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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins vs Packers Instant Reaction

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

We knew this was going to be an embarrassment, we just didn’t think it would be this painful.

Miami, already decimated with injuries, simply had to limp into the bye week without accumulating any other casualties.

Instead, the Dolphins will look to rely on Leonte Carroo to save their season.

A lot happened in this 31-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and contrary to the final score, there were some bright spots in this game. Though, like always, this team leaves us with more questions than answers.

Honestly, the best thing we’re going to enjoy today is the New York Jets getting slaughtered by the Buffalo Bills and Tom Brady‘s New England Patriots falling flat on their face against the Tennessee Titans.

Below are a few things we noticed from the now 5-5 Miami Dolphins loss to the Packers:

Offensive Guru Wanted

Listen, we, as fans, expected nothing coming into this game. It was going to be a massacre, and we were all going to play masochist and watch the game anyway.

This team played without its starting offensive tackles, its starting center, its starting left guard, its starting tight end, its biggest wildcard/play maker/offensive threat (Albert Wilson) and the most obvious omission, its starting quarterback.

And yet, if I told you that Brock Osweiler had more passing yards than Aaron Rodgers, and that Frank Gore would average almost 7 yards a carry on 13 carries, you would think Miami got into some crazy offensive shootout.

But alas, Miami’s offense is shooting a slingshot while every other offense (except the Jets) is living in the 21st century.

After watching Miami fail to score a touchdown against the Jets last week, we weren’t expected an offensive unit that was decimated by more injuries to perform better. Then again, we also didn’t think we’d go two full football games without an offensive touchdown. It’s extremely deflating to watch this team convert three early trips to the red zone into just 9 points; especially when the rest of the team is able to produce turnovers, get a 4th-down stop in Packers territory, and block punts close to the endzone.

This team is doing everything it can to put the offense in a position to capitalize and they just can’t do it. Finishing a drive is more toxic to this organization than Miko Grimes.

The obvious scapegoat is the guru behind this entire offense, Adam Gase. And while there’s merit to removing Gase as offensive coordinator (so he can focus on being an actual head coach), I can’t pin this specific performance on Gase. He was working with an injury-riddled offensive line and a quarterback who’s red zone fumble wasn’t even his most embarrassing play of the night (his interception to one-time free agent visitor Bashaud Breeland was pretty bad, and possibly more costly given that it happened on Miami’s 38 yard line).

Thing is, for as much success Gase has had with backups, he hasn’t accomplished much on offense. Sean McVay has better talent with the Los Angeles Rams, but Jeff Fisher had much of the same offensive talent and got himself fired. McVay revamped that offense, and turned it into the threat they now are…THAT is an offensive guru.

Again, it’s hard to fault Adam Gase for having a weak cast of characters, but I do blame Gase for leading an offense that hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in over two games.

The only saving grace Miami has right now on offense is Frank Gore. Gore rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries and continues to be the number one back ahead of Kenyan Drake. Drake was banged up a little bit this game, but he only saw 8 rushes. Reason being? One running back had 6.9 yards per carry while the other had a mere 3.4.

At this point, 10 weeks in, I’m not sure the Dolphins are misusing Drake, he just may not have been ready to handle everything that comes with being a number one back (blitz pickup, pass protecting, etc). He’s flashy and a playmaker, and Miami needs to figure out a way to better utilize his raw skill set.

Maybe with DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant being injured, Miami can flex him out wide. It’s not like they have that many options available for them, anyway.

While cutting on a route, Jakeem Grant went down and appeared to injure his Achilles. He had been dealing with an Achilles injury prior to this, and was trying to play through it. Though it’s pretty easy to say it now, they probably shouldn’t have let a player who lives off of their shiftiness and speed play with one of their most vital muscles injured. After such a promising and productive year for the returner and wide receiver, Grant will most likely have a long recovery before returning to game action. If Tony Lippett‘s Achilles injury is any indication, we might not see Grant perform in a Dolphins uniform again.

After the game, Parker’s arm was in a sling.

Darren Rizzi is the Team’s MVP

There’s a reason why Darren Rizzi has survived three head coaching regimes, and why he currently owns the title of “Assistant Head Coach”.

Originally hired by Tony Sparano, Rizzi has always had an exceptional special teams unit. He started his Dolphins tenure with two really good special teams players – Dan Carpenter and Brandon Fields – but he hasn’t been afraid to move on from a player when he sees a better opportunity available.

Other than the curious case of Andrew Franks from 2015 – 2016, Rizzi has nailed every move he’s made with his kickers and punters. Rizzi made his most surprising move when he kept Matt Darr over Brandon Fields in 2015. Then, after a subpar rookie season, fans were wondering why Rizzi ditched a successful Matt Darr for the lefty-kicking Matt Haack. 2018 proved that Rizzi both knew what he was investing in, and knew how to evolve Haack into a weapon rather than a liability. In comparison, Darr hasn’t played since the 2016 season.

Today, the Dolphins special teams unit was the only reason Miami looked like a relevant football team for 40 minutes.

Overall, Leonte Carroo may be a 3rd-round disappointment for Dolphins fans, but he was the most valuable Dolphins player this game, and he’s going to have a much larger role for the last 6 games of the season.

Carroo recovered a blocked punt, recovered another fumble on special teams, converted a fake punt for a 1st-down and also had himself a 20-yard reception on 3rd-and-19 to top it all off.

Although his kick out of bounds ended up being the catalyst for Green Bay’s dominance during the second half, Jason Sanders had a good game – making 4 of 4 field goals – and continues to be a reliable kicker for this team. Most Dolphins fans felt losing Cody Parkey was a big deal this offseason, but the boy from Jupiter has missed 5 field goals and 2 extra points so far this season (after missing both field goal attempts and 2 of his 4 extra points earlier today), and doesn’t look worth anywhere near the $15m kicker the Chicago Bears signed this offseason.

Green Bay ended up pulling off a fake punt on Miami, which will certainly blemish the otherwise phenomenal game the special teams unit had. If it weren’t for them, 14-12 in the 3rd-quarter against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers wouldn’t have been possible.

Miami’s Defense Consistently Underperforms

The Green Bay Packers were beatable today. Aaron Rodgers did not look too good, and Miami was able to contain the future hall of fame quarterback for a majority of the game.

They just forgot to compensate for the other Aaron on the team.

Aaron Jones ran for only 54 less yards than what Rodgers passed for, as the sophomore running back drafted in the 5th-round gashed Miami’s putrid rushing defense for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Miami’s linebackers looked overwhelmed, and their defensive tackles didn’t do much in terms of containment. Robert Quinn was able to record 1.5 sacks, but he’s been better at setting the edge than sacking the quarterback. And that’s fine when that’s your job as a role player, not when you’re making over $11m and expected to swing games in your team’s favor.

With more communication issues and questionable play calls this game, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Matt Burke during the bye week. I’m not too sure that changing the defensive coordinator will suddenly spark the defense, but it’s almost conclusive that Burke is not going to be returning as defensive coordinator next season.

Xavien Howard looked lost on a touchdown to Davante Adams, settling in the endzone while the receiver stopped on the 3-yard line and jogged in for the score. He still had a “good” game overall, but he also needs to cut down on the few negative plays he has each game. He has now allowed a touchdown in two of the last three games.

Reshad Jones sat the first quarter and part of the second quarter as punishment for quitting on the team last week. The team certainly missed him during Green Bay’s first two touchdown drives, but it’s not like he became a difference maker while in the lineup. That’s not to imply that the team is better when Jones isn’t in the lineup, but something has been amiss recently with the lifelong Dolphin.

The only clear-cut difference maker on defense continues to be Minkah Fitzpatrick, who had a great game as the boundary cornerback.

