Tanking can be hard. It can be even harder to keep up with all the movers and shakers that go with it. Tank Tracker is here to keep you updated with all the newest headlines as it pertains to the Miami Dolphins tank as they walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Let’s keep things rolling with Volume 3; we’ll talk about the Miami Dolphins dropping to 0-4, Jordan Love, and pitfalls in the Dolphins’ path
And then there were four
The rat race at the bottom of the rankings is still in full swing, but we’re down to four contestants who have yet to win a game: Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, and Cincinnati Bengals.
Interestingly enough, the Dolphins will play two of those teams. They’ll be playing the Redskins after the Fins’ Week 5 bye. Maybe Washington can eke out a win and give the Dolphins a bit of breathing room as they descend into the abyss.
Let me check the schedule here… OK, they’ll be playing the Patriots this week. I expect both the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins to be winless for their exciting showdown in Week 6.
The Week 16 game featuring the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals could turn into the Tua Bowl at this rate.
Tale of two halves
The Miami Dolphins lost to the Chargers in their Week 4 bout this past weekend. It was a day-and-night performance for the Fins. They were competitive during the first half and rode on the coattails of a solid showing from Josh Rosen, but things came crashing down in the second half.
Much like the previous three games, the Miami Dolphins collapsed in the third and fourth quarters, and it ultimately sealed their fate.
Here’s a more complete and comprehensive breakdown of the game’s aftermath.
Tracking the Tank
The draft order is updated, and according to Tankathon, the Dolphins have the first overall pick. They also have the seventh, which comes from the Steelers, and the 25th, which comes from the Texans. The order went to the strengths of schedule for the four 0-4 teams.
The Dolphins have the lowest SoS of those four teams, but it’s worth noting that there are ten teams with lower SoSs (a lot going on there). The lowest is none other than the Buffalo Bills with an SoS of .355. The Dolphins are standing at .484, which is tied with two other teams, the Seahawks and the Raiders.
What are the chances?
Now that we’re heading into Week 5 of the season, I was curious what would be the percentages of the Dolphins getting the first pick. Luckily, Joe Schad has the answer via ESPN’s Football Power Index. I found some comfort in that number.
Miami Dolphins have a 77.6 percent chance at the #1 overall pick, per ESPN's FPI
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) September 26, 2019
There’s been the #TankForTua movement for most of the year for the Dolphins, and it hasn’t slowed at all. But draft analyst Tony Pauline mentioned a fascinating nugget on Twitter that might give pause to some fans.
As you'll see in tomorrow's mailbag at PFN, I am hearing differently as there is a large portion of scouts at this point who believe Utah State's Jordan Love could well be the first quarterback selected, if he enters the draft. https://t.co/wFgNStrA0q
— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) October 1, 2019
In a second tweet in response to this Pauline goes on to mention that “They’ve [Dolphins] had their eyes on him since last season & and have said they really like Love.”
While I am a big fan of Jordan Love, I don’t believe he would be the pick unless Tagovailoa is already gone. That’s why the first overall pick for the Miami Dolphins is paramount.
There are a lot of physical tools to like, but Love is still raw. Although he’s draft-eligible now, he could also return to Utah State for 2020 to fine-tune things. If it weren’t for Tua, I would be banging the table for Love, but he’s not at the same level, either.
For a breakdown of Jordan Love, The Draft Network has a scouting report on the Aggie quarterback.
On The Clock Mock
There’s not a mock this week. I did one, and it was eerily similar to the first two I’ve done. Imagine that. There’ll be a mock next week with an added round and some updates to the big boards.
Chasing Chase or Tanking for Tua
I’ve started looking at other mock drafts; we’ve reached that point. I found one on Instagram that came from CBS Sports via JPG Visuals. I was taken aback by what I saw. Here’s the link to investigate for yourself, and I’m sure many readers will swiftly understand what raised my eyebrows.
With the first pick in the first round, the Miami Dolphins select Chase Young. Part of this might be interminable exposure to the tank movement, but it seems to me at this point when I see a selection in a mock, and it’s anyone other than Tua Tagovailoa, then the alarm sounds.
Imagine a world where the Dolphins take a prospect like Chase Young, and I have the gall to complain about it. I would love for Young to don the orange and aqua. Here’s the “but”. I think Tua Tagovailoa is an exceptional talent. Is he more special than Chase Young? That much I don’t know, but I’m hard-pressed to pass on the quarterback in this situation, though. Tagovailoa could completely metamorphose the franchise.
For a more conclusive, empirical look of how good Tua is, check out a Twitter thread from his game against Ole Miss courtesy of Locked On Dolphins’s Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL).
The Road to Perfection
The Dolphins are off to a good start in their pursuit of the perfect season. As I’ve already mentioned, the Miami Dolphins exploded out of the gate with an 0-4 start, but there will be some significant hurdles for them as they walk the long road to ruin.
The Redskins, Steelers, Jets, and Bengals stand out as notable speedbumps to the Dolphins’ goals. Mark your calendars, these games could become vital games with huge implications in the 2020 draft order.
Bye, Bye, Bye
For all your sports betting needs or if you’re looking for a little levity, look no further than former Dolphin Greg Camarillo for the inside scoop on the next Dolphins line.
Next week’s odd:#Dolphins (-12) vs the Bye
— Greg Camarillo (@catchcamarillo) September 29, 2019
Still got some gas in the tank
This is not about THAT tank. Former Dolphin and Hurricane Frank Gore reached an incredible milestone this past weekend. He crossed the illustrious 15,000-yard threshold.
Frank Gore is in rare company, too. Gore has rushed for 15,0212 yards, and as it stands, he’s fourth place. He could reach third place this season by rushing for 249 more yards, which would surpass Barry Sanders. It’s always inspiring to see players break records and reach significant benchmarks in the NFL; this is a cool occurrence.
Did Brian Flores reveal his secret plan at the press conference? Let Locked On Dolphins’s Chris Kowalewski (@fintroopers) break down the hidden meaning behind some of Flores’ answers.
— fintroopers (@fintroopers) October 1, 2019
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