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Miami Dolphins

Student Becomes the Teacher, Flores Beats Belichick – Fins Pats Review

Travis Wingfield

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Dolphins give fans the ultimate parting gift heading into an exciting offseason

In his end-of-year address in 2018, Stephen Ross defined insanity. He took accountability for the method of operations that the team took during the first decade of his time as owner of our beloved franchise. He spoke about the standard operating procedures of the league’s most successful, and most consistent organizations.

Sunday, Ross saw the emphatic culmination of phase-one of the most intricate rebuild plan in the history of the league. Sunday, the entirety of Dolphins Nation learned what Mr. Ross has known for some time — that he hit the coaching search 550 feet over the left field bleachers and into oncoming traffic.

Stat Dolphins Patriots
Total Yards 389 350
Rushing 63 135
Passing 326 215
3rd / 4th Down 5/13 (38.5%) 3/9 (33%)
Penalties 4 (35 yards) 6 (54 yards)
Sacks For 1 2
TOP 33:51 26:09

DolphinsPatriots 

The buy-in Brian Flores received from his troops is nothing short of miraculous. Without a win eight weeks into the season, a winless run to the first pick of the draft seemed likely. That was before an onslaught of injuries and transactions forced Miami into record-breaking numbers for players used and league-high roster-churning marks.

And yet, the Dolphins finished the season with five wins in nine games, including three victories as double-digit underdogs. Without the benefit of research on this, that’s either a record, or very close to it. Beating the Eagles as 10-point dogs at home was impressive. Holding on as 11-point afterthoughts in Indianapolis was nice. Beating the 16.5-point favorite Patriots was unprecedented; at least over the last 30 years of professional football.

Miami trounced the Pats in the box score. The Fins moved the sticks 26 times (New England averaged allowing just 15 per game coming in) and did not turn the ball over (NE with an average of 2.4 takeaways entering action).

This offensive surge isn’t exclusive to week 17. Miami have been a top-half of the league outfit since Fitzpatrick’s reinsertion into the lineup, all without the presence of a running game. Only Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have more first downs in that period.

Now, locked into the fifth position in the draft, fans can roll back off the white knuckle intensity of scoreboard watching, and practice some trust in this staff and regime — they’ve earned it.

Miami played better than .500 ball in the second half of the season and are equipped with more free agent spending cash than any team, and 15 draft picks in April — six of which will come in the top 60 selections.

Let’s get to the individuals.

Quarterbacks

The Dolphins 326 net passing yards was the most against New England since Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs shredded the Pats in October 2018 (research courtesy of Brett Brecheisen). Ryan Fitzpatrick’s season ends with 3,529 passing yards, and the team-lead in rushing. Dolphins fans could not have asked for an ounce more from Fitzpatrick this season, he was sterling.

Fitzpatrick’s red hot season culminated with a game-winning, 75-yard march to give the Fins their first win at Gillette since Barrack Obama’s first year in office. Fitzpatrick extended plays against the Patriots vaunted pass rush. He threaded tight windows, threw with anticipation, put the ball in the absence of the New England blitzes and moved the chains with his legs.

Fitzpatrick should be the team’s opening day starting quarterback in 2020, and we should expect another jump in production with better line play (PFF’s #32 ranked OL) and a full year in the offseason program within the same system.

Running Backs

Patrick Laird’s patience in space is such a boon in the screen game, but his pass protection skill set makes it difficult for him to get many opportunities. His running production was in-line with Miami’s ineptitude all season, but he gained 48 yards on four pass receptions.

Samaje Perine ran hard on five carries, and showed the short-area bust and wiggle to set up his blocks after the mesh point.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Coming into the season, getting 16 games from Devante Parker would’ve been considered a success. Parker checked that box, and plenty others beyond such a frivolous accomplishment.

Parker ends the season with better than 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns — both top 10 in football. Most impressively, he did nearly all of his damage against the game’s top corner, going over 100 yards on Stephone Gilmore. It was Parker’s fourth 100-yard game in the last seven starts.

Albert Wilson had a case of the dropsies today, including a well-conceived drag route that might’ve gone the distance had he secured the catch. Wilson was a focal point of the attack going after the New England slot, and Wilson picked up another 59 yards.

Isaiah Ford was better from inside. Ford caught seven passes for 54 yards, including some crucial third down conversions on contested throws. He’s earned some consideration as part of the rotation next season.

Mike Gesicki caught the game-winning touchdown on what might’ve been the best route he’s run as a professional. He’s come into his own using his big frame to shield defenders, and strong box-outs for catch opportunities.

