Dolphins coach Brian Flores says will be in for a long season in 2019 with young, inexperienced Dolphins team.

Houtz special: NFL should have followed Brian Flores

These last few months have been like something out of a horror movie.

A global pandemic—that could’ve been prevented—forced all of us who reside in ‘tHe GrEaTeSt CoUntRy In ThE wOrlD’ to seize life as we know it. Going to the grocery store felt eerily similar to an episode of The Walking Dead. And then came the horrific murder of George Floyd, which was the tip of the iceberg, in a long, unfortunate list of victims wrongfully murdered for the color of their skin.

We all saw the video.

We are ALL enraged and pissed off by the video.

And many have decided to take matters into their own hands.

Over the last two weeks, protestors have marched day and night throughout some of the largest cities in America, demanding change to the social justice system. Change, that four years prior was front and center of every paper in America thanks to the peaceful protest of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players.

The truth is, I’m a white male, who although faced with different hurdles in life, NEVER had to deal with the same racial oppression as others. I NEVER had to fear for my life while stopped by a cop. Or murdered while jogging around the block. I never have to worry about being viewed differently because of my skin tone. I could go on all day with how fucked up society is. How inconsiderate others are to human life. But whether you admit it or not, we are all aware.

We are all created equally.

But for far too long, people have been overrun with hate.

And whether we want to sit here and admit it or not, cops have been a massive part of that problem.

No, not all cops are corrupt.

But a majority of them are corrupt and ignorant. A majority of them do believe they are above the law, and it’s time for a change.

Colin Kaepernick knew this, and the entire world turned their collective heads.

The players who protest were referred to by the president of the United States as, and I quote, ‘Sons of bitches.’

Roger Goodell admitted his wrongdoing in a statement made Thursday Night. A comment which came 24 hours after several prolific football players made one of their own. On the surface, it was a step in the right direction. But after seamlessly blackballing Kaepernick for years, the apology seemed hollow at its roots.

One speech that did effectively address everything wrong in this world was the one issued by Miami Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores.

Flores is one of only four black head coaches in the NFL. He is of Honduran descent and has spoken out before about his upbringing. And how he was affected by racial profiling.

And yet, when the entire NFL was waiting patiently to figure out the right things to say or do.

Brian Flores, the Miami Dolphins’ head coach, spoke out.

The way a leader should.

Here was Brian Flores’s message from May 29th.

“I’ve had the privilege of being a part of many different circles that have included some very powerful and influential people of all different races and genders. The events of the last few weeks have brought some of the memories of those conversations back to light. I vividly remember the Colin Kaepernick conversations. ‘Don’t ever disrespect the flag’ was the phrase that I heard over and over again. This idea that players were kneeling in support of social justice was something some people couldn’t wrap their head around. The outrage that I saw in the media and the anger I felt in some of my own private conversations caused me to sever a few long-standing friendships.

“Most recently, I’ve had conversations about incentivizing teams for hiring minorities. Again, there was some outrage in the media and talks that this would cause division amongst coaches, executives and ownership. I bring these situations up because I haven’t seen the same OUTRAGE from people of influence when the conversation turns to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and most recently George Floyd. Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling or on the hiring of minorities don’t seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women. I think many of them QUIETLY say that watching George Floyd plead for help is one of the more horrible things they have seen, but it’s said amongst themselves where no one can hear. Broadcasting THAT opinion clearly is not important enough.

“I lead a group of young men who have the potential to make a real impact in this world. My message to them and anyone else who wants to listen is that honesty, transparency, and empathy go a long way in bringing people together and making change. I hope that the tragedies of the last few weeks will open our hearts and minds to a better way of communicating and hopefully create that change.”

On Thursday, Flores once again met with the media.

No, he didn’t have to, nor was he scheduled to. But he felt it was something he should do.

There were lots of takeaways from the 20-minute conversation with Flores, which can be found HERE. But the thing that stood out most in my eyes was this.

I’ll tell you, it’s a long road. I think it’s about each individual’s heart and where is that? And making sure people’s hearts are in the right places and there is a respect and – I won’t say admiration but just an overall respect for your fellow man or woman. I think we have a long way to go and hopefully we use this tragedy as a starting point to get to the place where you’re talking about.”

In the end, Goodell’s apology was a step in the right direction for a league that spent four years trying to brush things under the rug. But until players, fans, and the rest of America see change, the words are as empty as the stadiums will surely be this fall. The time is now for America to change. And as we’ve seen over the last several days, change is imminent. Cops need to be accountable for their actions. And we need to abide by the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

We are all equal.

Brian Flores said what the national football league should’ve said, immediately. But instead, they waited and waited and waited.

The speech was fine, but until Roger Goodell and the rest of the world live up to their end of the bargain, the same issues will remain.

And that is unacceptable.

#BlackLivesMatter

Want to support the cause? Buy this official LSO t-shirt and all proceeds will be donated to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.

 

This article was written by Josh Houtz. You can unfollow me on Twitter (@Houtz)

Miami Dolphins

THE EXTRA YARD: 5 Ways to Fix “The Rooney Rule”

Sometimes, you need to look at something twice.

Or more.

