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Dolphins stock up, stock down vs Patriots

Welcome to my first annual Stock up, Stock down report. This will be a weekly article where I breakdown the good, the bad, and the ugly from Miami’s previous game.

This week, the Dolphins lost to the Patriots 21-11. There was some good, lots of bad, and even some ugly. Too much ugly, actually.

Stock Up

Brandon Jones

The two rookies that stood out the most (for drastically different reasons) were Brandon Jones and Austin Jackson. Starting with Brandon, he finished the first half with eight tackles (6 solos), which was the most tackles for a rookie in their debut. He continued to make plays in the second half totaling ten tackles (7 solos). Brandon flashed all over the field with his aggressive play, which did result in a roughing the passer penalty (really weak call, Brandon didn’t touch his head, in my opinion) but was a nice sight to see.

Austin Jackson

The other rookie Austin Jackson was impressive for the exact opposite reasons for Brandon. Whenever you get a rookie LT in their first start, they tend to make mistakes that could cost your QB their head, but today I felt no stress or anxiety. Not one time did I have to call his name, which is the ultimate compliment for an offensive lineman. As a team, we gave up only 1 the sack, which was a good development after the 58 sacks we gave up last year.

Christian Wilkins

Another player that flashed consistently was Wilkins. It was great to see Christian get his first sack of the year in week 1 instead of waiting till week nine like last year. Christian was disruptive all game long from his 3-4 end position and even kicked inside a couple of times to play Defensive Tackle. Christian ultimately ended up with six total tackles (5 solos) 1 sack two passes defended, and two tackles for losses. A welcomed sight from last year’s first-round pick.

Jerome Baker

Baker was our most impactful player of the afternoon. Lining up everywhere as Flore’s ultimate chess piece, we saw him drop in coverage, stop the run, and blitz on multiple times throughout the afternoon (getting his first sack of the year). Baker, after training camp last year, was expected to take a significant jump, especially in the pass rush department, which never really materialized, but today he put it all together. 16 total tackles (13 solo) the 1 sack and one tackle for a loss. My only negative on Baker was the late penalty he got after a big run by Edelman, which resulted in not just the long run but the additional 15 yards, which ultimately sealed the game for the Patriots.

 

Stock Down

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan struggled all afternoon, but even more after the Devante Parker injury. For whatever reason, Fitz did not read the field well giving up three interceptions with one coming from a player he never saw coming. By all indications, Ryan will have a long leash this year, but how long can the coaching staff continue going to him when we are eventually going to have to see what we have in Tua? It is week 1, so overacting will do no one any good. So for now, we need Ryan to study what went wrong this week in practice to get ready for the Buffalo Bills (one of his old teams).

Wide Receivers

Devante Parker began the game right where he left off in week 17. He spent the early part of the afternoon giving Fitz his only target, who was fighting to get open AND to make the catch. As I spoke on my Top 5 things to Watch, an injury to any of our top 3 receiving options (Parker, Gesicki, and Preston) will show us our lack of depth at the position and unfortunately, we saw it first-hand today. Once DVP left the game with hamstring tightness, the entire pass offense went down the drain. We ultimately only ended up trying to force-feed Preston with 7 targets, which he only converted 2 for 41 yards. We need Jakeem and Isiah to step up regardless if DVP is out for an extended period.

Run Defense

I wanted to keep this report to specific players, but the entire defense failed to defend the run.  No single player deserves more blame than defense for the swiss cheese; it let itself become in the game. All afternoon long, the Patriots ran the ball at will against us. After only the 1 st quarter, the Patriots had amassed over 50 yards rushing and ultimately ended up with 217 yards rushing than the 87 we gained. The numbers in total show that in 42 carriers, we gave up 5.2 yards per rush and three touchdowns. Whenever those two numbers are what they are, it becomes next to impossible to give yourself a chance to play. I am looking forward to the All-22 on Tuesday to show whether coaching or player error caused us to get so gashed; it even caused me to stop and consider if our best run defender in Raekwon McMillan last season would have been able to help.

