Scouting Notes and Dolphins News from Thursday in Mobile and Davie
Dolphins New Staff Developing
The second-to-last week in January belongs to Mobile, Alabama on the NFL landscape. Inclement weather at the Senior Bowl, paired with a rendezvous between Chris Grier and Brian Flores, shifts the focus to Davie, Florida.
Reports state that Brian Flores will be named Miami’s 10th head coach, officially, on Monday. The same can be said for Patrick Graham and Jim Caldwell, the defensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach respectfully.
Rumors spread rampant throughout the Twitterverse that Flores’ top priority for the offensive coordinator position is current Patriots Wide Receivers Coach, Chad O’Shea. It began with Omar Kelly, was endorsed by Ian Rappaport, then Mike Garafolo reported it as, “expected to happen.”
All of these hires, or potential hires, paint a pretty concrete image of how the new-look Dolphins will proceed in the coming months.
In the coming weeks, on Locked On Dolphins, we’ll have in-depth breakdowns of the Dolphins offensive and defensive schemes scheme. Stylistically, the product will be the antithesis of what we’ve seen the last three years.
Senior Bowl Thursday
My schedule prevented from heading to Mobile for the week, but the benefit of covering the practices from the homestead is the access to the information provided by the broadcast. Here are those tidbits gathered in a “general notes” format:
1.) Mike Mayock was in the booth decked out in his Raiders garb talking shop with his former colleagues. Touching on his experience as a broadcaster, he gleaned an interesting point regarding dysfunctional organizations in the league.
“The common denominator of the dysfunctional buildings was the lack of a relationship between coaches and scouts,” Mayock said. This, in a back door kind-of-way, corroborates a tweet from Omar Kelly regarding the toxic relationship between scouts and coaches in Miami under Adam Gase.
2.) Quarterback arm-strength is a highly-debated topic, but Daniel Jeremiah squashed a misleading evaluation tool. Regarding the radar gun (which tracked Trace McSorely and Daniel Jones as the fastest thrown ball on the day), Jeremiah said he only saw the MPH number used one time in a draft room. It’s not an accurate tool to decipher how well a quarterback can throw a football as each throw is independent from the one previous.
3.) Several players were “mic’d up” for practice, including Temple Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin. Ya-Sin’s play was only outdone by his trash talk – he’s a fun player. Gardner Minshew’s galvanizing and inquisitive personality, along with his leadership, were also on display in-between plays chatting with coaches.
Now we’ll go position-by-position for some evaluations:
After being mocked to Miami by Jeremiah, Daniel Jones (Duke) has done his part to destroy an already lofty projection. His accuracy issues and inability to operate in trash showed up Thursday. In the red-zone portion, he kept throwing the ball off the field altogether. I still don’t get what scouts see in him.
Will Grier (West Virginia) also had issues keeping the ball in-bounds in the red-zone work.
Drew Lock (Missouri) showed his ability to adjust his arm angles, but he had a few missed rips of his own. His best highlight was a pre-show flashback to him dunking a basketball through his legs in high school.
Folks seem to think Jarrett Stidham’s (Auburn) best football is ahead of him. He’s something of a long-term prospect because, frankly, he just hasn’t shown it t this point. There was no tangible growth from the time he got to Auburn by the time he left.
Dexter Williams (Notre Dame) looks like a smooth one-cut zone runner. He found seams and hit some big plays during the team portion.
Penny Hart (Georgia State) put a man through the spin cycle in first rep in red zone. Then he followed it up with a big no-no that led to an interception. He tried to cross-face on wheel route against Iman Marshall. Finally, he came back with a touchdown on a slant that happened in the blink of an eye. His explosiveness is eye-popping.
Terry McLaurin (Ohio State) killed dude’s all week with speed, deception and getting in-and-out of breaks.
Travis Fulgham (Old Dominion) had a nice practice. Showed well in the red zone and then caught some passes in team drills. He had the look of a potential boundary X receiver. He has some length, but he’s awfully lean (6-3, 210).
Deebo Samuel (South Carolina) was the best receiver in Mobile all week. The strength his hands and the nuance in his routes, understanding leverage, should lead to a nice career.
Drew Sample (Washington) has the look of a 12-personnel type tight end. Showed an anchor on the outside, he’s experienced in run and pass pro, and flattens his routes from the top of the stem.
The biggest win of the day came from the beginning of the entire show. Daniel Jeremiah says Garrett Bradbury (NC State) has the athleticism of Jason Kelce, lateral movement of Ryan Kalil and has been blowing teams away in the meetings with his football IQ – brings a huge element of leadership to the Center position.
