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Miami Dolphins

For The Present And The Future: Week 6 Is As Important As It Gets

Chris Kowalewski

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The bye week is over for the Miami Dolphins and they are quickly closing in on arguably their most meaningful game of the season.

No matter if you’re cheering for the Dolphins to continue their path towards the first overall pick in 2020, or praying for them to find their first win of the season – the next game on the slate is the one which should draw your focused attention.

Make no mistake about it, the Washington Redskins are a bad team and one in deep disarray which led to the firing of Head Coach, Jay Gruden early on Monday morning.

The Washington Redskins are a team which currently shows many of the crumbling foundations which have previously festered under the Dolphins’ own structure, including player disgruntlement, lacklustre coaching/game planning and fundamental disagreements running deep into the front office concerning the direction of the team’s future and the face of their franchise.

As offensive line woes for the Dolphins roll on year after year, Washington’s own star LT, Trent Williams continues to refuse to play ball and reports have surfaced recently regarding the lack of unison between ownership and coaches as to the acquisition of Dwayne Haskins.

Immediately after April’s draft, rumours circled of Jay Gruden’s desire to draft Daniel Jones, who was widely considered a reach at 6th overall, but has gone on to show promising early signs as a New York Giant, inevitably adding tension amongst the NFC East rivals. Ownership was reportedly sold on Haskins and ultimately cast the final vote.

Starting QB Case Keenum was replaced by Dwayne Haskins in Week 4 and the rookie entered the game only to put up a miserable 3 INT performance. In Week 5, Colt McCoy rounded out the trio of Washingtons’ signal callers as the Redskins were picked to pieces by the Patriots 33-7.

For franchises which find themselves in the cycle of rebuilding, the quarterback spot will inevitably dominate the battle for attention, so let’s take a quick look over the stats of each team’s quarterbacks so far this season leading up to Sunday’s game.

Player Completions Attempts Comp % Yards TDs INTs
Case Keenum 92 135 68.14 970 7 4
Dwayne Haskins 9 17 52.9 107 0 3
Colt McCoy 18 27 66.6 119 0 1
TOTAL 119 179 62.5 1196 7 8
Ryan Fitzpatrick 27 52 51.9 303 1 4
Josh Rosen 43 84 51.2 482 1 3
TOTAL 70 136 51.5 785 2 7

 

The Redskins have played an extra game than the Dolphins, but the overall view of the statistics demonstrates struggling offenses which have yet to find their feet under changing quarterbacks.

Case Keenum has been by far the most efficient of Washington’s QB room but he remains questionable to start against the Dolphins on Sunday with a foot injury.

On offense for the Redskins, rookie WR Terry McLaurin (19 rec/308 yards, 3 TDs) shines brightly. Whilst hampered by injury (hamstring) McLaurin looks set to play alongside a running back group which includes Chris Thompson (20 rush/67 yards, 25 rec/268 yards) and Adrian Peterson (40 rush/108 yards, 1 TD).

Both teams have an improved opportunity to put up some points this week as each faces a bottom-tier defense. Despite Miami being heavily outscored to start the season, Washington are not far behind with the yardage statistics being closer overall than you may otherwise assume.

Dolphins Redskins
Defensive Rank (Yardage Allowed)   32nd 28th
Points Allowed 163 151
Avg Points Allowed Per Game 40.8 30.2
Rushing Yards Allowed 703 720
Avg Rush Yards Allowed Per Game 175.8 144
Passing Yards Allowed 1185 1319
Avg Pass Yards Allowed Per Game 296.2 263.8
Total Yards Allowed 1888 2039
Avg Total Yards Allowed Per Game 472 407

Giving up an average of an extra 65 yards per game is enough to separate the defenses 4 spots in the overall rankings, as they each dwell in the cellar of NFL defensive inefficiency. This could allow an opportunity for the quarterbacks to take advantage this week, as the position for both teams will remain under close scrutiny ahead of the 2020 draft.

