimately flexibility.

The Players
Offense:

Kirk Cousins was signed to get the Vikings over the playoff hump. Ironically, Cousins’ biggest pitfalls come when the lights are the brightest – in primetime games. The embattled passer has been the brunt of fan criticism due in large part to his $84 million fully guaranteed contract.

Cousins greatest struggles come under pressure, something Minnesota does a poor job of preventing. He’s under duress more than any other quarterback in the NFL and has a pedestrian 83.4 passer rating when the heat is on.

Minnesota’s offensive line is, for lack of a better term, offensive. For starters, Right Tackle Brian O’Neill is questionable, giving Cam Wake a potential match-up against a backup. That backup, Rashod Hill has played just as much as the two starters, however. The threesome has surrendered 87 pressures on 1,204 pass pro reps (13.8% pressure rate). Comparatively, Ja’Wuan James and Laremy Tunsil’s combined pressure rate is 5%.

The Vikings interior pass protection is much better. That trio’s percentage is 5.7% pressure allowed, but they’ve also ushered one of the game’s worst ground attacks. Mike Remmers’ PFF run blocking grade is 75th among NFL guards. Center Pat Elflein is 42nd among centers via the ground game.

Receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are both all-pro candidates. The latter averages an astonishing 9.02 yards per target and is 11th in the NFL with 2.19 yards per route ran. There isn’t a route in the tree that either can’t win on any given snap.

Defense:

The front-seven is loaded. Danielle Hunter is a game-wrecker. He’s tied for third in the league with 13 sacks, he’s top-10 in pressure rate, and he more than holds his own against the run.

Hunter’s fellow sack-master on the other side is having a down year by his own standards (outside the top-100 in PRP). Everson Griffen had to step away from the game to deal with some mental health issues earlier this season, so the fact that he’s back doing what he loves is a win in and of itself.

Harrison Smith is the straw that stirs the drink for the Vikings. On consecutive snaps against the Patriots two weeks ago, Smith carried Josh Gordon up the seam step-for-step in man coverage, then chucked Rob Gronkowski at the line of scrimmage.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Smith is a punishing run defender that rarely misses a tackle. In coverage he allows a paltry passer rating against of just 68.1 on the season. His safety-mate, Anthony Harris, has three interceptions and has yet to allow a touchdown in coverage this season.

Xavier Rhodes has been playing through an injury all year and his production has suffered. He normally travels with team’s top receivers, but Miami doesn’t really feature a prominent number-one. Kenny Stills is the top option for Rhodes to attempt to lock out of the game and, frankly, that’s a match-up that stylistically favors Minnesota.

Eric Kendricks fits the bill of a modern day linebacker with elite coverage skills, but he’s not much of a thumper against the run.

Those run-stuffing duties fall on the shoulders of Linval Joseph and Sheldon Richardson. The pair have combined for 34 run stuffs – top five among interior D-linemen combinations.

While Kendricks is a menace in coverage, Anthony Barr has been exposed by offenses with similar personnel groupings as Miami.

The Medical:

Dolphins Wednesday Report:

DNP: WR Danny Amendola, CB Xavien Howard
Limited: QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Kenyan Drake, LT Laremy Tunsil, WR Devante Parker, RT Ja’Wuan James, CB Cornell Armstrong, SAF T.J. McDonald

Vikings Wednesday Report:

DNP: WR Chad Beebe
Limited: LB Eric Kendricks, CB Trae Waynes, TE David Morgan, RT Brian O’Neill, RG Mike Remmers, Sheldon Richardson

The Concerns:

Miami’s offensive line played perhaps its best game of the season in Sunday’s win over the Patriots. The front-five will have to match that effort against the terrorizing front of the Vikings. Interior pressure will wreck the Miami offense and make points impossible to come by.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

On the other side, the possibility of Xavien Howard missing his second straight game could equal some considerable mismatches outside for Diggs and Thielen. Even if the Dolphins push Minnesota into third-and-long, the duo’s ability to separate quickly could lead to another frustrating money-down conversion rate for the opposing offense.