Bobby McCain was beat by Davante Adams in the first-quarter on an inside slant while he was on the boundary. He returned to the slot in the 2nd-quarter and played adequately before being blindsided by Packers receiver Equanimeous St. Brown in the 3rd-quarter. McCain was knocked out for a minute before popping to his feet. He walked to the locker room on his own power, but did not return to the game. The safe assumption is he suffered a concussion, and will have the next week to rest from most football activity.

By the way, remember when we thought the Buffalo Bills were two easy wins on our schedule? Might have to rethink that. One week after the Dolphins beat the Jets 13-6 (and failed to score an offensive touchdown), the Bills and Matt Barkley – his first game since 2016 – won 41-10.

This might be a long winter.

Growing up a passionate Dolphins fan in Jets territory, Jason learned from an early age that life as a Dolphins fan wasn’t going to be easy. Previously the Sports Editor for his university newspaper, Jason has experience writing columns, creating game recaps and conducting interviews with Hall of Fame athletes (Harry Carson and Yogi Berra are two of his proudest interviews). When he’s not dissecting the latest sports news, you can find him perplexed over the Dolphins offensive line woes or involuntarily introducing music to his neighbors.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Extend DeVante Parker

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

One of the longest-tenured players on the team may very well be a Miami Dolphin for life.

According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Miami Dolphins have extended DeVante Parker through the 2023 season.

All of the details are still being flushed out, but the deal is a 4-year, $40m extension, with an $8m signing bonus (which is guaranteed).

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Parker will earn $4.5m guaranteed in 2020, and $7.7m guaranteed in 2021.

Parker signs this extension in the middle of a career year. His 55 catches are 1 shy of his career-high (56, 2016), his 882 receiving yards surpass his prior career-high by 138 yards (2016), and his 6 touchdowns are only 3 less than his career total coming into the 2019 season.

Whether it’s Chad O’Shea‘s offense, a shift in Quarterback mentality, or the receiver finally coming into his own, Parker has shown that he can be a #1 receiver in this offense. Though some fans may be hoping for DeAndre Hopkins or Odell Beckham Jr. “elite”, the truth is, Parker isn’t that far behind.

His extension is in line with his production, and it’s fair to say that Parker’s potential still hasn’t been tapped. It’ll be interesting to see how much Parker builds off of his career-year, especially if the Dolphins can solidify their offensive line and give their receivers a chance to get open (more often).

Parker joins Ryan Tannehill and Mike Pouncey as the only other 1st-round picks drafted this decade to have signed an extension with the team.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins roster move round-up: Week 15 sees several more changes

Shawn Digity

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Miami Dolphins Linden Stephens
Linden Stephens defending Los Angeles Rams tight end Johnny Mundt

MIAMI (Locked On Dolphins) – Miami Dolphins continue to change up the roster

The Miami Dolphins have continued their roster churning in Week 15, leading up to their prizefight against the New York Giants on December 15.

While it’s been a mainstay strategy for the Dolphins this year, to comb over the waiver wire and the free agency market, there was a significant uptick in waiver wire awards last, totaling four new players being claimed.

Last week’s claimed players included Trevor Davis, Mack Hollins, Zach Zenner, and Zach Sieler. Zenner’s Miami stint was short-lived; he was waived on Tuesday, December 10 to make room for the newest wave of Dolphins signees.

Along with Zenner’s release, the Miami Dolphins added cornerbacks Ken Webster and Ryan Lewis to the Injured Reserve list.

Those three transactions allowed the Dolphins to scoop a player from the New England Patriots’ practice squad, defensive back Nate Brooks, a second player from the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad, linebacker Jamal Davis II, and a third player, offensive lineman Adam Pankey, who was waived by the Green Bay Packers.

Nate Brooks is a rookie defensive back that played at North Texas and has spent time with the Patriots and Arizona Cardinals.

Jamal Davis II is also a rookie. He entered the league from Akron. As mentioned above, he spent time with the Titans earlier this year before the Miami Dolphins signed him.