Despite the poor overall defensive performances, the Redskins do have a cluster of veteran pieces in the secondary (Landon Collins, Josh Norman) and front 7 (DaRon Payne, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen) who can apply pressure through Miami’s porous offensive line.

OL coach, Bill Callahan will replace Jay Gruden as interim Head Coach and reportedly wants to see more out his running backs which could take some of the burden off the shoulders of whoever starts under center.

There is also always the chance that a change in coaching provides an unquantifiable spark for the Redskins, similar to Dan Campbell’s interim tenure with the Dolphins in 2015 which started off with back-to-back wins after replacing Joe Philbin.

Haskins may be unlikely to start for the Redskins this Sunday, but as college football continues to blaze with the fiery promise of the likes of Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm, Justin HerbertJordan Love and Joe Burrow neither the Dolphins nor the Redskins find themselves in the enviable position of being able to overlook a QB upgrade. 

The most obvious upgrade stands in the form of Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.

Currently boasting a ridiculous stat-line of 113/148 (76.4% completion) for 1,718 yards, 23 TDs and 0 INTs – the minds of many – Tua has cemented his candidacy as the first overall pick in 2020, where the Dolphins and Redskins increasingly find themselves well-placed to land at the top of the draft pack. 

Don’t be fooled into confidently believing that Haskins’ presence would entirely preclude the Redskins from taking Tua. The gamble as to whether Washington would pass on Tua, having drafted Dwayne Haskins only last year as their own franchise saviour – is not one I’d wish to take.

A new regime will be put in place following the firing of Jay Gruden. Whilst a coach could be brought in to work with Haskins – if the Redskins really want to set their franchise back on the track of their storied history, the HC vacancy would be much more attractive to top prospective candidates if they are allowed to bring in their own system, own staff and make their own choice at the starting QB.

Tua is that obvious choice for any team which has its fingers hovering over the ‘RESET’ button.

The Cardinals have already set the precedent for doing so after discarding Josh Rosen for Kliff Kingsbury’s choice of Kyler Murray.

Perhaps the Redskins didn’t intend to be a bad team at the outset of 2019. Perhaps they entered with solid faith that Haskins resembled their future and they aren’t unleashing a meticulously planned project to trade and gain assets. Perhaps they simply find themselves swimming aimlessly in a sea dysfunction and will continue to hope that Dwayne Haskins is the saviour they need.

Whatever their approach may be, the Washington Redskins currently present themselves as one of the few teams on Miami’s schedule whom the Dolphins could legitimately beat and who pose the biggest threat to those fans clamouring for the 1st overall pick.

For Dolphins fans praying to the NFL gods for redemption under the arrival and rise of Tua Tagovailoa, the Redskins have become the newest and most threatening enemy.

Alternatively, if the Redskins did want to trade out of the top spot, they would find multiple offers of a king’s ransom falling at their feet prior to draft night. It would no longer be a question of Miami vs Washington for the first overall pick. Even worse, it would be Miami against the rest of the NFL.

For any team (especially one without a young superstar QB) looking a trade to move up into the top spot, things would get costly. 

Chris Grier has, in my opinion, masterfully executed a bevvy of trades and manoeuvres to ensure that the Dolphins have enough draft capital over the coming years to provide this team with an influx of top-tier talent, customised to the long-term plans and schemes of Brian Flores.

So whilst Miami would have the capital (and the desperation) needed to move up to the top spot if necessary, it would be hugely detrimental to have to pay to move up. Not only for Tua but for anyone. From a position of strength with 3 first round selections in the in the draft (Own, Steelers, Texans) they would place themselves at a huge disadvantage.

Chris Grier was reportedly on hand to watch Tua Tagovailoa light up the scoreboard last weekend as Alabama faced off against Ole Miss, completing 26/36 passes for 418 yards and 6 TDs whilst also running in for a seventh.

Miami’s scouting team will inevitably be busy at work investigating every obvious and hidden option available in the rookie QB class ahead of the 2020 draft in 7 months’ time.

Regardless of whether you (or I) have your heart and hopes set on the Dolphins landing Tua, Chris Grier and Co will make the decision which they feel is right for the team.

Things can of course change. Injuries can happen. Prospects can sometimes come out of nowhere to propel themselves up to consideration at the top of the draft. 

This year just feels different for the Dolphins. Rather than desperately flailing towards another 6-10 season, the decision has been taken to mindfully rebuild, in a year which exudes college QB talent. The Redskins, on the other hand, are trying to win – and failing hard.

Although there’s no guarantee that the Dolphins’ endgame of the 2019 season is about having the top pick specifically to draft Tua, it is about having the first overall pick is about ensuring the Dolphins have the freedom and flexibility to choose whoever they see best fits their vision for the future of the franchise – and most importantly do so without having to spend the heavy draft capital in a trade-up scenario.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a loss or a win as the final whistle blows, Week 6 is the first game of the 2019 season which may ultimately help to shape the future of Miami’s rebuild. 

Some people may consider the 0-5 Bengals as Miami’s biggest threat.

True, Andy Dalton has unimpressed through the majority of his career, but in 2019 the team has at least looked competitive (at times) scoring 23 points against the Arizona Cardinals in a close loss. 

The Dolphins have scored 26 points all year. 

For now, Week 6 and the Redskins currently remain Miami’s most formidable rival to the 1st overall pick.

The Tua Bowl airs this Sunday (October 13th) at 1:00pm ET.

 

Physically located across the pond, but mentally always in Miami. A qualified lawyer, NFL sponge, aspiring writer and self-proclaimed IKEA furniture construction expert, he’s looking ahead to a brighter future for the Dolphins after decades of wading in the depths of mediocrity. Always on the search for any excuse to talk all-things Dolphins.

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Miami Dolphins

Local Residents Sue Miami Dolphins over F1 Race Track

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: MotorSportWeek.com

This may be the last thing on the mind of Miami Dolphins fans everywhere, but there seems to be a prominent legal battle taking place in South Florida.

A new Formula 1 race track was recently approved (by a 6-6 vote) to be “built” around Hard Rock Stadium, with races beginning in 2021.

While city officials press to approve the new track, local residents are up in arms about the potential race. F1 cars are notoriously loud, and as we mentioned above, these races aren’t contained within an arena or stadium.

City officials believe this will bring in additional revenue for Miami and the surrounding area, as annual races are expected to be held around Hard Rock Stadium for the next 10 years. The local populous is arguing that these races are too loud for local streets, and will cause an enormous amount of disturbance and will be detrimental to the environment. Overall, this will cause a “serious degrade to their quality of life.”

Just so you can have a reference, F1 engines tend to run between 130-145 decibels. If you go to a concert and stand relatively close to an amplifier, you’re only dealing with about 100-110 decibels. The average lawn mower is about 90 decibels. Needless to say, these engines are LOUD.

Unlike NASCAR, Formula 1 (F1) race tracks are essentially “created” using local roadways that are already in place. Though there is obviously a lot of preparation that goes into “creating” the course (to ensure the safety of racers and fans alike), no new venues need to be built.

With that said, the City of Miami Gardens and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are attempting to host the race solely on Hard Rock Stadium grounds. Given Ross’ ownership in the land surrounding Hard Rock Stadium, it’s possible this race doesn’t officially occur on any public roads.

To give some background, Stephen Ross attempted to buy F1 a couple of years ago, but the sale ended up going to another group. Though he didn’t win the bid, he reached an agreement with the new owners and is now one step closer to making the Miami Grand Prix a reality.

Tom Garfinkel, President and CEO of the Miami Dolphins, issued the following statement on behalf of the approved 6-6 decision:

This recent vote was the biggest hurdle potentially preventing the Miami Grand Prix from happening. Though the legal battles aren’t over, it seems unlikely that the decision to host F1 races will be reversed.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are beginning to bulk up the depth of their roster as they head into free agency.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Dolphins have signed tight end Michael Roberts. The exact terms of the contract are currently unknown.

