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Miami Dolphins sign former Iron lineman Michael Dunn after AAF fold

Shawn Digity

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USA Today Sports Michael Dunn Miami Dolphins
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

Miami Dolphins sign former Birmingham Iron offensive lineman Michael Dunn after AAF’s collapse

The Miami Dolphins have jumped into the fray of scattering AAF players. The team is signing former Birmingham Iron offensive lineman Michael Dunn.

The Miami Dolphins are taking advantage of the sudden reservoir of football talent after the AAF collapse and have also signed defensive stud Jayrone Elliot. The Miami Dolphins also signed Ricardo Louis, but he didn’t play in the AAF.

Dunn has short stints with the Rams and Jaguars after playing football at Maryland. According to Rotoworld, Dunn showed some flashes in his time in the AAF.

This is a move that will help add some support for a rebuilding team and a unit that leaves a lot to be desired. Michael Dunn could segue his AAF career into a swing tackle role if he shows some gumption during this summer’s training camp.

I am an Ohio University alum and I’ve been living in Pittsburgh for the last two years. I’ve been a Dolphins fan since I was a kid and I picked them because I liked the old-school logo. It grew from that as I got older and I luckily caught the tail end of Dan Marino’s career. It’s stuck ever since and now I’m an upstart, wild-and-free Dolphins beat writer, loving every second of it.

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Miami Dolphins

How did the Miami Dolphins shape up in Lindy’s NFL Preview?

Shawn Digity

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Miami Dolphins Xavien Howard USA Today Sports
Star cornerback Xavien Howard. Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

Lindy’s has released its annual NFL Preview. It not only covers each individual team but ranks all the best players at each position. There were some surprises, good and bad, but overall, the Miami Dolphins did not get a lot of recognition.

Lindy’s NFL Preview made its rounds on the Twittersphere on Wednesday, and with it came plenty of disagreement. The preview breaks down all the NFL rosters and ranks all the position groups of each team. So, did the Miami Dolphins fare very well with any of the position rankings? Let’s dive in and find out.

Let’s start with the quarterback. The list has three categories: Pocket Passers, All-Purpose, and Best of the Depth. I’ll give you second to think about which category might have a Dolphins QB.

Did you guess Josh Rosen in the Pocket Passer category? I hope not, because that’d be dead wrong. The winning answer is Ryan Fitzpatrick in the penultimate slot in Best of the Depth. In this case, he’s ranked fourth out of five in that category. He falls in between Jacoby Brissett and Blake Bortles.

Now, let’s move on to the pass catchers. The first ranked wide receiver on the list is Kenny Stills and he comes in at 15th on the rankings for the Deep Threat category. He’s tied with Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kansas City’s Sammy Watkins, but at least Stills made the first tier (The Ones). The next tier (The Twos) starts at 16 with Oakland’s Tyrell Williams.

DeVante Parker is the next name to make it on the list. He’s listed at sixth in The Twos. Parker and Stills were the only two Fins WRs to make the cut, which shouldn’t come across as a major plot twist since the Miami Dolphins receiving corps isn’t full of world beaters.

The next position on the list was tight ends. You might already know which direction this is headed since the Dolphins currently have a dearth of tight ends that is made up of B-list veterans and untapped-potential second-year players on the depth chart. Neither Mike Gesicki or Durham Smythe were mentioned, which shouldn’t be a surprise.

Nick O’Leary didn’t make the list, either, but Dwayne Allen did. Allen landed on the list at third on the Best of the Depth portion of the list. Allen falls between Virgil Green at two and Cameron Brate at four. The upper echelon rankings featured 16 other tight ends, which leaves an overall ranking of 19 for Dwayne Allen.

Don’t get bent out of shape from the first three categories, the best is yet to come. But not for the running backs. There was no mention of a single Miami running back in any of the three groups: The Ones, All-Purpose, Ground-Based, and Best of the Depth. That doesn’t speak well of the Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage duo.

On to the offensive line, the rankings were separated into five categories: center, left and right guard, and left and right tackles. The Dolphins had two total representatives in those five categories. And one of them wasn’t even on the team a month ago.

Laremy Tunsil is the obvious one and he made it to number 13 on the left tackle list. That seems criminally low to me. Tunsil was behind the likes of Carolina’s Taylor Moton, Atlanta’s Jake Matthews, and New Orleans’ Terron Armstead.

