As we develop a weekly content schedule for the season, I wanted something to bridge the gap between the Sunday night game breakdown column and the Tuesday film review. So, here we are with a smorgasbord of information, statistics, snap counts, and whatever is prudent to the Dolphins game from the Sunday prior.
We’ll dive into the game data from Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, grab some quotes from the player’s and coach’s pressers, and continue to provide the most comprehensive coverage on the Miami Dolphins you can find.
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The league’s top defense coming to town against a struggling Miami offense, now without its starting quarterback, we know how this story plays out, right?
In the ever-unpredictable NFL, it was the Miami offense that carried the defense back into the winner’s circle. Behind Brock Osweiler, the Dolphins posted season-highs across the board (points, yards, time of possession and plays ran).
For the first time in 27 years, the Dolphins featured a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in a single game.
As a result, Miami catapulted to 22nd in total offense, 9th in yards per play, 15th in rushing and 22nd in scoring. This unit still has a long way to go, but this is certainly a push in the right direction.
The banged up defense went the wrong way down the rankings. After a tough day defending the Bears multi-faceted offense, Miami now ranks 26th in total defense, 22nd in yards per play, 26th against the pass, 21st against the run, and 17th in scoring.
The 4-2 record appears a mirage when ingesting those lowly-rankings. Miami is at its best when the plays matter most, however. The Dolphins now have seven red zone takeaways (one fumble, two fourth down stops and four interceptions).
Opponents have entered the red zone 17 times on Miami in 2018 and scored just 49 points – just 2.88 points per red zone visit.
|Player||Snaps (Percentage of Offensive Snaps)|
|QB Brock Osweiler||78 (100%)|
|RB Kenyan Drake||49 (63%)|
|RB Frank Gore||30 (38%)|
|WR Danny Amendola||75 (96%)|
|WR Kenny Stills||67 (87%)|
|WR Albert Wilson||50 (64%)|
|WR Jakeem Grant||31 (40%)|
|WR Devante Parker||4 (5%)|
|TE Nick O’Leary||52 (67%)|
|TE Mike Gesicki||27 (35%)|
|TE Durham Smythe||5 (6%)|
Miami’s offensive line survived the game without having to call on any backups. All five starters went the distance playing 78 snaps, and did so with some of the best offensive line play Dolphins fans have seen in recent memory.
Osweiler enjoyed his best game as a pro due in large part to the pass protection. On 50 drop backs, Osweiler was hit just twice. Chicago managed six additional pressures, but those were mere hurries.
Ted Larsen pitched a clean sheet in pass protection. Laremy Tunsil, Ja’Wuan James and Jesse Davis allowed one hurry each. Travis Swanson let up one hurry and one hit, while the tight ends (Nick O’Leary and Mike Gesicki) had clean sheets in pass pro.
O’Leary was a menace in both facets of the game. He earned a 76.6 run blocking grade, caught four balls (one for a touchdown) and kept rushers off the quarterback.
James and Tunsil were terrific in the ground game. Tunsil’s pitched his second-highest run-blocking grade this season and James had his best mark of 2018.
Tunsil is the 16th highest graded passing blocking tackle in the NFL and the 19th overall tackle according to Pro Football Focus.
Albert Wilson stole the show with his after-the-catch prowess. Wilson is now third in the NFL in yards per route run (behind Desean Jackson and Julio Jones). Wilson’s 138 yards after the catch is the highest mark in a single game for a receiver this season.
Wilsons’ 335 yards after the catch in 2018 are tops in the NFL. In fact, the 335 yards are 86 more than the next closest competitor (Antonio Brown with 249). Wilson is the 12th highest graded receiver in the NFL.
Devante Parker played four snaps, had one target and it was intercepted.
Danny Amendola snagged eight of his 10 targets – three moved the chains, twice on third down.
Frank Gore is ageless. Gore averaged 5.0 yards after contact Sunday and he’s averaging 3.29 yards after contact (17th best in football) on the season. Gore is the 18th highest graded back in the league.
