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Brian Flores

Brian Flores definitively puts Dolphins QB controversy to rest

Brian Flores is many things, but there is at least one thing he is not. He is not particularly fond of repeating himself. Undoubtedly, that’s a trait he shares with the majority of the world. Who wants to say the same thing over and over as if no one heard you the first time? But it seems that the Miami Dolphins head coach has been dealing with this for the past two weeks, as rumors swirl about the status of QB Tua Tagovailoa.

To be clear, Brian Flores has been saying the same thing all through the offseason. Apparently, in his mind only, Flores has been abundantly clear. All of the outside noise, it doesn’t matter. All of those rumors regarding acquiring Texans star QB Deshaun Watson, more noise. But ever since Yahoo Sports’s Charles Robinson reignited the firestorm with his report of Miami discussing a trade with Houston, it’s been hard to ignore. Flores directly addressed this issue on Tuesday.

“I think there’s always rumors. There’s always speculation.” He said Tuesday. “There’s always some form of distractions and I think as a team we’ve got to block that stuff out and play. I thought they did that yesterday and I think that’s something that all players deal with in the National Football League. There’s always something going on. There’s always something that – some form of speculation or controversy and we just block it out, ignore it and move on.”

But the speculation continued, and it even reached a point where Flores felt compelled to make a statement to the entire team.

A statement that Flores would prefer remains in-house.

“You guys know this, I don’t really get into conversations I have with the team, players.” Flores said on Wednesday. “Those conversations are private. Like I’ve said before, I think it’s just common courtesy to keep those conversations between myself and the player or the team. I will say that Tua is our quarterback, I think he’s had a good training camp, I think he’s made a lot of progress. I think he’s made a lot of improvement and we’re pleased with where he is. He’s going through his preparations for New England the way he should be, and that’s where we are as a team.”

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Now that should have been enough. He said Tua Tagovailoa is the starting quarterback. But speculation continued, because Flores still hadn’t outright said that Miami was not interested in Deshaun Watson. So again the question was asked. Is Tua Tagovailoa the starter? And again, Flores repeated himself. This time though, the frustration came through.

“I don’t know if I can be more clear. I don’t know how many times – I don’t know how much more clear I can be here.” Flores said. “Tua is the starter. Do I need to say it again? I will.”

Later that same day, Tua Tagovailoa added his own comments. He made it clear he appreciated his coach coming up to bat for him.

“I think it means a lot with it coming from the head coach. The support that I have from him and from the team, it means a lot. But for me, I’m just focused literally on trying to get our guys ready for next week.”

Even if Brian Flores doesn’t say the specific words everyone’s looking for, the message is clear. Not to mention the message has been consistent all offseason long. The answer is always the same. Tua Tagovailoa is the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. Maybe there is some truth to the rumors that owner Stephen Ross wants Deshaun Watson.

On the other hand, several reports came out that Ross won’t force football decisions and has faith in Tagovailoa. That should be the end of the discussion. Brian Flores is as clear as he can possibly be. He isn’t going to make an official statement about Deshaun Watson, no matter how much anyone pries. He’s been consistent about that ever since he arrived in 2019, and he reiterated that philosophy last Sunday after the Bengals game.

“Reports (and) speculation are not things we really get into. Look, I understand the question; but as I’ve said in the past, any conversations we have or don’t have with other clubs are going to be internal. I’ve been pretty steadfast about that – with our players, with other clubs – and that will remain the case.”

Will this satisfy the skeptics who still insist the Miami Dolphins aren’t happy with Tua Tagovailoa? Probably not. But Brian Flores isn’t going to change his personal philosophy just to appease the media or the fan base. However, there is a counterargument. Why would Brian Flores be so evasive about Deshaun Watson, and yet so definitive about Xavien Howard when rumors swirled around him?

Everyone will remember last month when Brian Flores went on record to tell the media to write down they didn’t want to trade Xavien Howard. He couldn’t have been more clear. So why not do the same now for Tua Tagovailoa and Deshaun Watson?

The simple answer: He’s been clear about Tagovailoa. But Watson is not on the team. Therefore, Flores is not commenting. Is it the best strategy? That’s up for debate. Nevertheless, that’s who Brian Flores is, and everyone just needs to accept that.

The easy way to make this all go away, obviously, is for Tagovailoa to become the player he was in college. All preseason signs point to that being the case this season. If Miami wins games, if the offense looks good, the Watson talk will vanish into the ether. If he struggles, however, Flores has a lot of repeating himself to look forward to. He’s put down the rumors every which way, but there’s only one thing that will kill them.

As the old saying goes: Winning cures all.

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

 

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins 2021 Final 53-man roster tracker

The Miami Dolphins have only two days to decide who will be on the final 53-man roster. Head coach Brian Flores has a very difficult job ahead of him, and a very painful one with the discussions he has to have with many young players.

But with all that said, the NFL is still a business. The Miami Dolphins have to decide who will best help the team moving forward. And Five Reasons Sports will be keeping an eye on all the moves Miami makes throughout the next 48 hours. Stay tuned here as the page will be refreshed throughout the day.

Miami Dolphins roster cuts

  • CB Tino Ellis
  • S Nate Holley
  • RB Jordan Scarlett
  • WR Khalil McClain
  • DE Tyshun Render
  • WR Robert Foster
  • C Matt Skura
  • FB Carl Tucker
  • LB Bernardrick McKinney
  • WR Kai Locksley
  • QB Reid Sinnett
  • TE Chris Myarick
  • DE Jonathan Ledbetter
  • CB Javaris Davis
  • CB Cre’Von LeBlanc
  • DE Jason Strowbridge
  • C Cameron Tom
  • RB Patrick Laird
  • G Durval Queiroz Neto (Roster Exception)
  • WR Kirk Merritt
  • WR Malcolm Perry

Miami Dolphins on Injured Reserve

  • OT Larnel Coleman

Analysis


The very first player to be released is cornerback Tino Ellis, per his agent Dan Saffron.

Ellis is an undrafted free agent out of Maryland that initially signed a 3-year, $2.28 million dollar contract with the New Orleans Saints back in 2020. He was soon placed on waivers with an injury designation. Once he cleared waivers, he was placed on the Saints’ injured reserve list, then signed on with the Miami Dolphins practice squad last October.

Ellis failed to stand out within a stacked Miami secondary, and now he’ll be looking for a new home unless he gets claimed or the Dolphins put him on their practice squad.


The next Dolphins player to be released is former CFL superstar Nate Holley.

Holley was initially an undrafted free agent of the Minnesota Vikings back in 2017, but was released prior to that preseason. In 2018 he decided to join the Indoor Football League, playing with the Nebraska Danger, where he recorded 23 tackles and a forced fumble in two games. After that, Holley had a brief stint with the Los Angeles Rams in training camp. Unfortunately, that also did not work out. So, in 2019, Holley shifted his focus to the Canadian Football League.

Holley was named the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie with the Calgary Stampeders. During the 18 games he played there, he recorded 100 tackles, a sack, and an interception as a linebacker, the same position he played at Kent State.
Nate Holley had some real standout moments during training camp and preseason chasing down defenders. It would not be a surprise if the Dolphins opted to stash him on the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is reporting that the Miami Dolphins have released running back Jordan Scarlett and wide receiver Khalil McClain.

Scarlett was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers, before injuries to his knee and ankle landed him on injured reserve. He spent 2020 with the Detroit Lions on their practice squad, then signed a reserve/future contract with the Dolphins this past January.
In training camp, Scarlett showed a certain amount of agility, but he seemed slow to make his decisions and could never stand out above the likes of Gerrid Doaks, who the Dolphins drafted in the 7th round of the 2021 draft.
If Scarlett makes it to the practice squad, he’s talented enough on special teams that he might be worth putting onto the practice squad.

Khalil McClain is a 6’4″ beast of a wide receiver who went undrafted and signed on with the Jacksonville Jaguars in May 2019. He was cut at the end of training camp, signed on with the Atlanta Falcons, and missed out on the 2020 season with an injury.

Afterwards, McClain signed on with the Chicago Bears this past May, only to be waived again about two months later. McClain has incredible physical traits, but he isn’t particularly quick, which makes him a liability when trying to gain separation. Perhaps McClain should consider a move to tight end, given the way the game is changing. Facing linebackers and safeties would be much better if he wants a long-term NFL career. He’s already tall enough, he just needs to bulk up.


The Miami Dolphins have now opted to part ways with defensive end Tyshun Render, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

Render is a hard-hitting undrafted free agent who was originally signed by the Dolphins back in 2020. He didn’t make the final cut last year either, but he was quickly added to the practice squad after clearing waivers. He was active for Weeks 5 and 14 that season, but did not record any stats.

Tyshun Render should be a priority practice squad addition again this season. He has qualities to his game that make him worth investing in, not the least of which is his strong effort level on every play. Technique is his main weakness, but that can be taught.


Per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the Miami Dolphins have released speedy wide receiver Robert Foster with an injury settlement. Foster’s release marks the second wide receiver Miami has parted ways with so far, along with Khalil McClain.

The 27-year old Foster is a former Alabama player. During Foster’s final year there, he saw limited action with Tua Tagovailoa as a freshman. While his productivity in college was limited thanks to injuries and a loaded wide receiver room, Foster’s talent is undeniable. His rookie year with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent is proof positive.

If another team doesn’t pick him up, he can be eligible for the practice squad as a veteran.


In an unfortunate turn of events, the Miami Dolphins have opted to release veteran center Matt Skura. This effectively ends the experiment where Miami hoped he’d return to form and earn the starting job.

Skura infamously suffered from snapping problems with the Baltimore Ravens. This ultimately led to his release and allowed the Dolphins to try and revive his career. Before the snapping issues took hold, Skura was well on his way to becoming one of the league’s top centers. Unfortunately, with the Dolphins, Skura never emerged as the clear starter. Ultimately, the job was given to third-year offensive lineman Michael Deiter.

By releasing Skura, the Dolphins save $1,350,000 in cap space. Miami undoubtedly is watching their budget carefully with all the extensions that players are due next season, not the least of which is tight end Mike Gesicki.


In a stunning move, the Miami Dolphins have released veteran linebacker Benardrick McKinney. The 28-year old McKinney was acquired along with a 7th round pick via trade from the Houston Texans back in March in exchange for Shaq Lawson and a 6th round pick. Now, with this move, neither team has the player they traded for, as Lawson was traded to the New York Jets days earlier.

In releasing McKinney, Miami saves $2,250,000 in cap space. This is after McKinney took a pay cut to become more team friendly. Now he’ll be looking for work just two weeks before the season is set to begin.

The release of McKinney is a big surprise because the veteran’s performance indicated he was on the fast track to being a starter. However, as pointed out by Alfredo Arteaga of the “3 Yards Per Carry” podcast, McKinney’s role is not a coveted one in today’s speed-based NFL. The return of Elandon Roberts made McKinney expendable, as they both do the exact same job and Miami decided that they did not need two of the same player.

Given the track record of Brian Flores, this may not be the first shocker move the Dolphins make. More are sure to come as Miami continues to trim the roster.


The Miami Dolphins have waived rookie FB/TE Carl Tucker.

Tucker went undrafted out of Alabama and was signed on to the Dolphins roster as a free agent. Obviously, Tua Tagovailoa knows him well from his college days. But Tucker failed to make any sort of real impact and didn’t stand out in practice or in the preseason. His best chance to make an NFL roster is to the route that Charles Clay did and try to become a tight end type of player. Fullbacks, unfortunately, are not in high demand in today’s NFL.


Per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, rookie offensive lineman Larnel Coleman will likely be placed on injured reserve as he goes in for knee surgery. This report was confirmed by Armando Salguero and the Sun Sentinel’s David Furones.

Coleman is a promising 7th round draft pick out of Umass Amherst with incredibly long arms that helped be a starter in college at both tackle positions. He had moments in practice this season that caught some positive attention, but his final preseason performance was disappointing at best. With Coleman going in for surgery and needing months to recover, that makes him an instant candidate for the injured reserve list, which means Miami will technically get to stash him for free until next season. That also saves at least one player from having to be outright cut.


Another wide receiver has been cut from the all-too loaded list, as the Miami Dolphins waived Kai Locksley.

Locksley was a QB at UTEP and converted to wide receiver, which created some interesting possibilities similarly to the way Malcolm Perry does. However, as a wide receiver, Locksley’s chances of making the team were painfully slim. If he clears waivers, he could be brought back to the practice squad.


The unfortunate but expected end of Reid Sinnett as a Miami Dolphins QB has finally come to an end.

Sinnett caught the attention and the hearts of Dolphins fans everywhere this past Sunday. During the final preseason game of 2021, Sinnett completed 22 out of 33 passes for 343 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The second touchdown of the day he threw came on a Hail Mary pass in the final minutes of the game. It was tight end Chris Myarick who leaped up and came down with it in the endzone to put Miami on top, erasing the excitement of the super serious Bengals fans who desperately wanted them to win.

Naturally, Sinnett is wanted back on the practice squad. After his final performance, it’s going to be interesting to see if he clears waivers.


Tight end Chris Myarick has once again not made the final 53-man roster, and will likely land on the practice squad for another season with the Miami Dolphins.

Chris Myarick has been on and off the Dolphins roster for the past few seasons now, always showing solid skill but never doing enough to stand out above his teammates. His most notable moment in his career is making the Hail Mary catch in the endzone in the preseason from Reid Sinnett. If nothing else, he’s always a solid emergency option for Miami if the worst comes to pass. Expect to see him return to the practice squad.


Dolphins defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter has been waived per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

Ledbetter signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent back in 2019, and has only played in one game mostly due to injuries to other players. In that game against the Ravens, he recorded half a sack and four tackles before going onto injured reserve.


The Dolphins have waived cornerbacks Javaris Davis and Cre’Von LeBlanc, shrinking down the already loaded secondary.

Davis is actually the cousin of former Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis. While he hasn’t showed superstar potential like his cousin, Javaris Davis has shown enough that Miami wants him back on the practice squad. Ironically enough, Davis was teammates with first round pick Noah Igbinoghene at Auburn, and has much more experience than him at playing cornerback.

LeBlanc, on the other hand, has NFL experience and has been around the league. He originally went undrafted in 2016 and was signed by the Patriots, which means he has a connection to head coach Brian Flores. He was waived with an injury designation that same year, but was claimed by the Chicago Bears, where he made his first career interception off of Matthew Stafford and returned it for a touchdown.

LeBlanc spent a stint with the Eagles and started showing his full potential there, but injuries have derailed his career. He signed with the Dolphins as a free agent earlier during training camp, but ultimately didn’t impress anyone.

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Durval Queiroz Neto

Durval Queiroz Neto may soon hold key to Dolphins OL stability

It’s been a long time coming, but Brazilian superstar Durval Queiroz Neto is finally starting to show signs that he’s ready for the NFL level.

“The credit goes to Durval.” Head coach Brian Flores said on Tuesday. “I think he’s done a great job of training, nutrition, all the things you need to do to give yourself an opportunity or give yourself a chance. He’s gotten some opportunities in these preseason games and done a good job. We’ll see. I think he’s eager to play. He’s as competitive as anyone on this team. He’s eager to learn and we’ll just keep working with him. If we feel like he can help us in regular season games, we’ll make that decision.”

Naturally, when the time came to trim down to 53 players, Durval Queiroz Neto did not make the roster. Miami still has one more year through the International Player Pathway Program to have a roster exception for him. But just being able to play means a lot to Neto. He’s played in the preseason, but what he wants more than anything is to suit up in the regular season.

“This is everything I want since I came here.” Neto said last month. “Every day I practice, practice and practice. For the last two years, I’ve been watching all of my teammates on the weekends go for the game and I have to stay. Every week has made me more hungry for that. I want that. I want to be in a game. Nothing is more important for me than being in a game to help my team.”

If nothing else, Durval Queiroz Neto serves as a perfect example of what can happen when an athlete is given time to learn, develop, and grow into the role he’s being groomed for. Throughout the preseason, Neto showed an amazing level of strength and explosiveness as a blocker.

 

 

Considering where he came from, this is no small feat. This is the Miami Dolphins coaching staff tutoring him from the ground up. Neto comes from a background as a judo champion. Much has been said about how that’s helped his footwork and hand placement. But Neto came to Miami as a defensive lineman. It’s what he always wanted to do. So when he got the news he was being moved, he was shocked.

“When I first came here, they had a coach, Dave DeGuglielmo, the o-line coach.” Neto said. “He was watching my practice every day and saying, ‘hey ‘Q,’ we have a white jersey ready for you. You need to make that move.’ I’d say ‘coach, I was born to play d-line.’ When they signed him to be the main o-line coach, he asked for me and ‘Coach Flo’ (Brian Flores) talked with me and I decided to make the move. From there, they spent a lot of time and patience teaching me everything I know right now as an o-lineman.”

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His hard work and dedication to his craft have made him a fan favorite player. It’s also earned him the respect of his teammates, including veteran lineman Jesse Davis, who’s watched him from the very beginning.

“I think ‘Q,’ from the day he’s got here from switching from defensive line to offensive line, he’s improved greatly.” Davis said last month. “He’s done everything the coaches asked him to do and he’s still trying to do everything he can. I think he’s done a really good job with it.”

Durval Queiroz Neto is all but dominating the competition he’s facing at this stage. Perhaps with one last year of training, Neto will be able to not only make the 53-man roster, but compete for a starting position as well. That would finally give Miami some level of stability on the offensive line.

May patience prevail.

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.

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Miami Dolphins

Preseason Week 3 – Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals: 5 players to watch

The end is near. Preseason is nearly over, and so is the tenure of some players on the Miami Dolphins roster bubble. Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, many of these players are getting one last chance to shine and prove they’re worth keeping on the team. Whether that’s with the Dolphins, or another team, remains to be seen.

But regardless, the game still has to be played. Amidst the dramatic rumors once again surfacing of a trade for Texans QB Deshaun Watson, and the return of linebacker Vince Biegel to the injured reserve list, here are the top five players to watch on Sunday.

1. Shaquem Griffin – LB

Perhaps no one has more to gain in this final preseason game than Shaquem Griffin. For what his role on the team is, Griffin has a lot of competition. But now that Vince Biegel is back on IR, Griffin’s chances of making the final roster have increased drastically. Like Biegel, Griffin’s best attributes are speed and raw effort. He can be useful as an extra blitzer on passing downs, and he’ll get plenty of action on special teams.

Griffin still has a lot to overcome, however. The linebacker corps is loaded with talent, and it’s unlikely the Dolphins keep a surplus of linebackers just to keep Griffin. He’ll have to put on a drastic performance if he really wants to stick in Miami.

There is some extra hope, however. With the practice squad retaining last season’s COVID-19 rules, the Dolphins can retain six players on their squad with more than two accrued seasons of NFL experience. So if no one else decides to sign him, Griffin can be stashed there. If he does well enough, some other team may add him to their roster. If not, it isn’t hard to speculate Griffin will be a top priority addition.

2. Jason Strowbridge – DE

While Jason Strowbridge is likely to be another quick candidate for the practice squad if he’s waived, he would like to make the final 53-man roster. Problem is, Strowbridge hasn’t done much to really stand out above the rest of his teammates.

He does have one thing going for him, however. Unlike Jonathan Ledbetter and Tyshun Render, his main competitors at defensive end, Strowbridge was actually drafted by the Dolphins. Miami’s front office thought so highly of him, they drafted him in the 5th round of the 2020 NFL draft. Both Render and Ledbetter were undrafted free agents. Teams have a tendency to give a certain amount of bias towards players they invested assets into.

Of course, head coach Brian Flores has never been shy about moving on from players, even higher profile ones. If Render or Ledbetter flash more than Strowbridge does in this last game, they may get the nod over him.

3. Greg Mancz – OL

Once the Miami Dolphins traded for Greg Mancz, the competition got that much tighter for everyone else. More than likely, the veteran Mancz will be viewed as a center, which does not bode well for the likes of Matt Skura, who hasn’t lived up to his lofty expectations. Skura hasn’t even managed to beat out Michael Deiter for the starting center position. Granted, Deiter has been decent for the most part, but certainly not dominant.

So where does this leave Mancz? Reports out of Baltimore indicate that Mancz would not have made the 53-man roster for the Ravens. But apparently GM Chris Grier thinks highly enough of Mancz that he didn’t want to risk another team picking him up first. Mancz’s history with co-offensive coordinator George Godsey from his Houston Texans tenure doubtlessly has something to do with it as well.

Mancz can play at multiple positions on the offensive line, so as a depth move this makes sense. The reason for watching him is not to see if he makes the roster or not. It’s to see if the Dolphins can get something out of him the Ravens weren’t, because many Ravens fans are calling their GM a genius for making this move.

Losing trades isn’t something Chris Grier is known for, but it’s not unheard of either. A strong performance from Mancz on Sunday will alleviate some of the concerns.

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4. Patrick Laird – RB

This slot could have gone to either Laird or rookie Gerrid Doaks. This time the dubious honor goes to Laird simply because his effort hasn’t been enough for the eye test this year. Doaks isn’t a superstar by any means, but he has flashed enough to garner attention. And with the top three spots almost certainly going to Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Malcolm Brown, that leaves maybe only one slot for another running back. Even Laird himself has nothing but good things to say about the 7th round pick.

“I think he’s done a really good job of transitioning into the NFL.” Laird said on Friday. “I think you guys have seen the clips. He runs hard. Gerrid is a good running back.”

Of course it’s unlikely that Laird would say anything else. He’s been nothing but the model teammate since arriving in Miami. However, he and Doaks will be having quite a battle for that final roster spot. If Laird gets cut, Miami would need to sacrifice one of their veteran practice squad spots to retain him. If Doaks is waived, he’ll need to get through waivers before the practice squad is even a possibility. That makes his situation much riskier.

Laird has always gotten by with his sheer effort and determination. But his physical ability is nothing to write home about. If Laird wants to be the team’s fourth running back, he’ll need to outplay Doaks, and by a rather significant margin. If he doesn’t, he’ll probably be on the outside looking in.

5. Malcolm Perry – WR

The former Navy superstar was really hyped up for his versatility when he was drafted in the 7th round last season. Unfortunately, none of the fantasies have become reality as of yet. No wildcat craziness, no surprise passes, no shifty running of the football. The Miami Dolphins have treated Malcolm Perry as just another normal cog in the machine. One could argue they’re saving his talents for an extreme emergency, but it’s hard to justify a roster spot for a gimmick.

With Lynn Bowden Jr. on IR for the season, Perry is the default gadget player. His skillset offers options that his biggest competition, Kirk Merritt does not. Perry can actually play running back and even quarterback if an extreme emergency happened. But Merritt is a more accomplished wide receiver as of this moment, so it boils down to what do the Miami Dolphins think they need more?

Even without Merritt, Perry will have to fight for his spot. His best chance to make the roster at this point is the unexpected departure of either Jakeem Grant or Preston Williams, two more established players who have rumors swirling around them whether Miami will continue to invest in them. Perry showing up and making plays against the Bengals will make the decision much more difficult for Brian Flores.

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 take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest to get started.

Dolphins

Dolphins players on roster bubble getting last chance Sunday

The end of training camp and preseason is always laden with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s the mark of real football fast approaching. Games will soon matter as teams fight for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. But on the other hand, it also marks the end of the road for many players just trying to prove they’re worthy to make the team. The Miami Dolphins are no exception to this.

With the level of depth the Miami Dolphins are boasting this season, many deserving players are going to have their hopes dashed. It’s never fun to watch these players go, but the NFL is a business first and foremost. On Sunday, the players on the roster bubble are going to get their last chance to show the Miami Dolphins – or another team watching – just what they have to offer.

“There’s always excitement when you get to go out and play.” Quarterback Reid Sinnett said on Friday. “So these guys that aren’t sure through the first couple preseason games if they’re going to play; now they know they’re going to get an opportunity to go out and showcase what they’ve improved upon and that’s always a challenge as a quarterback to make sure that we’re focused on what we’re trying to do. There’s always excitement when you get to go out and play. You feel the excitement at practice even every day when guys are getting a chance to play the game they love.”

One player who always seems to be on the roster bubble is running back Patrick Laird. Head coach Brian Flores always says that it takes no talent. Laird is the embodiment of that philosophy. He doesn’t have elite speed, agility, strength or size. But he does have determination and drive that always stands out. That’s how he manages to make the roster each year. Thanks to that, he was lucky enough to be the one who caught QB Tua Tagovailoa’s first ever NFL pass. But that doesn’t matter in the long run. Laird is fighting for a spot on the roster, this year is tougher than ever.

“It’s just what I’ve been used to.” Laird said on Friday. “I was a walk-on in college, kind of a very similar situation as an undrafted guy. I knew since I tried out for the NFL that I was probably going to have to fight for a spot every year and that’s the way I like it. It’s challenging but it’s one of the best job interviews you can be a part of. It’s a long job interview process; but I like it, I enjoy it and I’m still loving football. I’m just going to focus on playing the best football I can and hopefully help the Dolphins win this year.”

Sunday’s preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals is crucial for Laird and everyone else on the bubble. Head coach Brian Flores said on Tuesday that, in reality, there are only about two or three open spots available on the roster. That means the coaches have already chosen most of the team. For those open spots? Flores had very direct advice.

“Work hard. Keep improving.” He said. “Take advantage of your opportunities. I mentioned that to our team many times. In life, it’s about taking advantage of your opportunities. Whether it’s football or business or really anything that you’re working towards, if you get an opportunity, you want to take advantage of it. For those guys who are two, three spots that are available, they’ll have some opportunities to practice, they’ll have opportunities in the game. If they play well, then they give themselves the best opportunity to maker the team and if they don’t, then they don’t give themselves the best chance.”

One of those players under a lot of pressure to perform is defensive back Trill Williams, who is an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse. Williams originally signed with the New Orleans Saints. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long.

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“That process was crazy because I get there and they put me on waivers and I was only there for three days at the time.” Williams said on Friday. “Then that Monday, I’m here. God works in mysterious ways and he put me where I’m supposed to be and I’m supposed to be here. I can only control what I can control. I’m just blessed to be here.”

Williams is a very intriguing prospect. He was solid all throughout college. Now with the Dolphins in training camp, he’s regularly made plays, including very recently intercepting a Jacoby Brissett pass that got all his teammates excited. So what does he think the coaches want to see from him?

“Honestly, I think they just want to see me go out there and play football how I’ve been doing and what they saw on film from me coming out of college.” Williams said. “Like I said, I can only play football and control what I can control. I’m going to go out there and give it everything I’ve got every time I go out there.”

Finally, there’s linebacker Shaquem Griffin. Everyone knows his story. He was born with amniotic band syndrome. His left hand didn’t develop properly and was amputated when he was four years old. But he refused to let that stop him. Griffin earned All-American honors at UCF, and was drafted in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL draft. He is the only player with one hand to ever be drafted.

Griffin is already a fan favorite at practice. He’s exciting to watch on the field and makes plays when given the chance. However, it hasn’t been perfect. He’s had his moments where he loses matchups as well. Naturally, this won’t be the first time Griffin faces adversity. He intends to rise to the challenge on Sunday and whatever happens after, he’ll cross that bridge when he gets to it.

“This has definitely been my best camp since I’ve been in the league.” Griffin said Friday to local media. “So as far as that, no matter what happens, no matter what’s the outcome of the situation or a roster (spot), I know I’ll be in a good position because I handled my business as far as making sure I learned the plays, making sure I’m a guy who has energy, making sure that I’m making plays, making sure that I’m running around. The only thing I can do is control the controllables and when the decision is made, I’ll be happy with any decision, there on the team or not.”

Brian Flores clearly has a difficult job ahead of him. There’s so much talent to choose from, it’s like splitting hairs. Normally, preseason is considered boring, especially at the end. This year is going to be very different. There’s simply too much competition to just turn a blind eye.

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 take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest to get started.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.