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Reshad Jones

Miami Dolphins: Reshad Jones set to hit free agency

The Miami Dolphins and a Pro Bowl player are parting ways. The team is releasing Reshad Jones. In a move that will become official March 18, this will free up $5.3 million in salary cap.

It is very clear that the Miami Dolphins are going in a new direction. For his part last season, Jones played in four games, recording 27 tackles and a pass deflection.

He dealt with injuries last year, having been placed on the injured reserve  November 20 with an undisclosed injury.

Jones also dealt with rib and chest injuries. This is something that he struggled with throughout most of October and into November. To be clear, his  stint on the injured reserve was separate from the rib and chest injuries.

Jones made the Pro Bowl in the 2015 and 2017 seasons. He put up tremendous numbers in both of those years. In 2015, he tallied five interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. The two touchdowns via interception the league.

In 2017, he recorded two interceptions, and recovered two fumbles four touchdowns. He has been an explosive playmaker for the Miami Dolphins ever since he came into the league in 2010.

He finishes his Miami career playing in 128 games. In addition, he recorded 21 interceptions and 55 pass deflections. He also proved to be a decent pass-rusher for Miami, recording 10.5 sacks in his Miami career.

Now at age 31, he is set to hit the market. The Miami Dolphins certainly got some of his most productive years. Jones would be an asset to any secondary.

This is certainly another move that indicates the Miami Dolphins are trying to rebuild their organization a bit. We have seen coaches come and go quite a bit this offseason, and it’s all part of the retooling the Dolphins are doing to try and compete.

Reshad Jones

Dolphins safety Reshad Jones intends to stay for the long haul

Tanking has a negative effect on players in the locker room. Frustration quickly sets in. That eventually leads to players wanting to find new homes, which has clearly happened to the Miami Dolphins this season. Minkah Fitzpatrick made it a point to express his desire to leave, and he was traded to Pittsburgh for a first round pick. Its understandable, given his winning background. Losing on purpose goes against everything he stands for. His argument was regarding his position, but he doesn’t seem to mind being versatile for the Steelers, leaving the losing as a likely cause for wanting out. But what of safety Reshad Jones?

Jones is a common name when discussing trade bait. He infamously “quit” on the team during a matchup against the New York Jets last season, giving credence to the theory he wanted to be traded. However, Jones insists that Miami is where he wants to be.

“I love my home. I’ve been here 10 years. It’s home for me.” He said on Wednesday. “I love the guys in this locker room. I just love South Florida … If I wanted out, I had a chance to make that known. I’m here for the long haul. Like I said, I’m here to help this team win football games.”

There’s no doubt he knows that winning isn’t something Miami will be doing a lot of – if at all – in 2019. Reshad Jones is currently 31 years old, and counts for over $17 million against the salary cap this season. He counts for over $15 million in 2020, and then $14 million in 2021. The best way for the Dolphins to move on from him next season would be to designate him as a post-June 1st cut. It’s possible his desire to stay stems from the fact he won’t make as much money on the open market. Financially, his best interest is to stay with the Dolphins.

Durability is also a problem for Jones. He played a few snaps against the Baltimore Ravens in the season opener, 32 out of 72 snaps on defense, then was sidelined with an ankle injury. He now appears ready to get back on field.

Reshad Jones is still a very good player when he’s healthy. Is he a part of Miami’s future? That remains to be seen. The youth movement the Dolphins are pushing is strong. Jones is one of the oldest players on the team now. But if nothing else, it’s encouraging to hear Jones wants to stay with the Dolphins. He’s a fan favorite, and a playmaker on defense. Additionally, Miami needs some veteran voices in the locker room for the influx of young players.

If he can show he’s still got what it takes to be a top safety in the league, his desire to stay has a decent chance of being fulfilled.

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

Albert Wilson will not suit up Sunday for Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins will be missing two key players on Sunday, especially Albert Wilson.

The Dolphins chances against the Dallas Cowboys got much tougher with some news on Wednesday. According to multiple media reports, wide receiver Albert Wilson will likely miss his second game in a row.