I tweeted this and it was picked up by a lot of draft niks confirming Bradbury’s solid day. I talked about his strength being an issue and he’s more of an athlete/zone guy. Well he had a rep where he bullied Gaines – the UW bowling ball whose entire game is power
Elgton Jenkins (Mississippi State) again showcasing his pure power inside by burying a man. The weakness is in changing direction and redirecting the counter move.
Bradbury is your quintessential zone center while Jenkins is a power people mover.
Chris Lindstrom (Boston College) absorbed power backwards, reset, and locked out the Khalen Saunders (Western Illinois). He was beat on a stunt by Saunders later in practice. Then he bounced back with a strong rep in the first team drill play. Stayed in the same spot for the entire rep absorbing a power rush from Zach Allen.
Dalton Risner (Kansas State) had a terrific week. He offers a good punch, good set and good anchor. Risner’s impressive work came mostly at right tackle. He can reset while engaged because of hand placement and re-establish the base. He had a great rep on outside zone washing down line for a big play. He then gets a showcase rep at the end of practice, wins it, and gets FIRED up.
Michael Dieter (Wisconsin) might pop up too high at times but his strength and application of mistakes have been nice throughout the week. He controls his pass pro reps with hand placement and strength. He got whipped on the first stunt they threw his way which is enough to give any Dolphins fan PTSD.
Chuma Edoga (USC) had a fantastic final day Thursday.
Andre Dillard (Washington State (Go Cougs)) has the typewriter feet (quick, as described by Daniel Jeremiah). His balance, hand placement, redirect ability, it’s all there and refined for him in pass pro.
Interior Defensive Line
Daylon Mack (Texas A&) was taking people for rides again. The only difference Thursday was that he wasn’t wearing a jersey – just pads and the undershirt.
Greg Gaines (Washington) is pure power. Any time he tried anything else he got beat – badly.
Ben Banogu (Texas Chrsitian) is a rocked up 250 pound DE/OLB convert. He showed the ability to stand up in a two-point stance and wrecked Drew Sample. Jeremiah calls Banogu “a slippery rusher,” which was fitting because he was beating people all day. As a stand-up backer, Banogu has a knack for setting up his rush moves and beating guys with a wide arsenal. Up and under, spin, working down on a stunt – he looked excellent.
Chris Omenihu (Texas) can really detach with those long arms and he did it plenty on Thursday.
Zach Allen (Boston College) might not be the pass rusher you like but he can certainly be a run defending edge. He won an interior push against Lindstrom in a showcase rep, pushing the BC Guard into the quarterback.
Terrill Hanks (New Mexico State) is impressive aesthetically and on the football field. He’s never missed a workout and it shows. He plays with urgency and speed.
Nothing of value made it onto this section. This linebacker and tight end group in Mobile is pretty underwhelming.
Rock Ya-Sin (Temple) talking a lot, and winning a lot. Inside hand jam, physical through stem, interrupts path of the ball, he continues to show out. The offense tried a slant-flat in the end zone and he wiped it out entirely. It’s a natural rub and he played right through it forcing the QB to take a sack. Ya-Sin and Deebo Samuel were finding each other and splitting victories all week in one-on-one. Best match-up of the week.
Lonnie Johnson (Kentucky) was been all over the field.
Will Harris (Boston College) made an excellent play when he drove on a double move to undercut the route for an interception.
Nassir Adderley, a top rated safety, tried to line up press and got smoked in coverage. Perhaps he might be more of a center fielder. He likely goes way too high for the Dolphins, but he’d be a nice piece.
And just like that, we’re done with Senior Bowl week. Of course the game is on Saturday and I’ll share my notes on the podcast Sunday night, but the next step is the combine. As always, Locked On Dolphins will have you covered from the Dolphins perspective better than anyone else out there.
Brian Flores’ Pre-Draft Update
Get used to this mantra, Miami Dolphins fans: Adapt or Die.
You might not find it printed on training camp t-shirts for the team to sport around, but you can expect head coach Brian Flores to repeat this line often. It’s about to become ingrained in both us and the players.
Flores spoke briefly with reporters before the team finished up their 3-day “voluntary” workout and gets ready for the upcoming NFL draft.
If you’ve heard these kind of comments before, it’s because Flores has nailed the proper, cliche proper press conference etiquette. Answers are “insightful”, but vague. He gives you an answer while also laying out all other possibilities. That said, he’ll sometimes respond with some sarcasm and wit that’ll reassure you that there is a personality inside of him.
