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Miami Dolphins 2018 Schedule Breakdown

Travis Wingfield

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Future opponents are known years in advance in the NFL. With the exception of two games decided by divisional standing-finish, fourteen opponents are pre-determined based on the schedule rotation. The order in which those games will occur, like everything else the NFL does, has become a primetime event.

While the luck of the draw applies for the most part (in-season injuries, particular teams playing their best/worst ball at a certain time of year, etc.) the order of the games provides intriguing details.

Traveling for a Thursday night game, for instance, is an extreme disadvantage for the visitor. The famed trap-game can occur when a team faces a lesser opponent before taking on a heavyweight. Lastly, for a team like the Dolphins, weather implications are always worth noting.

We will do a deeper dive into what each of these opponents offer in a summer-series titled, “Know The Enemy.” There, we will explore additions and subtractions, coaching principles, schemes, weaknesses, strengths – everything about that team.

This column refers to the favors, or lack thereof, that the NFL gave the Dolphins based purely on travel, trap games, etc.

Oct 8, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins Cornerback Bobby McCain (28) reacts after making a tackle during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 8, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins Cornerback Bobby McCain (28) reacts after making a tackle during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 – Tennessee Titans, Sunday 9/9 1:00 PM EST – Hard Rock Stadium

Titans’ Sandwich Game:

Week 2 – vs. Texans

Week one is typically impervious to traps, travel accommodations or any extenuating circumstances. The Titans were a playoff team in 2017 and have back-to-back divisional showdowns with upstart Texans and defending champions South champion Jaguars in week three. Playing the media’s punching bag (Miami) could be viewed as a walk-in-the-park.

Week 2 – @ New York Jets, Sunday 9/16 1:00 PM EST – Met Life Stadium

Jets’ Sandwich Games:

Week 1 – @ Lions

Week 3 – @ Browns (Thursday)

This is the Jets most important early-season game. The home-opener, potentially facing an 0-2 start, with a home divisional loss, is certain to bring out the Jets’ A-game. However, teams that play a game four days later (Thursday primetime games) traditionally struggle in the previous contest. With the Jets on the road for their week 3 primetime game, game-planning could bleed over and cause a lapse in fundamentals.

Week 3 – Oakland Raiders, Sunday 9/23 1:00 PM EST – Hard Rock Stadium

Raiders’ Sandwich Games:

Week 2 – @ Broncos

Week 4 – vs. Browns

This is the beginning of a lot of travel for the Raiders. After a cross-country trip to Miami, Oakland goes back to California for two, then goes to London for the International Series. Add the Raiders record in one-o-clock east coast start-times and this is a recipe for a Dolphins victory.

Week 4 – @ New England Patriots, Sunday 9/30 1:00 PM EST – Gillett Stadium

Patriots’ Sandwich Games:

Week 3 – @ Lions (SNF)

Week 5 – vs. Colts (Thursday)

As is the case with the week 2 game vs. the Jets, the Pats have a short-week following this contest. Add a primetime game in week 3 and the Dolphins are essentially the meat of an “under-the-lights” sandwich. There aren’t enough advantages in existence that makes picking against the Pats in Foxboro a wise decision.

Week 5 – @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 10/7 1:00 PM EST – Paul Brown Stadium

Bengals’ Sandwich Games:

Week 4 – @ Falcons

Week 6 – vs. Steelers

Pittsburgh-Cincinnati games are always slugfests. Ideally, you’d catch the Bengals AFTER playing the Steelers, but that looming rivalry could play into the trap scenario here. For Miami, back-to-back road games to the Northeast isn’t favorable – at least this is the only instance of said trip on the schedule.

Week 6 – Chicago Bears, Sunday 10/14 1:00 PM EST – Hard Rock Stadium

Bears’ Sandwich Games:

Week 5 – BYE WEEK

Week 7 – vs. Patriots

The first of two opponent’s coming off a bye the Bears figure to be as close to full-strength in this game as they will be all year. Given the Bears’ lack of recent success, overlooking teams isn’t a reality. Playing in South Florida heat will be an adjustment for the Monsters of the Midway.

Week 7 – Detroit Lions, Sunday 10/21 1:00 PM EST – Hard Rock Stadium

Lions’ Sandwich Games:

Week 6 – BYE WEEK

Week 8 – vs. Seahawks

Leaving the air-conditioned confines of Ford Field is never easy for Matt Stafford’s Detroit Lions. Like the Bears, the Lions will have to deal with fourth-quarter fatigue as they adjust to the climate. Coming off a bye week, and the ability to institute tendency breakers, always serves as an advantage. For Miami, playing on the road the following Thursday creates a greater challenge.

Week 8 – @ Houston Texans, Thursday 10/25 8:20 PM EST – NRG Stadium

Texans’ Sandwich Games:

Week 7 – at Jaguars

Week 9 – at Broncos

Traveling on a short-week is a tall-order for any NFL team. Miami faces a nearly impossible task, especially if Deshaun Watson is fully recovered from his torn ACL. The Texans play one of the NFL’s most physical teams just four days prior, however. Miami could be facing a beat-up squad in Houston.