The only other entrant on these rankings was Jordan Mills, who was signed earlier this year after the Buffalo Bills let him hit free agency.

Lindy’s Preview also ranks the top five passing games, running games, and offensive lines for both the AFC and the NFC. I’ll just rip this bandaid off right now; the Dolphins weren’t in any of them.

Let’s move on to the defense; that ought to lighten the mood, somewhat. There’s not anything to mention in the 3-4 Ends/Tackles, Nose Tackles, 4-3 Ends, 4-3 Tackles, 3-4 Inside Linebackers, 3-4 Outside Linebackers, 4-3 Middle Linebackers, or 4-3 MIKE Linebackers

Let’s just skip ahead to the WILL Linebacker rankings to get our next Miami Dolphins plug. And in this case, we’ve got two names: Kiko Alonso at five and Jerome Baker at nine. That’s an encouraging thing to see after going nine categories without seeing any Dolphins. I’m also surprised that I didn’t see any mention of Raekwon McMillan, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

Another surprise was that there was no Miami safety named, either. Neither Reshad Jones nor Minkah Fitzpatrick made the cut, but I expect the latter to make his presence felt in the near future.

The biggest, and essentially only, bright spot in the Lindy rankings was Xavien Howard coming in at number one for all the corners. You read that right. While it’s certainly up for a lot of debate whether Howard is truly the best corner in the game right now, I’m not going to argue with it. I’m just going to rest on my laurels on X being recognized as the best by someone and be on my merry way.

Another smaller and less-expected surprise was the Dolphins being ranked in the AFC Best Linebackers. They came in at fourth in the conference and nine overall. That speaks volumes of the potential of the position group, namely Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan.

 

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Miami Dolphins

Brian Flores’ Mandatory Mini-Camp Update – 6/5/19

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Miami Dolphins / Jason Hrina

There was plenty of hoopla yesterday with the return of Reshad Jones and the budding competition between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. While we won’t know the answers to these burning questions anytime soon, we’re getting a deeper glimpse into how Brian Flores thinks and operates.

With the second day of mandatory mini-camp underway this morning, Flores was around to give us another update on his team. Like every other media session, Flores didn’t reveal all too much, giving us the general answers we’ve come to expect from Bill Belichick.

But if there’s one thing we can hone in on and get used to, it’s that Flores does not mess around. He has extremely high standards and expectations for all of his players. It’s pretty evident that if you don’t take things seriously, you’re going to be on the outskirts looking in.

Check out everything Flores had to say earlier this morning down below:

On Miami’s Quarterback Competition:

Is it fair to judge both quarterbacks when Ryan Fitzpatrick is getting most of the first-team reps?:

“It’s so early. Until we get into the nitty-gritty of training camp and preseason, it’s just too early to say “this guy is a starter, that guy is a starter”. First team, second team, I don’t put a lot of (emphasis) on that. We’re all working on the same stuff (in all 3 phases).”

Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to place Josh Rosen with the starters?:

“(All of the) receivers, backs, (and) linemen have been moving around (between first and second team). We’re moving guys around a lot. With Rosen, I think he’s doing a good job. I think he’s progressing. I think he’s moving in the right direction. I think he’s very talented. We’ll see where this goes…”

Do you put most of your weight (when evaluating) into preseason games?:

“Today counts. Tomorrow counts. Training camp counts. Preseason counts. Everything counts. The most weight? No, I don’t put it all into the preseason games. Practice counts for a lot of it. Production in practice. Production in games. Production in meetings.”

Like most quotes you’ll hear from Flores, everything matters. I’m sure there are specific instances where Flores is looking for more production out of certain position groups, but that’s for him and his coaching staff to decide. A quarterback during 7-on-7 drills is going to look completely different than they will during a full 11-on-11 drill when linemen are rushing their decision-making. A lineman without pads is going to look much different than when the pads come on (looking at you Charles Harris). But like his beloved predecessor in New England, Flores isn’t going to give us any specific details.

