Connect with us

Miami Dolphins

Small, Important Steps in the Right Direction

Kevin Dern

Published

on

Most of my work here with Locked On Dolphins has been analysis on the Dolphins defense, schemes and players that could be of interest them in terms of scheme fits.  I’m finally mixing it up with @WingfieldNFL’s blessing.   As Travis will attest to, I was firmly in the camp of blowing team up last year at the point of the bye week despite Ryan Tannehill’s return on the near horizon.  I didn’t see this team as being capable of anything more than getting a 6th seed and being thoroughly bounced out of the playoffs if they remained on the path with Mike Tannenbaum, Adam Gase, Ryan Tannehill, and others.  Thankfully, Mr. Ross changed that course this offseason.

I’ve wanted to share my thoughts about the direction the franchise has taken since New Year’s Eve, when Gase was fired, up to where we are now shortly after the Draft.  There’s a lot for me to get out and it wouldn’t be conducive to attempt to empty my thoughts on the podcast.

Pre-Draft Goals
I can’t remember whether I had texted this to Travis or shared it on the podcast earlier this offseason – I’m getting old, I guess – but I talked about what an ideal offseason would look like for me as a Dolfan.  Those goals were to 1) remove “bad cap” from the roster and to 2) accumulate Draft assets and build a war chest for the future.

To start to explain this, let’s look at one of Brian Flores’ slogans.  “Adapt or Die” sits emblazoned on the wall in the team meeting at headquarters in Davie.  I think General Manager Chris Grier, who is now fully in charge of football operations without the cancerous Mike Tannenbaum pulling levers over his shoulder, is in lock-step with our new Head Coach here.  Since 2009 when Mr. Ross took over majority ownership of the Dolphins, they have been about the splashy offseasons, culminating in Jeff Ireland’s crash and burn “I’ve got picks and money” effort in the disastrous 2013 offseason.  Miami’s attempted to make big moves since signing the likes of Ndamukong Suh and trading picks for players.  All of it for naught.

Image Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason was different.  Hell, it is different.  Miami slashed their cash commitments (actually more important than cap allocation or dead money) by getting rid of Danny Amendola, Andre Branch, Ted Larsen and Josh Sitton.  They traded Ryan Tannehill and Robert Quinn.  They let Ja’Wuan James and Cameron Wake walk in free agency.  Aside from Wake, that group consisted of players who were overpaid and underperforming.  Goal number one is partially accomplished with those moves.

As we sit on the precipice of the “second free agency”, which begins on May 8th when signings no longer affect future compensatory picks, we’ve seen Chris Grier put a dent into goal number two, building the war chest.  The trades of Tannehill and Quinn netted Miami draft picks.  Losing James and Wake should net Miami 3rd and 5th round compensatory picks in 2020.  The trade with the Saints in the Draft netted Miami a 2nd round pick in 2020.  A previous trade with Kansas City saw Miami land an additional 7th rounder.

Miami sits with over $100M in projected cap space and Draft Picks in the following rounds:  1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7.  That’s a helluva start to building said war chest.  What makes me crack a wry grin even more is what Chris Grier said in his post-draft presser.  I’m paraphrasing here, but the team has improved, but they’re not where they want to go.  They want to have additional draft picks on an annual basis, not once every six or seven years.  I’ll drink to that.

Free Agency
The Dolphins didn’t foray into the initial phase of free agency much, doling out just five contracts worth more than $1M – of which only two are greater than $10M in potential earnings.  Those being Ryan Fitzpatrick and DeVante Parker.  At this point, it’d be surprising if either cashed in the second years of their contracts.  While boring, which usually throws most Dolfans into fits of rage, it was the smart play in my mind.  The lack of free agent movement coupled with smart, yet frugal, signings will likely net Miami 3rd and 5th round compensatory picks in 2020.  Remember that war chest I talked about? So did the Dolphins.  Miami’s long been too infatuated with winning free agency and seeing nothing to show for it on the field has gotten old.  I’m happy that Miami chose the patient approach.  Those dividends will be useful next year.  Whether it’s to build a team around Josh Rosen.  Whether it’s to trade up to select one of the 2020 QBs.  Whether they’re parlayed into picks in 2021 in hopes of a certain tiger in the grass. They’ll be useful.  Very useful.