If there is one thing we can take away from Flores’ demeanor and message, it’s that he isn’t about to tolerate the type of locker room culture that festered in Miami under Adam Gase. There will be both accountability and self-reflection; and that’s reassuring after witnessing Gase deflect blame to everyone but himself.
With the most important day of the offseason just one week away, we take a look at what Flores had to say at his press conference earlier this morning:
On the Draft:
Most important measuring tool?:
“Combination of production. Height. Weight. Speed. Intangibles. Fit. There’s a myriad of things there. To say it’s just one thing that’s important…they’re all important.”
“Is one more important than the other, I’d say no.”
“It’s the total fit of the player and how we feel they’ll fit with our team.”
Combine/Visits, what do you get out of it?:
“Try to get to know the person, that’s a big part of this.”
“Sometimes people see players as just players. You want to know about their mom, their dad, who was an important person in their life. What kind of adversity they have faced before. Does that person fit your style as a coach, your locker room, the culture you’re trying to build as a team. When you sit down with a player, you’re just trying to get to know him.”
I think Dolphins fans know this all too well after the Dez Bryant/Jeff Ireland prostitution episode back in 2010.
Flores’ Influence in the Draft:
“Chris and I definitely work well together. We speak the same language….when we come together it’s the same (language)”
“Have had (and) will have discussions on different scenarios (throughout the draft)”
On his New/Hybrid Defense:
What kind of players do you need for your Hybrid defense?:
“We need good players.”
“I think as a coach, you get a good player, (and you ask yourself) what does he do well? You try and do that.”
“That’s the good thing about having a versatile scheme, it fits a good player.”
“You try and get the best player and I feel me and my staff can fit what we’re going to do around that player.”
“Some guys are going to have a better fit than others, but you have to put the whole fit together.”
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 17, 2019
On Identity of this Team:
“You know, call it what you want.”
“I’m going to get my team to play hard. Play together. Play with good fundamentals and technique. Play as a team. Put the team first. You have to try and get 11 guys to play together and that’s a hard thing to accomplish as a coach.”
“That’s my goal, you can call it whatever you want. ‘The Patriot Way’….to me, it’s just good football.”
Flores seems to understand that he’s going to live under Bill Belichick‘s shadow for awhile, especially if he is unsuccessful. Seems like he’s also getting a little tired of it….and I kind of like it. I’m glad he’ll have this chip on his shoulder to prove that he isn’t just a Belichick clone. Then again, judging by all Flores has gone through, he doesn’t need this chip to drive him.
Does he expect his players to be on time?:
“If you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late you’re forgotten.”
“Is it a rule, no, it’s my personal mantra.”
“I have a lot of respect for time. I think it’s precious; we shouldn’t take it for granted. If you want to stay on schedule you have to stay on time.”
“We have a schedule, it’s laid out pretty well.”
There is absolutely no bull**** from Brian Flores when it comes to practice! That’s not to say Adam Gase or any of the other prior head coaches were more-lenient, but you get the feeling that Flores isn’t going to tolerate players who believe they are bigger than the team.
Gase showed a similar coaching style when he traded Jay Ajayi and released players like Byron Maxwell and Jordan Phillips, but that never translated to a productive locker room culture. It’ll be interesting to see how Flores’ style compares.
On His “Right-Hand Man”:
“Pick any of the 20 guys, they’re all my right-hand men.”
“We work well together. (We) try and put a staff together that embodies what I want our team to reflect.
“I want to be tough, I want to be smart, I want to work well together.”
On Mike Gesicki:
“Mike is a good, young player. Talented. Like everyone else on this team, there are places he can improve, develop, get better. As a young player, there’s a lot of room for development. Mike’s working hard. We see what everyone else sees: he has size, speed, can catch the ball.”
On Raekwon McMillian and Jerome Baker:
“Raekwon is big. Fast. Physical. (Has) good leadership. Smart. Can play a few different positions. (A) good, young player.”
“Jerome is another skilled player. Fast. Good tackler. Raekwon is a good tackler as well. Smart. Can do a few different things. Can cover; which, obviously in this league, going in a passing direction, it’s good to have an LB that can cover.”
“We’re glad to have them both.”
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 18, 2019
On Jake Rudock and Luke Falk:
“Like everyone else, they’re working hard. They are doing everything possible to try and improve their techniques, fundamentals. Footwork. Ball Handling. They’re doing a really good job. All 3 quarterbacks.”
“We’re excited to see what they can do moving forward.”
Flores couldn’t be more generic with the assessment of his players. Even going back to when he discussed Charles Harris at a previous press conference, Flores tends to speak about his players vaguely, as if to avoid tipping his hand in any regard.
