A Kicker That Catches, a Tackle That Plays Guard, and a Salesman Running Back Chat with Miami Media Tuesday
By: Jason Sarney
Three Miami Dolphins met with the South Florida media Tuesday morning, and kicking things off appropriately, was 3rd-year place kicker, Jason Sanders. Offensive lineman Jesse Davis and running back Matt Breida joined later, but the kicker had the first shot.
Sanders, who kicked for New Mexico in college, is the man who is 1-1 on career targets to TD reception ratio. Any Dolphin fan remembers him as the receiving end of punter Matt Haack’s toss to him in the endzone against the Eagles. A moment and play that will forever be known as, “The Mountaineer Shot.”
Joking aside, Sanders was asked if we will be seeing another trick play from him in 2020, and appropriately to the new Miami Way, the kicker played it cool and coy.
“There’s no secrets coming out,” he said.
More importantly Sanders knows that the task for him is to improve on his overall accuracy and consistency. “I had a lot of big kicks, it was a slow start, but I had a lot of big kicks, big plays,” Sanders said of his 2019 season. Sanders was a 90.0% accurate kicker in 2018 yet regressed in 2019 with a 76.7% figure.
Sanders detailed how he has a few skills beyond the average NFL place-kicker, in addition to pass-catching, as he is the team’s de-facto emergency punter. “We’ll mess around every once in a while. I would say I’d be a good emergency punter.”
Veteran lineman, Jesse Davis sat down to chat with the media and made it clear that he is yet another player who is willing to play wherever he is needed, and simply put team first. Whether tackle or guard, Davis will give max effort.
“You know, I kind of bring a lot to the table with both of those positions,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter to me where they stick me.”
The Miami Way
In addition to position flexibility, it seems any Dolphin with more than a few season’s under their belts have become leaders, and this is very much including Davis. With three rookies on the offensive line alone, the leadership of him and fellow veteran Ereck Flowers is paramount. When discussing that component of his role, Davis spoke highly of the rookies, namely Solomon Kindley and Robert Hunt.
“It’s been good. Moving around has been my forte’ now. Moving around with those guys it’s been good. They’ve been receptive of things.” He adds,“just helping them get where they need to be.”
Davis continued his high praise of those two young blockers, and stated, “they are big guys, they can move people. They are smart, they are very coach-able people.” He added, “they are two good rookies and I am glad we have them on our team.”
Davis knows there is a lot of work to do in improving last season’s dead-last overall ranked line. In comparing the unit from this time last year to now, the major difference at the start of September is clear to him. “I feel like we are more solidified at positions than last year. We had a lot of guys to come in and we didn’t know where they were going to be including myself.”
The other huge question mark is the quarterback room, and when discussing rookie Tua Tagovailoa Davis says, “he’s been good. Every week he is more vocal.” And when it comes to that left arm of his, Davis marveled, “it’s fun to see him playing out there and throw that deep ball.”
Bringing the presser home was homerun-hitter in runner Matt Breida. The draft weekend trade acquisition in April from the San Francisco 49’ers make the Dolphins backfield a potential nightmarish committee. With a full room of young, talented backs, Breida knows all will see action. “I think they are gonna use all of us,” he said. “Me, Jordan [Howard], Myles [Gaskin], Patrick [Laird]..."
As how and when each weapon will be deployed, Breida played the Miami Way card once again. “I don’t want to give away any secrets…you all have to wait until Week 1.”
Continuing the theme of team first and tight-lipped concealing of anything in-depth within team strategy, Breida is a born salesman as well as a true team player as per many of his new teammates.
When asked about his ability to be a three-down back as opposed to potentially a specific 3rd down back, “The Cheetah,” said, “man, I’m a football player at the end of the day. What they ask me to do I am going to do.”
With the main points of business out of the way, Breida once again put the salesman hat on, and turned promoter. When asked about the famous foot-race that must happen with Jakeem Grant, Breida set the distant unofficial date. “Oh, man, we are going to have to wait until the off season for that.”
Then, in a professional wrestling-like shock, Breida announced a potential third man. “We are going to get someone else in there, not going to mention names,” he said. You could almost hear wrestling commentator Tony Schiavone freak out in the distance.
In true form, Breida, with a smile as long as his run against the Cleveland Browns last season, would not tip the hand to who this other “outsider” is…."I can’t; you know I gotta leave a little tease.”
Well played, Matt. Well played.
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman and on YouTube on The Fin Addicts Network
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