By: Hussam Patel
It's Senior Bowl week Dolphins fans and Hussam Patel (@HussamPatel) is bringing you coverage all week until the game. Hussam will be posting clips on his twitter page with film clips, breakdowns and practice footage. Make sure to follow Hussam Patel and PhinManiacs for Senior Bowl and Draft coverage.
By: Jason Sarney
Starting a new calendar year and a new coaching search in the middle of the NFL playoffs gives an entirely different view of the competitive landscape going on behind the scenes. As we've all seen this week, the NFL head coaching carousel is not only in full swing, but social media also has certain things spinning out of control.
Over the last 24 hours a few NFL coaching vacancies have been filled, including those in Denver and Chicago. The Broncos hired Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and the Bears inked Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.
Since the NFL season ended, and while several other NFL teams are deciding who their new head man will be, the Miami Dolphins seem to have a caravan of names rolling in and out of interviews via Zoom, in-person, or even potentially “house calls.”
As per a source extremely close to the team, I was told the following:
To preface, NFL assistant coaches can’t leave their contracted team and role unless the new HC comes and officially says they don’t want that coach, due to them having their own guy they want to hire. The coaches that were hired by the former HC cannot leave with that HC if they are still under contract. They can only leave if it’s for a promotion, or if the new HC lets them out to pursue that position.
So, to translate and correct my own gaffe – here goes:
Should Brian Daboll accept the rumored offer that the Dolphins have given him; it has been told to me that he would be bringing his own “quarterback coach."
Now we get to the titles: The current Buffalo Bills QB coach is Shea Tierney, and THAT is the person who could be elevated to a new job IN Miami. I am NOT closing the book on Dorsey, who has an offensive coordinator promotion waiting in either Buffalo, Miami, or…here we go with another team….
The New York Giants are the epicenter of the next 72 hours of NFL coaching hires. They have major interest in two men…Brian Daboll, and ironically, Brian Flores. It seems that Daboll is in an excellent position of leverage, weighing his options between New York and Miami.
Rumors may lead people to believe that Brian Daboll may prefer New York, but the reason he hadn't been locked up yet is that New York may prefer Brian Flores. This can be a very dicey thing, because when it comes to employment and offers-in-waiting for acceptances are applied, time is always the enemy, for both sides.
New York could make things extremely easy by simply hiring Brian Flores; that would leave Brian Daboll as likely to accept the Miami Dolphins position, thus eliminating the round of interviews Miami has set up with their secondary targets. This brings me to Miami's backup plans, which include Thomas Brown and potentially other coaches that are still coaching in the NFL playoffs, such as San Francisco's Mike McDaniel and Kansas City's Eric Bienemy.
Simply put, every job search in every profession has a top candidate that a company or a team would prefer. If that person accepts the job, all other interviews are immediately cancelled. On the flip side, should their top candidate decide this is not the role for them, Miami has set themselves up in a terrific position to interview a slew of contingency plans. They seem to always have Plans A,B,C and D.
So, when we put all of this into a blender, mix it up and attempt to digest a smooth deliverance of some sort of prediction, here goes: In a hypothetical scenario much like playoff predicting a month ago, I will do my absolute best to put a bow on this here:
IF NYG Hires Brian Flores, I predict: Brian Daboll will accept the Miami Dolphins job
IF this occurs, Daboll will bring a QB assistant coach which could be in all likelihood, Tierney. Dorsey will in all likelihood be promoted to OC in Buffalo, unless enticed by Miami, and new potential HC, Daboll.
IF NYG hires Brian Daboll, Brian Flores will go to HOUSTON and the Miami coaching search will continue with interviews next week, both 2nd and potentially new names, as their 1st choice, Brian Daboll, would be gone.
This is where we stand before lunch on Friday.
By Hussam Patel
Evan Neal is widely considered an elite offensive tackle prospect, and one of the best players in the nation regardless of position. He was moved back to left tackle in 2021, where he played a ridiculous 1073 snaps while starting 16 games and gave up 2 sacks with just one holding penalty.
