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Miami Dolphins: Several coaching staff changes made Sunday

The Miami Dolphins made changes to the coaching staff on Sunday

The Miami Dolphins are going to have some new coaches next year. Robby Brown will be named to the quarterbacks coach position per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. For those unfamiliar, he worked with Chan Gailey in New York while both were with the Jets.

Brown has an extensive football background. He was most recently a member of the West Virginia coaching staff. While there, he was the special assistant to the head coach. He was also the senior analyst for the offense. He was hired in March 2019. According to his West Virginia biography, one of his jobs was to help out with the game planning for the coaching staff.

Miami Dolphins make other changes to coaching staff

Another major move occurring on Sunday was the loss of Patrick Graham to the New York Giants. He was in his first year as the defensive coordinator for the Dolphins. Miami gave up 494 points on the year, most in the National Football League.

The defense gave up 397.8 yards per game which was third -most in the league. Giving up six yards per pass, that was also third -most in the league. However, Miami spent most of the year reshuffling and retooling the defense. Statistics certainly do not tell the whole story.

Josh Boyer was promoted to the position of defensive coordinator as a result. Last year was his first season with the Miami Dolphins. He served the roles of defensive pass game coordinator and cornerbacks coach. Miami ranked 12th in the National Football League with 13 interceptions on the year. They were tied with four other teams in that category.

it will be interesting to see how Boyer and Brown ease into their new roles. There has been a lot of turnover on the part of the coaching staff so far this offseason. Brian Flores wants to make sure he has everything right heading into 2020.

Ryan Tannehill One Game from Super Bowl (in Miami!)

How to feel about this?

There’s never been a seven-year itch quite like what was caused by Ryan Tannehill’s tenure as Miami Dolphins quarterback, the itch to see something new. He was good here, but never great, and just as he started to get closer — playing at a higher level during a 8-5 start to the 2016 season under Adam Gase — he got hurt, missed a season, returned and got hurt again. So even the durability argument, the one that was always in his favor, was lost.

Remember?

That was the shoulder, after the knee.

Most agreed that it was time to move on.

Even those who didn’t think Tannehill was terrible.

 

But now, what to make of Tannehill moving on to the AFC Championship in his first season as a Tennessee Titan, with the Dolphins paying most of his salary?

 

How to handle the possibility of Tannehill going on the road for a third time, now against either Kansas City or the Laremy Tunsil/Kenny Stills Houston Texans, and playing in Steve Ross’s stadium for Super Bowl LIV? And how much does it matter that Tannehill has thrown for about half as many yards in the Titans’ two playoff wins as teammate Derrick Henry has rushed for? (Check Luis Sung’s excellent column on Henry’s free agency and the Dolphins here).

Here are some of the top Tanny takes from Twitter:

 

A meme got put to good use:

There was Tua talk, of course, especially with the Alabama QB in Miami for the weekend:

 

And this from Jeff Darlington, who knows Tannehill as well as any national reporter, probably sums it up best:

Zach Thomas header

Miami Dolphins: Zach Thomas named Hall of Fame finalist

The Miami Dolphins legend is one step closer to the pinnacle of football.

A Miami Dolphins legend is one step closer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Linebacker Zach Thomas was announced as a finalist for the 2020 class on Thursday.  Thomas was named a semifinalist in November.

Zach Thomas had a tremendous career with the Miami Dolphins. He recorded 1,633 tackles with the Dolphins in a 12-year career. He started in 182 out of the 184 games he played in. His best year came in 2006. Recording 165 tackles, he also registered three sacks. Playing in all 16 games that year, he was truly a workhorse.

Thomas made the Associated Press All-Pro First Team six times. He made the Second Team once in 2001 as an inside linebacker.

The Texas Tech standout joins a class that includes Steve Hutchinson, Alan Faneca, Torry Holt, Troy Polamalu, Richard Seymour, and Reggie Wayne.

