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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Jadeveon Clowney Interest Completely Justified – A Film Study

Travis Wingfield



Unique circumstances can create a market-opportunity in the NFL. An opportunity to acquire a rare, gifted athlete that has only just begun to scratch the surface on his own freakish abilities.

Six foot, five inches tall. 265 pounds with 34.5-inch arms. 10-inch hands with a 37.5-inch vertical jump, and a 10-foot, four-inch broad jump.

The one event that Jadeveon Clowney didn’t dominate at the combine was the three-cone, and it shows on his game tape. Fortunately, for Miami, playing the role of a true edge-rusher won’t be the expectation of this Adonis.

Measuring almost identically to Trey Flowers — formally of the Patriots, now with another Bill Belichick disciple in Detroit — the scheme fit is obvious.

Where the Texans featured Clowney as a stand-up rush ‘backer, and even asked him to cover backs in the passing game, Miami will have a different role in mind for the 26-year-old.

After injury concerns to begin his career, Clowney has missed just three games over the last three seasons. His snap counts for those years are as follows:


Year Snaps Played (% of Houston’s Defensive Snaps)
2018 902 (84.3)
2017 895 (87.4%)
2016 737 (73%)


Brian Flores will dial up a variety of different fronts (as we discussed here). Whether it’s as a 7-tech in a 4-3 under look, or the 5-tech in the 3-3-5 bear front, Clowney doesn’t have to leave the field for any specific formation. His rare blend of strength, length, burst, and bend, paired with his eye discipline and heavy hands in the running game makes him the prototype for the position in this scheme.

Houston used the former number one overall pick in a variety of ways, but probably not in the best interest of the player. Clowney played 113 of his snaps as a box linebacker last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

In his role as a linebacker, Clowney picked up 63 total quarterback pressures and 41 run-stops. He missed six tackles and committed 14 fouls, however.

Clowney was PFF’s seventh best edge defender in 2018. His workload included 29 snaps in coverage, 292 reps as a run defender, and 581 snaps as a pass rusher. Clowney’s run-stop percentage was a ridiculous 14% — meaning he made a big play every seven snaps. That mark was good for 8th-best among all edge defenders.

The pass rush productivity wasn’t the strong suit of Clowney’s game, his pressure-per-snap rate was 10.8%. His weighted PRP (a propriety stat from PFF) was just 6.2, which ranked 78that the position.

The vision for Clowney in Miami would be as the focal point of the right side edge run-defending, with a lot of stunts, twists, slants, and created opportunities for blitzing linebackers, and loopers.

His length allows him to keep his hands in front of his eyes, keep blockers at bay, and ultimately disengage when he keys his gap. He’s a disciplined rusher that can condense into tight spaces, win with power, win with speed, and has incredible lateral agility to turn the corner, throttle down, and explode into the collision.

Clowney’s strengths are apparent immediately upon turning on the tape. He’s not the most nuanced pass rusher, but he does well to set up counter moves and disrupt the lineman’s footwork and initial sets.

Clowney is a perfect edge run defender in this scheme on early downs, and he’s a disruptive force on passing downs from any position. Whether he roams the line of scrimmage searching for a gap to attack as a radar rusher, or lining up off the edge winning with speed or power, he must be accounted for on every snap.

Miami has its star cornerback locked up for five years in Xavien Howard. Laremy Tunsil is next, the team’s all-pro talented left tackle. The quarterback is coming either next April, or with the current iteration of Josh Rosen.

The one premier position left to round out in the rebuild, is the edge defender. Clowney checks that final box for the ‘Phins.




  1. Avatar

    Jerome Molinari

    August 29, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Why don’t we just keep on track and build this team through the draft?
    I don’t understand the impatience of this, the team will be bad for a bit but I thought that was the point of this regime.

  2. Avatar

    Rich McQuillen

    August 29, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    In 2 days, a whole bunch of other guys become free agents. I’m in no rush.

    Signing any of those guys doesn’t affect draft picks and supplemental draft picks. We’ve done so well to gather up 12 draft picks for next year. We probably lose an equivalent of a first, a third, and a supplemental pick to hire Clowney.

    It’s also possible that Clowney holds out this year, and is available for free next year.

  3. Avatar


    August 29, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    So, you rent Clowney for a year, and then there’s little to no chance you keep him. And what are you going to give up to get that one year? I don’t like it in the least.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Waive TE Michael Roberts

Chris Kowalewski



As the doors of the Dolphins’ training facility open to the newly signed rookie class, they close for another former Miami-hopeful after an active weekend of roster moves.