Adam Pankey is the most traveled player the Dolphins have added. Pankey went undrafted in 2017 out of West Virginia and has had two runs with the Packers and a short one with the Titans.

On December 7, cornerback Linden Stephens was added to the roster in a last-minute shuffle before the Dolphins-Jets game. Cornerback Chris Lammons was released to make room for Stephens on the squad, per Adam Beasley.

Stephens has had tenures with the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. He formerly played at Cincinnati in college.

In practice squad news, cornerback Rashard Causey was added to the group on December 12, per Safid Deen. Causey played college ball at UCF and has spent time with the Denver Broncos.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Giants Week 15 Preview

Travis Wingfield

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Dolphins set to run it back in New York

Who: Dolphins (3-10) @ Giants (2-11)
When: Sunday December 15, 1:00 East
Where: MetLife Stadium — East Rutherford, NJ
Weather: 35 degrees, partly cloudy
Vegas Slant: Dolphins +3

DolphinsGiants

The Miami Dolphins did not equip Brian Flores with a competitive roster for the 2019 season. Despite taking a path traveled by nobody else in the league, Miami sits with a better record than three teams in the league, and Sunday will pit the Fins up against one of those teams.

The Giants thought they were constructing a playoff roster that could run the football behind former number-two overall pick Saquon Barkley, and disrupt both the run and pass with an influx of high resources spent on the defensive line.

Even with half the cash payroll of the next lowest team on that notorious list, and 11 of its original opening day starters gone for one reason or another, Miami enter a week-15 road game as mere three-point dogs.

Still, with three or four new bodies working into the rotation every week, Brian Flores’ Dolphins have won three games since the bye week, and been within a score in the fourth quarter for all nine games.

Does either team want to win this game? Of course the players and coaches will want to be rewarded for a long, arduous work week, but what good does a victory do in the grand scheme of things? Flores has proven that he can coach his ass off, while Pat Shurmur is assured to lose his job whatever happens these final three weeks.

The cost, for the Giants, could be Chase Young. For Miami, perhaps even more severe as the best quarterback prospect of the last several years could suddenly be available because of medical concerns, should the team land in the top five.

A victory Sunday will likely remove Miami from that perch as the Lions and Cardinals are both underdogs, and would each jump the Dolphins with a one-game difference in the standings.

The Scheme:

Offense:

Mike Shula’s scheme is as 11-personnel heavy as any in the league, but things have changed due to injuries. Without Evan Ingram to provide the ultimate flexibility between 11 and 12-personnel packages, the Giants have lacked much variety in his absence. Using 81% one back, one tight end (3rdmost in football), Miami will be afforded the opportunity to get creative on defense altering its pre-snap look from the same package.

The Giants are successful on just 41% of their plays from this personnel grouping, including 12 interceptions, 31 sacks and just 6.6 yards per passing play. New York only runs one other package (12-personnel) and also doesn’t have a lot of success out of that grouping. Adhering to old school principles, the Giants don’t throw from run formations, and the predictability has the Giants averaging just 5.7 YPA from 12-personnel.

The Giants rank 26th in total offense, 22nd in passing, 26th in rushing and 25th in scoring.

Defense:

James Bettcher is a fan of sending pressure, and he will certainly try to heat up Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday. Fitzpatrick might have the last laugh with his ability to get the ball hot to the interior receivers working in behind the linebackers and winning one-on-one matchups with a young defensive backfield.

The Giants base is a 3-4 look, but elements of that defense are always sparingly used because of the nature of modern day football. Bettcher wants to get pressure out of his outside backers in Markus Golden, Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter, using his interior backers in a more traditional, off-ball sense.

New York blitzes 28.7% of the time — exactly the middle of the pack at 16th— but it’s safe to assume they’ll turn that number up on Sunday. The G-Men are in the middle of the pack in hurry rate, knockdown rate and pressure rate. The Giants 94 missed tackles are 13th most in the league.

The Giants rank 27th in total defense 26th in passing, 20th in rushing and 28th in scoring defense.

The Players:

Offense:

Eli Manning is Eli Manning. The Giants hung onto him for three years too long, and his storied career appears to be coming to an end in three weeks. Filling in for the injured Daniel Jones gives the Miami defense a chance to tee off on a quarterback for the first time since the home win over Sam Darnold and the New York Jets.

Manning can’t move, he can’t drive the ball, and there’s really no reason for him to be on a roster at this point. The Dolphins will hit him, turn him over, and dominate the Giants offense is he plays.

New York funneled a lot of resources into its offensive line, and it’s still one of the worst in football. Miami lacks true pass rushers, so it’ll be up to the stunts and games up front to get pressure. Expect Flores to blitz Manning relentlessly, likely with a lot of zero looks.

Holding Saquon Barkley has been easier for opponents this year. A lot of the Giants running game gets Barkley going horizontally, and he’s been able to make the big plays due to poor blocking and a nasty ankle sprain earlier in the year.

This game will be a big test for Taco Charlton, Vince Biegel, Andrew Van Ginkel, Charles Harris and the rest of the Miami edge players.

Defense:

Markus Golden stands to wreck this game for Miami. He’ll come down off the offense’s left edge, and that position has been an issue for the Dolphins all year long. Sliding protection and using a back or tight end to chip Golden is the only way Fitzpatrick will have any time to throw.

On the inside, the Giants offer the beef that Miami’s interior line struggles with the most. Dexter Lawrence is massive, and those are the kind of players that give Daniel Kilgore problems up front.

Alec Ogletree remains a focal point of the Giants defense, and that presents a lot of opportunities for the Dolphins. Look for Miami to empty out the backfield from 12 and 11-personnel, find Ogletree in coverage, and go to work.

The New York secondary is full of inexperience. Rookie DeAndre Baker has worn the rabbit hat (teams go after him) all year long while Janoris Jenkins appears to have past his prime.

This is a slow defense and I’d be surprised if Chad O’Shea doesn’t have his way with it in the passing game.

The Medical:

(Coming Friday)

The Opportunities:

If Devante Parker can go, there isn’t a player in the Giants defensive backfield that can handle his skill set. Regardless, Miami’s passing schemes will create opportunities for whichever players are healthy, especially Allen Hurns inside on mismatches from 12-personnel against linebackers. Patrick Laird should draw some favorable matchups in the passing game in his own right — expect a big day for The Intern.

If it’s Eli, expect a lot of pressure sent to overwhelm a bad Giants line and quarterback. If it’s Daniel Jones, expect Miami to play coverage and take the ball away from the rookie. Either way, this is the day the Dolphins defense gets healthy.

The Concerns:

The Giants skill players can make some noise. Darius Slayton’s speed is a problem, and he’s been producing regardless of who’s under center. The Dolphins added yet another pair of defensive backs to the injured reserve, and that’ll provide a challenge against Slayton, Golden Tate and Sterling Sheppard.

Miami haven’t been able to block many pass rushes, and they’ve created almost nothing by way of the ground game, so the Giants talented front is an issue. There will be one-on-one opportunities aplenty for Markus Golden, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams.

The Projected Outcome:

It doesn’t matter if it’s Daniel Jones or Eli Manning. Both are going to give the Dolphins defense opportunities to take the football away, and neither presents much fear to a unit that is full of undrafted free agents are largely unknowns. Manning doesn’t have the physical traits to scare anyone and Jones is on track for the most turnovers at the position per game of all time. If Jones plays, it will be on a tender ankle that robs the one trait he has — his mobility.

Miami beat the Jets in November in convincing fashion. Every other game since the bye week — with the exception of the Cleveland and Buffalo (home) games — have been white knuckle affairs. This game has the makeup of a blowout, but in favor of the road team.

A bitter, angry team off the loss last week responds to Brian Flores’ message and puts a beating on the Giants.

Dolphins 27
Giants 13

@WingfieldNFL

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