The Opportunities:

Pressure, pressure, pressure. Getting Cousins off his spot and forcing him into one of those bone-headed mistakes he seems to make on a weekly basis would go a long way towards a road upset.

Minnesota’s defense is stingy, but Miami has found ways to scheme yardage on the ground against some of the better run-stuffing teams in football. From there, Miami can roll out advantageous personnel packages and put the rabbit hat on LB Anthony Barr with passes to the backs (Kenyan Drake).

The Projected Result:

The set-up for this game is fascinating. Whoever comes away victorious heads towards Christmas feeling terrific about their playoff chances (both teams play games against inferior competition in week 16 (a home game for Miami)).

For Miami, the challenge will be getting back up after the most dramatic ending to a football game in the history of the NFL. It will be a testament to the coaching staff if Miami can start fast (after all, they have scored on three consecutive opening possessions).

On the flip side, the Vikings return home on a short week off a game against a physical Seattle team. Expectations of the new play caller are a total mystery, but this team should be desperate playing at in their loud building.

The Dolphins need an early lead and win on special teams. After some gaffes last week (two blocked punts), Darren Rizzi should have his unit rearing to go. This game will be decided by a field goal and with the Vikings issues at the position (Dan Bailey 16/23 vs. Jason Sanders 16/17), Miami wins another game in dramatic fashion.

Dolphins 20
Vikings 19

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Chris Grier Updates Status of Miami Dolphins

Jason Hrina

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MiamiDolphins.com

Majority of the NFL General Managers met in Arizona for the NFL Meetings earlier this morning, and after some closed-door discussions, were available to the media.

While Chris Grier spoke candidly and somewhat transparently about the Miami Dolphins, it left us both relieved but slightly perplex.

As we’ll highlight below, Grier spoke of failed expectations and nonexistent success during his tenure with the team, specifically during the Ryan Tannehill era.

His demeanor and approach seems that of a remorseful man who has learned from his mistakes, but it still makes us wonder what Grier was really thinking or doing all of these years. Again, we’re convinced he didn’t have final say throughout his career, but was he just unable to create a convincing enough argument to counter Mike Tannenbaum or Adam Gase‘s desires? Did they not respect him enough? And if so, why?

A lot of this may just be our skepticism after watching such futility over the past 15+ years, but Grier’s comments still provide a shroud of mystery – even if what he’s trying to say is clear as day:

On Ryan Tannehill:

When asked to describe Tannehill’s 7-year career in Miami: “Inconsistent”

Grier was pressed further on how the organization came to a determination that they needed to move on from the Tannehill era and he was confident in his response; sticking with the ol’ company line of how he won’t “reveal” who determined what. But what stood out to me most was when the reporter mentioned that ‘(Grier) had a determination before he met with the organization (Brian FloresChad O’Shea, Jerry Schuplinski) but didn’t want to reveal what the determination was’.

Is it fair to say that Grier believed Tannehill was a worthy quarterback, as he stuck with Tannehill through 2016, again in 2017 when his knee was volatile and then again in 2018 when he was two knee surgeries removed and 7 years into his NFL career? Or do we blame Tannenbaum and Gase for these evaluations?

Grier went on to compliment Tannehill’s toughness, saying “he gave his heart and soul” to this team, but would then go on to admit that the team may have made a mistake in not drafting a quarterback to compete with Tannehill. Isn’t it Grier’s job to identify this talent and assist Tannebaum in building the roster?

When asked if he believed he made a mistake keeping Tannehill as the Dolphins quarterback for 7 years, he simply replied: “No.”

On the Roster:

What is Grier’s #1 roster concern: “Franchise quarterback.”

Outside of the obvious choice of a franchise quarterback? “What we’ve talked about from Day 1…the building blocks…the offensive and defensive line. Losing Ja’Wuan (James) was a big blow…creates another piece you need to fill…..but I would say the offensive and defensive line right now; building for the future.”

