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Miami Dolphins

The Aftermath: Dolphins 26, Jets 18

Travis Wingfield

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Snap Counts, Grades, Odds of Landing the First Pick and Other Phins Notes

Foreword:

As we develop a weekly content schedule for the season, I wanted something to bridge the gap between the Sunday night game breakdown column and the Tuesday film review. So, here we are with a smorgasbord of information, statistics, snap counts, and whatever is prudent to the Dolphins game from the Sunday prior.

We’ll dive into the game data from Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, grab some quotes from the player’s and coach’s pressers, and continue to provide the most comprehensive coverage on the Miami Dolphins you can find.

Dolphins-Jets

Team Stats

The converse of the previous few weeks, the Dolphins lost the box score battle against the Jets. The story of the game is not best told through numbers, as Miami took control of the game early, and never relinquished that stranglehold.

With 6:19 remaining in the second quarter, Miami captured the lead on a Preston Williams touchdown — his second of the game. With that score, the Dolphins led for the game’s final 36 minutes, and played with a two-score lead for longer than any other period of the season.

Miami made moves up the team-statistic-leaderboard in several categories. The Dolphins passing offense now ranks 29th in football. The nine touchdown passes rank tied for 24th, but the team passing still checks in dead last in completion percentage and 31st in yards per attempt.

Chad O’Shea’s offense ranks 30th in scoring, but 15th in red zone touchdown conversion rate. The third down offense has improved to 26th in the NFL.

The Dolphins rushing attack is still a work in progress. Miami ranks last in yards per carry and 31stin yards per game.

On defense, that’s where the true mind-blowing stats come into play. Let’s remove Buffalo’s onside kick returned for a touchdown because, well, that’s not a true measure of the defense’s performance. If we do that, Miami are allowing 21.5 points per game the last four weeks — which would rank 15th in the NFL.

On the season, the defense still ranks last with 32 points per game surrendered. The rushing defense is 31st in yards per game and 27th in yards per carry.

Miami’s pass defense ranks 20th in yards per game, but 29th in yards per pass. The Dolphins surrender the 4th highest passer rating against, but jumped to 27th in quarterback hits. They rank 30th in sacks and pressure rate.

The Dolphins are the best in football in one area — penalties. No team has committed fewer fouls, or been penalized fewer yardage than Miami.

Offense:

Snap Counts:

Player Snaps (% of offensive snaps)
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 69 (100%)
RB Mark Walton 51 (73.9%)
RB Kalen Ballage 21 (30.4%)
FB Chandler Cox 12 (17.4%)
WR Devante Parker 57 (82.6%)
WR Preston Williams 51 (73.9%)
WR Allen Hurns 30 (43.5%)
WR Albert Wilson 25 (36.2%)
WR Jakeem Grant 14 (20.3%)
TE Mike Gesicki 42 (60.9%)
TE Durham Smythe 25 (36.2%)
TE Clive Walford 10 (14.5%)
OL J’Marcus Webb 69 (100%)
OL Michael Deiter 69 (100%)
OL Evan Boehm 69 (100%)
OL Jesse Davis 69 (100%)
OL Chris Reed 51 (73.9%)
OL Keaton Sutherland 25 (36.2%)

 

Even though he started his first game as a Dolphin, Chris Reed still finds himself in a platoon — even without Shaq Calhoun inactive. He allowed two pressures, including a sack, but was the team’s third highest-graded run blocker.

The honors for best run blocker goes to Jesse Davis. His 80.5 grade was his personal best of the season, and he didn’t allow a pressure in pass protection. Evan Boehm scored a 71.1 as a run blocker in his third start at center. He allowed two pressures in pass protection (1 hit and 1 hurry).

PFF didn’t tab Michael Deiter with any pressures allowed, but I distinctly remember one sack coming right in front of him — perhaps that was the sack attributed to Boehm.

Ryan Fitzpatrick graded in the elite spectrum for this game. His 90.6 grade is by far the best mark for a Dolphins quarterback this season. He averaged eight yards per attempt and completed 66.7% of his passes.

It helps that four of his receivers graded out above average. Mike Gesicki led the way catching all six of his targets for an average of 15.8 yards per grab. He hauled in a 34-yarder, moved the chains four times, and averaged 2.8 yards after the catch.

