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Jevon Holland

Dolphins rookie Jevon Holland making instant impact

Miami Dolphins GM Chris Grier is judged on his ability to draft brand new talent every season. With the amount of high draft picks Miami’s had over the past few seasons, that scrutiny has intensified. Already there are concerns regarding CB Noah Igbinoghene, and several other Grier draft picks are under the microscope based on other players that were available to draft. However, this year’s draft class already seems to be catching the eyes of veterans and coaches, as many of them are being given opportunities to take snaps with the starting units. And not only that, many of them are doing well with those opportunities. Such as safety Jevon Holland.

All throughout training camp, Holland has rotated in and out of the starting lineup with veteran defensive back Jason McCourty. As of late, Holland is getting a lot more shots to practice with the starters while McCourty moves to the boundary corner position. He answered the call by diagnosing plays well, keeping pace with tight ends running routes, and capping things off with interceptions against Tua Tagovailoa.

“I think my interactions with him early on when we first got here, you can see the intelligence.” DB Jason McCourty said on August 4. “I think that’s the toughest thing, especially a rookie, of being able to learn the defense. Because as a safety, you’re the key communicator. You’re the guy who has to get checks out, who have to tell guys what to do. So you have to be able to master the defense. Early on when I first jumped on the Zoom calls, you saw that from him. Whenever a question came his way, he knew the answer. He knew what to anticipate and you can see it out here on the field. As we go on, he’s making more and more plays. He’s a hell of an athlete and he’s a fun guy to be around.”

As the first safety selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jevon Holland has lots of expectations attached to him. In fact, his versatility on the field is drawing comparisons to Minkah Fitzpatrick, who the Dolphins hoped would become their Swiss army knife on the field. He’s now a star safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers. There are signs that Holland can do the same.

“I feel like I’m learning the playbook and getting the fundamentals down, really.” Holland said on Saturday. “When you get the fundamentals down and do the little things, then plays come to you. You don’t have to really go find them. That was the result of one of them. But that’s in the past. I’m just looking forward to continuing to execute and capitalize on those things that come to me.”

It’s one thing to have expectations about a player. Many draft pundits considered Jevon Holland the best safety in the entire draft. No Oregon safety has been drafted so high since Patrick Chung in 2009. Which is convenient considering Chung’s history with Brian Flores as a New England Patriot. So far, Holland is showing excellent signs that he can become just as good in Miami.

“I would say he’s doing a lot of good things. He’s smart, he’s tough, it’s important to him. We’re asking a lot of him – multiple positions. I think he’s doing a nice job. But it’s not necessarily the interception – and that’s a good play, one that everybody sees – but it’s getting guys lined up, getting himself lined up, being in the right position, being in good position to make a last line of defense tackle, communication with the corners, with the linebackers, down and distance situation.

“There’s a lot that goes into that position. I think he’s taken on that responsibility and been very – let’s call it forthright and trying to do a good job as far as taking on that leadership or signal-caller spot, which is hard for a rookie. I would say to step in there and tell somebody else what to do – that’s what the position calls for. He’s growing. He’s getting better. There’s still a long way to go.”

Make no mistake, there will be a learning curve. Fans recall that Bobby McCain – now with Washington – was a key facilitator of the defense for years. It will take time for Jevon Holland to gain that comfort level. However, all signs so far point to Holland becoming an excellent NFL safety, a playmaker that the defense can use to rise to the top of the league.

“I think it’s just TNT’s – the ‘takes no talent’ type things.” Holland said. “It’s just about effort and wanting that ball. ‘Coach Camp’ (Anthony Campanile) talked to us about just feeling like the person with the ball is taking your livelihood and to attack the ball every play like that. Nobody has an answer for that – that 100 percent effort to the ball every time. I think that’s one of the main things of trying to play fast is making sure you know what you’re doing so you can react and just go run to the ball.”

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

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Miami Dolphins

Five Takeaways from Flores/Grier Press Conference

Earlier today, Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores met with the media for their end-of-the-season press conference. But despite Miami’s front office doing their best to keep things close to the chest, there were plenty of takeaways from this afternoon’s zoom meeting.

Here are five takeaways from Brian Flores and Chris Grier’s press conference.

Tua Tagovailoa is the Miami Dolphins starting Quarterback.

This shouldn’t need to be said, but with every national media outlet trying to spin a QB controversy in Miami, it needed to be.

With a normal offseason and an improved arsenal of weapons, 2021 Tua should look a lot more like the guy we fell in love with at Tuscaloosa.

Tua is the franchise quarterback of the Miami Dolphins.

Chan Gailey expected back as offensive coordinator in 2021?

Coach Flores didn’t say much regarding his coaching staff in 2021, but what he did say was that he expected his assistant coaches to be back in 2021. This means 69-year-old Chan Gailey will once again be calling plays for Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins’ offense. This might have been the most disappointing takeaway from today’s presser.

Here’s what Flores had to say when asked if he’d retain his staff for the 2021 season.

“Yeah, we expect everyone back. Hopefully you’re not jinxing me now. Last time I said that, we lost Karl Dorrell, we lost Pat Graham, so thanks. (laughter) Hopefully not, though. We expect everyone back.”

There’s an outside chance Gailey might still retire. But for now, it looks like Gailey will be Miami’s play-caller moving forward.

Brian Flores should be Coach of the Year, in Chris Grier’s opinion.

There are plenty of deserving NFL head coaches that could be nominated for Coach of the Year. However, if you ask GM Chris Grier, he will tell you no one is more deserving than Dolphins’ HC Brian Flores–and I agree. Yes, the Week 17 loss to Buffalo should leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Flores deserves to be the coach of the year, with or without playoffs.

Dolphins plan to add competition at all positions in the offseason.

Miami has a lot of options via free agency and the draft. For example, the team has 4 top-50 picks, and their ‘available balance’ in FA rivals what we saw last year. So with a large number of running backs and wide receivers hitting the market, Miami’s interest could be key. But As you would expect, Flores and Grier never speak in absolutes, but they did shed some light on the offensive line and receiving corps–two positions the Dolphins could address at No.3 overall.

The best is yet to come

10 wins is a great accomplishment for a team in year two of a rebuild. But make no mistake about it, that loss to Buffalo left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. And what this team does in the offseason to build around the young nucleus in place could be what ultimately decides whether or not the Dolphins take the next step from promising young team to legit-playoff contenders.

Coach Flores promised to leave no stone unturned.

Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker said it best.

Adam Shaheen

Miami Dolphins sign TE Adam Shaheen to 2-year extension

While teams scramble to acquire the unwanted players of other teams, the Miami Dolphins are taking care of their own. Early Monday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Miami Dolphins officially extended tight end Adam Shaheen to a 2-year extension. His previous contract was set to expire after this season. Shaheen’s new deal is worth up to $7.9 million and includes a fully guaranteed $3.2 million.

This turns out to be a nice feather in the cap of general manager Chris Grier, who acquired Shaheen from the Chicago Bears for a conditional 7th round pick back in late July. While by no means a superstar, Shaheen has proven to be a reliable role player, much like Nick O’Leary was for Miami back in 2018-19.

Through six games this season, Adam Shaheen has only five receptions on seven targets. However, two of those receptions have gone for touchdowns. Also, he has 58 reception yards, most of which came from a huge 44-yard play down the seam against the New York Jets.

Seeing that the Bears originally drafted Shaheen in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, it’s obvious he’s talented. But injuries derailed his early career, and during the games he did play in Chicago, he struggled to make an impact. Through 33 career games, Adam Shaheen has a grand total of 31 receptions for 307 yards and and six touchdowns.

“I think he’s come in obviously via trade and he’s really worked hard.” Head coach Brian Flores said Wednesday. “I think he’s been productive over the first six weeks of the season. We just felt like he was somebody we wanted to keep around for a few more years. There were some discussions ongoing and those guys were able to strike a deal.”

Shaheen’s extension indicates the Miami Dolphins believe his best football is still ahead of him. Together with Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe, the three have turned into a reliable trio.

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

Charles Harris

Miami Dolphins trade DE Charles Harris to Atlanta Falcons for 7th round pick

After releasing veteran DE Taco Charlton on Thursday, the Miami Dolphins took the predictable next step and moved on from former first-round pick Charles Harris on Friday. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, GM Chris Grier actually managed to find a trade partner. In exchange for Charles Harris, the Dolphins will receive a 2021 seventh-round pick.

Considering Charles Harris has only 3.5 sacks throughout his entire three seasons with the Dolphins, it’s shocking the Falcons were willing to give up an asset for him. With that trade, Miami now has a total of 10 draft picks ready for the 2021 NFL Draft. Their extra first and second-rounders come from last year’s trade that sent Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to the Houston Texans. The extra sixth-rounder comes from the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • 1st Round – 2 picks
  • 2nd Round – 2 picks
  • 3rd Round – 1 pick
  • 4th Round – 1 pick
  • 5th Round – 1 pick
  • 6th Round – 2 picks
  • 7th Round – 1 pick

Harris’s departure is under the same circumstances as Taco Charlton’s. The Miami Dolphins have added a lot of talent at both defensive end and outside linebacker for their 3-4 defense. For different reasons, neither Charlton nor Harris were expected to contribute. Charlton is speculated as not being a “locker room guy,” while Harris was simply unproductive. Consequently, the door is open for the likes of Curtis Weaver, Jason Strowbridge, and Miami’s free agent haul to provide what Harris couldn’t.

All of a sudden, the Dolphins roster is now devoid of any of their hand-picked first-round talent from 2009-2018. The only one who remains is WR DeVante Parker, who recently signed a 4-year, $30 million dollar contract after a breakout season. However, while Harris will remain as a certified bust on Chris Grier’s resume, Grier deserves credit for not hanging on to hope for too long and cutting ties in a timely manner.

Now Miami can move forward with new, more scheme-fitting talent. In essence, the extra pick is icing on the cake that allows the Dolphins to continue building for the future.

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

Report: Dolphins intend to try rookie OL Robert Hunt at right tackle.

The Miami Dolphins placed a lot of emphasis on shoring up the trenches on both sides of the ball in the 2020 draft. One of the players they drafted is Louisiana offensive lineman Robert Hunt, a physical power blocker who makes a name for himself by utterly dominating defenders coming at him. His style of blocking would indicate that he fits best as a guard in the NFL. But he has plenty of experience as a tackle from his college days.

So the question is, what do the Dolphins plan on doing with Hunt?

“Robert can play right tackle, he can play right guard.” GM Chris Grier said after drafting Hunt 39th overall. “So for us, he’s going to come in and compete for a job. Brian’s talked about it. It’s a competition. That’s one of the things we liked about him – position flexibility to play those things, but the thing we loved about him was his competitiveness. He’s a tough, physical player. He plays with an attitude. He’s got good football intelligence. It’s important to him.

“A lot of those criteria and qualities the coaching staff is looking for, this kid has them so we’re very excited. After we took him, Brian and I got multiple texts from people on other teams saying that was their guy, so we were happy to get him and think he will be a good fit. (We are) looking forward to having him – when he gets here – to work and get on the field and compete for a job.”

The answer is vague as per the norm. In truth, the plan can be anything and can easily change as time goes on. But according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, there is some clue as to where Miami plans on letting Hunt try out first.

“…we’re told the Dolphins at least want to give (Hunt) a chance at right tackle,” wrote Jackson. “The plan – subject to change, obviously – is to allow Hunt and Jesse Davis to compete at right tackle and decide which player is better suited to tackle and which is better suited for guard.”

Trying Robert Hunt out at right tackle makes sense for several reasons. Firstly, putting Hunt at tackle frees up the logjam at guard the Dolphins currently have. Presently, the roster consists of Keaton Sutherland, Shaq Calhoun, Danny Isidora, the aforementioned Jesse Davis, and of course 2019 draft pick Michael Deiter and rookie Solomon Kindley. Naturally, the best case scenario would have Kindley win the job at right guard as another massive, power blocking player. That would leave Hunt at right tackle and Jesse Davis can be the primary backup.

Secondly, and more importantly, Hunt has an entire season to try and develop at right tackle. The entire draft class is predicated on developing potentially elite talent. Hunt isn’t projecting to be elite right away. However, there’s no telling what his ceiling can be at tackle if he fixes his footwork and mobility. That’s the trade off the Dolphins have made. Giving up immediate contributors for a chance to turn high-upside prospects into superstars in a year’s time.

Hunt, for his part, has made it clear he has no preference.

“I definitely can play any position that coach or the o-line coach need me to play.” He said after being drafted by Miami. “I’m a versatile guy. I think that will help me out a lot in this draft, so wherever coach needs me to play, that’s where I’ll stick at. I’m open to playing any position. I’m ready to play any position. Anything, anywhere that I can help the team out, I’ll definitely do it.”

Hearing that is definitely encouraging. Many players say that they’re okay playing anywhere, but not everyone means it. Infamously, Minkah Fitzpatrick initially claimed he enjoyed being a chess piece on the football field. Then a year later he expressed his deep frustration with that philosophy, resulting in a trade to the Pittsburgh Steelers. That trade gave the Dolphins Austin Jackson, but having Fitzpatrick in the defense Miami is building would make it potentially elite. The fact that Hunt seems open to the initial experimentation is a good sign.

Fans should be excited about the potential Robert Hunt brings to the table. Some are bothered by the lack of instant starters in this year’s draft class, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. In 2019, Brian Flores took a ragtag group of undrafted free agents and roster castoffs and dragged them to 5-11 when they had no business winning even one game. If that’s what Flores can do with subpar talent, what can he do with potentially elite talent?

Robert Hunt is eager to find out. He attended the NFL combine but was unable to workout, and that may have hurt his draft stock. But Hunt believes that everything that’s happened to him is for a reason. He’s happy to be in Miami where they’re building something special. And he doesn’t care if that’s at guard or tackle.

“It is what it is. This was going to happen anyways.” He said. “I’m a big believer in God. God puts you in places that He wants you to be. He definitely put me here for a reason. I’m just going to take the opportunity and go forward with it. He doesn’t make mistakes. This is a blessing to me. It doesn’t hurt me or help me. This is my opportunity. I’m super grateful for it.”

Dolphins Chris Grier

Pressure Point: Up to Chris Grier to build on Brian Flores’ good work

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores just made the job of general manager Chris Grier a whole lot tougher.

So be it.

How can you care at all about the Dolphins and not find delight in the stunning 27-24 upset they pulled off Sunday in Flores’ finale as a rookie head coach in his first visit to New England, where he worked for 15 years in the Belichick regime?

Especially when it mucks up Patriots playoff plans, denying them a first-round bye.

Also considering Miami hadn’t won at Foxborough since September 2008.

I know. I know. By winning five of their last nine to finish 5-11, the Dolphins strayed far from the tanking playbook — which Flores always claimed he wasn’t in on anyway. And there is no choice but to believe him now.

Win didn’t hurt draft standing

Sunday didn’t alter their standing in the draft order anyway.

Trying to win by losing has always been a cockamamie concept. Of greater importance, the win at New England was the latest in a growing stack of evidence that the Dolphins finally have a coach they can win with.

It was remarkable, really, coming to New England as 17-point underdogs and considering the 43-0 debacle in Miami in Week 2.

Sure, now Flores must show he can win more meaningful games when given the tools to work with. But he achieved far more with less than Adam Gase did in taking the 2016 Dolphins to the playoffs in his first season.

But he has a locker room full of believers, and likely much of the fan base.

Now that this most confusing of Dolphins seasons is over, speculation can shift from what they may or may not be trying to achieve on the field to what they must accomplish in the NFL draft.

Now it’s all about what Grier will do with those three first-round and assorted extra draft picks (14 total in 2020).

Finding the quarterback of the future remains the general manager’s mandate despite the team’s competitive gains behind the inspired play of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Dolphins give Patriots a taste of their own medicine

Tua tough call as first-round pick

The Dolphins have the No. 5 pick next April and may have a chance to select Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (provided he enters the draft), who must come back from a significant hip injury.

Maybe Tua will fare better than Bo Jackson, whose mercurial career was halted by a hip injury. Considering the injuries to both ankles that have also sidelined Tagovailoa, his durability is an issue.

Grier will spend more time poring over Tua’s medical reports than his game film. It will take conviction to make that choice or another available quarterback.

Regardless of whichever quarterback Grier chooses, bringing back Fitzpatrick would buy time in the development process.

Fitz reached folk hero status with what he accomplished leading an offense devoid of any reliable running game. That was cemented Sunday by outplaying Tom Brady and orchestrating the winning touchdown drive capped by the payoff pass to Mike Gesicki.

That doesn’t change that Grier must come away from the draft with a quarterback, but it’s just the top of a laundry list of needs.

Numerous needs on offense, defense

On offense, the challenge is to upgrade the line and add a featured running back, through draft picks and signings.

The receiving corps is respectable, with DeVante Parker having a breakout year and Gesicki making major strides in his second season. But pass protection and blocking for the running game needs to improve.

On defense, pass rushers are top priority, on the line and at linebacker. An ever-changing cast in the defensive backfield held its own against Tom Brady on Sunday, highlighted by former Patriot Eric Rowe’s pick-six. But Grier will be looking for another cornerback and likely a safety, especially if Reshad Jones isn’t brought back.

Grier is on the clock and on the spot for 2020.

As for 2019, which began with getting outscored 163-26 in the first four games, Sunday’s stunner made it almost sad to see time expire.

One thing for sure, the time for hoping for losses is thankfully over.

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

Mike Tannenbaum

Former Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum offers baffling insight

Hindsight is always 20/20. It’s easy to look back and see what you should or should not have done in any given situation. That is a concept that every single person on this planet can relate to. This, of course, includes NFL executives. So when former Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum went on Twitter to offer insight on the NFL’s quarterback situation, some eyebrows were raised.

Obviously, stating that teams should draft a quarterback every year is ironic coming from Mike Tannenbaum. He acted as a consultant for the team during the 2014 season, and then was hired to be the team’s Executive VP of Football Operations in 2015. He was essential to the Dolphins landing Ndamukong Suh that same year. However, aside from that, Tannenbaum’s Miami tenure was filled with skepticism from fans and analysts.

This is where he dropped the above gem, regarding drafting a QB every year. However, if this is what Tannenbaum truly believes, then why did he not push harder for Miami to do the same? Even if the Dolphins truly believed Ryan Tannehill had what it takes to be a franchise quarterback, that should not have stopped them from drafting QBs if this is Tannenbaum’s philosophy.

Miami drafted only one QB during Tannenbaum’s tenure. In 2016, they selected Brandon Doughty out of Western Kentucky. He was selected in the seventh round, 223rd overall. That is not exactly a high ceiling pick.

Perhaps this adds credence to the reports that Chris Grier was ultimately in charge of drafting, and not Mike Tannenbaum. If so, hopefully Grier has learned a valuable lesson, as he’s in charge of rebuilding the Dolphins from the ground up.

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

Should the Miami Dolphins make a move for Jalen Ramsey?

Jalen Ramsey could be an option for the Miami Dolphins.

The Miami Dolphins aren’t the only team who has disgruntled super stars.

During Jacksonville’s 13-12 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday, fiery cornerback Jalen Ramsey found himself in a heated exchange with his head coach, Doug Marrone.

In the aftermath of the exchange, the former first-round pick has requested a trade from the Jaguars.

It seems like the bridge has been burned in Jacksonville. The Jaguars would like two first-round picks for the 2017 first-team All-Pro.

The Miami Dolphins are on track to be the worst team in NFL history. However, they are loaded with draft capital for both the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

His impact won’t be seen in 2019, but should the Dolphins trade for Ramsey to pair with Xavien Howard in Miami’s secondary?

Ramsey is under contract through 2020, meaning he could re-up with the Dolphins after a trade.

Miami is scheduled to have $122 million in cap space next season.  General Manager Chris Grier said yesterday that the team plans to be aggressive in the 2020 off season.

Keep in mind, aggressiveness isn’t limited to signing unrestricted free agents. The Dolphins could find themselves in the running to make a move for some disgruntled superstars and Jalen Ramsey fits the bill.

If Jalen Ramsey remains in Jacksonville through the regular season, the Dolphins could make a move for the cornerback. If price starts to drop and we discover the value of Miami’s picks, the Dolphins should be aggressive in trading for a talent like Ramsey.

Ross tried to keep Minkah Fitzpatrick

Last night it was announced that the Dolphins would send Minkah Fitzpatrick, a 2020 fourth-round pick and a 2021 seventh-round pick to Pittsburgh in exchange for a 2020 first-rounder, 2020 fifth, and a 2021 sixth.

The Miami Dolphins have done it again.

In a league where trading, especially top-tier talent, is rare, the Dolphins have moved another player for future draft picks.

The organization did try everything to convince the former Alabama stand-out to remain with the team.

Keep in mind, Fitzpatrick was a fan of Miami’s coaching staff.

However, he wanted to be put in the best situation to succeed, instead of a changing role on a week-to-week basis.

Moving the 2018 first-round pick should mark the end of Miami’s wheeling and dealing of current players. However, if one thing is for certain about the 2019 Miami Dolphins ⁠— anyone is available at the right price.

Vincent Taylor Release

Dolphins release DT Vincent Taylor

No one is safe when it comes to the 2019 Miami Dolphins roster. After trading Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills and Kiko Alonso, then releasing longtime long snapper John Denney, Miami’s purge continues with the release of Vincent Taylor.

With that release, only 22 players who were on the 2018 squad remain, and it’s possible more moves are on the way.

What makes this move so surprising is that Taylor was clearly productive during his two season tenure.

In his 21 games, he made 45 tackles, hit the QB three times, made four tackles for a loss, two sacks, and his real claim to fame is blocking field goals. He has a strange knack for that, but he ended 2018 on injured reserve with a foot injury. Perhaps that has something to do with his lack of production in preseason.

New Face

To replace the 25-year old, the Dolphins signed veteran nose tackle John Jenkins, who spent his first four seasons with the Saints after being drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft. He was a top performer at the combine that year, and unlike Taylor, the 30-year old Jenkins fits a niche role that’s necessary for Miami’s 3-4 defensive alignment.

Since being released by New Orleans in 2016, Jenkins has spent time with a different team each following year. In 2016, he played with the Seattle Seahawks. The next year was spent with the Bears, and in 2018 he was a member of the New York Giants. He played seven games for the Giants, and contributed almost nothing. No tackles, no sacks. To be fair, however, nose tackles aren’t meant to put up stats. They’re meant to clear the way for other defenders. If he can do that, then his contribution will be on tape, not on a stat sheet.

So is this the end of Vincent Taylor with the Dolphins? Not necessarily. Should he clear waivers, Taylor is still technically eligible for Miami’s practice squad. He could be brought back that way. But if not, some team somewhere is going to get real bang for their buck. Taylor isn’t the most well-conditioned player, but when he’s on the football field, he makes things happen.

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