It's hard to believe this year marks the 34th anniversary of the last time the Miami Dolphins appeared in a Super Bowl, but here we are, three decades later. In 1984, Dan Marino demolished just about every NFL record into the stars on his way to engineering the Dolphins to a 14-2 record, an AFC Championship, and a trip to Super Bowl XIX to face off against Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers. The battle of two Western Pennsylvania High School football legends. Dan Marino, a city boy from Central Catholic High School and Joe Montana from Ringgold High School about 25 miles south in Washington County in the coal mining town of Monongahela. The Dolphins would lose 38-16 in the title game, but it was automatically assumed that the Miami Dolphins would be back in no time with a QB like Marino. The future was looking bright. Nope. Never happened. Not since.
We sit here 34 years later wondering how it all went wrong and how Marino never got back to the Super Bowl. It's depressing to even discuss. He was 23 years old when that game ended. What went wrong over the next 34 years?
In 1985, the Dolphins won their 4th straight AFC East title and appeared in the AFC championship game where they lost to Tony Eason’s New England Patriots. Dan Marino had an offseason holdout after his record setting 1984 campaign and Mark Duper was injured for most of the first half of the season and the Miami Dolphins were only 5-4 through Week 9 before getting their act together to win the last 7 games.
In 1986, it fell apart and the Phin’s ended the season at 8-8. In the middle of the 1985 season, Shula gave up their 1st and 2nd round picks in 1986 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the hope that Hugh Green was the missing piece to the defensive puzzle. While Green went on to have solid years with Miami, he wasn’t the X factor that Shula was looking for. The Miami defense gave up an average of 34.5 points per game in all 8 of their losses. While Marino threw for 44 TD passes that season, they couldn’t overcome a porous defense.
1987 & 1988 were even bigger disappointments for Shula’s Dolphins. They recorded an 8-7 record in 1987 (NY Giants game was cancelled) and in 1988, Shula’s last losing season as Miami head coach, they went 6-10. In both years and in all 17 losses, their defense gave up an average of 28.74 points per game. The offense scored an average of 16.9 points per game in those losses.
From 1988 through the 1993 season, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed became Miami’s Achilles heel. Led by Harvard grad Marv Levy, the Buffalo Bills dynasty was as frustrating for Dolphins fans as the Patriots recent domination of the AFC East. Why? Because we had Dan Marino and Don Shula at the helm. Every time Marino took the field, we felt something good was going to happen. But this was a different era. To win in the NFL thought the 1980’s and 1990’s, a strong run game was required. And Miami never had one. We were a one- dimensional team for a long time. And every defensive coordinator knew it. #13 ruptured his Achilles tendon in October of 1993 and Scott Mitchell came onto the scene.
The 1994 season was the beginning of the end. While Marino won comeback player of the year with 30 TD passes and Miami won the AFC East , the Dolphins fell short in the divisional playoffs to the Chargers 22-21. Joe Robbie had completed the sale of majority ownership to Wayne Huizenga and Don Shula was being forced out of Miami behind closed doors. Shula would coach his last season in 1995 where Miami lost the wildcard game to Buffalo 37-22 and the Jimmy Johnson era was about to begin. Could the curse be over?
In 1996, former Hurricanes and Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson came to help Dan Marino get that elusive ring he had been waiting for. The three biggest things that happened in 1996 under Johnson’s watch was they drafted Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas and they had their first and ONLY 1000 rusher in Kareem Abdul-Jabaar under Dan Marino’s guidance since he was drafted. The years following never seemed to blossom the way Johnson’s Cowboys did. By the time Jimmy came to Miami, Dan was truly on his last legs. He had been beat up and was taped like a mummy when he took the field. His last game was a 62-7 drubbing by Jacksonville where Damon Huard played the 2nd half. It always broke my heart that Marino went out like that.
Marino led the league in passing yards per game four times, led the league in passing yards total five times, led the league in passing touchdowns three times and went to the playoffs 10 times.
One player during the entirety of Marino's career ran for 1,000 yards. John Elway was an all-time great quarterback drafted in 1983 like Marino -- he didn't win any Super Bowls until Terrell Davis showed up. Marino's defense wasn't ever consistently great either. Only five times in his 17-year career (1983, 1984, 1990, 1995 and 1998) did the Dolphins have a defense ranking top-10 in points allowed.
Run the ball and stop the run. The axioms remain true today to a degree but they were requirements in the '80s and (much of the) '90s if you wanted to win Super Bowls. It was just a different era.
All of this is to point out the Dolphins had an all-time great quarterback on their roster playing at a high level and staying relatively healthy (despite taking a beating) for 17 years. SEVENTEEN YEARS. In an era where passing wasn't encouraged and defenses could destroy quarterbacks. If Marino played now he would likely average 5,000 yards a year over a decade stretch and single-handedly take the Fins to multiple Super Bowls.
Time and talent conspired against him, and Miami failing to win a title with one of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks is a flat-out shame.
Since Dan Marino hung up his spikes, the Miami Dolphins organization has been a disaster marred with terrible decisions, terrible ownership, terrible coaching and terrible overall draft choices. The fan base is as fractured as any. The current owner who I can’t even bring myself to type his name has been taking this fan base on a wild goose chase. Why should we believe that this time will be different?
This story was written by James Barbaro. Follow him on Twitter @thebigbear1977
As the wheels slowly turn towards Super Bowl LIII, a game you’ve probably heard will be played this Sunday, another candidate is rumored to be joining New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores when he becomes the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Pat Flaherty, the former offensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is rumored to be heading to Miami in the same capacity.
Flaherty, 62, has a long history in coaching, having started as the head coach of Delone Catholic High School (McSherrystown, PA) in 1978. He then spent 20 years at the collegiate level, coaching both the offensive and defensive lines in various stints. He joined the Washington Redskins in 2000 as the tight ends coach, moved to the same job with the Chicago Bears for three years, and has since been an offensive line coach for the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and the Jaguars.
Flaherty won two Super Bowls (XLII and XLVVI) with the Giants during his years in New York. He was one of three assistants fired at the end of a disappointing Jaguars season, but is very well respected in NFL circles.
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball.
The Miami Dolphins continue adding coaches to their reported staff this week, as Marion Hobby and Robbie Leonard will join head coach Brian Flores in Miami.
Hobby was the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach for the past two years. He’s a former defensive end who played for Minnesota and New England from 1990-92, then spent ten years climbing the college coaching ranks before landing in New Orleans as the defensive ends coach in 2006-07. He then spent three years at Duke as the Blue Devils defensive coordinator before spending six years in the same role for Clemson, helping them to the national championship in 2016.
Leonard has been an assistant coach with the New York Giants since 2013, working with defensive ends and linebackers. He worked with new Dolphins defensive coordinator Patrick Graham during the 2016-17 seasons, was originally hired by Tom Coughlin, and has survived two coaching changes in his stint with the Giants.
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball.
It was September 1st, 1996. With 12:51 remaining in the 4th quarter, Patriots wide receiver Shawn Jefferson takes an end around and is met by Dolphins rookie linebacker Zach Thomas. He is hit hard. Real hard. So hard he doesn’t get up. So hard he spends the night at Jackson Memorial Hospital. As for the man that hit him, this was one of the first of his 1,076 tackles. This was the day he became my favorite football player. This was also his first memorable moment of a Hall of Fame-worthy career. The question is, why isn’t he in it yet?
Zach Thomas was born and raised in Pampa, Texas. He had football in his blood. He was a high school football state champion and two-time All-American at Texas Tech. He had accolades deserving of the NFL. The problem was he was only 5’11”.
NFL scouts felt he was too small to play middle linebacker in the NFL. Jimmy Johnson decided to take a chance on Zach Thomas and drafted him in the 5th round. But even after being drafted, he faced adversity. Veteran Jack Del Rio was signed and expected to be the starter. But Thomas impressed the team from the moment he put his pads on. Not only was he named the starter on opening day, but the team cut Del Rio shortly after.
