Are there words to describe this feeling? Because if there are, I’m completely lost for them.
Saying this was a phenomenal finish is an understatement. This was legendary. This is eternal. This will go down right next to the Michael Thomas interception as one of its best plays in franchise lore.
THE MIAMI MIRACLEpic.twitter.com/1jEJrvVigN
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) December 9, 2018
Anytime the Miami Dolphins defeat the New England Patriots you have a valid reason to celebrate, but this victory means much more than most others.
The Dolphins were 7 seconds away from the end of their 2018 season; 7 seconds away from unofficially firing Matt Burke, endlessly chastising Adam Gase for some (more) horrific play calls, and ushering Ryan Tannehill out of Miami. Instead, we’re tied for the final playoff spot in the AFC.
Below are a few things we noticed from the epic 34-33 Dolphins victory over the Patriots:
1) Who Stole Adam Gase’s Playbook?
Where have these plays been all season?
Dolphins fans have been crucifying Gase for his perplexing playcalling all season, and rightfully so. At times it seems like the head coach and de facto offensive coordinator is unable to adjust or play to his team’s strengths.
This team has an athletic quarterback, shifty playmakers on offense and a banged up offensive line, and yet, bubble screens were the focal point of this offense for the majority of the season.
Coming into this game it was evident Miami needed to do something on offense.
.@ryantannehill1 with a dart to Brice Butler to take the lead!
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) December 9, 2018
After a television camera caught their actual offensive coordinator, Dowell Loggains, (presumably) calling plays, Dolphins fans were quick to credit the offense’s spark with the new man in charge. Unfortunately for us, that was mostly a ploy, as Adam Gase was still in charge of calling plays this game.
Which makes me wonder, why not attempt this earlier in the season when the team was struggling to put up points (they entered this game averaging 20.5 points per game)? Either the team adjusted or they decided to open up their playbook a bit more rather than saving plays for when the season is lost.
This game featured plenty more play action with a healthy mix of RPO and intermediate passes thrown in. Tannehill is extremely accurate when on the move, and fans have loudly wondered why the team isn’t designing more plays to get him out of the pocket. On one hand, you have a quarterback coming off of a knee injury paired with an offensive line that gets mistaken for an amusement park turnstile at times. There isn’t a lot of trust that the line will give Tannehill enough time to fake the run and analyze the pass.
Maybe Gase and company felt they had nothing to lose? Tannehill suffered 7 sacks last week against the Buffalo Bills while spending the majority of the time in the pocket. It couldn’t get any worse, right?
The risks the Dolphins took this game payed off; and when you’re playing Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, you can’t expect to be conservative and win.
— Big E (@ian693) December 9, 2018
Ryan Tannehill threw the ball 56% less than Tom Brady and nearly outdueled him in the box score. Helped out by that final 69-yard play, Tannehill completed 14/19 passes for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Maybe the Dolphins offensive success has more to do with Kenny Stills‘ comments the other week rather than Dowell Loggains holding the playsheet. After experiencing a heartbreaking loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Stills called out the team’s quarterbacks by exclaiming that he can’t “throw himself the ball”. Since then, Miami has gone 2-0 and averaged 27.5 points those games. Obviously it’s a short sample size that can change as other teams adjust, but Stills sparked something in this team that Gase and company were unable to ignite prior to those comments.
Miami’s Man of the Year nominee had a stellar game, catching 8 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, but that last-second touchdown by Kenyan Drake overshadows a couple of head-scratching plays Stills made earlier in the game. With Miami looking to take back the lead, Stills caught a 2nd-down pass and inexplicably slid one yard shy of the first down marker.
Of course Miami still had an opportunity to convert the 3rd-down, but a questionable play call led to a Ryan Tannehill sack and the team was forced to rely on their defense to win the game.
The Patriots predictably walked down the field and scored an additional field goal, leaving Miami with just 16 seconds left.
Miami’s victory also saves Adam Gase from having to answer questions about punting on 4th-down with just over 4 minutes left to play near midfield. Though Gase would have been off the hook if Stills held onto a 3rd-down pass that was thrown a tad high, but was well in his hands.