It’s time for the Miami Dolphins great to be in Canton

I have to say this, it’s about time. He truly was a tremendous linebacker for the Miami Dolphins. He was truly consistent year in and year out. Thomas never took place off, and was a tremendous part of the Miami defense. Thomas recorded six seasons of at least 150 tackles in a row. Not only that, he started in every single game five times in his career. With how ferociously he played the game, that is also remarkable.

Not only that, he played both the inside and middle linebacker positions. He was truly somebody defenses had to watch out for, and he was someone they had to gameplan against. Thomas was one of my favorite linebackers to watch growing up, and it’s great to see him get this nod. Hopefully, he will be able to get his call to the Hall. He is going up against a stacked class. I will just say this: Getting the opportunity to watch a potential acceptance speech in Canton would be pretty sweet.

 

Running Back, not QB, may be Bigger Need for Dolphins

December 29th marked the end of the 2019 season for the Miami Dolphins.

Welcome to the offseason.

Each day it seems a new rumor or theory rises to the surface. How will the Dolphins rebuild the roster?

Fans, and owner Stephen Ross, agree that the Dolphins are in need of a franchise quarterback.

While it is undeniable that a franchise quarterback is needed in order to create a franchise worthy of competing for a Super Bowl, is finding a quarterback the top priority?

It seemed that the Dolphins were starting three or four new players each and every week. Some continuity within the roster proved Miami wasn’t as awful as some thought.

The Dolphins defeated two division winners in December (Philadelphia and New England) and saying that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the best quarterback in the AFC East may not be too farfetched.

 

Fitzpatrick completed 62 percent of his passes for 20 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and 3,529 yards. He had more passing touchdowns than Sam Darnold and tied Josh Allen, but threw for roughly 500 more yards.

Tom Brady threw for four more touchdowns and roughly 500 more yards, but started two more games than Fitzpatrick. It is important to keep in mind that the point here isn’t to say that Fitzpatrick is better than one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

However, bringing Fitzpatrick back would likely be a better option for the Dolphins than forcing a top-pick on a player Chris Grier and Miami’s front office is not sold on.

There is one stat from Fitzpatrick that must change headed into next season.

The Dolphins need to address the running back room

Fitzpatrick’s 243 yards on the ground was the most by any player by the Miami Dolphins in 2019.

The Dolphins started the season with Kalen Ballage, Kenyan Drake and Mark Walton as the team’s top backs. The room quickly crumbled.

Drake was traded after reports came out that he didn’t want to re-sign with the team.

Walton had a few strong games, but will likely never be on a football field again after some legal issues.

Ballage finished the season with three touchdowns with a steady 1.8 yards per attempt on 74 attempts on the year before suffering a season-ending injury.

Patrick Laird, Myles Gaskin and Samaje Perine were alright in limited time, but the Dolphins have the salary cap space and draft capital to give the position a major facelift.

Eight of the top 11 rushing teams earned a spot in the NFL playoffs. Despite the modern day “pass happy” NFL, there is still plenty of reasons to establish the run.

Fans want to a quarterback and who could blame them?  What would help a young signal caller more than an established running game? For that, it should be reasonable to want the Dolphins to pick one or maybe even two running backs in the first five rounds of the NFL draft.

If the Dolphins don’t want to “waste” the picks in the backfield, there are already some interesting rumors around the free agent class of backs.

After Gordon there are a still a few other names to keep an eye on.

The Dolphins have plenty of work to do this offseason. It is clear that the team needs to find the quarterback of the future, but running it back with Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be the worst outcome for the franchise.

The Dolphins cannot afford to average a league-worse 72 yards per game on the ground in 2020.

Miami Dolphins NFL 100 Presence Profound

The Miami Dolphins organization has left their footprint on the NFL 100 All-Time Team.

Over the course of the NFL’s 100 years in existence, the Miami Dolphins have fielded legendary teams and players.

Those legends take us back to a time when Miami stood at the NFL pinnacle.

The Miami Dolphins were born in 1966 and for a while seemed comical and lovable in their ineptitude.

Until one man changed the course of an entire franchise for the next three decades.

Shula Builds Winner in his Image

As present day observers of the Miami Dolphins will attest, the formula for success starts at the top.

The NFL’s all-time winningest coach (347), Shula’s rise to prominence was steady yet many challenges befell him along the way.

Don Shula joined the Dolphins in 1970 after a successful, if unfulfilled six year tenure with the Baltimore Colts.

He finished with a stellar 71-23-4 record in the regular season, but his legacy there was defined by missed opportunities.

The Colts went just 2-3 in the postseason under Shula, including upset losses in the 1964 NFL Championship and the famous 1969 Super Bowl against Joe Namath and the New York Jets.

It looked like the failures of years past would continue to haunt Shula, he lost in 1970 to Oakland in the Divisional round.

The following year Shula would guide the 1971 team to their first Super Bowl where they would fall to Dallas.

Despite that defeat, Shula and the Miami Dolphins were on the brink of history.

One team annually reminds the world that they were the first, and to this day, only undefeated Super Bowl champions.

The 1972 Dolphins were the culmination of Shula’s steady ascension to greatness.

A team so complete and unwavering in their identity, that destiny did not have a chance.

Seventeen teams tried to defeat them, with each finding a different path to failure.

Shula put all the components together for sustained success.

Combining a powerful running game with timely execution through the air, Miami bulldozed their way to perfection.

Those teams were built from the inside-out, with Hall of Fame talent on the offensive line and across the defense.

Miami would win their second (and most recent) Super Bowl the following year against Minnesota and were a consistent winner the entire decade.

The Dolphins would win at least 10 games in all but one season throughout the 1970’s, yet the slow shift to the passing attack league-wide was hastening.

Shula would embrace the new offensive climate as time went on, and his next chapter would be forever linked with Miami’s second player on this list.

Dan Marino

The standard by which every Dolphins quarterback is measured.

 

Marino not only set the bar for a franchise, he elevated the statistical requirements needed to be considered an elite modern NFL quarterback.

When Marino retired he owned most, if not all, significant records at the position.

Completions (4967)

Attempts (8358)

Passing yards (61,361)

Touchdowns (420)

More importantly, he won.

A lot.

Marino still ranks fifth all time in wins with 147, and led the Dolphins to the postseason 10 times in his career.

After an MVP campaign in 1984 which ended with a loss to San Francisco in the Super Bowl, nothing seemed impossible for the Dolphins.

Along with Coach Shula, Marino gave the organization a second era of consistent excellence and stability which has yet to be captured again.

He never made it to the Super Bowl after 1984, but his legacy is without doubt when you set foot in Hard Rock Stadium.

His number 13 is one of only three to be retired for the Miami Dolphins, along with Bob Griese (12) and Larry Czonka (39).

For two decades the Miami Dolphins have tried to find his heir apparent as a true franchise quarterback.

Until that happens, if it ever does, Marino’s accomplishments remain the pinnacle for this organization.

Marino was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll in 2000 and enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Dwight Stephenson

The Miami Dolphins have had legendary offensive lineman such as Jim Langer and Larry Little, both NFL Hall of Famers.

Langer was the first great center to wear a Dolphins uniform, a true ironman he played 128 consecutive games. He worked his way up from a role player to a perennial All-Pro with incredible determination and work ethic.

Little redefined the guard position with his athleticism on pulls and grace in pass protection. Or he could simply power over an opponent on a sweep, then glide fast enough to escort Czonka, Kiick, or Morris to the house. Little was also a superb mentor to younger players and would later become a coach in the college ranks.

Stephenson epitomized both of them when he took hold of the starting center job in 1981, his second season. Defined by an unwavering drive, Stephenson never took a play off. He was an All-American at Alabama but was primarily a special teamer early on until an injury to starting center Mark Dennard in 1981 opened the door.

 

Despite a career cut short by injuries, Stephenson was regarded as the best center of his time. Marino’s battery mate, his consistency was a catalyst in the Dolphins offensive line allowing the fewest sacks in the NFL for six straight seasons. Stephenson is one of only four centers to make the NFL 100 list. He was added to the Dolphins Honor Roll in 1994 and selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

Paul Warfield

Part of the 1972 undefeated team, Warfield was one of the first true NFL deep threats at wide receiver.

Warfield retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in receiving touchdowns (85) and led the league in receiving scores on two occasions.

In an age where the air attack was still finding prominence, Warfield found the end zone at least 10 times in four different seasons.

 

Warfield would spend five seasons in Miami after playing his first six for the Cleveland Browns. He would make seven consecutive Pro Bowls (when it meant something), including all five of his years in Miami.

For his career Warfield caught 427 passes for 8,565 yards along with 85 touchdowns.

Warfield rejoined the Browns for his final three seasons and retired after the 1977 season. He would be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Dolphins Honor Roll in 1990.

Junior Seau

Seau played three seasons in Miami from 2003-2005 where he appeared in 30 games, registering five sacks. Most of Seau’s career was spent in San Diego where he was an eight time All-Pro and led the Chargers to their only Super Bowl appearance. He would be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame posthumously in 2015.

 

 

Miami Dolphins: Ryan Fitzpatrick has record-setting day in win

The Miami Dolphins quarterback had a big day on Sunday.

The Miami Dolphins defeated the Cincinnati Bengals by a 38-35 score in what took five quarters of football to play. One of the major reasons Miami won on Sunday was the play of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

He has the nickname  Fitzmagic for a reason, and he showed why on Sunday. He went 31-of-52 on the day, throwing for 419 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception.

Fitzpatrick steps up right from the get-go

Fitzpatrick started his successful day early on. His pass to Christian Wilkins set the tone early, no matter how it looked. At the five minute mark in the first quarter, he threw a strike to Devante Parker for a seven-yard touchdown. That gave Miami a 14-0 lead.

Fitzpatrick would be silent until near the end of the second quarter. With 2:20 left in the quarter, he threw a pass to Mike Gesicki. Fitzpatrick and the tight end would find a connection twice in this game. A touchdown at the 8:24 mark in the third quarter would give Miami a 28-6 lead. Admittedly, that lead felt extremely safe at the time.

As the Bengals came roaring back, I wondered if Fitzpatrick would be able to keep up his level of play. He managed to do so, hanging in there and moving the ball downfield. The offensive line was a big part of that. Fitzpatrick was only sacked twice for a combined loss of 13 yards on the afternoon. It was great to see that unit be able to give him time in the pocket in order to get the job done.

Fitzpatrick put together a vintage performance

Sunday’s game was Ryan Fitzpatrick at his best. Just on the first drive alone, he got several wide receivers involved. Patrick Laird, Allen Hurns, Albert Wilson, and Christian Wilkins all recorded receptions to begin the game.

The reception by Wilkins was interesting to say the least. For those who didn’t see it, Fitzpatrick passed to Wilkins at the one-yard line where Wilkins was tackled. Wilkins fumbled the ball, got up and raced into the end zone to recover the ball for a touchdown. It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.

Any way you slice it, Fitzpatrick was able to get everyone involved on Sunday. This was a great game offensively for him. Whether you are pro-tank or anti-tank, there is no doubt that he makes this offense better. It will be interesting to see what he does against New England next Sunday. That defense will certainly present a formidable challenge.

Dolphins

Dolphins displaying true ‘next man up’ mentality

One of the key philosophies of the New England Patriots for the past decade has been their ability to take backup players and make them play like starters. Whoever takes the place of the injured player has to provide the same level of play. Teams in the NFL look for that “next man up” mentality year in and year out. Only some actually manage to find it. However, it seems that the 2019 Miami Dolphins are on their way to putting it all together in that regard.

Observe what Miami has endured this season in the injury department. Even after trading a vast majority of their best players, those who remain on the team still are not contributing due to circumstances beyond their control. They are now all on season-ending injured reserve.

  • CB Xavien Howard – Knee
  • WR Jakeem Grant – Ankle
  • WR Preston Williams – ACL
  • SS Reshad Jones – Chest/Ankle
  • FS Bobby McCain – Shoulder

And the list goes on and on from there. As a result, the Dolphins are being forced to call on players who normally wouldn’t even make an NFL roster to take their place. Yet they make it work. They compete week in and week out in spite of their withering roster.

Unfortunately, it got even harder for Miami on Sunday. Both DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson, two of the Dolphins remaining wide receivers, left the Jets game with possible concussions. That left only Allen Hurns, newcomer Mack Hollins, and the returning Isaiah Ford as their wide receivers for the game. Parker is having a career year, so losing him especially hurt.

“It definitely made it a little bit difficult.” Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said after the game. “We had guys out there hobbled and giving everything they had. I was proud to be in the huddle with those guys. I know there’s a lot of stuff people won’t see or don’t really care to write about, but there were some guys that really gutted it out today. It was tough sledding in the second half from communications and lining up for us just because of some of the injuries we had.”

But again, while it was tough, it wasn’t impossible. Isaiah Ford responded by playing the best game of his career. The young receiver out of Virginia Tech caught six passes for 92 yards against New York. Obviously, he’s unhappy with the loss. But he’s glad he got a chance to show what he’s capable of.

“I’ve had confidence in myself the entire time that I can play at this level.” Ford said. “I know I can go on the field and help our team win.”

Undoubtedly, it’s good to see players like Ford stepping up. But who could predict the Dolphins would even be in this situation by this point?

“Just when you thought this season couldn’t get any crazier.” Fitzpatrick said. “Isaiah has been on the active (roster) and off, on the practice squad and up and down. He’s worked so hard. He’s a guy we have so much faith in as quarterbacks because whenever anybody has a question, sometimes when coaches have questions, we’ll go back to Isaiah and say, ‘What is this signal? What is this route?’ and he knows everything. I was happy to see him get out there and get an opportunity to catch some balls and really take advantage of it and make the most out of it today.”

In spite of that, Brian Flores admitted that it isn’t easy to compensate for the loss of top players like that.

“It complicates things a lot.” He said. “Obviously, when you go into a game with a specific game plan with guys in mind. When you lose one player at any position, you have a backup for that. When you lose two, that’s when it’s tough … Again, Isaiah Ford stepped in and played well. Mack Hollins who we just got a couple days ago, he stepped in and gave us some good snaps, drew a pass interference penalty. And then our tight end group, they really stepped up for us. So, I thought as a collective group, given the adversity of losing two guys, I thought we battled through it.”

Once again, coaching deserves credit for adapting and helping players shine in bad circumstances. Flores will have a lot of roster turnover come next season, with talent coming from free agency and the draft. But here and now, he has to work with what he has. What he has is not good. However, that’s what “next man up” is all about. The Dolphins are taking players who have far less talent, and bringing it to the wire every game. That alone is a sign of things to come.

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

Fitzpatrick, Parker, Gesicki tank-proof as Dolphins stun Eagles

This seemed like the Dolphins’ ideal afternoon until the 2019 season mercifully ends.

Play hard. Play smart. Play close. Lose, while others among the NFL’s lowliest win — in this case, the Bengals and the Redskins.

Except for one thing.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki and Brian Flores didn’t oblige.

All four were outstanding in Miami’s come-from-behind 37-31 win against the sagging Philadelphia Eagles, part of the NFL’s worst division. The Dolphins, yes, the Dolphins, simply couldn’t stop scoring, with 23 unanswered in the second half. Without a running game, at least until tank commander Kallen Ballage left for Patrick Laird due to a leg injury, Fitzpatrick was nearly perfect in the second half, finishing 27 of 39 for  365 yards. Parker and Gesicki combined for 238 of those yards, manhandling their matchups, frequently high-pointing the ball, with Fitzpatrick completing 12 of 17 to them.

And the undrafted Laird, who should have been playing more the past few weeks, showed wiggle on the drive that put the Dolphins ahead late. They did this is front of a crowd that was roughly 70 percent Eagles fans, serenading them with “Fly Eagles Fly.”

And they did it with Flores flair, with the first year head coach taking every conceivable chance, a welcome change from most of his predecessors.

A deep completion to Parker for a touchdown on fourth down, and another fourth down conversion to Parker on the clinching drive.

One of the most creative trick plays you’ll ever see, as punter Matt Haack flipped to kicker Jason Sanders for a touchdown.

And so, now with the Jets, Giants and Bengals remaining on the schedule, the Dolphins could be headed for 6-10.

Think about that? 6-10! After the way this season started.

Maybe Tua will be available at No. 8.

Here’s the best from the account of our Josh @Houtz, serial videographer and Laird fanatic…..

 

Another Tough Weekend for Most Miami Sports Fans

Many Miami sports fans approach games with cautious optimism, which often turns to utter hopelessness in a blink.

“Ok, UM has a cake walk against FIU. That should be an easy W let’s get it”.

Wrong.

 

“The Panthers have won five of six and the offense is rolling, they’ll keep it going in Carolina”.

Wrong again.

 

We knew the Heat would have a tough one in Philadelphia on the second night of a back-to-back, but a better performance was still expected.

No matter the actual weekly outcome for the Dolphins you can’t win.

If the Dolphins win, their draft position in April suffers.

If the Dolphins lose, you are summarily reminded how far away they truly are.

The biggest disappointment of the weekend by far belongs to the Miami Hurricanes who fell to Butch Davis and the FIU Panthers 30-24 Saturday.

Perhaps it should be overshadowed by the triumph of Davis and his feisty Panthers who clearly wanted the game more.

 

FIU came out focused and prepared, while the Hurricanes started with their far too common lethargy.

Which quickly turned into a comical attempt at motivating your team that is losing handily to a three touchdown underdog.

 

It was truly a massive setback for a Hurricanes program that was seeming to turn the corner.

 

For the Miami Heat, their loss at Philadelphia is not overly concerning.

What is a bit disconcerting is that the 76ers starting five outscored Miami’s 90-32.

The starting group for the Heat had a plus/minus as follows:

Leonard (-26)

Butler (-31)

Robinson (-26)

Adebayo (-26)

Nunn (-16)

The Heat put themselves out of contention early before finally putting up a fight in the final quarter when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Philadelphia had four players in double figures led by none other than Josh Richardson with 32 points. Miami’s typically stellar 3-point defense was off, the 76ers hit 14-of-29 (48.3%) from deep.

Fortunately for the Heat this type of game shouldn’t linger long, some home cooking when they host the lowly Hornets Monday should get them right.

The Florida Panthers have been a great story early in the season with exciting, high scoring games being a regular event.

Coming off of three straight wins in which they scored a total of 14 goals, the Cardiac Cats had one of their worst offensive games of the year in a 4-2 loss at Carolina Saturday.

The 23 shots on goal for the Panthers was their second lowest total of the season.

Ironically their season high of 50 was also against Carolina, a 6-2 loss in October.

The goal scoring slump would continue Sunday despite a 45-26 shot advantage for the Panthers in a 5-2 home loss to Buffalo.

Florida has scored two or fewer goals in seven games this season, all losses.

With shaky goaltending again this season, the Panthers’ offense has to carry the burden most nights.

Next, and perhaps least surprising, the Miami Dolphins went into Cleveland and dropped to 2-9 on the season by a final score of 41-24.

The Browns jumped all over the Miami secondary and took a 28-0 lead before the Dolphins responded.

Miami would shrink the deficit to 28-17 before Cleveland would pull away in the fourth quarter.

Jarvis Landry (10 catches, 148 yards, 2 TD) had some extra venom for his former team.

 

Not surprisingly, Baker Mayfield (24/41, 327 yards, 3 TD, INT) picked apart a depleted Dolphins’ secondary most of the way.

The Dolphins will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

To put a bow on this misery package, the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team was bounced from the Charleston Classic Sunday 80-55 against UConn.

The Hurricanes reached the third-place consolation game after losing to Florida 78-58 Friday, meaning Miami was outscored by 45 points in the back-to-back losses.

And with that, another roller coaster weekend for Miami sports fans is in the books.

Follow us on Twitter for all things Miami sports @5ReasonsSports.

Photo courtesy of Tony Capobianco.

Jalen Hurts Dwyane Wade

Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade gives Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts ringing endorsement

In light of the recent devastating injury suffered by Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins fans have been forced to look elsewhere for a potential franchise quarterback. While there’s still a chance Tagovailoa will make a full recovery, it is now riskier than ever for Miami to put all their eggs in one basket. Tagovailoa may return to form, or he may never play football again. Even if he does, there’s also a chance he will never be the same player he once was. Does that mean the Dolphins shouldn’t draft him? Not necessarily. Miami has several draft picks to spare, and Tagovailoa will likely be available when the Dolphins pick now that his health is a huge question mark. Where’s the harm in drafting two quarterbacks?

However, there is another possibility. After suffering such a major injury, Tagovailoa could decide that his best option is to return to Alabama for one more year. By doing so, he can rebuild his draft stock and prove to potential suitors that he still has what it takes. But that leaves Miami without a clear cut QB selection in the 2020 draft. Who do they turn to now? Oregon’s Justin Herbert? Georgia’s Jake Fromm? Utah State’s Jordan Love?

The 2020 draft class is filled with talented quarterbacks besides Tagovailoa, and a good coaching staff has a very good chance of developing one of them into a franchise quarterback. But there’s one quarterback who has captured the attention of another legendary athlete in Miami’s history. Former Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade took to Twitter early Sunday morning to express his support for Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts.

There’s a certain irony to this. Back during Hurts’ junior year, he was replaced as the starter at Alabama by none other than Tua Tagovailoa. Hurts did well as his backup and the two became good friends. Hurts recently offered his thoughts on Tagovailoa’s injury.

“It hurt me to hear it. He’s a great friend of mine,” Hurts said. “I pray for him and his family. I hope everything works out for the best for him.”

That said, Hurts did want to have an opportunity to play for himself. So, for his senior year, Hurts announced he was transferring to the University of Oklahoma. Since then, Hurts has become a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, and he leads the nation in passer efficiency rating. In second place, is Tagovailoa. Hurts is breaking Baker Mayfield’s records and he’s showing amazing talent as both a runner and a passer.

However, he’s also making mistakes. His recent incredible comeback against Baylor was partly necessary because of errors he himself made. But the fact he made that spectacular comeback, bringing the Sooners back from a 28-3 deficit to win, proves his talent is there, waiting for someone to develop and utilize.

But what makes Wade, a basketball player, an authority on potential NFL quarterbacks? Frankly, not much. But there is one universal trait among all competitive sports. The untraceable concept of “it.”

Wade has “it.”

There’s a saying that game recognizes game. True, Wade likely knows next to nothing about what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. However, there’s a strong chance he can recognize that all so important “it” factor that defines Wade’s entire career in Jalen Hurts.

The kind of quarterback the Dolphins need to start their path back to greatness must possess that intangible. For Wade to endorse Jalen Hurts so emphatically means he must recognize something that makes Hurts special. True, he may not be Tagovailoa, but even Tagovailoa himself may not be that player anymore. So the next best thing may very well be Hurts. If nothing else, it should prompt Miami’s scouting department to take a very close look at him.

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