Gesicki’s versatility was on display, running seams and slants, but also leaking into the flat for run-after-the-catch opportunities. Gesicki ends the season with 51 receptions for 570 yards and five scores. Best of all, he was almost never asked to stay in and pass protect.

Offensive Line

This is the portion of the team that requires the most maintenance this offseason. Jesse Davis remains the best option to return to his position at right tackle. He had some tough asks in this game and did his best to thwart New England’s edge rush on a number of reps.

The interior remains a major problem as penetration against the run, and pressure against the pass were regularities again. The left tackle position is just as culpable as the inside three — all require better play next year.

Defensive Line

Davon Godchaux punctuated a strong season with perhaps his best game of the year. Big #56 was in the backfield with regularity, picking up four tackles in the process.

Versatility is as applicable to the front line as it is anywhere else on this team, and Godchaux and Christian Wilkins embody that flexibility. Whether it’s as the big defensive end position (4-tech), backside 1-tech, front-side 3-tech, or up over the guard as a 2-tech in a bear front, these guys win from multiple positions. Wilkins showed his power on this rep against Marcus Cannon.

Zach Sieler was a quieter in this game, but that didn’t stop him from showing off the traits that make him look like an absolute gem on the front line going forward.

John Jenkins doesn’t get a lot of publicity, a byproduct of being a non-pass rushing interior lineman, but like Wilkins and Godchaux, he’s powerful and versatile.

Linebackers

Andrew Van Ginkel is showing the same bite that made him an intriguing prospect out of college. His recognition for passing concepts is tremendous, as he finds his way into the passing lane based on preparation, and he’s been a sure tackler in coverage, to boot.

Van Ginkel’s biggest impact was as a weak side run defender. Defeating blocks was not his strong suit in college, and that’s probably why New England went after him in that fashion. Twice, Van Ginkel beat a pulling guard and made the play in the backfield.

Trent Harris was a problem for the Patriots Sunday. He lined up in the position typically filled by either Taco Charlton or Charles Harris this season, and he put forth the best tape of all. He was close to the quarterback a number of times, and finally got home with a huge sack in the fourth quarter.

Jerome Baker got caught in the wash a couple of times, but his speed really pops off the screen. He’s adept at chasing sideline-to-sideline, but it’s safe to wonder where the pass rush skill set comes from with him, as that is a massively important trait at the position in this defense.

Defensive Backs

What a fabulous homecoming for Safety Eric Rowe. Rowe’s pick-six was the difference in the game, as he showcased his ability to cover any potential pass catcher in the offense (backs, tight ends and receivers). The Dolphins got a bargain on Rowe’s in-season extension.

Tae Hayes appeared in his second game with the team, and he was chirping — rightfully so. The youngster was beat a couple of times, but he challenged a lot of targets at the catch point and showed a penchant as a quick study in this complex defense.

Nate Brooks had a similar day, and he matched Hayes in the trash talk department. Montre Hartage was around the football, and nearly walked it off with an interception of Tom Brady on the final drive. Nik Needham had a quiet day in the passing game — the Pats didn’t fancy targeting him, but he did get in on five tackles.

Foundation Set, Now for the Fun Stuff

Any season in the NFL is about wins, first and foremost. Miami, with credit to its own self-evaluation, knew that the Super Bowl likely wasn’t in the cards for the 2019 season. With creative measures taken to maximize its own assets, in exchanged for above-market value, the Dolphins have now accomplished multiple feats that none of the other sub-.500 teams have.

Miami, in emphatic fashion, may have just discovered the next great coach in the league. There is much more to be accomplished from Brian Flores, but the energy in that locker room is proof that every person on the roster believes in Flores’ message. That message doesn’t stop at the roster; it’s a unilateral belief inside the walls at the facility in Davie, and Flores’ weekly acknowledgement of everybody involved in the operation provides proof, if not the glowing praise, to a man, inside that building.

Leadership might be Flores’ greatest strength, but his scheme and staff assembly are a close runner-up, if not better. The Dolphins offense consistently moved the football with its fair share of shortcomings, and a no-name defense put the clamps on the Patriots offense Sunday.

Establishing the expectation was a perhaps a secondary goal alongside giving the organization all the necessary resources to rebuild this team the right way, but the pairing of those two should have Dolphins fans downright giddy.

