Kalen Ballage

Kalen Ballage rushing full speed towards Dolphins starting RB job

Kalen Ballage is getting a rare opportunity with Kenyan Drake down with an injury. The Dolphins are going to need a running back, so he’s responding to the call by making play after play. His speed and acceleration caught the Tampa Bay Buccaneers off guard both days they held joint practices, resulting in several touchdowns. That level of production does not go unnoticed, and it’s clear head coach Brian Flores is enjoying noticing them.

“Oh, I saw them.” He said during his Wednesday press conference.

It makes sense that Ballage is pushing himself with Drake out. At the start of training camp, he was the one who worked with the starters, only to eventually be overtaken by the Alabama speedster as the days went on. It appeared that Drake was ready to lock down the starting job, at least until these joint practices with Tampa. All of a sudden, he, QB Josh Rosen and WR Preston Williams are getting chances to work with the starters after being stuck under the veterans.

“I think young guys have to be able to come out here and make plays.” Ballage said Wednesday. “This (isn’t) college anymore. It’s not high school. In my opinion, age doesn’t really matter. I think you just come out here and if you can ball, you can ball. I think that’s a big part of it.”

He’s doing a good job of impressing the coaches, and those touchdown runs included good execution across the board. That’s precisely what coach Flores is looking for in his players.

“They all work together. It’s 11 guys.” He said. “If you put 11 guys in and they execute their responsibility, you’ll get a good play. Kalen did a good job of making a guy miss, and that’s how you get long runs, receivers blocking corners and secondary players, and that’s how you get long runs. It takes everybody.”

At this point, it’s impressive that Kalen Ballage is able to do as much as he’s doing. The Dolphins offensive line is an absolute mess, so these touchdown runs are a testament to the home run capability Ballage has in him. It also acts as a demonstration for what the offense itself is capable of.

“It’s something that I’ve always known.” Ballage said. “I think that it gets the best athletes and the best talents in space, gets them the ball and kind of puts the rest on us to make plays. I think that that’s something that’s real important.”

Ballage’s opportunity to showcase himself stands to last a while, especially since Kenyan Drake has to wear a walking boot for an undisclosed amount of time. While coach Flores isn’t really concerned, indicating Drake will be ready for week one of the regular season at the latest, it doesn’t bode well for Drake with Ballage running full speed towards the starting job.

Kalen Ballage has had his struggles, but they appear to be past him. Back in college, he felt extremely underused. In his rookie season, he sat behind Drake and veteran Frank Gore. He appears ready to take charge, and he has a chance to prove it on Friday.

Dolphins-Buccaneers Joint Practice Notes DAY 2

DAY 2

– LB Terrill Hanks comes off limping. Looks headed to the locker room. Something happened during warmup.
– Devante Parker and Kenyan Drake have been added to list of non-practicing players today.
– Hanks back out during stretch. No locker room.
– Fitzpatrick working with the 2nd stringers during warmup. We’ve moved back outside for whatever reason.
– Second string OL still Prince at RT, Fuller RG, Reed C, Holden LG, Sterup LT
– Orchard back with the 2nd string during warmup. Couldn’t see if Ledbetter was with him. That seemed rotational yesterday, anyway.
– Patrick Graham running some drills for the DEs.
– Charles Harris just shed the sled dummy so hard it almost hit Graham, “Oh damn Charles, you can throw it at me I’ll take it.”
– Perriman beats McTyer in 1v1.
– Godwin beats Xavien Howard in the end zone.
– Jomal Wiltz gets a win, Jalen Davis gets a win, overall, brutal 1v1 session.
– Kenny Stills and Fitzpatrick connecting with each other on 2nd unit.
– BIIIIIG run Ballage. Showed hella speed making that angle disappear. TD
– Preston Williams as gunner on punts. Defeated by the double.
– Preston up again as a gunner. Much better. But not as competitive as Armstrong or Wiltz.
– Headed inside. Monsoon breaks out, outside.
– Jesse Davis with a pretty good rep on Nassib.
– Jaryd Jones-Smith with a good rep as well.
– Isaiah Prince is responding today.
– Pit drill goes the Fins way today.
– Jaryd Jones-Smith is getting work in place of Jordan Mills at LT on 1st unit.
– Mike Evans a TD over Eric Rowe.
– Irwin open in the end zone. Fitz missed him.
– Preston Williams back on punt returns now. Why not?
– Preston Williams finally flubbed a punt return. Not bad for first try.
– First string defense stuffs the Bucs offense while the first string Miami offense nicely executed three in a row. Short pass to Ford, Ballage gain, and a tough catch thru a hard hit by Hurns.
– Rosen’s first string work was very decisive. Quick reads. Quick throws. Sharp.
– Bullet over the deep middle to Isaiah Ford by Ryan Fitzpatrick.
– Nick DeLuca with the pick.
– Kalen Ballage takes a RB screen to the house. He plays and looks fast.
– Jaryd Jones- Smith remains with 1st team.
– Chris Lammons still with the 1s. The first string D just allowed a huge in to the perimeter. – Rosen hesitated on a pass to Stills, not on the same page.
– Ryan Fitzpatrick a nice tall one for Brice Butler. Looks good running those square ins.
– Rosen failed to pull the trigger on a rollout last snap of goal line, first string work. Stills was open for a beat. He knew it.
– Jerome Baker breaks up a 50:50 ball in the end zone.
– Preston Williams al.ost makes a highlight catch on a fade in End Zone by Fitzpatrick. Had it. Couldn’t finish.
– Tweet: One of the biggest storylines here is Jaryd Jones-Smith stabilizing the line somewhat by stepping in for Jordan Mills at LT.
– Anthony Johnson of the Bucs just finished up team portion by catching a touchdown over the middle with Torry McTyer in trail.
– Rosen all day to throw. Took too long and threw a near pick trying to get it to Preston Williams.
– Mike Evans with a big catch over Xavien Howard that could’ve put him in the end zone.
– Touchdown to OJ Howard. Over Bobby McCain.
– Ryan Fitzpatrick just barely overthrows Brice Butler on a deep ball.
– Trent Irwin couldn’t get much separation on Sean Bunting there. Ran an out and Fitzpatrick threw it just wide.
– They just ran the same thing. This time connected. Other side of the field.
– Fitzpatrick begins to cook in the hurry up, Flag down. Walks them back.
– Fitzpatrick another no look pass to Nick O’Leary off the scramble. Big play. Big conversion.
– Aaron Monteiro let up a sack on 2nd down. That’ll hurt.
– Fitzpatrick getting a free play with 0:00 on the clock. Hail Mary. Incomplete.
– Fitzmagic pulls one out of his hat by finishing scrimmage with a bullet to Trenton Irwin just over the goal line. Fit between so many defenders the ball looked like it apparated.
– Nick DeLuca has sacks two practices in a row out here. And a pick. He’s got something.
– Cornell Armstrong saw that the whole way, breaks up and nearly picks off a pass in the end zone on the out.
– Rosen appears to get whistled for a sack and didn’t like it. Hurried into next play and holds ball forever. Finally dumps to Ballage.
– Minkah Fitzpatrick steps in front of a pass for the pickoff. Jerome Baker nearly got there on the speed rush.
– Practice Over

Practice MVP’s: Jaryd Jones-Smith, Kalen Ballage.

Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.

Dolphins offensive line

Dolphins offensive line in desperate need of improvement

The Miami Dolphins offensive line seems to be in eternal purgatory. Year after year, coach after coach, the one constant is the Dolphins offensive line failing to protect quarterbacks or open holes for running backs. Numerous first round picks, expensive free agents, all for naught. The Dolphins offensive line can’t get it together no matter who they acquire or what they do.

Surely there’s some secret, some reason for Miami’s inability to field a strong offensive line. Is it the scheme? Is it bad drafting? Michael Deiter, is the Dolphins 2019 third round pick. He’s supposed to be a solid guard. So far, however, he’s struggling to keep up with the speed of the NFL. He has moments where he looks solid, and then falls on his face. Obviously, it’s still very early, and Miami will continue to develop Deiter throughout the season.

And the Dolphins seem willing to be patient.

“I think every experience they have is a good one.” head coach Brian Flores said of Deiter and fellow rookie guard Shaq Calhoun. “Every time they see over, under, diamond, odd, double mug, mug in the b-gaps – every time they see that, it’s a good experience for them and one that they can hopefully learn from and then the next time that it comes up, they know how to handle it. I think these situations for those guys, specifically the young guys, but really the entire line working as a group, this is good.”

Tuesday’s joint training camp practice acted as a learning experience for the entire Dolphins offensive line. Tampa Bay’s defensive line is solid, and features a familiar (and just as hard to face) individual in veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

“He was doing Suh things.” Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil said. “Everybody knows what Suh does.”

What Suh does is not hold back. He pulls no punches. Suh went after the young guards, giving them hell and showing them what it means to face an elite lineman.

“He’s a very good player, and I’m sure he’s got even more in the tank at times.” Deiter said. “Just having the opportunity, like the first snap, I look up and Ndamukong Suh’s standing there. It was kinda like, ‘that’s Ndamukong Suh. Are we sure that we’re ready to do this?’ It’s still football, he’s blockable, but he’s really, really good.”

Deiter admits that he feels he did some things well, but there were also a lot of things he did really bad. There’s still a lot he needs to clean up, and that’s going to take time. That also goes for the entire Dolphins offensive line. They need to be physical, like coach Flores wants of his team. That’s the entire point behind them adding a fullback to the roster, and the offensive line needs to be embody that philosophy.

“Just keep working. That’s the main thing.” Tunsil said. “It’s all new guys up there. People are playing different positions – Jesse (Davis) at right tackle, then we’ve got two rookies in there. Just keep improving and we’re going to come together as one. We’re going to watch this film later in the afternoon and get it down, improve our technique, improve our fundamentals and keep working.”

That’s all well and good, but the fact remains that the Dolphins offensive line can’t find a way to handle the basics of blocking. Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo got so fed up with rookie right tackle Isaiah Prince that he forced the longtime Ohio State starter to stand in a corner for ten minutes. How bad do you have to be to get put in timeout by your coach?

“He’s a fiery, high-energy coach.” Flores said of DeGuglielmo. “I think we have a lot of coaches on this staff with that temperament. He, like myself, gets worked up at times. I think we all do for good and bad plays. That’s a good thing. We’re trying to stay on them, on the players. We try to help them improve and get better. Really, that’s on a play-to-play basis. I love hearing ‘Guge’ out there coaching his guys.

Miami wants to develop these young players. They want them to succeed in 2019. Success now means greater success in 2020, when the Dolphins actually start pushing hard again. Rumors of a trade for pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney (unfounded rumors) have fans excited. Trading for him would be a waste of draft capital, but he would be a huge free agent splash in 2020. The Dolphins will have the cap space to sign him too.

But if the offensive line doesn’t get its act together soon, all pretenses of not trying to tank go out the window. If Miami is serious about wanting to try and win every game, which coach Flores swears up and down they are, the line must improve.

Dolphins-Buccaneers Joint Practice Notes DAY 1

DAY 1

– Nice morning, for now. Ominous clouds promise some noon-ish nastiness. Humidity been ridiculous here last couple of days. Can’t even open my front door without having a hand towel.
– Chris Grier and Dan Marino among the onlookers today.
– TJ McDonald, Reshad Jones, Walt Aikens, Raekwon McMillan, Andrew Van Ginkel, Jakeem Grant, Chase Allen, Quentin Poling, Robert Nkemdiche, Cordrea Tankersley, Kiko Alonso OUT today.
– Isaiah Prince got made to stand on the corner.
– OL Coach GOOGS (Dave DeGuglielmo) being hard on the rookies. Made one to stand on the corner. “You don’t listen. Tired of talking to your ass.”
– Jordan Mills is still at LT in Indy Drills. Seems like he might start his 2nd game there this week.
– Godwin beats Eric Rowe on 1v1. on a fade. Follows up with a short catch.
– Godwin catches a short curl on Xavien Howard.
– Sam Eguavoen near pick…
– Tyrone Holmes stoned by Dotson. Wilkins gets nothing on #65.
– Godchaux pretty competitive with Ali Marpet. Beat him clean on 2nd rep.
– Charles Harris with a good rep on Boozer.
– Orchard has nothing for #67.
– Vincent Taylor good bull rush on #75.
– Akeem Spence and Dewayne Hendrix with ugly reps.
– Donovan Smith is beating up Dewayne Hendrix.
– Overall impression, I know from watching lots of All-Star work that pit drills favor the DL. But this didn’t look like it.
– Kalen Ballage with a nifty run up the middle.
– Rosen Sack. Blown block.
– Rosen, deep miss to Parker.
– Mark Walton beat in pass pro. Rosen sacked.
– Fitzpatrick working with #2’s now……
– Nice RB Outlet to Gaskin.
– Refs blow play action pass dead on Fitzpatrick. Sack.
– Preston Williams working with Rosen and 1st team.
– Strong reps from Kalen Ballage here.
– Nice Protection leads to a BIG pass from Rosen to Parker down the left sideline.
– Preston Williams with a sweet route and catch on the break.
– The 2nd team OL is awful.
– Kalen Ballage having a big day.
– 11v11 here.
– Good protection for Fitzpatrick. pass intended for Ballage, batted down.
– Gesicki with catch in the flat, for a 1st down. Deiter allowed pressure on the rep.
– Fitzpatrick to Parker on a sharp in-cut. Good pass.
– Fitzpatrick under pressure, over throws Stills on deep post.
– Preston Williams and Brice Butler working with the 1st team, some today.
– Fitzpatrick with good feel for floating to the best passing lane, Hits Ballage in tight coverage, but he can’t hold on.
– Kalen Ballage with another one. Getting a lot of work today.
– Fitzpatrick too tall for Ford on the end zone fade.
– Bucs offense is moving. Two in a row underneath to Breshad Perriman. Rowe in coverage. Godwin works on Rowe…XAVIEN HOWARD INT. great jump on the ball.
– 2nd unit in.
– Rosen, No huddle. good time, good protection. blown dead. Sack. Quick out to Hurns. Rosen holds it forever again…sack again.
– Blaine Gabbert doing Blaine Gabbert things. Sack..Nick DeLuca
– Moving to indoor facility due to lightning.
– 2018 1st round pick for the Bucs, Vita Vea is not practicing.
– FG work now.
– That is a 1v1 drill. The WR is supposed to win a majority of them.
– Fitzpatrick in Goal Line. Nearly picked off by Kentrell Brice.
– Hargreaves stops Parker’s fade route. No connection to be had.
– Brice Butler gets called for P.I (push off) in the end zone. Caught it though.
– Mark Walton sweep. TD
– Josh Rosen TD to Laird, who swept out the backfield while Rosen pulled the defense in.
– Godwin beats Eric Rowe for a TD.
– TD to OJ Howard on a quick out. Needham late in getting over.
– Lots of Yellow here. False Start on Bucs. Then Jameis Winston throws the Fade to Brate anyway, catches it on Wiltz. Flagged for a push off.
– Andre Ellington, diving TD catch on Jalen Davis.
– Missed throw to end practice, tried to get Hudson on the quick out, but give Hartage credit for hustling out there.

SOUND AFTER PRACTICE:

BRIAN FLORES- Flores talking up Ledbetter a bit after being asked, but makes it a point to improve the consistency.
BRIAN FLORES- Asked about DE position, signed Nkemdiche and rumors about Clowney, Flores insists the guys we have are doing a good job. Every player needs to improve.
BRIAN FLORES- “Sometimes, you don’t know where he is.” Expressed skepticism about teams avoiding Xavien Howard in coverage.
BRIAN FLORES- Every team has its core identity and you’re gonna run that. About 50% of what you play in a game is stuff you ran last week. (Pushes back on the idea the practice was “basic” so as not to give away things to the other team)
BRIAN FLORES- On if they’re developing a core identity. Absolutely. As you start to get more live-ish, your core identity takes shape.
BRIAN FLORES- Fitzpatrick has been one of the best mentors Rosen has had in the sport. Been selfless. Ability to identify things is special.

JOSH ROSEN- He’s gonna absolutely fight his balls off. (Rosen on Fitzpatrick still competing to start despite being selfless and a mentor)
RYAN FITZPATRICK- “Having been on 8 teams this has happened to me more than once.” On seeing familiar faces in the room.
RYAN FITZPATRICK- Fitzpatrick mentions that in teaching the other QB’s, there are experiences and insights he can given them, but also scars that have developed from mistakes made, that he doesn’t want others to make.

Practice MVP’s: Xavien Howard, Kalen Ballage.

Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.

Preston Williams header

Why did teams pass on Dolphins’ Preston Williams?

He goes by the unicorn.

But there isn’t just a solitary reason why a player of Preston Williams’ talent was available to the Miami Dolphins after the draft.

Our Chris Kouffman (@CKParrot) called this when the Dolphins signed Preston Williams, gushing over his tape. And even as Williams flashed on the Davie field, day after day, other media types compared him to former Dolphins camp mirages at the receiver position.

He’s not.

He’s real.

Pro Football Focus gave him the highest grade (93.0) on the entire team in the preseason opener against Atlanta. And it’s clear he’s not just making the team, but could eventually emerge as a starter.

So how the heck did the Dolphins get a crack at him, without picking him in any of the seven rounds.

Kouffman’s thread today is instructive.

Click below and read it all.

Kouffman will be credentialed for Five Reasons Sports in Tampa for the Dolphins’ joint practices against the Buccaneers this week.

Chandler Cox

Chandler Cox giving Miami Dolphins much-needed physicality

Think back to the last time the Miami Dolphins had a fullback. More than likely, the name Lousaka Polite springs to mind. Polite was the bruiser, they guy that was given the ball when it was third and short and Miami needed a first down. Unremarkable, but reliable, and steadfast. Since then, the Dolphins have made halfhearted attempts to find a replacement, but not until now, with Chandler Cox, have they add any success.

The last real fullback Miami had on the roster was Jorvorskie Lane. Serviceable, but he never lived up to Polite’s standards. Then the Dolphins tried to get Charles Clay to be an H-back type hybrid, playing both tight end and fulback. It soon became clear that Clay was more effective as a pass-catching tight end. There was also the reported pursuit of veteran fullback Vonta Leach, one of the best at his dying position, back in 2013. Ultimately, nothing came out of that, and since then the position has been in limbo.

Both Joe Philbin and Adam Gase decided to forgo the fullback position for the most part, putting strong emphasis on the passing game. Ryan Tannehill was tasked with making the offense run almost solely on his arm, with little to no investment placed in the running game. Only in 2016, with now free agent RB Jay Ajayi, did anyone get to see what the offense could look like when they started playing smashmouth football. Ajayi became an instant star, and the Dolphins made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

But it wouldn’t last. Ajayi’s body gave out just as his ego kicked in, and Gase sent Ajayi to the Eagles where he won the Super Bowl in 2017. He didn’t contribute much to that victory, but it was a victory all the same. And once again, Miami’s rushing attack fell by the wayside.

Enter Brian Flores, who comes from New England. The Patriots know how important a strong running game is, and Flores made it clear Miami would remember that lesson. They would have a fullback, no questions asked.

“I think it adds a competitiveness, a grit, a toughness, to the team.” He said back in late May. “We want to run the football. I think having a lead blocker clear the way helps that, I value that position. I think it brings a toughness, a grit that I think I like in my team … Quite honestly, I played linebacker and I’ve had to deal with fullbacks. It’s not always the easiest thing to do. Wherever the league goes is where it goes; but personally, having dealt with a lead blocker, it’s not an easy thing to deal with.”

That much is true. With a fullback leading the way, defenders have to get through an extra player to bring down the running back. In that moment it might take to knock down the fullback, the running back could score a touchdown. That is precisely what happened on Thursday night against the Falcons. Mark Walton was handed the football, and Cox blocked two different defenders, leading to a score that gave Miami the lead.

Chandler Cox already has the respect of his teammates. With fullbacks being a dying breed, the fact he goes out there and does everything he can do to contribute makes him a rarity.

“He’s an Auburn guy, but you know, I won’t hold that against him.” Drake joked on Thursday. “He goes in there, he’s still out there doing his job, so I know he’s going to be tired up in this game, but he’s a rookie so he’s got to get his dues in, so I look forward to him doing a lot more for this season.”

Having a fullback is a luxury it seems, one that most teams decide not to have. With the NFL putting more and more focus on protecting quarterbacks, it’s clear that the league wants teams to throw more. But the effectiveness of a fullback can’t be denied. And some believe the position may yet see a comeback as Miami adjusts to having one.

“I think it will be, but it takes time to do that when you haven’t done that.” running back coach Eric Studesville said in late July. “It’s different to have another guy closer to you and he has to make decisions. There is a trust that builds in that. Chandler (Cox) has done a great job of coming in here. It started yesterday in pads right away. He’s physical with his pad level. We’ll all get better at that and we’ll get better feeling him and what’s going on. I think it adds another dimension to our offense and capabilities and what defenses have to prepare for.”

Chandler Cox adds an extra blocker, and he has the ability to run if necessary. He can catch, he can lead, he can back up the offensive line in the backfield, he’s the full package. And, he’s already adjusting well. Becoming a physical team after spending so long focused on finesse will take time. But Cox will do a lot to speed up the process.

Josh Rosen risks

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores wants Josh Rosen to curb risk taking

One major difference between Miami’s current quarterbacks and the one that departed in the offseason is their willingness to take chances. Both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen are aggressive in their decision-making, a trait put on full display during the Dolphins win against the Falcons. They attempted plays that can only be described as incredible. Some of them worked, while some of them did not.

That willingness to be aggressive is part of what makes Rosen such an intriguing prospect. However, it can also lead to mistakes that Miami can’t afford to make. One such mistake was when Rosen attempted a pass in the middle of the field to WR Isaiah Ford, only to be intercepted by linebacker Jermaine Grace. The three-year veteran stepped right in front of the route and Rosen could do nothing but watch as his team chased the defender down.

Rosen is taking chances, but head coach Brian Flores wants him to tone it down a bit.

“Yeah. A couple times there I thought, maybe, those are a little dicey.” Flores said after the game. “And at some point as a quarterback you’ve got to take the sack. That’s the best play. But the guy’s got a little bit of a gunslinger mentality and wants to let it rip and obviously got the nice one out to Preston, but I think we want to play smarter than that I would say in that situation, not just let the ball go like he did.”

Once again, Flores functions on the premise of basics and fundamentals. Even if risky plays end in favorable results, that doesn’t mean Flores condones the decision. He wants smart, calculated football. That means taking advantage of what the defense gives, not forcing something when things get dangerous.

“I felt some guys at my ankles.” Rosen said. “I knew Preston kind of had a stop coming back to me, I saw he was a bit inside of him. So I knew if I just put it up he would kind of have the break on it. It might have been a little bit too dicey; but I don’t know. A couple fall in your favor, a couple don’t. I probably should be a little smarter with that, even though this one worked out.”

Not having consistent protection can easily lead to more of these mistakes. Josh Rosen had to spend the majority of his playing time dodging defenders before he could make a throw. In reality, it’s a testament to Rosen’s improvement that he was able to accomplish what he did against Atlanta. Rosen completed 13 out of 20 attempts for 191 yards, and of course his interception. That averages out to a 75.2 passer rating, which does not reflect his overall performance. Rosen grew more comfortable as the game continued, and soon those risky plays started looking routine.

“I feel substantially better now than I did two weeks ago.”Rosen said. “But like I said, I’ve got a long ways to go. The way ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) in our meeting room can break down a defense and how quickly he can make comments on where everyone is, where the ball should go, is pretty impressive and I think if I can kind of hedge that gunslinger attitude a little bit and put a little bit more thought into it, I think I could develop pretty nicely.”

It’s encouraging that Rosen recognizes the flaws in himself. He even goes as far as to admit he’s struggled with taking unnecessary risks throughout his entire football career. He’s learning when the best move is to give up on a play and try again on the next down, and when it’s okay to throw up a prayer. It’s something he’s been dealing with all through the offseason and training camp already.

Josh Rosen isn’t making excuses for himself, though he easily could have on Thursday. With the offensive line unable to protect for him, he didn’t have much time to think about what he was doing. But that’s moot. He made a mistake, and he knows it. He isn’t about to whine about something he feels has no bearing on his ability to make wise choices.

“I threw the pick in a completely clean pocket. So football is football.” He said. “You’re never going to have a completely clean pocket all of the time. When you get it, you’ve got to take advantage of it and when you don’t, you can’t make stupid mistakes by trying to play hero ball. I did kind of a little bit of everything, so I’ve got a lot of film to watch. Just because like good plays gained yards doesn’t mean that the way we got that was like a sustainable way to do that in the future. So I think that like I said at the beginning, there’s good, bad and everything in between.”

If Rosen can eliminate some of the bad, then he can easily take the starting job away from Ryan Fitzpatrick. If he eliminates the everything in between and keeps only the good, then Miami will finally have their franchise quarterback in Josh Rosen. The sooner he learns those lessons, the better off everyone will be.

“I think that’s what this time is for, that’s what training camp is for.” Flores said. “It’s to develop these guys, help develop them, help work on their techniques, fundamentals, consistency. That’s what training camp is for. That’s why I got into coaching, that’s what I love about coaching. We want to win, there’s no doubt about that. But we’re going to try to develop these players as best we can and try to win at the same time. And I think development of players is something that’s ongoing.”

Kenny Stills gets death threats, doesn’t back down

Preston Williams, the undrafted free agent that our Chris Kouffman (@CKParrot) told you all about on the day he signed, was the star of the Dolphins’ 34-27 win in their preseason opener.

But that’s not the receiver everyone ran to first in the Dolphins locker room.

That, naturally, was Kenny Stills, after the outspoken community activist tweeted this Wednesday evening about the Dolphins owner Steve Ross.

That tweet went viral, and so did the related story. Ross released his own statement afterwards, but it wasn’t especially well received.

 

Stills wasn’t impressed either, apparently.

Stills addressed the media for roughly 10 minutes, taking every question. He said he did not want to be a distraction, and he had spoken to coach Brian Flores about it.

Flores had his own view on it.

Well, something we need to do more of in a society is not threaten someone’s life for speaking out.

This, unfortunately, wasn’t especially shocking.

Stills has trade value, but he made it clear he doesn’t want to leave the Dolphins. This seems like it may be just a two-day story, but it’s a story that shows how polarized Dolphins fans are politically. For some reason, the view of Stills  as a player is affected by how a fan feels about the president. Even though Stills does more work in the community than just about any active athlete in South Florida, with people of all races. 

Robert Nkemdiche signing

Dolphins sign DL Robert Nkemdiche to 1-year contract

The Miami Dolphins are adding another player to their ranks. Just hours before their first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, former Arizona Cardinals first round pick Robert Nkemdiche is signing a 1-year contract. This comes after he was released by the Cardinals in late July for failing a physical, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports the deal is worth $1.16 million.

Nkemdiche, 24, never lived up to his potential in Arizona. Even before he was drafted, teams were concerned about Nkemdiche’s work ethic and character. He was suspended for the Sugar Bowl in college after being arrested with marijuana charges. Now, this year, Nkemdiche was arrested twice within a week for traffic-related incidents, one of which saw him with a white powdery substance in the center console of his car.

The Cardinals took a chance on Nkemdiche, drafting him 29th overall in 2016. The hope was he would turn into a dominant pass rusher. Unfortunately, however, Nkemdiche’s physical gifts went to waste. In three seasons with Arizona, he appeared in 27 games, starting six of them. He recorded 44 tackles, 4.5 sacks, with two passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery with a touchdown.

It seemed 2018 would be Nkemdiche’s year to get back on track. All 4.5 of his career sacks came during that season. But once again, Nkemdiche was struck down. He ended the 2018 season on injured reserve with a torn ACL he suffered in December. The Cardinals decided not to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract, which would have paid him $8.6 million, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury did not hold back regarding his disappointment in the former top-10 talent.

“Not in shape,” Kingsbury said. “That’s kind of where we’ll leave it … I mean, he’s on (the Physically Unable to Perform list) and he’s working through that. When he is cleared, we’ll work with him.”

Clearly, they had no interest in working with him.

The Dolphins, on the other hand, are not shy about giving players a chance to redeem themselves. Already, they’ve taken flyers on running back Mark Walton and wide receiver Preston Williams. Both players have issues off the field and are trying to get their careers on track. So far, both Walton and Williams are doing a fine job. Now, Miami is extending that same olive branch to Nkemdiche, who will continue his rehab under head coach Brian Flores’s supervision.

Sometimes, players need a change of scenery to get their lives in order. Under the tutelage of Flores, a Bill Belichick disciple, Robert Nkemdiche has a fighting chance to revitalize his career. There won’t be any nonsense with this coaching regime, discipline is crucial. They will work on basics and fundamentals with him, and will help him stay out of trouble. It’s working out well with Walton and Williams, what’s one more lottery ticket?

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

Miami Dolphins Camp Quickie Notes: Day 11

Day 11

– The last practice before they p;ay actual Football.
– There is however one last Training Camp practice on Saturday.
– Coach Flores is late.
– He’s here.
– OL knee brace use is encouraged for camp to reduce the possibility of lower extremity injuries- Coach Flores
– Everybody will be ready to play for extended periods on Thursday. It could be 3 plays, 30 plays, 50 plays- Coach Flores
– We are working Kiko Alonso back, he fits in a lot of our packages- Coach Flores
– Player 1 to 1 interaction is important. For reinforcement, encouragement- Coach Flores
– We snuck in a walk thru at the stadium the other day- Coach Flores
– We might sneak in another one- Coach Flores
– Jesse Davis has taken every 1st team snap at RT for the last 8 practices. It’s no longer an “experiment”. He’s the RT. Can’t see them devote all of this time to this and then reversing course at the 1st sign of adversity. He would have to be a disaster to lose this job. IMO.
– Far field work today.
– Special teams work to begin practice, once again.
– Allen, Grant, Sterup, Jones, McMillan, Rowe, Woodard, Tankersely OUT today.
– Today should have a Walk Thru feel due to the game on Thursday.
– Stretch period.
– Jerome Baker is out here moving fine. No “extra” equipment. He’s a go.
– No change to the OL. Tunsil, Dieter, Kilgore, Calhoun, Davis.
– Ah. The all important warmup. Gets sharper by the day.
– Snap work…..Drake still on the 1st team.
– That UM time paid off…Mark Walton runs his shoot routes, and essentially every pass route out from HB to a tee.
– Sharp stuff from all 3 QB’s in warmup.
– 11v11 time. Fitzy starts off looking sharp, going through progressions, quick to find Wilson, Gesicki on timed routes.
– Josh Rosen in.
– Ok…….Josh Rosen delivers a 22 yard laser to Preston Williams. Dropped.
– Josh Rosen works on some timing, tempo stuff. (Bubble screen)
– Jerome Baker Fills nicely on Drake’s cut back…..Fitzy then drills Parker in the chest on a quick slant. Good looking stuff here.
– Assortment of TE talent getting 1st team snaps.
– Adolphus Washington having moments out here. Looks strong on 3 tech, 5 tech. He is in and around the backfield.
– Josh Rosen seems to have much better command of the offense, being much more decisive. But Fitzy is having a great day.
– Special Teams work.
– Back to some 11v11 work. Third team in.
– Rosen and the 2nd team in, pretty crisp 1 read passes. This practice has been a joy to watch.
– 1st team in. Fitzy works from 10 yard line.
– Some runs being called. Not much value to be gained from this. Mostly snap work. Real walk thru stuff.
– Rosen in. Much of the same. Prep for the Falcons.
– 11v11 simulated portion of practice.
– WHOA. Gesicki almost simulated the Odell Beckham catch vs. Dallas……dropped it however. Fitzy sailed it.
– Josh Rosen attempts the same 22 yard out, broken up.
– Some sloppiness seeps in here….we almost had a 100% clean practice.
– Sharpness returns at the goal line.
– Practice is over after some good looking goal line offense.
– As you can see by the header pic, USWNT World Cup Champion Coach Jill Ellis was a guest of Coach Flores.

Practice MVP: NONE-Walk Thru
Struggled: NONE-Walk Thru