Whether you believe Brian Flores when he says the Dolphins are trying to win every game or not, one thing is abundantly clear: the Miami Dolphins will not be very good in 2019.
By trading away Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to the Texans, the Dolphins essentially pushed all their poker chips to the middle of the table and are all in on a rebuild and all in on the 2020 draft.
With that being said, the Locked on Dolphins staff took a shot at predicting Miami’s final record for the 2019 season. Warning: avert your eyes because this won’t be very pretty.
The Dolphins are in for a difficult season and they know it. Stephen Ross basically announced the same earlier this year on New Years’ Eve. Heading into previous seasons with elevated expectations has yielded mixed (but predominantly underwhelming) results and this year the expectations themselves are at an all-time low.
Brian Flores won’t call it ‘tanking’ and I believe him – I have confidence that he’ll train the team the right way focusing on technique and fundamentals, build through adversity and will demand full effort on every play. But ultimately, this young Dolphins team currently lacks enough talent and experience to win consistently. It’ll be a tough learning curve but hopefully one with some glimpses of promise which, helped by impressive defensive performances, which may be enough to earn a small handful of victories. If I’m looking for where those Dolphins wins might come from, I’d go with Week 6 (vs Redskins), Week 9 (vs Jets) and Week 15 (@ Giants).
I just don’t think this roster can hold up against any other team in the league. It’s not meant to be insulting; it’s that the combination of roster turnover, player inexperience, and jettisoning players in trades or outright releasing them has created a huge uphill battle for the Dolphins this year.
On the roster currently (as of September 4), there are 11 rookies, four undrafted and seven that were drafted, five players acquired in trades that will have been with the team for eight days when the Fins kickoff against the Ravens, one of which is now the new starting left tackle, and three new starters on the offensive line with a new helmsman leading the charge. I don’t think a lot of success has been found with those circumstances.
There are winnable games on the schedule, in my opinion, like the Bengals and Giants, but I think that’s where the Fins’ inexperience will really factor in. The games against Cincinnati and New York are in Weeks 15 and 16. The team will have taken its lumps, made the necessary moves in the wake of any unfortunate injuries, and just be trying to get to the finish line; I envision the rookies to have hit the wall by then, too. If those games had been earlier in the season, I would’ve considered marking them as wins.
The team is reinventing itself and it’s in the midst of finding its new identity, so expect that journey to consist of a lot of losing.
The Miami Dolphins are in full blown rebuild mode. Notice I say “rebuild” and not “tank.” Because tank would imply they’re purposely trying to lose. Whereas rebuilding is simply what we’ve done, we blew up the foundation and are starting from scratch.
The Dolphins schedule is not the easiest which is why I only have them at 3 games. Ultimately I believe their record will vary between 2-5 wins this season. As of now, I have them stunning the Ravens on opening day, beating the Jets in Miami and then the Redskins after the bye week. 2 other potential wins are the Bengals and Jets again but I really think this team is going to be hard to watch at certain points, especially late in the season.
My advice is find some players you like and see if they develop. Hopefully some carve a role for themselves for future seasons. Just look for the silver linings and buckle up because it’s a tough, tough road ahead.
Not only will the Dolphins play themselves out of a top draft pick, but they’ll do it courtesy of a three-game winning streak in the middle of the season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is the perfect quarterback to exceed expectations while subsequently underperforming for the majority of the season.
Weeks 9-11 feature the Jets at home, the Colts away and then the Bills at home. All 3 of these games are winnable, and Fitzpatrick is ‘just’ good enough to topple these below average teams.
The other 3 wins I have on the schedule are:
Week 6 vs Redskins
Week 15 @ NY Giants
Week 16 vs Bengals
Thing is, once Josh Rosen becomes the starting quarterback, this prediction will completely change. I think you can expect fewer wins when Rosen is placed into the lineup; if for no other reason, he’ll need some time to work the rust off.
Miami reaches 6-10 in 2019 with a solid defensive effort, which is more of a statement on the previous coaching staff. Unfortunately Miami is forced to use draft capital to move up and get the quarterback of the future.