Devante Parker picked up four first downs and averaged 3.8 yards after the catch. Each catch moved the chains, and he finished with an 80% catch rate (4 for 5). Parker registered a perfect 158.3 passer rating on passes targeted in his direction.

Preston Williams had five first downs (or touchdowns). His passer rating on targets was next best at 123.1, and he averaged 14.3 yards per catch.

Mark Walton averaged 2.17 yards after contact, but averaged just 2.4 yards per carry.

Defense:

Snap Counts:

Player Snaps (% of defensive snaps)
DL Taco Charlton 51 (76.1%)
DT Davon Godchaux 46 (68.7%)
DT Christian Wilkins 37 (55.2%)
DT John Jenkins 28 (41.8%)
DT Robert Nkemdiche 2 (3%)
LB Jerome Baker 67 (100%)
LB Vince Biegel 54 (80.6%)
LB Sam Eguavoen 34 (50.7%)
LB Raekwon McMillan 30 (44.8%)
LB Trent Harris 15 (22.4%)
CB Nik Needham 63 (94%)
CB Ryan Lewis 60 (89.5%)
CB Jomal Wiltz 59 (88%)
CB Chris Lammons 34 (50.7%)
CB Ken Crawley 7 (10.4%)
CB Xavier Crawford 4 (6%)
FS Bobby McCain 67 (100%)
SS Eric Rowe 65 (97%)

 

Another week, another big Vince Biegel game. The September 1st acquisition — for Kiko Alonso — led the team in pressures once again. He hit Darnold four times and hurried him on two more occasions. He made a run stop and was not targeted in pass coverage.

Charles Harris had his best game of the year. His 85.3 PFF grade was second on the team, and by far his best mark of the season. He did it with steady run defense (two run stops), and two pressures as a rusher.

Raekwon McMillan had the best grade on the day — and elite 92.2 (out of 100). McMillan had three run stops and two pressures; the hit resulting in an interception.

Jerome Baker continues his weekly progress after a slow start to the season. He pitched in with two pressures and allowed just 25 yards on four pass targets.

Christian Wilkins balled out. He picked up four pressures (1 sack, 1 hit, 2 hurries) and made three run stops, with no missed tackles.

Eric Rowe might’ve found a home as a safety. He made seven tackles, two for run stops, and didn’t miss any tackles. He hurried Darnold once and allowed just 29 yards on five pass targets.

Nik Needham and Jomal Wiltz were both part of nine total tackles. Needham picked up his first career sack and Wiltz — who is playing the role Miami had in mind for Minkah Fitzpatrick — intercepted his first career pass.

The Anatomy of a Win

Few head coaches have been handicapped by their roster in the fashion of Brian Flores and his 2019 team. Entering the season with three perceived blue chip players — all now gone or done for the season — and the largest contingency of undrafted free agents and September 1st additions in football, Flores is keeping games competitive.

Once a player enters the league, his path becomes irrelevant to his success in the league, but there’s a reason first-round picks and top-tier free agents are so coveted. Every team is allotted one, original first-round pick, and only a few teams are capable of fixing problems with a pile of cash, but it’s the best teams who curate success from every conceivable nook and cranny.

Let’s take a look at Miami’s starters from yesterday’s victory, and how they arrive in Miami.

 

Player Path to Miami
Ryan Fitzpatrick Middle-tier free agent
Mark Walton Street free agent, signed in May
Allen Hurns In-camp street free agent
Clive Walford Added last week
Durham Smythe 2018 4th round pick
J’Marcus Webb In-season street free agent
Michael Deiter 2019 3rd round pick
Evan Boehm Acquired for a conditional pick
Keaton Sutherland Street Free Agent
Chris Reed Bottom-tier free agent
Jesse Davis Former UDFA, signed as camp invite 2016
Taco Charlton Waiver claim
Davon Godchaux 2017 5th round pick
John Jenkins September 1st pick up
Jerome Baker 2018 3rd round pick
Vince Biegel September 1st pick up – Alonso trade
Raekwon McMillan 2017 2nd round pick
Jomal Wiltz FA, formerly on NE practice squad, UDFA
Eric Rowe Bottom-tier FA signing
Ryan Lewis In-season street free agent
Nik Needham 2019 UDFA
Bobby McCain 2015 5th round pick

 

Granted, that started lineup comes courtesy of a heavy, 12-personnel package on offense. Even still, replacing some of these players with the undrafted Preston Williams, second-round pick Mike Gesicki and first-round pick Devante Parker doesn’t do a lot to move the needle into a squad full of premium assets.