Frank Gore is closer to 25 than he is 35 (he’s actually 35, but he’s really not). The ageless wonder averaged 7.7 yards per carry on his way to accumulating 92 rushing yards and a 24-yard reception. It’s hard to say he’s a better player than Kenyan Drake (who proved that theory wrong on the last play), but there’s a reason why Gase goes to Gore more than Drake. Drake ended the game with 24 yards rushing on 6 attempts.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) December 9, 2018
What the Patriots didn’t predict was the impact Brandon Bolden would have for their AFC East rivals. The former Patriot ran for two touchdowns and caught another pass on his way to having a career game. With all of the “revenge-game” plotlines floating around last week (Charles Clay, Jordan Phillips and Matt Darr returning to Miami), Bolden’s return was overlooked. Seems the Patriots did the same thing in their defensive gameplan.
Though the sample size is small, Bolden has proven that he’s not just a special teams player.
2) How Does One Defend This Defense?
While on the other hand, Miami’s former 4th-round pick in 2014, Walt Aikens, continues to prove why he’s a one-dimensional player. Tasked with covering the Patriot’s speediest receiver, Aikens was burned on a deep touchdown. I’m not sure if he was expecting help from Reshad Jones, but Jones was late to come over and cover Cordarrelle Patterson, leaving Aikens with 1-on-1 coverage and no help on the inside.
Touchdown Cordarrelle Pattersonpic.twitter.com/hDHrEzUAZl
— PatriotsNation™️ (@PatsNationTM) December 9, 2018
If Tom Brady wasn’t busy channeling his inner Josh Allen at times this game could have been a lot worse.
The future hall of fame quarterback uncharacteristically missed throws to receivers that were more open than what we saw last week in the Bills game. It’s not like Matt Burke‘s defense kept the Patriots in-check. If anything, the Patriots did that to themselves.
Like the rest of the season, Miami generated virtually no pass rush all game, giving Brady ample amount of time to throw. Once again, Bobby McCain had a sack coming off the blitz – matching the total the rest of the defensive line had combined this game: one.
Coming into this game the overwhelming thought was that the Patriots were going to attack the underbelly of Miami’s defense, even with Xavien Howard declared out with a knee injury. And right on cue, the Patriots did just that; embarrassing Miami’s linebackers in coverage throughout the game.
Kiko Alonso and Jerome Baker performed well when the play was in front of them, but they were picked apart when asked to cover a receiver. It’s evident the team needs an upgrade at linebacker this offseason, the question becomes who they upgrade over. Do they trust Raekwon McMillan to evolve in his 3rd-season? Or do they try to find a new middle linebacker and retain Alonso on the outside?
Belichick and Brady also knew where they had their mismatch, picking on Cornell Armstrong and Torry McTyer on the boundary throughout the game.
Tom Brady throws his 580th NFL touchdown.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 9, 2018
A loss would have only heightened this notion, but Xavien Howard is going to get paid this offseason. The Dolphins cannot continue to run out players like Aikens, Armstrong and McTyer and expect to advance in the playoffs.
Minkah Fitzpatrick had a decent game, though he was exposed on a few routes. On the opening drive, Brady completed a 16-yard pass to Josh Gordon and a 12-yard pass to Julian Edelman with Fitzpatrick in coverage. He was also called for a (questionable) pass interference call on the Patriots last drive. It’s not like he had a bad game, it just wasn’t as flawless as his previous games. With Howard likely to return next week and with Fitzpatrick continuing to evolve, it’s possible Miami’s secondary is the catalyst this team needs to make the playoffs.
3) The Special Teams Weren’t So Special
Everyone’s future head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Darren Rizzi, may have had one of his worst games as the Dolphins special teams coordinator.
After the team’s protection (specifically John Denney) allowed two of Matt Haack‘s punts to be blocked, Rizzi was forced to incorporate more of a ‘rugby’ style punting technique – where the offensive line would spread out and the punter would shift to the side before punting it, leading him away from the threatening rushers.
