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tanking

Dolphins players deny talk of tanking

After the Dolphins were annihilated at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, 59-10, it became clear that winning wasn’t something that was going to happen a lot in 2019. Lack of execution. Lack of apparent talent. It’s hard to imagine 2019 being successful in any capacity after a loss like that.

Unless, of course, a team is tanking to secure the #1 overall pick in the 2020 draft.

Miami removed almost all of their premier talent in the offseason. They traded Laremy Tunsil for a slew of top draft picks. They released their top preseason pass rusher. No aspect of those moves indicate winning is even a secondary goal for this season. Additionally, coach Brian Flores decided to make the only other tackle besides Jesse Davis who had any experience in the offense inactive on Sunday. One could argue that Isaiah Prince isn’t as good as Julién Davenport or J’Marcus Webb. But when players have to introduce themselves in the huddle, that’s an indicator that it’s best to just go with what little chemistry is there.

Not only that, there are reports circulating that several players on the team want out. In light of that, it’s hard to conclude tanking isn’t the unspoken goal. However, in spite of everything that’s been seen so far, players insist they aren’t trying tanking. Linebacker Jerome Baker took to social media to express his desire to keep fighting, as did DT Davon Godchaux.

Center Daniel Kilgore also spoke of his frustration over the allegations on Monday.

“It’s a terrible thing to say, honestly.” He said. “For you guys to say that and you’re here every day, you see the amount of work that we put in and I think these fans deserve more. I know the game has always treated me well and I would never do that on a personal level, nor will I expect my teammates to do that. It’s aggravating but it’s something that we’ve got to block out. Outside of this building, we’ve got to block those things out.”

LB Raekwon McMillan echoed similar sentiments. “I’m not going out there to put my body on the line, put my future on the line just to lose games. I’m going out there to win, put my best effort out there on film and give my everything for my teammates.”

These questions are expected, and the team answered accordingly. Of course they will deny these things. Publicly admitting they feel their team isn’t trying to win would be disastrous. But it’s easy to imagine that tempers will boil over sooner rather than later if things don’t improve in a hurry. The Dolphins need to play better, and soon. Otherwise, things might get even uglier. For now though, they’re going to accept that the loss happened and try to move past it.

“We’re going to let it sink in. Let that (expletive) hurt.” safety Bobby McCain said. “Let it hurt, let it hurt, because it does. Going out, we gave up 60 points today, essentially. So just going out and coming to work tomorrow. Like I told the guys, we’ve got to come to work tomorrow, put your head down and just work on it. At some point in the game, you have to play for each other and that’s just what it is.”

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

Laremy Tunsil

According to Vegas, losing Tunsil and Stills did not hurt the Miami Dolphins

Tunsil and Stills are gone and some Miami Dolphins fans can’t still believe it.

The Dolphins have continued to be the model of mediocrity for the last 20 years.

They’ve struggled to find success in the playoffs. Yet, have refused to bottom out.

The Dolphins are embracing the tank under first-year coach Brian Flores in 2019. As a result, Vegas had Miami winning 4.5 games in the 2019 season. BetOnline still had a line of 4.5  after trading away left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills.

Robert Duff, on sportsbettingdime.com dove into how this move may impact the Dolphins here.

Duff, whom taught a course on the history of sports at Elder College, highlighted how a mutiny could develop in Miami’s locker room after trading away their cornerstone left tackle. According to Duff, what doesn’t help Miami’s situation is that Brian Flores is starting to look as “cold-hearted” as his previous boss, Bill Belichick.

Flores is quickly losing the faith of a team. Like every team, Miami put plenty of work in the offseason, just to fall to Baltimore by 49 points on opening day.

While the first-year coach has preached that his team is going to be competitive, it isn’t looking that way early in the season. Miami’s struggles are at a point in which players don’t want to suit up for a team that will be dominated on a week-by-week basis.

Per Mike Florio, of ProFootballTalk, members of the Miami Dolphins are reaching out to their agents in hopes to get traded from the team. This could potentially make an already diminished roster even weaker.

Early mutiny in Miami

Things will get worse in Miami before they get better. The Dolphins have only won four-or-less games just twice since 1970. The 2019 roster is looking as bad as the 1-15 team from 2007.

Vegas doesn’t see the Dolphins getting any worse, especially after losing Stills and Tunsil. Keep in mind, they are most certainly not getting any better.

The 4.5 line is looking like a pretty appealing line to bet the under on. Especially for a team that is clearly tanking with their sights on Tua Tagovailoa.

Jesse Davis extension

Miami Dolphins extend G/T Jesse Davis through 2022

Not everyone on the Miami Dolphins roster is set to be released. On Saturday, the team officially signed veteran offensive lineman Jesse Davis to a three-year extension. This new deal keeps him from becoming a restricted free agent next season. It will pay him a total of $15 million. His guarantees equate to $8.5 million, with a $4 million signing bonus.

Obviously, locking up Davis comes from a place of necessity. In light of the trade that sent Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to the Houston Texans, the Dolphins need players who can provide depth. At the same time, Davis now projects to be their starting left tackle. With Tunsil gone, Miami only has three other players who can play tackle. Jesse Davis, J’Marcus Webb and Julién Davenport.

The only one who has any experience in Chad O’Shea’s offense is Davis. Additionally, with versatility being so important, Davis fits exactly what coach Brian Flores is looking for. Davis played every snap at right guard for the Dolphins last season, and he’s played every position except center since being called up from the practice squad in 2017. Before the Tunsil trade, Davis played almost every snap at right tackle. Now he’s expected to move to the left side against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Davis has never wowed the crowd with his blocking prowess. He grades out average at best according to ProFootballFocus. However, he’s a versatile and reliable body who can be called upon for many different situations. Miami will undoubtedly look to strengthen the offensive line in 2020, which will take Davis out of his starting role. But in the future, they will need someone who can step in during emergencies, and Jesse Davis fits that role like a glove.

J'Marcus Webb signing

Dolphins sign OT J’Marcus Webb

The Miami Dolphins purged the offensive line after the preseason, leaving them without depth at the tackle positions. In order to mitigate that problem, Miami has signed veteran tackle J’Marcus Webb on Friday. The 31-year old journeyman was already suited up for practice that same day.

Throughout his career, Webb has started a total of 65 of the 81 games he’s played. However, the last time he’s been a regular starter was in 2015 with the Oakland Raiders. During that year, he put up a total grade of 63.3 per ProFootballFocus.

His last stint had him with the Colts in 2018, under current Dolphins OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo. Webb put up a fairly strong pass blocking grade, though his run blocking left much to be desired. Given DeGuglielmo’s familiarity with Webb, it makes sense why Miami would bring him in to be the new swing tackle, playing on the right and left.

After the Dolphins traded away Laremy Tunsil to the Texans and waived Zach Sterup (who is now on the practice squad), Miami’s need for bodies became dire. As of now, they have two candidates to start at left tackle against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Jesse Davis, who has spent the entire preseason at right tackle, and Julién Davenport, who was acquired as part of the Tunsil/Stills trade. Davenport can be developed, but his lack of experience in this offense makes Davis the more likely candidate.

This leaves rookie Isaiah Prince, Miami’s 2019 sixth round draft pick, as the likely starter at right tackle.

J’Marcus Webb doesn’t project to be a part of the team’s long term future. But there is still a whole season to play, and injuries happen. The churning of the roster will continue through the season.

To make room for Webb on the roster, the Dolphins placed rookie LB Andrew Van Ginkel on injured reserve with a foot injury he’s been nursing for several weeks.

Who will step up as captains of the 2019 Miami Dolphins?

After a preseason that saw the Dolphins purge their roster, they’re not only lacking talent, but also leadership and captains.

Miami rosters roughly 20 players that were on the team last season and first-year coach Brian Flores is looking to discover guys that his vision.

With players like Laremy Tunsil, Ryan Tannehill, Cameron Wake and John Denney no longer with the team, Flores spent the preseason looking for players who can step up as leaders and captains for a team that features one of the youngest rosters in the NFL.

When speaking to the media on Wednesday, Flores told reporters that the Dolphins are yet to name the team’s captains.

With everything we have heard this offseason, players like Jerome Baker and Xavien Howard seem like perfect candidates to lead the new era of the Miami Dolphins.

Will Ryan Fitzpatrick earn the title, despite having to play for his job on a week-by-week basis? Can Daniel Kilgore bounce back from an injury-shorted 2018 season and provide leadership for an offensive unit that has combined to start just 88 games?

Who would you like to see step on to the field as captains when the Dolphins welcome Baltimore to Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday?

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

Wild Offseason for Dolphins Culminates With Tunsil Deal

The Houston Texans saved the last dance for the Miami Dolphins, acquire Laremy Tunsil.

For days it seemed like everyone thought Jadeveon Clowney was going to be a Miami Dolphin.

Except Clowney.

Chris Grier and the Miami brass were determined to take advantage of a Houston power structure…without structure.

That they did it seems by sending franchise left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills to Houston for two first round picks and a second rounder.

 

Miami also sends back a 2020 fourth rounder and a 2021 sixth rounder according to reports.

Stills’ departure was perhaps in the best interest of all parties, he gets a fresh start away from the noise in South Florida.

Houston is getting a good football player but an even better human being in the deal.

 

#TankSzn is here.

Wait, Don’t we Need a Left Tackle?

When you talk about a rebuild, there are four core positions that comprise the foundation.

Quarterback.

Defensive end.

Cornerback.

Left Tackle.

Miami locked in one of the four by signing Xavien Howard in the offseason.

Their pursuit of Clowney showed intent on resolving another spot.

Miami will likely draft a top prospect at the position next year, maybe the year after.

You can make what you will of the quarterback battle and outcome in preseason, but Josh Rosen will play this season.

Without a left tackle.

So why not keep Tunsil since he is one of the core four, on a team friendly rookie deal?

You’re going to need to find another left tackle eventually anyway.

The Miami Dolphins organization pushed all their chips in on 2020 and beyond.

While completing the fold on the 2019 campaign, in the process selling high on Tunsil.

High Picks Must be on Target

It is hard to remember a team with so much draft capital at their disposal.

 

Perhaps the Dallas Cowboys when they stole six picks from the Vikings for Herschel Walker.

Those picks became players such as Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, and Darren Woodson among others.

If the Dolphins can hit on the majority of those picks, especially the first rounders, the promising future could be upon us en masse.

Hopefully fans can survive the carnage they will witness in 2019 first.

From Stills and Jay-Z, firing of a coach, and some surprising cuts, another roller coaster summer has concluded in Davie.

Miami fans should be ready for anything at this point.

Follow us on Twitter for up to the minute Miami Dolphins news and information @SportsWaveDave and @5ReasonsSports.

Make sure to subscribe to The Fish Tank Podcast and 3 Yards Per Carry for more great Dolphins content.

 

 

 

Laremy Tunsil

Dolphins send Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to Texans in massive trade

Laremy Tunsil seemed safe. It seemed like he was going to remain a member of the Miami Dolphins. Then the front office pulls the rug out from under everyone. The Houston Texans sent pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks. That should have been it. But then the Dolphins sent the Texans young star left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills. They also added a fourth round pick for 2020.

In return, Miami received a 2020 first round pick, a 2021 first round pick, a 2021 second round pick, cornerback Johnson Bademosi and offensive tackle Julién Davenport. With that, the Dolphins officially topped the massive trade that the Raiders pulled off, sending star defender Khalil Mack to the Bears last season. The compensation for the 25-year old tackle and a solid wide receiver is huge, and GM Chris Grier is undoubtedly satisfied with his work.

But this does mean that now, the offensive line is without its best player. Which means that in 2019, both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen may spend most of the season running for their lives.

The Future

As large as this trade is, it does send a message loud and clear to the fan base and the remaining players in the locker room. 2019 is not intended to win games. In spite of everything head coach Brian Flores is saying, winning is not something Miami expects to do a lot of. Not that they will ever admit it publicly. All attention now needs to be placed on the next two drafts. The Dolphins are in a prime position to earn the first overall pick and have their quarterback of choice. Then with that extra first rounder, there’s no telling what they could do.

But there’s one thing that needs to be said now. Grier has to make sure he hits on these next two drafts. Many are saying that the Dolphins are taking the path the Cleveland Browns took. That path was a long one, and even with all the picks they’ve had over the last several years, only now are they actually a good football team on paper. Most importantly, his next selected quarterback needs to be a superstar.

2019, more than ever, is going to be about development. Miami has a young core on defense. Undoubtedly, they will add more in the coming seasons. It’s the offense that needs a lot of work. Unless Michael Deiter, Shaq Calhoun and Isaiah Prince develop, the Dolphins will need to overhaul the line again. Wide receiver has Jakeem Grant and Preston Williams. There’s no telling whether Albert Wilson will return after 2020. Wide receiver will need investing. And what of Josh Rosen? Will he get a chance to prove himself? Or is this Arizona all over again and he’s merely trade fodder or backup material? 2019 may not provide the answer. 2020 might.

There might even be more draft picks coming for the rebuild, if the Dolphins trade Kiko Alonso as expected. Who knows what will come of that? All that can be done now is to monitor the situation closely.

Prepare for pain before the pleasure. Rebuilding is never a fun process, but if Miami gets it right, then the next several years after the storm could be glorious.

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

Laremy Tunsil

The Dolphins’ best blocker on the block?

We know the Dolphins are rebuilding. They’ve loaded up on draft picks and salary cap money for next offseason, and they’re still contemplating starting Ryan Fitzpatrick over Josh Rosen, apparently, as clear a sign of tanking as any we’ve seen.

So naturally, they would be looking to offload some veterans for additional draft capital. Kiko Alonso? Sure. Reshad Jones? They’ve signaled that for a while. Kenny Stills? Well, that relationship seems to have soured for all the wrong reasons.

But Laremy Tunsil?

The only guy on this offensive line with a chance of keeping a passer alive?

Entering his prime?

All because he will be expensive — as elite left tackles should be?

Didn’t we just hear this about Xavien Howard, prior to the Dolphins’ top defensive player signing an extension? And isn’t Tunsil the Dolphins’ top offensive player?

But here we are, sort of….

Pro Football Network has some quality people, and they’ve been right on some things before. So this isn’t meant to say they’re making up this report.

I don’t believe they are. And trying to break news can suck. Trust us. You get played all the time. And sometimes you can’t report everything you want to. But it seems like a leverage play by someone, which is what happens in this business.

Trading Tunsil makes little to no sense, unless he’s engaging in an extended holdout, which he’s not. And our people shot it down pretty quickly.

Then the great Barry Jackson — we’re contractually obligated to say that — weighed in.

Jackson says that other teams have inquired about Tunsil, but that the Dolphins aren’t shopping him in any way. This is an important distinction that fans often forget. Just because another team asks about a player doesn’t mean the player will be moved, or that there’s even a chance he is moved. It means the player is good.

I’d expect Laremy Tunsil to be here a long time, to make sure that Dolphins quarterbacks live a long life.

 

Read more Dolphins news visiting our news and voices sections or visiting DolphinsMaven.com 

Header for Laremy Tunsil story

Dolphins LT Laremy Tunsil expresses desire to stay in Miami

It’s quickly becoming evident that Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil is a rising star. He rarely allows sacks, he’s improving in the run game, and he’s still under contract for the next two seasons thanks to the NFL’s fifth-year option. However, it would be wise for Miami to lock him up before it gets to that point.

True, Tunsil is not the kind of person who will show up to camp in an armored truck to express his desire to get paid. That distinction lays solely on the shoulder of Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey.

But this does not mean that leaving Tunsil without a long-term contract is a smart move. Tunsil would earn a pretty penny on the free agent market, and the longer he goes without a new contract, the more expensive he projects to be.

This is precisely why the Dolphins made an excellent move locking up star cornerback Xavien Howard before his contract ran out. As a core member of the team, Howard is expected to be a staple of the defense for years to come. And while he’s the highest paid corner in football right now, that easily could change in 2020. Young stars Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters are set to be free agents in 2020. Between the two of them, they’re bound to command at least as much as Howard, if not more. If they had signed first, it would have increased Howard’s price by default.

Fortunately, Tunsil seems focused on football now that camp is in session.

“That’s not a concern for me right now.” He said Thursday after practice. “I’m trying to be the best that I can be and help the team any way I can, and just keep it going day-by-day.”

Day by day, he’s proving to everyone he’s worth the title of franchise left tackle, in spite of certain assumptions. NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger recently called Tunsil the best young left tackle in football. High praise, given how many excellent left tackles there are in the league.

But does Tunsil want to be paid like he’s the best?

“Day-by-day, man.” He said. “We’ll see. I’m going to let my actions talk.”

Noncommittal to be sure, but that’s to be expected from the low-key Tunsil. One thing he did say though is that he would love to remain in Miami for the rest of his career.

“I would love that.” He said. “I would love to be with one organization for the rest of my career. That’s just a goal for everybody. Nobody wants to leave.”

The stability of staying with one organization for a whole career is a rarity to be sure. With any luck, Tunsil will get his wish. Which means the Dolphins, who want to keep Laremy Tunsil for a long time, will get theirs as well.