He is doubtful according to the report, and Miami will certainly miss his offensive production. He hasn’t had a blazing start to this year. Catching two passes for 13 yards, those are certainly numbers that can be improved upon. The injuries he suffered haven’t helped of course. Suffering a calf injury against the New England Patriots, it seems like the injuries keep mounting for him.

Although he had much better numbers last season, he missed nine games with a hip injury. For the year, Wilson finished with 26 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns in 2018.

Jones out for Miami Dolphins as well

Reshad Jones is also expected to miss Sunday’s game. This is unfortunate as well. I thought he was going to have a big role once the Dolphins traded away Minkah Fitzpatrick. He sat out Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury.

In a season that is already extremely challenging, these two injuries are not what the Dolphins needed. As the team looks to try and make the best of what is a rebuilding year, these veterans could have certainly helped on Sunday. These injuries do not sound season-ending, so that is a good thing. I would figure Wilson to be a big part of the passing game moving forward as Miami looks to make the most of this season.

Jones should figure to be a big part of the defense, and I would still expect him to play a role in it. These two are undoubtedly going to have their stock rise this season if they perform well. Hopefully, this is just a short stay on the sidelines rather than a permanent one.

Minkah Fitzpatrick

Minkah Fitzpatrick seeking trade away from Miami Dolphins

After the rout at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, multiple reports came out that several Dolphins players wanted out. The locker room emptied out almost instantly. Players contacted their agents desperately seeking help to find an escape route. Now, at least one player is confirmed to be part of that group. 2018 first round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick has been granted permission to seek a trade, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

A Dolphins official informed ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe that while the team is not actively shopping Fitzpatrick, they have not denied his agent, Joel Segal, permission to talk with other teams. So if some teams offers up a king’s ransom like the Dolphins got for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills, it’s likely Fitzpatrick will be the latest casualty of Miami’s tanking process.

Miami is reportedly looking for a return on their first round investment on Fitzpatrick. Teams seem unwilling to part with such a valuable asset for the former Alabama standout, but stranger things have happened.

Fitzpatrick is highly regarded for his versatility. However, Miami’s desire to use him in multiple roles has been a point of contention for months. Back in August, Fitzpatrick’s mother came out to express her displeasure over her son being misused. Fitzpatrick himself later confirmed he felt the same. He had hoped that a new regime would offer clarification on what his position in the defense was. Instead, things got even cloudier.

As a result of this position juggling, Fitzpatrick has been unable to settle in. His level of play is diminishing as he cannot focus on one thing at a time. He played four different positions against Baltimore, including linebacker. That sort of responsibility is too much to ask of almost anyone, let alone a second-year player.

Potential Consequences

Under these circumstances, it’s hard to imagine the Dolphins’ plan working out. The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that at least one other veteran wants to leave. That player will never admit it publicly, but it’s easy to speculate. Reshad Jones, Kenyan Drake, Albert Wilson, they all have something to offer contenders. Minkah Fitzpatrick is an elite level nickel cornerback. Miami doesn’t want to let him sit there, despite uprooting Bobby McCain from there to supposedly let Fitzpatrick take that role.

No matter which way you slice it, this is a bad look for the Dolphins. This comes just days after players like Davon Godchaux and Jerome Baker took to social media to support “trusting the process,” so to speak.

As of this moment, Fitzpatrick is still scheduled to play against the New England Patriots, in the same role he’s been in so far. If what happened last week happens again, the locker room mutiny could continue to grow out of control. Brian Flores needs to find a solution, and fast.

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

roster cuts

Breaking down the Miami Dolphins 2019 roster cuts

The Miami Dolphins are getting a head start on cutting the roster down to 53 as the 2019 regular season rapidly approaches. Naturally, all the moves Miami makes will be tracked right here on Five Reasons. And correspondingly, we will be analyzing each move to figure out what they mean for the Dolphins in 2019 and perhaps beyond. So, without further ado, let’s get started with the roster cuts.