And now, with Miami sitting on the precipice of the “second wave” of free agency, you can’t help but wonder if Brian Flores and Chris Grier have eyes for some former Patriots.  Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins sitting out there must be enticing.   As do offensive linemen like Ryan Schraeder, Andy Levitre and Jeremy Parnell.  There still smart moves yet to be made on the 90 man roster before we get to summer mini-camp and, eventually, training camp.

The Draft
The mecca of the NFL offseason came and went.  Miami was solid.  It’s Christian Wilkins mostly, but the rest were solid.  Tough.  Nasty.  While I’ve got no idea if those players will turn out to be valuable picks the way past Patriots Draft Classes might have been, I like the mindset of what Miami set out do.  I’ll tackle the Josh Rosen trade in a moment, but first I want to talk about the guys that Miami drafted last weekend.

Christian Wilkins is the crown jewel of Miami’s haul.  You’d be hard pressed to find someone who checks as many off-field boxes as Christian Wilkins does.  Travis and Jason have covered that subject at length.  With Wilkins Miami is getting a quick-twitch 3-technique player with size and position flexibility.  There will be times where he’s lined up as a 0 or 1 technique nose tackle in rush packages.  There are likely to be packages where he’ll line up in a 4i or 5 technique.  He’s not quite the power player that Lawrence Guy is for the Patriots, but Wilkins is adept at slipping blocks and is quicker off the ball.  There are many ways to skin a cat and Miami is likely to try many of them in replicating a player like Lawrence Guy with Wilkins.  This pick was smart.  This pick was safe.  This pick was smooth.  The Navy SEALs have a saying (I love any type of military or military history book by the way) that goes, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” when they talk about clearing rooms in a target area.  You get what I’m going for I think.

Dec 2, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Andrew VAn Ginkel (17) reacts to Wisconsin recovering an Ohio State Buckeyes fumble during the second quarter in the Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been to Camp Randall Stadium several times to see Badgers games with one of my good buddies, Jamie.  I texted him instantly after Miami drafted both Michael Deiter and Andrew Van Ginkel.  We both agreed that Michael Deiter slots in nicely at left guard.  Frankly, he better as the spot is there for the taking.  Andrew Van Ginkel got an opportunity due to injuries and ran with it.  He played a role for the Badgers that’s pretty similar to what the Patriots ask Kyle Van Noy to do.  I like that.  He plays hard and is a very good athlete.  I suspect Miami will at the very least incorporate him into their pass-rush packages to start with; he can grow from there.

I’ll have a piece on some defensive analogs as we move forward in the offseason.  I’d like to wait and see what Miami does in the next week or two in the “second wave” of free agency before I embark on that assignment.

As an Ohio State Buckeye fan, I was not thrilled with the Isaiah Prince pick. He looks the part but doesn’t always play it.  It is worth noting that he had no issue with Rashaan Gary or Chase Winovich this past fall when the Buckeyes walloped the Wolverines.  But there’s a lot of bad tape as you rewind into his career in Columbus.

Chandler Cox and Myles Gaskin seem to fit nicely into roles, Cox as a fullback/H-back, and Gaskin as a scat back who can help on 3rd downs and special teams.  Solid value in the 7th round.  There’s a slew of UDFAs that Miami have that I like:  Preston Williams, Kirk Barron, Shaq Calhoun, Jonathan Ledbetter, and Dewayne Hendrix all seemingly have shots to crack the 53 man roster.  Again solid value.  And there’s some nastiness to those guys as well.

Overall, Miami I thought tried to implement “The Patriot Way” in its selections, limited though they were, and came out with a solid class.  I’m fine with that.  Miami’s had too many bad classes in their recent history.  Netting Laremy Tunsil, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Christian Wilkins in three of four years will prove very fruitful.

The Josh Rosen Trade
This has been a polarizing topic.  Whatever you think about the trade – love it or hate it – I’m glad Miami tried it.  They tried something different.  They hadn’t done that during the Ryan Tannehill era.  The only quarterback drafted during that timespan was 7th rounder Brandon Doughty in 2016.  He’s not been in the league since 2017.  The only noteworthy move aside from that was the reactionary signing of Jay Cutler after Tannehill got hurt.

With Fitzpatrick in the fold this year, Miami could’ve easily just said let’s ride him as far as he’ll take us.  But they didn’t.  They took a chance on a low risk buy.  For that, I applaud them.  I applaud them for landing a 2020 2nd rounder from the Saints as well.  Whether or not Rosen plans out, I think Miami have managed to hedge their bet to some extent.