From a player’s perspective, it’s nice to know your coach won’t throw you under the bus and will keep things private. From our fan perspective, it means we just have to go through every possible adjective and scenario with him. He’s not lying when one of them has to be true.
On his Mother’s Passing:
“It was hard. She’s someone I think about on a daily basis. Wish she was here to enjoy this with us, but she’s with me all the time.”
“She wouldn’t’ want me to dwell or be upset and she would want me to have peace.”
“I’m sad. I’m unhappy. I miss her. But I have peace knowing I did everything I can to make her proud.”
On New Surprises as a Head Coach:
“(I have had) A lot of conversations with head coaches around the league…one thing they said is something would come across your desk every day.”
“(That’s) kind of my approach coming in, being adaptable. A mantra of our team: ‘adapt or die’.”
“Part of (the job) is allowing other people to lead.”
Dolphins Live: Coach Flores meets with the media ahead of voluntary minicamp. https://t.co/9ttTAJHL2R
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 18, 2019
Miami Dolphins 2019 Vegas Slant Schedule Breakdown
Future opponents are known years in advance in the NFL. With the exception of two games decided by divisional standing finish, fourteen opponents are 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 factors heavily (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 infamous “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.
This column refers to the favors, or lack thereof, that the NFL gave the Dolphins based purely on travel, trap games, etcetera.
Week 1 – BALTIMORE RAVENS – September 8, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Ravens Sandwich Game: Week 2 Cardinals
September victories are difficult to come by for teams visiting Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins haven’t lost such an affair since 2015 with a multitude of early-season upsets under the franchise’s belt this century (2014 vs. New England and 2005 vs. Denver, most notably).
Baltimore’s ground-and-pound attack could have a converse affect, however, as the Dolphins defensive conditioning will have to be on-point from the word go.
Week 2 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – September 15, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Patriots Sandwich Games: Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh, Week 3 vs. NY Jets
New England’s 2018 meltdown in Miami came one week prior to a trip to Heinz Field. Now, the Pats will travel back to Tom Brady’s house of horrors in Miami one week after kicking the season off in primetime against those same Steelers.
This won’t serve as a trap game given the recent outcomes of games between these two teams, but Miami is catching the Pats at the right time. Over the last two seasons New England are just 4-4 in the first quarter of the schedule (September games), a .250-point decrease in winning percentage from their cumulative record.
Week 3 – @ Dallas Cowboys – September 22, 1:00 EST AT&T Stadium
Cowboys Sandwich Games: Week 2 @ Washington, Week 4 @ Saints
This is a classic trap game for the Cowboys. Coming off a game with its biggest rival, then heading to the toughest building to play in, in the NFC, the opportunity for Miami to steal a road win against a sleep-walking favorite is in the cards.
Week 4 – Los Angeles Chargers- September 29, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Chargers Sandwich Games: Week 3 @Texans, Week 5 Broncos
The early time slot for a west coast team is one of the biggest advantages, statistically, in football. The Chargers historically struggle in Miami but the talent discrepancy is probably too great for any of these advantages to factor in.
Week 5 – BYE WEEK
After a week-11 bye last year, Miami gets the burden of an early off-week. The Dolphins will play out the string for 12 weeks with zero breaks in between.
Week 6 – Washington – October 13, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Washington Sandwich Games: Week 5 @Patriots, Week 7 49ers
A let down following a potential beat down in New England bodes well for Miami. Washington is probably the one team on this entire schedule that Miami can matchup with from a talent perspective.
Week 7 – @ Buffalo Bills – October 20, 1:00 EST New Era Field
Bills Sandwich Games: Week 6 BYE, Week 8 Eagles
Miami’s first game against a team coming off a bye, in a building that has only provided the setting for one Miami win in the last five years, this one stacks the deck against the Dolphins.
Week 8 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers – October 28, 5:25 EST MONDAY Heinz Field
Steelers Sandwich Games: Week 7 BYE, Week 9 Colts
Another game, another opponent coming off of a bye. The Steelers will have the benefit of a 15-day break prior to lacing it up for Miami in primetime. The Dolphins road primetime woes should be noted as well – Miami are 0-for-it’s-last 8 in those games.
Week 9 – New York Jets – November 3, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Jets Sandwich Games: Week 8 @Jaguars, Week 10 Giants
The Adam Gase game will certainly have both teams on notice. The man that holds a grudge like no other will certainly have this date circled on his calendar, as will the countless Dolphins players that grew tired of Gase’s shtick. This might be the most entertaining football game Miami plays all season.