With the foundation in place, Miami now gets to go shop for the snazzy new edge rusher or game-breaking tailback. They can import cogs on the offensive line and ball hawks on the back end. Miami can draft the very best player on the board, and then do it again 14 more times and infuse this roster with young talent that fits the theme of the program, and the schematics on the field.

The Dolphins uncovered plenty of hidden gems this season. Whether it’s Devante Parker and his top-ten statistical receiving season, Eric Rowe earning the Swiss Army Knife distinction, or Andrew Van Ginkel showing his best stuff in the finale of his rookie season, Miami have discovered better than 20 core pieces going into the 2020 season.

Those players will communicate and carry on the expectation for the crop of newcomers in the offseason.

Take a bow, Mr. Ross, Chris Grier and Brian Flores. You, as a triumvirate, have given this particular writer — and the majority of the fan base — more confidence in this operation than any time in recent memory.

@WingfieldNFL

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Daniel meehan

    December 29, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Travis,thank you for all the work you did the last four months. I don’t know if I would have made it without your coverage. You made a difficult situation manageable. I can’t wait for the off season to begin. The dolphins are moving toward relevancy. Who would of thought this was possible ?.

  2. Avatar

    Richard

    December 29, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Glad I found this site and you Travis. Never been more excited to be a Dolphin fan.

  3. Avatar

    Cory Benton

    December 29, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    T-Wing I am reminded of your very early advice to fans this season: Find one or two young players you like, and focus on their development through the season as opposed to worrying about the W/L’s. Unfortunately I chose the no-heart mommy’s boy, #29. What I didn’t know then was that we had a treasure chest of unheralded heroes that would eventually reveal themselves under the tutelage of the flat-out AMAZING coaching staff. I hope we’ve all learned a lot these last 17+ weeks. Maybe more will start to agree that we absolutely have our QB for 2020 already in the building and Flo is going to take us to the Promised Land. Mark it down and know its going to happen. In Coach We Trust. Fins UP!!!

  4. Avatar

    E

    December 30, 2019 at 12:20 am

    T-Wing, like a Star Wars rebel fighter spacecraft deal, great abbreviation. Anyways, T-Wing did a fantastic job all season. Can’t praise you enough, just great, great, great coverage.

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Miami Dolphins

Turning the Machine in the Right Direction

Kevin Dern

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Nearly a year ago, 11 months to be precise, I wrote this piece for Locked On Dolphins:  “Small, Important Steps in the Right Direction”.  It was me opining on what I felt like were a series of small steps Miami, specifically Chris Grier and the front office had taken in the right direction just after the Draft.  At the time, Miami had accumulated a Draft Pick haul of a: 1st rounder, two 2nd rounders, a 3rd, two 4ths, a 5th, two 6ths, and two 7ths.  We know war chest has expanded, and Miami’s sure to put that to effective use in just over a month at the 2020 NFL Draft.

So, where are Miami now?

Well, that’s an interesting question, but I’ll attempt to answer it.  With a haul of 11 free agents, counting TE Michael Roberts who was signed before the new League Year, Miami’s managed to fill some of the holes the exited 2019 with.  Perhaps most important, despite shelling out big money deals, all of them are structured in smart, team-friendly ways.  Kudos to Chris Grier and Brandon Shore for that.  It’ll pay dividends down the road.

With the Draft still a month away, at least as things stand with the COVID-19 outbreak right now, Miami’s needs have become clearer.  Quarterback was always and still is the top priority for the Draft.  Running Back is a need still, and there’s a plethora of top notch backs in this year’s class.  Offensive Line, obviously.  Miami can use help across the board there.  With the defensive free agent signings, I’m not sure edge defenders are a need anymore, but I think Miami will still bargain shop there.  Safety, specifically free safety, and a true nose tackle round out the needs list.  At lest in my mind.

With 14 picks, and Miami probably won’t use all of them to make actual picks – I think some get used in trade ups and some get pushed to 2021 – Miami will likely be able to fill that remaining chunk of needs, which is a great place to be in.  Perhaps Miami still shops around a bit in free agency, maybe for O-line depth or a cheap running back, but I think the focus now narrows to the Draft.  Since that’s next month, let’s review the free agent crop.

Free Agent Fits
Our pal Travis Wingfield has done plenty of in-depth reporting on all of Miami’s free agent signings, so I’m going to give you my broad stroke takes on what Miami’s added this past week.