On Leadership:

Josh Rosen:

“He has an opportunity to learn from Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick), but I think he has to be himself. Josh is smart. He’s personable. He’s built some relationships on the team as well. I think (for everyone) you have to be yourself and work at those relationships. At the same time you’re working on the fundamentals, the technique, the football aspect of it.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick:

“First thing I think of is his command of the huddle. How he works with older players, younger players. His rapport. Offensive guys, defensive guys, (the) kicking game – I think that shows his leadership in a big way. Whoever he’s in there with he’s trying to improve and get better.”

You can tell by the inflection in Flores voice that he thinks highly of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s leadership ability so far. He certainly has the advantage, since he has been with the organization longer than Josh Rosen has, but his overall experience in this league carries him further than Rosen – who is still trying to learn his way around the league.

Laremy Tunsil:

“A very talented player. From a leadership standpoint that’s something he’s developed. We’re looking for that leadership from him. I think he works hard. I think he’s smart. I think he’s got a chance at being a very good player in this league. We’ll keep progressing and we’ll try and demand that out of him.”

On Players’ Injury Status:

Kenny Stills:

“Kenny will be just fine.”

Brice Butler:

“He’ll be just fine too.”

Will Butler return to mini-camp?:

“I think he’ll give it a shot. We’ll see what it looks like today, and at the end of the day he’ll be fine. Whether that’s today…hopefully…but he’s a tough kid and he’s battled through some things already. I think he’ll be out there.”

We’re still a few months away from the regular season starting and Flores is already in mid-season form. He isn’t divulging any news regarding his players’ injuries; and to an extent, we have to respect that thought process. Why give your opponents any additional leverage in these situations? Again, it’s not like mandatory mini-camp is the time and place to avoid secrets, but keeping things mum can only benefit the player. Why put a public target on Kenny Stills or Brice Butler‘s back when it’s completely unnecessary to do so? Let them focus solely on their recovery and not the public’s perception.

On Specific Players’ Performance Thus Far:

What made you want to retain Akeem Spence?:

“He’s athletic. He’s strong. He’s a hard worker. He works as hard as anyone that we have on this team. Obviously had some success in this league. We want to keep good players around.”

Will Laremy Tunsil be a cornerstone for this team for years to come?:

“I’m looking forward to working with him. I try not to put labels on players.”

Learn anything new about Akeem Spence or Laremy Tunsil? Neither did I.

Mike Gesicki’s development:

“Very talented. Working very very hard. Catching the ball decently. I talked to him about this this morning: one drop is one too many. One penalty is one too many. One missed assignment is one too many. That’s the approach we’re taking and I’m hard on Mike because I see a lot of potential in him. He’s working towards that. These guys are dealing with a lot from me right now.”

Not sure if Flores meant to use this exact wording, but Mike Gesicki is catching the ball “decently”? OUCH! Not the kind of ringing endorsement you want to hear when you’re a 2nd-round draft pick specifically on this team to catch the ball. We were very hard on Gesicki his rookie season, but it was pretty warranted given the lack of production we saw out of him. He has all the potential to be a #1 tight end in this league, but can he put it all together? As the cliche goes, only time will tell.

On Terrell Hanks specifically:

“He’s young. He’s learning. He’s working to get better. He’s moving in the right direction. He’s eager to learn. He’s very coachable. I love working with him. He has some talent and I hope he continues to progress (similar to how he has) over the last 4 weeks. Hopefully we have something, but it’s still very early.”

Unsure if this is Flores simply pumping up his players like he does normally, but that’s some high praises for the undrafted free agent.

On the Rest of the Undrafted Free Agents:

“It’s hard to (judge) until we put pads on.”

“All of the undrafted kids are all working hard; all very eager to learn. They do extra (work) on the practice field, in meetings…they stay late, they’re in their early, they’re lifting. They’re way way behind. Every rookie that comes in they’re so far behind.”

“Drafted and undrafted guys have ‘closed the gap’ (between them and the veterans) to a degree. They’re all doing a good job.”

On Whether the Team is Behind or Ahead of Where Flores Envisioned:

“I have high expectations. I’m always going to say we’re behind. There’s always 2, 3, 4, 8 things I feel we could have done better. I do see some improvement. I see a lot of progress. Practice looks the way I want; from a fundamental standpoint, from a technical standpoint. I want to be at a high level of everything, so no, not where I want to be.”

