Three weeks in.
Three games played.
Three victories, zero losses.
The Miami Dolphins are on a roll and victory today puts this team in a great position to not only reach the play-offs but wrestle the AFC East back off the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are today’s opponents and here’s three things to watch out for once the game kicks off.
Wide receiver snap count
When Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson are on the field, magic happens.
— Pixel NFL (@pixelnfl) September 28, 2018
Despite this, Adam Gase seems to have decided that Devante Parker will be the near ever-present on the field, the former first round pick seeing three times the snap count than Grant and Wilson against the Raiders.
Many fans and journalists, including myself, were of the belief that Parker had fallen out of favour given the fact that he was a somewhat healthy scratch against the Jets in Week 2.
It could just be that Parker is regarded as the difference maker of the group and will be used to bully the Patriots corners and stretch the field in ways Kenny Stills and the aforementioned duo can’t.
However, the Patriots have shown so far this season they can’t stop speedy players, the one thing Wilson and Grant have in abundance.
The gameplan must be to get the ball into the hands of the quick, elusive guys as much as possible, thus limiting the impact Parker has today.
Where Minkah lines up
Minkah Fitzpatrick was moved back to his ‘natural’ position of safety against the Raiders to mixed success.
The Alabama product got off to a scintillating start for the Dolphins over the course of the opening two weeks but looked to have struggled a bit in Week 3.
Without Reshad Jones’ veteran presence against the Raiders, it could be argued that Minkah looked a bit lost at times and with reports that Jones may not be fit for today’s game, Tom Brady may choose to target the rookie.
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) September 26, 2018
Do not be surprised if Minkah takes advantage of that and comes away with his first NFL interception.
In an ideal world, and it’s likely given that Jones was a full participant on Friday, #20 starts and allows Minkah to cover Rob Gronkowski, forcing the Pats to look for success on the perimeter.
Good luck with that given the form of Xavien Howard.
A breakout game for Kenyan Drake
Kenyan Drake has had a quiet start to the 2018 season, picking up 104 yards so far this season.
The running back excelled against the Patriots last season, picking up 191 total yards and a TD, with many seeing it as his breakthrough game.
Miami will need him to repeat that performance, controlling the ball on the ground and keeping Brady and the Patriots offence on the bench.
Kerryon Johnson gashed this Pats defence when the Lions dismantled them in Week 3 and Drake and Gase would have been drooling at the prospect of attacking this team on the ground.
The space will be there, Miami will just need to be patient.
Dolphins Hire Former Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie to Executive Role
The Miami Dolphins continue to surround first time General Manager Chris Grier with experienced veterans in the front office. This time it’s the addition of former Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie.
McKenzie spent the last seven seasons as part of the Oakland Raiders front office before being let go back in December after not seeing eye to eye with Jon Gruden. He is just two years removed from being named the NFL Executive of the Year in 2016, when the Raiders finished with a 12-4 record.
While the team only made the lone playoff once during his time there, he was responsible for drafting Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper.
Prior to taking the General Manager job with Oakland back in 2012, he spent 18 years with the Green Bay Packers as the Director of Player Personnel and Director of Football Operations. McKenzie adds two more rings to a championship-pedigree theme on both the coaching staff and front office.
General Manager Chris Grier previously added veterans Jim Caldwell and Marvin Allen to the staff and front office respectively.
It is no secret that the Dolphins will be looking to build their foundation through the draft and they certainly have the personnel to make every future pick count. Miami currently has eight draft picks for the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft, including thirteenth overall.
Dolphins Sign a Pair, Including a Former 2nd Rounder
The Miami Dolphins are back to work, signing free agents Tank Carradine (DE) and Jomal Wiltz (DB).
Tank Carradine is a five-year NFL veteran. Drafted by San Francisco, Carradine spent four years with the Niners before before crossing the bay and playing last year with the Oakland Raiders. At six-foot-four and 270 pounds, Tank possess the size to play multiple techniques in Coach Patrick Graham’s defense. While still being relatively young will provide depth to a position that will need a solid rotation.
Jamal Wiltz, the former Iowa State defensive back, entered the league in 2017 as an UDFA with the Philadelphia Eagles. He spent most of his career on the NE practice squad under the four Dolphins staffers that defected from New England. Coach Brian Flores played up to nine defensive backs on the field last year as New England’s play caller and Wiltz will compete for a job in the secondary.
Miami Dolphins Extend John Denney
If there is one bright spot in an otherwise forgetful 21st-century for the Miami Dolphins, it’s John Denney.
According to his agent, Ian Greengross, John Denney has signed an extension and is set to return as Miami’s longsnapper in 2019.
— Ian Greengross (@iangreengross) February 8, 2019
Details of the contract are unknown, but it is expected to be similar to the 2018 contract he signed: 1-year, $1.1m (fully guaranteed)
Denney originally went undrafted in the 2005 NFL draft and signed with the Dolphins shortly after. He hasn’t missed a game since. Since 2005, Denney has started all 226 games he’s been eligible to play in (including playoffs).
The anchor to one of Miami’s most consistent units this century, Denney has been nearly flawless during this time. He has accumulated 12 tackles and 1 forced fumble, while only botching 2 snaps during his career.
While many were wondering if the 40-year old longsnapper would be back for a 15th season after experiencing a couple rough blocking assignments this past season, I think it’s safe to say we’re all happy this was an immediate order of business for new general manager Chris Grier.
Denney currently holds the title of “Ironman” for playing the most consecutive games in the NFL among active players.
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