The fact that Brian Flores is competing against NFL rosters that have multiple high picks and blockbuster free agent contracts speaks to his ability to out-coach the opposition, and prepare his team to take care of the little things.

The foundation is under construction, and it’s being reinforced with rebar and concrete. No longer will the Miami Dolphins look to meld a roster constructed for previous, dismissed schemes and coaching staffs to a new system that requires a different type of player. The Franken-roster approach failed every time in the post-Shula era.

The Dolphins tore this thing down to ensure that each acquisition going forward falls into one specific criteria — the criteria I’m officially dubbing as “a Brian Flores guy.”

What’s a Brian Flores guy? A Brian Flores guy works his ass off. He pays attention to every detail, no matter how small. A Brian Flores guy is accountable and has the back of the man next to him.

A team full of Brian Flores guys will restore Miami Dolphins football to prominence, and it might not take as long as you think.

@WingfieldNFL

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  1. Avatar

    PhanaticalOne

    November 5, 2019 at 7:18 am

    I’m optimistic, but cautiously so. The Phins just barely squeaked out a win vs. a 1-7 team that is imploding. I like Flores but I’m not ready to annoint him the next Don Shula.

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Miami Dolphins

Buffalo Beats Miami Back to Reality – Dolphins Bills Week 11 Recap

Travis Wingfield

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Shorthanded Dolphins swept by rival Bills

Truthfully, this game was over when the inactives were announced. Miami’s 30th-ranked run defense were allowing 146.1 yards-per-game, at an average of 4.6 YPC entering Sunday’s action. Raekwon McMillan, Pro Football Focus’ 11th-highest graded run-defending linebacker, was on that inactive list. So was Taco Charlton, Miami’s leading snap-taker from a defensive edge that is incredibly thin even with Charlton in the lineup.

Buffalo promptly ripped off 169 rushing yards at an average of 5.1 yards per pop (removing Josh Allen’s kneel down to end the game, a one-yard loss).

 

Stat Dolphins Bills
Total Yards 303 424
Rushing 23 168
Passing 280 256
Penalties 6 (44 yards) 5 (50 yards)
3rd / 4thDown 5/18 (27.7%) 6/15 (40%)
Sacks For 0 7
TOP 29:51 30:09

DolphinsBills

Brian Flores’ message throughout Miami’s much-needed, brief winning-streak was about stringing together consistency, in the face of complacency. The message was received last week in a spirited road victory, but the Phins came up well short of a third-straight win over rival Buffalo, who now have three consecutive wins over Miami.

Next week, back on the road, we’ll see if Flores is capable of getting his squad back to the level of play that the team enjoyed the previous two weeks. Miami’s six fouls accepted were the most since the season opening beat down against Baltimore. That game, Miami were operating with a 20% roster turnover inside two weeks’ time. Sunday, the zebras picked up a handful of flags that otherwise would’ve been the Phins sloppiest performance since that opener.

Miami busted coverages, they tackled poorly and committed a lot of penalties — essentially, they failed to do all the things that kept them in games the last month.

The special team’s unit lifted the tide, and all of the pass catchers got involved, but the rest of the team was not at its best in something of a letdown showing. This was true, particularly on the offensive line, where the protection also reverted back to old ways. There isn’t a quarterback on the planet that would survive a weekly onslaught like the one Ryan Fitzpatrick saw Sunday.

The seven sacks allowed were a season-high for Miami, with a lot of that heat coming off the much-maligned left side. We’ll cover that in the individual segments, which we jump to now.

Quarterback

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s stat line is rather remarkable. Given the circumstances, a zero-turnover performance with better than 7.2 yards per attempt is difficult to believe. It would be disingenuous to blame all seven sacks on the offensive line, Fitz did run into one or two, but he didn’t have much of a choice.

The pocket was compromised all game, leaving Fitzpatrick to create space just to have a chance to get into his progressions. If Miami ever re-inserts Josh Rosen into the lineup, and this is the level in which the line plays at, the Phins won’t win another game this season — I’m not sure they would with Fitzpatrick at the controls either.

