Ryan Fitzpatrick, left, and Josh Rosen are still vying for the starting QB job with the Dolphins. (Photo/Tony Capobianco)

Flores: Dolphins QB may or may not be determined this week

DAVIE – The race to selecting the Dolphins’ starting quarterback is essentially a slog through the swamp.

That is the impression coach Brian Flores gave Monday as he reflected on the performances of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen in the second exhibition and looked ahead to Thursday’s next test.

Flores previously indicated Fitzpatrick will likely start against the Jaguars at Hard Rock Stadium, but he said that doesn’t mean the veteran has won the job.

Based on his comments about the progress he saw from the quarterbacks over the past week in the practices and game at Tampa Bay, it’s evident he’s waiting for one of them to prove worthy of the starting role.

More from Maven: Rosen nothing special, but he should be Dolphins starter for now

Asked specifically about what Rosen, the upstart, needs to do to win the job, Flores said, “He can’t take as many sacks as he’s taking. He’s got to step up in the pocket. He’s got to have command of the offense. … He’s got to get the ball out quicker. He’s got to do all those things.

“I would say the same for Fitz and Jake [Rudock]. … At the end of the day, it’s about our offense moving the ball and putting points on the board.”

That was certainly lacking Friday against the Buccaneers. Flores gave a laundry list of reasons for that.

“We had some drops, we had some penalties, we had some negative plays in the run game. Sacks. Those are some things we need to clean up as a collective group,” Flores said.

Playing the entire first half, Rosen was sacked three times while completing 10 of 18 passes for 102 yards. The offense generated two field goals in the half.

An offensive line trying to find itself was partly to blame in the sacks. But as Flores pointed out, the quarterback’s decision making is a factor too.

In Rosen’s case, the second-year signal caller is still learning when to throw it and when to fold it.

“Sometimes the right play is to take a sack. You’ve got to know when the journey’s over,” Flores said. “Other times, you’ve got to get the ball out quicker. So there’s a fine line between all those things.

“Every play is a little bit different and each quarterback is a little bit different. But we don’t just want to take sack after sack after sack. We can help that by getting the ball out a little bit quicker, stepping up in the pocket. And that’s about footwork and fundamentals, and those are things we’ll be working on this week.”

Clearly, it would be in the Dolphins’ best interests for Rosen to win the quarterback job. He’s a young talent; they gave up a second-round draft pick to get him.

It is also apparent that Flores is challenging Rosen to show – not only the coaches but the team – that he has earned the privilege of starting. He hasn’t seen it yet.

That’s why, approaching the third exhibition game, which is generally considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season, Flores wouldn’t say conclusively that he will know his starting quarterback after Thursday.

“Potentially we would be able to make that call. But we may not,” he said.

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

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Transfer Portal Shuffles Hurricanes Secondary

The Miami Hurricanes secondary approaches their season opener against Florida with some dissent within their ranks.

Miami lost not one but two members of that group in the past week.

Transfer portal giveth, transfer portal taketh away.

 

The departure of Smith will hurt the depth at safety, but the Hurricanes still have plenty of talent left to fill the void. The 6-foot-2, 220 pound Smith was the biggest safety on the team but did not perform up to expectations.

Amari Carter and Robert Knowles were both ahead of him for the strong safety spot. Carter enters his junior season ready for a leadership role, having played 25 games for the Hurricanes already.

USC transfer Bubba Bolden is also in the mix for playing time. Bolden was a teammate of Tate Martell at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas and the redshirt sophomore has tremendous upside but will need to get up to speed being a late arrival to the program. Once he settles in his talent is too great not to get extensive run.

At free safety Gurvan Hall  appears to be the front runner to start the season. The highly recruited Hall is a sophomore from Palm Beach Gardens who saw action in 12 games last year and is poised for a much larger contribution this year.

Besides Smith the Hurricanes secondary depth took another hit, losing cornerback Nigel Bethel. Miami is a little thinner at the corner spot, Bethel was battling for the fourth cornerback position with Christian Williams and Te’Cory Couch.

 

The freshmen Williams and Couch, along with sophomore DJ Ivey will be key rotational pieces throughout the season.

Leading the way in the Hurricanes secondary is junior cornerback Trajan Bandy.

The Muddy Badger is one of the top corners in the ACC and owns one of the best recent moments for The U.

 

Bandy really broke out in his sophomore season, notching career highs in just about every important defensive category.

His five “Turnover Chains” also led the team and Bandy earned a spot on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list.

Across from Bandy at the opposite corner will likely be Al Blades, Jr. who enters his sophomore season as a player on the rise.

Blades looks to continue the incredible family tradition at Miami and has all the physical and mental makeup to do so. He served as special teams captain twice last year and like his family who played here is a great vocal and emotional leader.

Ivey is another defensive back to watch, he played in 11 games last year mostly on special teams. With the departure of Bethel he slots in as the third cornerback on the depth chart.

Follow us on Twitter for more Miami Hurricanes @SportsWaveDave and @5ReasonsSports.

Check out the 5 Rings Canes podcast for exclusive Canes content all season.

 

Related:

Tate Martell working at wide receiver

First, we find out who was named the starting quarterback, then two players who would have seen significant playing time (CB Nigel Bethel, Jr. is the latest) decide to enter the transfer portal. What’s next, Tate Martell moving to wide receiver? 

Well, yes.

When the Canes’ announced Jarren Williams as the starting quarterback on Monday, the first thought for a lot of fans wasn’t to say congratulations to Williams on winning the battle. It was, “so what does Tate do now?” On the College Football Daily podcast, 247 Director of Scouting Barton Simmons said Martell should give take a shot at wide receiver. 

It seems as though the idea may have been on Martell’s mind as well. 

The New Wide-Out in Town

W.G. Ramirez, a Las Vegas-based sports writer sent out a tweet on Thursday that said Martell “former Gorman QB and three-time national HS champion Tate Martell is expected to try his hand at wide receiver.”  

Nothing was confirmed at that point until yesterday evening when The Athletic columnist and Miami Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro sent out a tweet that said: “Have been told by a #UM source today was the first day Tate Martell experimented with playing wide receiver at Miami.” Thursday’s practice was completely closed to media by Miami.

Minutes after the Navarro tweet, Miami Herald columnist Barry Jackson tweeted this, “Martell taking WR snaps in tonight’s scrimmage, am told.” The Canes’ held a scrimmage last night at Hard Rock Stadium (pray for no injuries).

None of us know yet if the move is permanent or if it is just an experiment, but this could be a great move. 

He Looks the Part

Martell has posted some pretty fast 20-yard shuttle times in the past and is very athletic. He has even been seen in the past running routes and catching passes from other quarterbacks. 

I can see Coach Enos drawing up some special packages with Martell playing both quarterback and wide receiver. 

It’s almost like Ryan Tannehill is back again. But not really.

Although, guys seem to have a bit more success switching from quarterback to receiver. Some notable names: Julian Edelman, Antwaan Randle-El, and more recently guys like Josh Cribbs and Terrelle Pryor. Could Tate Martell be next?

In just 7 days on August 24th, Miami opens up its season against the Florida Gators at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. It’s showtime! 

 

Follow us on Twitter @jazzsantana and @5ReasonsSports for all your Miami Hurricanes news.

Check out the 5 Rings Canes podcast for exclusive insider content.

Go Canes!

Golazo de Aritz Aduriz amarga comienzo de la era Griezmann-De Jong en Barcelona

Aritz Aduriz marcó el que quizás sea el gol de la temporada para abrir el cerrojo en un disputado encuentro en el primer encuentro de la temporada de La Liga 2019-2020.

El experimentado delantero vasco entró cuando faltaban apenas minutos para terminar el encuentro mientras el Bilbao trataba de aguantar el empate sin goles, con una gran presión blaugrana.

Así, el delantero vasco terminó de amargar el debut oficial de Antoine Griezmann y Frank de Jong con el FC Barcelona.

Un partido que parecía destinado a terminar en empate, terminó con tres puntos para los locales gracias a la genialidad de Aduriz.

Aritz Aduriz hace recordar al Barcelona de Guardiola

El FC Barcelona tenía años sin comenzar La Liga perdiendo. De hecho, la última vez que esto sucedió fue en la temporada de debut de Pep Guardiola como entrenador del primer equipo, cuando solo lograron uno de los primeros seis puntos que disputaron.

Esa temporada terminó en el famoso sextete.

Por ahora, y tras este comienzo en falso, le tocará a Ernesto Valverde enfrentar a la marea alta que ya viene enfrentando el Barcelona tras las derrotas aparatosas con las que cerró la temporada pasada.

Dardos al ataque culé

Luis Suárez se fue lesionado durante la primera parte del encuentro y todavía no se tiene claro cuánto tiempo estará fuera de los terrenos de juego.

Lionel Messi no fue convocado para este partido y todavía se prepara físicamente para enfrentar esta larga temporada, y ya se cerró la cesión de Phillipe Coutinho al Bayern Munich.

Por lo pronto, Antoine Griezmann y Ousmane Dembelé son las dos únicas opciones fijas en el ataque del Barcelona, y hasta el canterano Carles Pérez podría ver algunos minutos comenzando esta temporada.

De hecho, con el 0-0, Pérez fue el escogido por Valverde para entrar en los últimos minutos del encuentro.

Disfruta de la cobertura del fútbol europeo en Cinco Razones Deportes Network, con 3-0-Cinco Deportes y 90 + Cinco haciendo click en este link 

Marlins avoid season sweep by Dodgers

The Miami Marlins had been dominated by the Los Angeles Dodgers for each of the five games they played each other this season.

The Dodgers were about to secure their first ever season series sweep over Miami but the Marlins, powered by Celeb Smith and a barrage of bats, exacted revenge on Thursday by way of a 13-7 win.

Unlike the Dodgers in the previous two game, the Marlins scored all 13 runs without a home run.

“Obviously it took a lot of hits to get those runs, but that’s who we are right now,” manager Don Mattingly said.

Smith was flirting with a no-hitter through four innings until Kevin Garlick hit a solo home run in the fifth inning. It was the only hit and run he gave up all outing, finishing with four strikeouts and three walks through five innings. He was in line for the win after Jon Berti scored two runs on a single by Brian Anderson in the first inning and a sacrifice fly by Starlin Castro in the third inning.

The Marlins then unloaded on the Dodgers with six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Berti was hit by pitch for the second time in the game and scored along with Isan Diaz on a Anderson two-run double. He then scored on an RBI single by Castro. Jorge Alfaro and Lewis Brinson — who made a diving catch in the fourth inning to preserve Smith’s no-hit attempt at the time — drove in the final two runs of the rally.

“It feels good, man,” Brinson said. “That’s a good team over there. Their record and all their numbers show it. We just said we’ve got to fight every at-bat against these guys, because they’re a good squad. That’s exactly what we did.”

The Dodgers got the remainder of their seven runs through the long ball. Cody Bellinger hit his MLB leading 40th home run while Corey Seager homered for the third consecutive game. Max Muncy also hit his 29th home run of the season.

“It’s pretty cool,” Bellinger said on the milestone. “There’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and hopefully more to come.”

Once again, Alfaro, Brinson and Anderson drove in the Marlins remaining five runs in the sixth inning. The bullpen held the lead the rest of the way. Alfaro was 2-for-14 in his last four games but went 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs on the afternoon.

“It wasn’t a good day of pitching for us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Should Don Mattingly stay or go? It will be up to Derek Jeter

Don Mattingly is about seven weeks away from doing something no Marlins manager has done; complete his contract.

Matting signed a four-year deal to manage the Marlins in October 2015 after splitting with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He will leave Miami having managed more games than anyone else in Franchise history, passing former manager and current third base coach Fredi Gonzalez.

Mattingly joined the Marlins with a young team filled with promise in 2016 but a tragic boating accident killed their best pitcher and after the 2017 season, the franchise exchanged ownerships and a new plan was put into place.

While the last two seasons have been spent at the bottom of the National League, the Marlins young players have shown improvement and the farm system has been built up from the one of the worst to one of the best.

Mattingly said he wants to remain the Marlins manager and be there for the eventual turnaround, whether it be in 2020 or beyond.

“I’d love to be back, especially if they want you back,” Mattingly said. “You don’t want to be anywhere that you don’t feel like it’s the best situation. You don’t want to get in the way of anything. If they think they want to go in a direction, then that’s something you just deal with at the time.”

That decision will have to be made by Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter. He said on Wednesday at Marlins Park that he plans on addressing Mattingly’s status before this season ends.

“To be fair to Donnie, it’s something that we need to talk about sooner rather than later,” Jeter said. “We have touched base, and we’ll continue to talk.

“Donnie has done a good job. But then again, we’ve got to sit down, like we do with coaches every year as well, and ask, ‘How can we get better?’”

Both Jeter and Mattingly spent their entire playing career with the New York Yankees and were recognized as legendary captains during their careers. 1995 was Jeter’s rookie season and Mattingly’s final season. Ironically, 24 years later, the power dynamics between the two have switched.

Kershaw dominates Marlins

The Miami Marlins didn’t stand a chance the moment Clayton Kershaw entered the mound.

The longtime ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers struck out ten batters, including the first seven he faced and allowed only two hits, cruising to a 9-1 win on Wednesday.

“Sometimes you get in that groove early,” Kershaw said. “I really don’t care how we get the outs as long as I’m efficient with it. Tonight I was able to get ahead and did a decent job with fastball command.”

Harold Ramirez hit a two-out single to right field in the fifth inning to break up Kershaw’s bid for a perfect game.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner left after 90 pitches and a double. He seems to be on his way to a fourth with a 12-2 record and a 2.63 ERA in 21 starts.

“Obviously Clayton doesn’t want to come out of any game, especially when you feel as good as he did tonight,” Roberts said. “He wasn’t stressed at all. Tonight was as good as I’ve seen with all his pitches, mainly his fastball.”

The dominant performance earned Kershaw his 165th win, tying Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.

“Any time you’re mentioned with Sandy it’s special,” Kershaw said.

Justin Turner and Corey Seager each hit a home run off Elieser Hernandez in the first inning to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

Edwin Rios, who is from Miami and played college ball at FIU, hit a home run in the fourth and sixth inning.

“Just felt great being back at the 305, where I went to school,” Rios said. “It was awesome just hearing the fans yell FIU, when I was on deck.”

Hernandez pitched six innings and gave up six runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts.

“I give a lot of credit to them,” said Hernandez, who struck out seven, through an interpreter. “They did a great job. Their lineup is strong, and all the mistakes I made, I paid for them.”

Curtis Granderson hit a pinch-hit homer off in the ninth inning to avoid the shutout. The Dodgers have won all five games against the Marlins in dominating fashion but to Don Mattingly, the glass is  half full.

“The games with L.A., in particular, I think they’re good because they kind of let you know where you’re at,” the Marlins manager said. “They’re one of probably three teams, maybe four, that legitimately — if they don’t win the World Series, they’re going to look at it like it’s a bad year.”

Walker Buehler (10-2, 3.08) will be tasked with securing the season series sweep on Thursday, while the Marlins will counter with Caleb Smith (7-6, 3.71).

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.

Canes Junior, Derrick Smith enters transfer portal.

Surprise News: Smith Enters the Portal! Depth at Safety Not a Concern.

The portal strikes again. Yet this time, this one was a bit of a surprise. With just 11 days away before the week 0 game against that team up in Gainesville, junior safety Derrick Smith tweeted yesterday that he is no longer a member of the Canes football program and has decided to enter his name in the transfer portal. Smith was thought of as a significant contributor this season in the secondary.

Smith was Showing Out!

Smith started his career at safety and then made the move to striker last season. With Romeo Finley’s return and the emergence of Gil Frierson, Smith made the move back to safety. He showed tons of promise in camp and was on track to get plenty of playing time. That looked even more apparent after a strong showing in the Canes first scrimmage. 

 In a recent article by Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald, safeties coach Ephraim banda was quoted as saying “You know, I think he did a really good job in the off season of spending a lot of time in the meeting room and just getting extra work”. Coach Banda also went on by saying “I think he improved in the weight room and really dedicated himself in that area and really bought into [strength and conditioning] Coach Feeley.” 

 Why the Sudden Change?

With all that being said, Smith was going to have a hard time unseating Amari Carter and Gurvan Hall as the starter. Those two have had really good training camps and have solidified their starting roles. That ultimately may have been the deciding factor in Smith leaving. 

 The other factor may have been the recent arrival of USC transfer Bubba Bolden. The highly touted transfer and former high school teammate of Tate Martell and Brevin Jordan, comes in late, but with high expectations. It seems as though Bolden has been able to come in and catch on quickly. 

My final theory could be, the strong push this fall by the infamous Robert Knowles. Could he have been threatening Smith for his playing time? I have a feeling we will be seeing him on the field a lot (biting my nails as I write that). 

 The Future Looks Bright!

Although the transfer comes as a surprise to all of us, especially the timing of it, many do not seem to be too concerned. With guys like Bolden and even freshman Keontra Smith, the depth at safety looks promising. Look for Keontra to now play a bigger role as a backup and on special teams. 

What does concern me, however, is that more and more kids are transferring at the first sight of adversity. Sure, the Canes have benefitted from the transfer portal, but it has also hurt them. One thing is for certain, entering the portal does not guarantee you a starting job anywhere. Chances are, you will have to fight for your spot anywhere else you go. What the portal giveth, it can also taketh away. 

 

Follow us on Twitter @jazzsantana and @5ReasonsSports for all your Miami Hurricanes news.

 

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Manny Diaz leading the culture change

On December 30, 2018 the Hurricane program was flipped on top of its head.

The head coach, Mark Richt, retired abruptly after 3 seasons and a 26-13 record. The 2018 season of his tenure was very dark, coming off a 10-3 season the previous year.

The Hurricanes had high expectations that they could not meet. Many factors went into this such as; bad QB play, the offensive coordinator’s play calling was terrible, and the team stopped believing in Mark Richt.

Miami then turned to Manny Diaz 18 days after he had taken a head coach job at Temple. The job Diaz has done is already exceeding expectations. He’s bringing back the Miami culture and has rejuvenated it.

The main reason why is because Manny Diaz understands what it takes to coach the Hurricanes. It is by far one the hardest jobs. It comes with many expectations, as well as distractions for the players who go to the University Of Miami. Diaz has brought new energy, swagger, and belief in the program, hence his hashtag in recruiting #TNM ( The New Miami) .

Players committing left and right shows that they believe in the Diaz culture in Miami. This is a real turnaround that brings back the Miami Hurricanes every fan loved in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. I think Miami has the right guy, a young coach with energy.

Most importantly he understands the Miami culture, because he’s born and raised here. He also went to the U so it’s  a match made in heaven in my opinion. Hurricane fans gear up and watch Manny Diaz culture change. Let him work his magic through the good and bad during his coaching tenure.