The Miami Dolphins have today waived TE Michael Roberts.

Roberts began his NFL career in 2017 out of Toledo as a 4th round pick of the Detroit Lions, possessing ideal measurements (6’5”, 265lb) for a playmaking TE.

A shoulder injury in December 2018 cut short Roberts’ time in Detroit and he was waived by the Lions following a failed physical as part of an attempted trade with the New England Patriots and subsequently waived quickly again after being picked up by the Green Bay Packers.

Roberts underwent reconstruction of the injured left shoulder in August 2019, having struggled both physically and mentally as his career path veered away from his dreams. Signed by the Dolphins in February 2020, it was hoped that Roberts could revive his NFL career in Miami’s TE room, competing with Durham Smythe for the TE2 spot behind Mike Gesicki.

At only 26 years old, it remains to be seen whether the young TE will be able to regain full health and return to the game, but the craziness of 2020 only puts further hurdles in his path as training camp rosters are reduced across the league to 80 players in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Don’t expect Brian Flores and his staff to sit on their hands when it comes to competition – 2019 highlighted on a regularly churning roster of names being given a chance to succeed – and this approach is expected to continue at certain positions. As such, Saturday’s news that former Chicago Bears’ TE Adam Shaheen had been acquired by the Dolphins ensures that healthy competition can continue to spread through the roster, and proves the willingness of the front office to give chances to promising players who may not have achieved during their first NFL stop.

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Miami Dolphins

In A Perfect World, Tua Tagovailoa Doesn’t Start a Single Game

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

If everything goes right, Tua Tagovailoa isn’t going to start a single game for the Miami Dolphins in 2020.

Nope, you didn’t misread that last sentence. Tua Tagovailoa riding the bench is the best thing that could happen to the Miami Dolphins this season, and if you think otherwise, then you haven’t been paying attention to what Brian Flores has been preaching since his arrival.

The obvious factor everyone is taking into consideration is the health of Tua’s hip. And while that definitely plays a part, it has minimal affect on his playing time. You see, barring a trade, Tua is the third-best quarterback on the roster right now.

Combine his inexperience, a COVID-restricted offseason, and that pesky hip injury, and it’s safe to say our questions have already been answered.

The Better Player Plays

With this team, it’s no secret that playing time is awarded based on a player’s performance both in games and during practice. It doesn’t matter where you were drafted or how much money you’re making, if you aren’t better than the athlete next to you, you aren’t playing.

In fact, didn’t we just go through a very similar situation last year when the Dolphins acquired Josh Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals for a 2nd-round draft pick?

We all assumed that Ryan Fitzpatrick was keeping the seat warm until Rosen – a top-10 draft pick one season prior – was ready, but when Flores had the opportunity to simultaneously give a young quarterback experience and tank for Tua, he did neither. Instead, opting to (nearly) sabotage the opportunity to draft Tagovailoa and win as many games as possible with Fitzpatrick.

Rosen has much more upside than Fitzpatrick, but he couldn’t muster more than 197 snaps under center last season.

Just like that, the culture was set. Flores wasn’t fucking around – it was win at all costs, and the players bought in. One season later, that mantra certainly hasn’t changed.

Tua has more talent and better quarterback traits than Fitzpatrick and Rosen (probably combined), so there’s no arguing which quarterback we want to build a franchise around, but who is going to win the team more games this season?

I don’t doubt that Tua is a football genius that will pick up a playbook quickly, but knowing your plays and executing against an NFL defense are two completely different things.

Fitzpatrick has been in the league for 15 years while Tua has been in the league for 14 weeks; there is A LOT Tua has to learn before he can make the kind of reads Fitzpatrick can instinctively make after 139 starts in the NFL.

Josh Rosen may not evolve into an elite, franchise-saving quarterback, but he’s not terrible either. Two years of experience and a season-worth of starts (16) under his belt gives him an instant edge over Tua. The only thing that levels Rosen with Tagovailoa is they’re both learning Chan Gailey‘s offense for the first time – and for Rosen, this would be his 4th different offense in the past 4 years.

Otherwise, Rosen already has a rapport with the coaching staff, the medical staff, all of the workers in the building, and the receivers on this roster. In other words, he’s comfortable in his surroundings while Tua is trying to get acclimated to a brand new life.

There are going to be growing pains and a learning curve – two things we admittedly need Tua to experience in order to evolve. But the question becomes, when can Miami afford to experience those “opportunities”? Certainly not if they believe they are…

Playoff Bound

The Miami Dolphins – and most importantly, Brian Flores – believe they are in a position to make a legitimate playoff run.