I must admit that when I initially read the tweet below, that broke news that the NFL would be voting on a resolution that would improve a team’s draft position if they hired a person of color to be Head Coach or General Manager, I thought five things, almost in order: A) This is kinda clever and funny as a protest of the Rooney Rule. B) This is racially insensitive as a protest of the Rooney rule. C) This is tone deaf if real. D) It’s borderline racist. E) Wait…THIS IS REAL?

This ridiculous, condescending, tone deaf resolution has since been “tabled”, presumably to be improved upon in the future. In it’s place, the following was approved:

On the face of it, it’s fine as an add-on, although I am sure we can all agree it won’t make much of a difference, but at the very least it will draw some attention to minority hiring practices in the NFL. So, how do we attempt to “fix” this problem? Well, first of all, you must agree that there is a problem. There are 2 Black GM’s and 4 Head Coach’s of color in the NFL, making for a 17 year low. People of color are underrepresented. That’s a problem. So what’s the issue? Racism? Can’t fix that. You can’t legislate tolerance. Especially when racial bias will be denied. In the end, the problem is not rampant racism among the owner’s ranks in the NFL. It’s the good ole boy network, or the simple fact that people tend to hire people that they more readily identify with.

What people of color need is an opportunity that for whatever reason, is harder to come by. So how do we increase opportunity? I have five ideas that can create an environment for minority candidates, where they will have a better chance at landing top NFL Jobs as Head Coach’s and General Managers.

 

1. Expand the Rooney Rule for Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Jobs.

Pretty straight forward. If you have a vacancy at OC/DC, you must comply with the Rooney rule and grant an interview to a minority candidate. This way, you are exposing minority candidates to the Jobs that are most likely to be in line for the top gigs.

The Web site fivethirtyeight wrote about this and had an instructive graph:

a
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/a-5-part-plan-to-fix-the-nfls-coaching-diversity-problem/

 

2. Only College Head Coaches, NFL Coordinators, and former NFL Coaches are eligible to interview for a Head Coach’ job.

Wait, this seems counter productive to the goal? No. As you create opportunities for minorities to become coordinators, they will populate the hiring pool and thereby fill coaching vacancies at a higher rate. It’s Math.

 

3. If you are fired as a Off./Def. Coordinator in the NFL, you are removed from the HC candidate and coordinator pool for one league year.

“This works as a scarlet letter and will hurt, more than help.” Disagree. This will break up the retread market that stifles the upward mobility of younger candidates. You are not preventing them from getting other jobs either, it’s just the titles that are not available to them for one league year. they can be hired as play callers, consultants, but cannot hold the title that includes them into the Head Coach pool.

 

 


4. Expand Internships for High School/College athletes.

Will the NCAA allow this? They better. They have no leverage to deny unpaid internships during the college offseason/ High School summer. The simple rule to use to avoid the inevitable hanky panky that will go on, is that these “interns” must not do their internship during a draft eligible year. Simple and easy as that. By exposing young minority athletes to the coaching ranks at an earlier age, it may plant the seeds to continue on this path if/when their football life doesn’t blossom into playing careers.

 

5. Expand post-retirement player coaching assistant participation by incentivizing/enhancing their pensions.

This is the foot in the door. These are not highly paid jobs, and in fact, will likely pay rather poorly, but this is the easiest of starts for a coaching career, available to all football retirees. These players can also be incentivized to participate by enhancing their pensions (when eligible). Sound weird? State governments and the federal government already do that for those that work past their retirement eligibility. This will seed the lowest rung of coaching staffs, and thereby create a feeder system for minority candidates.

These are simple fixes that don’t engage in mandates, but do increase opportunity for minority candidates by merely offering opportunity where none existed before. Football, like no other sport, enjoys using phrases such as “football family”, and “football life”. With these proposals, you are not merely creating a big tent, but encouraging your “football family” and football lifers” to fill it.

 

Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.

Fresh Perspective: Why Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa needs to redshirt 2020

Now that the Miami Dolphins have drafted Tua Tagovailoa, the former Alabama superstar has the entire Dolphins fanbase reeling with either anticipation, or impatience. Given the circumstances, that’s an entirely understandable feeling. Miami hasn’t had hope for a true franchise quarterback since Ryan Tannehill was initially drafted back in 2012. The seven years he spent with the Dolphins made it clear that he’s good, but he will never be that elite level player fans want.

So now here comes Tua Tagovailoa. Perhaps the most talented quarterback to come out of college in recent memory. Many evaluators equate his skill set to Drew Brees. How could fans not want to see a left-handed Drew Brees come in as soon as possible? However, there are a few problems with that. While the temptation to play Tagovailoa right away is incredibly strong, is it really in the best interest of the franchise?

One can easily make the argument that patience is still a virtue. Here’s why.

Health Concerns

One thing that cannot be dismissed or ignored is that Tagovailoa’s health is a huge question mark. His college career at Alabama is riddled with injuries that slowed him down, including the hip injury that officially ended his final season there. It’s because of that injury the Dolphins were able to draft Tagovailoa fifth overall in the 2020 NFL draft. It’s also because of that injury that caution is strongly advised. At the very least, head coach Brian Flores doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to throw him to the wolves.

“Look, we haven’t even seen him. Obviously with the pandemic and all that’s going on, our doctors haven’t seen him.” Flores said back in late April. “We have a long way to go before we can say who’s doing what … We have to just get him and have a meeting first. I think it’s way too early to speculate on this year and how this is going to go. You guys know we like to take a one day at a time approach anyway. That’s going to be the approach I’m going to have him take as well.”