Week 9 – New York Jets, Sunday 11/4 1:00 PM EST – Hard Rock Stadium

Jets’ Sandwich Games:

Week 8 – at Bears

Week 10 – vs. Bills

Sandwiched between two underwhelming opponents, the Dolphins figure to get the Jets best effort for the second time in 2018. Miami is coming off a mini-bye of sorts and can start making adjustments from their self-scouting department with the extra time.

Week 10 – @ Green Bay Packers, Sunday 11/11 1:00 PM EST – Lambeau Field

Packers’ Sandwich Games:

Week 9 – at Patriots

Week 11 – at Seahawks

This is the biggest trap game on the schedule. Despite Seattle coming back to the pack a little bit, these have been the two most consistent franchises in the league the last half-decade (New England and Seattle). The Dolphins beat a superior Packers team at Lambeau in 2010, and Green Bay is prone to slumps. This is the Dolphins first potential for a cold-weather game.

Oct 1, 2017; London, Middlesex, ENG; Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) runs for an early first down during the first quarter of the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11 – BYE WEEK

Week 12 – @ Indianapolis Colts, Sunday 11/25 1:00 PM EST – Lucas Oil Stadium

Colts’ Sandwich Games:

Week 11 – vs. Titans

Week 13 – at Jaguars

Fresh off a bye week, and facing a team that has bookend games against divisional foes, this might be the game most tilted in the Dolphins favor. Andrew Luck’s mysterious shoulder issues could either result in a fully-rested quarterback, or a third straight season on injured reserve.

Week 13 – Buffalo Bills, Sunday 12/2 1:00 PM EST – Hard Rock Stadium

Bills’ Sandwich Games:

Week 12 – vs. Jaguars

Week 14 – vs. Jets

Playing a team one week after an affair with a physical opponent is always auspicious. Typically, all trends are thrown out with division rivalries, but that aspect is amplified in the Miami-Buffalo series. If the Dolphins want to surprise this season, it’s imperative to win games like this.

Week 14 – New England Patriots, Sunday 12/9 1:00 PM EST – Hard Rock Stadium

Patriots’ Sandwich Games:

Week 13 – vs. Vikings

Week 15 – at Steelers

Like the Packers game, this is an ideal trap scenario for a team that figures to finish atop the conference yet again. The Pats will be looking to avenge last season’s week 14 loss in Miami, despite playing its biggest threat the following week, and a physical opponent the prior game.

Week 15 – @ Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 12/16 1:00 PM EST – US Bank Stadium

Vikings’ Sandwich Games:

Week 14 – at Seahawks

Week 16 – at Lions

Week 14 could serve as a jolt or a death-blow to Miami’s season. Heading into one of the toughest buildings to play in the NFL is a tall-task, especially coming all the way up from South Florida.

Week 16 – Jacksonville Jaguars, Saturday or Sunday 12/22 or 12/23 TBD – Hard Rock Stadium

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Miami Dolphins Defensive End Cameron Wake (91) celebrates after sacking San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) along with Miami Dolphins Linebacker Kiko Alonso (47), Miami Dolphins Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh (93) and Miami Dolphins Linebacker Jelani Jenkins (53) during the NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins on November 27, 2016, at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – NOVEMBER 27: Miami Dolphins Defensive End Cameron Wake (91) celebrates after sacking San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) along with Miami Dolphins Linebacker Kiko Alonso (47), Miami Dolphins Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh (93) and Miami Dolphins Linebacker Jelani Jenkins (53) during the NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins on November 27, 2016, at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)

Jaguars’ Sandwich Games:

Week 15 – vs. Redskins

Week 17 – at Texans

Dealing with the third consecutive final-four participant from 2017 seems like a cruel prank, but that’s a reality for the 2018 Dolphins. If things go the Jaguars’ way in the AFC South, this could potentially be a meaningless game for Miami’s in-state foe. The two team’s divisional match-ups in week 17 eliminate any trap scenario.

Week 17 – @ Buffalo Bills, Sunday 12/30 1:00 PM EST – New Era Field

Bills’ Sandwich Game:

Week 16 – at Patriots

This game very well could decide second place in the AFC East. There’s also a legitimate chance that both teams are playing for nothing more than pride.

If the Dolphins want to shock the NFL landscape and get back to the post-season, they will need a strong start. Of course, nobody knows what any of these teams are at this point. Typically, playing the tougher part of the schedule early in the season is ideal (better chance to catch a team before they develop their chemistry and identity). It would certainly behoove the Dolphins to stack some wins early on.