Osweiler’s stats were misleading. He received a 56.6 grade via Pro Football Focus which, strangely enough, puts him one spot ahead of Ryan Tannehill on the QB ranking board (38th).
Miami is getting it done with variety. Run-after-the-catch, a surprisingly effective running back rotation, a near-flawless showing from the offensive line and some timely quarterback play, the rankings aren’t pretty, but Miami is scoring when it needs to.
|Player||Snaps (Percentage of Defensive Snaps)|
|DE Robert Quinn||50 (71%)|
|DE Andre Branch||49 (70%)|
|DE Cameron Malveaux||32 (46%)|
|DE Jonathan Woodard||12 (17%)|
|DT Davon Godchaux||48 (69%)|
|DT Akeem Spence||42 (60%)|
|DT Vincent Taylor||30 (43%)|
|DT Jamiyus Pittman||17 (24%)|
|LB Kiko Alonso||70 (100%)|
|LB Jerome Baker||44 (63%)|
|LB Raekwon McMillan||39 (56%)|
|CB Xavien Howard||70 (100%)|
|CB Minkah Fitzpatrick||56 (80%)|
|CB Torry McTyer||40 (57%)|
|CB Cordrea Tankersley||29 (41%)|
|FS Reshad Jones||70 (100%)|
|SS T.J. McDonald||70 (100%)|
Just as pressure was difficult to come by for the Bears pass rush, it was only slightly easier for Miami. No one player had more than two pressures on Mitch Trubisky and the team got after him 12 times in total.
Vincent Taylor racked up another sack, along with two more run-stuffs, as he continues to play as efficiently as any defensive tackle in the NFL. Taylor has a 14.9 run-stuff percentage, .3 points ahead of Jurrell Casey for third in the league. He is the 19th graded overall interior defensive linemen in the NFL.
Robert Quinn continues to pay dividends both against the pass and the run. He registered three run-stuffs, one quarterback hurry and forced a fumble down on the goal line.
Cameron Malveaux was the highest graded defensive lineman for the Dolphins in this game with a 73.1 overall grade, two QB pressures, and one run-stuff.
Davon Godchaux continues to do his job at a high level. Godchaux is PFF’s 19th highest graded run defender among interior defensive linemen.
Kiko Alonso continues his feast or famine season. The Dolphins linebacker earned a grade of just 51.7 despite punching one football loose and recovering another. He missed two tackles, registered one run stuff and allowed only 11 yards on three pass targets.
Raekwon McMillan was victimized in coverage again. He surrendered 51 yards and two touchdowns on five pass targets. His college teammate, Jerome Baker, came back to earth after a stellar week-five showing. Baker allowed 75 yards on seven pass targets and didn’t have a run stuff.
Miami’s secondary saved the day. Xavien Howard blanked his side of the field again allowing just four yards on three targets.
T.J. McDonald was superb in coverage and against the run. On two pass targets he gave up seven yards and caught an interception in the end zone. McDonald didn’t miss any tackles in the game.
Reshad Jones had five tackles, two run-stuffs and didn’t allow a reception in the passing game.
Minkah Fitzpatrick was flagged for a pair of defensive pass interference calls, but his sticky coverage has him 3rd in the NFL in passer-rating-against among all slot corners.
Torry McTyer had a forgettable afternoon. He was the player Chicago went after time-and-time again with 126 yards on six targets (five catches) for one touchdown. When targeting McTyer, Trubisky had a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
Ryan Tannehill’s Shoulder:
This season has brought back ominous results from previously thought-to-be harmless injury news. Josh Sitton and Cam Wake were deemed day-to-day injuries when they first occurred. Sitton is now on IR and Wake has missed the last two games.
Tannehill practiced in full on Wednesday and Thursday but was a limited participant on Friday. Late Saturday evening, we learned that Tannehill could miss the game, and that fear became reality Sunday morning.
Now, as reporters begin to ask why, Adam Gase doesn’t have an answer, and certainly isn’t interested in discussing the matter.