Videos emerged before the draft of Tagovailoa going through the motions for a virtual Pro Day. He threw well, showed off strong footwork and revealed that his hip was progressing nicely. Doctors have come out and said that Tagovailoa’s hip is ahead of recovery schedule. All of these things are excellent signs. However, ahead of schedule does not mean fully healed, and we’ve seen what happens when Tagovailoa gets rushed out onto the field before he’s ready.

Uncertain Offensive Line

Take a look at the offensive line the Dolphins project to field in 2020.

  • LT – Austin Jackson
  • LG – Ereck Flowers
  • C – Ted Karras
  • RG – Solomon Kindley
  • RT – Robert Hunt

This is merely an assumption based on what Miami seems intent on doing. Unless they sign veteran guard Larry Warford to play right guard, it’s obvious development is the goal for the upcoming season, one way or another. Kindley is a monster of a guard, Hunt loves pancaking defenders, and Jackson has all the tools necessary to be an elite left tackle. There are other young players who will get a chance as well.

But they’re raw. Every single one of them has some part of their game that needs serious fixing before they can truly be deemed ready to start in the NFL. Jackson’s hands and footwork needs to be fine-tuned. Hunt needs to move faster if he plans to play right tackle. Is it really wise to throw Tagovailoa out there when the offensive line is going to be using this season as a trial run? The obvious answer is no.

Again, temptation is very strong. It’s understandable that fans want to see Tagovailoa play as soon as possible. He represents the end of a long two decades of mediocrity. But without an offensive line worth touting, Miami runs the risk of ruining Tagovailoa the same way Tannehill was. No run game and no pass protection is a recipe for disaster for Tagovailoa’s career. Thankfully, there is a simple solution.

Let Ryan Fitzpatrick take those hits.

If Tagovailoa was going to start right away, why bother keeping Fitzpatrick around? Why bother investing in Josh Rosen and not seeking some sort of trade option to try and recoup the second round draft pick they gave up for him? The smart thing to do is to let Fitzpatrick be the crash test dummy so to speak. While the offensive linemen learn and grow through trial by fire, Tagovailoa can sit and watch Fitzpatrick, getting his reps through practice where the risk of re-injury is minimal. If something happens to Fitzpatrick, then Rosen can play instead, maybe even increasing his trade value.

Pattern of History

Everyone knows Aaron Rodgers. He will go down in history as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. But he didn’t play right away. He sat behind another Hall of Fame QB in Brett Favre for a while before he got to take over in Green Bay. Now, the Packers are following the same formula with extremely raw but talented Utah State QB Jordan Love.

Everyone knows Patrick Mahomes. He’s the best QB in the NFL. Some are already even crowning him the greatest of all time. But in his rookie season, he sat behind veteran Alex Smith. Granted, Smith was in the running for an MVP award that year. But as special as Mahomes obviously is, why did he not immediately take over?

Everyone knows Dan Marino. There’s no QB in Dolphins history who has accomplished more. There are many who consider him the greatest passer to ever play football. But even in his rookie season, Marino sat behind David Woodley for some time while he acclimated to the NFL. What came after that was more than a decade and a half of incredible play that leaves Dolphins fans constantly searching for that one player who can truly carry the baton for Marino.

The list of QBs who found success waiting their turn goes on and on. Think of Carson Palmer sitting behind Jon Kitna for some time in Cincinnati. Eli Manning waited for his chance when Kurt Warner was a New York Giant. Philip Rivers didn’t make a name for himself in San Diego until after the departure of Drew Brees. Jimmy Garoppolo got traded to the 49ers while learning from Tom Brady in New England.

To be fair, there’s an argument in the opposite direction that can be made just as easily. Cam Newton started right away, as did Andrew Luck. Ben Roethlisberger only sat for one week before taking over for an injured Tommy Maddox. Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, the list goes on and on.

But there are extenuating circumstances when it comes to the case of Tua Tagovailoa.

Conclusion: Future over Present

The points made in this column are fairly easy to understand. So much is at stake with Tua Tagovailoa. As stated earlier, he represents the end of a long stretch of mediocrity. Miami has not been relevant since the days of Dan Marino, in spite of several tries to find his true successor. No one shows more promise in that regard than Tua Tagovailoa. But for this unique case, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Tagovailoa may not be fully healthy. His offensive line may not be reliable. His acclimation to the NFL may be hindered by factors beyond his control.

As tempting as it is to make him start now, that only satisfies the base urge to see the Dolphins be successful as soon as possible. It’s understandable, it’s relatable, but it’s not recommended at this time.

2021 is the year to truly get excited. Miami has two more first round picks that season. They have two more second round picks as well. Another strong free agency will only bolster the roster Tagovailoa comes in to play with. Add to that the draft picks the Dolphins select, and all systems are go from that moment on.

The future is indeed bright, the light is shining at the end of the tunnel. But they aren’t out just yet. One more season, Miami fans. The offensive line needs time to learn and gel, Tua Tagovailoa needs time to learn and heal. And the Dolphins have not one, but two quarterbacks who can easily step in while that process takes place. They have time to give. The wise thing to do is not risk the future for the sake of the present.

The NFL is a marathon, not a sprint.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung

Jaillet’s Journal: Relocating NFL teams to Florida seems like logistical nightmare

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is extending an offer to every NFL team whose state is affected by the lockdown.

Thursday, DeSantis said that he is reaching out to commissioners of professional sports leagues to let them know that those teams will have an opportunity to play in Florida.

“If you have a team in a league in an area that just won’t operate, we’ll find a place for them here in Florida,” DeSantis said.

“Our people are starved to have some of this back in our lives,” DeSantis said. “I think we can certainly do it in a way that’s safe.”

This is certainly interesting when you figure in all of the states who are still taking precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. I certainly want to see sports back again. Is this the way to do it? I certainly don’t think so. When you consider all of the teams may have to go down to Florida, it would just be a logistical mass. For example, I would love to see a NFL schedule that would be able to accommodate multiple teams. Depending on the amount of teams and games there are, it could make for a hectic Sunday.

I get the fact that DeSantis says that there will be room for everybody in the state to do it safety. I’d like to see logistics on how it would actually work. With money losses abound, a bunch of teams will probably want to go down there. How would the state of Florida make it all happen? It sounds good in theory, but can it actually get done? As the old saying goes, nothing ever goes according to plan.

It would certainly be something different than what were used to. I doubt that it’s going to work, but I have been wrong before. If I’m wrong again, then so be it. I would certainly be open to watching sports again. If the state of Florida can get the job done then that would certainly be beneficial for many. However, it sounds more like a pipe dream than reality.

Season Ticket: Is it Tua much trouble to be positive?

If it is true that misery loves company, it is also accurate that the truly miserable don’t when optimism is abundant anywhere. This is a trait particularly inherent in sports fan populations, with some trying to extinguish hope wherever it may appear.

In South Florida, they are the Dolphins Downers.

You probably know one.

Or a few.

They are the ones who will tell you it will never get better, that the Dolphins will forever be stuck in the doldrums because of some decision made by some long-gone executive more than a decade ago. They are the ones who keep telling you that every plan is destined to fail, because others did before under the same ownership, discounting the possibility that anyone can learn, grow and adapt. They are the ones who keep telling you that the new Hawaiian Hope, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, will be another Beck or Lemon, another Harrington or Culpepper, another Henne or Tannehill, another waste of time and resources — maybe not because of ability on this occasion, but fragility. They are in your mentions on Twitter whenever you post something positive or, more likely, lurking in Facebook grousing groups, where the negativity spreads as if seeded in a Russian bot farm.

Can we finally put that pessimism out to pasture?

Can we finally believe… in something?

Can we finally stop whining, and willing the worst into reality?

Somehow, in a week when the new quarterback’s number release meant more than any passing numbers that any of 20 Dolphins quarterbacks had compiled in 20 years, some fans still found a way to fret. Not all. Certainly not. Not with Tagovailoa’s jerseys ranking first and second in the NFL Shop (and wait until the throwback finally drops). Not with our Tua shirts selling briskly.

Not with memes like this, from fans of the teams in this town, who has seen more success on the basketball side and want a little in football too:

Not with Dolphins fans announcing on social media that they will be putting money on Tagovailoa to win Rookie of the Year, with the sports books having him in the top three, behind only Joe Burrow and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, both widely expected to star and start sooner.

(CLICK BELOW…)

But the other side?

The doomsayers?

They’re out there.

It’s not a straw man situation when you scan social media and see so many still clinging to the notion that Tua was the wrong choice because he’s too brittle. But at least that’s a rational sports argument. It’s flawed, because there’s not much historical correlation between elite quarterbacks’ collegiate injuries and their durability in the pros, but at least it’s understandable to be concerned if Tua will be available enough to fulfill his potential.

It is not rational to just keep endlessly trying to find reasons to dislike him.

And this is some of what was seen on social media this week, the week that Tua officially signed with his right hand not his throwing hand, which somehow rattled some:

There were actual posts asking why the Dolphins didn’t wait to make him earn it, as if that’s how NFL contracts work. Throw for 4,000 yards and then you get paid.

There were actual posts asking why Tagovailoa had to announce he would be helping the places that helped raise him, instead of doing it quietly — as if setting that example of generosity wouldn’t inspire any others.

There were actual posts in response to the above tweet, questioning why he was spending so little on his mother, or why he would spend so much.

Or questioning who paid for it, as if he couldn’t be advanced anything by an agent or someone else with the contract coming a day or two later.

OK, now some will say these are not Dolphins fans.

And in many cases, that is true.

But Facebook tells another story.

You can’t post anything about Tua there without several trolls trashing the pick.

So the question becomes:

Did the Dolphins make those people miserable?

Or were they always that way?

 

Ethan J. Skolnick, the CEO of Five Reasons Sports Network, has covered South Florida sports since 1996… and finally feels good about the direction of the Dolphins. 

Miami Dolphins and Patriots share common ground in opener

As most of you know by now, the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins are set to face off in the 2020 season opener. In terms of recent organizational trajectories, these two teams could not be more different. However, the theme of “new eras” lends some common ground.

When you think about what Miami has done this offseason, it’s almost a complete flip from last year. They signed Byron Jones, Elandon Roberts, and Kyle Van Noy. They continued the remodel by signing Jordan Howard, Ted Karras, and Shaq Lawson . Then came the big move in the draft, drafting a potential franchise quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. Although some of these moves may seem minor, this roster looks completely different from what it did a year ago.

The same could be said for the doing the Patriots. Tom Brady is now no longer the signal-caller after two decades at the helm. Instead, New England will probably be relying on Jarrett Stidham to carry the load. When you take a look at what they did in the offseason, much of the remodeling came via the draft.

New England focused heavily on defense in this draft. From taking Kyle Duggar with their first pick, to selecting Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche, the Patriots retooled their roster. After all, they had to make up for some of the departures from the team, especially at the linebacker position.

For Brian Flores, this marks a new era for him as well. In comparison to last year, this roster has his fingerprints all over it. He is now beginning to build a roster that he sees fit. With a New England feel to the linebacking group in particular, Flores is getting players that he is comfortable with. Now, he can really begin to put his stamp on this team.

In that sense, the Miami Dolphins are entering a new era. Of course, Tua Tagovailoa is a big part of this equation as well. Time will tell if he will start this year, but at the very least, this marks the beginning of having a franchise quarterback for the first time in quite a while.

For New England, head coach Bill Belichick is entering a new era in the sense that he has to prove he can win without Tom Brady. He led New England to 11-5 record in 2008 after Tom Brady went down with a season-ending injury in the opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. He also managed to go 3-1 when Tom Brady missed the first four games of the 2016 season to serve the infamous Deflategate suspension. However, this will undoubtedly be his toughest test yet. For the first time in two decades, he will no longer have the greatest quarterback in NFL history at the helm.

Change is upon us, and for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, that may be evident in week one. Assuming the season starts on time, both teams will have a lot to prove at the beginning of September. With New England historically struggling in Miami, this will definitely be a closer game than many think.

One spot left for the Canes in 2020: Who’s it for?

Less than four months into his UF career, Class of 2020 OL signee Issiah Walker has entered the transfer portal. While the reasoning behind it is unclear, it’s an interesting predicament for the Canes as Manny Diaz is now in a position to land one of their most coveted prospects that they came up short on during this past recruiting cycle.

 

Walker was rated as the 15th-best OT in the country and 156th overall according to 247Sports. He was committed to South Carolina for a little over a year before re-opening his recruitment last July. From there, it was a heated battle between Florida and Miami. Walker even made frequent visits to Coral Gables, forming a good relationship with coach Diaz and then-OL coach Butch Barry. Walker committed to the Gators in October and enrolled in the spring. 

 

Miami now has an interesting choice to make because Houston junior OL Jarrid Williams also entered the transfer portal as a grad transfer. The 6’7”, 305 pound lineman received a medical redshirt in 2019 but his best season came in 2018. Williams blocked for an offense that ranked 5th in the nation in scoring offense and seventh in total offense. His quarterback that year you may ask?

 

D’Eriq King, one of Miami’s newest transfers and the presumptive starter at quarterback in 2020. 

 

With the 2020 recruiting class and three transfers, Miami currently has one spot left for any new player this year. It essentially comes down to this: do you go after the talented but younger Walker, where he’ll have four years of eligibility and add to the OL depth in the long-term? Or do you opt for a more win-now situation with Williams, who has the talent and the familiarity with the offense and personnel?

On top of that, former coach Mark Richt took loyalty and the value of the U very seriously when he was top dog. There were several cases of players who spurned Miami during the recruiting process but had interest in transferring to Miami later on. Richt refused to give them any thought. 

 

One that comes to mind was former four-star wide receiver Trevon Grimes, who signed with Ohio State in 2017. He saw action in only two games before deciding to transfer. While he was heavily considering Miami after talking to some of his former high school teammates, Richt was not having it. It’s a new coaching regime now but it is something that Manny Diaz should consider with Walker. At times during Walker’s recruitment, Walker flirted enough to make the Canes think they were getting the hometown benefit and were bound to land his signature.

 

I’m sure the positives about Williams I listed are almost guaranteed. However, when it comes to competing with the Alabama’s, the Georgia’s and the Clemson’s, one of the advantages they have over all of the other Power 5 teams is depth. The only difference between the 1’s and 2’s on their respective rosters is experience. The depth is a result of those coaches having elite recruiting classes coming in every year. This increases competition in practices and lets players know that if you slack, that five-star recruit can come in next year and steal your starting job. Walker would be here not only for 2020 but for at least the next three years.

 

Tank for…Taulia?

 

Okay so there really isn’t any tanking involved with this. But another bit of transfer news worth monitoring is Alabama sophomore QB Taulia Tagovailoa and his decision to enter the portal. If that name carries a little bit of familiarity, he is the younger brother of the newest QB for the Miami Dolphins: 2020 5th overall pick Tua Tagovailoa. 

 

Taulia served as the backup quarterback in Tuscaloosa this past year as a freshman and completed 9 of 12 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. And to ease any concerns that he was a take for Nick Saban just because of his last name, he was ranked the 5th-best pro-style QB coming out of high school in 2019. So yeah he’s no fluke.

 

He was slated to be the backup again this year but with top recruit Bryce Young coming in, it makes those possibilities a little more foggy.

 

It’s no secret that the Tagovailoa family fancies the city of Miami but I would consider their.reunion to be unlikely for two reasons. 

 

For one, Miami already has a QB in for this class in Tyler Van Dyke. The second reason is, as I previously mentioned, the more pressing need is currently on the offensive line. Just a reminder that Miami only signed two offensive linemen in the past cycle.

 

The only way I see Taulia making the move would be if Diaz can work the numbers or pull off some magic by somehow counting him towards this upcoming recruiting cycle in 2021.

 

10 Reasons the Miami Dolphins Throwbacks Must be Permanent

 

For the better part of two decades, watching the Miami Dolphins play football has been like watching old people fuck. But that might have mercifully changed after the Dolphins went and did the most un-Dolphins thing possible: They drafted the best quarterback in the 2020 class: Tua Tagovailoa (HOLY SHITROCKETS, RIGHT?). And now, after waiting a whole week, Tua finally announced that he’ll be wearing No. 1.

So what’s the next move for the Dolphins? Oh, that’s an easy one. What’s next is that they need to make the throwback uniforms a permanent thing. That’s it. That’s all. Bring back the old uniforms and call it a day.

Here are the 10 reasons why the Dolphins need to stop fucking around already and start wearing the throwbacks from now until the sun supernovas:

10. They’re Classic NFL
When you think about NFL teams with rich storied and winning traditions, you immediately think of teams like the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Dallas Cowboys. These teams have been the epitome of greatness, tradition, and winning since the dawn of the league. Each of those teams has its own rich history and has become iconic to the NFL. And yet, for as long as those teams have been around, they’ve never once screwed with their look. The Steelers are known for their gold and black colors and still have that stupid logo that inexplicably appears on only one side of the helmet. The Cowboys have tweaked their look a few times, but never to the point where they’ve completely abandoned it — it’s still the classic royal blue and antebellum white with a big star on a silver helmet. Washington won’t even change their ludicrously racist name, let alone their colors and logo, but for some shit-headed reason, the Dolphins decided to toss their original badass colors and menacing dolphin logo from their greatest years for a weird dolphin and the colors of the swimming pools at a Sandals resort.

 

9. They’re Menacing AF
When you see the Dolphins’ old color scheme, you can’t help but think of the 1972 Dolphins and their dominant, face-obliterating ways. Those old teams would step inside an opposing teams’ asshole and make themselves right at home. It was synonymous with HERE COMES THE PAIN. The classic solid orange stripe going down the center of an eggshell-colored helmet, the white pants with thick stripes, the dark aqua jerseys, the large numbers with orange borders — it all harkens back to the days when Miami was a team to be reckoned with. That tradition was passed down to the Marino Era and again to the bone-crushing Jason Taylor-Zach Thomas years. Those color schemes made other teams hurt and bleed and shit themselves. The current uniforms make other teams confused, wondering if they’re in a generic football commercial where the NFL didn’t allow official licensing to be used.

 

8. They’re the True Colors of the Dolphins
Think back to every amazing memory as a Dolphins fan (or, if you’re too young, YouTube them and then cry into your pants) and they all feature the Fins wearing their old uniforms and colors. The ’72 Perfect Season; the Super Bowl victories, Dan Marino putting a flamethrower to the passing record book, the defeat of the 1985 undefeated Bears on Monday Night Football; the Spike Play; the AFC Championship game against the Steelers in the Orange Bowl; the Clayton-Duper connections; the Hook & Ladder play; the A.J. Duhe game; Leon Lett on Thanksgiving; Jason Taylor removing Tom Brady’s testicles during his Defensive Player of the Year season. All of these moments featured the throwbacks. These uniforms are the Miami Dolphins. The most iconic moment for the recent uniforms is when the long snapper hit Brandon Fields in the face with a football.

 

7. The Old Logo Looks Like an Actual Dolphin
The old logo featured a menacing dolphin wearing a football helmet and jumping through a blazing hoop (or maybe it’s the sun?). Menacing porpoise, football, fire. Simple. The current logo looks like maybe it’s a porpoise, though one can argue it can also be a whale, with dead soulless eyes, sort of, maybe, breaching the water, because it’s probably run out of breath. It also kind of resembles a dildo.

 

Don Shula

6. Because The Memory of Don Shula Deserves Better
It’s a no brainer that the Dolphins are going to have their players wear a patch honoring Don Shula after he passed away earlier this week. But it’ll be an insult to the memory of man who was the paradigm of excellence if that patch is sewed onto those current middling Aquafresh uniforms. For 25 years, Don Shula’s Dolphins made us all feel that ever elusive feeling year after year: Hope. As opposed to the feeling the current Dolphins give us of having a baby raccoon jammed up our collective assholes and telling us we like it. Don Shula deserves better than to have his initials slapped onto these hideous things.

 

5. The Current Uniforms Represent Mediocrity
It’s simple: these current uniforms represent a large steaming pot of broiled ass, which is what the Dolphins have been the entire time they’ve worn these hideous things. These new-look logo and colors were unveiled in 2013, which came right in the midst of the worst era in franchise history. While the throwbacks conjure feelings of a rich winning tradition, these current uniforms conjure feelings of being murdered in the face every year for the rest of your miserable football-watching life until you die utterly alone like the sack of shit your mother always said you’d amount to. These uniforms represent everything that has gone wrong with the Dolphins. They represent a team that can’t score more than ten points a game and can’t finish better than 7-9 year after year after year. These uniforms don’t know what a playoff game is.

 

4. They Don’t Look Like Something SeaWorld Employees Would Wear
The throwback uniform and color scheme look like football. The current uniform and color scheme look like something SeaWorld employees wear while they make enslaved orcas jump through hoops for tourists. The old menacing dark aqua color has been replaced with a crystalline pool-colored aqua scheme that screams OOWWW DON’T HURT ME, FOOTBALL PERSON. What you want in your team colors is something the other team will fear and something fans can embrace and be proud of. Instead, we have guys suiting up like they’re about to go make sea lions ride on skateboards for fish. The current logo looks like an aquarium exploded.

 

3. They Just Feel Right, Aesthetically
Look, we understand that team success has everything to do with talent and zero to do with uniform colors. Still, when you watch this team play in these colors, your asshole automatically puckers up because you just know this team is about to get destroyed by Derek Carr en route to a 7-9 record and zero playoff appearance. You look at any player wearing the old colors, and you KNOW that guy fucks. Look at those three up there. You can’t tell us they didn’t FUCK. Because they did. It’s just the way those old uniforms work. It’s science!

 

2. Look At That Sexy MF Up There
Look at him. Drink him in. You can’t look away, can you? That right there is the living embodiment of a thunder clap from the gods. And that uniform is the armor of an elite gridiron warrior that would go on to shred the NFL record book so badly, they still show his beautiful face on TV every time a current quarterback reaches some kind of milestone — 20-plus years after he retired! That’s the uniform of excellence, of badassery, of a team that was an absolute freight train of devastation, cockpunching opposing teams with their football prowess, littering the field with the decaying corpses of Steelers, Patriots, Bills, and Jets and telling any and all those who opposed them to go and fornicate with farm animals. These current Dolphins have ruined football in this town. Did they have to ruin the way the team looked too? There was simply no reason for the Dolphins to change their uniforms in 2013 outside of wanting to make more money through merchandising. But there are other ways to make money with merchandise that doesn’t include urinating all over the only thing this team has left: tradition.

 

1. Because TUA IS HERE NOW
We have gone from Vegetable Lasagna toe-thumbs to, in all likelihood, Dan Marino’s true heir. And he’s finally chosen his jersey number. Let’s not start this new era of hope by draping these unicorn shit stain-colored middling as fuck uniforms on the new Chosen One. The Miami Dolphins currently have the most badass motherfucker at QB since The Right Arm of God roamed the land wrecking all of the ass. Tua deserves to play in a uniform that screams LOOK UPON MY WORKS AND DESPAIR, and not like he works at the Seaquarium Lolita tank.

 

Chris Joseph (@ByChrisJoseph) is a host of the Five Reasons comedy podcast, Ballscast. He’s written about sports and movies for Deadspin, Miami New Times, CBS Sports, and several other outlets.

Jaillet’s Journal: Frank Gore still moving the chains after 15 seasons

I was 10 when Miami Hurricanes football legend Frank Gore was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. I am now 25. My age puts what Frank Gore is doing into a bit of perspective. The running back signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets on Tuesday, continuing his accomplished, 16-year career in the NFL.

When you look at his statistics, they are truly impressive. His statistics aren’t numbers that will make you think he is the greatest running back ever. Rather, it’s his consistency and ability to get the job done that is most impressive. As a rookie with San Francisco in 2005, he rushed the ball 127 times for 608 yards and three touchdowns.

In 2006, he would be selected to the first Pro Bowl of his career. Gore rushed for 1,695 yards and eight touchdowns. From 2006-2009 he would record at least 1,000 yards rushing. Those four years would be considered a great career for any running back.  Gore was able to accomplish the feat again from 2011-2014. The fact that he was able to put together to separate packages of 1,000 yard seasons is impressive in of itself.

Gore a unique treasure in evolving National Football League

Over the years, Gore has not scampered for these yards. He doesn’t magically weave around these holes or dance before he hits them, like Le’Veon Bell. He runs into them head first, and bulldozers his way over defenders. He is a bit of a relic in today’s National Football League. That physical, rugged brand of running is becoming a lost art.

It seems like more than ever, running backs are relying on their offensive lines to create perfect running lanes for them, with the lanes being free of defenders and anybody that might touch them. That is not the case with Gore.

If anything, it would be safe to say that he has welcomed the challenge of defenders over the course of his career. Particularly when he was younger, he would often create contact. Once that happened, the defender would be at his mercy.

It’s impressive to think that he has played this style of football for 15 years in the National Football League. It’s also impressive to think that he was making defenders miserable for quite some time before entering the professional ranks.

Frank Gore makes his mark

He made his college football debut on September 1, 2001. In what was a star-studded Hurricanes backfield that included the likes of Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee, Gore had to prove himself. He ran the ball six times for 15 yards in that contest, and didn’t really give the college football world much to think about.

He would make an impression by the end of his freshman year however. He would finish the season with 62 carries for 562 yards and  five touchdowns. ACL injuries derailed his 2002 season.

However, he was able to put together  solid 2003 and 2004 seasons, and was able to find his way to the NFL Draft with the same physical running style he would go on to make famous in the NFL.

He would wrap up his Miami career with 1,975 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in three years of work. The rest as they say, is history.

Frank Gore has put together a career that would make most players envious. Now, it’s all gravy from here. It seems like he has found the fountain of youth. It is certainly going to be fun watching a legend take the field once again.

Craig Davis interviews Don Shula during a promotional appearance in 2014.

Pressure Point: Don Shula demanded the best from everyone

There was a time when the scariest situation for a young sports writer in South Florida was to be confronted by The Jaw.

When Don Shula singled you out for his wrath it left an impression. That stalwart chin — often described as chiseled granite — boring in is among the images that stand out about the legendary Miami Dolphins coach who died Monday at age 90.

The first time Shula directed it as me was during the Woodstrock era, that quarterback void after Griese and before Marino when Shula was piecing it together with David Woodley and Don Strock. He heard me asking questions in the locker room aimed at getting an indication of which QB might be starting that week.

“What-a-ya getting at?” he thundered.

Shula exerted total control over his football team and in his view that extended to the media covering it as well.

I reflected on that last December at Hard Rock Stadium during the celebration of the 1972 Perfect Season when Larry Csonka talked about his former coach.

“It was his way or the highway when it came to dealing with other men,” Csonka said. “He’s sort of like a marine drill sergeant. There is no rebuttal. If he didn’t like what I was doing, I would have been blocking for O.J. [Simpson] in Buffalo the next day. We had a clear understanding. There were no ifs or buts. That may be truly missed today.”

Nothing but football

Thus, it could be viewed as a badge of honor to be chewed out by Shula. It was a challenge to cover him, and you had to operate within his parameters. Questions had to be direct, confined to a matter of the moment and by all means never ask him to speculate on anything.

If you met his standards, you could learn a lot from a Shula encounter. I made sure of being prepared once before a rare phone interview that he surprisingly agreed to, arming myself with carefully worded questions. The session proved most enlightening and enjoyable.

But during his coaching days, it had to be all about football. Everything else was outside his narrow tunnel of focus.

That was evident in the classic Shula story about being introduced to “Miami Vice” star Don Johnson during the height of the TV show’s popularity and thinking he was meeting a real detective.

I was stunned when Shula mentioned it during an interview while filming a commercial for a car dealership in 2012.

“I told him, ‘You guys are doing a great job cleaning up Miami. Keep up the good work. If there’s anything we can do, let me know.’ I didn’t know who he was, I was just so consumed with football,” Shula said, his jawing jiggling with laughter at the recollection.

Miami sports world mourns passing of Don Shula

Legacy of Perfect Season

Yes, Shula was a lot more fun to interview in retirement.

While still coaching, he didn’t even like talking about his accomplishments, so focused on adding to them.

But afterward, the legacy of the Perfect Season meant everything to him. And there was no secret how it was attained.

“I worked them four times a day,” he said that day in 2012, of the demands he put on his players through grueling training camps. “They didn’t know what hit them. They complained about it. Then we won our first game. Then we won again, and they started to say maybe there is something to hard work and success.”

In today’s NFL, coaches are greatly limited in practice time on the field.

But it took more than work ethic and pushing players to the max to amass 347 wins and two Super Bowl titles (yes, he also lost four times in the big game).

The times Shula impressed me the most were when he had to adapt in the face of adversity. Get funky outside his comfort zone.

Adapting to win

Most famous was while coaching the Colts in 1965 when he had running back Tom Matte playing quarterback due to injuries to Johnny Unitas and backup Gary Cuozzo.  Shula simplified the offense and had the plays written on Matte’s wrist band. The improvisation worked in a 20-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams to force a playoff.

The situation was similar in 1993 when Shula was seeking his record-breaking 325th win at Philadelphia. Dan Marino was out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon and backup Scott Mitchell left in the third quarter against the Eagles with a shoulder injury. Rookie Doug Pederson came in and made some key third-down completions to seal the historic win.

“It reminded me of the Matte days,” Shula said with a chuckle afterward.

Shula best showed his adaptability in switching to a pass-happy offense with Marino. The Dolphins won their Super Bowls on the ground with Csonka, Mercury Morris and Jim Kiick pounding the ball behind a dominant offensive line.

One more title eluded Shula

Unfortunately, Shula the general manager let down Shula the coach in his later years. He was unable to construct a defense or rushing attack to give Marino the support needed to win.

So the Dolphins wasted the Marino years, and a career-capping championship eluded Shula.

But when you’ve won more games (347) than anyone else and forged the only undefeated run to a Super Bowl title, there isn’t much cause for regret.

My last face-to-face encounter with Shula was at one of his Shula Burger restaurants in the week leading to the Super Bowl in 2014.

It was the end of the Dolphins’ season of Bullygate. In discussing that debacle, Shula was reminded of the 1992 incident in which defensive lineman Alfred Oglesby was taped to a tree outside the Dolphins’ training camp at St. Thomas University by teammates.

Oglesby had missed practice after a night out drinking and fabricated a tale about being kidnapped at gunpoint to cover his tracks. When the truth came out, Shula rescinded the privilege of veterans going home at night instead of staying in the dorms on campus during training camp, prompting retaliation against Oglesby.

In Shula’s recollection, he was the one who cut Oglesby loose, although reports at the time indicated it was another player who did so after 30 minutes. Nonetheless, the incident broke the tension that hung over the team for several days.

“I think anything like this brings the team together. It’s much better than silent resentment. It’s just jock humor,” Shula said.

Shula was a coach for a different time, and in his world the team always came first and all that mattered was what contributed to winning. No one had the formula down better than he did.

Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns