Liam Eichenberg

Dolphins still debating best place for Liam Eichenberg

When the Miami Dolphins drafted Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, the instant assumption was that he would secure the right tackle position for himself.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case so far.

Anyone who watches the way the Dolphins run things, they know that they love cross-training offensive linemen. Their desire for versatility on the offensive line is astounding. For years, fans and analysts have lamented Miami’s apparent refusal to allow players to develop in one specific spot. Laremy Tunsil moved inside to guard as a rookie. Fans feared the transition would impede Tunsil’s growth, all for the sake of Branden Albert staying at left tackle.

Thankfully, Tunsil’s development was not hindered. Not only that, he became good enough to warrant a massive trade to the Houston Texans for a king’s ransom of draft picks. Granted, he was packaged along with WR Kenny Stills, but Tunsil was the real highlight of that trade.

Now the Dolphins are doing the same with Liam Eichenberg. Since the opening of training camp, Eichenberg has played at both right tackle and left guard. Early reports indicated he was struggling in practice, but he’s been slowly improving throughout the process, which is promising.

“He did some good things.” Head coach Brian Flores said last Sunday. “There are some things he can improve on. He’s moved around, he played a few positions – last night he was at tackle. I thought he did well, but there are definitely a lot of scenarios where he can get better. They are watching the film right now. I know ‘Lem’ (Offensive Line Coach Lemuel Jeanpierre) is making the corrections with him. He’s a hard-working kid, so he’ll work hard to make the corrections and hopefully get another opportunity to improve this week during practice and we’ll see what next week looks like.”

Hardworking was one of the key factors for his draft status. At Notre Dame he had the chance to learn under the likes of Quenton Nelson and the very tail end of Ronnie Stanley’s college career. In college he earned the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top lineman in the conference. So it’s obvious Eichenberg is worth investing time into. The only question is where. If Eichenberg continues training at left guard, that unseats Solomon Kindley, who also is working on his technique. If he plays at right tackle, he competes with veteran Jesse Davis, who is the projected starter.

The ideal scenario, obviously, is Liam Eichenberg taking Davis’s spot at right tackle. Davis has greater worth as a versatile reserve than as a starter. More recent reports indicate the Dolphins are spending more time with Eichenberg at right tackle now. Does this mean the team has made their decision?

According to co-offensive coordinator George Godsey, the answer seems to be no.

“It’s the same thing with the amount of guys on a roster on game day.” Godsey said on Monday. “He’s going to have to play multiple and learn multiple spots and based on the dynamics in that room, whoever is active come the first week of the season, which we’ve got some time, there needs to be some flexibility to be able to play inside and outside. We know that that’s a hard role and as each week goes on – going against another opponent this past week playing another spot – it’s going to help him grow and we want that to be fast as possible.”

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If the goal is to develop a player as fast as possible, the Dolphins should seriously consider deciding definitely where they want Liam Eichenberg to focus. On Thursday, Brian Flores announced that many of the team’s starters would sit, including Jesse Davis.

So naturally, the assumption is that the start will go to Liam Eichenberg. That’s where he should be playing. His college career defines him as a talented tackle, not as a guard. Naturally the Dolphins want the best five players on the line, but maybe it’s time to stop thinking so hard about it. Sometimes the answer is much simpler than anyone can imagine.

The most recent reports indicate Eichenberg is responding well to right tackle. That’s all the proof the Dolphins should need to make up their minds.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

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Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

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Will Fuller

Dolphins WR Will Fuller making long-awaited return

It’s been a long time coming. Not since Thanksgiving of last year has veteran wide receiver Will Fuller officially touched an NFL football field. Finally, on Monday, Fuller dressed fully and participated with his new Miami Dolphins teammates in practice.

“I haven’t played a game in a long time – since I guess Thanksgiving.” Fuller said on Monday. “That’s just something I have to work out through practice and shake that rust off. I feel pretty good, though. I’m out here running routes today and I feel pretty good.”

As of now, Fuller is the only wide receiver who hasn’t had much of a chance to work with QB Tua Tagovailoa. They did spend some time together in the offseason, running basic routes and building timing. But all of that was done on their own time. Now, everyone will get a chance to see what Fuller brings to the offense designed specifically for Tagovailoa. The very same offense that already boasts the likes of Albert Wilson, Mike Gesicki, and electrifying rookie Jaylen Waddle, among others.

“This is probably one of the deepest and talented receiving corps that I’ve been a part of, just as far as all of the guys.” Fuller said. “We all can get it done and of course the tight ends as well and the running backs. It’s been fun to watch these guys. I’m excited to get out there with them and put my best out there.”

Now with two consecutive days of practice under his belt, signs point to Fuller finally being healthy. Injuries have been the story of his career so far. His talent is undeniable, and his speed is deadly. Unfortunately, it’s his health that’s the biggest question mark. Since being drafted in the first round by the Houston Texans in 2016, Fuller has missed 27 games in five seasons thanks to nagging injuries.

“Those guys are working hard to get back.” Head coach Brian Flores said on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t say there’s any worry, it’s more they’re working to get back. They’ll be out there today. From that standpoint I know they are doing everything they can and that’s really all we can ask of them. That’s kind of the approach I take. Injuries happen … All that we can ask is that they do everything they can to get back as quickly as they can. All the guys who are dealing with nicks and bruises are doing what they can to get back.”

However, there is a more telling story with Will Fuller. When DeAndre Hopkins was in Houston, Fuller had to share the glory. Hopkins always had the spotlight as a perennial All-Pro wide receiver. Once Hopkins left to Arizona, however, everything changed. Quarterback Deshaun Watson now relied on Fuller to be his top target, and he took advantage of that chance. 2020 was Fuller’s best statistical year yet, as he logged 53 catches for 879 yards and eight touchdowns. The craziest thing of all, is that Fuller only played in 11 games last season. Which means he put those numbers up while still missing five games.

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If Fuller had played the whole season, who knows what he could have done? Now, it’s Tua Tagovailoa who will get the chance to benefit from Fuller’s presence, and he spoke about how happy he was to have the veteran back in practice at last on Wednesday.

“It’s good to have all of our guys back out here, to be able to work some timing and to be able to get some work in with them.” Tagovailoa said. “I think just them being able to get back into the huddle, hear calls, get out, know where they’re lining up at and then executing with them, I think that’s very important.”

The Miami Dolphins offense already looks vastly improved even without Will Fuller on the field. It’s hard to imagine how much better it can look with Fuller added to the equation. Perhaps, if he can stay healthy, Miami may feel compelled to offer him a big extension. Fuller signed a 1-year, almost fully guaranteed $10,625,011 contract with the Dolphins, both cashing in and betting on himself simultaneously.

Will Fuller is betting he can stay healthy. He’s betting that Tua Tagovailoa is ready to make a huge jump in his career and make him look good. If he wins those bets, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Fuller will be a very rich man in 2022 and beyond.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “5Fins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and you can also take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest by using the promo code “dolphins” to get started.

Dolphins display dominance on both sides vs Falcons

A laser sharp Tua Tagovailoa, combined with an opportunistic Dolphins defense, shut down the Atlanta Falcons 37-17 on Saturday. With a redacted preseason now at three games, the middle contest served as the dress rehearsal for the Miami Dolphins.

Tua’s Starring Role

As in the opener against the Chicago Bears, Tagovailoa once again came out of the gate poised and effective.

After a full offseason to strengthen his body and mind, Tagovailoa looks like the quarterback many predicted to be the top pick before his hip injury ended his college career.

In two preseason contests and playing roughly a full game total, Tagovailoa is 24-of-34 with 282 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Even then, statistics don’t tell the full story. On film, Tagovailoa looks much more comfortable in the pocket, despite an uneven offensive line performance once again.

The game plan was to get the ball out quickly and it was an effective strategy. Miami’s offensive line was inconsistent in pass protection but was much more effective in run blocking this time around.

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Also, Malcolm Brown was featured more in this game and had a team high 10 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed were quiet on the ground, but both made an impact as receivers. Gaskin finished tied for the team lead with four receptions, while Ahmed chipped in two catches for 19 yards.

Not everything was wonderful, however. An early injury scare to rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle gave the home crowd at Hard Rock Stadium reason to pause.

Thankfully, Waddle seemed to recover and shortly returned to action, finishing with three receptions for 21 yards.

Sam Eguavoen Electric in Return

The unquestioned star of the evening was linebacker Sam Eguavoen, who returned to action from the reserve/COVID-19 list just in time. Eguavoen was a one-man wrecking crew, finishing with 11 tackles and a remarkable four sacks.

His final sack of the evening also resulted in a safety on Falcons QB Felipe Franks in the third quarter. That put the Dolphins up 23-3 and kept the excitement high. The rest of the Miami reserves were also much better in this game compared to last week against Chicago.

All in all, it was a very complete performance for the Dolphins and the team played hard for a full 60 minutes. They were disciplined and committed just two penalties for 19 yards, while not turning the ball over once.

Up next the Dolphins will close out the preseason with a trip to face the Cincinnati Bengals.

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

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Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

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Miami Dolphins

Preseason Week 2 – Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons: 5 players to watch

After the first preseason game ended in a disappointing loss against the Chicago Bears, the Miami Dolphins will look to bounce back against their second training camp partner, the Atlanta Falcons. To be fair to Miami, the starting players looked impressive. QB Tua Tagovailoa looks vastly improved, even if the one interception in the endzone ruins his stats. As for the defense, even without Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, they stifled Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. The Bears didn’t get their first 1st down of the game until just a few seconds left before the end of the first half.

It wasn’t until the 3rd and 4th string players entered the game that things went awry. So when Justin Fields says the game was slow to him, remember who he was facing. He may live to regret that comment. The only true concern the entire game was the offensive line. They could not run block at all. The Miami Dolphins hope to change that against the Falcons. Alex Donno did his show, “Donno Daily,” and the five starting offensive linemen were the immediate choices for five players to watch during the live stream.

Now while that comment was made mostly as a joke, it is still valid. The offensive line needs to perform better than last week. So with that said, let’s take a look at the other top five players to watch during the second preseason game.

1. Tua Tagovailoa – QB

Let’s not beat around the bush this time. Obviously, everyone will want to see what Tagovailoa does in his second preseason outing. Will he continue to find holes in the defense? Can he navigate the pressure in the pocket? Will he make better decisions with the football in the red zone? Again, Tagovailoa looked masterful against the Bears. Except for that one bad decision that resulted in an interception in the end zone.

Some have said it’s a result of Tagovailoa’s lack of arm strength. True, he doesn’t have a cannon for an arm like Justin Herbert. His success is based on timing and reading the defense. Which, for those who paid attention to how Tagovailoa played at Alabama, has been his game from the very beginning. Watching the throw on replay, the main issue was when he decided to throw it, not how fast the ball got there. Even for a super strong arm, the throw was risky.

These are the kinds of things that happen with young quarterbacks, particularly ones that don’t have immense physical capabilities. Tagovailoa is learning how to dissect defenses and find the openings in them. His arm isn’t “weak,” it’s merely average. Sadly, average has become the new weak in the eyes of many. QBs like Tagovailoa take a little longer to develop. But history has shown that some of the QBs in NFL history were not known for their cannon arms.

They did, however, have an innate knack for knowing where to go with the ball and when. That is what to expect from Tua Tagovailoa. Watch to see if he displays more of that trait tonight.

2. Salvon Ahmed – RB

It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins want to use a running back committee approach. There is no set “starter” per say, it’s all about the matchups. Basically, every time anyone asks head coach Brian Flores about the starter at running back, he gives a similar answer.

“We like all our backs.” He said on Thursday. “They’re all a little bit different. They all have the ability to play multiple downs. We are going to try to use them all. From Malcolm (Brown) to Myles (Gaskin) to Salvon (Ahmed). Patrick Laird has gone in there and done some good things. (Jordan) Scarlett has gone in there, he had a couple good runs last week. (Gerrid) Doaks has gone in there and had some good runs. We try to use them all.”

Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop specific players from standing out above the rest. Only one RB actually managed to shine against the Bears, and that was Salvon Ahmed.

Both Ahmed and Myles Gaskin hail from Washington. They were teammates there and between the two of them, Gaskin was the starter while Ahmed was the change of pace back. That dynamic seems to be repeating itself, as Gaskin tends to get the heavier carry load. However, if the pattern continues where Ahmed gets production with his superior speed, the Miami Dolphins may need to reanalyze that.

The Atlanta Falcons run defense isn’t exactly top-tier. Unless there’s a complete meltdown in blocking, Ahmed or one of the other backs should be able to gain some yards on the ground. Keep a close eye on Ahmed and see if he looks better than the others.

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3. Austin Jackson – OT

At least one offensive lineman still had to make this list, in spite of the discussion with Alex Donno. Without doubt, Austin Jackson has taken a beating over this past week. Reporters, fans, coaches, they’ve all been pushing him in hopes that he’ll rebound after his terrible performance against the Bears in his first ever preseason game. True, they are being patient with him. On the other hand, the Miami Dolphins obviously want to see some improvement from him as time passes. This will be an opportunity to do so.

Jackson was a high ceiling prospect coming out of USC. That’s why the team felt compelled to draft him 18th overall. He has all the physical tools, it’s just a matter of putting them all together. That’s partly coaching, but it’s also on him to do his part. He’s working hard, trying to make the most of his reps. Even Tua Tagovailoa is doing his part to help Jackson get back on his feet.

The Atlanta Falcons pass rush isn’t known for being dangerous. In fact, most Falcons fans have lamented their complete inability to get to the quarterback and create any sort of pressure. That changed during the joint practices with the Dolphins. According to numerous reports, Tagovailoa was harassed in the pocket all week long, which isn’t a good sign for Miami. The struggle is so real that the Dolphins even decided to give up a 7th round draft pick to take a flyer on former Panthers OT Greg Little.

Austin Jackson is the man to watch simply because his struggle was the most obvious last week. Any sort of improvement this week will be welcome.

4. Jaelen Phillips – LB

The Miami Dolphins kept Jaelen Phillips out of the first preseason game in spite of the fact he participated in practice against the Bears. The plan, according to Brian Flores, was to bring him along slowly. Now Phillips has gotten in a full week with no setbacks. It’s more likely that this time, the former Miami Hurricanes star will get a chance to see real game action for the first time in his career.

But that isn’t guaranteed.

Phillips has the potential to become the modern-age Jason Taylor if he reaches his full potential. In many ways, he’s what Dion Jordan could have been if he hadn’t essentially thrown his career way with off-the-field issues. The only thing stopping Phillips from getting there is his own health. His ceiling is staggering, but he won’t reach it if he doesn’t play. The first thing to watch against the Falcons is if Flores allows him to play.

If the answer to that is yes, then watch to see how Phillips does rushing the passer, dropping back into coverage, and being an overall menace to the Falcons offense. If he happens to start, then that will say even more about what the Miami Dolphins think of him.

5. Jakeem Grant – WR

Depending on who you ask, Grant is either a lock to make the Miami Dolphins roster, or his days are numbered and it’s only a matter of time before he’s cut. The split opinion of the Texas Tech standout is truly remarkable. He is undeniably a dynamic playmaker once the ball is in his hands. But that in and of itself is the problem. It’s not always a guarantee that the ball will get into his hands.

As a kick and punt returner, it’s hard to find better options on the roster than Jakeem Grant. The only one who even comes close is rookie Jaylen Waddle, and he’s expected to contribute much more as a wide receiver. It might not be in Miami’s best interest to put Waddle out there to be targeted. As a wide receiver, Grant has a checkered past marred by multiple drops. These drops have caused the fan base to largely turn on Grant, but apparently the coaching staff still sees value in him.

It’s still not a guarantee that Grant will make the roster. He has to show he’s reliable as a receiver as well as a return man. Thankfully, he and Tua Tagovailoa seem to have a strong rapport building in training camp. He’s been the target of a number of Tagovailoa’s practice touchdowns, which shows they can make it work even against Miami’s starting defense, as well as Chicago and Atlanta’s.

Love him or hate him, Jakeem Grant brings electricity to the roster. As it’s unlikely most of the projected starters at wide receiver will play against the Falcons, Grant will have ample opportunity to showcase his skills. He needs to make the most of it to keep the leg up he has on some of the other fringe players.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “5Fins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and you can also take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest by using the promo code “dolphins” to get started.

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa doing his part to help develop Dolphins OL

An offensive line needs to work together as a team in order to properly protect their quarterback. Coming from Alabama, no one knows that better than Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa. Alabama offensives lines are notorious for being some of the best in college football on a regular basis. In college, Tagovailoa was well protected and could properly showcase his ability. Unfortunately, things are different in Miami.

It’s no secret that the Dolphins have struggled to build a solid offensive line over the past decade or so. Sometimes the front office doesn’t invest enough resources. Other times the players acquired simply don’t live up to lofty expectations. Regardless of the why, Miami’s offensive line has not seen stability in a long time. Even now, 1st round pick Austin Jackson is fighting to prove he was worth picking 18th overall in the 2020 draft.

For now, the Miami Dolphins are being patient with Jackson. He is extremely young and his ceiling is high, but he is also in need of coaching to reach that ceiling. Jackson’s performance against the Chicago Bears in the preseason can only be described as abysmal. While reports indicate he’s doing marginally better against the Atlanta Falcons in joint practices, there was also a report that Tua Tagovailoa pulled Jackson aside and had to have a talk with him about something.

Later that same day, Tagovailoa spoke to the media and was asked about the nature of this discussion. His answer was straightforward, but revealed something that should not be overlooked.

“It’s just communicating.” Tagovailoa said. “Just, ‘hey, how are you feeling in the back there.’ For me, just kind of talking to those guys about what I’m feeling and what I’m seeing as far as pressure and just communicating that to them. They don’t see everything. All they see is the guy they’re blocking.”

That right there says a lot about Tua Tagovailoa. He’s not only taking command of his own level of play, he’s doing his part to elevate the others around him. It is important for leaders to lead by example, which he’s doing. But there’s also the verbal aspect of it, which Tagovailoa was limited with during his rookie season. When Ryan Fitzpatrick was with the Dolphins, Tagovailoa took a step back. Now this is his football team, and he’s treating it as such.

“He’s doing a great job, he’s doing a great job leadership-wise.” Austin Jackson said on Thursday. “He’s going into his second year. Him also like myself, having a whole year under your belt and then getting an offseason to prepare, you can anticipate more things. That’s really what football comes down to. We all can line up and play but you have to anticipate stuff. I think he’s definitely gotten a lot better with that … He’s our quarterback … being a quarterback is a lot of responsibility at the end of the day. He can’t run our routes, he can’t call all of our protections, so I think that’s kind of where the 11 people working as one thing comes together. He’s definitely a leader of the offense.”

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For Jackson to still speak so highly of Tua Tagovailoa just one day after being pulled to the side by him, that speaks volumes about the level of respect Tagovailoa has built inside that locker room. Fans can fondly look back on the memories created by Ryan Fitzpatrick’s two-year tenure with the Miami Dolphins, but this is Tagovailoa’s team now. The only real weak spot left is the offensive line, and Tagovailoa is not letting the chips fall where they may.

The young QB out of Alabama is taking a very active role in developing the offense, even on the offensive line. Already, they’re showing signs of improvement as practices continue. Give credit to what he’s doing. Not every QB has the charisma or the courage to do what Tua Tagovailoa is doing.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “dolphins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest to get started.

Jaelen Phillips

Dolphins bringing LB Jaelen Phillips back gradually

When the Miami Dolphins drafted Jaelen Phillips with the 18th overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft, it was with the understanding they were taking a chance with his health. Phillips has suffered wrist injuries, ankle injuries, and numerous concussions in his college career. Now, Phillips is dealing with another injury, one that’s either kept him limited in practice, or not practicing at all. Needless to say, it’s been a slow start for the Miami Hurricane standout.

Before the start of Miami’s first preseason game, Jaelen Phillips was among the players sitting out. This is in spite of the fact that Phillips practiced against the Bears during their joint sessions. Lately the Dolphins have been tight-lipped regarding player injuries. If they can help it, they won’t disclose the details. But one thing head coach Brian Flores was willing to admit was that their plan is to bring Jaelen Phillips along slowly.

“Again, when we are trying to work guys back, we just want to take our time and not have any setbacks.” Flores said on Tuesday. “We plan on working him in against Atlanta whether it is both days, the first day. We will talk through that. Again, he’s doing everything he can possibly do to get out there. As a young guy, he needs reps but at the same time, we want to be smart with our plan to bring him back. We are working him back in.”

The brief time he practiced against Chicago, reports circulated that he was playing with the starting unit as a buck linebacker. This means he was responsible for rushing the passer as well as dropping into pass coverage when needed.

One of the biggest things Jaelen Phillips has going for him is his versatility. Just nine days earlier, Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer talked about how Phillips’s flexibility opens up endless possibilities for the defense to play with.

“I think there are a number of things I think he can do for us.” Boyer said on August 9. “Obviously we’d like to get him out there and see as many things as we can. I think it’s not just unique to him, it’s all players; and we try to make them as multiple as possible. I think the more that guys can do from a position flexibility standpoint, it makes you a little bit more multiple as a defense and it gives them more value as a player. If he can do a couple things that are end-type responsibility and do a couple things that are backer-type responsibility – the other thing is it allows us to be multiple. You don’t necessarily know where guys are gong to line up play after play after play.”

Phillips’s fellow linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel was also asked about the rookie out of Miami, and he had plenty of praise to offer as well.

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“He’s very quick and fast. His first step is explosive.” Van Ginkel said on Tuesday. “He’s also strong at the top, so he’s got many different moves he can work with. I love how he comes in and works every day. His will to get better and all of that is there on a day-to-day basis. You love to see that.”

In the grand scheme of things, the NFL is a marathon, not a sprint. It makes sense for the Dolphins to use caution with Jaelen Phillips. Especially if they intend to have him available during the regular season.

As Miami plays host to Atlanta, it will be worth keeping a close eye on Phillips. He definitely has some catching up to do on the field. With any luck, he’ll get up to speed faster to make up for the extra recovery time.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “dolphins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest to get started.

 

Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins make first round of cuts, send Allen Hurns to IR

The inevitable trimming of the roster has begun. The Miami Dolphins needed to deplete the team down to 85 players by August 17, 4:00 P.M EST., and in order to do so, they have cut ties with OTs Jonathan Hubbard, Timon Parris, DT Jerome Johnson, guard Tyler Marz, and waived/injured CB Jaytlin Askew. For the final transaction, the Dolphins placed veteran WR Allen Hurns on injured reserve with a wrist injury.

Hurns, who will turn 30 in November, sat out 2020 due to Covid-19 concerns. Since his return, he hasn’t been able to make much of an impact in training camp. His best season was in 2015, where he caught 64 passes for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Jacksonville Jaguars. That performance prompted the Jaguars to reward Hurns with an extension for 4-years, $40.65 million. Two seasons later, he was released, and spent one year with the Dallas Cowboys before signing a 2-year deal with the Dolphins in 2019.

Due to Hurns’s injured status, there are extenuating circumstances. In order for him to play for Miami in 2021, he must reach an injury settlement with the Dolphins. The standard rules for players placed on injured reserve this season is that players can be taken off of injured reserve three weeks after going on. But that only applies after the preseason is over. So for Hurns to play with Miami, they must reach a settlement. Hurns then becomes a free agent, and can re-sign with the Dolphins (or anyone else).

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Hubbard, 24, is an undrafted free agent out of Northwestern State (LA) who was attempting to compete with the likes of Larnel Coleman for a spot on the roster as depth. But unfortunately for Hubbard, he never made enough of an impression to move up to the higher units in practice.

Parris, 25, signed on with Miami on May 20. He was then waived on June 14, and re-signed on July 19. Like Hubbard, Parris was competing for a reserve role with Coleman. But also like Hubbard, he didn’t leave a lasting impression. His likely fate is Miami’s practice squad if he’s not claimed elsewhere.

Johnson, 23, is a former standout from Indiana who was named Indiana’s Outstanding Lineman of the Year for his sophomore and junior years. In 2020, Big Ten coaches voted him second-team all-conference. With the amount of depth on the defensive line, Johnson was on the outside looking in. But he could easily become a target for the practice squad if he clears.

Tyler Marz is the second oldest out of the group. At 28 years old, Marz has spent two stints with the Tennessee Titans, one with the Los Angeles Chargers, and one with the Carolina Panthers. As a former Wisconsin starter at left tackle, he was moved inside to guard to better his chances. But unfortunately, he was not able to prove himself to Brian Flores.

The outlier here is CB Jaytlin Askew. Unlike the others, Askew has the waived/injured designation. Which means that before the Dolphins can place Askew on IR, he must clear waivers. Unlike the previous five players, Askew made some plays in the secondary. His release is a result of injury and a lack of space on Miami’s loaded defense. If Askew somehow clears waivers and is available when the time comes, expect Askew to eventually be stashed on the practice squad.

Thanks to the International Player Pathway program, the Miami Dolphins still have a roster exception. Durval Queiroz Neto was shifted from defensive tackle to guard after his first year in Miami, and he’s been working at it ever since.

The next deadline for cuts is August 24, and they will have to slim down to 80 players. Anyone else on the roster bubble, no doubt they feel the pressure now.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

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Greg Little

Dolphins acquire OT Greg Little from Panthers for 2022 7th round pick

With the offensive line struggling to find stability, the Miami Dolphins have decided to take another flyer in hopes of fixing things. In exchange for a 2022 7th round draft pick, the Dolphins acquired former 2nd round pick Greg Little from the Carolina Panthers. He’s projected to play at right tackle, opposite Austin Jackson, who the Dolphins are also remaining patient with.

Little, 23, was originally drafted back in 2019 37th overall. The Panthers hoped he would be a staple of their offensive line for years to come. However, Little’s career has already been plagued with injuries. In his rookie season, Little only played in four games, starting three of them, before being placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury on December 14, 2019. He then started 2020 on the PUP list, only started three of the 10 games he played that season, and landed back on IR with another ankle injury just 10 days after being taken off the Covid reserve list.

As a former Ole Miss standout, Little had the daunting task of succeeding Laremy Tunsil at left tackle. He did well enough to earn a second-round grade, and scouts compared him to Seahawks All-Pro Duane Brown before the draft. Little, obviously, has not lived up to those expectations. But part of the problem could be his inability to stay healthy over his first two seasons. It would not be the first time a change of scenery gives a player new life in their career.

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Ironically enough, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was asked about Greg Little’s progress last week, and spoke highly of him.

“I think he’s progressing,” Rhule said. “I think he’s way further ahead than he was in the spring. he’s got stiff competition ahead of him but I think Greg is showing progress. I’ll really have a better feel over the next three days. I think the next three days are the days I’ll have a feel for the offensive line and the fullbacks.”

There were reports circulating that the Dolphins were searching for trade options at offensive tackle. With the acquisition of Greg Little, Miami is making yet another low-risk move. Hopefully, it will turn out better than their previous attempt with Isaiah Wilson.

If Little shows more of what originally got him drafted, the Dolphins may have solved their right tackle problem. At worst, Little can be a reserve tackle who can play on either side of the line. His first goal will simply be to stay healthy. Then Miami can try to unleash his true potential.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “dolphins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest to get started.

Austin Jackson

Dolphins practicing patience with OT Austin Jackson

Looking back on the Miami Dolphins first preseason game of the 2021 season, it’s safe to say that the offensive line is going to be a concern. To make matters worse, one player stood out above the rest with his struggles against the Chicago Bears. That’s offensive tackle Austin Jackson. According to ProFootballFocus, Jackson gave up five pressures in 18 pass blocking chances. His run blocking was only marginally better.

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By every available metric, Jackson struggled in his first ever preseason game. It’s no secret that numbers sometimes lie in sports. However, in this case, the film seems to support the numbers.

Austin Jackson is a 1st round draft pick. He is expected to perform as such. If Jackson doesn’t figure things out quickly, then Tua Tagovailoa could find himself hitting the ground a lot more than what is necessary. Granted, there is still time, and Jackson is only 22 years old. He showed what he’s capable of during his rookie season, having plenty of ups to go with his downs. As a result, the Dolphins seem to be taking the same approach they’re taking with Noah Igbinoghene.

Patience.

“I thought he did some good things. I thought he competed well.” Head coach Brian Flores said on Sunday. “We were playing against a good front, some good players over there. I thought he competed well, I thought he did some good things in the running game, did some good things in pass protection. I thought he did a lot of good things. Obviously there were some instances where his techniques and fundamentals weren’t as good and we’re making those corrections right now. But I was pleased with how he played.”

It’s no surprise to see Flores defending his players. He’s never been one to throw any one player under the bus. As for Jackson himself, he’s focusing on trying to get up to speed, and declines to comment on where the OL is versus where they want to be.

“That’s a tough question to ask, especially with all of the moving pieces going in.” He said after the game. “We’re putting in the offense right now, so we’re all learning; but I know one thing we do do is we come in and compete every day. The effort part, if you’re not lacking the effort part – which is a struggle for a lot of people and teams – then you can go great places. We’re staying on that track and just keep building until we get a brick wall.”

While Austin Jackson struggled against the Bears, not all hope is lost. The offensive line was not able to do anything while run blocking, but their pass protection was better than given credit for. QB Tua Tagovailoa even went out of his way to credit them after the game was over.

“I think the line did a tremendous job today.” Tagovailoa said after the game. “They kept the pocket clean, gave me a lot of time to step up into the pocket and make that throw. And it wasn’t just that play. There were numerous occasions throughout the first quarter and second quarter where they’ve really shown up and given me a clean pocket.”

Watching the film, the pass protection actually was better than it seemed. Tagovailoa’s best throws of the day came with no one around him. The real glaring weak spot was Austin Jackson. Fortunately for the Miami Dolphins, there’s still time to bring him back up to speed.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “dolphins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest to get started.

 

Dolphins win Patriots

Bullish or Bearish? Miami Dolphins Preseason Week 1

Welcome to the first installment of Bullish or Bearish! I am not one to touch stonks nor give financial advice, but I do love some crypto and these are two terms, we in the community use to identify whether a project is trending up or inverse to that, trending down. This year I will be bringing you a Bullish or Bearish report once a week to help you identify who’s improving and who’s regressing on the 2021 Miami Dolphins. We start Week 1 of the Pre-Season schedule for your Miami Dolphins with a  final score of 13-20 in favor of the Bears and left us with some questions answered while also leaving us with some concerns. Let’s dive in.

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Bullish

Mike Gesicki:

A bold take on the way, health permitting, we may be on the verge of a breakout season by Mike Gesicki. A breakout into possibly 1100+ yards and 10+ TDs territory. I know it’s early and many of Tua’s other weapons are out but that also lets me know that he will be reliable when those same WRs aren’t available (I expect that to be often) and most importantly is that he might be the biggest benefactor of the attention needed to guard Will Fuller and Jaylan Waddle leaving him isolated one on one like he was against the Bears and Alec Ogletree. Look out because Gesicki looks ready to make the Dolphins pay for not having paid him yet.

Salvon Ahmed:

We talked all offseason about a needed 2nd-year jump for many guys but the one we all seem to have left out is Salvon Ahmed. All afternoon Ahmed looked faster, stronger, quicker, and overall, more comfortable. Salvon was able to not just only show the burst which led to the Dolphins’ first 100-yard rushing performance by a player in nearly 2 seasons, Ahmed also showed tremendous improvement in the passing game as evident by TD to end the half from Jacoby. Coach Flores already has hinted at this being a RBBC but I wouldn’t be shocked if at some point this season Ahmed claims the job as his. 

Lynn Bowden Jr:

 Someone who desperately needed a good showing after a curiously quiet camp was Lynn Bowden Jr. Lynn was able to show everything that has me excited and expecting a substantial jump in performance. Altogether he had 4 catches for 47 yards, 2 first downs, and 1 kick return (more on that later). If Lynn can build off this performance and put together a good week of practice vs the Falcons, he could guarantee not only his roster spot but also a role as a specialists/WR.

Bearish

Jakeem Grant

Some may see Jakeem’s name on the bearish side and will yell out how he had the most explosive punt return of the game when it went for 34 yards. I urge you to realize what is going on with the KR and PR positions. On KR we saw both Noah Igbinoghene and Lynn Bowden Jr get chances to show what they can do. On PR we saw a total of 7 punt returns with Jakeem getting 3, Malcolm Perry getting 3, and Waddle getting only 1. It is starting to feel like if anyone steps up and makes the returner jobs theirs, Jakeem’s time in Miami may be coming to an end.

Malcolm Brown

Another year, another power back who can’t seem to find space to operate. After some good initial runs by Brown, where he showed a nice ability to finish forward, he and the OL did their best to give us Jordan Howard PTSD. In total Malcolm had 9 carries go for a total of 8 yards with a long of 6. Think about that, he had 8 carries go for 2 yards. Outside of the pedestrian performance, the emergence of Salvon Ahmed could force Malcolm to be a key reserve or not even make the team at all. This is a situation that will require further research to see how this ends up working out.

Austin Jackson

As nicely as I can put it, that was an abysmal performance by Austin Jackson. When you stop and consider Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, and Robert Quinn each played less than 9 snaps while Austin had 44 total snaps, it’s extremely concerning to see him struggle as he did, against backups and third-stringers. The toughest part of watching Austin vs the Bears? He got beat in a plethora of ways, from stunts, speed rushes, and bullrushes. There weren’t many things that the defense tried, that didn’t work. Per PFF in 22 pass-blocking opportunities, Austin gave up a holding penalty to stall a drive, 1 QB hit, 4 QB hurries, and 5 QB pressures. Not the start many envisioned for the 2020 18th overall selection.

 

 

Overall, the first preseason game was just that, the first preseason game and while it did give us some things to start to focus on more (the oline) there is still time to improve and work on the things that did work. This week-to-week report could in theory having Austin Jackson as bearish but if he comes out next week and responds to the criticism he may find himself on the bullish side of things. Until next time, Fins Up!

 

 

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Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at EverythingTradeShows or call 954-791-8882