If Rosen plays as he did a year ago, Miami are likely to get their choice of 2020 QBs.  If Rosen nets you 4-6 wins, you have that war chest of picks to move up if they’re inclined.  You could also continue the evaluation and move some of those draft assets into 2021.  If he lights it up, you can build around him.

Overall, this was a solid move.  Let’s see how it pans out.

Where do we go from here?
Think what you want about Nick Saban, but he’s responsible for one of my all-time favorite quotes.  It goes, “You can’t be worried about mouse manure when you’ve got elephant shit in the room.” In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff.  I think Miami managed to take some stabs at finding some large components.  They added a quarterback.  They added someone who gives them flexibility along the defensive front.  They added someone who can be tried as a Kyle Van Noy analog, which is a multi-faceted position and tough to fill.

On top of that, Miami have managed to put themselves in position to have a LOT of salary cap room in 2020 and beyond.  They’ve built a war chest of assets to continue building the team in 2020 and beyond.

Yes, 2019 will be a tough year for us Dolfans to swallow.  Miami’s forcing down a goblet of dead cap money.  They’re forced to sit with some bad contracts and overpaid players for another year.  But, to fully appreciate the rebuild, we as fans have to appreciate the process of just how much work has been done, and is yet to be done, to get this team out of NFL purgatory of mediocrity.  Miami’s solid offseason and draft haul are small steps in the right direction to something bigger.  Hopefully it’s something a lot better as well.  Let’s enjoy the ride.

@KevinMD4

Advertisement
4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    don v

    May 2, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    great piece based mostly in fact and analysis vs opinion….objective,with no agenda as it should be. I love the glass half full perspective in your writing….thank you

  2. Avatar

    Frank Saumell

    May 2, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Excellent work Kevin

    • Avatar

      Kevin Dern

      May 3, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Thanks Frank!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen 2018 Passing Chart – Week 17 at Seattle

Travis Wingfield

Published

on

Football, more so than any other sport, requires context to tell the full story. Box scores provide the casual fan with a general idea of the cumulative result of any given game, but without isolating each player’s performance, many details go unnoticed.

This project is entirely based around isolating the play of Josh Rosen. Traditional data points will tell you that his rookie season was one of the worst in the history of the league. Watching each drop back multiple times over, breaking down the most impactful plays, and charting the data that tells the true story, this is the 2018 Josh Rosen charting project.

Jump To:

Week 4 vs. Seattle
Week 5 at San Francisco
Week 6 at Minnesota
Week 7 vs. Denver
Week 8 vs. San Francisco
Week 10 at Kansas City
Week 11 vs. Oakland
Week 12 at LA Chargers
Week 13 at Green Bay
Week 14 vs. Detroit
Week 15 at Atlanta
Week 16 vs. LA Rams
Week 17 at Seattle

Week 17 at Seattle –

By the time this season finale came to an end the entire Cardinals operation had to breathe a sigh of relief. A disaster season, that came to a crashing conclusion, was finally in the rearview. For Josh Rosen, the last month of the season was a recurring nightmare. Rosen threw 146 passes in December and the only one that crossed pay dirt was a busted coverage in this Seattle game.

Some of Rosen’s strong suits didn’t travel to the Pacific Northwest. Throwing into contested windows, play-action passing, and third down conversions each brought back less than satisfactory returns.

The Cardinal passing offense converted 3-of-14 3rd downs. Rosen was 2-of-14 for 23 yards on contested throws and 5-of-10 for 56 yards on play pass.

Rosen was chucking-and-praying once again. The average air yards per throw tallied 10.8 yards, while the Arizona receivers only amassed 51 yards after the catch (34.2% of Rosen’s passing total).

The short passing game was far more fruitful than the vertical attacks.

 

Portion of the Field Accurate Pass/Number of Passes
20+ yards 0/3 (0%)
11-19 yards 0/3 (0%)
0-10 yards (or behind LOS) 11/16 (68.8%)

 

The game was littered with mistakes from the Cardinals QB. Rosen registered 14 mistakes (11 from accuracy, 2 ball security issues, and 1 poor read). Rosen lost two fumbles and had two would-be interceptions dropped by the Seattle defense.

The personnel deployment featured more versatility than recent weeks. Rosen’s passes were supplemented by the following personnel packages.