— Gabriel Schray PXP (@schrayguy) December 9, 2018
This resulted in two more shanked punts from Haack, who didn’t seem comfortable punting on the move. These poor punts gave the Patriots phenomenal field position all game, which is typically a recipe for Patriots success.
But the Dolphins special teams unit was fortunate they weren’t the only ones creating mistakes.
The normally clutch Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42-yard field goal as well as an extra point, taking 4 points off the board for the Patriots. Tie these mistakes with Brady’s misplay at the end of the first half and the Dolphins don’t even have a chance at making a Hail Mary.
–Ja’Wuan James stepped on Ryan Tannehill’s ankle at the end of the first half. The quarterback left the field and returned to the lockerroom to conduct some x-rays. These came back negative and Tannehill returned for the 2nd half. After the game, Tannehill was noticeably limping to and from the podium – this will be something to monitor in the final weeks.
–Laremy Tunsil allowed his first sack of the season. He has been exceptional this year at left tackle and deserves to make the pro bowl. When the time comes, his new contract is going to be massive.
-Tight end continues to be an empty position for this team. The team’s tight ends didn’t catch a single pass, and Mike Gesicki only saw one target on the day. Durham Smythe and Nick O’Leary didn’t get a single target.
-Tom Brady passed Peyton Manning for the most career TD passes for their career (including playoffs) – Brady has 580 while Manning has 579.
LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/9zvOsKCKkV
— Ryan Tannehill (@ryantannehill1) December 9, 2018
Chris Grier Updates Status of Miami Dolphins
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.
Twenty-eight of the NFL’s 32 General Managers…. pic.twitter.com/gSTz6MNPou
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 25, 2019
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 Flores, Chad 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.”
“He took a lot of blame for things out of his control. I wish him the best,” #Dolphins GM Chris Grier on former QB Ryan Tannehill, who was 42-46 with the team in seven seasons.
— Safid Deen 💯💯💯💯 (@Safid_Deen) March 25, 2019
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:
Dolphins GM Chris Grier, unsolicited, brought up how he's heard the coaches talk a lot about how to use TE Mike Gesicki in 2019.
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) March 25, 2019
“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:
Chris Grier says Ryan Fitzpatrick “knows he’s not a long-term solution for any team” and came aboard willing to fill mentor role for whoever is the franchise QB.
— Hal Habib (@gunnerhal) March 25, 2019
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:
Bill Belichick drinking orange juice. Yes, this photo is important. pic.twitter.com/LOdxMgJxzt
— NFL Humor (@NFLHumor) March 22, 2016
Miami’s Primary Objective – The Secondary
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:
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.
|LB||Kyle Van Noy||946|
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:
- (24) S Johnathan Abram – Mississippi State
- (35) DE Chase Winovich – Michigan
- (48) S Juan Thornhill – Virginia
- (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.
Dolphins Quarterback Prospect Film Room: Dwayne Haskins
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.
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)
Dwayne Haskins vs. Michigan State – audio on. pic.twitter.com/LFfQjDeK3R
— DolphinsQBgifs (@DolphinsQBgifs) March 21, 2019
Northwestern (More videos inside Twitter thread)
Haskins vs Northwestern (Big 10 title game) pic.twitter.com/LWhmxqh8rX
— DolphinsQBgifs (@DolphinsQBgifs) March 21, 2019
Purdue (More videos inside Twitter thread)
Haskins vs Purdue pic.twitter.com/NaS07Mdxud
— DolphinsQBgifs (@DolphinsQBgifs) March 21, 2019
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.
- Chris Grier Updates Status of Miami Dolphins March 25, 2019
- Miami’s Primary Objective – The Secondary March 24, 2019
- Dolphins Quarterback Prospect Film Room: Dwayne Haskins March 22, 2019
- Miami Dolphins Re-Sign Mike Hull March 21, 2019
- Staff Predictions: Which 2019/2020 QB will the Miami Dolphins draft? March 21, 2019
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