At his Monday press availability, Gase said he’s confident that Tannehill will play again this season. While the endorsement is a breath of fresh air, the ambivalent nature of that comment is cause for concern regarding Tannehill’s availability Sunday against Detroit.
Fits and Starts of the 2019 NFL Draft–Jarrett Stidham
Which 2019 NFL Draft quarterbacks fit for the Miami Dolphins, which ones could start, and which ones aren’t on the table?
Let’s dive into the first installment of Fits and Starts with Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham.
2019 NFL Draft quarterbacks and Fits and Starts intro
I hope you’re enjoying all the Kyler Murray talk; it’s not going anywhere for the next two months. So, with all the hype surrounding the Heisman winner and his decision to play in the NFL over the MLB, it makes sense that Murray shot up the draft boards in rapid fashion.
Murray has been connected with the Miami Dolphins, and it makes sense. The Dolphins need a quarterback to lead the franchise into the future, especially with the start of the Brian Flores era.
But what happens if the Dolphins can’t get Kyler Murrayin the 2019 Draft? Let’s take that a step further. What if the Dolphins don’t get any of the QBs that are pegged to go in the first round? Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Daniel Jones, along with Murray, are all in the conversation to go off the board in the first round.
The 2019 QB class hasn’t exactly been lauded for its talent, but that doesn’t mean its totally devoid of untapped potential on Days 2 and 3. There are some diamonds in the rough and some could be on the Dolphins’ radar come April. The Fits and Starts mini-series will be focusing on these overshadowed mid-round prospects and who could fit into a role with the Miami Dolphins.
Let’s get into the first name on the list: Jarrett Stidham.
Jarrett Stidham and his NFL Future
The first quarterback on the docket is Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham. He’s an enigmatic player. He was in the conversation last draft season (before he returned to Auburn) to go in the second round. He was also talked about as a dark-horse Heisman candidate before the college season started.
His junior season didn’t go exactly as scripted, though. Jarrett Stidham had an up-and-down season, and his draft stock has been all over the place, consequently. He’s polarizing in the Twitter Draft realm with many draftniks either loving or hating him. I predict that he’ll go in the third round, but I could see the need for the position pushing him into the second round.
In a lot of ways, I would compare Jarrett Stidham to Ryan Tannehill. With that being said, he’s a poor man’s Tannehill. He’s not as athletic and I wouldn’t put his arm strength or accuracy on the same level, but there are comparisons that can be drawn.
Jarrett Stidham Mini-Report
He has some starter qualities, and he’s very raw in that regard. He also did not get a lot of help from his receivers during the 2018 season. I saw a lot of dropped passes that should’ve been “gimmes”. Jarrett Stidham has a moderately high ceiling, I would say. He’s extremely rough around the edges, but I can see him becoming successful in the NFL; it’ll come with many growing pains, albeit.
He also has some accuracy issues from a lot of the film I’ve watched of him. He’ll make some unbelievable down-the-field bombs, but also make some passes that are too high, too inside or too outside. Many passes were underthrown and I saw plays where WRs had to turn and play some defense. The accuracy is a roller coaster, and that’s something that is hard to improve at the next level; accuracy is more a God-given ability than it is a teachable skill.
Something else that I wasn’t wild about was how Stidham reacted to chaos and pressure. When the line collapsed, I saw some ugly escapes. Those ugly escapes will be ugly sacks in the NFL. I saw flashes of decent pocket presence, but like many of Stidham’s qualities, they were inconsistent.
That’s one of the best words I would use to describe Jarrett Stidham: inconsistent. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes he’s bad. Sometimes he’ll thread the needle for a 40-yard touchdown, sometimes he’ll undercut a route. But if the inconsistency is his biggest issue, which I believe it is, then I’m intrigued by his prospects at the next level with some next-level coaching.