Over the next 12 seasons, Zach Thomas would not relinquish that starter role. Instead, he would go on to have 10 straight seasons with 100 tackles or more. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro. He and his brother-in-law Jason Taylor would pair to lead one of the best defenses in all of football for years. But all these accomplishments haven’t helped Thomas reach Canton. Jason Taylor was voted in to the Hall on his first try and enshrined last year. Thomas still waits.
Of the 29 linebackers already enshrined, only one has more tackles. The main comparison made to Thomas is Brian Urlacher. Urlacher was a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, and deservedly so. He led the Bears’ defense to Super Bowl XLI. He won a Defensive Player of the Year award. But a closer look at the numbers help make the case for Zach Thomas to be joining him there. Thomas actually has more tackles, assists, forced fumbles, Pro Bowls, and All-Pro awards. Short of overall team success, and maybe being overshadowed by Taylor who plays a flashier position, Zach Thomas’ resume speaks for itself.
So why have the 46 voters not called Thomas’ name? The man had few weaknesses on the field. But he was undersized and played for the Miami Dolphins. Not only have the Dolphins not been to a Super Bowl since 1984, but Miami-Fort Lauderdale is only the 16th largest media market in the U.S. Chicago, where Urlacher played his whole career, is 3rd. This could definitely play a part.
Another issue that many athletes have is they hold on too long. After injuries derailed his last season with Miami, Thomas attempted to continue to play and signed for one season with the Dallas Cowboys and then the next season with the Kansas City Chiefs. The last attempt was futile, as he was concussed and cut during training camp.
To the average fan, Zach Thomas had a lot to overcome. Being undersized and playing for an average team didn’t help sell jerseys. Fans are enamored with sacks, TDs, and interceptions. Not tackles. Fans enjoy players with movie star looks and endorsement deals. Zach Thomas had none of these things. What he did have was talent. And while that might not be a big draw to the average fan, it’s shameful that he is also overlooked by the Hall voters. This year was the closest Zach Thomas came to getting the call. Could 2019 finally be the year?
This article was written by Tim Felder. Follow him on Twitter: @t_fins
Dwight Stevenson, Tim Ruddy, Richmond Webb, and Keith Sims. Do these names ring a bell? These are some of the guys from the Miami Dolphins past offensive lines that protected Dan Marino, which also happened to be the best, most productive quarterback in the history of the Miami Dolphins franchise. And many would say that the Dolphins haven’t seen a viable offensive line like that in at least 15 years.
The biggest hype in this NFL offseason so far for the Miami Dolphins is what will the team be doing with the quarterback position. Will it be another “show me” year for Ryan Tannehill, a one or two season rental in Nick Foles, or will it be any one of the many young quarterbacks available in the upcoming NFL draft? Well, without an offensive line to protect whoever the Dolphins signal caller will be, you can almost guarantee another failing quarterback season without the necessary protection.
Just ask old faithful, Ryan Tannehill. He definitely has not been the best quarterback in the league, but, he has been the victim of awful offensive line play during most of his tenure with the Dolphins. Sure, some of the sacks were Tannehill’s fault for not releasing the ball in time or not scrambling appropriately in the pocket, but much of the reason for his high sack totals was due to the poor play at offensive line. Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner, Brandon Albert, Jermon Bushrod, and Sam Young were (and are still) just a few of the guys he has had to deal with during his tenure. Most of these guys aren’t even in the NFL any more. It would have been real interesting to see what Ryan Tannehill could have accomplished with a ‘decent’ offensive line.
And then there’s the whole “establish a running game to take pressure off the passing game” concept. It seems so basic. Not only does running the ball help in providing more options in the passing game, but it also assists the defense in giving the unit time to breathe on the sidelines before they have to come back out onto the field. It takes a well-trained group of offensive linemen to not only protect the quarterback in passing downs but to also create running lanes for the running backs.
All of these points lead to the most boring, yet brilliant, idea that an NFL writer can think of. Use the upcoming NFL draft to strengthen the Miami Dolphins offensive line. Don’t pick up 45-year-old offensive linemen through free agency that were really good a long time ago. Look for fresh, young, smart players who can be the staple of the front line for years to come. By building the offensive trenches, you improve the chances of all the offensive players.
In today’s NFL, you either need to find a quarterback that can zip the ball out of their hands within two seconds of getting the ball, or you need an offensive line that can protect the quarterback's pocket while creating running lanes for the running back. We will find out over the next few months what direction the 2019 Miami Dolphins will be headed. Chris Grier and Bryan Flores, it’s up to you to start building a foundation in Miami. And that foundation starts up front!
This story was written by Ian Berger. Follow him on Twitter: @ian693
After learning that New York Jets head coach Adam Gase was hiring Dowell Loggains as his offensive coordinator, the Jets have announced that they will also be hiring Miami Dolphins wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson to the same position on their staff.
Jefferson spent three years with Gase in Miami, after working in the same role for three years with the Tennessee Titans. He got his NFL coaching start working his way up the ranks with the Detroit Lions, after a 13-year NFL career as a wide receiver with four teams.
Jefferson is infamous for getting down and dirty with the players under his guidance, often putting on pads and coaching with a hands-on approach. However, the wide receivers for Miami often struggled in fundamentals such as blocking on screens and route-running, so this move is nothing to lose sleep over.
The Dolphins offense was ranked 31st of 32 teams in 2018.
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter: @EJFootball
Projected Dolphins head coach Brian Flores expected to bring Chad O’Shea along as offensive coordinator
The Miami Dolphins met with New England Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores Wednesday night, all but officially casting him as their next head coach. And one day later, news is coming out via the Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly that Flores plans to hire current Patriots wide receiver coach Chad O’Shea as the Dolphins offensive coordinator.
Flores had presented his potential coaching staff during his initial interview with Miami, as well as a detailed plan for how he would handle the first nine months on the job. While he can’t be officially named as head coach until after the Patriots play in Super Bowl LIII on February 3, he has let Dolphins officials know who he wants to bring with him as assistant coaches.
Jim Caldwell, the former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions, is rumored to be Flores' choice as assistant head coach, and former Packers linebackers coach Patrick Graham will be his defensive coordinator.
O’Shea, a former quarterback at Marshall University and Houston, has worked with Flores in New England since 2009. He’s never called plays at the NFL level, but is viewed around the league as one of the bright up and coming offensive minds, and plays an integral part of the Patriots offensive game-planning.
Current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had high praise for O’Shea, telling MassLive this: “Chad's unbelievable. He's incredibly responsible for any and all of our success in the red zone. He does a lot of that work, and prepares us well for that situation in the game.”
Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan also had words about his coach: "I love playing for Chad. He brings a lot of passion to the game and to this team."
Rumors were swirling that McDaniels would have attempted to bring O'Shea with him to Indianapolis before he changed his mind and stayed in New England; there was also a strong possibility he would take over for McDaniels as the offensive coordinator in New England if McDaniels left and didn't take him to the Colts.
The receiving corps for New England has set franchise and NFL records under O’Shea, and several players have blossomed under his guidance. With Miami's struggles in execution in the WR corps, particularly in the concepts of blocking and crisp route running, O'Shea would bring in a voice of teaching fundamentals that has been absent for some time.
Before joining the Patriots, O'Shea was a volunteer assistant (2003) and an assistant special teams coach with the Kansas City Chiefs (2004-2005). Then he went to the Minnesota Vikings and became an offensive assistant (2006), before getting the added responsibility of being their WR coach in 2007. In 2008, he then was given another added job as an assistant special teams coach on top of his other tasks.
Former Vikings WR coach George Stewart, who O'Shea worked under, also had strong praise to heap upon the 46-year old in the MassLive article.
"I remember sitting down in that meeting room in Mobile, Alabama, at the Marriot Hotel, where we had a staff meeting, and I didn't know anybody in that room, because I was the new coach in that room," Stewart said. "Didn't know who Chad O'Shea was, didn't know who my assistant was, didn't know I had an assistant. But he came from the other side of the table, pulled a chair up next to me. 'Coach Stewart, I'm Chad O'Shea, I'm your assistant.' That's the selflessness that he had. That spoke volumes of him. That's the type of person he is. Did not have an issue. Did not have envy in his body. Did not sense any animosity."