I’m trying to decide which roster is worse: this one, or the one that led Miami to a 1-15 record in 2007. It’s close, but I think the 2007 roster is just slightly worse because Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen offer more talent at quarterback than Miami had in 07.
Any way you slice it, this team will not be good. The offensive and defensive lines are both relying on young, unproven players, especially with the departure of Laremy Tunsil.
Miami will be able to hang with the Cincinnatis and Washingtons of the world, but games against the likes of the Patriots, Cowboys and Chargers will likely be blowouts.
Miami’s only chance to stay competitive this year is to run the ball effectively with Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage, let your quarterbacks manage the game, and create turnovers on defense.
Unfortunately, I think that’ll only lead to two wins this season: Week 6 at home vs. Washington and Week 16 at home vs. Cincinnati.
The M1A2 Abrams Main battle tank has 1500hp turbine engine, a 125mm M256A1 smoothbore cannon, and can carry 42 rounds of ammunition…oh, I’m supposed to talk about the Dolphins season. Yeah, it’s not going to be good. They do face a slew of lesser QBs after the bye week: Case Keenum, Josh Allen twice, Sam Darnold twice, Jacoby Brissett, and Andy Dalton, so maybe they can scratch out a pair of victories. To sum up, when you’re not watching tank highlights watch Tua or J-Love.
Dolphins Waive TE Michael Roberts
As the doors of the Dolphins’ training facility open to the newly signed rookie class, they close for another former Miami-hopeful after an active weekend of roster moves.
The Miami Dolphins have today waived TE Michael Roberts.
We have been awarded CB Javaris Davis from Kansas City and have waived/non-football injury TE Michael Roberts. We have also placed the following players on the reserve/COVID-19 list: LS Blake Ferguson, DT Benito Jones and CB Cordrea Tankersley. pic.twitter.com/0l3CD2H4Rv
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) July 27, 2020
Roberts began his NFL career in 2017 out of Toledo as a 4th round pick of the Detroit Lions, possessing ideal measurements (6’5”, 265lb) for a playmaking TE.
A shoulder injury in December 2018 cut short Roberts’ time in Detroit and he was waived by the Lions following a failed physical as part of an attempted trade with the New England Patriots and subsequently waived quickly again after being picked up by the Green Bay Packers.
Roberts underwent reconstruction of the injured left shoulder in August 2019, having struggled both physically and mentally as his career path veered away from his dreams. Signed by the Dolphins in February 2020, it was hoped that Roberts could revive his NFL career in Miami’s TE room, competing with Durham Smythe for the TE2 spot behind Mike Gesicki.
At only 26 years old, it remains to be seen whether the young TE will be able to regain full health and return to the game, but the craziness of 2020 only puts further hurdles in his path as training camp rosters are reduced across the league to 80 players in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don’t expect Brian Flores and his staff to sit on their hands when it comes to competition – 2019 highlighted on a regularly churning roster of names being given a chance to succeed – and this approach is expected to continue at certain positions. As such, Saturday’s news that former Chicago Bears’ TE Adam Shaheen had been acquired by the Dolphins ensures that healthy competition can continue to spread through the roster, and proves the willingness of the front office to give chances to promising players who may not have achieved during their first NFL stop.
In A Perfect World, Tua Tagovailoa Doesn’t Start a Single Game
If everything goes right, Tua Tagovailoa isn’t going to start a single game for the Miami Dolphins in 2020.
Nope, you didn’t misread that last sentence. Tua Tagovailoa riding the bench is the best thing that could happen to the Miami Dolphins this season, and if you think otherwise, then you haven’t been paying attention to what Brian Flores has been preaching since his arrival.
The obvious factor everyone is taking into consideration is the health of Tua’s hip. And while that definitely plays a part, it has minimal affect on his playing time. You see, barring a trade, Tua is the third-best quarterback on the roster right now.
Combine his inexperience, a COVID-restricted offseason, and that pesky hip injury, and it’s safe to say our questions have already been answered.
The Better Player Plays
With this team, it’s no secret that playing time is awarded based on a player’s performance both in games and during practice. It doesn’t matter where you were drafted or how much money you’re making, if you aren’t better than the athlete next to you, you aren’t playing.