T.J. McDonald, SS

McDonald is obviously the biggest name on this list of roster cuts. Up until his release on Sunday night, McDonald was projected to be one of Miami’s starters at safety. It seems even stranger when taking into consideration the minimal cap savings releasing him brings. In fact, cutting McDonald sets the Dolphins back $3.69 million for the season. If anything, this move indicates that Miami is fully committed to a full youth movement for the future. Head coach Brian Flores certainly wasn’t forthcoming with details.

“Any time you make a decision, you try to do it in the best interest of the team.” He said on Monday. “We just felt like in this situation, that was the case with T.J. He’s done a good job with this organization for the last few years. Again, all of those decisions are tough but a lot goes into them. Again, those discussions that we have about personnel – and we have a lot of them internally – I’m not going to talk about those particulars and the specifics of those with you guys. But obviously, we have those (conversations) internally and again, those are private conversations that we have as an organization.”

With McDonald gone, that (as of Tuesday evening) leaves Reshad Jones, Bobby McCain, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Walt Aikens, Maurice Smith, and Montre Hartage. More than likely, Miami will move forward with Jones and McCain as the starting safeties, while Fitzpatrick acts as the starting slot corner. That leave Aikens as the other backup at safety, unless Smith finally gets a chance to show he deserves a chance to play.

Akeem Spence, DT

Spence is one of the cuts that still comes as somewhat of a surprise, and yet not really. Spence is a fun-loving guy and was a solid role player on the Dolphins defensive line. But from the moment he arrived in Miami, it was clear he couldn’t come close to filling the void left by Ndamukong Suh’s departure.

Adding Spence to the roster cuts saves the Dolphins $3.15 million according to Spotrac. And with all the able bodies at defensive tackle, the 27-year old Spence was expendable. With Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor acting as young veterans, and rookie Christian Wilkins developing, Miami only really needs one or two players more in that rotation. True, Spence could have fit that role, but the fact of the matter is, Spence got outplayed.

Adolphus Washington, a 24 year old defensive tackle who was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the 2018 draft, was signed to a one-year deal worth only $720,000 dollars. It didn’t take long for him to make his mark, showcasing powerful hands and playmaking ability. Considering Washington’s success, it isn’t hard to figure out why Spence got cut. Spence is older, more expensive, and not as effective. Surprising because he’s a name, not surprising because names mean nothing to Flores’s regime.

Jordan Mills, OT

This experiment did not last long. After Ja’Wuan James signed a huge deal with the Denver Broncos, Miami needed a new right tackle, and they signed Mills to a one-year, $3 million dollar deal. Mills will ultimately only count for $2 million against the Dolphins cap. Watching Mills play, either at right or left tackle, was not pretty. He regularly got beat for sacks, and was unseated by Jesse Davis for the starting job. It may have been for an injury settlement, but it’s not a stretch to say Mills would have been cut even if fully healthy.

This is another one of those cuts that ignores an established veteran name and favors overall performance instead. True, no one on the offensive line really wowed the coaches, aside from Laremy Tunsil. However, Mills was particularly bad. Miami wants to develop new, young talent, not stand pat with players who have low ceilings. Zach Sterup, Isaiah Prince and Jaryd Jones-Smith offer more in terms of potential than Mills. Even then, it’s likely that one or more of those players will fall victim to roster cuts as soon as preseason ends.

Will Holden, OL

Aside from the several jokes based on his name, Holden was not good. Again, the offensive line as a whole is pretty bad for the Dolphins, but Holden – like Mills, was particularly bad. There’s no need to dwell on Holden’s release, there are more than enough players to take his place. Even as depth, Miami can do better than him.

Clive Walford, TE

Another injury settlement release, but once again, even if healthy, Walford was a long shot. A former UM standout, Walford was signed to a one-year, veteran minimum contract of $720,000. He didn’t make an impact, similarly to another failed tight end draft pick who tried out with the Dolphins the year before, Gavin Escobar.

The impact this move makes for Miami is minimal at best. As it stands, the Dolphins still have Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, and veteran Nick O’Leary and Dwayne Allen. Obviously, Gesicki will stay, as will Smythe and O’Leary. The jury’s still out on Allen, who’s been a major disappointment since coming back from injury. As for Walford, he may catch on somewhere else just for that team to kick the tires, but that’s all. He was inconsequential with the Dolphins, an easy addition to the roster cuts.