O'Shea is clearly respected and he's done amazing work with players who otherwise would have struggled, so this bodes well for the WR corps in Miami as a whole. Perhaps that third round pick the Dolphins spent on Leonte Carroo will finally become worth its while?
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter: @EJFootball
“The Dolphins do not have tons of talent that would start on other contending teams besides Howard, [Laremy] Tunsil, [Rshaad] Jones and [Minka] Fitzpatrick. Would giving away homegrown and young talent hitting his prime be wise on a roster that lacks star power be wise? I mean, it would create a huge hole that Miami would have to fill with an unknown (in addition to the other holes the team has at corner and other positions). I’m not 100% convinced that this route is wise.”
Nor am I.
A few things to point out here:
“And while [Daniel] Jones gets the MVP hardware, those watching know that Lock was the real star. He started the game and was composed from the first snap when he rolled right only to find Montez Sweat in his face, made an arm-angle adjustment to find McLaurin for a 12-yard gain. First down. Two plays later Lock pump-faked the defense out of position and came back to NC State’s Jakobi Meyers across the middle, but Meyers couldn’t hang on.
“Yes, that’s an incompletion but Lock put it the only place he could and McLaurin couldn’t come up with it. That’s the throw scouts will be talking about.”
So let me say up front that I’m a proud University of Missouri alumnus.
Having said that, I love what I’ve been seeing from Drew Lock. He did, indeed, look good in the Senior Bowl. Missouri switched to a pro-style offense this year and by the end of the year Lock looked pretty good in it to my eye.
I didn’t feel the same way about Blaine Gabbert or Chase Daniel when they came out. Both are from Missouri. So I think this is different.
If he falls to Miami, there could be better times ahead. Of course, that’s unlikely to happen. Quarterbacks like Lock tend to fly up the board late in the process, not fall back.
Of course, they could get creative and go up and get him. There’s every indication those are the kinds of aggressive moves owner Stephen Ross wants to see.
Many will say that the Dolphins should sit and let the draft come to them. Generally speaking, I’m in favor of this. But not when it comes to quarterbacks. A few things to consider.
Caldwell does have some college coaching experience as well and that can’t be completely discounted. But overall the picture is one of a coach who has spent the vast majority of his time coaching experienced veterans, one who sometimes got a lot out of them as they won Super Bowls and went to Pro Bowls, but who also sometimes didn’t.
Whether he can develop a young quarterback is still a complete unknown 18 years into his professional coaching career. This is going to be an interesting situation to keep an eye on, especially if the Dolphins draft a quarterback.
“The biggest hype in this NFL offseason so far for the Miami Dolphins is what will the team be doing with the quarterback position. Will it be another 'show me' year for Ryan Tannehill, a one or two season rental in Nick Foles, or will it be any one of the many young quarterbacks available in the upcoming NFL draft? Well, without an offensive line to protect whoever the Dolphins signal caller will be, you can almost guarantee another failing quarterback season without the necessary protection.”
Fair enough. But an organization that knows what it's doing can find offensive linemen and they can do it outside the first round. Well, except for left tackle, a position that the Dolphins already have filled.
I’m not saying don’t build the offensive line. But I’ve got a better suggestion if you are going another direction in the first round. How about defensive line? Specifically defensive tackle.
It's a perfect year to fill what is arguably Miami’s greatest need.
This story was written by Tom Shannon. Follow him on Twitter: @bearingthenews
Xavien Howard was the Miami Dolphins' best player in 2018. There is no debating, arguing, or discussion about it. He was Miami's only Pro Bowl representative and made 2nd team All-Pro playing in only 12 games. Howard also was tied for first in the NFL in interceptions with seven.
Oh, and he is only 25 years old (Turning 26 in July). So let's just give this man an extension so that he can lead this defense into the future.
But it wouldn't be the Miami Dolphins if it were just that simple.
Howard has missed three out of a possible 48 games in his career. He has dealt with a few injuries in his young career (Which includes two right knee injuries in 2016, knee surgery on that exact knee in 2016, and reportedly surgery on his left meniscus in 2018). That is three knee injuries in three years since joining the Dolphins. One could say it's hard to rationalize paying him top CB money (think more than Josh Norman's 5-year $75 million with $50 million guaranteed and $15 million signing bonus).
So the question remains.
Should Miami keep Howard in their plans for the future or trade him?
Fans on both Twitter and Facebook have been split on the idea of keeping a young talent with so much potential or trading him for future assets to rebuild. Let's look at some of the most recent cornerback trades and ages when traded.
In 2018, Marcus Peters (25 years old) was from the Chiefs to the Rams for a 4th round pick and future 2nd round pick.
In 2012, Aqib Talib (26 years old) was traded to the Patriots for a 4th round pick, then at 32 years old, was traded from the Broncos to the Rams for a 5th round pick.
In 2013, Darrelle Revis (28 years old) was traded to the Buccaneers for the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft and a future conditional pick (4th that could be a 3rd) at the time.
In 2012, Vontae Davis (24 years old) was traded by the Dolphins to the Colts for a 2nd and 6th round pick.
In 2005, Patrick Surtain (28 years old) was traded by the Dolphins to the Chiefs for a 2nd and 5th round pick.
All of these trades were done at different points in their career and at different ages. But they all can provide context as to what cornerback value could look like. Given that history tends to be the best indicator of the future, I'd say a 2nd and 5th would fall in line. A bonus for any team that has Howard (Including the Dolphins) is they do not technically have to pay Howard immediately.
Howard is still on the last year of his rookie contract and is set to earn a team friendly $1.3 million this upcoming season. Oh, and just as a thought provoker, the picks Howard brings in (Or Howard himself) could be used to trade up and get a future QB in both 2019 or 2020. But I would love to hear your thoughts given this info.
Next, for those of you that say he's injury prone and cant be relied upon after three knee injuries, keep this in mind: If the Dolphins are concerned about how his body will hold up health wise, what makes you think that other teams won't feel the same? Would you want Miami to trade for a cornerback that will demand that big a contract after giving up trade assets for him? My sense based off of Dolphins Twitter and Facebook is most would revolt and and turn on the organization.
Don't think I forgot about you fans who want to trade him. A thought to consider is where the Dolphins are at as an organization. In reality, there is more talent on the defensive side of the ball than offensive side. The Dolphins are hiring a defensive minded coach in Brian Flores and in his projected defensive scheme, Howard could flourish. Get Howard a solid number two along with a wiser Minkah Fitzpatrick and a healthy Reshad Jones, and the secondary could be the strength that leads this team into a successful future (remember the Legion of Boom).
The Dolphins do not have tons of talent that would start on other contending teams besides Howard, Tunsil, Jones and Fitzpatrick. Would giving away homegrown and young talent hitting his prime be wise on a roster that lacks star power be wise? I mean, it would create a huge hole that Miami would have to fill with an unknown (in addition to the other holes the team has at corner and other positions). I'm not 100% convinced that this route is wise.
This piece is not to push fans in one direction or the other. Personally, I wrote this for people to comment and share what they feel would be the path that makes the most sense for the future. Ultimately Miami will do what they feel is best for the future regardless of our feelings and opinions. But now is the time to choose.
Are you #TeamX or #TradeX.
This story was written by Carlos Camacho. Follow him on Twitter: @DolfansVoice
Over the last decade, small, elusive scat backs have been emerging onto the NFL scene like a California wildfire. Guys like Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead, Alvin Kamara, Dion Lewis and Tarik Cohen have made a living out of breaking their opponents’ ankles. They are so quick and elusive and hide so well behind the gigantic offensive linemen that they have become X-factors and game breakers. They also give the bell cow backs a good break through the course of the season.
The 2019 NFL draft is loaded with a bunch of talented X-factors, so I thought it would be fun to evaluate some of these types of running backs.
I know what most of you will say: “We have Kenyan Drake!”