Scoff however much you’d like at the notion that this team, one year removed from being “the worst team in the NFL”, is on a cusp of making a playoff appearance, but don’t tell anyone in the Dolphins’ organization that you think that.

A remastered secondary, a veteran presence among the front-7, an entirely new offensive line, and real, productive running backs means the Dolphins are all-but-guaranteed to improve on their 5-11 record.

In fact, the only thing holding them back from a legitimate playoff run is the quarterback position.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has won more than 6 games as a starter just once in his career, and Rosen only has 3 wins to his name (none as a Dolphin). If the team falters, it’s because these two quarterbacks couldn’t carry a well-built football team to the playoffs.

And that’s where the disappointment of another lost season is met with hope for the future. It won’t be until the Dolphins are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs that the team will trot Tua Tagovailoa out onto the field.

Waiting until so late in the season checks off every single box you need. It gives him time to:

  • Learn his way around the NFL
  • Understand the playbook better
  • Observe the game from the sideline
  • Gain chemistry with his receivers

Oh, and it also helps ensure that his hip is healthy, because…

I’m Sure He’s Healthy…

Being stuck inside during an international pandemic may have made it seem like a lifetime ago, but it’s only been three short months since we all clamored to a 14 minute video of Tua Tagovailoa throwing scripted passes; our eyes inexplicably glued to a man’s hips, unscientifically judging whether or not he was healthy. Try explaining that one to your significant other.

While we are all thrilled with recent medical reports and first-hand accounts from the quarterback himself, it would be downright idiotic to mess around with a hip injury.

The only reason Tua Tagovailoa was available at the 5th-overall pick was because of the uncertainty surrounding his hip, those concerns don’t suddenly disappear just because he’s on your roster and we’re excited to see our prized possession play.

Let his hip heal and let him practice against a secondary that includes Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Bobby McCain, Brandon Jones, Noah Igbinoghene, and Eric Rowe. He’s going to learn just how quickly throwing lanes close and how tight they are to begin with.

Don’t convince yourself that Tua has to start games this rookie season to be the elite quarterback he’s projected to be. Patrick Mahomes started one game his rookie year. Aaron Rodgers didn’t start until his forth season in the NFL. If all of the hype is real, then his career will be just fine.

The plan isn’t to count moral victories, but to win football games – and Tua Tagovailoa gives the Miami Dolphins the best chance to do that for the foreseeable future. But for now, Ryan Fitzpatrick is your starting quarterback, and until Josh Rosen relinquishes the job as backup, it won’t be Tua’s until 2021. Mission Accomplished.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Trade for Tight End Adam Shaheen

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After a breakout 2019 campaign, it looks like Mike Gesicki will have some competition.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Miami Dolphins have traded a 2021 6th-round pick to the Chicago Bears for tight end Adam Shaheen.

A former 2nd-round pick (2017) out of Ashland University (Division II), Shaheen excelled during the combine, which led to an increase in his draft stock. The Bears jumped at the opportunity of molding a raw prospect, and selected Shaheen with the 45th pick in the draft. He was the 5th tight end taken in the draft that year, well above where he was originally projected when he declared for the NFL.

Though the Bears were optimistic, it seems Shaheen hasn’t lived up to his draft status. After three seasons, Shaheen has 26 receptions for 249 yards and 4 touchdowns. His playtime has diminished from 239 offensive snaps in 2017, to 160 in 2018 and 174 in 2019; with injuries playing a part the past two seasons. For comparisons sake, Durham Smythe had 482 offensive snaps last season alone (Shaheen has 573 for his career).

Shaheen became expendable after the Bears drafted Cole Kmet in the 2nd-round of the 2020 draft and signed Jimmy Graham to a 2-year contract earlier this offseason. With 8 tight ends on the Chicago Bears roster, you know something had to give. And from the perspective of a Bears’ fan, receiving any compensation for a likely roster cut is rewarding enough.

Trading a 6th-round pick means Shaheen is a favorite to win one of the backup tight end spots, should the Dolphins keep 3 on their roster.

It’s unlikely that Shaheen is a possible replacement for Smythe, as Shaheen is meant to be a receiving threat more than an in-line blocker, but there is so much untapped potential with Shaheen that it’s hard to guess what the Dolphins will receive from him.

We assume Mike Gesicki will continue to grow, but behind him, the cupboard is pretty barren. Shaheen adds much-needed depth to a tight end room that currently includes Smythe, Michael Roberts, Chris Myarick and undrafted rookie Bryce Sterk.


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