Tag Archive for: Lynn Bowden Jr.

Dolphins preseason Bucs

5 Takeaways from Dolphins Preseason Win vs Bucs

The Miami Dolphins began the Mike McDaniel era with a 26-24 preseason victory in Tampa Bay. The franchise’s 11th head coach (14th if you count interims) hopes to be the fifth new head man to lead Miami to the postseason in his first year with the club. Saturday night’s preseason contest against the Bucs lacked most of the top names on either side, but the game still provided plenty of excitement.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the Dolphins preseason win over the Buccaneers.

Skylar Thompson Makes His Roster Case for Dolphins in Preseason Win Over the Bucs

McDaniel and the coaching staff opted to sit starter Tua Tagovailoa for the Dolphins preseason opener against the Bucs. Presumed backup Teddy Bridgewater dressed for the game, but did not see the field either. That left the quarterbacking duties to Miami’s seventh round pick from the 2022 NFL Draft, Skylar Thompson.

The former Kansas State Wildcat impressed in his debut, completing 20-of-28 passes for 218 yards and one touchdown. Thompson also rushed for 25 yards on three carries. He looked poised in the pocket and largely avoided the big mistakes throughout the evening.

One of the big questions entering the season is whether Miami will roster three quarterbacks this year.

Thompson may force the Dolphins hand in that regard following his performance in this preseason win over the Bucs. Miami probably shouldn’t chance Thompson potentially getting poached from the practice squad, a la Reid Sinnett last year. He may have earned his roster spot.

Lynn Bowden Looks Like a Valuable Piece at WR

Of all the Dolphins receivers to play in this contest, and not all of them did, Lynn Bowden Jr. looked like the player who took the most advantage of his playing time on Saturday. The Dolphins deployed Bowden in several roles during their preseason win over the Bucs, including eight offensive snaps at receiver as well as several opportunities on special teams. And he made the most of his offensive snaps.

Bowden led the Dolphins in receiving yards (55) and targets (4) on Saturday, hauling in the lone offensive touchdown. He flashed his potential on the outside with his double move against a helpless Bucs corner on the 22-yard TD catch. He also hauled in a 29-yard pass that could’ve also been a touchdown had Thompson hit him in stride.

Bowden’s versatility and explosiveness seems to have given him the edge in this training camp battle at wide receiver. Although Miami still sports a number of talented receivers on the roster, Bowden’s performance during the Dolphins preseason win over the Bucs may have solidified his hold on a 53-man roster spot.

Preston Williams did not see a target in his 13 offensive snaps on Saturday and managed just 13 yards on two punt return attempts. Mohamed Sanu, meanwhile, caught all three of his targets and finished with 39 yards.

Trill Williams’ Injured Leaves 4th Corner Spot Open

Another roster battle worth monitoring on Saturday was that of the fourth cornerback position. With the team’s top three spots accounted for with Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, and Nik Needham, players like Trill Williams and Noah Igbinoghene stood as the most likely candidates to fill that role.

But while Williams seemed to have the edge with his impressive showing at camp, the young cornerback suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the Dolphins preseason win over the Bucs.

Williams’ injury leaves the fourth cornerback spot wide open for the remainder of camp. The top options to fill that role currently on the roster include Igbinoghene, who’s struggled at times in camp, and journeyman Keion Crossen, who’s been primarily as a special teamer in his career.

Elijah Campbell may get a look considering his solid play on Saturday. 

Undrafted rookie free agent Kader Kohou has also turned heads in camp, though he didn’t play on Saturday due to an injury. The Dolphins could look to the free agent market at this point, or wait until later in training camp after a round of league cuts, to fill this position.

Benito Jones Could Fill Defensive Line Depth

The Dolphins cut Adam Butler earlier this offseason following a failed physical by the defensive lineman. Butler provided the Dolphins a solid rotational player along the defensive line, so losing him creates an opening for a young player moving forward. The first one that flashed as a potential replacement was Benito Jones.

Jones signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent following his four-year career at Ole Miss. He only played in six games as a rookie in 2020, making one tackle. Jones has spent the majority of his NFL career on Miami’s practice squad, but flashed his potential as a run stuffer in the Dolphins preseason win over the Bucs.

Jones registered three run stops in his 21 defensive snaps. He was in on five total tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. He’s a big-bodied defensive tackle who can thrive in Josh Boyer’s defense given the opportunity.

Offensive Line Depth Still a Question Mark

The Dolphins sat their top two free agent additions along the offensive line during this preseason win over the Bucs. Both Terron Armstead and Conner Williams enjoyed a night off. The three projected o-line starters who did play against Tampa Bay, Robert Hunt, Liam Eichenberg and Austin Jackson, all played through the first two offensive series (11 snaps).

2021 seventh-round pick Larnel Coleman started at left tackle and played 42 of Miami’s 45 offensive snaps. He surrendered a critical sack on third-and-goal on the Dolphins’ first drive, which led to a field goal, and struggled at times afterwards. His fellow tackle, Kion Smith, also surrendered a sack. Smith played on 34 of Miami’s 45 snaps.

Neither Coleman nor Smith flashed in their time on the field and the offensive line as a whole failed to open running lanes throughout the night. Miami’s other tackle on the roster, Greg Little, was ruled out prior to kickoff but could get a chance to prove his worth at some point this preseason. Otherwise, the Dolphins may opt to keep additional interior lineman, since Eichenberg can slide over if need be.

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More on the Dolphins Preseason Win Over the Bucs

For more on this Dolphins preseason win, check out the episode of The Final Yard postgame show on the 5 Reasons YouTube channel!

RELATED: 5 Breakout Candidates for the Miami Dolphins in 2022

Miami Dolphins

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

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

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

1. Shaquem Griffin – LB

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

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

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

2. Jason Strowbridge – DE

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

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

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

3. Greg Mancz – OL

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

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

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

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


4. Patrick Laird – RB

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

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

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

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

5. Malcolm Perry – WR

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

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

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

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

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Dolphins Loss Chiefs

5 Takeaways from Dolphins Loss to Chiefs

The Miami Dolphins (8-5) took more than one tough loss on Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs (12-1). Despite battling back from a 20-point second half deficit, the Dolphins dropped a meaningful game to the defending Super Bowl champs. Along the way, the team also lost several players to injury.

Although Miami maintained hold of the last playoff spot in the AFC by Week 14’s end, the path to the postseason has narrowed considerably. The Dolphins still control their playoff destiny, but there’s little margin for error. Miami may very well need to win-out to secure a Wild Card spot at this point.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the Dolphins loss to the Chiefs.

Dolphins D Came to Play in Loss to Chiefs

The matchup between Miami and Kansas City highlighted a strength-on-strength tug-of-war. The Chiefs feature one of the most potent offenses in the league, while the Dolphins sport one of the NFL’s top defensive units.

Miami’s D held the upper hand early, picking off a pair of Patrick Mahomes passes. The Chiefs entered with only eight turnovers all season long, but by the time the game ended, the Dolphins added four to that tally.

Byron Jones nabbed his first interception as a Dolphin in the first quarter after Andrew Van Ginkel tipped a Mahomes offering. Safety Eric Rowe picked off his second pass of the year later in that quarter. Mahomes had thrown only two interceptions all season entering this one.

Later in the game, Jones added a forced fumble to the tally before Xavien Howard came away with an interception of his own.

All told, the Dolphins defense held the league’s highest scoring offense to just 24 points, six below their season average. (Special Teams surrendered a punt return TD and the offense gave up a safety.) Miami’s 25 takeaways this season now leads the league.

There’s no other offense in the league scarier than that in KC, so this performance should prove, when fully healthy, this defense can play with anyone.

Howard Makes His DPOY Case

Howard’s stellar play continued in this one. Some questioned if he would be up to the challenge, considering Mahomes and the offensive weapons at his disposal. But Howard showed not only that he’s at an All-Pro level but also that he should be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Consider this: In 2019, Patriots’ CB Stephon Gilmore won the award on the back of six interceptions, 20 passes defensed and 53 total tackles. In 2020, with three games to play, Howard leads the league with nine interceptions and 17 passes defensed, and has 40 total tackles. When targeting Howard, opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of just 53.4, second-best among cornerbacks with at least 30 pass targets.

Howard’s nine interceptions puts him within striking distance of the single-season franchise record of 10, held by Dick Westmoreland who set the record in 1967. No NFL player has had at least nine interceptions in a season since Chicago’s Tim Jennings in 2012. No one’s had at least 10 since Antonio Cromartie picked off 10 passes in 2007.

Dolphins Exit Loss with Injury Issues

One of the big concerns for Miami in the wake of this loss remains the health of its frontline players. The Dolphins started the game without a pair of starting linebackers in Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts, but the injury list just got longer from there.

DeVante Parker exited in the second quarter of the game with a leg injury and did not return. He did not make a catch on his two targets. Jakeem Grant also went down with a leg injury as well. Parker and Grant, the team’s top wideouts, played just 27 and 31 snaps respectively.

Another huge loss came midway through the fourth quarter when Mike Gesicki sustained a shoulder injury after a short reception. Gesicki, who had five catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns, emerged as Tua Tagovailoa’s favorite target in this one.

There’s a good chance the Dolphins will be without both Gesicki and Grant come Sunday’s contest against the Patriots.

Safety Bobby McCain sustained an ankle injury during the game but was able to return. Unfortunately, his replacements Clayton Fejedelm and Kavon Frazier both gave up big plays in McCain’s absence, including a 44-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill.

Bowden Emerges as Slot Option

One of the positive takeaways from this spate of injuries might be the emergence of Lynn Bowden Jr as a slot receiver. Bowden has earned more playing time over the last several weeks and led Dolphins receivers in snaps in this one. He played 59 of 83 possible offensive snaps.

Bowden led the team with seven receptions for 82 yards, an 11.7 yards-per-reception average. Each of those set a new career-high for the rookie receiver. He was targeted nine times and six of his catches moved the chains. Bowden also carried the ball once for two yards and attempted one pass.

Bowden has emerged as a utility offensive weapon for the ‘Phins and has developed some positive chemistry with Tagovailoa. That chemistry will be necessary if the receiver corps continues to be thinned out.

One reinforcement this week could be the return of Isaiah Ford. Miami traded Ford to the Patriots for a conditional draft pick earlier this season, only to see New England cut the third-year wideout shortly thereafter. Ford has experience as a slot receiver and in Miami’s system.

Tagovailoa Nearly Pulls Off Epic Comeback

Tagovailoa completed 28-of-48 attempts for a career-high 316 yards in this one. He added two touchdown passes and his first career rushing touchdown. As the game unfolded, Tagovailoa lost most of his go-to offensive outlets, but the rookie quarterback still managed to make this interesting in the end.

Missing the top-8 skill position players (in terms of yards-from-scrimmage) by game’s end, Tagovailoa kept the Dolphins within striking distance. The team put up 17 points in the fourth and were an onside kick recovery away from making it even more compelling.

Perhaps the most impressive drive came after Gesicki was lost for the game. Tagovailoa navigated the offense 73 yards for a touchdown with Bowden and Mack Hollins as his most reliable receivers. The first touchdown drive of the fourth went 80 yards, capping with a 29-yard toss to Gesicki.

Dolphins fans can come away from this one that Tagovailoa has that “it” factor absent from Miami’s backfield since Dan Marino.