Well, Drake is 6-foot-1 and 213 pounds, hardly the small, elusive, shifty scat back that fits the Alvin Kamara or Darren Sproles-like role. Drake is big for a running back to go with his 4.45 forty time which is elite. He has low miles on his legs because he was tucked in the back of the line at Alabama behind T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, which, in Drake’s defense, Yeldon and Henry were just better suited for the scheme that Nick Saban ran.
If Drake went to LSU, Georgia, Florida or Ole Miss, he very possibly could have been a Heisman candidate. Drake has shown Dolphins fans a lot of promise and will go down in the history books for the Miami Miracle at the very least. I believe with the right scheme, Drake could be the bell-cow back that Le’Veon Bell is. He just needs the right system in order to excel. Do you remember Jerome Bettis? The instant he was traded to Pittsburgh in an offense designed around his strengths, he maximized his talents, winning a Super Bowl and being enshrined.
In the last five games of the 2017 season, Drake showed a rare combination of power, suddenness and versatility. He demonstrated with the right playcalling that he could be “the guy.” But like all great running backs, they need a sidekick. They need somebody to spell them and give them a breather without losing production. Since the NFL is brutal on the lifespan of a running back, I have put together some draft diamonds that could “complement” Drake.
All of these running backs are much smaller and would only be able to handle 10-15 touches per game due to their small size and could be had between rounds 3-6. I’m not asking for a big investment in the running game, I’m asking for an electric, change of pace, small back that could hide well behind the OL and find a crease and burst through.
Local Fort Lauderdale running back Devin Singletary of Florida Atlantic fits this mold like a glove. He is 5-foot-7 ½ and weighs 199 pounds. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and rushed for 1,400 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2018 for the Owls, surpassing former Florida QB Tim Tebow for most rushing touchdowns by any player who attended a Florida FBS school.
He runs a 4.5 forty-yard dash and has solid speed, ankle-breaking moves with great balance and vision. The Dolphins should have scouts all over this kid leading up to the draft in April. He would be ideal running behind Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James (should he be retained).
Myles Gaskin of the University of Washington is another type of back that fits the bill of an elusive scat back. I watched every Huskies game this season and he was as impressive as any RB I’ve seen this season.
He is listed as 5-foot-9, 193 pounds and runs a 4.53 forty-yard dash. He made some acrobatic catches and flashed as a WR out of the backfield. Gaskin also comes with a lot experience having started for three seasons under dynamic head coach Chris Peterson.
Darrell Henderson out of Memphis University is one of the most electrifying players I’ve ever seen. He is 5-foot-9, 200 pounds and runs a 4.47 forty-yard dash. He averaged 8.9 YPC for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is an excellent target in the mid rounds of the draft and could be a great compliment to Ballage/Drake.
Darwin Thompson out of Utah State showed flashes of brilliance all season. Many scouts think he should have gone back for another season but he was eager to make the jump. He is listed as 5-foot-8, 200 pounds and he averaged 6.8 YPC and ran for 14 touchdowns this season. I watched him in a few games this year and it was nothing short of spectacular.
He is described as having elite contact balance while bouncing off defenders like a pinball. His game is a mix of elusiveness, shiftiness, top speed and his receiving ability is off the charts. He could be a lethal force in the screen game and create a huge mismatch in the slot.
Tony Brooks-James, RB from the University of Oregon could be just what the doctor ordered. He is listed as 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds who runs a low 4.4 forty-yard dash. He is a speed demon who is a homerun threat every time he gets his hands on the ball especially when working the boundary.
He has kick returner-like bursts and amazing contact balance. While he doesn’t like to get hit and prefers going down on his own terms, he is a weapon that could be used in all kinds of packages. He would be ideal in a Kamara-like role but will need to add some weight to his frame to minimize injury.
While I like the Drake/Ballage combo, the Miami Dolphins are starving for that elusive gamebreaker and I am hoping that the new regime will add all the pieces around a QB that they will soon select. You can never have too many weapons for a QB and a scat back like these guys could bring the Dolphins to a whole other level.
Coupled with Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills, Mike Gesicki, Danny Amendola and Jakeem Grant, any of these mentioned backs would certainly make defensive coordinators a bit nervous as they are all small, potential homerun threats.
This story was written by James Barbaro. Follow him on Twitter: @thebigbear1977
This article will try to do the impossible, which is to create some very temporary New England Patriot fans, emphasis on the “very temporary.” This would be a tough task for any fan, but this task is much more difficult for a Dolphins fan as we are a resilient and stubborn group of fans. Let us look at three major points that we should consider when watching the Super Bowl; Brian Flores, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick.
The most important piece of the Dolphins future will be calling the plays for the Patriots defense come Super Bowl Sunday since Brian Flores will be named the head coach after finishing the Super Bowl. Taking over a new team will be a tough task for Flores but the value and respect that a fresh Super Bowl ring brings to the table cannot be overlooked.
Coach Flores will be a rookie head coach, never holding the sought-after head coach title previously, and he will begin molding this team to fit his vision and with this will come opposition. Players will undoubtedly question if they want to “buy in” to the plan, free agents will question if Miami is a logical destination, and rookies will grow anxious to know if they can flourish here in South Beach.
But, when Flores walks into the building with four Super Bowl rings, one coming from the current season, players will do more than just buy in. The NFL is a “what have you done recently” league, players will look past the old rings, but they will see a bright future in the reflection of a coach’s new one.
Tom Brady, a name that strikes fear into the hearts of every defense in the NFL, is 41 years old and will be 42 if he decides to play next year. Facing doubt and opposition this year, Tom Brady, has taken on the underdog role for the 2018 season.
Yes, this multi-time Super Bowl winner and MVP, has decided to take on the underdog role as laughable as that is. Multiple social media posts and team videos show Tom Brady speak about how the media has doubted him due to his age and surrounding talent. Brady has used this as fuel the entire year. Upon possibly winning the Super Bowl, Brady will have to decide if this will be the time to retire, after being doubted by “everyone,” would it not be sweet to retire after winning on the biggest stage? Hopefully the answer is a resounding yes and hopefully Tom Brady decides this would be the perfect way to end his career. If Brady loses, I don’t see him retiring. Instead, I see him posting more ridiculous “underdog” images and videos for 2020.
The hooded shadowy figure that is Bill Belichick will become the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl, at 67 years old, if he is able to pull this off. Having built the greatest dynasty in sports history, will he be ready to do it again without the most important piece of the puzzle?
Hopefully with Tom Brady retiring, Belichick will have to start anew at the quarterback position, a daunting task for the 67-year-old. Countless time and luck are needed to repeat the success he found in Tom Brady, why not hand the reigns over to Josh McDaniels and ride off into the sunset with Brady?
Cheer for the Patriots and bite the bullet, let Brady and Belichick ride off into the sunset. Meanwhile, Miami will acquire a respected coach coming off a Super Bowl victory and face a division that will have Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and possibly a third rookie quarterback. The race for the AFC East is underway. The old ruler will be gone and the struggle for power will begin. Or, watch the Patriots lose and hope that the best coach of all time and best quarterback of all time somehow don’t win the AFC East division and march back into the playoffs like they have since the year 2000.
The choice is yours.
This story was written by Oliver Candido. Follow him on Twitter: @BrazilCandido
The great Ron Wolf once stated: “it is worth drafting a QB every year no matter the current roster situation. While there is only room for one starter, you can never acquire too many.”
This is one of the most profound philosophies that this writer has ever heard and it makes complete sense. Let’s take a look at this.
First, in today’s NFL, the most important position is QB. While QB has always been an important position, the truth of the matter is that the NFL has changed drastically over the last 30 years. And it is a QB driven league. The teams who made it to the top four in the playoffs have marquee QBs in Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff.
All top tier QB’s in 2018.
Since the game has evolved into an up-tempo, hurry-up air-raid style offense, teams with these kind of QBs are separating themselves from everybody else.
Over the last 18 years, the Miami Dolphins have drafted six quarterbacks: Brandon Doughty (7th round), Ryan Tannehill (1st round), Pat White (2nd round), Chad Henne (2nd round), John Beck (2nd round) and Josh Heupel (6th round). These names tell me that the Miami Dolphins organization haven’t developed anything except for a fractured fan base and a horrendous case of hemorrhoids.
