Tag Archive for: Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa’s Injury: The NFL must change its concussion protocol rules

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was taken to University of Cincinnati trauma care after suffering head and neck injuries against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Social media posters, pundits, fans and media analysts alike questioned whether he should have been playing against the Bengals after his initial injury against the Buffalo Bills last Sunday.

In Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills, Tua underwent concussion evaluations at halftime after he hit his head on the ground and then stumbled while trying to return to the huddle. The team initially listed him as questionable to return because of a head injury but later said it was a back injury that caused him to stumble. 

Coach Mike McDaniel stated in his post-game conference that he did not have a concussion. “Yeah, otherwise we would have reported him having a head injury,” McDaniel told reporters. “That’s why the NFL has these protocols.”

Concussion protocol for Tua Tagovailoa’s injury

When any player receives an impact to the head and exhibits symptoms or signs of a concussion, the player goes into concussion protocol. Per the the NFLPA and NFL player health and safety checklist it goes as follows:

It is required for all players who undergo any concussion evaluation on game day to have a follow-up evaluation conducted the following day by a member of the medical staff.

Who is to blame?

First reaction to Tua Tagovailoa’s injury was the initial question, “Why did the Dolphins play him if he had a concussion against the Buffalo Bills?” Secondary reaction was, “The Dolphins lied about Tua injury on Sunday and put him in this predicament.” Thirdly, the reaction was to hold the Dolphins coaches, trainers and medical staff accountable for putting Tua Tagovailoa out on the field and increasing his risk of injury.

The blame game has already started and the focus is on the Dolphins organization and their handling of Tua Tagovailoa’s injury from last Sunday’s win against the Buffalo Bills. What was initially thought to have been a head injury, turned out to be a back injury. The Dolphins quarterback was tested for a potential concussion injury, Tagovailoa did clear the concussion protocol.

As with many concussion protocol predicaments, the NFL and NFLPA conduct their investigations, in which a team physician and unaffiliated neurologist cleared him to return Sunday. The investigation is still ongoing in regards to Tua Tgaovailoa’s injury. 

Yet, the narrative exists that the Dolphins coaching staff, team doctors and independent neurologist did not follow proper protocols, lied or are covering up what truly happened. 

 

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Timeline of Tua Tagovailoa’s injury:

– Tua receives impact to the head against the Bills, looks to have gross motor instability which is then determined by team physician and independent neurologist on the sideline

– Dolphins team account tweets out Tua Tagovailoa has a head injury and is questionable to return.

-Tua Tagovailoa is then taken into the locker room to conduct the locker room exams as per the NFL concussion gameday checklist

– The “no go” rule has to be followed up with the team physician and the independent neuro- they took him to the locker room to be examined. 

– NFL SCAT and Neurological exam is conducted per the concussion gameday checklist. Tua is returned to play meaning the assessments were normal 

– After the game it is cited from Tua and Coach McDaniel that he tweaked his back at the goaline earlier in the game. Injury reports for the week listed him with Back/Ankle injury

On the quarterback sneak, I kind of got my legs caught under someone, and then they were trying to push back and then kind of felt like I hyper-extended my back or something. Then on the next play I kind of hit my back and kind of hurt. Then I got up and then that’s kind of why I stumbled – my back kind of locked up on me. For the most part, I’m good. I passed whatever concussion protocol they had, so I’m good.”

Tua Tagovailoa on his injury against the Buffalo Bills

He was given daily examinations from NFL Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills above what the concussion protocol dictates “is required for all players who undergo any concussion evaluation on game day to have a follow-up evaluation conducted the following day by a member of the medical staff.”

Optics on Tua Tagovailoa’s injury

Tua Tagovailoa remained motionless on the ground, was eventually stretchered off the field, and taken by ambulance to University of Cincinnati trauma care. After the game, the Dolphins said that Tagovailoa would be discharged from the hospital and fly home with the team.

The incident leaves questions that many ask the NFL and the Dolphins. Was his injury on Sunday really a back issue?

Why wasn’t the NFL and the union able to complete their investigation in time for Thursday night’s game, considering the potential risk of exposing a young star’s brain to multiple traumatic injuries in one week?

The optics look terrible, but if the investigation finds everything was properly followed, then again, that’s a failing on the league’s part, not on the Dolphins or anyone else.

There has been scrutiny of the NFL’s handling of concussions. The league is able to claim that it is battling this fight through small adjustments like safer helmets or more stringent roughing-the-passer penalties—but we know that their main goal is to avoid consequences rather than actually solve the issue.

Normally, the NFL’s strategy works, because the players want to play. The NFL and NFLPA’s investigation wont be concluded up until the end of the week to finally understand what exactly happened, if the protocols were followed and if they were effective. However, the league must see the effects of putting a star QB’s brain at risk captured in great detail and replayed continuously. The NFL must review its concussion and injury policies while also telling the truth.

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

Quick react: Tua, defense help Dolphins slip past Bills, lead AFC East

The Miami Dolphins are a force to be reckoned with after week 3 in the NFL. Last week, the Dolphins arguably played their best game ever, beating the Baltimore Ravens 42-38 after a 21 point fourth quarter comeback. This week, the Dolphins put up a score of 21-19, beating the best team in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills.

This unbelievable performance was the most balanced game the Miami Dolphins have played this season. While the offense didn’t have 500+ yards this week like they did against the Ravens, Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and company looked amazing again.

Tagovailoa threw a bullet to wide receiver River Cracraft for a touchdown early in the game. In the second quarter, Tagovailoa seemed to get injured, standing up and stumbling, a very scary sight for Dolphins fans. However, when the third quarter started, the quarterback was back in the game and unfazed.

Tagovailoa set the Dolphins up for a pivotal touchdown on a 45 yard pass to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. This may be the most beautiful ball we have seen from Tagovailoa, not to mention this throw allowed the Dolphins to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

The Miami defense also played the best game any team has played against the Buffalo Bills so far this season, holding them to 19 points. With a strip sack from safety Jevon Holland and many defended passes from cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Nik Needham, the Bills offense looked lost.

All Dolphins fans can agree this is the best start to a season we have seen in many, many years.

Lamar Jackson has Dolphins on list if he leaves Ravens

As Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens prepare to play the Miami Dolphins this Sunday, the star quarterback’s future is still up in the air.

And Miami could be in play there also.

You’re probably aware of what was originally a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that the Ravens offered the former MVP a six-year deal that could be worth more than $290 million because only $133 million was fully guaranteed. And that Jackson, who represents himself rather than working with an agent, rejected the deal and decided to play out the last year of his contract.

But we have also learned at 5RSN that Jackson, who was born in Pompano Beach and played at Boynton Beach High, has the Dolphins high on his list if he cannot come to terms to remain in Baltimore.

Here is some background:

Lamar Jackson’s current contract

Per Spotrac, Jackson’s contract is his rookie deal and entering the fifth and final year of his contract. Meaning, after this season he may become an unrestricted free agent after the season, unless the Ravens organization decides to franchise tag Lamar Jackson.

Over the cap projects the franchise tag for a QB in 2023 to be worth $31.5 million. The Ravens have franchised tagged one of their own former quarterbacks in the past in Joe Flacco. Would it be worth the risk if Jackson plays on the tag and hits free agency after a year?

Jackson will make around  $23 million in his fifth-year option but has no guaranteed money after this season. His hope is to land an extension after this season with the Ravens, who are expected to apply their franchise tag on Jackson and prevent him from hitting free agency if the sides still are unable to reach a deal.

Timeline on Lamar Jackson’s new contract

It sounds absurd for Jackson to decline a monster $290 million contract, but it came with stipulations.

The deal was reportedly in the same ballpark as Russel Wilson and Kyler Murray’s contract. However, Jackson does not see himself on the same tier as Wilson and Murray. The Ravens quarterback wants a contract similar to the fully guaranteed deal Deshaun Watson received from the Cleveland Browns.

Per source, the Ravens organization are hesitant to give Jackson a fully guaranteed deal worth over $200 million. The value of Lamar Jackson’s contract is uniquely looked at on the field. 

Jackson, acting as his own agent along with his mother and the NFL Players Association, wants a fully guaranteed deal to secure his future based on injury risk. He has taken more hits amongst all NFL quarterbacks (737) since 2018.

“It was a pretty big risk last season. The year before,”I’m just playing football. Anything can happen. God forbid the wrong thing happens.”

Lamar Jackson on his contract situation

The Ravens have offered Jackson more than what Kyler Murray currently has. One of the unique situations is the value of Deshaun Watson contract which Jackson wants. Jackson, like Watson, is in the prime of his career; however, the Browns are a dysfunctional franchise badly in need of a long-term solution under center. The Ravens are not.

A source close to Jackson stated that Jackson was going to sign on Monday, September 5th. Yet, the Ravens modified the contract by putting a hefty monetary incentive for a Superbowl pushing it upwards of $270 million. Lamar Jackson declined the offer.

Furthermore, Jackson asked for Greg Roman to not be the play-caller if he were to sign due to the play style the last few seasons and potential risk of injury. There’s been murmur of Jackson disliking of the playcalling “upstairs”, while comments of offensive coordinator throwing shade on Jackson improvement in passing the ball. When asked if Jacksons improvements on throwing the ball would “open up the playbook”, Roman replied “No.”

 

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What’s next for Lamar?

 

According to a source close to Jackson, he’s privately told those close to him that he will not play if the franchise tag is placed on him.

Unless the Ravens change their stance and offer Jackson what he’s asked, the potential for a sign and trade is open. It would look poorly on the Ravens organization if Lamar is left to deal with the open market in free agency.

Jackson does have a list of teams he would be interested in going to. Per source the list includes the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles.

The Detroit Lions have the offensive weapons for Jackson. The Lions have a young but solid offensive line, a workhorse running back and pass catching weapons. The Lions defense is a concern right now but have franchise cornerstones in Jeffrey Okudah and Aidan Hutchinson.

The Philadelphia Eagles have Jalen Hurts as their current quarterback but they may not be sold just yet. The Eagles have two very good tackles that can handle their own in the trenches, a solid run game, a dominant receiver in A.J. Brown and a potential top five defense in the NFL. Furthermore, the Eagles have the draft capital to lure the Ravens into a sign and trade deal.

The Miami Dolphins are an interesting choice because of Jackson’s ties here. There’s buzz around current Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s 3rd year being “make or break,” even though new coach Mike McDaniel has showed a strong commitment to him so far. The offense consists of weapons like Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Chase Edmonds to complement a top defense in the NFL. However, will Chris Grier have the asset to secure Jackson? The quarterback the currently-suspended Dolphins owner Steve Ross wanted in the 2018 NFL draft?

While contract talks have stalled, the conversation about Jackson will continue, here and elsewhere — and is likely to get louder after he faces Miami on Sunday.

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

 

Jaylen celebrates after scoring the clinching touchdown for the Miami Dolphins in the win against the New Orleans Saints.

The Most Successful Sports Teams in Florida

In the world of sports, there are teams that are successful, and then there are teams that are simply dominant. In Florida, a few teams stand out as being some of the most successful in the country. Whether it is football, basketball, baseball, or any other sport, these teams have been able to bring home championship after championship. Here is a look at some of Florida’s most successful sports teams.

What Makes Sports So Popular in Florida?

Sports are a huge part of Florida culture. From high school football to professional baseball, there is no shortage of sporting events to attend in the Sunshine State. In addition to the many traditional sports teams, Florida is also home to a number of unique sporting venues, including spring training for Major League Baseball and NASCAR races at Daytona International Speedway. But what is it that makes sports so popular in Florida? Part of the answer may lie in the state’s climate. With an average temperature of 75 degrees and sunny weather year-round, Floridians are able to enjoy outdoor activities year-round. In addition, the sports betting tradition in Florida is popular, and it’s estimated that 44% of residents have partaken or Googled the term online sports betting Florida in their lifetimes.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that sports play a big role in Florida culture.

Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins are one of Florida’s oldest and most successful sports franchises. They have been around since 1966 and have earned a unique place in the sport’s history. They have won two Super Bowl championships and five conference championships. They are also the only NFL team to go an entire season undefeated, which they did in 1972. That season culminated in the team winning Super Bowl VII.

The Dolphins joined the NFL in 1970 when the AFL and NFL merged. In their first Super Bowl appearance, they defeated the San Francisco 49ers. In the next season, they won the AFC championship. The Dolphins went on to win three consecutive Super Bowls.

Miami Heat

The Miami Heat is a professional basketball team. The team was founded in 1988. Its first season was a loss, but it soon became relevant after Pat Riley became its head coach and president. He built a championship team by making trades that included Tim Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning.

These players helped the team win four division titles. The team also added Dwyane Wade.

The Miami Heat have a storied history and are considered one of Florida’s most popular sports teams. Fans love to watch this team during all seasons, and even during their worst seasons, they still provide fans with the thrills and excitement they crave. The team has established a foundation in South Florida, and Erik Spoelstra is set to take over the team once Pat Riley retires.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays are a baseball team that plays in the American League’s Eastern Division. For the first decade of the team’s existence, the Rays finished last in the AL East, with the exception of 2004. The team won the AL East in 2008 and 2010 and made the World Series in both years. The team’s name was changed to Rays when Stuart Sternberg took over the team from Vince Naimoli two years later. The team’s logo features a sunburst and a manta ray.

In 1995, the Devil Rays were awarded an expansion franchise, with the Atlanta Braves former assistant general manager Chuck LaMar serving as the team’s general manager. The team’s first manager was Larry Rothschild. In 1997, the Rays acquired 35 players in the Expansion Draft, including Bobby Abreu, who would eventually become a star. In the same year, the Rays traded away Abreu to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Orlando City SC

Since 2005, Orlando City, SC, has been experiencing meteoric growth. The team has established itself as a soccer powerhouse and a magnet for soccer fans. The city’s burgeoning population and growing soccer scene have provided the perfect storm for this club. Listed below are some of the club’s many successes.

Orlando City, SC, has had a busy July. This weekend, the club will play at D.C. United for the first game under new manager Wayne Rooney. Despite the busy schedule, the team will be hopeful for a successful game against the Reds. A win would put Orlando in the top four in the Eastern Conference.

In 2013, Orlando City was announced as the 21st franchise in the MLS. In its first year of competition, the club brought in the first Designated Player in the league, Kaka, a former FIFA Player of the Year. Orlando City SC was the league’s second-highest-charting team in its second season. It also launched the Orlando Pride in the NWSL in 2016 and opened its new downtown stadium in 2017.

University of Florida Gators

The University of Florida Gators is a top college basketball program and is one of the most successful teams in the country. They have won 12 national championships since 2010, including two straight outdoors and a pair of championships indoors. They have made the NCAA Tournament finals every year except two and have won the SEC championship every year since 2006 and the National Invitation Tournament every year.

The University of Florida has had success in many sports, including basketball, football, and volleyball. They have won 30 NCAA team championships, including two in football and three in basketball. The Gators also have seven women’s tennis titles. Their alumni have also found success in professional sports, including six-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte and NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith.

Dolphins preseason Bucs

Skylar Thompson forcing Dolphins to make hard choices

Very few people knew the name Skylar Thompson when the Miami Dolphins drafted him in the 7th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. In fact, many were wondering why Miami would use a draft pick on a QB who many believed would be available as an undrafted free agent. Surely, there were other developmental players available the Dolphins could invest in during a win-now year.

However, from the moment he put on the uniform, Skylar Thompson was turning heads.

The 25-year old rookie out of Kansas State is showing extreme poise under pressure. Granted, he’s playing against backups the majority of the time, but his preseason performances are undeniably impressive. In just over five quarters of preseason play, Thompson has gone 29-of-38, with 347 yards and two touchdowns.

Even the team’s starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, can’t help but be impressed by Thompson’s play so far.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with Skylar.” Tagovailoa said after Saturday’s game. “Skylar handled the Tampa game extremely well, and then now he comes in a little later into the third quarter, gets his group going, has — I don’t even know how many plays he had. He probably had a 10-play drive leading up to the score that we had our first score that we had here at Hard Rock for this 2022 season. But I think he has handled it extremely well. He gave us an opportunity to kick a field goal to win the game. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, but I think he has done an extremely great job for us.”

To some draft pundits, Thompson’s success comes as no surprise. Matt Waldman – creator of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio since 2006, stated during his evaluation that Thompson has at least one trait that stands out above every other QB prospect in this draft.

“Thompson has the best pocket management of this class. He maneuvers from all types of pressure better than at least half of the NFL starters I’ve watched this year.  He also takes hellacious hits and maintains the equanimity to deliver an accurate ball.”

Perhaps what held Thompson back during the draft were the injuries he suffered at Kansas State. During his senior year in 2020, Thompson suffered an upper-body injury which limited him to only three starts. But in those games, he went 40-of-64, 62.5 completion percentage, 626 yards and four touchdowns.

He didn’t have much better luck in 2021, as he suffered a knee injury that allowed him only ten starts. However, he still put up decent numbers (162-of-233, 69.5%, 2,113 yards, 12 TDs, four INTs) and finished his career by winning Texas Bowl MVP honors in the team’s win over a depleted LSU roster, in which he went 21-of-28, 259 yards and 3 TDs.

Had he been healthy throughout his collegiate career, it’s safe to assume Thompson would not have fallen all the way to the 7th round. His lack of production at Kansas State was partly due to those injuries. It was also partly due to the demands of the scheme he was in. Nonetheless, coach Mike McDaniel saw something in Thompson that caused the Dolphins to deem it fit to use a draft pick on him.

So far, McDaniel appears justified in that assessment.

“He just gets better every day.” McDaniel said after the preseason loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. “This game the operation was better. There was one time that he kind of lost the play clock a little bit, and we had to burn a timeout, but more than anything, he really had command over everything. And he is starting to make plays that when one or two aren’t there, feeling the concept. And like that touchdown they threw to ‘Z. White’ on the left-hand side, that’s something that Skylar doesn’t make at the beginning of preseason. So, I’ve seen continued improvement, but he is very diligent about the process. He has got the makeup of what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. So I think all of his teammates can feel that too.”

Now given the opportunity to produce in a QB friendly offensive scheme, it’s clear Skylar Thompson’s production was not due to lack of skill. PrizePicks.com had Thompson’s O/U on passing yardage at 165.5 yards, assuming that he would play the entirety of the second half if not more.

In spite of entering the game with less than a minute left in the 3rd quarter, Thompson was nearly able to reach that prop. As he led the Dolphins down the field and nearly led what could have been the game-winning drive, Thompson went 9-of-10 for 129 yards and a touchdown, all in the span of barely over one quarter’s time.

Skylar Thompson wasn’t supposed to make things difficult. But he is. Now, the Miami Dolphins have a difficult choice to make. Do they run the risk of letting him test the waiver wire? There are surely QB-needy teams who would love to claim him as their own. Or, alternatively, do they roster three quarterbacks? That idea is unprecedented in today’s modern NFL, but the Dolphins may not have a choice.

Veteran backup QB Teddy Bridgewater has a contract worth up to $10 million. $6.5 million of it is guaranteed. The way it’s structured, as of this moment, releasing Bridgewater saves Miami a grand total of zero dollars in cap space. And it puts them in a deep hole financially as they would be forced to pay him that amount no matter what.

However, if the Dolphins can trade Bridgewater, that changes. Trading him saves Miami $4.5 million in cap space with only $2 million in dead cap. The hard part is finding a trade partner.

These are the questions Skylar Thompson is forcing the Dolphins to answer. His performance in preseason and in practice make it extremely difficult to justify waiving him. By the same token, keeping him instead of Bridgewater hurts the team financially. In 2023, Miami is going to need every penny they can save.

And if they simply keep all three QBs? Then another position that may need the extra depth will lose an important piece. The Dolphins are low on cornerbacks and good offensive line depth. Can they afford the extra roster spot? It’s up to Mike McDaniel to weigh the pros and cons and make that choice.

As for Skylar Thompson himself, he’s determined not to let the situation get to him as the preseason rapidly approaches its end.

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“That decision is out of my control.” He said. “All I can do is focus on being the best teammate that I can possibly be every day, continue to grow and try to learn and get better. That’s really all I’m focused on right now, and everything else I know will take care of itself whichever way that may fold. This is out of my hands. I’m just here to be a good teammate – help the team the most whichever way I can.”

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

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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

5 Takeaways from Miami Dolphins Training Camp Day 9

1: Stars of the Day

 

Jaylen Waddle seemed to be everywhere on the field today. Waddle caught multiple mid-range throws but the highlight was when Tagovailoa was able to feed waddle a 25-yard strike in stride as waddle immediately bursted down field finished the play in the end-zone. Fourth-round pick Erik Ezukanma caught a beautiful touchdown as quarterback Skyler Thompson rolled out and delivered a bomb. Ezukanma’s consistent performance in camp has been impressive and is making a case for the 53-man roster. 

 

2: Training Camp Vibes at an All-Time High

 

Defensive End Ben Stille was the player hyping the fans up to start practice by doing the “Worm” dance.

 

 

Stille is an undrafted free agent from Nebraska who is also having a relatively impressive camp. Defensive tackle Christain Wilkins later, jokingly told us that Stille “stole” and “plagiarized” the move from him. 

 

About midway through camp, the quarterbacks lined up near the 50-yard line and started launching balls aiming for a net sitting near the back of the endzone. Each time a QB “scored,” the crowd would subsequently erupt in cheers, especially when Tua did so (twice).

 

 

3: The Front 4

 

The defensive line has no doubt been a force to be reckoned with all throughout camp, and that didn’t stop today. Our own “Three Yards Per Carrry” cited Emmanuel Ogbah as practice player of the day but it was also Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips and Zach Sieler who continue to burden the offensive line. 

 

4: Trill Williams

 

Defensive back Trill Wiliams has been showing his diverse set of skills throughout the week. You usually see WR Tyreek Hill burn every corner in the book, but Williams was able to keep up with him today. Williams had a great coverage on a deep ball from Bridgewater to Hill and was able to close the window and force the incompletion. Then shortly after, Williams shut down a quick hitter to Hill. 

 

5: Did Noah Igbinoghene get an INT?

 

During one of the plays on 11-11, Igbinoghene was able to jump a route on a telegraphed throw from Tagovailoa. There was an immense debate during some of the conversations had today abot whether Igbo indeed came down with the football. Nevertheless, a good sign from Igbinoghene as he had one of his better days at camp. 

 

Dolphins breakout candidates

5 Breakout Candidates for the Miami Dolphins in 2022

The Miami Dolphins kicked of the Mike McDaniel era this week when rookies reported to the team’s facility. The Dolphins 2022 draft class featured a franchise-low four selections, but with undrafted rookies, a decent crop arrived to start training camp. With veterans poised to report on Tuesday July 26th, it’s time to consider which Dolphins are breakout candidates for the coming season.

McDaniel, the quirky offensive guru and 11th head coach in franchise history, is tasked with reshaping one of the most stagnant offensive attacks in the NFL. The Dolphins haven’t had a top-10 offense in 27 years, when Dan Marino was still under center.

Entering his first training camp as a head coach, McDaniel must identify the players that can help take Miami to the next level. The Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game in 2000 but seem to have populated the roster with players talented enough to end that drought.

Here’s a look at five breakout candidates for the Miami Dolphins in 2022.

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: WR Cedrick Wilson Jr.

The headlines this offense naturally went toward the trade acquisition of Tyreek Hill, but the signing of Cedrick Wilson Jr. should also excite ‘Phins fans. Miami targeted Wilson early in free agency, which signals confidence in potential production and offensive fit.

At 6-foot-2, Wilson stands as a solid complement to Miami’s other speedy pass catchers, and he’s something of a burner himself. He fits McDaniel’s as a run-after-the-catch threat, something that, coupled with the addition of Hill, pushed DeVante Parker off Miami’s roster.

Wilson comes to Miami following a career-year with the Cowboys. He made 45 catches for 602 yards and six touchdowns. Last season, Dallas quarterbacks registered a 138.0 passer rating when targeting Wilson on intermediate routes. That figure ranked eighth among all wideouts.

Although he’ll share time and targets with Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Mike Gesicki, among others in the passing game, Wilson should provide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with a reliable redzone threat. Waddle led the Dolphins with 15 redzone targets last year, but no other player was in double figures.

Gesicki saw nine, as did running back Myles Gaskin. Departed wideouts Mack Hollins and Parker vacate 14 redzone targets between them, so Wilson could pick up the slack there. He saw nine redzone targets last season, making six catches, including three for touchdowns.

 

While the 27-year-old fourth-year pro has never recorded a 1,000-yard season, he’s poised to assume a significant role in the Dolphins’ passing attack.

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: RB Chase Edmonds

Miami revamped their backfield this offseason with the additions of Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel, and Alec Ingold. While there’s a clear tie between Mostert and McDaniel given their shared time in San Francisco, Edmonds stands taller among Dolphins breakout candidates.

Edmonds was one of two running backs last season that registered more than 100 carries, over 5.0 yards-per-carry, and over 40 receptions. He finished top-10 in yards-per-rushing-attempt (5.1) and generated 341 yards after contact. Edmonds posted career-highs in 10-plus yard carries (19) and missed tackles forced (16).

Edmonds looks like a great system fit, too. The 49ers used a zone blocking scheme 282 times last season, 6th-most in the NFL. Edmonds thrived behind zone blocking last season, ranking first in the NFL in yards-per-attempt (5.8).

Edmonds seems to have an inside track for the starting role in Miami, and his dual-threat nature has him poised for a breakout season. He made 43 catches in 12 games last season, finishing 14th among running backs. He averaged 3.6 receptions per game, so if he had played a full season, he might have finished with 61 grabs. That figure would have put him top-5 among all running backs.

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: S Brandon Jones

While most of the offseason attention will go to Miami’s other safety Jevon Holland, Brandon Jones also looks ready to make the leap next season. He flashed an elite skill for his position last season, blitzing the quarterback, and finished with five sacks. That figure led all defensive backs in 2021. He also recorded 14 pressures.

Miami personnel official Matt Winston said recently Jones is “very reliable, in terms of what you’re getting day in and day out. You know you’re going to get some sort of explosive play. He’s got a niche rushing the passer in exotic packages. Really being a force in and around the line of scrimmage is where he’s stood out to me.”

Jones posted a 77.6 pass-rush grade in 2021 for Pro Football Focus, which ranked 10th among qualified safeties.

During OTAs, Jones told reporters he wants to avoid being labeled a “blitz only” guy. He said his goal is “just trying to be and find the best way for me that I could be well rounded.”

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: Jaelan Phillips

The No. 18 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Phillips finished with 8.5 sacks, second among all rookies last season behind only Micah Parsons’ 13. He also registered 16 QB Hits as a rookie.

Phillips played all 17 games last season, but seemed to get more comfortable as the year progressed. He recorded seven of his sacks in the second half of the season, including a run of five games registering at least half a sack. Phillips should get more run in 2022 following a rookie campaign that saw him play just 54 percent of defensive snaps overall.

Teammates recognize Phillips’ potential as well. Three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead said Phillips “has the chance to be special” in the NFL. And Phillips’ pass rush partner, Emmanuel Ogbah, noted Phillips “has the mentality” and he’s “excited to see his growth this year.”

For comparison’s sake, Jason Taylor managed five sacks as a rookie, then nine in his second season. Taylor set Miami’s single-season sack record (18.5) in 2002, his sixth season.

If Phillips follows a similar trajectory, he’ll be among the elite pass rushers in the game. Should he make a four-sack jump in Year 2, he’d finish with 12.5, a figure that would’ve tied for seventh-most last season.

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: Tua Tagovailoa

This one seems like the obvious one, so I’ve saved quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for last among the Dolphins breakout candidates. Behind an improved offensive line and with a ground attack designed by running game guru McDaniel, a run-after-the-catch design for this offense should be one Tagovailoa thrives in.

Over his 12 games last season, Tagovailoa registered 2,653 yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and 10 interceptions with a 67.8-percent completion percentage. He led the league in deep ball completion percentage (50.0 percent) and red zone completion percentage (64.9 percent). Tagovailoa posted the highest clean-pocket completion percentage among starting quarterbacks (76.3 percent). That’s noteworthy considering offensive line play should improve following the additions of Armstead and Connor Williams.

Tagovailoa ranked fourth in play-action completion percentage (69.0-percent), too. While he might not excel throwing into tight windows, his top-3 receivers for 2022 can all create space for their quarterback with their speed.

Following his hire as Dolphins head coach, McDaniel said of Tagovailoa: “I think it’s important that you empower the quarterback with the rest of the players around him and the scheme you bring forth. So, I think his best days are in front of him.”

Tagovailoa’s accuracy and decision-making should help him capitalize on the talent upgrades surrounding him in Miami this season.

 

These veterans will report to Miami’s facility on Tuesday, July 26th, set for training camp. The first practice open to the public will occur on July 30th. Follow 5 Reasons and Three Yards Per Carry host Alfredo Arteaga for updates during training camp to see who stands out among the Dolphins breakout candidates.

What Erik Ezukanma brings to the Miami Dolphins

With the 125th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Texas Tech WR Erik Ezukanma.

The Miami Dolphins 2022 NFL Draft series continues with fourth round pick Erik Ezukanma

Round 3: Pick 102

Pre-draft

Initially in the draft process the Miami Dolphins were interested in Texas Tech WR Erik Ezukanma. During the NFL Combine, the Miami Dolphins had a formal interview with Ezukanma.

“Throughout the process, Miami did show a lot of interest and I had a formal (interview) with them at the NFL Combine. That’s where I got this hat. They just showed love throughout the process and for them to pick a spot with me, it was big.”

Erik Ezukanma on his pre-draft process with the Miami Dolphins

On Mike McDaniel’s evaluation of Erik Ezukanma, both he and Chris Grier liked him enough to draft him.

“It was exciting to watch him play and I think he fits the energy and the skill level that we’re looking for. We want guys to be fast and play fast and doing both with a decisiveness and a team-first passion that he bleeds. We’re excited to add him. That was the biggest thing, I saw a football player playing the receiver position.”

Mike McDaniel on Erik Ezukanma 

Scouting Report

Strengths

At 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds, Erik Ezukanma’s best ability in his toolkit is his contested catch ability. He’s goes above defenders and makes catches with defensive backs draped all over him.

The red raider product has the size, length, and strength to defeat press jams. Can make spectacular catches in the open field and when covered by defenders.

My favorite asset of Ezukanma and how Texas Tech preferred to use him. Ezukanma is built for breaking tackles after the catch. He looks like a power back when breaking away from tackles with his frame.

Another facet of his game is his versatility. At Texas Tech, Erik Ezukanma lined up mostly out wide; however, he was used plenty in motion, on screen plays, and swing passes as well as the occasional jet sweep.

“I’m a versatile guy. I feel like I can fit in right where Jaylen Waddle – the way he can take the ball out of the backfield as well as be a deep threat down the field, but also just a versatile guy with RAC ability and YAC ability – yards after contact and run after the catch. You can put me anywhere on the field and I feel like I can help the team in any situation.”

Erik Ezukanma describes his play style

Ezukanma’s hands are strong and among several NFL talents. However, with a revolving door of quarterbacks at Texas Tech Ezukanma had some drops that showed he was adjusting the other quarterbacks

Weaknesses

As mentioned above, a revolving door at quarterback and a coaching change was not ideal for Erik Ezukanma.

His production during the beginning of the season was red hot with 13 catches and 322 yards in his first two games.

The Texas Tech alum needs to improve his release package at the next level. He doesn’t gain enough separation on most of his routes, with the exception of the drag route over the middle.

Erik Ezukanma does not have enough route running ability which is needed for the NFL. Furthermore, while Texas Tech runs a spread concept, Ezukanma was used on scripted routes to maximize his usage and gain production.

There some inconsistencies at the top of his routes and when making adjustments in traffic, more so relying on his frame and contested catch ability to make plays on the ball.

Projection

The way in which Erik Ezukanma or “EZ” can simply pluck the football out of the air is ridiculous. There should not be any issues with his hands throughout his career and based on what he has shown on tape.

I expect Mike McDaniel to put Ezukanma in any position and let him work. His playstyle is very similar to Houston Texans wide receiver Nico Collins, who was also able to snag nearly every deep ball.

“That’s one of my strong suits. I feel like throughout my career I’ve really worked on contested catches, bang-bang plays. I feel like in the beginning of my career at Tech, that was one of the places I struggled at, but I gained more confidence with that and just getting bigger in the weight room, buying into the weight room and being able to make those contested catches even if a defender is on my back or hitting me at the same time. So I feel like that’s one of my high points of my game.”

Erik Ezukanma on his contested catch ability

Often, wide receivers are asked to block in Mike McDaniel’s offense. Ezukanma is more than willing as a blocker and should see an increase in snaps as the season progresses on run plays. Ezukanma has the size and strength to be an asset as a run blocker out on the edge.

In Miami,  he will be best served as a possession receiver that can work the middle of the field, a red zone target and a mismatch against defenders on motions, screens, and jet sweeps.

The modern day of NFL wide receivers is changing where wide receivers are more athletic than defensive backs. A weapon in any route or scenario that can make big plays, Ezukanma is just that.

Mike McDaniel will find a way to get Erik Ezukanma the football and let him eat.

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

 

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What Channing Tindall brings to the Miami Dolphins

With the 102nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Georgia linebacker Channing Tindall.

Pre-draft

The Miami Dolphins brought in Channing Tindall in a 30-visit. Overall, General Manager Chris Grier and the Dolphins brass were impressed with the Bulldog Product. 

Chris Grier cited his game speed, versatility, and character. 

“That character too, that part of him really stood out to me like, ‘Hey, this kid loves ball and wanted to be around his teammates and do anything he can to help them win.’ And it paid off. They won a national championship. We really enjoyed getting to know the kid. Specifically, the speed stands out on film on him.”

Chris Grier on Channing Tindall

Tindall on his pre-draft visit in Miami:

“I just really got in with the linebackers coaches. I talked to the whole staff and I felt like home, honestly, when I was there.”

New Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Tindall

Scouting Report

Strengths

Channing Tindall is a super fast and athletic linebacker that runs a 4.4 forty time.  He’s a sure fire tackler who always brings down the ball carrier

At 6-foot-2, Tindall may be a tad undersized but it does not show on film. The Georgia product is a hard hitter and flys by blockers blowing up run plays. Has surprising strength for his size. 

Channing Tindalls’ coverage skills are reminiscent of a big nickel, or strong safety in the slot position. He’s able to cover tight ends in press man and stick with faster running backs. 

In terms of Tindalls’ pass-rushing prowess, he has some natural pass rush moves. In high school, Tindall was an EDGE. He’s got fluid hips and nice lateral movement. 

He provides a good outside rush and is able to get around bigger offensive lineman with his blazing speed on the outside. Also, as a run defender, he takes good angles and pursues ball carriers. Very rarely do you see Channing Tindall out of position.

Weaknesses

Tindall was never able to secure a starting spot in the linebacker core behind Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean. 

While the Bulldog alum did see increases in production numbers his senior year, he barely even logged over 600 snaps over four years at Georgia. 

In such a talented collegiate defense, Tindall was rarely focused on as a weakness and that might have not shown how he does when teams target him. 

Routinely, as an “undersized” player he was pushed around when teams ran at him. A majority of his successful plays were when he was a chaser than in a blockers face.

However with such little snaps, the reps Channing Tindall played in, he made the most of his opportunities. Tindall was third on the team in tackles. 

Projection

Projecting how new Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Tindall will not be hard. 

Miami’s defensive philosophy asks their linebackers to play the run, rush the quarterback and occasionally be a spy in coverage. 

Channing Tindall has done all those things in his time at Georgia. 

“I think when you watch the film, it’s a very talented defense and how they use him – they use him as a spy, they use him to blitz, he covers backs. Just a lot of the ways that are kind of similar to how he will probably be used here in different schemes”

Chris Grier on how Channing Tindall was used in Georgia

Tindall is one of the fasted linebackers in this year’s class – he’s a player who covers like a safety and possesses serious tackling and hitting power.

It’s likely that Tindall will be used as an inside linebacker, but that’s not all he can do. Not only can he be a MIKE, he can also be on the outside as a SAM or WILL linebacker. 

“The way they use their linebackers is different. They use their linebackers everywhere, put them on the edge sometimes, put them on the line, they put them at Mike, Will. They are very versatile and I feel like I fit into it.”

Channing Tindall on the Dolphins Linebacker usage

It’s a solid selection to start of Mike McDaniels’ first ever draft as a head coach. Channing Tindall fills a need and brings more athletic talent and speed that the Miami Dolphins currently have and covet.

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

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