In fact, didn’t we just go through a very similar situation last year when the Dolphins acquired Josh Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals for a 2nd-round draft pick?
We all assumed that Ryan Fitzpatrick was keeping the seat warm until Rosen – a top-10 draft pick one season prior – was ready, but when Flores had the opportunity to simultaneously give a young quarterback experience and tank for Tua, he did neither. Instead, opting to (nearly) sabotage the opportunity to draft Tagovailoa and win as many games as possible with Fitzpatrick.
Not only did Brian Flores refuse to do anything he felt would not give his team the best chance to win, and not only were free agents impressed, but they got their QB. They got Tua. A new era for the Miami Dolphins.
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) April 24, 2020
Rosen has much more upside than Fitzpatrick, but he couldn’t muster more than 197 snaps under center last season.
Just like that, the culture was set. Flores wasn’t fucking around – it was win at all costs, and the players bought in. One season later, that mantra certainly hasn’t changed.
Tua has more talent and better quarterback traits than Fitzpatrick and Rosen (probably combined), so there’s no arguing which quarterback we want to build a franchise around, but who is going to win the team more games this season?
I don’t doubt that Tua is a football genius that will pick up a playbook quickly, but knowing your plays and executing against an NFL defense are two completely different things.
Fitzpatrick has been in the league for 15 years while Tua has been in the league for 14 weeks; there is A LOT Tua has to learn before he can make the kind of reads Fitzpatrick can instinctively make after 139 starts in the NFL.
Josh Rosen may not evolve into an elite, franchise-saving quarterback, but he’s not terrible either. Two years of experience and a season-worth of starts (16) under his belt gives him an instant edge over Tua. The only thing that levels Rosen with Tagovailoa is they’re both learning Chan Gailey‘s offense for the first time – and for Rosen, this would be his 4th different offense in the past 4 years.
Otherwise, Rosen already has a rapport with the coaching staff, the medical staff, all of the workers in the building, and the receivers on this roster. In other words, he’s comfortable in his surroundings while Tua is trying to get acclimated to a brand new life.
There are going to be growing pains and a learning curve – two things we admittedly need Tua to experience in order to evolve. But the question becomes, when can Miami afford to experience those “opportunities”? Certainly not if they believe they are…
The Miami Dolphins – and most importantly, Brian Flores – believe they are in a position to make a legitimate playoff run.
Scoff however much you’d like at the notion that this team, one year removed from being “the worst team in the NFL”, is on a cusp of making a playoff appearance, but don’t tell anyone in the Dolphins’ organization that you think that.
A remastered secondary, a veteran presence among the front-7, an entirely new offensive line, and real, productive running backs means the Dolphins are all-but-guaranteed to improve on their 5-11 record.
Yards & TDs Given Up Over The Past 2 Seasons
Richard Sherman 713 / 3
Byron Jones 981 / 5
Joe Haden 1,068 / 9
Tre White 1,087 / 2
Stephon Gilmore 1,117 / 5
Darius Slay 1,214 / 9
Marcus Peters 1,376 / 12
Jalen Ramsey 1,405 / 4
Marshon Lattimore 1,492 / 6
Jaire Alexander 1,649 / 8
— A Fan’s Edition (@AFansEdition) July 23, 2020
In fact, the only thing holding them back from a legitimate playoff run is the quarterback position.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has won more than 6 games as a starter just once in his career, and Rosen only has 3 wins to his name (none as a Dolphin). If the team falters, it’s because these two quarterbacks couldn’t carry a well-built football team to the playoffs.
And that’s where the disappointment of another lost season is met with hope for the future. It won’t be until the Dolphins are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs that the team will trot Tua Tagovailoa out onto the field.
Waiting until so late in the season checks off every single box you need. It gives him time to:
- Learn his way around the NFL
- Understand the playbook better
- Observe the game from the sideline
- Gain chemistry with his receivers
Oh, and it also helps ensure that his hip is healthy, because…
I’m Sure He’s Healthy…
Being stuck inside during an international pandemic may have made it seem like a lifetime ago, but it’s only been three short months since we all clamored to a 14 minute video of Tua Tagovailoa throwing scripted passes; our eyes inexplicably glued to a man’s hips, unscientifically judging whether or not he was healthy. Try explaining that one to your significant other.
While we are all thrilled with recent medical reports and first-hand accounts from the quarterback himself, it would be downright idiotic to mess around with a hip injury.
The only reason Tua Tagovailoa was available at the 5th-overall pick was because of the uncertainty surrounding his hip, those concerns don’t suddenly disappear just because he’s on your roster and we’re excited to see our prized possession play.
Let his hip heal and let him practice against a secondary that includes Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Bobby McCain, Brandon Jones, Noah Igbinoghene, and Eric Rowe. He’s going to learn just how quickly throwing lanes close and how tight they are to begin with.
Don’t convince yourself that Tua has to start games this rookie season to be the elite quarterback he’s projected to be. Patrick Mahomes started one game his rookie year. Aaron Rodgers didn’t start until his forth season in the NFL. If all of the hype is real, then his career will be just fine.
The plan isn’t to count moral victories, but to win football games – and Tua Tagovailoa gives the Miami Dolphins the best chance to do that for the foreseeable future. But for now, Ryan Fitzpatrick is your starting quarterback, and until Josh Rosen relinquishes the job as backup, it won’t be Tua’s until 2021. Mission Accomplished.
Miami Dolphins Trade for Tight End Adam Shaheen
After a breakout 2019 campaign, it looks like Mike Gesicki will have some competition.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Miami Dolphins have traded a 2021 6th-round pick to the Chicago Bears for tight end Adam Shaheen.
Bears are trading TE Adam Shaheen to the Dolphins for a conditional 2021 sixth-round draft pick, per source with knowledge of the transaction.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 25, 2020
A former 2nd-round pick (2017) out of Ashland University (Division II), Shaheen excelled during the combine, which led to an increase in his draft stock. The Bears jumped at the opportunity of molding a raw prospect, and selected Shaheen with the 45th pick in the draft. He was the 5th tight end taken in the draft that year, well above where he was originally projected when he declared for the NFL.
Though the Bears were optimistic, it seems Shaheen hasn’t lived up to his draft status. After three seasons, Shaheen has 26 receptions for 249 yards and 4 touchdowns. His playtime has diminished from 239 offensive snaps in 2017, to 160 in 2018 and 174 in 2019; with injuries playing a part the past two seasons. For comparisons sake, Durham Smythe had 482 offensive snaps last season alone (Shaheen has 573 for his career).
Shaheen became expendable after the Bears drafted Cole Kmet in the 2nd-round of the 2020 draft and signed Jimmy Graham to a 2-year contract earlier this offseason. With 8 tight ends on the Chicago Bears roster, you know something had to give. And from the perspective of a Bears’ fan, receiving any compensation for a likely roster cut is rewarding enough.
Trading a 6th-round pick means Shaheen is a favorite to win one of the backup tight end spots, should the Dolphins keep 3 on their roster.
It’s unlikely that Shaheen is a possible replacement for Smythe, as Shaheen is meant to be a receiving threat more than an in-line blocker, but there is so much untapped potential with Shaheen that it’s hard to guess what the Dolphins will receive from him.
We assume Mike Gesicki will continue to grow, but behind him, the cupboard is pretty barren. Shaheen adds much-needed depth to a tight end room that currently includes Smythe, Michael Roberts, Chris Myarick and undrafted rookie Bryce Sterk.
These Adam Shaheen receptions are all from the same drive. Wouldn’t be a surprise to see him more comfortable in year two coming from Ashland.
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) August 12, 2018
- Dolphins Waive TE Michael Roberts July 27, 2020
- In A Perfect World, Tua Tagovailoa Doesn’t Start a Single Game July 27, 2020
- Miami Dolphins Trade for Tight End Adam Shaheen July 25, 2020
- Miami Dolphins’ Jones and Howard land in top 10 CB rankings June 24, 2020
- Are the Dolphins Done Reshaping the Roster for 2020? May 19, 2020