Edge Setters
Miami added defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah to help set the edge against the run.  Kyle Van Noy is an outside linebacker with a sneaky amount of strength and ability to play with heavy hands and good leverage who can help set the edge too.  What this means for Miami’s defense is that we’ll likely see more 4-man defensive fronts.  Remember, when Brian Flores called the Patriots defense in 2018 his most used for formations were:

4-2-5 (307 snaps)

3-3-5 (226 snaps)*

3-2-6 (132 snaps)

4-3 (97 snaps)

* With the 3-3-5 package, there’s really two versions: The Bear front and the slide front.  The Bear front typically included bigger defensive lineman to cover the opponents G-C-G with Hightower and Trey Flowers or Kyle Van Noy on edges, with Van Noy or Elandon Roberts off-ball.  Think of the slide front as really a 4-2 front, but you have an OLB playing as a stand-up DE.

A potential hidden bonus here is that both Lawson and Ogbah have some experience playing in stand-up OLB/DE roles.  Shaq Lawson did it some at Clemson and Ogbah had some limited experience in doing so last year with the Chiefs.  I think Ogbah was used primarily as a rusher as I haven’t seen snaps of him dropping into coverage from that spot.  But he’s been aligned there.

With the additions of Lawson, Ogbah and Van Noy, Miami’s going to try and be able to find analogs similar to Van Noy himself, more on that in a minute; Ogbah compares pretty well in play style to how the Pats used Adrian Clayborn and Deatrich Wise that year; and Lawson’s versatility might lend him to be used in some, and I stress some, of the capacities in which they used Trey Flowers.  With Van Noy, in 2019 he was almost an exclusive on-the-LOS edge LB.  In 2018, his duties between being an edge player and off-ball linebacker were about 50-50.  I don’t know that we’ll see that, but I think Van Noy’s snaps won’t be as an exclusive edge – he’s so versatile in how he can be used.

As much as I love Khalid Kareem and really like guys like K’Lavon Chaisson, Curtis Weaver, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Marlon Davidson I have a difficult time picturing Miami spending a top-level resource on an edge defender.  I think they’ll take a stab on a guy that falls or try and find value later on like Trevis Gipson, Jason Strowbridge, Chauncey Rivers, James Smith-Williams, etc.

No Fly Zone Southeast
I’ll admit, I in no way shape or form saw Miami going after someone like Byron Jones.  In fact, I wonder if the Patriots franchise tagging Joe Thuney meant that money Miami might’ve offered to him was “freed up” to pursue other options.  And man, did Miami get a nice player in Jones.  Yes, he doesn’t have a ton of interceptions, but he does have 20 PBUs the past two years, and 44 for his career – nearly nine a year.

I’m a little dumbfounded that so many Dolfans think this signing means that Xavien Howard is on the trade block.  Why would he be? Why would you dismantle a CB tandem this good? I get that X had the legal issue, but that was dismissed.  I feel like if Miami wanted him gone, he’d have been gone by now.

What it means having a tandem like Byron and X is that you have a pair of corners that excel at press, can play off man, can both play on either side of the formation, and both can travel to the slot.  That gives them some really nice flexibility and the opportunity to get creative with coverages.  I’ll be really intrigued if they add a FS that allows Bobby McCain to play in the slot more, like he did in 2015-17.  Miami could disguise a lot if that becomes an option.

When you combine Jones with the additions of Lawson and Ogbah up front, and Van Noy as someone who can play on the LOS or off-ball, you have to tip your cap to Miami for adding help at all three levels of the defense.

Depth and Special Teams
Miami apparently isn’t bringing back Walt Aikens, who was their best special teamer the past few seasons.  Instead, Miami opted to bring in a trio of damn good special teamers, two of whom were captains.  The one that wasn’t, Elandon Roberts, figures to get a chance to play in some packages on defense, just as he did with New England, and is a core special teams guy.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he ate some of Chandler Cox’s reps as a fullback either.  He’ll be fun to watch on whichever unit he’s getting snaps at.

Kamu Grugier-Hill, a fellow 6th round pick mate of the 2016 Patriots Class with Ted Karras and Elandon Roberts, is an intriguing player.  While he might have been a better fit for Miami’s previous staff under Gase and Burke, he’s a fantastic special teamer and has shown well as a blitzer and coverage linebacker.  His presence probably means guys like Sam Eguavoen and Calvin Munson are in the danger zone.

Clayton Fejedelem is more a like-for-like replacement for Aikens.  A hard-hitting safety who’s a demon on special teams.  Fejedelem probably won’t get a lot of looks on defense, especially if Miami ends up drafting another safety, but the bonus with Fejedelem, as compared to Aikens, is if you have to call on him to play on defense, he’s going to be better equipped to handle it.

Improving the Ground Game
I’ll admit, with Ereck Flowers being the first reported signing of free agency, I was a little worried the ghosts of Jeff Ireland and Mike Tannenbaum were summoned by the Tequesta.  Flowers reputation carries stains, but he played well the second half of 2019 as LG for the Redskins.  I hope Miami leaves him there.  Ted Karras comes over after playing as center for the Patriots in 2019.  He’s a bigger guy than Daniel Kilgore.  He’s smart.  He’s tough.  He struggles a little in space and with power.  I do wonder if Michael Deiter gets a shot to compete with him at the C spot with Flowers at LG, where Deiter played last year.

Both Flowers and Karras will get the opportunity to block for newly signed running back Jordan Howard (a favorite of my wife’s as he’s a fellow Indiana Hoosier).  Howard’s a bigger back at 225lbs, but he’s more well rounded than he is a power back.  He can catch and be a weapon in the pass game.  He’s also pretty savvy with inside and outside zone runs.  With Chan Gailey and Eric Studesville working on the ground game, Howard’s sure to get plenty of use.

Tight end Michael Roberts has played just 12 games over the past three seasons due to injuries and poor play.  He was traded to the Patriots last year but failed a physical cancelling the trade.  Detroit waived him and he was claimed by Green Bay but failed a physical there.  He battled weight gain, depression and had his left shoulder surgically repaired.  More of a blocking TE, he roasted the Dolphins in 2018, naturally, when Detroit came to Miami.  If Roberts plays up to his potential, I think he’s got the ability to challenge Durham Smythe for that #2 TE role – being an inline TE.

Prepping for April
While the Draft won’t have the party that Vegas would’ve offered, that’s the next major step for Chris Grier.  Miami needs to get the Draft right.  We’re talking 2017 Saints right.  We’re talking 2019 Raiders right.  Miami has the opportunity to inject a lot of talent, in addition to the quarterback, into this team.

Go figure that the year Miami as FINALLY loaded up on picks, the COVID-19 breakout has forced Pro Days and 30 Visits to mostly be cancelled.  And unless something drastically changes in the next few weeks, Miami and the rest of the league aren’t going to have as much operating information as they normally do.  Miami will have to rely more on scouting than in the past.

The outbreak also likely puts a dent into each team’s offseason program.  Teams will have to head into their offseason programs storming to get ready for the season.  Let’s hope Miami doesn’t have a truncated offseason like they did in 2011 under Tony Sparano, which lead to an 0-7 start.

For now, with quarantines in place, there’s likely not going to be a lot happening for the Dolphins between now and the Draft.  Hunker down.  Watch tape (Game Pass is free).  Familiarize yourself with Flores’s scheme.  Watch “Humble and Hungry” – I highly recommend it! But above all, stay safe.  We can get through this together.

The Machine
You may recall Travis and I made a trip to Miami last year for the Bengals-Dolphins game.  We were credentialed for it, meaning we were members of the media for that day.  I think one of the most lasting impressions I have from that trip is just how many pieces work to create the “machine” that is each NFL team.  Miami have a lot of great people in place.

I’d only ever been to one other Dolphins game in Miami.  That was back in 2010.  I don’t remember what Hard Rock Stadium was called at the time; it’s had many different iterations since it was Joe Robbie Stadium.  But I remember walking around that stadium thinking it was dumpy.  And I’d been to some dumpy stadiums – Old RFK Stadium for a Washington Nationals Game, whatever they call the Coliseum where the Raiders played, and the A’s still call home.  Riverfront Stadium – the stadium of my youth.  These were the stadiums that Hard Rock rivaled in 2010.

What Mr. Ross and Tom Garfinkel have done to the place is INCREDIBLE! I’ve been to Lucas Oil Stadium and the renovated version of Lambeau Field (2010 and 2016).  Those two places are crown jewels.  Hard Rock Stadium as it stands right now is nicer than both!

Miami’s building a fantastic new team headquarters and training complex.  Travis and I stopped by Team HQ in Davie on our trip to pick up a parking pass for the game.  The current HQ is nice (I live in Cincinnati and drive by Paul Brown Stadium daily on my way to work – that’s my comparison, but Miami’s is nicer), but it’s small.  This new place is going to be world-class.

Brian Flores the Head Coach.  While it’s only been a year with him at the helm, just by being in his presence, hearing him speak and listening to what the players said about him – there’s not a man in that building that wouldn’t run to the TNT Wall for him.  Miami’s finally got the Head Coach they’ve longed for since Don Shula strode the sidelines.

The Dolphins have added 11 pieces so far, and the have the opportunity to select a new franchise quarterback in a month.  If Chris Grier, Marvin Allen, Reggie McKenzie, Brian Flores, the staff, and the scouts get this right Miami’s going to have built one hell of a machine.  Just in time for the post-Tom Brady Era in the AFC East.

It’s a wonderful time to be a Dolfan!  All is certainly not right in the world.  Not by a longshot.  But in these trying times where we all need to cling to some form of solace, the Dolphins are providing one.  It’s a small part of my everyday life, but it’s one of my favorite parts.  Always has been.  Always will be.  FinsUp!

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Miami Dolphins

Free agency opens; Reshad Jones, Mike Hull lead Miami Dolphins cuts

Shawn Digity

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Miami Dolphins
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI (Locked On Dolphins) – While the two-day legal tampering period has already been underway, free agency officially opened on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Since many of the heavy-hitting signs and trades have already been announced, the start of the new league year will be more about ratifying all those moves.

The Miami Dolphins, at the time of writing, have announced 10 free agency moves.

And with that, there has been the consequential announcement of cutdowns to counterbalance the roster spots of incoming players.

Reshad Jones leads the list and is also the only technical release, but the Dolphins had already announced that.

Jones was going into his 11th season and spent the first 10 with the Dolphins.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Jones sign with a new team in the coming days of free agency.

Nearly half a dozen players were also waived: wide receiver T.J. Rahming, cornerback Rashard Causey, tackle Chidi Okeke, interior offensive lineman Evan Brown, defensive lineman Kendrick Norton, and linebacker Mike Hull.

Rahming, Causey, and Okeke spent the 2019 season as practice squad members.

Brown saw playing time late in the 2019 season but had been plucked off the Giants practice squad.

Hull might be the most interesting name on the list. He had been a scrappy ‘backer presence for the Dolphins after signing with the team as a UDFA in 2015.

Hull re-signed with the Dolphins last spring.

But he spent the 2019 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a knee injury and didn’t play.

Norton was also kept on the team during the 2019 season by way of the Non-Football Injury list after a car accident last summer.

 

 

 

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Bring On Another Ex-Patriot, Sign LB Elandon Roberts

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are loading up on leadership. If there’s one thing the Dolphins have made a priority this offseason, it’s adding smart, determined football players to their team. Under Brian Flores‘ stewardship, I doubt we ever see a broken locker room again.

According to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN, the Miami Dolphins are signing linebacker Elandon Roberts to a contract. Financial details are currently unknown.

Roberts is yet another ex-New England Patriot to leave Boston this offseason for warmer pastures down south, following fellow-linebacker Kyle Van Noy, and the recent addition of (center) Ted Karras earlier today.

Originally drafted as a 6th-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2016, Roberts has primarily served as a special teams ace, while also serving as depth at linebacker.

If you were impressed by Biegel’s production last season, you will be pleased with the type of versatility Roberts brings. Over the past four seasons, Roberts has been active for 60 games (starting 33 of them), and has accumulated 4 sacks, 6 passes defended, 206 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss and 14 QB Hits.

Roberts is stout against the run, something the Dolphins have lacked over the past couple of seasons.

If you were curious what all the additions at linebacker meant for Vince Biegel, this doesn’t make things any clearer. Biegel is tendered at a “cheap” rate next season, so there’s no need to trade him or let him walk, but with the additions of Roberts and Kamu Grugier-Hill so far this offseason, it seems snap counts are becoming sparser.

Right now, the Dolphins currently have the following linebackers on their roster for 2020:

  • Chase Allen
  • Jerome Baker
  • Vince Biegel
  • Jake Carlock
  • James Crawford
  • Jamal Davis II
  • Sam Eguavoen
  • Terrill Hanks
  • Trent Harris
  • Mike Hull
  • Deon Lacy
  • Raekwon McMillan
  • Calvin Munson
  • Andrew Van Ginkel

They recently added:

  • Kyle Van Noy
  • Elandon Roberts
  • Kamu Grugier-Hill

Sam Eguavoen was a budding linebacker and special teams player for the Dolphins last season, but it looks like he’ll need to have an excellent training camp to remain on the team. It’ll also be interesting to see what this means for last year’s 5th-round pick, Andrew Van Ginkel.

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