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Miami Dolphins partner with GENYOUth and Miami Super Bowl Committee to battle food insecurity

If there’s one thing the Miami Dolphins are good at, it’s making an impact off the field. That’s precisely what they did on Tuesday morning, as the Miami Dolphins teamed up with GENYOUth and the Miami Super Bowl Committee to provide 100 grab and go breakfast cart systems to South Florida school districts.

The event celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Football League, along with the start of the Florida Super School Breakfast Initiative. That initiative is what will deliver the 100 Grab and Go breakfast carts, increasing access to 10 million school meals for South Florida students.

As part of the celebration, kids were able to enjoy a good lunch, and the opportunity to participate in football drills hosted by Dolphins alumni Twan Russell, Troy Drayton, and Ed Perry.

But in truth, through all the celebration, this event also brings to light a very real problem not many know about. Evidently, many children in South Florida actually don’t get enough to eat. Research shows some disturbing statistics that further show the need for events like this.

  • 20% of children in Florida live in poverty.
  • 18% of children in Broward County live in poverty.
  • 22% of children in Miami-Dade County live in poverty.
  • 19% of children in Palm Beach County live in poverty.

In a country so rich in resources, that’s simply unacceptable. Kids need to be able to eat to function properly in school. Working on an empty stomach only makes learning that much harder. That is why the Dolphins and their partners put so much emphasis on this particular cause.

“The fact of the matter is that of course, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” said Magdalena Prieto, the General Manager for school food service in Palm Beach County. “And of the children can’t have breakfast, they can’t concentrate. This will give us an opportunity to reach more kids throughout the day with breakfast.”

“Think about it this way,” said Dolphins alumni and Youth Programs Ambassador Twan Russell. “I always believe you never know who you’re impacting. These kids have a destiny that was created for them before they were even born. And sometimes those destinies get derailed because kids are not performing at a high level in the classroom. By providing them a meal, now they ‘re coming into the classroom in better spirits. And who knows? What if we’re feeding the person that’s gonna cure AIDS, cure cancer, and we had a say in it because we’re providing them a meal?”

It’s hard to say what long-term impacts these efforts will have. Indeed, only time will tell. However, there’s no doubt that the kids who benefit from the team’s efforts are not looking at Miami’s on-field record. They are just thankful that the Dolphins’ off-field record has no equal.

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

Dolphins Select LSU QB Joe Burrow in Latest Tankathon Mock Draft

Another week, another Tankathon mock draft

For those keeping track at home, each week I continue to document the latest draft order and mock draft at Tankathon.com. And although the Miami Dolphins have not had the first-overall pick in quite some time, the fine folks at Tankathon continue to make things interesting, to say the least.

In fact, prior to the Jets’ blowout loss to the Patriots on Monday Night, Tankathon posted their three-round mock draft and to the surprise of many, DID NOT have the Dolphins drafting a quarterback. Obviously, that was a mistake. Or perhaps they just weren’t sure which QB Miami might covet with the second-overall pick.

Well after a short deliberation with their trusty friends, and a nice retweet from yours truly, there was one QB that the masses believed to be the clear-cut favorite.

His name was Joe Burrow.

That’s right, folks. In Tankathon’s latest mock draft, the Miami Dolphins select LSU QB Joe Burrow.

Now I know, I know, he’s not the same type of prospect as Tua Tagovailoa. However, no one can argue with how well Burrow has played through seven games in 2019. Furthermore, if he continues to ascend over the next few weeks, while Tua recovers from an ankle injury, it is very possible that an NFL team could deem him the guy to carry their franchise to the promise land.

Tankathon.com 3-round mock draft 10/22

With the remaining two picks in the first round #10 & #22, the Miami Dolphins fill two voids on their depleted roster.  At #10, Miami selects Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb, who will make an immediate impact in Miami’s offense.

At #22, the Dolphins select Penn State pass-rusher, Yetur Gross-Matos.  Truth is, aside from Vince Biegel and Taco Charlton, Miami has struggled mightily to get pressure on the QB.  So, Gross-Matos would instantly fill a void and help fix one of the worst defenses in all of football.

With the 33rd-overall pick, the Dolphins pick arguably the most explosive running back in all of college football, Jonathan Taylor.  Taylor would fill an instant need with Kenyan Drake on his way out and Kalen Ballage seemingly irrelevant.  Mark Walton and Taylor would be a perfect 1-2 punch in Chad O’Shea’s offense.

At pick #62 the Dolphins land Iowa offensive lineman Alaric Jackson, to help sure up one of Miami’s weakest units.  Yes, Miami has $130M+ to spend in FA, but they will absolutely turn to the draft to fix their struggling offensive line.

Lastly, Miami selects Utah CB Jaylon Johnson to start opposite of Xavien Howard in the secondary.

This will change many more times between now and April 23, 2020. With that said, how do you feel with Tankathon’s latest mock draft?

Josh Houtz (@houtz) is a die-hard fan of the Miami Dolphins, and is okay (I guess) with #BlowForBurrow

Christian Wilkins

Dolphins rookie Christian Wilkins remorseful over emotional outburst

Football is an emotional game. When your team is 0-5 and desperately trying to hang onto any semblance of hope, that emotion can be amplified. That was the case with rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who found himself ejected from the game almost the moment it started.

Some would argue that the punch Wilkins threw wasn’t enough to warrant an ejection, but the referees felt differently. Wilkins sat out the rest of the game, watching as the Dolphins came close to pulling off their first victory of the season. Unfortunately for the players, they fell apart in the second half – a recurring pattern – and ultimately lost by a score of 21 to 31.

“I was just really extremely selfish.” Wilkins said after the game. “This is the ultimate team sport. It’s not just about me and I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in myself about something, especially something that was in my control. It really, really shouldn’t have happened, there’s no place for it in this game and that is not the standard I hold myself to. Because I love this game I try to respect this game as much as possible and play it as competitively as possible. This game is meant to be competitive, not combative at all. I really let myself down and my teammates down in just a selfish moment so early in the game.”

Anyone who knows Christian Wilkins describes him as a humble, fun-loving guy who is passionate about football. Throwing a punch seems so out of character for him. Even Wilkins himself couldn’t believe he’d done it.

“It just happened so quickly, it was only the second play of the game.” Wilkins said. “I just tried to come into the game with some energy on edge and just fired up. It’s an emotional game. So again like I said it all happened so fast but there’s no place for it in this game and just no place for it for me because I don’t want that reputation on myself. That’s not something I’m proud of, that’s not something I intended on doing coming into this game or anything like that.”

Wilkins, 23, has not been the playmaker everyone expects him to be in his rookie year. Through six games, Wilkins has only 18 tackles and a pass deflection. Those aren’t the numbers of a first round draft pick. However, his role at Clemson was to open the way for other players to make players. That, also, isn’t happening. It’s hard to stay positive when losing seems to be the agenda. The level of talent is so low on the roster, there isn’t much anyone can do.

However, this one isolated incident should not be a cause for concern. Christian Wilkins isn’t the type of guy to regularly pick fights. It’s unlikely he’ll become the next Ndamukong Suh, with a reputation for dirty plays. Wilkins is clearly contrite over his mistake, and intends to not make it again.

“You know, it’s just a learning experience, too, you live and you learn.” He said. “That’s just a message to myself. A learning experience for my teammates and also a learning experience for people watching at home, kids watching at home. There’s no place for it, you have to play the game the right way.”

It’s clear that the tank is taking its toll on the players. Their desire to win does not coincide with the front office’s roster moves. No doubt, they will keep trying to compete and avoid the dreaded 0-16 season. If they can hang on until 2020, their suffering, hopefully, will be rewarded.

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

Do you believe in FitzMagic?

FitzMagic Believes he’s the ‘Perfect Man’ to Help Lead Young Dolphins Through Rebuild

When Ryan Fitzpatrick joined the Dolphins earlier this year, he was just thankful for an opportunity to start.  And although it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses, the 36-year old QB continues to show the world why he was given the nickname #FitzMagic.