Running Backs

There’s a lot of Kalen Ballage vitriol circulating out there, and it’s well-warranted. Ballage’s comment that he had nothing to prove, while touting a paltry 2.0 yard-per-carry-mark rubbed fans the wrong way. His best run of the game was a seven-yard bowling ball off a wildcat formation in the red zone. That package eliminates Ballage’s requirement to anticipate, and get to the best available gap created by the line. Even with the seven-yard pop, Ballage finished with seven carries for seven yards, and his season YPC is now under 2.0.

Patrick Laird’s quick-twitch shows up in regular season games just as it did the preseason. Laird caught all six targets for 51 yards, and earned the right to a six-game audition down the stretch.

Chandler Cox’s best play of the season sprung Ballage’s TD run.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Devante Parker posted a career-high 135 receiving yards, and become the first Dolphin to surpass the century-mark this season. He’s looking fluid as ever, crisply getting out of his breaks and running after the catch at a level not yet seen in his professional career. Parker’s reason for accepting a cheap, prove-it deal with Miami was to “change his legacy with the Dolphins,” and he’s well on his way to accomplishing that goal.

Allen Hurns’ contract extension Saturday was met with some backlash from Dolphins fans, and those same fans will feel vindicated after Hurns’ showing Sunday. He dropped a pass that would’ve set Miami up in the red zone with a chance to cut the deficit to two at halftime, but it was ruled a fumble and a turnover. Then, out of the break, Hurns dropped another pass. Those two plays overshadowed his otherwise productive day. He has a real knack for finding soft spots in zones, a highly-regarded skillset in this scheme.

Mike Gesicki’s production has pretty much gone in-line with the performance of the offensive front this season. He caught four passes, but only picked up 18 yards off his six targets. If the line can’t protect, the Fitzpatrick never gets to his vertical threat tight end. Gesicki certainly received an earful for his failed block on a long Parker reception.

Jakeem Grant only caught three passes for 32 yards, but his 101-yard kickoff return showcased his world-class speed. It was nice to see Jakeem involved heavily for the first time this season, as he also scored on a handoff from Kalen Ballage in the wildcat offense.

Offensive Line

Julie’n Davenport probably isn’t known by the casual fan, but his season has been an all-timer. He’s only played in two games, but in those games he’s surrendered multiple sacks, provided teaching tape for what NOT to do, and left both contests with an injury.

Michael Deiter’s development has completely flat-lined at this stage. Every week, there’s a rep that would make the opposition’s highlight reel, as he is easily discarded in pass pro. He also falls off too many blocks in the run-game.

Evan Boehm was nicked up in this game, as he and Daniel Kilgore did very little to get surge in the running game. Things did not improve with Keaton Sutherland in the game, in-place of Boehm.

Defensive Line

Deception caught Miami a few times. Avery Moss was lauded by Flores for the work the end had done before missing the last four games, and there are reps where he looks like a real fit. Josh Allen completely had Moss taking the cheese on a zone read, however, as Moss followed the back inside, while Allen pulled it out for a 36-yard run.

Davon Godchaux does as well as anyone to hold double teams, and he’s the slipperiest interior player against the run. Each week, Godchaux will show out with a few reps like this one below:

Christian Wilkins looked to get rolled out quite a bit in this game, but I’d like to look at the all-22 before I get on him too much. My initial thought is that the linebackers really struggled to fit the run Sunday.

Linebackers

Jerome Baker was on the wrong end of a chewing-out from Flores, and the aforementioned run fits are the likely reason. Baker did make several plays in the game, but he was also caught in the wrong gap a number of times, and the Bills hit big runs as a result.

Sam Eguavoen is a recurring problem on Miami’s run defense. He is so easily displaced, caught up in the wash, and his inability to take on blocks really hurts the Phins stack, shed and rally mentality.

Vince Biegel continues to show up in a big way. He’s become a focal point for opposing offenses, and he’s still finding his way through double teams.

Defensive Backs

Sunday was the banner day for the anti-Bobby-McCain-at-safety brigade. McCain is doing a job that, quite frankly, nobody else on the roster is suited to fulfill, and he’s doing it with a shoulder that’s barely hanging on. McCain deserves flak for his late rotation on a long touchdown to John Brown, and his tackling was inexcusable throughout the game.

Nik Needham, partially to blame for not carrying John Brown downfield on that long touchdown, made a number of plays for the third straight game. Needham drew Brown early and often, and made a number of plays on the football. He got beat a couple of times, but Brown’s been doing that every corner he’s faced this season.