We will have an in-depth look at what each of these team’s presents from a match-up stand-point in the “Know The Enemy” series. Keep an eye out for that after the draft.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Defensive Line (Interior)

Travis Wingfield

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Over the next two weeks, Locked On Dolphins will bring you your one-stop shop for all things Miami Dolphins 2019 training camp

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
Offensive Line
Defensive Interior
Defensive End – 7/18
Linebackers – 7/19
Cornerbacks – 7/22
Safeties – 7/23
Specialists – 7/24

Game-By-Game Predictions Part 1 – 7/24 (Part 2 coming in September)

Prologue:

For the majority of the Ryan Tannehill era, the Dolphins entered training camp as dark horse candidates to seize a wildcard playoff berth. Things have changed for the worse in 2019, but the step backward comes with the hopes of constructing a perennial AFC East contender capable of winning games in January.

That’s the big-picture snapshot of the Miami Dolphins rebuild. In the interim, however, establishing the core principles of the Brian Flores program, as well as developing young talent, both capture the forefront of this year’s training camp objectives.

Over the next two weeks, we will get you familiar with each player on the roster. With biographies, quick-hitter scouting notes, and a prediction on the player’s ultimate role on the 2019 Dolphins, this serves as your guide for Miami’s summer practice session.

Defensive Line (Interior)

Overview:

The entire Dolphins operation is under construction. No unit will see greater transformation than the defensive front seven, particularly the roles of the defensive line. The Patriots (Brian Flores) and Packers (Patrick Graham) operate two of the most advanced, modern-day style of stop-units predicated on a flurry of fronts, techniques, and varying roles for versatile players.

So as we look at the defensive front, it’s important to understand the classification of each player, as well as their respective position group. Interior defensive lineman traditionally refers to the tackles, but this position is being expanded to account for all non-two-point players — the larger fellas that do the dirty work.

We’re talking about nose tackles, five-techniques, and everything in-between.

This group is led by yet another coach with a polished resume. Between the Jaguars recent front-line resurgence, coupled with a six-year stint at Clemson, Marion Hobby has been in charge of the best-of-the-best at the professional and college levels.

Adapting from a wide-nine, one-gap, attacking style of aggressive rushing, Miami will veer towards a two-gap, read-and-react style predicated on intelligence and heavy hands. The Dolphins have paid out a lot of money for little production at spot in recent years. And without wholesale changes to the personnel, 2019 could serve as an extended audition in year-one of the rebuild.

Christian Wilkins – Rookie
Jersey: 97
College: Clemson
Opening Day Age: 23.7
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $15.4M total, $15.4M guaranteed

Wilkins’ Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

There isn’t a whole lot Christian Wilkins hasn’t accomplished in his young life. Before he’s of legal age to rent a vehicle, Wilkins has won two national championships, been named a unanimous, first-team All-American, and graduated with two degrees from Clemson.

Wilkins is a disruptive force inside with unique burst and wiggle. He has the aforementioned versatility (capable of playing every position from 5-tech to nose) that should keep him on the field more than any player at his position.

With rare athleticism, agility and general football instincts, Wilkins’ skillset is not limited to defensive line. We will probably see him on offense in goal-line packages and on the field goal block unit.

2019 Projected Role: Starting Defense (multiple techniques), 75% snap-taker

Davon Godchaux – 2 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Jersey: 56
College: LSU
Opening Day Age: 24.8
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $1.4M total, $0 guaranteed

Godchaux’s Story by Locked On Dolphins

One of Miami’s most consistent contributors of the last two years, Godchaux doesn’t score enough praise. He’s rarely knocked back at the point of attack, stands his ground against double teams, and started showing progress as a pass rusher late last season.

The scheme change could benefit Godchaux with his strong punch and low pad level. He’s likely to see most of his reps up over the nose, but he can slide out to the 2i and 3-tech spots seamlessly.

2019 Projected Role: Starting Nose, 60% snap-taker

Vincent Taylor – 2 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Jersey: 96
College: Oklahoma State
Opening Day Age: 25.7
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $1,5M total, $0 guaranteed

Taylor’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

A clean bill of health is the only thing standing between Vincent Taylor and league-wide recognition. His run-stuffing numbers — efficiency, not volume — are elite, and his pass rush arsenal developed last season to boot. Taylor, frustratingly, heeded playing time to inferior producers last season, but 2019 should offer a fresh opportunity.

Taylor’s best position is at the 3-tech, but he’s not limited to that role. He can win with quickness, power, and a relentless motor. Conditioning and consistency are the next steps for Taylor to take in his young career.

2019 Projected Role: Starting 3-tech, 50% snap-taker

Tank Carradine – 5 years of service (1st in MIA)
Jersey: 95
College: Florida State
Opening Day Age: 29.6
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $720K total, $0 guaranteed

Carradine’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

The first of Miami’s low-risk, potential high-reward signings this offseason, Carradine comes to Miami as damaged goods. The former second-round pick missed 23 games the last two years to injury, and has never stayed healthy from wire-to-wire in his NFL career.