At 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds, Neal is a mountain sized tackle with unfathomable height, size, raw power and natural strength to wash out defenders in space. This off-season Neal clocked 18.5 MPH on the GPS, routinely hitting box jumps at 48 inches. Neal has bench pressed 475 pounds and squatted 650.
On tape, Neal is versatile, as he’s played both left and right tackle, while also logging snaps at left guard his freshman year. He’s the best run blocker in the nation, and a dominant force in the run game. He doesn’t have elite foot speed, but is fluid enough to get to the attack point.
Neal is a clear cut NFL left tackle, where he could become an AP All-Pro at his position. He’s best on the left, where he could become a dominating or even elite pro. He’s explosive out of his stance, with surprising agility and lateral movement considering his body type. He’s easily the most athletic offensive lineman in the 2022 NFL Draft, with huge upside.
He does need to work on his technique in pass pro, just to be more consistent in moving his feet and staying low. With his size, he may be a liability in short yardage situations, as defenders can get underneath him to hold the line, using more consistent leverage and continuing to move their feet.
Neal tends to stop his feet after the first contact, relying on his length and power, but routinely allows defenders to work the corner or spin inside. He is susceptible against speed rushers, as he can’t accelerate fast enough to stop defenders getting past him. He needs to improve his hand technique as a pass blocker. At times, he relies too much on athletic talent and leans into his blocks in both the passing and running game.
Neal is the consensus #1 tackle in the 2022 NFL Draft, and is viewed as an almost can't-miss prospect by most scouts.
He is an amazing athlete along the offensive line, and has the traits and skill sets OL coaches look for.
Evan Neal isn’t perfect, but can certainly be trained in the off season to polish his pass protection skills.
The Senior Bowl is the top College All-Star showcase, composed of two 55-man rosters and built by a team of regional scouts under the direction of Director Jim Nagy. The game provides NFL teams with an extended look at many of the NFL’s draft prospects. Here are five things to know about this year’s Senior Bowl:
1. This year's draft class of quarterbacks is divisive and viewed as thin in scouting circles. NFL clubs in dire need of a QB will have to analyze and scrutinize play in Mobile this year. The American team roster, coached by the Lions coaching staff, includes Malik Willis, Bailey Zappe, and Sam Howell. The National team roster, coached by the Jets coaching staff, includes pPitt's Kenny Pickett, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder, and Nevada's Carson Strong. Pickett and Strong are contenders to be the first Quarterback taken in the NFL Draft, while Malik Willis and Desmond Ridder are seen as projects.
2. The Senior Bowl can boast that 30% of the players in the NFL participated in the Senior Bowl, including 53 Hall of Famers. In 2019, the Senior Bowl showcased 93 players who went on to be drafted, including 10 that became first-round picks and 40 within the first three rounds.
3. It offers a chance for players from small-time schools to showcase their talent to the broader NFL community and all 32 league scouts. The 2021 Senior Bowl brought in talented UW-Whitewater Warhawk OL Quinn Meinerz. Meinerz was a little-known center called up to the Senior Bowl as a member of the Dolphins-coached roster. Meinerz had a solid week of practices, but hurt his arm and was unable to play in-game. Meinerz was selected 98th overall in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He was the highest drafted football player in school history, and the first since 2007. One player to look out for from an FCS School is UNI OL Trevor Penning; he’s received a lot of first and second round buzz.
4. The Senior Bowl is known for showcasing versatility by offering draft prospects a chance to practice at different positions; this comes from the fruits of labor of all the Senior Bowl staff. The scout team emphasizes player skillsets, and looks at exploring a prospect’s NFL potential in a different way.