Chase Allen, LB

While never really starter material, Allen’s waiving is unfortunate. As as depth player, Allen is a solid tackler and reliable backup. But, as the saying goes, availability is also a skill, and Allen wasn’t available since last season. Allen ended the 2018 season on injured reserve with a foot injury, and now his waiving is with an injury designation. There is some good news, however. In the past, Allen’s injury would mean the Dolphins had to scour the free agent pool for a replacement body.

This year though, Miami has some young talent in the wings who can fill that reserve void fairly well. Andrew Van Ginkel, Tre’ Watson, Nick DeLuca, Terrill, Hanks, and even Quentin Poling all have some talent to be developed. As for starters, with the emergence of Sam Eguavoen and Jerome Baker, and Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan prepared to be run stuffers (assuming both stay on the team), the Dolphins are set.

Quentin Poling, LB

As a former seventh-round draft pick, Poling never made enough of an impact to warrant a roster spot. While he made some flashes within the lower levels of the depth chart, he didn’t shine bright enough higher up. Consequently, Poling was waived at the end of the preseason last season and signed onto the practice squad, where he remained throughout the season. History appears to be repeating itself now.

Poling, 25, is still eligible for the practice squad, so he could find himself landing there again after he gets healthy. He’s a phenomenal athlete who did a little bit of everything back when he was in school. His departure isn’t surprising given his lack of play time with this new regime, but there’s always the option to return someday.

Trenton Irwin, WR

Irwin is a former Stanford standout who went undrafted and latched on with the Dolphins. While he did make some flashes, and proved to be a solid depth player, Miami just wasn’t going to be a team he would stick with.

The presence of Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant make it difficult to justify adding Irwin as a fifth receiver. Also, the emergence of Preston Williams as a potential playmaker made Irwin seem dimmer in comparison. He could potentially return as a part of the practice squad, especially with his value on special teams. If there’s one thing coach Flores loves, it’s players who do things on special teams.

Joey Mbu, DT

Mbu is a hulking 6’3″, 330 pound brute who could have fit the niche need for a nose tackle in Miami’s hybrid defense. Unfortunately, preseason roster cuts claimed him, and now he’ll have to hope to latch on elsewhere. Mbu has been in and out of the NFL over the past few years, signing on as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. He also spent time with the Redskins, Colts, and the Packers before finally joining the AAF’s San Antonio Commanders after failing to make the Green Bay Roster.

Once he joined Miami, Mbu didn’t make much of an impact. It didn’t help that there were a lot of much better players standing in his way. Davon Godchaux, Christian Wilkins, Adolphus Washington, and Vincent Taylor all project to be ahead of him on the roster. Even the release of veteran Akeem Spence could not save him. Mbu may find another home soon, but it’s unlikely to be with the Dolphins.

Jalen Davis, CB

Sometimes players suffer a fall from grace from year to year. Davis was one of Miami’s most promising undrafted free agents just one season ago. Now, it seems that he struggled more often than he shined. Davis has the ability to work in both the slot and on the boundary, but he couldn’t get ahead of the likes of Torry McTyer, Eric Rowe or even Cornell Armstrong. Davis is eligible for the practice squad if Miami wants to keep him around. Plus, the cornerback depth seems fluid at the moment. It would likely be in Miami’s best interest to sign him to the squad if he clears waivers in case something goes wrong.

Tyler Patmon, CB

Patmon was signed about halfway through training camp after the Dolphins released AAF standout Jamar Summers. Patmon had a strong performance in the final preseason game against the Saints, but it wasn’t enough to prove he deserved a spot on the 53-man roster. Patmon’s second stint with Miami – his first was near the tail end of 2015 after he spent most of the year with the Cowboys – ends with him looking for yet another job. There will be some team looking for cornerback depth somewhere, but the Dolphins don’t appear to be that place.

As it stands, Miami has Xavien Howard, Eric Rowe, Chris Lammons, Cornell Armstrong, Torry McTyer, Nik Needham, and also Cordrea Tankersley on the PUP list. There’s depth for Miami, it’s just a matter of choosing who it will be.

Reece Horn, WR

Essentially, everything that was said about Trenton Irwin, repeat for Reece Horn, except for a slightly different background. Horn is a former Titans wide receiver who joined the AAF for a time before signing with the Dolphins. Like Irwin, he was solid. But when there’s a level of competition that can’t be overcome without constant herculean effort, there’s not much hope.

Horn is also eligible for the practice squad. Miami can bring him back if he clears waivers.

Brice Butler, WR

This is perhaps the most unfortunate release from the wide receiver corps. Butler is a solid wide receiver who appeared to be more than solid at times. He also came up big during the 2018 season, as the Dolphins were desperate for bodies and he not only filled the void, he actively contributed. Halfway through the season, he signed with Miami after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, and in that eight game span, he made six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.

His 2019 competition, however, was fierce. As a big-bodied guy, his main challenge was overcoming former first round pick DeVante Parker, who’s currently nursing an injury, and physical freak Preston Williams, who wowed the fan base with plays that belong on highlight reels. Parker and Williams are staying, and they didn’t play in the final preseason game. Butler, however, did. That was the main indicator that he was behind his constituents. He made mistakes, as did Williams, but Butler didn’t have the benefit of incredible plays to boost his stock.

Butler should find a new home soon, he’s too good to not latch on somewhere. But if by some miracle he’s not signed, and either Parker or Williams get hurt, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Dolphins give Butler another call.

David Rivers, CB

Another cornerback added on late that ultimately was inconsequential to the grand scheme of things. Rivers did about as well as any of the other fringe roster players throughout preseason, but that’s still not good enough to make the team, obviously. Rivers only played in three games over the course of two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So even then, he didn’t amount to much. Miami can easily replace his production, but if they desire to keep him around for whatever reason, he’s practice squad eligible.

Kyle Fuller, G/C

Must be confusing, sharing a name with a cornerback who makes interceptions on a seemingly weekly basis. Unfortunately, this Kyle Fuller didn’t perform up to par. Fuller, along with several other members of the offensive line, struggled to accomplish much of anything in camp or preseason.

They can bring him back onto the practice squad if/when he clears waivers if they so desire. But it seems more likely the Dolphins will look elsewhere to replenish their offensive line talent. such Trades for Vikings and Colts interior linemen Danny Isidora and Evan Boehm come to mind.

Aaron Monteiro, OL

Yet another offensive lineman who struggled during the preseason and even in camp. Monteiro is versatile, that’s about all that can be said about him for now. He had a decent showing against the Saints, coming in a sixth offensive lineman and allowing the Dolphins to convert on third down a couple times.

However, aside from that, there isn’t much positive to say. He’s eligible for the practice squad. But again, Miami seems content to look elsewhere for OL help.

Kenneth Farrow, RB

The running back position is strangely loaded for Miami. With Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage, the Dolphins have a solid one-two punch to keep defenses on their toes. True, they’re not the same as back in the days of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, but it’s close enough for now. But after that, former Bengals back Mark Walton came on strong in preseason, and signs seem to point to him being allowed to play the season for now. Then with the emergence of Patrick Laird, and seventh-round pick Myles Gaskin in the mix, there wasn’t room to keep Farrow.

Farrow is a former AAF star and was one of its best running backs. His claim to fame should have been his ability to block and be a power runner, perhaps even getting looks at fullback to compete with rookie Chandler Cox. However, that never materialized, and Cox solidified his role as the team’s fullback. Farrow is eligible for the practice squad, but with Gaskin and Laird still awaiting judgment as of this moment in time, it’s more likely one of them will get a spot there.

Jaryd Jones-Smith, OT

Of all the offensive linemen to get the boot, this might be one of the more surprising ones. Jaryd Jones-Smith has a huge wingspan and has talent to be developed, but he also struggled during preseason, making him vulnerable to release. Granted, not all of the mistakes he’s accused of were necessarily his fault. But he did make his fair share of errors exclusive to him. He’s overcome a lot of adversity in his life, including the loss of his father and tearing three out of four ligaments in his knee back in college.

If anyone is likely to see the practice squad, Jones-Smith is a good candidate. As of now, Zach Sterup and Isaiah Prince are the projected backups at the tackle positions, but don’t count out this physical freak yet.

Wes Farnsworth, LS

John Denney will be the Dolphins long snapper until the day he decides to retire. Farnsworth never had a chance. No further analysis necessary.

Cory Thomas, DT

Thomas is an undrafted rookie out of Mississippi State, and he saw limited action in the preseason. Frankly, there were times where it was easy to forget he was even on the roster to begin with. He’s practice squad eligible of course, but considering his release came with almost no fanfare, it’s unlikely he’ll be added.

His best best at this juncture is to keep training and hope that someone picks him up for next year’s training camp.

Durval Queiroz Neto, G

Originally brought in as a nose tackle candidate through the 2019 International Player Pathway Program, Durval Queiroz Neto offers untapped potential that needs refinement. For the past four years, he played on the best football teams in Brazil and is a judo champion, meaning he’s very good with coordinating his hands. But many saw his frame and felt he was better suited to play guard. Eventually, the Dolphins came around to that line of thinking, and Queiroz traded his aqua practice jersey for a white one.

Nevertheless, the release comes as no surprise. Queiroz is undoubtedly talented but is extremely raw. Adding a position change puts him behind the curve even more, and he spent the entirety of training camp and preseason learning the basics of playing guard. If he clears waivers, then the Dolphins can put him on a special 11th slot on the practice squad set aside just for him by the rules of the league. Almost certainly, Miami will do just that.

Jamiyus Pittman, DT

Pittman is another undrafted free agent who originally came on strong but seemed to wilt as new faces came in and made him seem not as impressive. Pittman didn’t make the team last season, but he was immediately added to the practice squad, and eventually got promoted to the active roster, playing in three games and contributing two total tackles. However, he was soon waived and placed back on the squad after the team’s need for an extra player vanished.

Pittman offers promise to be sure, but the Dolphins have the likes of Dewayne Hendrix and Jonathan Ledbetter awaiting their fate as well, and both of them shined brighter than Pittman. Miami will have to make some difficult decisions soon.

Jake Rudock, QB

One would think that after the incredible performance he put together against the Saints backups, Miami would be compelled to leave a roster spot for Jake Rudock. If things go as everyone is expecting, either Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen will get hurt at some point, and the Dolphins will need a third-string QB in case of an emergency. Rudock went 22 of 29 for 229 yards and a touchdown against New Orleans, and proved he’s a viable backup quarterback in the league.

If he somehow clears waivers, Miami should look to add him to the practice squad as he is eligible. However, his game against the Saints may prompt other teams looking for a backup to put in a claim for him. Unfortunate if that’s the case, but the Dolphins apparently believe that it’s better to have another position player who can more regularly contribute rather than a bench warmer.

Tyrone Holmes, DE

Miami is starting run short of defensive ends with the release of Tyrone Holmes. The former sixth round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars showed some flashes in a Dolphins uniform, but ultimately didn’t show nearly enough consistency for him to make the final 53 over other players.

Like many of Miami’s other players, Holmes is eligible for the practice squad if they see it fit to add him on. But bear in mind, there are only ten slots available, and that’s assuming no team claims him or the other aforementioned roster cuts. Things are only going to get trickier from here.

Cornell Armstrong, CB

This is one of the more shocking releases to be sure. Armstrong is a young, developing corner who showed serious promise in his second year in the NFL. But, the Dolphins seem willing to let him test the waiver wire anyway.

On top of his developing coverage skills, Armstrong is also an excellent special teamer. This makes his release all the more baffling, as coach Flores loves when players can contribute on special teams. If he clears waivers, Armstrong will likely be a priority practice squad target. If he doesn’t, and ends up in the hands of, say, New England…well, things could turn sour for the Dolphins for letting him go so easily.

Tre’ Watson, LB

Another somewhat surprising release considering the Dolphins will need some backup linebackers. Watson had his fair share of moments during the preseason, racking up 17 tackles in four games.

Watson went undrafted as a Maryland standout, and his solid tackling gives him a certain level of appeal. But evidently, it wasn’t enough to make the final roster. Obviously, he qualified for the practice squad.