Carradine has the long arms, heavy hands, and explosive metrics that this staff prefers for the position. He’s solid at the point of the attack, he’s effective setting the edge, and he can win one-on-one matchups as an edge rusher. Anything he gives the Dolphins, however, should be considered a bonus.

2019 Projected Role: Rotational 5, 7-tech, 30% snap-taker

Jonathan Woodard – 1 year of service (2nd in MIA)
Jersey: 76
College: Central Arkansas
Opening Day Age: 26.0
Contract Details: 1 years remaining (ERFA), $645K total, $0 guaranteed

Woodard impressed in limited action last season. With a sack, two tackles-for-loss, and 10 total tackles in six games, Woodard often found work. His season ended prematurely due to injury, and he has a terrific shot to make his first opening day roster of his career.

The numbers game catches Woodard here, however. With so many bodies added at the position, one is left to wonder if the team wants to move in a different direction. His pre-draft scouting report questioned his awareness and feel for the position — traits that won’t fly with the new staff.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

Akeem Spence – 6 years of service (2nd in MIA)
Jersey: 93
College: Illinois
Opening Day Age: 27.8
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $3.2M total, $3.2M guaranteed

Spence had his moments in his first year with the Dolphins, but a lot of Miami’s run-game issues manifested when the opposition worked towards Spence. He’s a one-gap style of tackle that wants to win with quickness and react after he has done so.

This is a difficult proclamation with the entirety of Spence’s contract coming to him regardless, but two things paired together spell the end of his time in Miami: lack of scheme fit and the surprise emergence of lesser-known players in camp and preseason.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

Adolphus Washington – 3 years of service (1st in MIA)
Jersey: 53
College: Ohio State
Opening Day Age: 24.8
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $720K total, $0 guaranteed

Washington’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

A Late-May signing, Washington was the latest to join the Dolphins roster. Another player that relies on quickness and initial burst, Washington has a little more by-way of counter moves than the guys he’s competing against for work.

His run defense could get him in trouble. He’s often too high off the snap, and he’s a tad light in the lower-half to properly execute a two-gap style of defense. He figures into the lineup as a sub-package interior pass rusher.

2019 Projected Role: Rotational 3, 4i, 5-tech, 15% snap-taker

Jamiyus Pittman – 1 year of service (2nd in MIA)
Jersey: 65
College: UCF
Opening Day Age: 24.9
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $1.2M total, $0 guaranteed

A late-season call-up, Pittman played 45 snaps as a UDFA last year. His draft stock plummeted after missing the East-West Shrine Game with an illness, yet he has persevered. A bit undersized, Pittman wins with surprising strength, change-of-direction, and effort.

Pittman is regularly lauded for his hard work; that type of determination will keep him around whether it’s on the opening day roster or the practice squad.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut, practice squad

Joey Mbu – 4 years of service (1st in MIA)
Jersey: 94
College: Houston
Opening Day Age: 26.5
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $1.4M total, $0 guaranteed

For a team lacking a tried and true nose tackle, the 330-pound Joey Mbu could be the prescription for the problem. He’s a power player that uses his hands as weapons. Those active hands help keep Mbu clean as he searches for work down the line.

According to an anonymous AFC defensive line coach from his NFL.com draft page, Mbu was regularly praised for his leadership in college — the kind of player Flores wants on his team. Mbu was with the Packers last season with new Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham.

2019 Projected Role: Rotational Nose, 20% snap-taker

Dewayne Hendrix – Rookie
Jersey: 73
College: Pittsburgh
Opening Day Age: 24.7
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $1.8M total, $0 guaranteed

Hendrix has the size (270 pounds) to play a base 5-tech in the new defense, but his lack of bulk and may require a year of work. He’s a natural pass rusher, but struggles to fight off blocks in the running game. Hendrix is a practice squad candidate.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

Jonathan Ledbetter – Rookie
Jersey: 98
College: Georgia
Opening Day Age: 22.0
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $1.8M total, $0 guaranteed

Surprisingly undrafted, Ledbetter was among Miami’s first UDFA signings. With 34.5-inch arms, standing 6-4 at 280 pounds, Ledbetter plays with a sturdy anchor and high motor (sensing a theme here?) He’s a natural read-and-react type with gap integrity and astute contact balance.

His versatility and scheme fit puts Ledbetter among the top potential UDFA’s to make the opening day roster.

2019 Projected Role: Rotational 5-tech, 4i-tech, 10<% snap-taker

Cory Thomas – Rookie
Jersey: 48
College: Mississippi State
Opening Day Age: 23.5
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $1.8M total, $0 guaranteed

Thomas is a nice project player, but he needs to play with more functional strength to make it at the next level. It’s possible that he hasn’t fully matured physically, but his athleticism and natural bulk make for an intriguing camp body.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

Durval Neto – Rookie
Jersey: 69
College: International Pathway
Opening Day Age: 26.2
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $1.8M total, $0 guaranteed

Durval Neto is a fascinating player. He’s massive. His ankles are bigger than most human being’s thighs, and he pairs that girth with eye-popping athleticism — he can do a standing backflip.