While Tannehill was the best of the bunch, he is an average NFL starter at best and we find ourselves in 2019 looking at a rebuild. My biggest question is who they are going to tap as QB coach? I hope it’s somebody who has a track record of developing QBs not named Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Tom Brady.
While reports are out there that Brian Flores will be the next Dolphins coach, we do not know this with 100% certainty. If Flores is the next head coach, what kind of offense does he plan on implementing? This will almost certainly determine which QB is the right fit. I have said for years that QBs are all system players.
A great offensive coordinator will tailor the offense to the QBs strengths instead of having a talented QB learn a whole new system. All QBs process information differently and some just simply cannot adjust to a system that isn’t designed to their abilities.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady would not have been as successful running an offense in Green Bay that required more mobility and elusiveness and the ability to get outside the pocket. In one season, Jared Goff went from looking like the biggest bust to an All Pro…all because Sean McVay overhauled the offense and tailored it to Goff’s biggest strengths.
In 2019, I am not sold on ANY QB as being a high first round draft pick. Many QB needy teams are going to reach and grab a guy who tests well at the combine. We have seen this over and over again. Jake Locker, JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Heath Shuler, Rick Mirer, Cade McCown, Rex Grossman, etc. As a college football fanatic, the year to grab a top tier QB is 2020. Who could Miami bring in for some competition and a chance to make the roster in 2nd-5th rounds?
Will Grier is an intriguing prospect and will most likely be there by the third round. He was a transfer from Florida and set the Big 12 on fire in 2018 for the West Virginia Mountaineers. He completed almost 70% of his passes for nearly 4,000 yards, 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In two nationally televised games against top tier programs such as Texas and Oklahoma, he threw for 346 yards and four touchdowns against Texas and 539 yards and six touchdowns against Oklahoma. While Oklahoma’s defense was subpar this year, it was an opportunity for Grier to shine and he did not disappoint.
Josh Rosen, starting QB for the Arizona Cardinals could be another option. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury has stated previously that he would draft Kyler Murray 1st overall…does he want to hitch his wagon to Rosen who he did not draft and had run three different schemes at UCLA under three different offensive coordinators.
Speaking of Murray, he was electrifying in 2018. Depending on the type of offense the Dolphins new regime will run, Murray could be an option if he wows scouts at the combine and isn’t playing the NFL against Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics for a salary increase.
Is Murray worth the risk in 2019 knowing the plethora of QBs available in 2020?
Jordan Ta’amu of Ole Miss has been impressive at the Shrine game. He was a bit banged up this year but still put together a solid season. He will certainly be available in the third round and is worth a flyer. He completed 64% of his passes for almost 4,000 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He will need developing but has all the physical tools to succeed at the next level.
As one of the biggest critics of the Dolphins organization over the last 15 years, I am cautiously optimistic that Chris Grier will have a plan and will not stop until Miami has their QB. It is a must that they draft a QB in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The focus needs to completely be on getting the right guy to become the cornerstone of the franchise. If the Cleveland Browns could do it, I am certain that they will get it right under Ross or after his departure.
This story was written by James Barbaro. Follow him on Twitter: @thebigbear1977
There has been talk about the Miami Dolphins preparing to move on from Ryan Tannehill. If that is the case, most NFL executives think Miami will not get anymore than a mid-round pick for him.
Although that may be the case, the price could increase if teams start a bidding war for him. Here are some teams that could potentially be interested in acquiring the 30-year old QB.
This story was written by Tanner Elliott. Follow him on Twitter: @Elliott302Tj
The mission of the Jason Taylor Foundation has been made abundantly clear over the years. Since the day it was founded, all the way back when the now Hall of Fame pass rusher was still making a name for himself in the NFL, the foundation has been focused on helping children in all walks of life.
In fact, they do so much already, that the Whiffle Ball tournament that was held on Saturday morning and afternoon for the third year in a row, almost never came into being.
"Dr. Todd Rodman, with sports chiropractic and natural health solutions, came to us." said Jason Taylor Foundation executive director Seth Levit. "He was a friend of the organization, we knew him through his family and some work with his nephew that we did. He has had a dream of putting on this whiffle ball tournament. Quite honestly, I was like, 'I don't need another event.' But Sean Todd, our vice president of operations, bought in, and he and Todd Rodman got together and this is their vision."
Their vision consisted of Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Florida, food trucks, live performances by various dance teams from schools in the area, and enough whiffle balls to supply an army, which is exactly what they had out there as over 34 teams, with over 200 players in total, came out to compete in support of the cause.
"We're about helping kids build a better future," said Levit. "Dr. Rodman very specifically wanted to raise money for children battling pediatric cancer, and then other pediatric emergencies as well. We do a lot of work with the Holtz Children's Hospital, and now this event helps support the work we do with Holtz, particularly those young people that are unfortunately suffering through cancer."
On top of the 200 players, 70 volunteers were on hand to offer their services for the event, with 150-200 spectators rounding things out. The amount of money raised from all of this effort? Nearly $30,000 dollars.
And there was nary a celebrity (with the exception of Levit's Fish Tank podcast partner O.J. McDuffie) to be found.
"What's really magical about it, it's not a celebrity event." said Levit. "Normally when you're here, you can't turn your head without bumping into a Dolphin. O.J. McDuffie, my partner on the podcast does have a team here, but this isn't about someone coming out just to see Jason (Taylor). This is about the community enjoying whiffle ball, coming out for a beautiful day, and knowing that they're gonna help young people."
It speaks to the level of dedication that the South Florida community has to making a difference that so much money could be raised with the only incentive being a day at the park and a cause to support. No celebrities, no promises of autographs, just a desire to make a difference.
The winners for the tournament was a team known as Wizard Creations, and that marks the second year in a row their team has come out on top. No doubt they will return to try and three-peat next year, where hopefully the event will reach even greater milestones.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
Dolphins expected to hire Packers inside linebacker/run game coordinator Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator
Everyone please meet the Miami Dolphins projected new defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham.
Graham is currently the Green Bay Packers inside linebacker/run game coordinator. Graham and the Dolphins expected head coach Brian Flores both worked together in New England from 2009-2015. In New England, Graham was the linebackers coach and defensive line coach. He greatly improved the defense of the Patriots and helped some players have the best years of their careers.
Players such as Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, and Jerod Mayo had some of their better - if not their best - seasons being coached by Graham. He made players who were backups turn into starters when the original starter went out with injury. One player in particular is Chandler Jones. Jones had his breakout season the year Vince Wilfork went out with an achilles injury. That season Jones put up 11.5 sacks in his breakout season.
During his time in New England as a position coach (2011-2015), Graham was a part of a defense that was first in the league in takeaways and fourth in sacks during that span. In 2016 he joined the New York Giants as the defensive line coach and held that position until 2017. Graham was the defensive line coach when the Giants line was thought of as one of the best in 2016 when they signed former Dolphin Olivier Vernon.
Overall, I think that making Graham the new defensive coordinator is a very good idea. He will instantly make the defensive line and linebacker corps better and hopefully able to coach some of our young players such as Jerome Baker, Raekwon McMillan, Charles Harris, and Davon Godchaux.
Something else to consider is that Miami may soon be transitioning to the 3-4 defense with the eventual hiring of Brian Flores as head coach. The Packers also utilize this scheme, which adds further credence to this concept.
This story was written by Tanner Elliott. Follow him on Twitter: @Elliott302Tj
We’ve all heard the expression “waiting for Mr. Right” or “waiting for Mrs. Right.” When you’re looking for that perfect match in your personal life, sometimes you need to sort through all the mismatches and bad experiences to finally find the right person for you. Sometimes after a break up, it can take weeks, months, or even years to finally find that perfect match.
In the case of the Miami Dolphins, however, “waiting for Mr. Right” has never been the motto of the franchise. But this season is different. The 2019 Dolphins are showing more patience to get the guy they want and they are waiting longer than they have in many seasons before.