Nick DeLuca, LB

While not as surprising as Watson, former Jaguars linebacker Nick DeLuca had his fair share of impressive moments as well. Last year as a rookie, DeLuca played in nine games for Jacksonville, starting two of them. In that time, he racked up seven tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Certainly, not bad for an undrafted free agent. With Miami, he got 13 tackles during the preseason, but that’s about it. Add him to the long list of players eligible to be signed to the practice squad.

This leaves only Baker, McMillan, Eguavoen, and rookies Andrew Van Ginkel and Terrill Hanks. That list assumes Kiko Alonso does not remain and eventually gets traded. It’s clear Miami does not want to let Alonso go for nothing. This will be monitored closely.

Dwayne Allen, TE

It’s unfortunate that one of head coach Brian Flores’s first transactions ends up being a bust. In New England, Allen was a solid blocker, and at the start of his career in Indianapolis, Allen was an excellent pass catcher. With Miami, Allen was none of those things. He spent most of his time with a knee injury, and once he did get on the field, it was not impressive. One could argue it wasn’t even good.

Allen will go down as another name in the long list of veteran tight ends that have failed to make an impact upon joining the Dolphins. Now the coaching staff will have to hope they can develop Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe to be starting caliber players. Nick O’Leary does his job well, but he’s unlikely to ever make a Pro Bowl. As for Temple TE Chris Myarick, he was impressive in the final preseason game, but him making the final roster is a mystery.

Torry McTyer, CB

McTyer is yet another member of the team who started strong enough to warrant some looks in 2018, then failed to meet expectations when greater responsibility was placed on his shoulders. As the son of former Eagles cornerback Tim McTyer, there was hope that his NFL pedigree would give him sort of a boost. Now, he is practice squad eligible, and in years past, the Dolphins have found themselves strapped for cornerback help due to injuries. It’s not a stretch to assume Miami will keep McTyer close by, just in case.

T.J. Rahming, WR

There isn’t much to say about Rahming that hasn’t already been said about several other released wide receivers. Rahming was signed later on in training camp and spent time acting as a body on punt returns. Aside from that, nothing special to report. He was a camp body through and through. Eligible for the practice squad, but unlikely to be added.

Nik Needham, CB

This release is surprising. But not in the way one would think. In this context, it’s more about how surprising it is that it took so long for them to announce his release. Needham was thrust into the starting lineup after the injury to Eric Rowe that kept him sidelined for a few weeks. In that time, Needham was relentlessly abused by opposing quarterbacks, and it showed that he’s not ready for what the team was trying to give him.

Eligible for the practice squad? Of course. And Needham did start to improve a little near the tail end of the preseason. Coach Flores’s standards for evaluation are hard to pin down at this point. Maybe he sees something in Needham worth investing in.

Tank Carradine, DE

This answers the question of which of the two veteran defensive ends the Dolphins wanted to keep. Nate Orchard makes the roster over Carradine, so maybe now Orchard can have a number more befitting a defensive end. Carradine’s career has been laden with struggles. Injuries slowed him down along with mismanaging of his career by coaches.

Perhaps Carradine showed enough to warrant another team giving him a look. But unlike many of Miami’s other roster cuts, Carradine cannot be added to the practice squad. His best bet is for someone else to give him a chance, or an injury to one of the Dolphins ends during the season.

Maurice Smith, SS

Once again, Smith fails to make the final 53-man roster. It seems no matter what happens, he just can’t break through the ceiling to make it onto the team even as a reserve. However, unlike in years past, Smith didn’t make any flashy plays to remind everyone he has talent worth investing in. For most of the preseason and training camp, he appeared to just be another camp body.

Perhaps that’s a consequence of the new defensive scheme, perhaps the talent he was competing against just made him appear worse by comparison. Whatever the case, Smith is still eligible for the practice squad, and if he clears waivers again, perhaps he makes it onto that list. This leaves Reshad Jones, Bobby McCain, Walt Aikens, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and undrafted free agent Montre Hartage as the team’s safeties.