With the team’s sights set on 2020, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miami trade down in the 2019 draft to try and acquire more draft picks to utilize on the trenches.

On the Tight Ends:

Not sure if someone is hearing the echos outside of Davie, but seems this staff is about to spend the offseason pumping up Miami’s tight ends. Previously, DeVante Parker received the annual award for “breakout player of the year” (only to never breakout), so we’ll see what this means for Mike Gesicki and company:

On “Tanking”:

“There’s no tanking”

On Ryan Fitzpatrick:

Chris Grier sees Ryan Fitzpatrick as “a bridge to a new quarterback (in 2019 or 2020)”. While also using Fitzpatrick as an example as to why Miami isn’t tanking.

This is more ‘general manager speak’ from Grier, who can’t sell a fanbase and lockerroom on openly losing – between integrity, sales and keeping his job, Grier has to maintain that Miami is “trying” in 2019. As we all know, Ryan Fitzpatrick gives off that illusion maybe a little too well, as Miami is vying for the #1 draft pick in 2020, not another year filled with 6 wins.

Seems Grier shares a similar sentiment about Fitzpatrick’s futility, as this comment was probably one of the most eye-opening (and, frankly, insulting) of the day:

On the NFL Draft:

Does Grier see himself drafting a QB in 2019 or 2020?

“(we are) looking into quarterback options in 2019 and in 2020.” And that “drafting a QB in both 2019 and 2020 is (also possible).”

On Xavien Howard:

Grier mentions that he has had “good talks with (Xavien Howard‘s) agent”, though a deal is still not close.

This seems like a public relations move on behalf of Grier in an attempt to defuse any negativity from the fanbase. He must understand that Howard is a budding star on a team devoid of stars this century – allowing Howard to walk will create immediate backlash; there’s no sense perpetuating that feeling now by acting like he’s above the contract talk.

On Robert Quinn:

Essentially, talks seem to remain fluid with multiple teams (the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints have been the two teams we’ve heard about publicly). Grier made it seem like there may be additional suitors, but you have to wonder how much of that is a ploy to drive up Robert Quinn‘s price.

Grier also mentions that if the team “has to keep him, we will”, but I believe that’s the general manager side of him talking in hopes of maintaining leverage in any trade. A team rebuilding for 2020 isn’t looking to absorb a ~$11m cap hit in 2019.

Unfortunately for us, this guy wasn’t one of those GMs available:

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Miami Dolphins

Miami’s Primary Objective – The Secondary

Travis Wingfield

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Supplementing a strength vs. thinly spreading resources – Miami attacks its most important position in the defensive backfield

The hallmark of a championship roster in the National Football League is comprised of two ingredients – a quality quarterback, and a universally recognizable identity.

January’s final four offers the latest data point. Four top-shelf quarterbacks and four teams defined by dominant factions elsewhere on the 53-man roster. Whether it was Kansas City’s loaded play-making unit, New England’s swarming secondary, or the Saints and Rams relentless ground-game, each contender can point to one dependable, defining feature that carried these clubs to Lombardi’s doorstep.

The ultimate champion (New England Patriots) re-stocked the trophy case with its sixth Lombardi in 2018. The NFL’s anomaly for two decades is fueled by chameleon-like reinvention, while the other 31 compete amid a similar formula.

Four quarterbacks have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl dating back to the 2003 season. Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, and one fluke showing by Joe Flacco comprises the entirety of Lamar Hunt trophies for the past 16 years. Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Russell Wilson; the NFC is no stranger to star power at the game’s most important position.

So we can all agree – the quarterback is the main course of the Super Bowl meal. The next fillet mignon served without a side dish will be the first, however.

Seattle’s Legion of Boom was one yard away from back-to-back titles. Denver’s dominant 2015 Super Bowl team was spearheaded by a pass rush that unleashed Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and Malik Jackson from three separate angles. The saviors of the ’72 perfect season (2007 Giants) slowed a record-setting offense with a fierce four-man rush.

This is the portion of the article where we introduce Brian Flores’ Miami Dolphins.

We know that 2019 isn’t about collecting wins for the ‘Phins – it’s about building a foundation for continued success. A departure from the old model of patching together a 10-win team every two presidential terms.

The first step to this process is excepting that quarterback isn’t arriving this year. With Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins likely out of reach, Miami can shift its focus to the side dish – the identifying feature.

While other portions of the roster are under-cooked, the defensive backfield is only in need of a pinch of seasoning.

Xavien Howard is set to cash in with a mega-extension that will pay the lockdown cornerback more money than any player at his position. Minkah Fitzpatrick hit the ground running from the first game of his rookie campaign.

Supplementing Howard and Fitzpatrick is not only the easy choice, it’s easily executable. The strength of this year’s draft class is the vast number of elite defensive line prospects. Miami, picking 13th, falls just outside the range to land one of the surefire, instant-impact, front-seven players.

The next best feature of the 2019 rookie class is the glut of defensive backs that figures to come off the board in the 20-60 range. Box safeties, center fielders, perimeter corners and slot specialists; the time is now for Miami to go from “pretty good secondary,” to the league’s new no-fly zone as early as 2020.

The Draft Network’s cumulative big board has 10 defensive backs in its 20-60 range with three DBs in the top-20. The veritable side-dish offering is comparable to options available on the menu at The Cheesecake Factory – choices, choices, choices.

Miami’s new scheme is going to be defensive back driven – just as Flores had it in New England. He learned this philosophy from Bill Belichick who shares the same principles with Nick Saban. Create a pass rush with clever blitzes, games, and gap integrity, and lockdown the backend of the defense with solid cover-corners on the outside, safeties that can matchup in coverage, and range in man-free calls.

Patrick Chung is defined as the Patriots strong safety. He played 396 reps in man-coverage acting as a pseudo-cornerback in 2018.

Devin McCourty is New England’s free safety. He played 204 snaps in coverage as a corner.

Duron Harmon, the third safety, is strictly a sub-package middle-of-the-field patrolman – 526 of his 694 snaps were as the deep safety.

The three safeties accounted, respectively, for 85%, 96%, and 61% of the New England’s total defensive snaps in 2018

In Miami, Fitzpatrick is perfectly suited for one of these roles – likely the one occupied by McCourty. Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald don’t cover well enough to (46th and 75th graded coverage safeties by Pro Football Focus in 2018) to properly execute this defense.

With both veterans commanding large pay days in the coming years, and generally miscast in the defense, it’s safe to assume their futures are elsewhere.

This leaves the Dolphins with Howard, Fitzpatrick, Bobby McCain, and a bevy of unproven young corners in this ultra-important position group.

Hardly a Da Vinci Code riddle, Miami needs its Chung, Harmon, and a suitable corner opposite Howard. In 2019, again, since wins aren’t the primary objective, we’ll allow Eric Rowe first crack at the job with Cordrea Tankersley, Cornell Armstrong, Torry McTyer and Jalen Davis to compete for the right to replace Rowe if and when he suffers another injury.

Even less complex, Miami’s desire to trade out of the 13th pick is well-documented. Recouping an additional second-round pick, and sliding back into the 20’s is not only a possibility, it’s a probability this April.

And, with that, we devise this plan:

The Patrick Chung Role:

Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State – The human missile plays the game at a different speed while somehow staying in full control as a tackler. His angles are exceptional, he can blitz off the edge, and he’s more than adept at coming down to cover in single-high safety packages.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida – Rangier than Abram, CGJ excelled in man-coverage in 2018. He fits either of the two roles (Chung and Harmon) but his matchup coverage skills make it tough to take him off the field. Patriots Beat Writers are raving about his fit in the New England scheme, proving his value for Miami as well.

Nasir Adderley, Delaware – Like CGJ, Adderley has range to play the middle of the field, but he’s a first-round pick and 85% snaps type of player. Suited for either of these two roles, Adderley played cornerback in college so his matchup skills are right in-line with what Miami needs.

The Duron Harmon Role:

Juan Thornhill, Virginia – Thornhill won the combine with jaw-dropping jumping and timed metrics. His tape would suggest that he’s not the best fit for cover-1 but his closing speed and testing metrics showcase his elite deep-coverage. He, like Adderley, played cornerback early in his college career.

Deionte Thompson, Alabama – Speed, range, and elite ball skills put Thompson in-play here, but he takes the cheese a little too often.

Peaking at New England’s top defensive snap-takers in 2018, the thinking is clear. Defensive backs make up the majority of the reps on defense meaning we need bodies, a lot of them, on the back end.

 

Position Player 2018 Snaps
CB Stephone Gilmore 1014
FS Devin McCourty 1004
LB Kyle Van Noy 946
SS Patrick Chung 887
CB Jason McCourty 834
LB Dont’a Hightower 774
DE Trey Flowers 732
SAF Duron Harmon 636

 

Five of the top eight snap takers came from the secondary. Miami will undoubtedly need to find its Van Noy and Flowers, but we’ll tackle that later.

Give me Jonathan Abram and Juan Thornhill in the first two rounds, an extension for Howard, and utilizing Minkah Fitzpatrick as the Swiss Army Knife, and let’s go.

It’s Miami’s best defensive position (two blue chip players (X and Minkah)). It’s one of the draft’s deepest positions as far as scheme fits and immediate impact players. If the Dolphins can execute this plan, then drop the quarterback into the fold in 2020 with carefully placed free agents, this rebuild doesn’t have to be a three-year process. With 11 picks in the 2020 class, and likely more coming, supplementing the trenches comes a year later.

Even in this practice, we still have second and third-round picks to address the lines. Rounding out the two-day 2019 mock draft in this scenario gives us something like this:

  1. (24) S Johnathan Abram – Mississippi State
  2. (35) DE Chase Winovich – Michigan
  3. (48) S Juan Thornhill – Virginia
  4. (79) OLB Justin Hollins – Oregon

This plan allows Miami to find out what it has with its young corners, defensive linemen, and interior offensive linemen en route to finding the quarterback in 2020. If Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage are as formidable as I think they’ll be, this sounds like a vessel primed to be captained by Georgia’s Jake Fromm.

A running game is said to be the quarterback’s best friend, but a defense that can consistently keep the opposition around 20 points per game alleviates a lot of pressure of your young signal caller.

Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa, Jordan Love, whoever it is, asking the newly minted franchise quarterback to engineer three touchdown drives per game is the right recipe. It’s a recipe not just for immediate success, but sustained success.

Just as Stephen Ross wants it.

@WingfieldNFL

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Dolphins Quarterback Prospect Film Room: Dwayne Haskins

Travis Wingfield

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The entire industry of draft scouting is propped up by projection. Anybody can read a box score, point to a highlight reel, or regurgitate the words of any on-air analyst, but it’s the ability to identify traits, and room for growth within those traits, that makes for the best scouts.

Dwayne Haskins is the ultimate projection player – his one season as a starter at Ohio State suggests as much. Starting off the season with some less than impressive tape, Haskins turned it on during at the most crucial point of the Buckeyes season.

Cumulatively, Haskins’ stat sheet was other-worldly. One of three mega-impressive Heisman candidates (along with presumed 2019 first overall pick Kyler Murray, and overwhelming favorite to be the first pick in 2020, Tua Tagovailoa), Haskins rivalry game (Michigan)and post-season (Northwestern and Washington) numbers elevated him into that exclusive club back in December.

Haskins turns 22 a week following next month’s draft. His body composition tells an unfinished story. A simple glance at some remaining baby fat is quite the indicator that this young man hasn’t even fully developed. Haskins is a studious worker both in the classroom and in the weight room leaving plenty of meat on the bone for whichever coach gets his hands on this impressive quarterback.

The combine didn’t do any favors for Haskins’ stock. We’ll showcase his heavy feet in some clips momentarily, but his forty-yard dash was up there with the offensive linemen (5.07). Still, the ball jumps off his hand and that was the primary takeaway from his workouts both in Indianapolis and Columbus during his pro day.

Now the Head Coach at Ohio State, Ryan Day (Haskins’ Offensive Coordinator), has spoken at length about Haskins’ leadership. In this article written back in August, Day praises the growth Haskins showed going from backup to starter during the 2018 spring and summer process.

“His leadership had to step up and he’s done that,” Day said. “Throughout practice he’s gotten stronger, especially from the spring.”

Day made an appearance on the Move the Sticks podcast back on March 6 of this year. Asked about Day’s background as a quarterback and the challenges of getting young quarterbacks ready to play, Day responded with the following.

Mar 2, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins (QB05) throws a pass during the 2019 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Paraphrasing – “So much of Dwayne coming on this year was done leading up to the season. Understanding of protections and defensive structure, how to attack coverages and how the footwork times up with the progressions.”

A point of contention on the Locked On Dolphins podcast (via Brian Flores and Chris Grier themselves) has focused on the mental aptitude of the quarterback. Day continues to glow about Haskins jump in that department during the 2018 season when Bucky Brooks asked what it is that makes Dwayne such a special talent.

“His innate accuracy is among the best I’ve ever seen and I was around Matt Ryan at Boston College. The anticipation and touch is similar. He has a great feel for what’s going on in front of him. He’s really embraced the classroom and I thought he did a really good job with that, especially late in the season. He doesn’t get rattled and nothing is too big for him.”

Brooks continued the questioning with an inquiry about Haskins ability to raise to the level of franchise quarterback, the biggest stage for a quarterback.

“He’ll do great. It’s not [going to] happen overnight. Every day I think he’ll learn something because you never fail, you either win or you learn and he’s done well with that approach.”

The next question brought back the most intriguing answer – it was framed, “what’s the one thing that you absolutely love about [Haskins] and what NFL teams will love about him when they dig down deep and meet him?”

Day responded, “His overall spirit. He’s been raised the right way, his heart is in the right place, he cares about the people around him and he wants to be great. He will be ready for everything you throw at him, that’s the kind of kid he is.”

There is a connection that links Haskins to Miami. Ryan Day mentioned being on the Boston College staff with Matt Ryan in the interview with the MTS podcast. Day’s coaching path rerouted away from BC from 2005 to 2007, but Day was a graduate assistant in 2003 while Dolphins Current Head Coach, Brian Flores, was a played for the Golden Eagles.

So what about Haskins film? That’s why you click on this link, so let’s dive in.

Michigan State Game (More videos inside Twitter thread)

Northwestern (More videos inside Twitter thread)

Purdue (More videos inside Twitter thread)

Cumulative Takeaways:

Strengths – Advanced from processing standpoint. Generates good spin via quality mechanics and torque both stationary and on the move. Can alter his release point when off-platform to maintain accuracy. Innate ability to recognize coverage and the routes designed to attack that coverage. Trusts his eyes and will play-off the defensive leverage against man, and plays with anticipation against zone coverage. Big time arm that opens up the entire playbook and forces the defense to cover the entire field.

Weaknesses – Mobility and throwing against pressure are not up to speed. Compromised pockets often alter his mechanics which can lead to over-throws and turnovers. No change of direction skills, often gets caught in quicksand in the pocket. Limited ability to step up and away from the rush.

Final Word – The potential for a quality starter is in there. He will only grow and improve with the more football he sees. If the right team drafts him (terrific offensive line and innovative play caller) he can become a star. If he goes into a situation with poor protection, he won’t make it to his second contract.

The Dolphins definitely should NOT trade up to draft Haskins. If he’s there at 13, it’s certainly worth considering, but the situation in Miami is not currently suitable for the things Haskins struggles with.

@WingfieldNFL

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