At the End of the Day
So, if the Dolphins drafted Jarrett Stidham, it’d likely be on Day 2 and in the second round with the 48th pick. While the Dolphins are rebuilding, I could see them using a popular draft philosophy of taking a quarterback every year until one hits. If that’s the case, then Stidham could very well be a target if the Dolphins decide to address a bigger need or BPA with the 13th pick.
This could be a way for the Dolphins to hedge their bets while keeping an eye on the 2020 quarterbacks. Akin to the Redskins taking both RGIII and Kirk Cousins in the same draft in 2012, the Dolphins could take a flier on a mid-round quarterback and see what he could do in some games under the guidance of a veteran.
While I wouldn’t be upset by the pick, the Miami Dolphins would be wise to stay away from Jarrett Stidham, bottom line. I say that not because of Stidham’s shortcomings or upside but because of where the Miami Dolphins franchise finds itself.
If Jarrett Stidham goes out and has a decent showing in some live action during his rookie season, then that could affect the draft strategy regarding the 2020 class of quarterbacks.
I don’t want the Dolphins to keep waiting and waiting for someone to slowly develop as they did with Ryan Tannehill. Stidham is in a similar mold, looking at his tools and raw potential. I’m not sure how long it would take for Stidham develop, but I could see it turning into a situation where he takes a few steps forward every season.
Jarrett Stidham could be a quarterback that Chris Grier likes, but I would have a hard time believing that he’s a prospect that he would love–and that’s not what the Miami Dolphins need to right the ship.
State of the Roster – Linebackers
The 2019 off-season schedule had an unusual beginning for the Miami Dolphins. Not that the once proud, winningest organization in the NFL is suddenly new to coaching turnover (quite the opposite, rather). It’s the timing of the hire that provides the distinction from Stephen Ross’ three other head coaching appointments.
Typically, when the incumbent or new staff is in-place by Early-January, the roster dominoes begin to take shape. Waiting for Brian Flores to win his fifth Lombardi Trophy delayed that process by a month.
Now, with the majority of Coach Flores’ staff settling into their new offices, we can begin to speculate and forecast what will transpire over the next three months.
It’s not hyperbole to say that these next three months are the most important of Chris Grier’s professional career. Miami’s new General Manager is charged with resurrecting a franchise that, in the last 15 years, has fallen from the peak of the winning percentage mountain top, all the way down to fifth place on that obscure, yet illustrious list.
In this series we are going to explore the current assets on the roster and what their futures hold. Plus, we’ll explore the free-agency market and point out scheme fit pieces the Dolphins might seek to add in April’s draft.
Current Cash Owed: ~ $10.1 Million
NFL Average: ~ $18 Million
Players Under Contract – 2019 Cash Owed:
Raekwon McMillan – $892 K
After a slow start McMillan came on like gangbusters; at least in run-defense. From week-five on, McMillan was graded second by PFF against the run (trailing only Luke Kuechly). His first year off major reconstructive knee surgery, the upside is glowing.
McMillan has a knack for correctly hitting his run fits, shows a great first step, and plays exceptionally well downhill. The design of this new defense is going to have the former Buckeye shining.
McMillan’s Projected 2019 Action: Mike Linebacker
Jerome Baker – $654 K
Like McMillan, Baker was late to the party in 2018, but he too turned it on post-September. Baker was PFF’s #22 overall linebacker over the final 13 weeks of the season. Though Baker also excelled against the run, he was more balanced providing value in coverage and as a blitzer. His PRP was similarly low to McMillan’s, but when Baker arrive he sacked the QB (3 of 5 pressures).
Baker is the new-aged linebacker – run, hit, and cover; that’s his game. He will have to transition to a new role playing primarily on the ball and off the edge, likely the weak side, but he’s more than capable.
Baker’s Projected 2019 Action: Will Backer
Kiko Alonso – $7.9 M
Kiko Alonso is a living, breathing highlight reel. The problem, for Miami, is that he’s usually on someone else’s mixtape. Alonso does well when he I.D.’s his gap early, but those instances are few and far between. He hustles to the ball and has a knack for the takeaway, it’s just the other 995 snaps of the season you worry about.
Turned around by the athletic prowess of Josh Allen, Christian McCaffery, or just about every pass receiving specialist tailback, Alonso is fading towards irrelevance at the position. Moving on from the often burnt, often penalized Alonso, is a no-brainer.
Alonso’s Projected 2019 Action: Cut
Chase Allen – $645 K
New England’s Linebacker position, under Brian Flores, was the ultimate test of pliability. Chase Allen has a role lining up over the center as the nose-backer in one of Flores’ many defensive fronts.
Allen excelled in that role in Miami, albeit on a limited basis, and figures to be a core special teamer.
Allen’s Projected 2019 Action: Nose Backer/Core Special Teamer
Pending Free Agents – 2018 Salary
Stephone Anthony – $1.9 M
The ole’ Mike Tannenbaum specialty, Miami spent a fifth-round pick, and far too much cap allocation, on a player that never made a contribution. Anthony was toast in his limited defensive snaps and rarely found the ball on special teams.
Anthony’s Projected 2019 Action: Not Re-signed
2019 Linebacker Free Agent Market:
The Dolphins could spend this portion of the off-season on the sideline. The likely top three players on the depth chart are already signed, sealed, and delivered, finding backups and special teams is all that’s left to do.
Now if the ‘Phins are so inclined to spend on the big ticket item, Anthony Barr would make nice strong-side linebacker in this new scheme. His coverage limitations should drive his cost down, but that’s not how free agency works – he’ll be priced out of Miami’s range.
Deone Bucannon is an interesting option that could help Miami remain fluid as they implement dime and quarter packages on the back-end. A safety/linebacker hybrid, Bucannon affords the defense the luxury of changing personnel without substituting. Bucannon is an excellent match-up piece in the passing game as well. Like Barr, Bucannon would come at a cost.
More realistically, Miami are looking at former Patriot Marquis Flowers and Eli Harold (Detroit).
2019 Linebacker Draft Class:
It’s not inconceivable that the Dolphins make this position a priority with the undrafted crop post-draft. The same idea with Jerome Baker, the ‘Phins need to find players that can run, hit, and cover but, most importantly, start off on special teams.
New Mexico State’s Terrill Hanks had 11 sacks and eight picks in college. His vast coverage and range skill set should be no surprise, he’s a former safety. Hanks struggles taking on blocks but that’s not a trait he will have to worry about in this scheme.
Bobby Okereke (Stanford) fits the run/hit/cover bill in his own right. North Carolina State’s Germaine Pratt falls into that category as well.
2019 Linebacker Prediction:
There are plenty of intriguing options at the positon but, with the needs on the defensive line and in the secondary, Miami could punt on this off-season’s linebacker class. In a defense that frequently uses one true ‘backer, Raekwon McMillan satisfies that bill. Jerome Baker will be the second linebacker and the Phins will look to pair Chase Allen with more sub-package types.
I’m adding Marquis Flowers in free agency – he was with the Pats for the first four years of his career. I’m also drafting Stanford’s Bobby Okereke on day-three. He’s an intelligent player with plus range and will help Miami’s flexibility in sub-packages.
Mike/Primary Linebacker: Raekwon McMillan
Will/Secondary Linebacker: Jerome Baker
Nose Backer: Chase Allen
Sub-Package: Rookie (Bobby Okereke)
Depth: UDFA/FA (Marquis Flowers)
5 Viable Options for Miami at Pick 13
Mock drafts before April are about as futile as trick-or-treating before Halloween. Sure you might get miraculously lucky at one or two spots, but mostly you’ll just get weird looks from people. That being said, I’ve decided to mock up some scenarios the Dolphins may be presented with come late April.
Despite a flurry of updated scouting reports, trades, and free agent decisions that will ultimately happen before the draft, I couldn’t resist speculating what some of the most enticing options might be waiting there for Miami. I’ll be looking at these options under the assumption that Miami keeps the 13th pick come draft day.