Flores gives us his best Belichick impression by refraining from complimenting his football team as a whole. He doesn’t want them to settle or slow down. He instills the impression that every player needs to continue to get better. It’s a tactic that certainly can’t hurt; unless a player is ultra sensitive. In which case, I’m not sure there’s a spot for that person on this team.

On Whether or not Chris Grier is Part of the Evaluation Process:

“This is a collaborative effort. I talk to Chris on a daily basis. Talk about how practice went. (Talk about) individual players. Those will be collaborative decisions between myself, Chris, and the (rest of the) coaching staff.”

Personally, I always believed that the General Manager’s job is to provide the team’s Head Coach with the the best possible players, and it’s up to the Head Coach to maximize their potential. I do like that Chris Grier and Brian Flores are working in tandem to create the best possible team, but I wonder how much say Grier really has in who’s released and who stays with the organization.

On Various Aspects of Being a Head Coach:

Is it hard cutting a player?:

“It is hard. I think you form relationships with players and it’s one of those things where you never want to do it, but it’s part of this league. There’s instances where you do everything right and work hard and things don’t work out. That’s part of life; it ends up being a life lesson for some guys. Whether they make it or don’t make it, they need to understand, things don’t always work out. That’s part of my job as a teacher and an educator, adversity is going to be part of everyone’s journey. When one door closes, another one opens up. Those are the kind of conversations I try to have with these guys.”

Would you agree that’s the worst part of your job?:

“I would agree.”

Toughest callup you had to make?:

“I’m going to keep that between myself and those players.”

This question was slightly confusing, but I believe Flores is talking about the toughest instance he had to make when cutting a player.

Did being a Scout Assistant in New England help?:

“(That role taught me) a lot of lessons. It’s hard to play in this league. When guys were getting released I was walking around letting them know (their fate). It was a tough job. I learned that early. This is a tough league to play in. It’s a privilege to play in this league and not a lot of guys get that opportunity. I try to impart that on my players not to take it for granted (and to) make the most of the opportunities.”

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Miami Dolphins

Practice Report: Mini-Camp 6/4/19

Chris Kowalewski

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Missed out on the latest news coming out of Dolphins mini-camp?

Fear not, loyal Dolfan. We’ve got it all right here to make sure you’re all caught up.

Despite the trade rumours circling over the past few days, the Dolphins’ Pro-Bowl safety, Reshad Jones, returned to the practice field for mandatory mini-camp.

Ryan Fitzpatrick continued to start ahead of Josh Rosen in the QB race, although it is still expected at this stage given his overall veteran experience and additional time with the Dolphins’ playbook, bringing some of his trademark flashes to practice…

Meanwhile, DeVante Parker’s Practice MVP race appears to be following it’s regular course:

The development of the rookie UDFA receiver, Preston Williams, will be something many fans will want to keep an eye on through mini-camp and training camp later this summer.

Xavien Howard looks out to prove that his record setting contract isn’t going to change his on-field efforts. It might have been against the 3rd QB, but it’s good to see X well… just doing what X does:

The Dolphins’ O-Line will continue to be a work in progress and players will find opportunities to earn their way to a starting spot. But when those opportunities arise, eyes will be watching. Good thing for Jordan Mills is that it’s still early days.

Josh Rosen made a handful of nice plays today, despite a couple of picks. With plenty yet to learn, battling through his mistakes in Miami’s unforgiving and changeable weather will help his growth.

Defensive Co-Ordinator Patrick Graham vowed to generate pressure from multiple positions. It seems that today was DE Nate Orchard’s day to impress.

But an unfortunate early ending for Brice Butler which could thin out the competition at WR. Hopefully nothing too serious.

Keen to get his team fully prepared to play in all conditions, Flores kept the players on the field through the deluge.

After practice was done, Reshad Jones had a few words to say about his unsteady tenure with the Dolphins. Although happy to back with his teammates, it’s clear that Reshad’s position with the team will be a talking point for the foreseeable future. For now it seems that he’s well on the way to recovery, whether he will be a part of the 2019 roster, or used as a gambling chip for the Dolphins to acquire future draft compensation. Stay tuned!

The players return to the field tomorrow for Day 2 of mandatory mini-camp so be sure to check back for all the important updates of the day.

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