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Goldie’s Week 1 NFL Picks: Charging On, A-Rod Stars, Ride with Russ

In Year 1, Goldie provided consistent winners and insight, paired with at least one Crazy Uncle Jeff LOCK of the week. Seriously, check out his record, Jeffy doesn’t miss.

 

YEAR 2. HERE WE GO!

 

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Goldie’s All Time Record: 126-55              Vs. Spread: 89-89

Goldie’s Guarantee: 9-5

Goldie’s Upset: 9-4

Crazy Uncle Jeff: 16-1

 

Goldie’s Guarantee

Los Angeles Chargers @ Washington Football Team

Vegas Picks: WAS -1

Goldie’s Take: Chargers Win 23-21

I truly believe the NFL landscape underestimates the LA Chargers. This team is loaded on both sides of the football. The Bolts virtually have no holes in their offense. Solid O line, receivers, and running backs all revolving around the second year stud QB Justin Herbert. LA’s defense also has a lot of playmakers such as guys like Derwin James and Joey Bosa. Washington will take some time to adjust to aging QB Ryan Fitzpatrick running the offense. I’m looking for the Chargers to make a lot of noise this season, and I definitely anticipate them to win this one in the nation’s capital, I GUARANTEE IT!!!

 

Goldie’s Upset of the Week

Baltimore Ravens @ Las Vegas Raiders

Vegas Picks: BAL -4

Goldie’s Take: Raiders Win 27-24

UPSET ALERT! The Ravens have been losing Running Backs left and right this preseason. They’ve had to scramble and sign 4 running backs in under a week’s span. This offense is going to be in disarray. In addition,it’s going to be the first full capacity Raiders game in Vegas. Raider fans have been waiting for this one since Gruden won with the Bucs, even longer maybe. Expect the Black Hole to come different Monday night.  As if this game needed another storyline, Derek Carr is out to prove why he’s one of the most underrated players in football. I like Gruden and the Raiders to end NFL Week One with a sneaky upset against the Ravens. Al Davis said it best, “JUST WIN BABY”

 

Crazy Uncle Jeff’s Lock of the Week: PIT +6.5

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills

Vegas Picks: BUF -6.5

Goldie’s Take: Bills Win 24-17

After months of preparation and research, Crazy Uncle Jeff is finally back in the lab this week! Jeffy concludes that this is too hefty of a Week One spread for the Bills to cover. Big Ben and the Steelers are historically better early in the season, we saw this last season when the Steelers started red hot, winning their first ten games. Expect the Bills to win the game, as they are the better team, but don’t be surprised when this is a much closer game than many people anticipate.  Both offenses will struggle, but I expect a hard fought victory for Buffalo. After all ,”nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.”

 

Crazy Uncle Jeff’s Lock of the Week

Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints

Vegas Picks: GB -3.5

Goldie’s Take: Packers Win 34-21

Jeffy is cooking up a two lock special for Week1! The Saints will be missing one of their most valuable players this weekend… the Superdome. Unfortunately this game had to be moved to Jacksonville, Florida due to Hurricane Ida that recently devastated southern Louisiana. This is a huge factor for this matchup as the Saints have one of the most hostile home crowds in the NFL. Crazy Uncle and I both expect the reigning MVP to go into this one and prove why he’s still a top QB in this league. This game can easily be the Aaron Rodgers show from start to finish, although it will be interesting to see how Jameis performs at the helm of this Saints offense that’s trying to win one for the morale of Nola. Still, Pack by at least two scores.

 

New York Jets @ Carolina Panthers

Vegas Picks: CAR -4

Goldie’s Take: Panthers Win 28-20

Sam Darnold revenge game! The Jets traded Darnold away for a bag of chips and a loaf of bread this offseason. Expect Darnold to take this one personally, and be out for blood this Sunday. Plus I expect the rookie Zach Wilson to struggle on the road in his first NFL start. Carolina by at least a TD. 

 

Seattle Seahawks @ Indianapolis Colts

Vegas Picks: SEA -3

Goldie’s Take: Seahawks Win 30-23

I like both of these teams a lot. They’re both well run organizations with overall solid units on both sides of the football. In a game like this it could come down to one player who is the X factor. This matchup’s X factor is Russell Wilson. The biggest advantage in this game is the quarterback position. Wentz is coming off another injury and he’s not yet adjusted to his new offense. Expect a close game but in the end I’m not betting against Russ. LET RUSS COOK!

 

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans 

Vegas Picks: JAX -3.5

Goldie’s Take: Jags Win 24-20

The toilet bowl of week 1 kicks off at 1PM in Houston this Sunday as the Jags face the Texans. Houston has been a wreck all offseason largely due to all of the chaos surrounding Deshaun Watson. At first it seemed as if he was getting traded, then for a while it seemed he was going to jail, now nobody knows what’s going on at all in Houston. The Jags, however, aren’t as much of a disaster at all, they’re just a rebuilding football team. I expect T-Law and Urban to start their NFL careers off right with a hard fought victory. 

 

Arizona Cardinals @ Tennessee Titans

Vegas Picks: TEN -3

Goldie’s Take: Titans Win 35-30

Both of these teams made big moves this offseason to try and elevate their roster to the next level. For Tennessee the big addition was on the offensive side of the football adding all-pro receiver Julio Jones to an already stacked offense. On the other hand, the Cards added all pro Defensive End JJ Watt to their front 7. Both veterans should do wonders to help each of their teams, but this weekend expect the Titans to come away with the win. This should be a high scoring affair between two high powered offenses, but at the end of the day I don’t think there’s a defense on the planet that has an answer for Titans RB Derrick Henry. T’s win in a shootout

 

Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons 

Vegas Picks: ATL -3.5

Goldie’s Take: Falcons Win 31-26

I honestly don’t have much faith in either one of these birds. Both teams are amidst a rebuild, and don’t have much expectation on them for this season.Give me the veteran Matt Ryan to get a win at home in week 1. Atlanta’s beautiful stadium will be rocking full capacity for the first time in a while. Venue call. 

 

Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati Bengals

Vegas Picks: MIN -3

Goldie’s Take: Vikings Win 31-26

Cincy’s QB Joe Burrow will be making his first start since the brutal injury he suffered that ended his Rookie year early last season. I think he’ll be a bit rusty, not to mention the struggles that rookie WR Jamarr Chase showed in preseason. I just think the Vikes are the more complete team in this one. Give me the Vikings to win and cover in Ohio this Sunday. YOU LIKE THAT?!?!

 

San Francisco 49ers @ Detroit Lions

Vegas Picks: SAN -8.5

Goldie’s Take: 49ers Win 24-20

The Niners situation is one of the more interesting ones across the league. Many forget that Jimmy G had this team leading in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl just 2 seasons ago. Now his job is in jeopardy. The Niners are an overall very solid team but the incontinuity of the QB position does worry me. Also expect the Lions to come out with a lot of heart in front of the home fans. Detroit has an island of misfit toys that might just surprise some people this season. Expect the Niners to win but don’t be surprised if the Lions keep this one close. 

 

Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs

Vegas Picks: KC -5.5

Goldie’s Take: Chiefs Win 31-30

The Chiefs are many expert’s favorites to win it all this season, and for good reason. The Kansas City roster is easily one of the most talented in the league. However, Cleveland also has one of the most talented rosters in the league. The Browns definitely are going to come out with a vengeance in this one to try and avenge the loss that the Chiefs handed them to end their season last year. I expect a back and forth down to the wire football game, but I’m making this one a venue call. Chiefs win a close one in KC. 

 

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Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots

Vegas Picks: NE -3

Goldie’s Take: Dolphins Win 20-13

Although these teams both made moves in the offseason to improve their offenses, I still expect this game to be built solely around defense. Both teams have defensive minded head coaches, and two young starting quarterbacks. The Fins had one of the best defenses in the league last season, evident by the fact that they led the NFL in defensive takeaways. Miami’s D should pick up right where they left off and have a feast against brand new rookie QB Mac Jones. Expect the kid to struggle.This game was a very honorable mention to the Upset of the Week committee. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones is being thrown into the fire against one of the league’s best defenses? Fins are going to Foxborough and leaving with an ugly, low scoring, defensive victory. UPSET!

 

Denver Broncos @ New York Giants

Vegas Picks: DEN -3

Goldie’s Take: Broncos Win 21-17

The Teddy Bridgewater era begins this Sunday for the Broncos, and after a lot of thought it seems Denver made the safe call. Backup QB Drew Lock may have a higher ceiling than Teddy, but at least with Teddy you know what you’re going to get. A very consistent solid game manager. Additionally, I don’t trust Giants QB Daniel Jones at all. So far in his career he has performed like a bottom 10 starting QB in this league, and has shown little flashes of greatness. Expect Denver to win a defensive battle. 

 

Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams 

Vegas Picks: LAR -7.5

Goldie’s Take: Rams Win 24-10

So many reasons why the Rams are going to win this game. First game with fans in the new stadium on Sunday Night Football, all momentum is with LA already. Also the Rams upgraded at the QB position by acquiring Matt Stafford this offseason. And finally the biggest reason the Rams are going to win this one is because the Bears are starting QB Andy Dalton. If Dalton couldn’t perform last season with all of the weapons on Dallas’ offense, how does Chicago expect him to thrive with lesser weapons on the Bears offense? The Rams should steamroll the Bears on Sunday Night

Deshaun Watson

Should the Dolphins Trade for Deshaun Watson?

The Deshaun Watson trade rumors began to heat up again Saturday when multiple reports came out saying that the Miami Dolphins were considered to be  “frontrunners” to land the 25-year-old star quarterback.

Why the Dolphins should trade for Deshaun Watson:

Miami’s front office has constructed one of the best overall rosters that the Dolphins have had in decades. They arguably have one of the best defenses in the league, demonstrated last season by leading the league in defensive takeaways. They’ve also done a good job of bolstering their offense by adding speedy receivers Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle. In addition to that, it seems that they have finally found the right coach in Brian Flores.

For years, the biggest question mark in Miami has been the quarterback. Tagovailoa looked shaky in the nine games he appeared in last season as a rookie. A superstar quarterback like Deshaun Watson could be just what the Dolphins need to take them to the next level. Watson already has good chemistry with Will Fuller from their days in Houston. If the Dolphins feel this team is a quarterback away from being legitimate Super Bowl contenders, then it might be time to get aggressive and go all-in on Deshaun Watson. 

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Why the Dolphins should not trade for Deshaun Watson:

There’s no denying Watson is a greater talent than Tagovailoa. However, there are many possible cons to bringing a guy like Watson in. The number one concern with Watson is his legal issues. There are currently 22 ongoing civil lawsuits against Watson from massage therapists claiming Watson engaged in some form of sexual misconduct with them. The Dolphins could be making a colossal mistake bringing in a guy who might have to go to jail midseason.

Also, the Texans are currently asking for a King’s ransom in return for Watson. The current asking price is three first round picks and two second round picks. Also, isn’t it a little late to be trading for a starting quarterback? Tagovailoa has been running this offense for the entire preseason and training camp. Bringing in Watson this close to the season could result in early season struggles for Miami while Watson gets adjusted to the Dolphins scheme. 

Goldman’s Opinion:

Before all of the legal allegations surfaced, I was the number one supporter of a trade involving the Miami Dolphins and Deshaun Waston. I believe in the way this roster is constructed. And I think a quarterback like Watson would put the Dolphins in the same category as the Bills, Chiefs, Bucs, and Packers. The Dolphins have a history of “almost” landing big name quarterbacks. First with Drew Brees not passing his physical, then failing to land Peyton Manning in 2011.

Missing out on Watson would have the Dolphins going for the hat trick. Also the Dolphins have the best assets to make a deal with the Texans. Tua Tagovailoa would most likely be used as a bargaining chip in this deal. In addition to Tua, the Fins would probably have to give up at least one first round pick. That isn’t that big of a deal for Miami because they stocked up on draft picks by moving back in this offseason’s draft. On paper this seems like a no-brainer for Miami. However these legal allegations do raise a high level of concern.

Grier needs to do his homework on this one. If there is any part of his mind that thinks these legal allegations could become a big problem then he should not make the trade. He needs to be 100% sure, but if Grier and the rest of the Dolphins front office can get 100% sure about this then I would absolutely advise them to pull the trigger on Watson. Generational QB talents like Watson don’t become available all too often.

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Dolphins display dominance on both sides vs Falcons

A laser sharp Tua Tagovailoa, combined with an opportunistic Dolphins defense, shut down the Atlanta Falcons 37-17 on Saturday. With a redacted preseason now at three games, the middle contest served as the dress rehearsal for the Miami Dolphins.

Tua’s Starring Role

As in the opener against the Chicago Bears, Tagovailoa once again came out of the gate poised and effective.

After a full offseason to strengthen his body and mind, Tagovailoa looks like the quarterback many predicted to be the top pick before his hip injury ended his college career.

In two preseason contests and playing roughly a full game total, Tagovailoa is 24-of-34 with 282 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Even then, statistics don’t tell the full story. On film, Tagovailoa looks much more comfortable in the pocket, despite an uneven offensive line performance once again.

The game plan was to get the ball out quickly and it was an effective strategy. Miami’s offensive line was inconsistent in pass protection but was much more effective in run blocking this time around.

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Also, Malcolm Brown was featured more in this game and had a team high 10 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed were quiet on the ground, but both made an impact as receivers. Gaskin finished tied for the team lead with four receptions, while Ahmed chipped in two catches for 19 yards.

Not everything was wonderful, however. An early injury scare to rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle gave the home crowd at Hard Rock Stadium reason to pause.

Thankfully, Waddle seemed to recover and shortly returned to action, finishing with three receptions for 21 yards.

Sam Eguavoen Electric in Return

The unquestioned star of the evening was linebacker Sam Eguavoen, who returned to action from the reserve/COVID-19 list just in time. Eguavoen was a one-man wrecking crew, finishing with 11 tackles and a remarkable four sacks.

His final sack of the evening also resulted in a safety on Falcons QB Felipe Franks in the third quarter. That put the Dolphins up 23-3 and kept the excitement high. The rest of the Miami reserves were also much better in this game compared to last week against Chicago.

All in all, it was a very complete performance for the Dolphins and the team played hard for a full 60 minutes. They were disciplined and committed just two penalties for 19 yards, while not turning the ball over once.

Up next the Dolphins will close out the preseason with a trip to face the Cincinnati Bengals.

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Miami Dolphins Training Camp Notes Day 10 (Xavien Howard, Gaskin, McKinney, more)

This is day 10 of camp, and it starts with news that Xavien Howard has agreed to a re-structure that has some added guarantees, bonuses, so all is well on that front. On another front, not so good news. Late in practice, in the game sim portion of practice, Jacoby Brissett faced a 3rd and 14 and the Dolphins pass rush as he rifled a corner route to rookie Tight End Hunter Long for a first down. Long then ran out of bounds as he got tripped up, went down, and seemed hurt. Dolphins medical staff could then be seen looking at his left knee as he stayed down for a few minutes. Hunter Long was then helped to a cart, and was then taken into the facility. The optics were not good.

Xavien Howard. So, the deal is done, and so was this half hearted hold out, that never was. On the Three Yards Per Carry Podcast we had been predicting this exact outcome for a while now, and truth be told, it was not any inside info, or anything of the sort. It was common sense. If they wanted to keep him, they would. They did. As for practice, Xavien Howard had a Pass break up that drew loud cheers at the goal line on a Tua Tagovailoa slant to Isaiah Ford. Howard also received a round of applause when lining up for the stretch portion of practice.

Tua Tagovailoa. Some great moments, and general dominance on the goal line and red zone portions. Tua also seems to own the 6v8 portions. Now for the bad. In the 2 minute portion of practice, they start at their own 25 yard line and have 1:30 on the clock to get down field and score a TD or get a FG. Tua ran two plays in this portion of practice. Not on one series, but two series. Two interceptions. On the first play of his 1st 2 minute drill, Tua seemed to be looking for Adam Shaheen on an option route, and Tua threw it to the right of Shaheen, while Shaheen went left. Miscommunication on an option route. Intercepted by Eric Rowe. On the 1st play of the 2nd series,Tua had Jakeem grant streaking down the right sideline on a 9 route, and Tua just let it rip. Jevon Holland was coming off his hash in 2 deep all the way. Gimme Interception. This was not a good set of plays for Tua Tagovailoa.

Jevon Holland. I think it’s a safe bet to declare Jevon Holland a starter. He is playing in several spots on the secondary as well. Gone is the more elementary spots as a safety, and in is a more elaborate role. He had a pass break up on the goal line on a Tua to Mack Hollins slant, and of course, his interception of Tua in the 2 minute drill. Holland is beginning to understand the concepts in the install portions of practice, and it is beginning to show. Once that part is taken care of, his considerable physical skills will take over.

Bernardrick McKinney. The run defense is fixed? Maybe? McKinney has been rolling down hill and filling on over, and under fronts, and quite frankly, the combination of McKinney and Raekwon Davis are too tough to run on inside. Those two have dominated all camp, in 11v11 portions of practice. McKinney is reading his linemen, filling with confidence, and so far, he has been right with every decision based on what he is seeing. McKinney also packs a punch as a tackler, and his size is an obvious and important factor on the defense’s success defending the run this Training Camp.

Myles Gaskin. Myles Gaskin has quietly had a strong camp. Not so much that he is breaking long runs, but that he has become a pass catching weapon in the red zone, and has been a consistent outlet/safety valve for Tua Tagovailoa. On runs, he has finished runs strong, and has not shied from contact. Myles Gaskin has embraced the RB1 role, and has taken a noticeable leadership role on the RB unit. His work on his body int he offseason has also paid off, considering he is putting up a large rep load all camp, while not missing any portion so far.

NOTE: The team closed practice by running 10 gassers (Jaelen Phillips participated in the gassers, but did not practice), in which some coaches participated.
NOTE #2: Solomon Kindley had some good moments as a 2nd team LG, and also received a couple of reps on the 1st team as the LG as well.

Practice MVP: Jevon Holland
Struggled: 2nd team tackles (Brissett faced pressure throughout)

Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Notes Day 9 (Tua, Xavien Howard, Shaheen, more)

This is day 9 of camp, and the pads were on. Started with a heavy emphasis on the run game, but ended with Tua Tagovailoa fireworks. The offense did most of the winning on this day, and save for a few plays by the 2nd team, the defense was off balance for the most part.

Xavien Howard. Howard was a full participant in full uniform, but did sit out 11v11 portions of practice. Xavien Howard was also busy giving instruction to the secondary in the live portions. He participated in 1v1 tackle drills, and got beat by Lynn Bowden on a memorable juke move. Howard was also in the 6v8 portion and looked fluid. When practice was over, Xavien Howard could be seen running gassers with several players, including Jacoby Brissett.

Tua Tagovailoa. Another strong practice. Tua seems to have settled on punishing the Dolphins defense deep whenever they bring pressures. He had several hook ups with Jakeem Grant, and had a memorable jump ball 50 yard TD throw to Mack Hollins (Mack Hollins beat Byron Jones on it). His best play of the day came from the 25 yard line going in, where he recognized cover 2, and he dropped a throw behind Byron Jones, and in front of Eric Rowe for the Touchdown to DeVante Parker. On another play to Parker, the Dolphins dialed up a blitz, and Tua responded by throwing a deep fade to Parker on Jones, where Jones made the play. In my opinion, it was 50/50 on whether pass interference could have been called on that play. The Referee waved it incomplete. So good play by Byron Jones.

Jevon Holland. He had a miscommunication on a coverage, and allowed a big post completion to Albert Wilson. He was also a bit late on a 20 yard curl to Jakeem Grant, and those alone were a cause for further instruction, which he did receive from several players. It is not clear however, what exactly was the issue, although my best guess is that he failed to recognize route combinations that would allow him to come off routes and get a better break on the ball.

Adam Shaheen. Adam Shaheen is now the 1st team Tight End in 11 personnel in the absence of Mike Gesicki. Shaheen had a strong day, and considering the places he lined up at, and the plays he ran, you can tell he was in direct competition with Rookie Hunter Long on this day. Shaheen had a good day. After practice he also clarified (from a question asked by Joe Schad of The Palm Beach Post) that the “I will not comply” in his Twitter Bio has nothing to do with Covid, and everything to do with his strong belief in the 2nd amendment.

Jerome Baker. Jerome Baker and Bernardrick McKinney have gotten into a rhythm against the run, and Baker especially has had good moments in coverage this camp. His A gap blitzes are always there, but we are beginning to see him rush wide on passing situations, and he really looks the part as an edge rusher. Jerome Baker has consistently been a top camp performer and this season is no different. Andrew Van Ginkel was not in pads today, but was rather busy coaching up Jaelen Phillips in the install portions of practice.

Practice MVP: Tua Tagovailoa
Struggled: Byron Jones

Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Notes Day 8 (Walk Through, Xavien Howard,more)

This is day 8 of camp, and walk-through day. So, I won’t be posting formations, personnel packages, and plays here as that is frowned upon by the Dolphins and the NFL. So it was a lite day, so these will be lite camp notes.

Xavien Howard. Let’s not bury the lede. Xavien Howard was a full participant in the defensive walk through for base, Nickel, Dime, and other packages. He was preparing “to play”. So if today is any indication, he is preparing to return to practice/action after sitting out most of the start of camp with a reported ankle injury. Head Coach Brian Flores also spoke to the media before practice, and said he does not want to trade Xavien Howard. So Flores continues to make news/noise on the situation, with continued optimistic sounding quotes.

Jesse Davis. Jesse Davis is wearing a sleeve on his right leg, but he says he has no pain and is “ready to go”. He was also back to his 1st team duties at RT, and was spelled rarely. Jesse Davis when asked “what position” he actually plays (By Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post),said he plays “Offensive Line for the Miami Dolphins. It will be interesting to see how the OL shakes out in the coming days.

Jevon Holland. There he was once again, on the 1st team, and he seemed to have a good grasp of what the team is trying to do with their coverages. Holland has not had the work load of let’s say a Jason McCourty (different positions), but he has had a very high rep count.

Larnel Coleman. This could be the story of camp. The 7th round draft pick out of Umass is firmly entrenched as what seems like the “swing tackle” on this team as he has seen 1st and 2nd team duty. The prototypical size, large frame, and obvious athleticism is worth an extended look. If Coleman pans out, the OL suddenly gets an injection of depth. On this day, Solomon Kindley seemed to get a promotion to the 2nd team, so things are beginning to look up a little bit for the OL unit.

Michael Palardy. Ok. This is now multiple times Michael Palardy has gotten his name into my notes. This time for a trick. I wasn’t going to offer a “Practice MVP” for this day since it was a walk through, but Michael Palardy was putting on a display that was rather entertaining. I’ll allow Travis Wingfield of MiamiDolphins.com fill you in, and yes, I have never seen anything like it either.

Practice MVP: Michael Palardy
Struggled: Nobody (walk through)

Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Notes Day 7 (Tua, B. Scarlett, Holland, more)

This is day 7 of camp, and day 2 of pads. A much more balanced approach on offense saw 2nd year QB Tua Tagovailoa shine once again. Some interesting shuffling in the secondary, highlighted what they are trying to do on defense, and the tight end unit had a good day despite being short-handed.

Tua Tagovailoa. No other way to put it. This was an impressive day. First, the bad. Tua did have some throwaways on the goal line facing pressure. And he had pressure in his face, as he locked in on a deep over route to Waddle. On that play, Hunter Long was on the slant underneath as rookie Jevon Holland came off the hash to get wide and intercept the too wide, overthrown pass from Tua. Other than that, Tua was really sharp on RPO. He had a few escapes that led to big plays, and was generally in command as he had a great day throwing the football.

Brennan Scarlett. Brennan Scarlett played everywhere. First team, 2nd team, 3rd team, played buck linebacker (weakside), played end, rushed as a wide-9 specialist. Brennan Scarlett showed a motor today, and had at least one confirmed sack against Austin Jackson. When he was on 2nd team, he did a number on 2nd team LT, Timon Parris. You can see what they are thinking as far as depth with Scarlett. Both he and Shaquem Griffin are gobbling up special teams reps and being played essentially the same on 2nd and 3rd teams. Both players figure as roster players so far, as the reps are being evenly divided on defense, but are near 100% participation on punt/kickoff teams.

Larnel Coleman. Jesse Davis played a couple snaps, then sat out practice. Larnel Coleman came in, and acquitted himself well early on. Then Vince Biegel beat him for a late practice sack. At 6’6″, 315 pounds, Coleman is a noticeable athlete, with prototypical size. The 7th round pick out of Umass is one to watch in the preseason as he figures to play plenty with the 2nd unit. On this day, this was not a bad debut versus the 1st unit. Color me interested to see him play versus Chicago in a week’s time.

Jevon Holland. It took him a little while, but Jevon Holland saw first team snaps on this day, and made a few plays, including the interception mentioned above. He also participated in the install portion as Byron Jones watched it with Xavien Howard and Nik Needham. Holland is a long, lean, fast athlete, who was diagnosing plays well on this day. Holland also matched up with Hunter Long, several times, and was good to turn and run with the BC tight end. This was a bit of a coming out party for Holland, and if today is any indication, you can pencil in the rookie as a starter/top snap getter.

Noah Igbinoghene. This was not a good day for the 2nd year DB. Igbinoghene got beat badly by Isaiah Ford on a go route, then got beat again on a deep in-cut by Bowden. Then gives up a big play to Hurns. It was hard to put a finger on what was wrong with him today, other than his technique being sloppy, a bit choppy, and being a bit slow to get out of his backpedal. He worked on install, while a few veterans from last year did not, so that is anecdotal evidence that he might not have a full grasp of the coverages the Dolphins want to play. I am looking forward to seeing Igbinoghene bounce back on Friday when the team returns to practice.

Practice MVP: Tua Tagovailoa, Brennan Scarlett
Struggled: Noah Igbinoghene

Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.

Miami Dolphins Camp Notes Day 6 (McKinney, Goal Line, Eichenberg, more)

This is day 6 of camp, and the pads came on. Some Red Zone Install, and plenty of work on the run game as the Defense has a dominant day.

Bernardrick McKinney. Over front, under front, didn’t matter. McKinney was rolling downhill day and making plays on the run game. No missed tackles, one good hit on Myles Gaskin, but most importantly, Bernardrick McKinney was flowing to the ball, and making good decisions, with good angles. McKinney reading off of Raekwon Davis was almost not fair. The activity of Christian Wilkins/Zach Sieler won the day and McKinney was the big beneficiary. Practice MVP on this day.

Nik Needham. It’s official. Needham is first team in base, and was the LCB in a Nickel install that saw Needham and Byron Jones at corner, and Jason McCourty, Eric Rowe and Brandon Jones as Safeties. Jevon Holland, Noah Igbinoghene, Jamal Perry are the top performers on 2nd team, and are pushing for spots in the many groupings the Dolphins have for the secondary. Once or if Xavien Howard returns, (he watched practice from the end zone), the secondary will be very deep and talented. Nik Needham has made a statement in my estimation, and has been the top performer in the secondary this camp.

Liam Eichenberg. It was early when Liam Eichenberg had a “welcome to the NFL” moment with Zach Sieler. Early 1v1 rep, where Sieler blasted past Eichenberg and used a swim move to leave Eichenberg defeated, soundly on a very noticeable rep. Then a personal war developed and the rookie acquitted himself very well, engaging in physical play with all of the usual suspects (Davis, Sieler, Wilkins). The opening offensive line from left to right was Jackson, Eichenberg, Dieter, Hunt, Davis. Solomon Kindley was on 3rd team duty, and Matt Skura served as the 2nd team center. Larnel Coleman was off the Covid 19 list, and in full uniform. Coleman had a solid day in pass pro (2nd team) and had a couple of decent double teams with Hunter Long.

Durham Smythe. The defense may have beat the hell out of the Dolphins offensive line on this day, but Durham Smythe continues to show his value as a blocking specialist. His doubles, and combos with Austin Jackson and Jesse Davis were effective on this day. Problem was that the backs couldn’t get to landmarks to make decisions off his/the tackles’ blocks. Of the healthy TEs (Shaheen, Gesicki, Carter are on the Covid list) on this day, Smythe was the clear cut standout as a blocker, in a goal line/run heavy practice.

Myles Gaskin. What can you say for Myles Gaskin? Not his fault, the offense took a beating on goal line runs. What is apparent, is that they are exploring many options for goal line runners, and Malcolm Brown is the leader in the clubhouse. On this day, they used Carl Tucker, Durval Queiroz Neto, Solomon Kindley as lead blockers/fullbacks and of the three, I must say, Neto had a feel for it. Other than that, the Offense was completely dominated on the Goal line, save for a couple of 2nd team play action passes, and a Tua run. FAIR WARNING: This was a run heavy day, and Goal Line 2-3 Personnel packages essentially tell you what is coming. So, the defense had an advantage, but what a beating they laid upon the offense.

Practice MVP: Bernardrick McKinney
Struggled: Offensive Line

Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.

Xavien Howard reported to Miami Dolphins training camp but his contract demands remain unresolved.

Quick Take: Time to Move on from Xavien Howard?

Over the past few days, Xavien Howard has made it widely known that he wants a trade away from the Miami Dolphins. Howard feels underpaid and under-appreciated by the Miami Dolphins.

So should Miami keep him or should they trade him?

 

Reasons to keep Xavien Howard:

 

  1. He was in the DPOY race

Howard was known as a top candidate for the DPOY award. Although Aaron Donald and TJ Watt beat him out as the top 2 contenders, Howard was right there with the best defenders in the league last NFL season.

 

2. If Howard leaves, Miami is left with a huge hole at cornerback

Miami would be left with Byron Jones, Jason McCourty, and either Nik Needham or Noah Igbinoghene. And let’s just say Needham and Igbinoghene aren’t the best options to play a slot corner spot for us.

3. Howard makes Miami a more fun team to watch

He led the league with interceptions and also got 8 more interceptions than the next best on the team. From one handed interceptions, to acrobatic plays, he brings a new level of fun to the game.

 

*****

Reasons to Trade Howard away:

  1. Howard is overrated

Xavien Howard just had the highest-performing year of his life. In my opinion, I see no world where Howard can have the same season he just had. He will lose trade value if he isn’t gone by the end of this year.

2. A Howard trade could bring another star to Miami

Getting rid of Howard could bring in names like Stephon Gilmore or even Deshaun Watson. Howard is regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the league, and could easily get the Dolphins more star-level talent if given away.

3. Howard could hold out from playing if he’s kept on the team

If Howard stays, he may decide not to play this season, and we will lose a player without getting anything back. He really wants a bigger contract, and Miami hasn’t provided that for him, which could lead to a season-long holdout.

 

*****

Final Analysis:

I think The Miami Dolphins should trade Xavien Howard. Whether it’s a deal for Deshaun Watson, draft picks, or another star, Miami doesn’t need the negative energy he now brings to the team.

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Miami Dolphins Camp Notes Day 3 (Defensive Day, Brissett, Grant, more)

A muggy friday, moved slowly, as the team was heavy into Offensive, Defensive, and Special Teams install. Then some fireworks, and a dominant performance from one side of the ball.

Tua Tagovailoa. This was a decent encore to what was a great day on Thursday. Tua Tagovailoa continues to show great command of the offense, and is still showing an aggressiveness that has only grown the past few days. His best throws of the day came early in some 6v8 where he hit Jaylen Waddle on a deep crosser for a nice gain, and then followed that up with a go route that Jakeem Grant pulled down for a big gainer. His Red Zone work was pretty strong to start, till the defense came on late in practice. Later on in 11v11, Tua began to feel some pressure and the offense sputtered inside the 20 yard line.

Jacoby Brissett. This was not a good day for the backup QB and his unit. At one point, he had gone 6 consecutive pass plays without a completion, gave up several sacks, had some throwaways, and then sailed a couple more into harms way. Jacoby Brissett was by no means “good” on this day, but I believe the defense also deserves credit. It has been a strong camp to start for Brissett, this was just a bad patch. I look forward to seeing how he adjusts.

Nik Needham. Always on the spot. Playing every cornerback position, Nik Needham got his hands on several footballs. While he did not post a turnover, he was noticeable in coverage, and the versatility he showed, displays the depth this secondary has. This team (even with Xavien Howard out) has a strength in this secondary. By a crude count, I had Nik Needham targeted 5 times, allowing one reception of less than 10 yards.

Brandon Jones. Seems to have an expanded role. While he has racked up snaps on defense, Brandon Jones also shows up on several special teams units, and really logged the mileage in this practice. While the Miami Dolphins/NFL don’t want the media to reveal specifics on how players are being used, I can assure you, he is seeing expanded action since last year.

Jakeem Grant. This was a big day for Jakeem. Grant hauled in a go route early in practice, then showed up once again on a toe tapping TD in the back of the end zone. After a couple of days, where he was essentially invisible, Jakeem Grant took full advantage of the reps afforded to him today. The most impressive route run, was a rep where he got good depth on a skinny post, on what was a RPO, and managed to make the grab in traffic for a nice gain. Jakeem showed great concentration on this day, logging no drops, and several big plays.

Practice MVP: Jakeem Grant/Defensive Secondary
Struggled: Jacoby Brissett

Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.