1 – Trade Down
Trading down was something owner Stephen Ross reportedly pounded the table for last year. However, GM Chris Grier and company persuaded him to stay put and take Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 11th overall pick. While Fitzpatrick turned out to be a promising investment, I would expect the war room to try and gather as much draft capital as they can this time around.
The organization, specifically Ross, has put an emphasis on rebuilding the roster from the ground up these next few years, and there’s no better way to do that than by hoarding draft picks.
2 – Blue Chip Falls to 13 (BPA)
Much like the case with Fitzpatrick last year, there’s bound to be a blue chip player that falls out of the top 10 this year. If Miami’s war room decides not to trade back in the first round, it’s likely because they feel that a top talent has fallen into their laps at pick 13–similar to the Laremy Tunsil slide in 2016.
Unfortunately Nick Bosa is out of the question for Miami. I can’t fathom a universe where Bosa would fall to 13. Quinnen Williams would be a no-brainer here, but much like Bosa, its unlikely he’ll fall to pick 13. If he does however, he would fill a major need for Miami as well as add tremendous upside to a lack-luster defensive line.
Three prospects that also have top 10 grades are Greedy Williams, Josh Allen, and Devin White. These three are the physical definition of what you look for in a potential All-Pro football player. With all the shuffling expected to happen to Miami’s roster, these players could be immediate contributors and leaders as soon as they walk onto the field.
3 – Draft QB
I’m a firm believer that Miami needs to be patient with their quarterback situation. Miami isn’t expecting to win many games in the coming year or two, and this isn’t expected to be a great draft class for passers. Now as much as I like Kyler Murray, I can’t help but to think that other quarterbacks like Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa, and Trevor Lawrence would provide more upside in the long run.
Despite the potential of future quarterbacks to come, this brain-trust of experienced scouts and well respected personnel guys might not let a guy like Murray slip past pick 13. Miami has many needs on paper, and quarterback is right up near the top of those needs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kyler be the first step of this rebuild if the war room thinks he’s worth the risk.
4 – Attempt to Replace an All-Pro
Sadly enough, there won’t be a younger clone of Cameron Wake waiting there at pick 13. The end of an era is coming, and sooner or later the Dolphins won’t have the consistency off the edge that Wake has been able to provide for so many years.
Brian Burns reminds me of Wake at times, but he also reminds me of Dion Jordan at times. The general opinion is that Burns could end up being a project player. I have no doubt this coaching staff has the ability to maximize the potential of Burns, but they might not like the value here.
Rashan Gary would be another enticing option were he to fall to Miami. Gary’s flexibility across the defensive line coincides perfectly with Brian Flores‘ multiple defensive scheme. Gary has the potential to be an All-Pro early in his career wherever Folres decides to put him on the defensive line.
5 – Address the O-Line
I’m interested to see what happens with Ju’Wuan James. He’s been a quiet strength for Miami. The combination of him and Tunsil has proven to be a consistent force when healthy. If James is willing to come back for the right price, Miami would be lucky to have one less hole to worry about.
If a deal with James isn’t struck, then offensive linemen will be one of Miami’s top priorities in the draft. They may be tempted to take an early look at offensive lineman depending on how the board falls. I expect the war room to find at least one starting quality offensive lineman within the first three rounds.
Dolphins’ fans are at the beginning of a very long journey. The recent organizational hires have inspired widespread optimism across the fan base. For the first time in a long time the future is looking bright for the Dolphins. Needless to say this draft will be a pivotal start to the Dolphins’ rebuild. The difficult decisions that Grier and his new staff will soon be faced with will reveal the direction in which this franchise is headed.
- Fits and Starts of the 2019 NFL Draft–Jarrett Stidham February 19, 2019
- State of the Roster – Linebackers February 19, 2019
- 5 Viable Options for Miami at Pick 13 February 19, 2019
- Inside the Film Room – Dolphins New Defensive Scheme February 18, 2019
- Inside the Film Room – Dolphins New Offensive System February 17, 2019
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