Think back to as recently as when Adam Gase was hired to fill the coaching vacancy for the Dolphins to replace interim coach Dan Campbell. Miami's final game of that season was on January 1, 2016, and Gase was hired on January 9, 2016, which meant the Dolphins top brass took eight days to interview their candidates and decide on Gase.
Or, go back even further to the 2011 season when Joe Philbin was brought in to lead the team. Remember that this coaching change occurred after the blown attempt to bring in Jim Harbaugh while Tony Sparano was leading the team. The prior season also ended on January 1, and Philbin was officially hired on January 20 after multiple attempts to bring in other coaches. (Yes, this was a longer timeframe, but that was because the Dolphins were chasing after coaches who did not want to coach for the Dolphins)
And, before that, you had Cam Cameron fired on January 3, 2008 to be replaced by Tony Sparano on January 16, a difference of 13 days.
The Miami Dolphins are now at the 20-day mark since the last game of the 2018 season and they are 19 days without a head football coach. It’s pretty clear, based on reports, that New England Patriots de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores will be the guy to fill the role.
With the Patriots still in the playoffs, Miami Dolphins fans have more of a reason to root against the Patriots this weekend. Not only would watching the Patriots lose an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl be satisfying for many Fins fans (and everyone else in the country not in New England), but the Dolphins could move on with their lives with their new coach.
Fins fans can only hope that when the Patriots do finally lose, that Brian Flores is as prepared to coach the team as he was prepared for the Dolphins coaching interview. And fans can only hope that he has his team of coaches and coordinators selected and ready to go. And, most importantly, Dolphins fans will hope that” Waiting for Mr. Right” this time around will result in future success for the team and franchise.
The Dolphins fanbase can’t handle another messy breakup.
This story was written by Ian Berger. Follow him on Twitter: @ian693
Actualmente los Dolphins de Miami mantienen bajo contrato tres mariscales de campo:Ryan Tannehill, Luke Falk, de quien se dice era el proyecto de futuro de Adam Gase, y el recién adquirido Jake Ruddock. Dentro de ese contexto hay rumores fuertes de que Tannehill será cambiado o dejado en libertad antes del comienzo de los entrenamientos.
Dichos rumores se basan en su pobre desempeño a la hora de producir victorias, su ausencia por lesiones en más del 50% de los juegos en las últimas tres temporadas, pero principalmente por su elevado costo, 26.3 millones contra el tope salarial de los Dolphins y otros 13 millones en dinero muerto contra el tope. Aún Tannehill teniendo una gran temporada este año, sería cuesta arriba mantenerlo en el roster, ya que su contrato estipula que la reestructuración del mismo no puede ir más allá de 5.2 millones.
Es un costo demasiado elevado, ya que deja a los Dolphins con las manos atadas en el nuevo proyecto de reconstrucción. Por lo que no hay manera de que Tannehill esté en el futuro inmediato del equipo, a menos que renunciase a su contrato actual y acepte uno de quizás una tercera parte de su dinero actual. Luke Falk es un jugador interesante, con un brazo poderoso, que durante el pasado sorteo de novatos era el preferido de Adam Gase, pero fue seleccionado por los Titans de Tennessee.
Al comenzar la temporada y ser dejado en libertad, sin razón aparente, Gase no dudó en reclamarlo y fue firmado por los Dolphins. Una semana más tarde fue puesto en reserva por lesión, dejando el proyecto de desarrollo de Gase en suspenso. Por último, Jake Ruddock fue adquirido para un futuro contrato con los Dolphins hace sólo tres días.
Fue seleccionado por los Lions de Detroit en el sorteo de 2016 y tuvo una buena pretemporada este año, pero solo se tradujo en menos de 10 intentos de pase durante la temporada, por lo que su firma es una incógnita en el futuro de los Dolphins.
La situación se ha tornado especulativa. Muchos entendidos dicen que se trabajará por volver a firmar a David Fales y junto a Falk se harán cargo de la posición y en el sorteo de novatos del 2020 tratarán de ir por Tua Tagovailoa. Veo difícil que los Dolphins teniendo un turno de primera ronda más arriba del 10, logren conseguir a Tua. Para el sorteo de este año muchos sueñan con Kyler Murray, pero hay equipos que piden en los primeros cinco turnos con necesidad de un mariscal de campo (QB) que lo seleccionarán.
Por lo que es realmente casi imposible ver a Murray en uniforme Dolphin. Creo que sería sensato para Chris Grier echar una mirada a Daniel Jones, este jugador es muy parecido a Peyton Manning y su dirigente en Duke en los últimos dos años, David Cutcliffe ha sido el artífice de muy buenos mariscales de campo cuándo han llegado a la NFL tales como Peyton e Eli Manning.
Jones podría estar sin ser seleccionado al momento del turno de los Dolphins en este próximo sorteo de novatos. Es un mariscal de campo (QB) con mucho físico y presencia detrás de la línea ofensiva. Además, los Dolphins no tendrían que hacer cambios y perder turnos y selecciones futuras para tratar de adquirirlo.
Algo que no pasaría ni con Murray este año o Tua el próximo año donde habría que empeñar varios turnos del futuro. Jones se podría unir a Falk y Fales dentro de un proyecto de reconstrucción basado en jugadores jóvenes con el talento para ser exitosos en la NFL.
Sólo el tiempo dirá sí Grier mantendrá a Tannehill en el equipo y quién se uniría a Falk y a Ruddock en el cuerpo de mariscales de campo (QBs), si realmente los Dolphins esperarán al 2020 para seleccionar o si irán al mercado a firmar un agente libre como Joe Flacco o Teddy Bridgewater. Por el momento sólo hay especulación, la ventana al futuro no está abierta aún.
Esta historia fue escrita por Francisco Gonzalez. Síguelo en Twitter: @KicoLares
As the Miami Dolphins head into the offseason after another dismal year, a couple of things are certain. There’s going to be a new coach, new players, new draft picks, and almost guaranteed a new quarterback. That’s right, the Ryan Tannehill era is undoubtedly coming to an end after seven long mediocre seasons.
The question is, who will replace him? Could the Dolphins future be in the NFL already? If so, where is he then?
Miami's franchise quarterback, could have just completed his rookie season in Arizona.
Since Kliff Kingsbury was hired as the new head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, it’s been rumored that he may be willing to deal 2018 first round pick Josh Rosen. This move would be made so he could, of course, draft a new quarterback. That quarterback being the recently declared Kyler Murray, who Kingsbury has said before that he would take number one overall if he could.
Kingsbury did give a glowing review about Rosen in a press conference shortly after his hiring, stating things like, Rosen was an extremely talented thrower of the football. Could the intrigue of a playmaker like Murray lead to him dealing a potential franchise quarterback before he’s had a chance to develop?
If Josh Rosen really is on the market, then the first team that should be calling, is the Miami Dolphins. At the ripe age of 23, Brian Flores could land himself the quarterback of the future without having to pay a king's ransom. Rosen’s rookie season was filled with a lot of ups and downs. He finished the season with 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. He was also sacked 45 times.
Rosen finished the season with a 66.7 passer rating. The stats aren’t really eye popping, but with the right coaching and the right pieces, he could be molded into a franchise cornerstone.
All in all, it’s time for the Dolphins to shake things up in Miami. It’s also time to move on at the QB position. For the Dolphins, it’s almost now or never.
What do you think?
This story was written by Dakota Gabel. Follow him on Twitter: @DakotasForrest
These are not bad words but rather words of hope and inspiration. The same hope and inspiration we have all grown to embrace the last 20 years. It’s a usual song with similar lyrics, one that speaks to just how much more or less mediocre the upcoming season will be. The song's chorus rings loud, “Suck for Luck.”
I remember that one where we finally get the top draft pick, one that even Camarillo can’t deny, just to negotiate salary early on a left tackle whilst drinking Henne just to make the tears subside. Who wanted a franchise QB with that pick anyway. Who really cares that he’s still in the league, am I right?
As I push aside the sadness and hang on every Dolphins decision of the offseason, I think of teams that simply bite the proverbial bullet and suck for a time. This franchise needs to understand a thing or two about today’s NFL. As an armchair quarterback, I’m here to make my voice heard all the way up to that front office.
A rebuild is not letting a few young guys play whilst bringing in a couple of veteran retreads to balance out the average age. Bringing in some false narrative about veteran leadership just so fans feel a certain type of way. A rebuild is a commitment to sucking for a time, collecting draft picks and picking best player available. The Miami Dolphins have a few guys worthy of getting paid who can be our veterans.
The Xavien Howards of the world deserve to be paid, he is a franchise guy hitting his prime. He is your leader, he’s earned it. There are very few players with untouchable status on this roster but there are a few. Let the young guys play and coach them up. Let them transition to their prime and fail forward fast.
The 2019 Miami Dolphins do not have a bright future so why bring in someone else’s discards? You end up having to give them a deal that forces tough roster decisions elsewhere and it’s never worth it. Name me the last free agent signing that lived up to their contract? I simply can’t handle another knee jerk reaction sold as sizzle.
Miami has holes all over the roster. Did you know Kenyan Drake barely had 500 yards rushing this past season? That he lost carries to a guy in Frank Gore who’s turning 36 years old this year? Thousand-yard seasons fall off trees in this league for crying out loud. At this point the list of who to keep would be much more manageable than asking who to move on from.
See, I’m already thinking ahead by working on my fantasy football team name for next year. I already have a few I’m kicking around like, “Bring Me Tua Ring” or how about “Tagovailoa You’re It."
I am not disloyal or a bad fan for feeling this way. I am simply being realistic about today’s NFL and the path to success we see in the league year in year out. Eagles, Seahawks, Steelers, all come to mind. Teams that built out their roster whilst enduring bad quarterback play. Then the time came for those franchises to draft their guy. A guy who was elevated because the positions around him were already progressed.
That’s the vision I would like to see the Miami Dolphins employ. Let’s get back to a top 5 defense. Let’s get back to a top 5 run game. Let’s focus more on the 21 other positions this upcoming year and maybe just maybe we will hear the sweet strings of that “Vailoa-In 2020!”
This story was written by Steven Paulsen. Follow him on Twitter: @SarcasticPhin
So, I'm sure plenty of you have heard the news regarding the Dolphins targeting Brian Flores as their next head coach. With this news, I can see on Dolphins Twitter that most are:
Disappointed - Due to the white hot rise in popularity of Kris Richard.
Worried - Let's face it, who was the last successful head coach to blossom from the Bill Belichick tree of coaching?
Angry - What has this team showed me to think that they are capable of making any good decisions towards winning?
I'm not going to sit here and pretend like these feelings are not valid. I too worry about these things and more. But...this team needs you all more than ever. There is a lot of negativity towards this potential move (not official yet) and I want to give you the opposite. I am going to try and help you see the bright side of this potential hire. I want to start with his career to date.
Now, I know Gase and Philbin more recently burned the team due to their "friends" being brought on. This feels different, being comfortable with people who have had success is different from being friends who don't know how to succeed. Say what you want about Belichick disciples and Flores' ability to succeed, but he has been a part of success, which is more than the Dolphins can say recently.
Second, Grier too worked his way up the ranks from the bottom. Ironically enough, he began as a scout for who?
You guessed it...those New England Patriots. If anyone knows how tough it is to succeed as a scout it's those two. There's a sense of comradeship with scouts and I respect those who do that work, let alone succeed in it. And say what you want, but these two have had, at the very least a say, in identifying talent and potential. Both having that background and perspective strengthens my trust in identifying talented players as well as a consistency that has been lacked in Miami's front office.
Lastly, I get that Belichick's tree has not been fruitful. I would be dumb to sit here and definitively say he will be the one that succeeds. I'm not that blind and naive my friends. But, there are rumblings that Flores has presented a strong plan for his coaching staff (headlined by former head coach Jim Caldwell). Regardless of his success as a head coach, I am encouraged that he understands the importance of having a staff that addresses his deficiencies.
The thought of having a coach on his staff who has succeeded as a head coach is promising. I'm encouraged that potentially there can be a staff that is not only balanced, but on the same page and with a track record of success (See Adam Gase's staff as well as Philbin's).
In closing, I get that there may be holes in some of the things I identified. I get that some of it is best case scenario and life doesn't work that way. I get that Flores and Grier probably don't deserve the benefit of the doubt. But what I do get is that the Miami Dolphins finally have one leader with one vision and the potential to have a unified direction with his chosen head coach shows me there is reason to believe.
This story was written by Carlos Camacho. Follow him on Twitter: @DolfansVoice
With the recent reports of the Miami Dolphins looking to find their franchise quarterback in the 2020 draft, this leaves the Dolphins looking for a band-aid quarterback for the 2019 season. They can either find him through the draft, trade, or free agency. Here are some option that Miami can do this offseason.
This story was written by Tanner Elliott. Follow him on Twitter: @Elliott302Tj
According to former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase in a June 9, 2018 article published by the Palm Beach Post, regarding 1st round draft pick Charles Harris’ disappointing 2017 rookie season, Gase said this:
“He’s of the guys I’m least worried about."
That statement, Dolphins fans, sums up why Adam Gase, and soon Matt Burke, are no longer a part of the Dolphins organization. In 25 career games, Harris has two sacks. Two. Furthermore, Gase also stated this:
“The more football he plays, the better he’s going to get. I thought he had a pretty good year. He did a lot of good things and we’re excited about what he showed us.”
For the sake of argument, we all know that NFL head coaches lie like cement with the media. Was the scouting department, Mike Tannenbaum and Adam Gase wrong?
It certainly appears that way.
Let’s examine the rest of the defensive ends in 2018. The predicted “four-headed monster" of veteran DE’s Cameron Wake, the addition of Robert Quinn, William Hayes and second year first round pick Charles Harris was anything but a monster. The lack of pass rush, QB pressures and sacks were some of the key reasons for a mid- season skid that made a mess out of Gase’s underwear.
Imagine if the DE’s were actually getting pressure on the QB, Xavien Howard may have had 12 picks. Hayes went on IR, Robert Quinn became the Julius Thomas of this year’s Gase signings, and Wake played like an aging 37 year old DE who made it clear he wasn’t happy. In this writer’s opinion, DE must be addressed in the NFL draft or through free agency.
I can live with bringing Harris back under a new regime due to his age and freakish athletic ability, but Wake, Robert Quinn and William Hayes should be jettisoned out of South Florida. Thank you to Cameron Wake for your amazing career but you were unfortunately imprisoned by one of the most dysfunctional franchises in professional sports…and now Father Time has finally caught up with you.
The 2019 NFL draft is loaded with quality pass rushers, led by the consensus top pick, Ohio State All-American Nick Bosa, brother of Chargers DE Joey Bosa and son of former Dolphins DE John Bosa.
Most likely, Bosa will go in the top seven picks and Miami is in no position to move up for a DE this year with a rebuild on the horizon. But not to worry, the talent at DE this year is rich with talent. Most likely, if Brian Flores is named head coach of the Dolphins, he will be running a 3-4 style defense.
The best alternative options other than Bosa in a 3-4 scheme are Michigan’s edge rusher Rashan Gary, who is 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, and ended the season with six sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and 65 total tackles while missing four and a half games with an AC joint sprain. His size, speed and athleticism make him a rare athlete who could turn into a dominant defender.
Clelin Ferrell, DE from Clemson is 6-foot-5, 270 pounds and runs a 4.77 forty yard dash. He finished 2018 with 55 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles. He had a highly productive career at Clemson and will be an impact rookie wherever he lands.
Montez Sweat, DE from Mississippi State is another option for the Dolphins. He is 6-foot-6, 250 pounds and runs a 4.6 forty yard dash. He is built like Jason Taylor but much more explosive off the edge. Scouts are drooling over his footwork and hand techniques.
Other DE’s that are worth mentioning are: Jachai Polite, Florida; Zach Allen, Boston College; Brian Burns, FSU and Jaylon Ferguson out of Louisiana Tech. Honorable Mentions include Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion; Carl Granderson, Wyoming; Austin Bryant, Clemson.