Eric Rowe and Reshad Jones as a safety tandem — especially in three safety looks with McCain as the third — is worse than the old Jones/T.J. McDonald combination. Jones looks a step slow off the rib injury, and Rowe’s best traits are somewhat masked by Jones’ presence on the field.

Recap

We talked all week about Miami’s ability to win games against poorly coached teams. Buffalo is not a poorly coached team, and they play really tough defense. Miami’s roster was as thin as its been all season, and with an overall sloppy performance, the Dolphins are lucky the score was this close.

It’ll be a nice challenge to the team to see how it responds from a reality check next week in Cleveland. The Browns defense is heating up, but will be without two of its best players in Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi.

For now, Miami’s draft picks had an outstanding day. Miami entered Sunday one of four teams with a pair of victories. Two of these teams, the Falcons and Jets, won Sunday, leaving Miami with a tiebreaker disadvantage behind the Giants, a win better than Washington, and still two wins clear of Cincinnati.

The news of Tua Tagovailoa’s career-threatening injury cuts two ways. Now, he’ll likely be available when the Dolphins are on the clock, whether that’s second, eighth, or anywhere in-between.

The quandary, how do you justify risking such a valuable resource on a guy that has so many medical concerns? The answer is easy. He’s special. He displayed his special abilities in that LSU game, where his mobility was drastically limited, and he still carved up one of the nation’s best defenses.

Joe Burrow almost certainly comes off the board as QB1 now, and if Tua really is Miami’s man, they just might get a crack at him after all.

@WingfieldNFL

Bonus – Jason Sanders one-man-band onside recovery

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NFL Draft

Scouting College Football’s Top 2020 Quarterback Prospects – Week 12

Travis Wingfield

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Recapping Week 12 of the College Football Season

During the college season, here on Locked On Dolphins, we’re going to keep an eye on quarterbacks all throughout the country. Our primary focus will be on the big four, the options that Miami will likely choose from with an early pick in the 2020 draft.

Those quarterbacks are:

Tua Tagovailoa Scouting Report
Jake Fromm Scouting Report
Justin Herbert Scouting Report
Jordan Love Scouting Report

2019 Week 1 Recap
2019 Week 2 Recap
2019 Week 3 Recap
2019 Week 4 Recap
2019 Week 5 Recap
2019 Week 6 Recap
2019 Week 7 Recap
2019 Week 8 Recap
2019 Week 9 Recap
– No Week 10 Recap
2019 Week 11 Recap

*LSU’s Joe Burrow has been added to the prospect watch list.

We’ll go in chronological order from when the games were played.

Week 12 Recap

Tua Tagovailoa vs. Mississippi State, Win
Stats: 14/18 (77.8%) 256 yards (14.22 YPA) 2 TD

Today was a collective “L” for the football community. One of the best collegiate players, and widely praised good guys, Tua Tagovailoa suffered a hip injury that leaves his football future in question.

What started out as an ordinary onslaught of explosive plays — a product of perfectly placed passes — ended in potential tragedy. Reports say that Tua’s hip is both dislocated, with a fracture of the wall that retains the ball joint. This injury calls for immediate surgery and significant recovery time, if a football career is possible at all.

Tagovailoa will do everything in his power for a full recovery, and hopefully the advances in modern medicine can allow him to make a triumphant return to the gridiron.

Jordan Love at Wyoming, Win 26-21
Stats: 18/29 (62.1%) 282 yards (9.72 YPA) 2 TD, 2 INT

This game was my favorite quarterback tape to watch this season. Jordan Love exhibited the sometimes unfathomably unique arm-talent that has endeared him to scouts nationally. After two interceptions — one a bad read, another bad luck — Love showed the shortstop-like arm, supreme athleticism, and general freaky traits that have scouts drooling.

The arm-strength to squeeze the football into a tight window from 40 yards away, the rare elasticity to sling it on a line across his body while on the move, the quick release to get the ball out in the face of pressure…it looks like he’s throwing a baseball.

The added element of a designed run package and RPO game, paired with the threat of throwing the ball to any blade of grass on the field, coaches will line up to get their hands on this prospect.

Jake Fromm vs. Missouri, Win 27-0
Stats: 13/28 (46.4%) 110 yards (3.93 YPA) 3 TD

Fromm hit his best throw of the season in another big SEC road victory. Few quarterbacks have the number of scalps that Fromm keeps in his back pocket, and he displayed tremendous poise in another hostile environment.