Originally a 4th-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Roberts has served mostly as a backup tight end; accumulating 146 yards on 13 receptions in 23 active games between 2017-2018.

Roberts was placed on injured-reserve towards the end of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury, and was traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional 2020 7th-round pick prior to the 2019 season. Due to medical reasons, the trade was voided a couple of days later.

The Green Bay Packers claimed Roberts off of waivers, but he was subsequently released by the Packers two days later for failing a physical. Roberts was not active for any games in 2019.

Signing Roberts doesn’t necessarily mean the Dolphins aren’t going to pursue tight ends in free agency or in the draft. Mike Gesicki is the only “lock” to make the 2020 roster, as Durham Smythe‘s blocking ability might not survive if the Dolphins find themselves in an advantageous situation at the position.

Look at this as a way for Miami to get ahead of evaluations.

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Miami Dolphins

A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football

Shawn Digity

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J.K. Dobbins 2020 NFL Draft
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

(Locked On Dolphins) – Last week, Person A dazzled us with their blind mock draft, and now we’re back with the next entry in the series.

Person B is ready to go with their mock.

Keep in mind that all the blind mock draft contributors have little to no knowledge of the NFL.

I had all the contributors standardize their boards and the process so that everyone was on an even playing field.

They all used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator with seven rounds, the predictive board, and had to choose the players manually.

Without further ado, here’s Person B’s mock draft.

(1) 5. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama
(1) 18. J.K. Dobbins – RB, Ohio State
(1) 26. Terrell Lewis – Edge, Alabama
(2) 39. Lloyd Cushenberry III – iOL, LSU
(2) 56. Xavier McKinney – S, Alabama
(3) 70. Rashard Lawrence – iDL, LSU
(5) 135. Chase Claypool – WR, Notre Dame
(5) 144. Justin Herron – OT, Wake Forest
(5) 147. Terrell Burgess – S, Utah
(6) 165. Lamar Jackson – CB, Nebraska
(6) 177. Jacob Breeland – TE, Oregon
(7) 223. David Reese II – LB, Florida

As I did with Person A, I reached out to Person B to get their reasoning behind the selections.

Me: “I noticed that you took Tua [Tagovailoa]. What led you to that decision with the fifth pick?”

Person B: “I knew the Dolphins wanted to get a QB, and Tua has been talked about so much that I just went with him.”

Me: “Which of your other selections did you feel particularly good about?”

Person B: “I need you to send me the link to my draft. I forgot who I picked since it took five attempts.”

[resends mock draft to Person B]

“I like my J.K. Dobbins pick. O-H-. And Rashard Lawrence. Because I figure he’s pretty good since LSU was really good this year.”

Me: “Your picks are really good. I’d put yours ahead of Person A. But it’s almost suspiciously good. Did you put your thumb on the scale somewhere along the line?”

Person B: “Well, by my 5th attempt (1 and 2: I didn’t select manual mode, 3: I didn’t pick 7 rounds from the drop-down menu, 4: I completed, but the site froze, and I lost everything), I figured out that I should probably pick from the top of the list first because if you don’t then those players just go like hotcakes.

So, I just matched up the positions the Dolphins needed to fill with the players highest on the list, and if I recognized a name or team, I would select them over someone I had never heard of.”

Me: “OK, well, we’re all out of time. Do you have any parting messages for Dolphins fans?”

Person B: “Well, I think the Dolphins are on the right track, and I hope that all of the true blue fans who have hung in with them for all these years will get to see another Super Bowl in the near future. GO FINS!”

And that wraps things up with Person B.

What are your thoughts on Person B’s mock draft? Leave a comment or tweet your thoughts at me directly on Twitter (@DIGITYnodoubt).

Tune in next time for Person C’s mock…

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