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Dolphins trade

Dolphins Make Moves at the Trade Deadline

Although all of the attention on November 3rd is on the national election, and rightly so, the NFL also had big decisions to make. The NFL’s trade deadline came and went on Tuesday, and while not normally an active occasion, the Miami Dolphins made a couple of interesting moves.

While there were a number of major names on the market, most teams kept their rosters intact. Rumors of players like New England’s Stephon Gilmore being moved amounted to nothing. Teams may have hesitated to pull the trigger because of concerns over next season’s salary cap and delays in player availability due to COVID-19.

Miami, though, saw an opportunity to add depth at a position of need and did so.

Dolphins Deal Ford to New England

The Dolphins completed a rare in-division trade with New England. Miami sent receiver Isaiah Ford to the Patriots for a 2022 seventh-round pick. This came as something of a surprise, considering the Dolphins liked Ford coming out of Virginia Tech in 2017. Miami selected Ford with a seventh-round pick but he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season.

Ford landed on the IR in 2017 and bounced between the active roster and the practice squad afterwards. He played only one game in 2018, but found a role last season. He played eight games in 2019 and made 23 receptions for 244 yards. This season, he played in all seven games and caught 18 passes for 184 yards.

Ford’s departure opens additional opportunities for Jakeem Grant, rookies Lynn Bowden Jr. and Malcolm Perry, as well as the recently activated Antonio Callaway. While Grant should see his role expand, Callaway could take time from the two rookies.

Callaway made 43 catches for 586 yards as a rookie in 2018. But he was suspended 10 games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy in 2019. He spent a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL before being signed to the Dolphins’ practice squad this season.

Dolphins Trade for RB Depth

The Dolphins also acquired running back DeAndre Washington from Kansas City during on trade deadline day. Miami sent the Chiefs a conditional 2021 sixth-round pick in exchange for the reserve running back and a conditional 2021 seventh-round pick. This trade comes in the wake of injury news regarding Myles Gaskin.

Gaskin leads Miami in rushing this season with 387 yards and two touchdowns, but just a 3.9 yards-per-carry average. He’s tied for the team lead in receptions with 30. Gaskin sustained a strained MCL late in the win against the Rams. He’s expected to miss three weeks.

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Washington, meanwhile, has just three carries for five yards in 2020. He spent his first four seasons with the Raiders and tallied 1122 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 4.0 yards-per-carry. He has 89 catches for 615 yards and one touchdown in his career. Washington rarely played this season, particularly after KC’s acquisition of Le’Veon Bell.

The Raiders selected Washington with a fifth-round drafted pick in 2016 out of Texas Tech. Current Dolphins senior personnel executive Reggie McKenzie was the general manager of Oakland then. Washington won’t be available to play for the Dolphins this weekend as he navigates the COVID-19 protocols.

The Dolphins have the fifth-worst rushing attack in the NFL, averaging just 98 yards-per-game. Their 3.6 yards-per-carry average is second-worst in the league.

Without Gaskin or Washington, the Dolphins will turn to Matt Breida and Patrick Laird, as well as Jordan Howard, who’s been inactive in recent weeks, and possibly practice squad RB Salvon Ahmed.

The Dolphins (4-3) head to Arizona to face the Cardinals (5-2) in Week 9. Get the Five Reasons Sports original Tua shirt HERE
Dolphins Win Jets

5 Takeaways from Dolphins Win Over the Jets

The Miami Dolphins dominated the New York Jets on Sunday. The Dolphins 24-0 win stands as the team’s first shutout since 2014. Improving to 3-3 on the year marks the first time in the Brian Flores era that Miami has been at .500. With the Jets floundering to 0-6 under Miami’s former head coach Adam Gase, it becomes more clear with each passing week that the Dolphins have the right leader in Flores.

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

Dolphins D Dominant in Win Over Jets

The Dolphins haven’t shut out an opponent since they blanked San Diego six seasons ago. They hadn’t shut out the Jets since the 1983 AFC Championship game. The defense’s domination delighted Dolphins fans as they shut down the purported “offensive guru” Gase.

Miami’s defense elevated its play on Sunday, limiting the Jets to 2-of-17 on third down tries. For the season, the Dolphins top the NFL in third-down defense, allowing just 31.3 percent of conversions. Miami stands fourth in scoring defense (18.8 points-per-game) and sixth in sacks (17).

In the win over the Jets, the Dolphins held Flacco to 148 net passing yards. Last week, the Dolphins surrendered just 128 net passing yards to San Francisco, making this effort the first since 2010 Miami has limited opponents to fewer than 150 net passing yards in consecutive games.

The defense kept the Jets to just 93 yards in the first half, allowing just five first downs and forcing six punts. This helped Miami build a 21-0 halftime lead.

Ogbah, a Great Investment

Among the other free agent additions for 2020, Emmanuel Ogbah’s name might have been an afterthought. But he’s become a force for this defense in the pass rush.

Ogbah recorded two sacks in the Dolphins win over the Jets. His effort stands as Miami’s first two-sack performance since Cam Wake and Akeem Spence both had a pair of sacks versus the Jets in November 2018. Ogbah’s now recorded five sacks this season, tied for second-most in the AFC. Sunday also saw him register six QB hurries and two more QB hits.

The Dolphins are getting the most out of their two-year, $15 million investment in Ogbah. He’s registered a sack in three straight games and at least half a sack in five straight. He’s just a half-sack shy of his career high (5.5)

Howard Returned to Form

Xavien Howard registered his fourth interception of the season after he picked off Joe Flacco in the second quarter. Howard has clearly returned to his 2018 ballhawking form after a knee injury limited him to just five games last season.

Sunday marked the fourth straight game with an interception for Howard. His four-game streak is the second-longest in team history, behind safety Dick Westmoreland (five straight games with an INT in 1967). Howard’s four picks this season are tied for most in the NFL and he’s ninth in pass-breakups (6). His 16 interceptions since December 2017 are the most in the NFL in that span. He’s made an interception in 11 of his 46 career games.

Adding Byron Jones aided this secondary and Howard specifically, but Howard has elevated his play in 2020. He’s held opposing quarterbacks to 12-of-26 passing (46.2 percent) with just one touchdown and four interceptions.

Gaskin, a Bell Cow?

Seemingly overlooked this offseason with the additions of Matt Breida and Jordan Howard, Myles Gaskin felt like the forgotten man amid all of the Le’Veon Bell chatter this week. Gaskin posted a video to social media of his highlights, then followed that with his best performance as a pro.

Gaskin gained a career-high 91 rushing yards on 18 carries (5.1 average). He added four receptions for 35 yards as well. His 126 all-purpose yards also set a new career-high for the second-year running back. The last time the Miami saw a running back total at least 126 scrimmage yards was Kenyan Drake’s 193 performance versus New England in December 2017. Gaskin’s 91 rushing yards are the most by a Dolphins RB since Kalen Ballage ran for 123 yards versus Minnesota in December 2018.

Gaskin’s emergence as a legitimate NFL starter belies his seventh-round pedigree. He continues to take a larger share of the running responsibilities, and his ability as a pass-catcher helps keep opposing defenses honest. Gaskin’s play has resulted in back-to-back healthy scratches for Jordan Howard.

Bye Week Comes After Dolphins Win Over Jets

The Miami Dolphins saw their scheduled shuffled by the NFL last week. In the wake of COVID-19 positives for the New England Patriots, the league changed the schedules for eight different teams. For the Dolphins, that meant they faced New York in Week 6 instead of Denver. It also means Week 7 becomes their bye, instead of Week 11.

The Bye comes at the right time for the Dolphins, as several veterans are hobbled. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy landed among the inactives after groin and foot injuries limited his participation in practice this week. During the game, linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel exited in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. He did not return.

Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill hurt his hand in the third quarter. In the fourth, wide receiver DeVante Parker (groin) and defensive tackle Raekwon Davis (shoulder) also sustained injuries. The early Bye affords these players a week of healing and rest ahead of an important stretch for the Dolphins.

Miami has a slate of six winnable game ahead of them, and they’ll need a 5-1 or 4-2 stretch to set themselves up for the playoffs. According to Tankathon.com, the Dolphins have the 10th-easiest remaining based on strength of schedule. They’ll need to bank wins here over the next few weeks, as their final four games see Miami play the Chiefs and the Patriots at home, then travel to Las Vegas and Buffalo to finish.

Dolphins Seahawks

5 Keys to Dolphins vs Seahawks

The Miami Dolphins (1-2) enter their Week 4 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks (3-0) coming off a dominant 31-13 victory last Thursday night over the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2). The Dolphins played well in Jacksonville, putting together solid stretches in all three phases of the game.

While the 2020 season has been anything but normal, Miami’s uneven performances have frustrated fans and players alike. And if the Dolphins are going to even their record at 2-2 this week, they’ll need focus and execution against one of the league’s most dynamic talents, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Here’s a look at five keys to the Dolphins vs Seahawks matchup.

Limit Russell Wilson, if possible

Wilson leads the NFL with 14 touchdown passes, most after three games in NFL history. He’s on pace for a 75 touchdowns this season. The Seahawks offense has scored 111 points. This potent attack has spurred championship dreams in Seattle, but Chris Carson’s injury could force the Seahawks to lean even more on their MVP-candidate.

The Dolphins defense limited Gardner Minshew in Week 3. They tallied 10 quarterback hits and four sacks. Minshew, though, is not the dual threat posed by Wilson. The Dolphins struggled with similar dual threats in Weeks 1 and 2, considering what Cam Newton and Josh Allen were able to do.

The Dolphins will need to generate pressure, but Wilson is good at extending plays and making decisions on the run. The Seahawks have one of the better offensive line units, particularly in pass-protection. Wilson’s thrown only one interception so far this season, and the Dolphins secondary is allowing 7.7 yards-per-attempt.

Dolphins vs Seahawks: Protect Fitzpatrick

The Dolphins offensive line, which starts a pair of rookies, has been one of the unexpected bright spots this season. After a few years of subpar (at best) line play, the Dolphins may have found a unit to build upon moving forward. Austin Jackson and Solomon Kindley have played extremely well through their first three weeks in the NFL and that will need to continue against the Seahawks.

Seattle’s defensive line hasn’t been able to consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks this season. Their edge rushers have 10 pressures and two sacks on the year. This has led the Seahawks to blitz on nearly 40 percent of passing plays, but they’ll be without one of their main blitzers on Sunday with the absence of safety Jamal Adams. The former New York Jets standout averages nine pass rushes a game, so Seattle will need to look elsewhere for pressure.

The Seahawks defense can be scored upon. Seattle allows 28.7 points-per-game thus far in 2020, so if the Dolphins can keep Ryan Fitzpatrick upright, there will be opportunities to score on this defense.

More Production from the Running Back Position

The Dolphins seem to have stumbled upon a lead back that not very many people thought would take hold of the role. Myles Gaskin, a seventh-round pick last season, has been the surprise go-to running back so far this year. It’s particularly surprising given Miami’s addition of Matt Breida and Jordan Howard this offseason.

Gaskin leads the team with 152 yards rushing and 15 receptions, and he’s averaging 4.6 yards-per-touch. This after a rookie season that saw him tally just 133 yards and seven receptions in seven games played in 2019.

But the combination of Gaskin, Breida and Howard will need to more than just the 3.8 yards-per-carry average they’ve compiled so far in 2020. The Dolphins are 20th in the NFL in rushing-yards-per-game (108.0) and have four rushing touchdowns through three games.

The Seahawks allow the second-fewest rushing-yards-per-game (66.7) but that’s largely because their opponents have been playing from behind most of the time. If the Dolphins can use the run to set up the pass, they’ll be in business.

Dolphins vs Seahawks: Attack Seattle’s Secondary

While Seattle may have one of the best run defenses (statistically), their pass defense has been porous. Seattle’s defense ranks 32nd in yards-per-game (497.3) and passing-yards (430.7), 31st in yards-per-completion (8.5) and 31st in yards-per-play (6.6) and 29th in third-down defense (51.2 percent). Although their offense has been one of the league’s best, their defense has largely forced Wilson and company to put up points.

What’s going to help the Dolphins against the Seahawks on Sunday will be the fact that Seattle will be without starting safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Quinton Dunbar. In addition, backup safety Lano Hill, who has matched up versus opposing tight ends this season, could also miss the game.

A major weapon for the Dolphins should be Mike Gesicki. The Fitzpatrick-Gesicki connection has resulted in seven touchdowns in Gesicki’s past nine games. That figure is tied for most among NFL tight ends during that span. Over the past 16 games, Gesicki has 57 catches for 694 yards. Without Adams to check Gesicki, Fitzpatrick will likely target his big tight end early and often.

Dolphins Secondary Needs to Make Plays

The Seahawks sport a potent passing offense this season. Wilson piles up 289.7 passing-yards-per-game (5th in the NFL). He’s thrown a league-high 14 touchdowns and averages 9.0 yards-per-completion (3rd). The Seahawks offense ranks 25th(37.9 percent) in third-down conversions, but the Dolphins defense ranks 43.3 percent stopping opposing offenses on third down.

Wilson has spread the ball around, but in Week 3 he connected with Tyler Lockett nine times for 100 yards and three touchdowns. DK Metcalf has also been a productive weapon for Wilson. He’s leading the league with 24.8 yards per reception (min. 15 targets) and has scored a touchdown in each game this season.

Miami’s secondary has allowed 19 catches of 16 or more yards. The Dolphins secondary, which was viewed as a strength entering the year, remains battered with injury. Byron Jones continues to struggle with his groin injury, but he did return to practice on Thursday. Xavien Howard has been limited by a knee injury as well, but he’s limited quarterbacks to 54.5 percent completions against him this year. Rookie Noah Igbinoghene will continue to see playing time and will need to play well.

Could Kenyan Drake be the next player traded?

Kenyan Drake is probably the next one going out.

Having an updated roster by your side on Sundays is becoming more of a necessity as the Dolphins continue to trade off players.

After Sunday’s blowout loss to New England, the Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers exchanged late-round picks in a trade that sent Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh for a 2020 first-round pick.

As of today, only Reshad Jones, Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain, DeVante Parker and Kenyan Drake have spent more than three years in Miami. While the Dolphins continue to stockpile draft picks, could one of these guys be the next to be out in Miami?

However, there are conflicting reports to the rumors.

All seems quiet on the trade front, but if the 2019 Miami Dolphins have shown us anything, every player can be traded. Especially if offered the right price.

Through two games, Drake has 10 carries for 31 yards and seven receptions for 44 yards. Keep in mind, those numbers tell us more about Miami’s talent on offense. Drake has offered the Miami
Dolphins a big-play threat since being drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft.

While runningbacks are undervalued in today’s NFL, keeping (and extending) Kenyan Drake gives the Dolphins a consistent threat on a generally inexperienced team for years to come. If traded, the Dolphins would ride out the season with Kalen Ballage, Mark Walton and rookie Myles Gaskin carrying the rock.