The pure lack of a pass rush makes the rest of the defense vulnerable. In today’s NFL with the amount of mobile QBs who are playing out of their minds, a fierce pass rush is the essential ingredient to preserving the LBs and DBs. We need guys with speed on the ends who are explosive when chasing down QBs and I haven’t seen any of that for a while down in Miami.
Applying pressure in most cases creates panic in a QB’s psyche and that is one of the best friends a defense could ask for. While we have many glaring needs, pass rushers should be at the top of the organizations priorities this off season.
This story was written by James Barbaro. Follow him on Twitter: @thebigbear1997
Per reports coming from Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport, looks like Jim Caldwell will be joining Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins staff. As of now it doesn’t look like Caldwell has a set position. with Breer simply reporting Caldwell will be on the staff with no disclosed position as of yet.
"I expect him to be a part of the staff, but maybe not as OC. Even if Flores had landed Roman or Kingsbury, my understanding is that Caldwell likely still would have been in the mix in an associate head coach-type role."
No matter the position that Coach Caldwell is placed in we should all be excited as Dolphin’s fans.
To emphasize the hire expected to be made by Flores, investigate the staff changes made by Adam Gase. There is a long list of questionable changes made by Gase, but they all fit a similar mold: most of them had a history with Adam Gase but they weren’t winners. Most notably is Dowell Loggains.
Replacing Gase as the offensive coordinator in Chicago, Loggains led a poor offensive attack that lacked any bright spots. Before being the coordinator for the Bears, Loggains was the QB coach while Gase was the coordinator. Together they helped elevate Jay Cutler to his best year, but as Dolphins fans know, this doesn’t translate to wins.
Follow the trail for Loggains in his NFL coaching career and you don’t see playoff wins or championship caliber teams, you can say the same for most of the staff brought in by Adam Gase.
Jim Caldwell yields an impressive resume that boasts three Superbowl appearances and two wins. Caldwell was brought over to the Colts with Tony Dungy from the Buccaneers and held many titles, including QB coach, offensive coordinator, and assistant to the head coach. He was an important part of the staff that assisted in bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Indianapolis in 2007.
Following Tony Dungy’s retirement in 2008, Jim Caldwell was promoted to Head Coach for the 2009 season. In his rookie season the Colts went 14-2 with their two losses coming at the end of the season while they sat their starters. With one of the best regular season campaigns by a rookie head coach, the Colts marched on to the Super Bowl.
Although they were handed a defeat from the Saints, this season showed much promise for the future. Next year they marched right back into the playoffs and this was a common occurrence for Caldwell, making the playoffs twice with the Colts, twice with the Lions, and was the offensive coordinator for the Ravens during their Super Bowl win. Coach Caldwell has proven to be a winner, being an integral part in these Super Bowl campaigns by the Colts and Ravens.
Coach Flores is bringing along respected staff that not only have head coaching experience but are proven winners. Who you surround yourself with speaks volumes to who you are and if Flores wants to make Miami into winners, they need staff and players who know what it means and what it takes to win.
This story was written by Oliver Candido. Follow him on Twitter: @BrazilCandido
So...Brian Flores will most likely be the head coach for the Miami Dolphins, huh? Well, for those of you who see this as a forgone conclusion and wonder what that means next, it's your lucky day. I want to gloss over what his assistants would look like (Because let's be honest, nobody truly knows for certain until the announcement is made) and think about free agency.
I know it's still a long ways away and there's still so much that could change. But, what's more mouthwatering for me at the moment is what this Miami Dolphins defense could potentially look like.
Flores obviously specializes on the defensive side of the ball and we all know the Patriots play a combination defense with lots of 3-4 elements, perhaps even mainly so. Given the current needs of the team, the Dolphins most likely need to add at least one player at each layer of the defense aside from safety (that means DT, DE, LB and CB).
And I have an idea that most people won't like...I want to poach three specific players from the dark side.
Now let's think about this logically and start with Flowers. Flowers will be considered one of the top 10 (possibly top 5) free agents available this offseason. Yes, I know he will command at least $14 million dollars. I get it, but hear me out.
He is young (26 years old), Flores knows and has a relationship with him, he is able to play multiple positions and assignments, he fits an immediate need the Dolphins have.
This is different from rationalizing a huge contract for Ndamukong Suh or Mike Wallace. The Dolphins, where they stand, have approximately $22 million for free agents. This is without including possible relief that can fluctuate this number by moves that include releasing or trading guys like Ryan Tannehill, Robert Quinn, Andre Branch, and DeVante Parker.
That list also doesn't include guys like Reshad Jones, Kiko Alonso, T.J. McDonald, Cameron Wake, and more who at some point or another we have heard whispers about.
So money is honestly not an issue. And no, dropping money on a guy who will have the trust of our rookie head coach, knows the scheme, and inevitably weakens our rival's defense gives us plenty of reason to strongly consider this. Not to mention he will still be under 30 in four seasons. Plenty of time to draft the next great Miami Dolphins DE...right?
Also, this signing, albeit an expensive one, would allow the Dolphins flexibility in the draft. Drafting BPA is better because we have a plan for an edge rusher who can move around, and the sexy pick will be that Miami needs to draft a QB. Signing Flowers (along with the others mentioned) relieves the pressure of needing to address several holes the team has. It sets up flexibility to trade up, down, or stand pat (no pun intended) without feeling desperate enough to sacrifice the rest of the team's needs for a QB.
Now, let's move on to Brown and Rowe. These two are bunched together because they are not particularly considered high price and/or elite talent. But, that's not what this team needs. These two have shown a tendency to play within a system that will be foreign to players currently on our roster.
They know their assignments, they know the responsibilities of their position, and again they are trusted by Flores to do their job. They don't need to be top of the line talent. They won't impede Miami's ability to draft at those positions in the next couple of years due to their ages (both are under 26 years old). Imagine a rotation of Brown, Godchaux, and Taylor. Imagine Xavien Howard with Eric Rowe opposite of him with Jones and Minkah Fitzpatrick playing deep.
Doesn't sound so bad after putting that out there, huh? Again, these moves just make sense on multiple fronts.
Rebuilding does not mean we cannot look to free agency to supplement building our team. Like I mentioned earlier, guys like Suh, Wallace, and more have damaged our thinking about free agency. We used free agency with the thought that we were one player away, not to mention disregarding the future consequences of the roster.
At worst, all these guys get cut in 2-3 years and they filled their roles long enough for Miami to draft and develop the most important position: quarterback. Best case scenario these guys play a huge role as consistent contributors on defense with a developed QB and a balanced team ready to truly (and finally) compete long-term. Would that really be such a bad thing?
This story was written by Carlos Camacho. Follow him on Twitter: @DolfansVoice
With Chris Grier now taking on more responsibility than before, the team's new football man in charge has called upon someone close to him to be his right hand man, as now former Bills National Scout Marvin Allen will be leaving Buffalo to join Grier and become the Miami Dolphins' assistant general manager.
Allen is greatly respected across the NFL for his scouting and talent, and before joining the Bills last season, he spent four years with the Kansas City Chiefs (2013-2016) as their Director of College Scouting (which means he likely had a hand in drafting players like Travis Kelce, Eric Fisher, Dee Ford, Marcus Peters, Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes), and now brings his expertise to the Dolphins to assist Grier as the team rebuilds after years of desperately trying to patch holes.
“Marvin started in the 90’s. He’s most recently been a college (scouting) director so he’s sat in that seat,” Bills GM Brandon Beane said when he brought in Allen in 2017. “He’s going to be a great resource not only for me, but for all our college scouts.”
Before his tenure with the Chiefs, Allen spent time with the Falcons as a national scout (2009-2013), and before that, spent around 16 years with the New England Patriots, not only as a scout, but as a running back from 1988-1991, which is likely where he and Grier first connected.
If Allen can help the Dolphins to hit on some great picks in the next year or so, then that will be an excellent start to what will hopefully be the foundation of a new dynasty. The team still has to bring in a head coach, which reportedly will also be a former member of the Patriots (once hired) in de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter:@LuisDSung