 

11-personnel 31 snaps
12-personnel 3 snaps
21-personnel 4 snaps

 

As has been the case all season, Rosen was under frequent pressure. Seattle arrived for 11 pressures (6 sacks, 3 hits, 2 hurries) at an average time from snap-to-pressure of 2.19 seconds.

The busted coverage touchdown was Rosen’s one red-zone completion (1-of-3). He was in the gun for 25 snaps and under-center for 13.

Another week, another low conversion rate. The Cardinal passing game converted 8-of-38 plays into first downs (21.1%)

It’s difficult to imagine a more trying rookie season than the one Rosen experienced. The offensive line play was poor, the only consistent pass catcher was Larry Fitzgerald, and Rosen had his own share of rookie mistakes to compound things.

This game goes into the losing performance category marking eight consecutive games that Rosen failed to reach the winning performance category.

 

2018 Performance Results Number of Games
Winning Performance 2 (SEA, SF)
Inconsequential Performance 3 (@MIN, @LAC, @ATL)
Losing Performance 7 (@SF, DEN, @KC, OAK, @GB, DET, LAR, @SEA)

Winning Performance – The QB played well enough to garner a victory. He limited mistakes and made plays in crucial situations.
Inconsequential Performance – More of a game-managing role, the QB didn’t have the big plays, but mistakes were limited.
Losing Performance – The QB limited his team’s ability to win the game with his performance.

@WingfieldNFL

Continue Reading

Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen 2018 Passing Chart – Week 16 vs. LA Rams

Travis Wingfield

Published

on

Football, more so than any other sport, requires context to tell the full story. Box scores provide the casual fan with a general idea of the cumulative result of any given game, but without isolating each player’s performance, many details go unnoticed.

This project is entirely based around isolating the play of Josh Rosen. Traditional data points will tell you that his rookie season was one of the worst in the history of the league. Watching each drop back multiple times over, breaking down the most impactful plays, and charting the data that tells the true story, this is the 2018 Josh Rosen charting project.

Jump To:

Week 4 vs. Seattle
Week 5 at San Francisco
Week 6 at Minnesota
Week 7 vs. Denver
Week 8 vs. San Francisco
Week 10 at Kansas City
Week 11 vs. Oakland
Week 12 at LA Chargers
Week 13 at Green Bay
Week 14 vs. Detroit
Week 15 at Atlanta
Week 16 vs. LA Rams
Week 17 at Seattle

 

Week 16 vs. LA Rams –

For the second consecutive game Josh Rosen didn’t finish under-center for the Cardinals. In a blowout loss, where it seemed like the entire game plan revolved around making life easy on Josh Rosen, Arizona still managed to get ran out of the building. Mike Glennon completed the final series for the Red Birds offense.

Rosen threw the ball only 23 times, but scrambled more than he has all season. The game plan also featured the least amount of variety, from a personnel grouping standpoint, all season.

 

11-personnel 30 snaps
12-personnel 1 snap

 

Rosen’s typical third down heroics didn’t show up. The Cardinals converted only 2-of-10 third downs in the passing game (one a QB scramble). Converting, as it has been all season, was a challenge in general — Arizona converted just 6-of-31 drop backs (19.4%).

Rosen was in the shotgun almost exclusively (3 under-center, 28 in the gun). This led to a limited play-action passing game (only one throw from play pass).

The four mistakes attributed to Rosen were largely deep shots. He missed on short pass, but two of the three inaccuracies came on balls down the field. One of those deep shots was an ill-advised throw into coverage despite a wide open Larry Fitzgerald coming across the formation (seen in the video thread).

Rosen’s depth splits were as follows:

 

Portion of the Field Accurate Pass/Number of Passes
20+ yards 0/3 (0%)
11-19 yards 0/3 (0%)
0-10 yards (or behind LOS) 11/16 (68.8%)

 

More than half of Rosen’s 87 passing yards came from YAC (54%). The average depth of Rosen’s passes was 9.22 air yards per throw.

Throwing into tight window was a futile effort. Rosen completed 1-of-7 contested throws for 7 yards. Pressure was a regular fixture, yet again, as Rosen was under duress on 11 drop backs (4 sacks, 5 hits, 2 hurries). The average time from snap-to-pressure was 2.30 seconds.

The war of attrition seems to have finally broken the Cardinals spirit. The team’s execution was lacking all year, but this game was something of a “white flag” effort from the coaching staff. Rosen gets tabbed with a losing performance for a lack of big-time plays, a few mistakes, and an awful holistic result.

 

2018 Performance Results Number of Games
Winning Performance 2 (SEA, SF)
Inconsequential Performance 3 (@MIN, @LAC, @ATL)
Losing Performance 6 (@SF, DEN, @KC, OAK, @GB, DET, LAR)

Winning Performance – The QB played well enough to garner a victory. He limited mistakes and made plays in crucial situations.
Inconsequential Performance – More of a game-managing role, the QB didn’t have the big plays, but mistakes were limited.
Losing Performance – The QB limited his team’s ability to win the game with his performance.

@WingfieldNFL

Continue Reading

Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen 2018 Passing Chart – Week 15 at Atlanta

Travis Wingfield

Published

on

Football, more so than any other sport, requires context to tell the full story. Box scores provide the casual fan with a general idea of the cumulative result of any given game, but without isolating each player’s performance, many details go unnoticed.

This project is entirely based around isolating the play of Josh Rosen. Traditional data points will tell you that his rookie season was one of the worst in the history of the league. Watching each drop back multiple times over, breaking down the most impactful plays, and charting the data that tells the true story, this is the 2018 Josh Rosen charting project.

Jump To:

Week 4 vs. Seattle
Week 5 at San Francisco
Week 6 at Minnesota
Week 7 vs. Denver
Week 8 vs. San Francisco
Week 10 at Kansas City
Week 11 vs. Oakland
Week 12 at LA Chargers
Week 13 at Green Bay
Week 14 vs. Detroit
Week 15 at Atlanta
Week 16 vs. LA Rams
Week 17 at Seattle

 

Week 15 at Atlanta –

We’ve reached the point in the season where the Cardinals coaching staff had to make a switch to prevent further damaging their 21-year-old quarterback. Josh Rosen, under duress all game, with very little help from the route concepts and plan to attack the Atlanta defense, was pulled for Mike Glennon in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons pass rush would’ve crippled the most grizzled veteran in the NFL; it completely debilitated Rosen. The Cardinal QB was under pressure 15-of-27 drop backs (6 sacks, 6 hits, 3 hurries) with an average snap-to-pressure time of 2.17 seconds.

Atlanta’s unrelenting pressure led to a season-low in average air yards per attempt (4.6 AYPT). The Arizona receivers picked up 82 yards after the catch counting for 62.1% of Rosen’s passing total.

Once again, a lopsided scoreboard forced Arizona into very little variety from a personnel grouping standpoint. Rosen was 4-of-5 with 37 yards on non-11-personnel calls. The issue there — Arizona was always in 11-personnell.

 

11-personnel 22 snaps
12-personnel 4 snaps
21-personnel 1 snap

 

Rosen only committed two mistakes in the game (one accuracy, one a poor decision). The biggest mistake was an example of nervous antics in the pocket and a decision Rosen would prefer to have back (available in the Twitter thread).

Rosen was under-center just 5 times (gun 22), and only threw from play action three times; Rosen was 2-of-3 with 13 yards on play pass.

The Arizona offense converted only 18.5% (5-of-27) passing plays into first downs. Throwing into contested windows was a 50-50 proposition — Rosen threw for 68 yards on 4-of-8 passing into tight windows.

Rosen’s depth splits were as follows:

 

Portion of the Field Accurate Pass/Number of Passes
20+ yards 1/1 (100%)
11-19 yards 2/3 (66.7%)
0-10 yards (or behind LOS) 12/15 (80%)

 

It was a miserable day for the Cardinals all the way around. Rosen never stood much of a chance to make a big time paly, or to make a game-changing mistake — but the one time he did make a crucial mistake, the game was already out of reach. This showing goes in the inconsequential column.

 

2018 Performance Results Number of Games
Winning Performance 2 (SEA, SF)
Inconsequential Performance 3 (@MIN, @LAC, @ATL)
Losing Performance 5 (@SF, DEN, @KC, OAK, @GB, DET)

Winning Performance – The QB played well enough to garner a victory. He limited mistakes and made plays in crucial situations.
Inconsequential Performance – More of a game-managing role, the QB didn’t have the big plays, but mistakes were limited.
Losing Performance – The QB limited his team’s ability to win the game with his performance.

@WingfieldNFL

Continue Reading
Advertisement

LATEST

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending