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Kalen Ballage

Kalen Ballage rushing full speed towards Dolphins starting RB job

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dolphins-Buccaneers Joint Practice Notes DAY 2

DAY 2

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

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

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

Dolphins-Buccaneers Joint Practice Notes DAY 1

DAY 1

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

SOUND AFTER PRACTICE:

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

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

Practice MVP’s: Xavien Howard, Kalen Ballage.

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

Josh Rosen risks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miami Dolphins Camp Quickie Notes: Day 11

Day 11

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

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

Miami Dolphins Camp Quickie Notes: Day 10

Day 10

– The team moved up the Coach Flores Availability without me knowing, but they could not defeat my earlier than usual arrivals. Coach Flores would like me.
– No time table for Reshad Jones’ return- Coach Flores. (Also, not serious)
– It will be exciting for both guys on Thursday (Both Coordinators calling plays for 1st time)- Coach Flores
– The “newly released” depth chart is odd for several reasons, if we are counting snaps.
– Jordan Mills did not take a 1st team snap for 4 days, but hes the starter at RT? NAH.
– Josh Rosen is improving, but he has a long way to go.- Coach Flores
– Don’t buy too much into “Depth Charts”, that’s one grouping. I got 12.- Coach Flores
– Early loose warm up. Near Field work today.
– Special Teams work kicks off practice.
– In shorts/shells today. Should be a lite practice.
– Back to that depth chart….ignore it.
– Both PUP guys, Rowe, Jones, Sterup, Grant, Woodard, Allen OUT today.
– Ryan Fitzpatrick is 1st team once again.
– Snap work. After those 10 pre snap penalties on Saturday….much needed.
– That weird Team Warmup ensues….
– The setup today has a walk thru, lite workout look to it, in preparation for Thursday night.
– Who will get snaps at TE? We know Gesicki will, for sure. The evidence in practice says so. Along side him and behind him? Anybody’s guess. Nick O’Leary probably leads that pack.
– Indy drills.
– Kenyan Drake seems set to get 1st team work today. He was very good on Saturday.
– QB warmup has progressively gotten better as camp has moved on. It was an embarrassment the first 2 days.
– Ball placement drill …Fitzpatrick ..pretty sharp. Rosen with some iffy throws, then picks it up… now, they are running that drill where they throw intentional interceptions. Pretty good at that. Ok.
– Team meeting. Setting up some 11v11 work
– 1st team OL remains….Tunsil, Dieter, Kilgore, Calhoun, Davis
– Fitzy finds Ford on an over route. Busted coverage. Huge gain.
– Special Teams work once again. Kenyan Drake has 1st team PR duty in Jakeem Grant’s absence.
– 11v11 here.
– Series of inside zone runs, out of interesting sets.
– Some screens get called. Uneventful period of practice.
– Special Teams work (punt teams) now.
– 7v7 time…..Fitzy tries a quick out right to Parker…Howard there to break it up.
– Rosen throws one in the dirt to O’Leary….Rosen throws a DEEEEEP beauty to Stills….perfect throw….drop. (off finger tips)
– Rosen then is indecisive / inaccurate on next snap. Bad 7v7 period for the 2 QB’s.
– 11v11 once again.
– Fitzpatrick connects with Mike Gesicki on a crosser. Good looking stuff.
– Ballage on a shoot route. Looks great as usual. He and Drake are both very good running routes, and catching it.
– Mark Walton getting a heavy dose of RB3 work.
– Rosen, with a nice hot slant on the RPO, dropped by Isaiah Ford.
– Preston Williams ladies and gentlemen.
– Hartage was given a difficult assignment with Preston Williams. Preston smoked him on the Out-Up route.
– Fitzy finds Drake on the option route. Given too much room to run. Defense essentially ignored Drake leaking out.
– Jerome Baker’s position being filled by a combination of Tre Watson, Van Ginkel, Hanks.
– Baker also being replaced by Eguavoen in his primary role.
– Operating just outside the Red Area, Fitzy with a sharp stick throw for a TD to Smythe.
– Practice ends, on that note.

Practice MVP: Kenyan Drake, Preston Williams
Struggled: Isaiah Ford, Sam Eguavoen, Montre Hartage

Preston Williams header

Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams drawing high praise

It’s been a long road for Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams. He’s made mistakes off the field that he’s trying to get past, and he’s trying to make up for those mistakes by pushing himself as an undrafted free agent. Now, as Miami’s first preseason game draws ever closer, Williams is starting to impress the fans, his coaches, and even his teammates.

“That guy can be special.” said Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard. “He’s still learning, he’s just a rookie. (There) is so much room for improvement with him but he’s going to be a number one receiver one day.”

Considering Howard’s ever-increasing reputation, that’s extremely high praise. Howard’s job is locking down other teams’ best wide receivers, and in training camp, Howard gives that same treatment to Williams. Howard wins a lot of those matches. But there are moments where Williams makes an impressive play to beat the elite cornerback. That’s a difficult task no matter who it is, as everyone knows.

Back in late May, Ryan Fitzpatrick was asked about the tall, strong receiver, and apparently the praise wasn’t quite as pronounced.

“He’ll make some ‘wow’ plays and he’ll make some plays that remind you that he’s a young guy.” He said. “Consistency is going to be a big thing with him. In terms of some of the physical features and the way that he can go get the ball and those type of things, he’s been very impressive. Again, he’s working his tail off and it shows and you can tell out here, but there’s also a lot of work that still needs to be put in for him to be able to be trusted and be out there.”

But since then, trust has been attained, especially from young QB Josh Rosen. The two are building an impressive rapport, one that just might help Rosen win the starting job.

“Yeah, he’s got a ton of potential.” Rosen said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “He’s an unbelievable athlete. He’s got a great attitude. He works really hard, and I think he’s got a really high ceiling. It’s just about how hard he works, and I’m right there in the boat with him. We’re the same age, so hopefully we can develop together and keep pushing each other.”

To further boost their chances, Rosen and Williams actually have a history together. The two were on the same team at The Opening camp in Oregon in 2014 as recruits in high school. During that time, they made quite a tandem.

“I don’t know how much chemistry after – how long is that, five, six years ago?” Rosen said. “But yeah, it’s good to see him. That’s kind of the crazy thing about the NFL is that you walk in and you see faces that you haven’t seen in years from all over.”

Now, with an old friend throwing him the ball as he fights his way back to his NFL dream, does Preston Williams still have a chip on his shoulder from going undrafted? The answer, apparently, is no.

“That’s over, so I don’t really think about it any more.” Williams said. “I’m here now. I’ve got my foot in the door. I just came in to work. It doesn’t matter where I’m at or where I went.”

True enough, since where he is, is at the forefront of a brewing competition. As a result, he’s in the thick of it with DeVante Parker and Brice Butler for a spot on the final roster. If things stay this close between them, then preseason will have to make the final decision. In the end, Preston Williams isn’t taking anything for granted.

“It’s real humbling because a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to sit in these chairs.” He said. “So I just come out here every day like it’s my last practice.”

Miami Dolphins camp Quickie Notes: Day 9

Day 9

– NO Scrimmage. Regular Practice scheduled. Oh Well.
– Coach Flores arrives 5 minutes early.
– I know I said Ryan Fitzpatrick was leading the competition, but there is still plenty of competition left – Coach Flores
– The Practice schedule for today is unclear. When asked when the “Live” periods of practice will occur, coach Flores says, “Maybe an hour from now.”
– “We are in an evaluation process.” (when asked about the Depth Chart)- Coach Flores
– “DeVante Parker has had a strong camp” (glowing praise ensued) – Coach Flores
– Woodard, Jones, McMillan, Grant, Allen, plus 2 PUP guys…OUT.
– Practice begins, once again, with Special Teams.
– Stretch portion of practice.
– Indy drills for all. Uneventful start to practice.
– QB warmup time. Josh Rosen is cleaner with his mechanics. None of these QB’s wow anybody, ever, during any of these warmups.
– Team meeting at the 50 yard line. What’s this about?
– 11v11 now
– Drive #1. Fitzy to Stills for 6 on quick out left. Fitzy finds Parker beating the zone for 15. Drake busts a lead right for a big gain down to the 3. Charles Harris with a nice play to stop a run. Play Action Boot Pass to Drake for a TD.
– Josh Rosen leading the 2nd team.
– Rosen to Preston Williams for 15 on deep out.
– 2nd team offense has committed two penalties.
– Rosen with a good looking RPO?
– Rosen quick out to Preston Williams for 8
NICE!
– 2nd team needs to punt having failed to get a 1st down.
– Fitzy to Stills…tipped. Xavien Howard INT.
– Josh Rosen back in. Penalty to start.
– Inside Zone runs, quick out to Brice Butler. Penalty. 3rd and 15. Inside zone run gains 6. Hmm. We have seen that before.
– Penalties, inside zone runs, and a quick out…with MORE penalties sets up 3rd and 25.
– Josh Rosen does well to gain a chunk by escaping pocket, finding Preston Williams. Sets up FG. Good.
– Fitzy has an uneventful series.
– Rudock in to take some snaps.
– Fitzy back in.
– Charles Harris with a sack on Fitzy. Beats Tunsil.
– Charles Harris is a menace. In on Fitzy again. On a twist.
– Van Ginkel got sucked in by the play call. Screen behind him. Drake with a big gain.
– Wow. Fitzy flag pattern for a big one to Stills. Off his finger tips. GREAT THROW
– Fitzy tries a go to Parker on right side. Overthrown. FG try.good.
– Halftime.
– Josh Rosen in. 2nd teamers.
– Rosen, incomplete in cut. Rosen complete out to Brice Butler. Sack by Adolphus Washington ends series.
– Fitzy starts series. Jerome Baker sack.
– Series goes quickly.
– Starting at their own 1. Josh Rosen leads the 2nd team. Dive play gains nothing.
– Rosen moves the chains on 3rd and 5. Rosen starts with a quick out on 1st down. Rosen hits Preston Williams on a beauty. 45 yard gain.
– Preston Williams is today’s clear cut star.
– Sets up a FG try. Good.
– Fitzy 1st teamers. Start at 25 going in.
– Gesicki beats Minkah bad on a back shoulder throw. He pushed off. Offensive P.I.
– ITS REVIEWED. REVERSED. GESICKI SETS UP 1st and Goal from the 5.
– 3rd and goal. Fitzy has nothing. FG try. Good.
– Rudock leads a TD drive on a series of runs on a short field.
– Fitzy starts from his own 1. Ballage moves it 6 yards out.
– Ballage sweep. Penalty. Count is somewhere between 12-15 penalties.
– Dieter consistently 1st team LG. Assortment at RG. Latest is Kyle Fuller.
– Here comes a Josh Rosen 2 minute drill.
– Rosen to Gesicki for 10. Fitzy comes in now. Ford for 10 on Howard.
– Fitzy pick on deep post. Xavien Howard with the pick to kill the drive.
– Rosen in now. Strike to Stills for 18 on curl. Holding. Bring it back.
– Rosen DEEP to stills…Howard with the pick. NO. Stills makes a play off of him. Huge gain. 50+ yards
– Rosen with a DISASTER throw in red zone. Xavien Howard pick. Off his hands. Caught by Ford for a TD.
– Goal line portion of practice.
– Ballage stuffed lead right. Godchaux on play.
– O’Leary TD on play action pass.
– Ballage TD on Dive play.
– Practice over.
– Stephen Ross and Josh Rosen have a long 12-15 minute conversation. Then Ross, Grier and Fitzy have a talk of their own.

Practice MVP: Xavien Howard, Preston Williams, Charles Harris.
Struggled: Kyle Fuller, Laremy Tunsil, Chris Reed

And the Dolphins QB battle continues…

Miami Dolphins rookie head coach Brian Flores has continued to echo the importance of competition since the team met for mini camp in June.

 

Fast forward about a month and after the first week of training camp, as the Dolphins prepare for the 2019 season, there are a few major position battles brewing in Davie.

 

Each day it seems that a new report is released surrounding a handful of different positions including running back, offensive line and linebacker. However, no competition is under the spotlight as often as the quarterback battle between Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

 

Fitzpatrick hit the ground running at the first day of training camp and impressed with his accuracy.

 

 

 

The 36-year-old Highland High School alum has also displayed his leadership ability.

 

 

With Fitzpatrick showcasing why has found success as a 14-year NFL veteran, it should come to no surprise that Flores mentioned on Tuesday morning that Fitzpatrick is the current front runner for the quarterback job in front of Rosen, the second-year pro out of UCLA.

 

“It’s pretty clear to me that Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the way,” Flores said. “He’s done that in a lot of areas, from leadership to production on the field to the meeting rooms to the walk-throughs. This is an ongoing competition, but right now he’s leading the way.”

 

It is important to keep in mind that we are just a week into training camp and while Fitzpatrick has looked the part at times, he doesn’t have the most consistent track record and that part of his game has started to show on the practice field.

 

Miami Dolphins rookie head coach Brian Flores has continued to echo the importance of competition since the team met for mini camp in June.

 

Fast forward about a month and after the first week of training camp, as the Dolphins prepare for the 2019 season, there are a few major position battles brewing in Davie.

 

Each day it seems that a new report is released surrounding a handful of different positions including running back, offensive line and linebacker. However, no competition is under the spotlight as often as the quarterback battle between Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

 

Fitzpatrick hit the ground running at the first day of training camp and impressed with his accuracy.

 

 

 

The 36-year-old Highland High School alum has also displayed his leadership ability.

 

 

With Fitzpatrick showcasing why has found success as a 14-year NFL veteran, it should come to no surprise that Flores mentioned on Tuesday morning that Fitzpatrick is the current front runner for the quarterback job in front of Rosen, the second-year pro out of UCLA.

 

“It’s pretty clear to me that Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the way,” Flores said. “He’s done that in a lot of areas, from leadership to production on the field to the meeting rooms to the walk-throughs. This is an ongoing competition, but right now he’s leading the way.”

 

It is important to keep in mind that we are just a week into training camp and while Fitzpatrick has looked the part at times, he doesn’t have the most consistent track record and that part of his game has started to show on the practice field.

 

The Dolphins have more than a month before they hit the turf at Hard Rock Stadium, which is why the quarterback battle is far from over.

 

 

Both quarterbacks continue to push each other and it is important to not get hung up on who is “leading” the quarterback competition. It is far too early to think that Rosen is a bust, but also too early to say that Fitzpatrick will lead the Dolphins to a 4-12 record.

 

Rosen and Fitzpatrick will continue to push each other, which is what exactly what Flores wants each player on the 53-man roster to do.

 

“I guess the thought process behind that is, maybe we want to keep that guy hungry,” Flores said of depth chart shakeups on Sunday. “Maybe we want to make sure that guy knows that you could have a great day, and we’re always competing. There’s a lot of levels here, a lot of things that go into it.”

 

As of right now, it is tough to determine who will be under center come week one, but both Rosen and Fitzpatrick will continue to grow as Miami’s quarterback battle continues to unfold.

 

Jake Mendel also writes for our sister site, Dolphin Maven. 

 

 

The Dolphins have more than a month before they hit the turf at Hard Rock Stadium, which is why the quarterback battle is far from over.

 

 

Both quarterbacks continue to push each other and it is important to not get hung up on who is “leading” the quarterback competition. It is far too early to think that Rosen is a bust, but also too early to say that Fitzpatrick will lead the Dolphins to a 4-12 record.

 

Rosen and Fitzpatrick will continue to push each other, which is what exactly what Flores wants each player on the 53-man roster to do.

 

“I guess the thought process behind that is, maybe we want to keep that guy hungry,” Flores said of depth chart shakeups on Sunday. “Maybe we want to make sure that guy knows that you could have a great day, and we’re always competing. There’s a lot of levels here, a lot of things that go into it.”

 

As of right now, it is tough to determine who will be under center come week one, but both Rosen and Fitzpatrick will continue to grow as Miami’s quarterback battle continues to unfold.

 

Jake Mendel also writes for our sister site, Dolphin Maven. 

 

Dolphins assistant head coach Jim Caldwell taking leave of absence

The Miami Dolphins will be missing one of their most experienced and high profile coaches for the 2019 season, as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell is taking a leave of absence to address health issues.

A statement was released by the Dolphins on Saturday morning regarding Caldwell’s status.

“I will be stepping back due to some medical complications that require my full attention,” Caldwell said. “I want to thank Stephen Ross, Chris Grier, Coach Flores and the rest of the organization for the support they have given me and my family.”

Head coach Brian Flores offered his own sentiments within the statement.

“Our focus is on Jim’s health and supporting him in every way that we can,” He said. “With his knowledge and experience, Jim has been an invaluable member to our coaching staff and will continue to serve as a sounding board for me throughout the season.”

Caldwell will still serve as a consultant to head coach Brian Flores, but not having him physically there will have an impact. Caldwell is one of the first coaches Flores added to his staff, bringing him on board on Feb. 8, 2019. His experience as an NFL head coach was projected to be invaluable to Flores, a rookie head coach who is only just starting to learn what it means to be a head coach in this league.

Not having proven, experienced people behind him is likely part of what led former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase to make the mistakes he did. Flores was smart to hire Caldwell to be his right hand man.  He brought with him 17 years of coaching experience, with two stints as a head coach for the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-11 and the Detroit Lions from 2014-17. In that time, Caldwell put together a 62-50 (.554) regular-season record, four playoff berths, two 11-win seasons and one conference championship. He also won a Super Bowl as the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens during the 2012 season.

On top of being the assistant head coach, Caldwell was also tasked with coaching the quarterbacks, as he’s had experience coaching the likes of Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, and of course Peyton Manning, who spoke to Michael Rothstein of ESPN back in 2015 about Caldwell’s stressing of fundamentals and how everything had a specific purpose.

“The discipline of having that routine really made an impact on me,” Manning said. “I really felt like I just sort of took a step up during the years that he was my quarterbacks coach.”

The hope was that Caldwell would have a significant impact on the next young QB who stepped foot in the building. In this case, Josh Rosen was that young QB, and Miami is hoping he turns out to be worth his initial top ten pick draft status. Now, however, it will be up to seven-year veteran Jerry Schuplinski to fill that void, who spent his previous six seasons in the league with the New England Patriots, starting his role as assistant QB coach in 2016 for Tom Brady.

Caldwell’s absence will hurt the team, but true to form, the Miami Dolphins have made it clear that they care about the people working for them. With any luck, the 64-year old Caldwell will overcome his unspecified health issues and be able to return to the sidelines in no time. Until then, Caldwell will have the support of the team as he rests and recovers from whatever ails him.