Coaching Staff

From the opening kickoff till the end of the game, it always felt like we were only reacting to the Patriots and what they were doing. Cam Newton, the whole game, ran it at will with the defense, making little to no adjustment that made a difference. On the offenses only touchdown of the day, it came on a 3 rd down run on the one after getting stuffed two times in a row. Ultimately, we did end up getting the touchdown to try and make it a game late but were 3 straight runs the best plays we had for the situation? We struggled to get the run game going all game, but it almost felt like we were not considering a different type of play for a crucial 3rd and goal. Lastly, we have an essential divisional opponent coming to town in the Buffalo Bills. This will require the coaching staff to construct an adequate game plan with room to be flexible and react correspondently to what the opponent is doing to us.

 

This article was written by Juan Cardona. Follow him on Twitter at @exclusvty

Miami Dolphins fielding trade offers for quarterback Josh Rosen

The Miami Dolphins are fielding offers for a quarterback. Don’t worry, it’s not Tua Tagovailoa. Instead, the organization is fielding trade offers for Josh Rosen.

According to a tweet from Adam Schefter,  the team has fielded recent trade inquiries in recent days for the former UCLA star.

Rosen was traded to the Dolphins during the second night of the 2019 NFL Draft in exchange for Miami’s second-round pick. He  was named the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick before the start of the season

Rosen would play in six games last season for the Dolphins, starting three of them. He lost all three of his starts in what was a rebuilding year for the organization. He threw for 567 yards, one touchdown, and five interceptions. It was not a banner year for him to say the least.

This move makes sense for Miami. Rosen is still young enough to where he has trade value. He could be worth it for a team willing to take on a project player. With Miami having a capable veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick and a potential star in Tagovailoa, there really is no room for Rosen.

Miami Dolphins have stability in quarterback room

The one-two combination of Fitzpatrick and Tagovailoa should be enough to carry the team. The stability in the quarterback room is certainly welcome for the Miami Dolphins, as they look to continue building the team. This newfound stability is something they have not had in years. Simply put, there is really no room for Rosen.

As far as value for what the Miami Dolphins could get in a trade, a fourth-round pick would probably be the best get for Miami. For what it’s worth, he is still under contract for two seasons.

There is no doubt that Rosen has a level of talent. It was evident during his time at UCLA. He recorded 9,341 passing yards and 59 touchdowns in three seasons in Westwood.

Maybe, he will be able to get back to that level on an NFL field. at 23 years of age, he certainly could be worth a flyer for any team willing to take on a quarterback.

Miami Dolphins: Raekwon McMillan trade highlights busy Saturday

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was a scratch for Saturday’s practice as his mother died on Saturday morning. Having missed last Friday’s practice for what the Dolphins described as personal reasons, it became clear that something was wrong for Fitzpatrick. As a report for ESPN notes, the team knelt in prayer in support for Fitzpatrick.

Miami Dolphins trade Raekwon McMillan

The Miami Dolphins made a move on Saturday, trading linebacker Raekwon McMillan to the Oakland Raiders for a fourth-round pick.

McMillan played in 28 games for the Dolphins over the past two seasons. Now that the Dolphins have  additional linebacker depth, McMillan is falling down the depth chart.

Perhaps even a bigger piece of this is that he is in the final year of his contract.

Miami was wise to get something for the former Ohio State linebacker instead of letting him walk. With the newfound depth at the linebacker position, that could have been a potential possibility.

Either way, the Dolphins have continued to stock up on draft picks. We saw it with the trade of Kalen Ballage. It will be interesting to see what Miami does with this draft pick.

Here are some initial reactions to the trade of McMillan, courtesy of the Five Reasons Sports Team.

 

Miami Dolphins trade Kalen Ballage to New York Jets

In what is a little bit of a twist from what was originally reported, the Miami Dolphins are trading running back Kalen Ballage to the New York Jets for a conditional late-round pick. Miami had wanted to release him initially, but the Jets decided that they wanted to take a flyer on him.

Last season, Ballage rushed the ball 74 times for 135 yards and three touchdowns. He struggled in the running game at times last year, and it showed statistically.