5. If you're looking for an exciting sleeper at this year's Senior Bowl, look no further than Amare Barno. The Virginia Tech EDGE is listed at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds. He's a long, athletic, and flexible edge rusher who is slippery around tight corners. He’s comfortable playing in space and does well to maintain separation from blocks. The drawback: He's raw and unpolished, as he is new to the position. He might be a developmental guy his first year, but his potential with his traits is through the roof. NFL scouts should judge his refinements in technique and skill on a curve against his overall athleticism.
By: Jason Sarney
In an age where the almighty statistic has moved into the forefront, it made me think about the history of this great game of football, and how Super Bowl winning teams may be able to lift that precious Vince Lombardi trophy.
Waking up on a Sunday with no Miami Dolphins football is pretty agonizing, so what I needed to do was replace that with statistical research and coffee. It seems so many people on social media are going to stats only, and that has gotten me a little agitated because I was raised with the mindset that offense wins games, but defense wins championships.
Let alone the fact that for my entire football life within statistics and NFL passing specifically, has only Dan Marino at the top of my mind. As great as that man was at throwing the football, we all know what was missing in his illustrious career.
Now we get to the statistical study:
I went back & looked at all the quarterback seasonal stats of every Super Bowl Year they won one.
Did you know: In 55 Super Bowl seasons, only one quarterback has ever led the league in yards the same year they won the Super Bowl...so who?
That would be Peyton Manning when he was with the Indianapolis Colts, winning Super Bowl XLI. Only 6 quarterbacks in league history have led the NFL in passing touchdowns their winning year.
They are, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Steve Young, Terry Bradshaw, and Ken Stabler. Additionally…
The average seasonal ranking of QBs in the YEAR THEY WON A SUPER BOWL:
Passing Yards: 12th (11.9, rounding up)
Passing TDs: 9th (rounding down, 9.3)
Here is a look at the multiple Super Bowl-Winning quarterbacks and their Rankings across their SB Victory Seasons
QB/Yards Rank/TD Rank (average in SB Winning Years)
Bart Starr 9th/10th
Ben Roethlisberger 17th/15th
Bob Griese 24th/18th
Eli Manning 8/8
Peyton Manning 14th/5th
No Quarterback in NFL history has won a Super Bowl while leading the league that season in BOTH passing yards and touchdowns.
Now, the average seasonal TEAM DEF rank the season of a SB Win is 5th while the number of times a #1 NFL Yearly defense WON the SB is 15.
A Top 3 defensive unit over a full season has won the Big Game 27 times. Nearly half of the Winning Super Bowl Teams had a Top 3 defense that year.
The Dolphins and Marino lost the Super Bowl to the Niners in January of 1985. Miami had the league's top offense, with Marino leading the NFL in both yards and touchdowns that season. If Miami won that game, Marino would have been the only man in NFL history to win a Super Bowl while finishing that same season Number 1 in TDs and passing yards.
No man has ever done it to this day.
That same season, San Francisco was led by Joe Montana. He finished 6th in passing yards that season and 4th in TDs. His team defense finished the year ranked 1st, and Miami’s 7th.
If you are wondering, in 1972 and 1973, Miami’s Super Bowl victories, it will come to no shock, that both years, their defense was ranked Number 1.
While this screams the situation in Miami, this does not absolve Tua Tagovailoa of the fact he needs to progress and improve his game, and yes, get fully physically capable following those injuries.
No one can convince me he is at 100% full strength in terms of hip-torque and power, and that can be results of multiple injuries.
We all know the work ethic he possesses, so the hope is, along with newfound organization faith in him, year three is the boom-year.
There are other pieces of the puzzle, like offensive line help, and retaining key free agents while luring them, and then of course the draft.
Yet – with the defense set, and hopefully in place to only improve, the formula can very well be in place for Miami to get things right.
They just need a person to bring it all together. Apparently, as good a defensive mind as Brian Flores was, the issues that we have been seeing floating around do in fact hold weight. The next person in must make the task of winning seem closer to lifting a feather, and not the bolder Miami has been under since the once-All-Time-Leader in All Things Passing...retired.
There will never be another 13...we have to stop trying to find one.