At times, the crowd noise was deafening, yet Fromm communicated his line checks and audibles with urgency and a steady heartbeat. He made cutch, accurate throws on third down, and beat the defense with his pre-snap prowess.

Fromm has quiet feet when he gets to the top of his drop. That’s not a trait he shares with a lot of the new-age, successful quarterbacks in the NFL. Kyler Murray went first in the draft for his ability to glide weightlessly about the pocket, creating passing lanes.

While Fromm is capable of mitigating some deficiencies with his ability to get the offense into the right play, and accurate passing, he’s not going to erase free rushers with his athleticism, and he’s not going to overcome situations with a fastball throw.

Joe Burrow at Ole Miss, Win 58-37
Stats: 32/42 (76.2%) 489 yards (11.64 YPA) 5 TD, 2 INT

And in one afternoon, Joe Burrow is left with nothing to prove. The now heavy favorite to come off the board with the first pick, the second half of Miami’s season would have to take some considerable turns to get the LSU Quarterback.

Burrow remains as cool as ever in this one. He rushed his Tiger offense out to a big lead with a couple of impressive improvisational plays. The big day was saddled by the two turnovers, but Burrow ends the day as the new QB1 due to Tua’s medical situation.

Justin Herbert vs. Arizona, 10:30 ESPN
Stats: 20/28 (71.4%) 333 yards (11.89 YPA) 4 TD, 1 INT

If this was your first viewing experience of Justin Herbert, you probably came away convinced he’s a top-10 draft pick — and he will be. If you’re a regular to his tape, this game was more of the same — flashes of brilliance when the circumstances permit, but the same inconsistencies in the most important aspects of the game.

Arizona’s defense hasn’t stopped a nose bleed this year, and they sure as hell weren’t going to stop the draft’s most physically impressive specimen behind the country’s best offensive line. Herbert’s long touchdown throws displayed the hand-cannon that has scouts conjuring up the prototypical quarterback build — particularly the toss in the second half.

On the rare occasions where Arizona got heat, you saw Herbert’s lack of quick-twitch to get off the spot, without the inherent ability to keep his eyes downfield to keep the play alive. You saw Herbert make an egregious decision to throw the ball into coverage (the INT was dropped) on a first-and-goal play from the two-yard-line.

The problem with Herbert, is that this has been the story for over 30 games. He still has no signature wins or moments, and the Oregon offense is still predicated on the running and screen game.

Herbert’s best bet at the next level is a run-heavy offense that can utilize his premiere weapon — throwing on the move. Lining up in 12-personnel (2 tight ends) and allowing Herbert to get out in space to throw into layers or flood concepts on the move will be the smoothest transition for the Oregon QB to have some success.

I’m of the belief that you have to put Herbert in an absolutely ideal situation, because he’s not going to mitigate your issues offensively.

Week 12 Conclusion

Reports from the University of Alabama doctor responsible for tending to Tagovailoa say the quarterback will make a full recovery, but he is certainly in for a long rehab process. If anyone can come back from this, it’s Tagovailoa, though his draft stock will surely be impacted. If Tua enters the draft and clears all the medical hurdles, he’ll still be a first-round pick.

Miami might be fortunate if Tagovailoa is still the target. With Brian Flores willing his team to underdog victories, the chances of obtaining the first pick was becoming grim, but so too are Tua’s chances at going off the board number one.

The Dolphins will have a difficult decision to make, though an apparent contingency plan is developing behind Tua.

Jordan Love is making progress the last two weeks in his overall effectiveness, and the highlights he produced today were utterly absurd. Though he has shortcomings in his approach for the game and playing the quarterback position, his physical tools give him — far and away — the highest upside in the class.

Miami’s interesting draft season took a jump to a whole other level of intrigue with the events of Saturday.

Week 13 Schedule

Fromm vs. Texas A&M, 3:30 CBS
Burrow vs. Arkansas, 7:00 ESPN
Love vs. Boise State, 10:30 CBSSN
Herbert at Arizona State TBD

@WingfieldNFL

Additional Prospect Videos

A.J. Epenesa – Iowa Defensive End 

Bravvion Roy – Baylor Defensive Tackle

Julian Blackmon – Utah Safety (former corner, invited to Mobile for the Sr. Bowl)

Ben Bredeson – Michigan Left Guard

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Miami Dolphins

Should the Miami Dolphins be interested in signing Colin Kaepernick?

