By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons will have joint practices this week, then a preseason matchup Saturday at 7:00 p.m. EST. This will be the 7th straight time MIA & ATL have met in the preseason (excluding 2020/Covid) MIA has won five preseason meetings in a row against Atlanta since 2015. Five Dolphins will be cut prior to game.
-The last regular season meeting between Miami and Atlanta came in 2017, a 20-17 win for the Dolphins. They meet Saturday, and then again in Week 7 of the regular season this year.
-Third year head coach, Brian Flores helped the Dolphins win 10 games in 2020 for the first time since 2016, even though he had the second-youngest roster in the NFL.
-The Dolphins did not allow a 100-yard-plus running back in 2020. They did however give up 106 to quarterback Kyler Murray in a victory in Arizona.
-Miami was 8 for 10 on 4th down conversions in 2020.
-Brian Flores preaches disciplined play and Miami has seen a massive decrease in penalties since he became head coach in 2019. That season, Miami finished 4th in the NFL committing just 92 accepted penalties. Their 769 penalty yards were also the 4th-best mark in the NFL.
-There is a nice punt returner battle brewing, and there should be. There were 7 punts by the Bears on Saturday. Rookie Jaylen Waddle returned 1 for 24 yards, and that was his lone chance which was a great one. Jakeem Grant and Malcolm Perry took in three each. Grant averaged 16.7 a return and Perry 10.0. It's Grant versus Waddle.
-SNAP COUNTS OF INTEREST From CHI game:
-Kirk Merritt played 31% of offensive snaps & 30% of ST snaps. He was targeted once & had 0 catches & had a penalty
-Robert Foster 43% on offense & 15% on ST. He was targeted twice for 0 receptions.
-C Snaps- Michael Dieter 49%
Matt Skura 40%
Cameron Tom 11%.
-Miami will feature many new linebackers in 2020 including Duke Riley, Shaquem Griffin, Brennan Scarlett, and Benardrick McKinney, who was a 2nd team all-pro in 2016. Add in rookie 1st-round pick Jaelan Phillips as well. The four veterans have collectively played in 239 career games with 124 starts and appeared in 17 playoff games.
-The Dolphins didn’t allow a touchdown in three games in 2020. Week 15 against New England and also didn’t allow touchdowns in wins over the N.Y. Jets in Weeks 6 and 12. The New Orleans Saints were the only other team to accomplish that in 2020. The last time Miami did this in one season was in 2011.
-In his last 24 games (since Week 8, 2019), DeVante Parker is 12th in the NFL with 1,711 receiving yards in that span.
-In 2020, Miami was third in the NFL in first-quarter scoring, averaging 6.4 points.
-Miami's defense was of course stellar in 2020, especially in the 1st quarter. The Dolphins 1st quarter scoring defense was 4th in the NFL at 3.4 points allowed last year. The team’s 8 takeaways were 4th in the 1st quarter across the league.
In 2020, three Dolphins scored a total of 4 successful 2-point conversions.
and Preston Williams twice.
-Let's not forget two NFL veterans will bring much-needed depth to Miami's defensive line. They added Adam Butler and John Jenkins. Butler has 15 sacks in 63 career games with NE and Jenkins enters his 9th NFL season and had 34 tackles for Miami in his first run with the team in 2019 before a year in Chicago in 2020.
-With Hurns out with a wrist injury for several months, the following wide receiver low-depth chart players are clearly on watch this Saturday against Atlanta. Kai Locksley, Kirk Merritt Isaiah Ford, and Robert Foster as well as Jakeem Grant are all on the bubble. The SAFE bets are DeVante Parker, Will Fuller, Albert Wilson, Jaylen Waddle, Mack Hollins, and Lynn Bowden should be fine.
*Preston Williams is on the PUP and Malcolm Perry not on wide receiver chart at the moment and listed as the 3rd punt returner.
-Right now, Jason McCourty is listed as a starting S with Eric Rowe. Jevon Holland is behind McCourty, which I expect to flip by Week 1, & Brandon Jones is behind Rowe. Justin Coleman is the slot w/ Jamal Perry &Cre'Von LeBlanc & Jaytlin Askew behind him. Nik Needham is behind Xavien Howard & Noah Igbinoghene behind Byron Jones.
-The following players are on the Miami roster after being picked up off waivers, since 2019.
Mack Hollins (PHI)*
Zach Sieler (BAL)*
Salvon Ahmed (SF)*
Trill Williams (NO) - very solid chance, if not PS
Javaris Davis (KC) - not likely on 53
Adam Pankey (GB) - likely cut
-Miami used five different offensive line combos in 2020
Jackson Flowers Karras Kindley Davis
Davis Flowers Karras Kindley Hunt
Jackson Flowers Karras Davis Hunt
Jackson Flowers Karras Kindley Hunt
Jackson Kindley Karras Davis Hunt
No current Miami o-lineman played every game at same position last year.
-Tua Tagovailoa threw an interception in just three games last season. Only one time was it multiple picks. It was Week 17, the team's overall worst game when he threw three. In the other two games, there was a close loss against Kansas City and then a victory against the Patriots. Three Games. That's it for Tua as a rookie in his 9 starts. He did fumble in one other game.
-In the 1st half against the Bears, Miami's first team, down several starters all over the field, had an average drive start at their own 38-yard line. The Dolphins headed into the half up 13-3.
-I'd like to see more of Rookie Larnel Coleman. 7th rounder from the University of Massachusetts. 6'6'' and athletic. He played basketball as well as tight end and defensive end in high school. He had 28 consecutive starts to finish his college career. He played in 39% of the offensive snaps against Chicago and one special teams snap. There is potential here.
-Rookie Gerrid Doaks needs more work. At Cincinnati, he carried the ball 331 times for 1,712 yards, which was a career 5.2 YPC. He caught 35 passes for 407 yards, which was 11.3 yards per reception during his 3-season collegiate run. He scored 14 rushing TDs and 4 receiving TDs.