Neto arrives via the international pathway program and that earns him roster exemption. Neto allows Miami to keep 11 players on the practice squad, so long as the big Brazilian is one of them.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut, practice squad

2019 Dolphins Interior Defensive Line at a Glance:

Much like the offensive line, there are a lot of players that will cut out a heavy workload for this Dolphins staff. The top three are pretty well set in stone with the first-round pick Wilkins, and the proven players in Godchaux and Taylor. Beyond that, jobs are open for considerable rotational work.

Expect the Phins to divvy up playing time to every member on the active roster — specific roles, and the necessity for fresh legs, requires a solid eight-man rotation.

The shift to the new scheme could leave some casualties in the wake, and Miami’s new direction is rather evident by the player-types acquired this offseason. Taking some onus off the wide-nine edge defenders to rush the passer and set the edge in the ground game should make for a more effective run defense.

The two-gap style will require these players to play smart with sound eye discipline, and powerful lower bases to hold the point of attack. The job of these players is to free up the impressive, young linebackers on this roster. If this group can’t get that job done, there will be more turnover next offseason on the Dolphins defensive line.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Dan the Man – Why #13 is my all-time Favorite Dolphin

Kevin Dern

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Unfortunately for me the months of June, July and the beginning of August are busiest for me at my day job, so my writing this summer has been a bit sparse.  I was late to press time for Shawn Digity’s latest piece on our staff picks for Favorite Dolphin of all-time, but he went the extra mile and embedded a tweet from me and added a quick blurb.  Surprisingly, maybe only to Shawn and myself, but we were the only two members to pick Daniel Constantine Marino.  When I learned this my wheels immediately began turning and claimed dibs on writing an ode to Dan The Man.  Travis obliged, so here it is.

To begin explaining why Dan Marino is my favorite Dolphin of all-time I need to back up a bit.  I was born in 1986 and didn’t really start following football until the second grade in 1993.  Suffice to say I missed Dan’s magical 1984 MVP season.  I missed him on Monday Night defeating the ’85 Bears.  I missed a lot really.

The first Dolphins game I ever watched was the “Leon Lett” Game, the miraculous win in snowy Dallas that put the Dolphins to 9-2 on the year.  This was after Marino’s Achilles injury in Week 6 of 1993 in Cleveland, so I still did not know who he was.  I fell in love with the Dolphins hook, line and sinker a few weeks later.  While on winter break, the Dolphins play at San Diego on Monday Night Football.  My dad let me stay up and watch Monday Night Football for the first time.  Games back then started at 9pm, which was usually past my bedtime as a young lad.  I couldn’t stay up until halftime, but the colors, the thrill of staying up late, and knowing that Miami had already beaten the Cowboys, who I knew to be arguably the best team in the NFL – they won the Super Bowl in ’93 – started me on this lifetime affair with the team in aqua and coral.

Fast forward a few months to Labor Day Weekend 1994.  I was at my grandparent’s house and my grandpa and I sat down and watched the NFL Game, which happened to be Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots against Dan Marino and the Dolphins.  Miami won, 39-35.  Marino and Bledsoe combined to throw for 894 yards and 9 touchdowns that day, with 473 and 5 TDs belonging to #13 in the white jersey.  None bigger than the following play.  Bill Zimpfer and Jim Mandich called it better than the TV crew, so I’ll let them narrate this masterstroke:

4th & 5 and you throw a 36 yard TD to Irving Fryar? I’d inject that feeling into my veins if possible.  Mandich waxes poetic about it as Marino swaggers off the field.  It was amazing, and Dan Marino ended up on the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week.

 

My dad had a subscription to SI. After he read it, I snagged the cover and tacked it to my bedroom wall.  The cover stayed there until September 13th, 2001 when our family moved across town.  I lost the cover somewhere during the move.

For Christmas that year I received a Dan Marino Jersey and the book Marino:  On the Record.  I still
have the book to this day and must have flipped through it over a hundred times.  I was hooked.

Growing up in Cincinnati my brothers and I were subject to watching the Bengals during the worst of the “Bungles” years.  My brother Eric and I would wait for our dad to inevitably fall asleep during the first quarter of Bengals misery and we’d change the channel hoping to find a better game.  If we couldn’t I’d sit there and wait for the NFL on NBC updates.  Often there was Dan Marino throwing a touchdown pass.

One Sunday, it happened to be the “Fake Spike” play that Marino and back Bernie Kosar engineered to beat the hated Jets.  Mark Ingram caught that game-winner.  Miami opens against the Ravens and his son this year.  Small world.  That play made Dan Marino the ultimate quarterback to me…and I had no notion of what he’d done throughout his career up until the injury in 1993.

I remember the following year Marino leading a comeback drive against the Falcons to save the season, including this scramble and this game-winning TD to Irving Fryar on back-to-back plays.  The desire, the heart, the will to win Marino exhibited on this drive is what I’ll remember.

Since Dan retired after 1999, as a Dolfan, can you honestly say that you’ve felt comfortable with any of the quarterbacks Miami’s had under center to lead a 4th quarter comeback? I can’t.  Can you say that no matter what the deficit in a game was, did any of those quarterbacks make you feel like you were never out of the game the way Dan did? I can’t.

His ability to make the difficult throws stupidly possible was uncanny.  He made deep throws seem like 10 yards with the flick of the wrist.  Words don’t do these passes justice, so I won’t try.  Just watch.

***These are time stamped links***

Behind the Back!

Eventually all of our childhood heroes have to retire at some point.  But Dan the Man gave us one final 4th quarter comeback in this final victory, at the Kingdome in Seattle in the playoffs.

Dan Marino was the reason I wore #13 in baseball and basketball growing up.  Wearing his jersey on Halloween always netted me a King Size candy bar from my neighbor Mr. Bruns, a fellow Dolfan who introduced me to “Dolphin Digest”, when trick-or-treating.  No one else got one.  I wrote two papers about Dan Marino and his accomplishments in college.  Both were A’s.  Easy as a Dan Marino 25 yard laser in the breeze.

Upon his retirement, Dan Marino held the record for having the most NFL Records.  Greatness personified.

420 Touchdowns

61,361 Yards

4,967 Completions

8,358 Attempts

155 Career Wins

Think of the numbers Marino would have and the records he’d still hold if he played in this era.  The numbers would be eye-popping.

I remember watching Sunday Night Football when ESPN covered the Dolphins game against the Ravens and did a special halftime segment for Dan Marino’s jersey retirement.  Play these and listen to how many peers respect the Legendary Dan Marino.

One quarterback.  One team.  One city.  A lifetime of memories.  Dan Marino – my all-time favorite Miami Dolphins.

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Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Offensive Line

Travis Wingfield

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Over the next two weeks, Locked On Dolphins will bring you your one-stop shop for all things Miami Dolphins 2019 training camp

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
Offensive Line
Defensive Interior
Defensive End – 7/18
Linebackers – 7/19
Cornerbacks – 7/22
Safeties – 7/23
Specialists – 7/24

Game-By-Game Predictions Part 1 – 7/24 (Part 2 coming in September)

Prologue:

For the majority of the Ryan Tannehill era, the Dolphins entered training camp as dark horse candidates to seize a wildcard playoff berth. Things have changed for the worse in 2019, but the step backward comes with the hopes of constructing a perennial AFC East contender capable of winning games in January.

That’s the big-picture snapshot of the Miami Dolphins rebuild. In the interim, however, establishing the core principles of the Brian Flores program, as well as developing young talent, both capture the forefront of this year’s training camp objectives.

Over the next two weeks, we will get you familiar with each player on the roster. With biographies, quick-hitter scouting notes, and a prediction on the player’s ultimate role on the 2019 Dolphins, this serves as your guide for Miami’s summer practice session.

Offensive Line

Overview:

One year removed from an embarrassing video leading to the dismissal of the Dolphins former offensive line coach, Miami makes its second change in as many years. Pat Flaherty departs from Jacksonville to lead-up the Dolphins offensive line room, but he’s not alone.

Miami solicited the help of Dave DeGuglielmo after the in-season firing of 2017 OL Coach (and Running Game Coordinator) Chris Forester. After the change, the Dolphins improved from the 21st-ranked pass blocking line to the 2nd-best in the NFL. Deguglielmo departed for Indianapolis in 2018 and turned around a historically awful Colts line. Indy improved from the 29th-ranked PBE (Pro Football Focus’ pass blocking efficiency) line to 10thlast year.

DeGuglielmo’s connection to the new Dolphins coaching staff led to his return. He spent two years with Flores in New England (2013-2014), and was a graduate assistant at Boston College — Flores alma mater. DeGuglielmo also has a connection to Flaherty from their time together with the Giants.

The room still belongs to Flaherty, however, and his resume is equally impressive. His first offensive line job came with the 2004 Giants where Flaherty learned Tom Coughlin’s style of smash mouth football. Flaherty brought that brand to Jacksonville when he joined Coughlin in 2017 en route to the NFL’s number-one rushing offense.

Flaherty’s work with the 2017 Jaguars line is more impressive considering the parts he had to work with. A second-round pick, two third-round picks, and a pair of UDFA’s is hardly a heavy investment into the positon. With the Dolphins, Flaherty gets a first-rounder, a third-rounder, a fifth-rounder, and two UDFA’s.

We start today’s guide with that first-round pick, perhaps the NFL’s most dominant Left Tackle, Laremy Tunsil.