Ballage was a fourth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins back in 2018. This move also reunites him with head coach Adam Gase. It will be interesting to see just from a production perspective how Ballage does with the Jets.

Miami Dolphins finally have depth in 2020

Miami is much better at the running back position this year than they were at this time last year. Matt Rita should be able to carry the load offensively. He was a huge part of Miami’s offseason overall. Hopefully, he will be able to provide them with the stability that they have been lacking at the position, and give the dolphins another area of production offensively.

As much as last season was underwhelming for Ballage, maybe reuniting with Gase will produce good results for the running back.

At the very least, the Miami Dolphins got a draft pick in return, that can be used to solidify future depth. It will be interesting to see what they do with the pick, or if it ever amounts to anything. This this is a trade that could work out for both sides, particularly as New York needs running back depth. This may not have been in Earth-shattering move, but it was one that both sides needed to make. There is no doubt that Ballage needs a fresh start moving forward. The Jets could be the team that helps them get on the right track.

Tua impresses as second week of Dolphins training camp begins

Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa impresses with three touchdown passes to start the second week of Miami Dolphins training camp. As you would expect, the first week of NFL training camp has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, especially for the younger players. And although every player is sure to have it’s up and down moments, none gets more attention than those playing the most critical position on the roster–the quarterbacks.

After the first week of practice, we heard various reports on the 2020 5th-overall pick.

 

Towards the end of last week, a majority of the fanbase took an all-too-familiar stance. The Sky Is Falling.

Sure, it was only the 4th-padded practice.

And who cares about the horrific injury Tua suffered eight months ago.

Fans wanted results. They wanted to hear the same rave reviews that Joe Burrow was getting in Cincinnati.

Hell, some went as far as to question whether or not Tua was a unique talent.

With a weekend to regroup and a Sunday walk-through to help give the younger guys a sense of what’s to come in the next few weeks, Dolphins fans got exactly what they had hoped.

According to every beat writer in attendance for today’s practice, rookie QB had the best practice of his young NFL career.

 

Tua starting to turn heads

One play that has received the most attention from Monday’s practice is a 69-yard (nice) touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Malcolm Perry. Here’s a look at the play, which shows off Tagovailoa’s accuracy and showcases Perry’s abilities as a pass-catcher. Perfect throw and catch. https://twitter.com/MiamiDolphins/status/1297975843789168642?s=20

All other reports suggest that Mack Hollins was the recipient of not one, but TUA Tagovailoa touchdown passes. Which may spell the beginning of the end of the ridiculous ‘tUa Is oNlY goOd bEcAuSe oF hIs FiRSt RoUnD aLaBAmA wIdE ReCiEvErs” narrative.

Nevertheless, today is precisely what you want to hear about the rookie QB. The same QB that many of us have already concluded as the savior. But for Ryan Fitzpatrick–one of Tua’s most knowledgeable advisors, sometimes it’s just about getting better day in and day out. Here’s what Miami’s veteran signal-caller had to say about the promising young rookie.

“Yeah, he’s doing a great job and I know it’s your guys’ job to look at and evaluate every single day and every throw; but it’s something for us as quarterbacks and for me, I just like to see progress and sometimes it’s not necessarily a completion, but it’s the thought process and making sure the ball is going to the right spot at the right time. Sometimes there’s not going to be – some things are not going to look pretty, but it’s the right decision and that’s, for me, a step in the right direction.

#InTuaWeTrust

I know it’s easier said than done, but fans need to be extra patient with Tagovailoa. He is eight months removed from a devastating injury, and he’s going to take time to get acclimated to the NFL game. 2020 will be a season, unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed. So, let Ryan Fitzpatrick start week 1 vs New England.

Because soon enough, Tua Tagovailoa will be the Miami Dolphins starting QB. And there won’t be any turning back from there.

Capacity limits among rule changes for Miami Hurricanes, Dolphins games

If you want to watch Miami Dolphins and Hurricanes football in person in 2020, you may be in luck. According to multiple media reports, the Dolphins will permit 13,000 capacity for the home openers for the Dolphins and University of Miami.

Miami’s first home game would be against the Buffalo Bills on September 20. For the University of Miami, their first home game is slated to be September 10 against UAB.

No tailgating will be permitted at Dolphins or Hurricanes games this season. In addition, masks will be mandatory when fans are not eating or drinking. Some other notable changes include no paper tickets, and cashless purchases for concessions, and parking.

Optimism for both Miami teams

Heading into their 2020 seasons, both the University of Miami and the Dolphins are generating excitement. Miami had a tremendous offseason and draft, with Tua Tagovailoa being the ultimate prize. Now, they will look to compete in an AFC East Division that just got a lot tighter. Along with the Dolphins, the Bills and Patriots both made moves in the offseason to make this a tight division race.

For the University of Miami, they enter 2020 with superstar quarterback D’Eriq King. He will undoubtedly bring a dual-threat play style to the offense, and allow for the Hurricanes to open up the field offensively. With the offseason that Manny Diaz had both in terms of recruiting and current personnel moves, the Hurricanes should be set for the next couple of years.

It’s an interesting time for Miami sports. Two of the most well-known football teams on the East Coast get ready to roll out their newest pieces. The good news for fans both parties is that they will be able to watch things unfold and be able to make their first impressions in person, at least for the foreseeable future.

I’ll be interested to see how the two teams fair in 2020. It’s been a year of bad news all around for everybody. Good Hurricanes and Dolphins teams would certainly give loyal Florida sports fans something to hang their hat on .

Miami Dolphins: Kyle Van Noy is fired up and ready to go

As the Miami Dolphins get set to embark on the 2020 football season, one of their newest acquisitions is excited about where the team is headed.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy was signed by Miami in free agency. Agreeing to a four-year $51 million contract with Miami, he looks to be a key veteran on the defense. Reuniting with head coach Brian Flores, the familiarity between the two could pay off.

He joins a linebacker unit that also includes the likes of Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker. With the overhaul that teams like the Patriots have undergone this offseason, the Miami Dolphins are in a position to succeed.

With a good mix of veteran and younger talent at the linebacker position, this has the potential to be a very strong unit.

In speaking with the media on Monday, Van Noy indicated that he was excited and ready to go.

Van Noy brings consistency to Miami Dolphins

The linebacker is not going to put up Pro Bowl-type of numbers this season, that is not his game. He is a fundamentally sound player. He can fill the gaps, and make solid tackles. A smart player who always knows where the ball is, he should be able to provide a spark.

One of the things that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Flores did in New England was have their linebackers play aggressively. I would expect that style of play from Van Noy. He is the type of player that can disrupt a play as it develops out of the backfield. He may not always get the sack, but he will be able to get in the offense’s head a bit.

It will be interesting to see how Van Noy makes his mark in his first season with Miami. The reconnection with Flores could prove fruitful for both parties.

Miami Dolphins: Five takeaways from Tua Tagovailoa’s press conference

As football begins to get underway and we get a sense of the 2020 Miami Dolphins, one player in particular is on everybody’s mind. Tua Tagovailoa is ready to take over Miami.

Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little bit. Right now, he is not worried about taking over Miami. Right now, he just wants to play football.

That was evident when he met with South Florida media today. In an offseason unlike any other, the former Alabama star seems confident and ready to take the next step. That confidence and desire to play football bodes well for the franchise’s future.

How is he getting along with Ryan Fitzpatrick? Does he have confidence in the coaching staff?

Here are five takeaways from Tua Tagovailoa’s press conference .

Takeaway #1

What Tua said:

What I heard:

This may seem like a simple answer on Tua’s part, but to me, that tells me he is ready to go. He is focused on not only seeing the field in the 2020 season, but also winning the starting job. This is exactly what I would want to hear if I was a Dolphins fan. Right now, he is working hard to connect with his teammates and coaching staff. This sounds to me like he is ready to be a leader, and ready to start building that chemistry on the field already. For a player that is going to be counted on to be the franchise savior, these words should be comforting to say the least.

Takeaway #2

What Tua said:

“To be behind a professional like (Ryan Fitzpatrick) to me it’s kind of mind-boggling how down-to-earth he is. It’s one of those things where it’s, this guy gets it. I don’t know what it is, but he gets it and that saying goes true. It says ‘if you want to get somewhere fast, you go alone, but if you want to do it with purpose, then you bring people with you,’ and I think ‘Fitz’ has done a tremendous job in trying to help shape and mold me and Josh (Rosen) as well. So it’s been really cool to go through that process with him.”

What I heard:

Humbleness on the part of Tua. Although he may be the rookie sensation, he’s not acting like it. It seems like he is very appreciative of his opportunity to play for Miami, and it seems like the quarterback room is very supportive of each other. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been all over the National Football League. He’s carved out a long career, and he knows what it takes to be successful. Now, it seems like he is taking the Alabama star under his wing. He certainly is not a bad person for Tua to mentor from.

Takeaway #3

What I heard:

Tua will take any criticism in stride. This is needed to be a successful player in the National Football League, That’s exactly the type of approach you need to have. Particularly for a rookie, peaks and valleys are going to happen. That’s what happens over the course of a NFL season. If Tua can take it all in stride, than that will serve him well in facing the rigors of a National Football League season.

Takeaway #4

What Tua said:

“I think our coaches – I think they’re going to put the best 11 out there. Whether I’m in that lineup or not, I think they’ve done enough evaluation throughout the week, throughout the month and leadup to that game; so in that regard, I know they’re going to put the best out there.”

What I heard:

The quarterback trusts the coaching staff. To me, this is certainly a good sign because it indicates that all parties are on the same page. Tua trusts Brian Flores and his staff to be able to put the organization in the best positions to succeed. This level of trust could come in handy for both parties once Tua  takes over the starting job full-time.

Takeaway #5

What Tua said:

“I think the best way to handle (pressure) is really not pay attention to it, if that makes sense. Not being someone who just says, ‘oh I don’t like it, I don’t care about it.’ I understand that it’s there, but I just feel like the focus – the main focus – is just being able to get into my playbook, being able to – like I said – build relationships with the guys on the team and just focus on what we’ve got to do inside of the building. “

What I heard:

The quarterback understands that there are going to be high expectations placed on him. He is ready to handle the spotlight. He knows that he is going to be under a microscope, and he knows there is going to be a certain buzz around him. Right now, he just wants to play football. He is focused on learning the playbook and getting acclimated with his teammates. In short, he is focused on the Xs and Os and not the opinions of the masses.

Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ‘excited’ to work with Tua Tagovailoa

The 37-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick said he was excited when he found out the Miami Dolphins drafted Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Unlike some of the other teams that may have drafted a young signal-caller this offseason, the Dolphins currently have Ryan Fitzpatrick–a 17-year-veteran at the helm. And with an NFL offseason, unlike anything we’ve ever seen, there’s no need for Chris Grier and Brian Flores to rush Tua Tagovailoa into action. Not yet, anyway.

The truth is, Ryan Fitzpatrick played well enough in 2019 to lead Miami’s roster of misfits to five wins.

Couple that with his familiarity in Chan Gailey’s offense and the uncertain times which lie ahead, and it seems obvious Fitzpatrick is the starter for the immediate future.

But as a Harvard graduate, Fitzpatrick is smart enough to understand that the young, promising rookie will take over. And he knows that may come sooner rather than later.

Fitzpatrick had to say about his relationship with Tua and the QB competition heading into camp.

I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH TIME IT’LL BE BEFORE TUA (TAGOVAILOA) IS IN THE LINEUP. I KNOW THAT I AM THE PLACEHOLDER AND WE’VE ALREADY HAD THAT CONVERSATION. I TOLD HIM I’M GOING TO DO THE BEST I CAN TO LEAD THIS TEAM AND TO WIN FOOTBALL GAMES WHEN I’M OUT THERE AND WHENEVER IT IS THAT TUA GETS HIS CHANCE, WHETHER IT’S EARLY OR LATE OR WHENEVER IT IS, I’M GOING TO BE HIS BIGGEST CHEERLEADER AND THAT’S WHAT I SAID EARLIER; BUT I THINK I HAVE A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE JUST FROM THE CAREER THAT I’VE HAD AND I WAS EXCITED THAT THEY DRAFTED HIM AND SINCE MEETING HIM IN PERSON FINALLY THE OTHER DAY, I’M REALLY EXCITED. I THINK WE’VE REALLY HIT IT OFF AND EVEN THOUGH I’M AN OLD GEEZER TO HIM, WE’VE MESHED PERSONALITY-WISE AND I’M EXCITED TO WORK WITH HIM.”

 

It is crystal clear that the Dolphins have spoken to Ryan Fitzpatrick about his role in 2020 and his importance in Tua’s development. I think it’s quite telling that he said the two QBs have already had the conversation about him being the placeholder. But like Fitz suggested countless times, he isn’t going just to lay down and let Tagovailoa take the starting QB job. The two players are going to do whatever they can to help the team win ball games–both on and off the field.

Fitzpatrick was then asked what it was about Tua’s personality that brought the two players together.

Here’s what the 37-year-old had to say.

“I DON’T KNOW. I MEAN HE’S A REALLY INTERESTING GUY. HE’S GOT A LOT OF ENERGY TO HIM AND YOU CAN JUST TELL THAT GUYS ARE GOING TO GRAVITATE TO HIM. THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT HIM THAT IS JUST VERY LIKABLE AND I CAN ALREADY TELL THAT HE’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE GUYS THAT GETS ALONG WITH EVERYBODY, THAT GUYS ARE GOING TO WANT TO FOLLOW. HE JUST HAS THAT KIND OF AURA ABOUT HIM AND PART OF IT IS PROBABLY THE WAY THAT HE PLAYED IN COLLEGE AND JUST KIND OF THE NAME AND THE REPUTATION THAT HE’S BUILT FOR HIMSELF; BUT THERE’S NOT A WHOLE LOT OF EGO INVOLVED AND HE’S VERY LIKABLE. SO I DON’T KNOW, JUST THE GENERAL CONVERSATIONS WHETHER ABOUT FOOTBALL OR LIFE, IT’S BEEN REALLY FUN SO FAR.”

The 2020 NFL season is going to be like nothing we’ve ever experienced.

But one thing that should be interesting is watching the Dolphins QB room grow from one week to the next.

Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be Miami’s starting QB week 1 vs. the Patriots. But unless he continues where he left off in 2019–the Tua Tagovailoa era in South Florida is inevitable.

Miami Dolphins: Wide receiver Allen Hurns opts out of 2020 season

A member of the Miami Dolphins has opted out of playing in the 2020 season. Wide receiver Allen Hurns has elected to not participate in the upcoming season.

Hurns is the first Dolphin that has opted out of playing. The wideout offered production for Miami, and proved himself a valuable receiver. He caught 32 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games with Miami. He signed a two-year extension in November.

Although the Miami Dolphins would have liked his production, the organization still has plenty of targets at wide receiver. DeVante  Parker, Albert Wilson, and Preston Williams are some of the bigger names at the position. In particular, Parker looks to have a successful season. He really came into his own last year, after catching 72 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns.

Who will step up for the Miami Dolphins?

This just means that another Dolphins receiver will have to step up. Parker playing well is almost a guarantee. I would look for somebody such as Preston Williams to have a big season. After recently being cleared for football activities, he looks to really make his mark this year. After tearing his ACL in week nine, a  2019 season in which he had good momentum was put to a halt.

If the Dolphins can get a reliable secondary option to play well, this could take some of the burden off of Parker in the passing game. With how well he was playing before his injury, I expect Williams could be the one to take the next step.

With players opting out at a fast pace, this is going to allow for players all around the league to make their mark. As the Miami Dolphins get set to embark on a hopeful 2020 season, it will be interesting to see if that modifies the Dolphins passing game.