Last week, Fitzpatrick was brought in late in the third quarter to try and spark Miami’s offense-and that’s exactly what he did.  His impressive performance earned him the starting QB spot for Miami’s Week 7 match-up vs Buffalo.  And the man known as #FitzMagic, didn’t disappoint.

Fitzpatrick looked sharp on Sunday, completing 21/31 for 282 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.  It wasn’t a perfect game but the offense looked light years ahead of what we’ve become accustomed to throughout the first five games of the season.

That’s what he said

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get the win.  But Brian Flores liked what he saw from Fitzpatrick so much, that he named him the team’s starting QB for Monday Night’s game vs the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I thought he played well. I thought he moved the ball well offensively. I thought he made some good throws. I thought he got out of some trouble. They got a good pass rush, he got out of trouble a couple times and made some plays for us. We got to continue to build and get better, and finish a game. We gotta finish the game.”

When asked if Fitzpatrick did enough to warrant the start Monday at Pittsburgh, Flores kept things short and sweet.

“I mean, yeah, he played well. So, yes, he did.”

The Dolphins will take on the 2-4 Pittsburgh Steelers in Northwest Pennsylvania next Monday Night.  And if there was ever a game the Dolphins should be invested in winning, it’s this one.  After all, the Steelers traded their first-round pick to the Dolphins in exchange for DB Minkah Fitzpatrick.  The more games Pittsburgh loses, the better the draft pick.

So is it possible for the win-less Dolphins to overcome all odds and defeat the superior Steelers’ on prime time? Ryan Fitzpatrick was asked what he could do to help turn an 0-6 team around, much like he did a previous 0-8 team.

“Well, and I said this at the beginning, I think I’m the perfect man for the job, because I’ve been through it, I have zero ego, and all I want to do is go out there and win. I want to bring an energy. I want what I’m doing out there to be infectious to other guys. We have a lot of young guys that haven’t really played much at this level, and we have some guys that are a year or two into it. But I want to be that ‘stable guy’ that they can look to when things get a little shaky, and I’ve been in this situation a lot before. It’s something that I embrace. I’ve had a different career than a lot of different quarterbacks, but this has been a career that I’ve loved and a position that I like being in.”

In #FitzMagic We Trust

Josh Houtz (@houtz) is a die-hard fan of the Miami Dolphins, and believes in #FitzMagi

Should the Dolphins Trade RB Kenyan Drake?

Heading into the 2019 season, it seemed as though Dolphins’ RB Kenyan Drake was in-line for a bigger workload in Chad O’Shea’s offense.

Unfortunately, that did not happen.

And despite playing second-fiddle to Kalen Ballage throughout much of the offseason, he still remained the most explosive player on Miami’s offense. Truth is, he was not only the team’s best RB between the tackles, he had the most value as a pass-catcher and in a NE-style offense, this was just as important.

However, once Chris Grier began to purge the roster, Drake’s name immediately became involved in trade talks.

Prior to Miami’s 43-0 loss to New England, Fox Sport’s Jay Glazer reporter Drake asked for a trade, which angered the 25-year old RB.

Reports from Drake and ‘sources’ around the team suggest he never asked for a trade, and wasn’t overly concerned with what the future entailed. But all of that has changed in recent weeks. And with the emergence of Mark Walton as the heir apparent and current RB1, trade rumors have once again started to circulate.

What can Miami expect in to get in a trade?

Which begs the question, what would it take for the Dolphins to part ways with the RB most known for his improbable run that will forever be remembered as the ‘Miami Miracle’?

Ideally, a player of his skill set and youth would fetch a third-round pick. Unfortunately, the Dolphins are unlikely to see a team part with a day two pick. After all, if reports are true, Miami already tried to lock Drake up long-term. And if he is indeed on the trade block, the price tag may be too rich for any team long-term.

So what is fair compensation?.

Personally, I think if a team offers the Dolphins a fourth-round pick, Chris Grier would be ecstatic. This should also appeal to the handful of teams that need a RB. A RB that has the skills as both a runner and pass-catcher.

In the end, no one knows if Drake will be traded before the October 29th deadline. But what we do know is his future in Miami is bleak. And for a front office looking for every and any, opportunity to land draft capital, it would be in both sides interest to strike a deal.

Time will tell, but for now it appears Kenyan Drake’s days in Miami are numbered.

Josh Houtz (@houtz) is a die-hard fan of the Miami Dolphins, and will miss Kenyan Drake if traded.

Josh Rosen out, Ryan Fitzpatrick in for Dolphins

Brian Flores clearly wants to win, even if the Miami Dolphins organization does not.

And in that context, he’s gone back to Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter at quarterback, as the Dolphins travel to Buffalo.

That means Josh Rosen, after three starts and an overall 52.0 passer rating for the entire season, is back on the bench. And it means there will be much debate about whether it was worth trading a second-round pick to Arizona for him, and whether he has any future with this franchise.

Rosen was repeatedly hurried and hit in Sunday’s loss to Washington, but his performance also paled in comparison to that of Fitzpatrick, who rallied the Dolphins to within 17-16 before a two-point conversion failed.

And Rosen hasn’t been that good when given time either, as our Chris Kouffman of Three Yards Per Carry noted:

And Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post has a sentiment that is similar to ours.

Rosen may have been put in a terrible spot. Awful offensive line. So-so skill players. A coaching staff that, at times, has seemed clueless or worse.

But he hasn’t shown much either. Some escapability and improvisation. Some toughness. But not much special in terms of arm strength or anticipation. And it’s clear that Flores hasn’t been satisfied with his command of the offense.

We thought that, at worst, Rosen would compete with the next quarterback — likely drafted this April — to be the starter at the start of next season. Now that appears unlikely.

Fitzpatrick? Well, he is what he is.

Buffalo is one of his former teams, and Fitzpatrick knows that stadium and the conditions well. The Bills are good, really good, but it shouldn’t stun anyone if there’s some FitzMagic on Sunday. Flores clearly wants that. Do you? Does Steve Ross?

Parker making most season under new staff

The Dolphins suffered another loss on Sunday.

Falling 17-16 to a previously winless Washington team offered little-to-no bright spots for Miami. The 16 points the Dolphins scored was the most they’ve scored this season, but they needed a bye week and two quarterbacks to reach that total.

One player that is showing some life for the Miami Dolphins is DeVante Parker, who doubled his 2018 (and 2017) touchdown total on an 11-yard grab from Ryan Fitzpatrick with just six seconds remaining in Sunday’s game.

“Yeah, it was a good thing we kept moving the ball [on Sunday],” Parker said after the game. “At the end, we didn’t win. That’s all that matters.”

Despite the offense struggling in general, Parker is putting together a decent season after signing a two-year deal (which is basically a one-year prove it deal) this offseason.

“It was fun. I mean that whole fourth quarter was fun just to be out there,” Fitzpatrick said of the fourth quarter. “Some guys made some nice plays, and then DeVante (Parker) on the touchdown – a big catch. That’s the kind of stuff – that’s why I still like being out there and playing this game. ”

The former first-round pick has 13 receptions for 229 yards, good for a 17.6 average that includes a season-long 49-yard grab that came week one against Baltimore.

In fact, this is the first time Parker has secured touchdowns in back-to-back weeks since late in the 2015 season.

Parker and the Miami offense has a big test next week as they travel to Buffalo. They’ll face a Bills team that is coming off their bye and is allowing just 14 points a game, the fourth-best mark in the NFL headed into week six.

Did Dolphins coach Brian Flores make the right call?

When intentions are unclear, it’s difficult to assess decisions.

Take, for instance, the choice by Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores to go for two, rather than tie the game, after his team rallied to within 17-16 against the Washington Redskins with just six seconds left in regulation Sunday. And then the actual play that was called, that seemingly had little chance at success.

While it’s clear this season that ownership and front office are fine with lots and lots of losses, the coaches and players don’t have much to gain by deliberate tanking. Flores, in particular, is trying to show he’s a competent NFL coach. So this has always seemed more about the front office giving him little to work with, and then him attempting to instill the proper principles in whatever personnel he’s been provided.

With all of that said, Flores and his staff (especially the coordinators) have made some odd decisions this season, whether regarding the unconventional utilization of players in particular schemes (outside their comfort zones) or curious play calls. Then, of course, there was the matter of star cornerback Xavien Howard being held out Sunday after practicing all week with a sore knee; that had a direct impact on the game. That may have been a call made above Flores. The two-point conversion was a call made by Flores, and hand-picked offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea.

Was it the correct one?

Well, the throw behind the line of scrimmage to Kenyan Drake didn’t work. And the Redskins won. And the Dolphins lost. Which was bad. Or good. Depends on your perspective.

Here are some of the tweets of the moment:

For more

For more about the Dolphins’ loss, which dropped them 0-5 and kept them in prime position for the upcoming NFL draft, check out Craig Davis’ latest column:

Miami Dolphins release Johnson Bademosi as rebuild continues

The Miami Dolphins continue to clean house.

The Miami Dolphins made a move on Monday. It wasn’t  a big one, but it was a move nonetheless. The team released cornerback Johnson Bademosi. There was no corresponding move following the release.

Bademosi was acquired by the Dolphins and was a part of the trade that sent Laremy Tunsil to Houston. Bademosi appeared in four games this season, recording four tackles. Many of you may remember his stints with the Cleveland Browns and the New England Patriots. While with the Browns, he started in 16 games in three out of the four seasons he played there. He accomplished the same feat while in New England as well, lasting one season in Foxborough.

Some of you may be wondering why this is significant. As a player, he isn’t anything to write home about. However, this just means that the Miami Dolphins are continuing to try and find pieces to put the roster together. They have shown that they are not afraid to clean house so far this season. Hopefully, they will be able to improve as a result of trimming down the roster.

When Miami acquired him, I honestly had high hopes. He wasn’t going to be a star player by any stretch of the imagination, but he was a veteran. Not only that, his experience in New England was going to be an advantage, or so I thought. In addition, his durability was also an asset.

The Miami Dolphins almost won on Sunday, and there are certainly signs of progress. Making sure the team has enough legitimate pieces on defense is certainly going to be a priority. Right now however, it is all about the feeling out process. Letting Bademosi go is just a reaffirmation that the team is going to keep reshuffling until they find exactly what they’re looking for. Not only are they trying to tank for the top pick in the draft, they also trying to build a solid foundation. As Bademosi found out, sometimes it means moving on from a certain players.

Miami Dolphins running backs show promise in defeat

There were positives for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

The Miami Dolphins narrowly lost to the Washington Redskins by a 17-16 score. In what was such a close game, it marked another defeat for the good guys. With this being a rebuilding year, it has been hard to find positives. However, the running game was in full force on Sunday. Something has to be said for that.

Kenyan Drake was the leading rusher for the Miami Dolphins. He carried the ball 10 times for 40 yards, gaining four yards a carry. Perhaps even more importantly, he received help. Mark Walton rushed the ball six times for 32 yards. Kalen Ballage carried the rock three times for seven yards. All told, the Miami Dolphins were able to establish the running game.

That was not something that was there earlier in the year. At times, Miami had trouble running the football. Granted, these numbers do not exactly scream “elite rushing attack,” but the numbers are there. Maybe this is going to be the hallmark of the 2019 Miami Dolphins. Maybe the running game is what the Miami Dolphins are going to pride themselves on this year. One thing is for sure, the passing game leaves a lot to be desired.

It’s important to recognize that these running backs do a lot more than just running the football. Both Drake and Walton were key figures in the passing game. Walton caught five passes for 43 yards, while Drake caught six passes for 30 yards. Again, are those numbers that are going to make the front page of ESPN? No, probably not. However, these are numbers that can certainly be something to build off of. Versatility is the name of the game for those two backs.

If nothing else, Sunday’s performance by the running backs proves that the offense flows through them. Although the Miami Dolphins did not get the win on Sunday, the running backs showed that they can be a dependable unit. In a rebuilding year, that certainly counts for something.That unit did everything they could to put Miami in a position to win. Although it did not amount to wins on Sunday, all the signs are there for the unit to be trending upward.