Laremy Tunsil – 3 years of service (4th in MIA)
Jersey: 78
College: Ole Miss
Opening Day Age: 25.0
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $12.5M total, $0 guaranteed

Tunsil’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

After blanking Khalil Mack and Jadeveon Clowney in a three-week span, Tunsil etched his name among the best linemen in the game. He’s technically sound with the best feet at the position. He’s often left alone on an island against the game’s best, and wins with an effective kick-slide, initial punch, leverage, and a sturdy anchor.

Tunsil is no slouch in the ground game either. He can initiate contact and dictate the direction of his man with ease. He’s adept at combination blocks and more than capable of getting into space as the lead.

Tunsil allowed one sack in 2018 and has a case for the best player at his position. The one area he could stand to improve is in the penalty department — he has committed 21 fouls in the last two years.

(Second video)

2019 Projected Role: Starting Left Tackle

Michael Deiter – Rookie
Jersey: 63
College: Wisconsin
Opening Day Age: 23.0
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $3.8M total, $1M guaranteed

Deiter’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

Expectations are high for Deiter. With a 53-game collegiate start-streak that spanned three positions (LT, LG, C), Deiter’s durability, toughness and competitiveness attracted Miami to the Wisconsin product. Deiter moonlights as a hockey player and has the feet and athleticism to prove it.

Deiter’s experience shows in the way he executes his combination blocks and his penchant for recognizing games from the defensive line. He figures to begin the year at left guard but some of his best college tape came from the center position, and with Kilgore’s injury history, that move feels imminent.

2019 Projected Role: Starting Left Guard

Daniel Kilgore – 8 years of service (2nd in MIA)
Jersey: 67
College: Appalachian State
Opening Day Age: 31.7
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $6.1M total, $0 guaranteed

Kilgore’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

The eldest member of the offensive line, Kilgore is a surprise holdover from the previous regime. A torn triceps muscle ended Kilgore’s debut Dolphins season after 4 games, but those four games were worrisome in their own right.

Kilgore needs to show better strength at the point of attack to sustain his position as the starting anchor on the middle of the Dolphins line.

2019 Projected Role: Starting Center

Chris Reed – 3 years of service (1st in MIA)
Jersey: 64
College: Minnesota St.
Opening Day Age: 27.1
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $3M total, $500K guaranteed

Reed’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

The unheralded signing of the offseason, Reed has a chance to buck his label as a career backup. In spot duty for the Jags (under Coach Flaherty) Reed showed a knack for cohesive pass protection and the occasional push in the ground game.

Reed can play either guard spot and, at worst, serve as Miami’s swing interior lineman. Based on his tape (link above), Reed might be the team’s second best player at the position.

2019 Projected Role: Starting Right Guard

Jesse Davis – 3 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Jersey: 77
College: Idaho
Opening Day Age: 28.0
Contract Details: 1 year remaining (RFA), $645K total, $0 guaranteed

Davis’ Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

Despite earning the distinction of only lineman to play all 16 games in 2018 for Miami, last year was a struggle for Davis. After bouncing around the line in 2017, David settled into his permanent residence at right guard, but struggled in pass protection. Prone to over-setting, Davis can get beat inside with a stab and dip or the club and swim move.

Davis’ limited work at right tackle was impressive in 2017 and gives the Dolphins more options to pull the backside of the formation. Davis competes against Jordan Mills and the guard combination of Reed and Deiter — he should win a starting job somewhere.

2019 Projected Role: Starting Right Tackle

Jordan Mills – 6 years of service (1st in MIA)
Jersey: 79
College: Louisiana Tech
Opening Day Age: 28.7
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $3M total, $0 guaranteed

Mills’ Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

The swing tackle position is vital in today’s NFL — especially in Miami where the tackle tandem has missed a combined 11 games the last two seasons. Mills will compete for a starting job, and his durability is definitely something that attracted Miami to his services, but his performance leaves much to be desired.

Mills is a plodder that can be repeatedly victimized by speed-rushers. When Mills latches onto his man, the rep is usually over, it’s just a battle to get to that point; there isn’t a lot of pop in the ground game either.

Mills has played over 3,000 snaps going back three seasons, all at right tackle.

2019 Projected Role: Swing Tackle

Zach Sterup – 2 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Jersey: 74
College: Nebraska
Opening Day Age: 27.4
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $645K total, $0 guaranteed

The film has not been kind to Sterup the last two seasons. He allowed seven pressures (including four sacks) on just 58 pass blocking snaps, and in 2017 Sterup surrendered seven more pressures (albeit all seven hurries) on 53 reps.

Some natural talent, bend, and ideal size exist for Sterup, he is just yet to put it together and time may be running out.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

Tony Adams – 1 year of service (1st in MIA)
Jersey: 78
College: North Carolina State
Opening Day Age: 20.7
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $1.1M total, $0 guaranteed

Falling into the categories of required traits sought out by the Dolphins this offseason, Adams combines durability (a product of toughness) and size into a road-grading style. His initial punch is devastating, and when he’s properly aligned in his technique, he puts together teaching tape.