Week 10 – @ Indianapolis Colts – November 10, 1:00 EST Lucas Oil Stadium
Colts Sandwich Games: Week 9 @Steelers, Week 11 Jaguars
With a potentially crucial divisional game on-deck with the Jaguars, the Colts could fall victim to overlooking Miami here. The Colts are a difficult out in that building and are quietly building up one of the most talented rosters in the AFC.
Week 11 – Buffalo Bills – November 17, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Bills Sandwich Games: Week 10 @Browns, Week 12 Broncos
Divisional games rarely adhere to traditional trap procedures. Ideally the Dolphins would catch the Bills in September, but the week-7 trip to Western New York offsets the lack of weather advantages. This game should see peak effort from both teams.
Week 12 – @ Cleveland Browns – November 24, 1:00 EST First Energy Stadium
Browns Sandwich Games: Week 11 Steelers (TNF), Week 13 @Steelers
Somehow the NFL has this strange scheduling procedure where teams play each other twice over a three-week period. Cleveland sandwiches its two games with the Steelers with a home date against your Miami Dolphins – that’s the ultimate trap.Cleveland’s benefit comes from having 10 days to prepare for Brian Flores and Miami.
Week 13 – Philadelphia Eagles – December 1, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Eagles Sandwich Games: Week 12 Seahawks, Week 14 Giants
With a pivotal NFC matchup on the front end, and a divisional game on the backend, Philadelphia is in a potential trap game situation. The Dolphins home field advantage serves as another beneficial factor in this game as the weather contract between Philadelphia and Miami, in December, is stark.
Week 14 – @ New York Jets – December 8, 1:00 EST Met Life Stadium
Jets Sandwich Games: Week 13 @Bengals, Week 15 @Ravens (TNF)
The game before a road trip on a short week typically favors the opposition – that’s the spot the Adam Gase finds himself in here when the Jets welcome Miami to the Meadowlands. With two NFC games bookending this game for the Dolphins, this is a great spot for Miami to steal a road win.
Week 15 – @ New York Giants – December 15, 1:00 EST Met Life Stadium
Giants Sandwich Games: Week 14 @Eagles, Week 16 @ Washington
This is a trap game for both teams, believe it or not. A non-conference game, sandwiched by two divisional games, has the makings for a let down on either side. If the season plays out as expected, this game could have massive implications on the race for Tua Tagovailoa.
Week 16 – Cincinnati Bengals – December 22, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Bengals Sandwich Games: Week 15 @Patriots, Week 17 Browns
Like the previous game, this might set up as a draft positioning game. Both teams that figure to finish at, or near, the bottom of their respective divisions, playing out the string with rookie coaches, there isn’t much of an advantage to take away from this one.
Week 17 – @ New England Patriots – December 29, 1:00 EST Gillette Stadium
Patriots Sandwich Games: Week 16 Bills
For the second consecutive year, the Patriots finish the season with two divisional home games – seems fishy, doesn’t it? The only potential saving grace here, for the ‘Phins, is that New England could have the AFC East wrapped up, as they typically do every year.
This is, no doubt, a difficult road to hoe for Miami. The order of the games, the stacks of road trips, it’s a lot to put on the plate of a first year head coach trying to set a foundation.
The troops of the tank train should be satisfied with this gamete — it likely puts Miami in a hole that will be difficult to climb out of, especially given Ryan Fitzpatrick’s medical history.
For more on this schedule, tune in to the Locked On Dolphins podcast – your daily dose of Miami Dolphins football.
Miami Dolphins Complete 2019 Schedule
Before ESPN, NFL Network, local beat writers – before anybody on the scene, Locked On Dolphins broke the 2018 Dolphins schedule. 2019 is shaping up to be the same. Keep it locked on this thread for updates from our source in the industry to get you the latest on Miami’s 2019 slate.
After the schedule release we will break things down with a column similar to the last year’s analysis.
Tomorrow’s Locked On Dolphins Podcast will be all about Miami’s 2019 schedule.
|5||—||— BYE WEEK–||—|
|8||10/28||@ Steelers||8:15 MNF|
*BOLD denotes home game
- Brian Flores’ Pre-Draft Update April 18, 2019
- Miami Dolphins 2019 Vegas Slant Schedule Breakdown April 17, 2019
- Miami Dolphins Complete 2019 Schedule April 17, 2019
- Chris Grier Updates Status of Miami Dolphins – 4/17/19 April 17, 2019
- Miami Dolphins Voluntary Workout Update – 4/17/19 April 17, 2019