Shawn Digity

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Miami Dolphins Colin Kaepernick
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

Miami (Locked On Dolphins) – Should the Miami Dolphins be interested in signing Colin Kaepernick?

It was only a matter of time before someone posed the question, and maybe it’s already been asked. Does Colin Kaepernick make sense for the Miami Dolphins?

I think the answer could be yes but not in a vacuum. The circumstances would have to be aligned for it to work out.

As it stands, for 2019, I don’t think Kaepernick would be viewed as a starter to fuel any tank or non-tank talk, regardless of how good he looks in the jerry-built workout on Saturday.

Any potential for signing Kaepernick would come with a big asterisk. I think it would have more to do with the some of the draft-eligible quarterbacks that could be a Dolphin next year and the traits and abilities they possess than it does with Kaepernick and what he could do directly for the franchise.

It boils down to who the Miami Dolphins have on their quarterback short list in the 2020 Draft. A lot of this franchise’s future boils down to the quarterback. But I’ll save that lecture for another time.

I’m not sure who will be the quarterbacks on the roster next year. Josh Rosen is likely out, and I’m not sure about Ryan Fitzpatrick. Maybe he stays, maybe he goes.

Regardless, there will be a rookie quarterback on the team, maybe even two if the Dolphins double-dip like the Redskins did in 2012 with Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins. I’ll save that theory for another time, too.

But once the Dolphins have taken their guy next spring, I think they’ll look for an experienced veteran to fill in for a pedagogical role in the QB room.

One of them could still be Ryan Fitzpatrick, but it could be someone else, like Cam Newton…or Colin Kaepernick, but I’ll get to that in a second.

Newton would be a better fit for that role compared to Fitzpatrick, and he offers the ability to kill two birds with one stone. He can win games and bring up the rookie as he goes.

Travis Wingfield tossed around the idea of trading for Cam Newton on Tuesday’s LOD podcast. I liked the idea. Trade for Newton and draft someone like Jordan Love or Jalen Hurts, who are both much rawer than their Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa counterparts.

Of course, that’s Plan B. If Tagovailoa is still within reach, then draft him. If Burrow’s there, take him. If either of those two situations plays out, then all of the contingency plans go out the window.

But getting either Tagovailoa or Burrow is not a guarantee. So, having a scope on the other potential first-rounders is essential. I still like Jordan Love and his traits, but I also like Jalen Hurts, and I’m coming around on Justin Herbert. All three would benefit from redshirt seasons when entering the NFL.

And having the appropriate veteran guidance will be a huge blessing for the rookie’s development.

While I hope Plan A still comes to fruition, I also like the first backup plan. Here’s a caveat to Plan B, though. Trading for Newton is also not a guarantee.

There are several factors out of the Dolphins control, and that’s assuming that they are, in fact, interested in trading for Newton. If they are interested, then it becomes paramount that they can trade for him. At least they have their 2020 war chest of draft picks.

Now, back to my Kaepernick spiel. If Newton becomes a distant memory and Plan B crumbles, then Kaepernick jumps into the picture.

Kaepernick offers flexibility if the Dolphins do want Newton but can’t land him or if they’re going to save their picks outright.

If Newton is Plan B, then I’m viewing the signing of Kaepernick as a next-best Plan C. Newton and Kaepernick could both fit into the mold of teacher, but both also offer more upside than Ryan Fitzpatrick when it comes to winning games. It’s a way of having your cake and eating it too.

You wouldn’t have to trade for Kaepernick, and I doubt you’d have to fend off many other teams to sign him, either.

Allow an incubation period for the rookie quarterback while Newton or Kaepernick takes the reins for a season or two. Similar to how Patrick Mahomes held clipboards for most of his rookie season, grooming a rookie quarterback under the wings of a veteran could provide more sustainable growth for the rookie.

It’ll set up the rook to eventually blossom in a few years instead of being thrown to the wolves and also allow the Dolphins to find relevancy in short-term eras from one of the two mentioned veterans (Newton and Kaepernick).

So, would signing Kaepernick make sense? Yes, but only under certain conditions. I could see it become more likely that Kaepernick never joins the team, but there are scenarios, albeit limited ones, that could see him in orange and aqua.

But he could become a leader for the team and a teacher for the next-gen quarterback waiting in the wings.

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