The issue is the consistency in that technique and the slow feet. Adams is a people-mover, not someone who will impress in the wave drill (tests for change of direction).

Adams clearly has fans in the building. Undrafted, Adams signed with the Jaguars (Pat Flaherty), but failed a physical and had his offer revoked. He then re-signed with the team, but was cut after training camp and eventually wound up with New England in December.

2019 Projected Role: Swing Interior Lineman

Isaiah Prince – Rookie
Jersey: 72
College: Ohio State
Opening Day Age: 22.1
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $2.7M total, $150K guaranteed

Prince’s Film Study by Locked On Dolphins

The Dolphins wanted to get mean on the offensive line and that trend continued in the sixth-round of April’s draft. Prince’s college career was one of peaks and valleys. On one series he’d appear undraftable, then Prince would follow it up with a punishing block to spring the Buckeye’s deadly ground game.

He is a work-in-progress and the Dolphins will have to hope he survives the practice squad in the interim. With Tunsil, Davis, and Mills on-board, there’s not enough room for another tackle on the active roster.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut, practice squad

Michael Dunn – Rookie
Jersey: 70
College: Maryland
Opening Day Age: 25.0
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $1.1M total, $0 guaranteed

One of seven Dolphins signings from the defunct AAF, Michael Dunn was a promising prospect at Maryland. In three years as a starter Dunn surrendered only 43 pressures on 1,151 pass blocking reps (3.7% pressures allowed rate).

At 6-5, 320 pounds, Dunn uses his wide frame and effective initial kick slide to wall off edge rushers. With a great camp, he could force the Dolphins hand and win a roster spot over potentially complacent veterans.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

Jaryd Jones-Smith – Rookie
Jersey: 71
College: Pittsburgh
Opening Day Age: 24.0
Contract Details: 2 years remaining, $1.1M total, $0 guaranteed

The second of two former AAF linemen on the Dolphins roster, Jones-Smith is built like a tackle, but plays guard. Jones-Smith won the Pterodactyl Award — awarded to the player with the longest wingspan — at the 2018 NFL Combine. His 88.5-inch measurement matches that of basketball’s Dwight Howard.

Jones-Smith gets caught in the numbers game, but has a shot to stick to the Miami practice squad.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

Kyle Fuller – 2 years of service (1st in MIA)
Jersey: 61
College: Baylor
Opening Day Age: 25.5
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $645K total, $0 guaranteed

A seventh-round pick in 2017, Fuller played in nine games as a rookie with the Houston Texans. He didn’t make the team in 2018, but was signed to the practice squad before eventually winding up on Washington’s practice squad to finish the season.

Fuller played a clean 26 snaps in pass protection (no pressures allowed) but never received a favorable run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

Shaq Calhoun – Rookie
Jersey: 62
College: Mississippi State
Opening Day Age: 23.4
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $1.8M total, $0 guaranteed

A hot pick to make the opening day roster, Calhoun sliding all the way out of this year’s draft was a surprise. His birth name is Deion, but he goes by Shaq because of his size and basketball skill.

Calhoun is knocked by scouts for stiff, upright movement and a lack of instinctual awareness. Like the rest of Miami’s newly acquired linemen, though, Calhoun is built like an oak tree and plays with a high motor and nasty mean-streak.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut, practice squad

Ryan Anderson – Rookie
Jersey: 60
College: Wake Forest
Opening Day Age: 23.4
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $1.8M total, $0 guaranteed

With 42 consecutive starts to close out his colligate career, Anderson offers Miami the versatility the team covets. He started 16 games at tackle, 25 at center, and one at guard.

The Draft Network lauds Anderson for his length and technique. That, and a connection with Coach Flaherty, earns Anderson a surprise spot on the Dolphins opening day roster.

2019 Projected Role: Backup Interior Lineman

Aaron Monteiro – Rookie
Jersey: 66
College: Boston College
Opening Day Age: 22.0
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $1.8M total, $0 guaranteed

Coming from Coach Flores’ alma mater is always a nice feather in the cap, but its Monteiro’s style that earned him a job with the Dolphins for the summer. Meeting with the Patriots, Ravens and Jaguars after his pro day, there’s an indication into which blocking schemes are best suited for Monteiro.

2019 Projected Role: Camp cut

2019 Dolphins Offensive Line at a Glance:

This position group is a complete teardown of the previous, unsatisfactory protection units trotted out by the Dolphins. It could be something of a learning year with new techniques and a bevy of new players that offer a stark contrast in traits to the previous regime.

Miami wanted to get bigger, stronger, and tougher at the position. Evident by the offseason acquisitions, the Dolphins place a lot of value on durability and versatility, and that’s exactly what the team acquired in these lesser-known signings.

If Flaherty and DeGuglielmo can cultivate one quality starter alongside Tunsil, it’ll be a success. If the pair can uncover two hidden gems, then Miami will have hit the lottery at a position that has been a thorn for the better part of a decade.

@WingfieldNFL

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