Tony Adams, G

Not much to say about Adams. He struggled, didn’t play well, didn’t beat out Michael Deiter or Shaq Calhoun, and the Dolphins traded for two guards on Friday. Practice squad eligible but unlikely to be added. There’s almost nothing of note worth mentioning.

Isaiah Ford, WR

This is likely the most shocking late roster cut of all. All indication was that Ford had done an excellent job in preseason, finally managing to stay healthy and show what he could do. He made seven catches for 102 yards in the preseason, and was wholly impressive. About the only thing he didn’t do well was return kicks and punts. Perhaps that’s what ultimately doomed him, since Flores takes special teams under heavy consideration.

It feels like Ford being released over the likes of veteran Allen Hurns is another situation where the best man didn’t win. Hurns was wholly pedestrian through his preseason with the Dolphins, and Ford looked better than him in every way. Ford is still eligible for the practice squad, but if there are any wide receiver needy teams scouring the waiver wire, Ford could be a quick pick up as depth.

Dewayne Hendrix, DE

It’s clear that as the deadline draws closer, the decisions become more and more challenging. Hendrix was impressive throughout the preseason, racking up nine tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles.

Hendrix should be a priority practice squad player if he clears waivers. The undrafted free agent out of Pitt made a lot of good plays and showed a lot of potential that deserves investing in. Development is definitely the team’s focus for the future.

Terrance Smith, LB

With this final release, the initial 53-man roster is complete. Terrance Smith being gone officially leaves the Dolphins with only six linebackers, which could very quickly turn into only five when they figure out what to do with Kiko Alonso. Smith is a former Kansas City Chief whose claim to fame is his ability on special teams. During his three year tenure with the Chiefs, Smith racked up 36 tackles, one sack, and an interception.

Him being gone is no surprise. He signed in early August to take an open roster spot, and now he’ll be on the hunt for a new home as he is not eligible for the practice squad. Some of these players will latch on elsewhere, while others may never play football again. It’s a difficult reality, but one that everyone has come to accept. Now, all that’s left to do is see what this coaching staff can do to develop players for the future.

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

Contributions made by Josh Houtz: @Houtz

Header for defense versatility

Miami Dolphins coaches using versatility to define defense

Consider the New England Patriots. One of the things that makes their defense so formidable is that opposing teams can never be sure what they’re facing. Is there a blitz? Why are there are so many defensive backs? Are the linebackers blitzing or in coverage? It’s through reputation alone that they’re considered good, even when they’re objectively bad. They put together personnel groupings that throw offenses for a loop, make them think twice about what they should do. The versatility of their players is a big part of what makes that defense tick.

And that’s exactly what head coach Brian Flores is stressing as he installs his defense.

“I would say first and foremost, it’s in the kicking game for really anyone on the team. If you make plays in the kicking game, you make a name for yourself in the kicking game here in this organization, that means a lot to me. If guys want to impress me, do it in the kicking game.” Flores said on Wednesday. “That’s where I started in college, that’s how I got on the field at Boston College. That’s how I broke into coaching in the National Football League from working with guys like Brad Seeley and then Scott O’Brien.

“It’s a very important phase of the game to me, so if a guy wants to impress on this team, do it there, carve out a role there, and then if you’re at the game for the kicking game, we’ll find something for you to do offensively or defensively. The players know that. I think everyone in the league should know that. That’s a spot where you can definitely carve out a role, and then, that’s how your reps increase. If you do a good job in the kicking game, you get more offensive or defensive snaps. If you do a good job with those snaps, we’ll give you more, and that’s how guys evolve and grow in this profession.”

Already, training camp has consisted of players lining up where they normally wouldn’t. Reshad Jones, T.J. McDonald and Minkah Fitzpatrick are getting linebacker snaps. Bobby McCain is turning himself into a safety. Defensive linemen are lining up out wide, inside, and everywhere in-between.

Is Miami running a 4-3, or a 3-4? Maybe a 4-2-5?

“I don’t even know what that is.” defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said on Thursday. “People ask us, (and we) say, ‘I don’t know.’ You look out there, we can be 1-10 if you want us to be. We’ll figure out something. If it works, we’ll do it.”

So nothing is off the books when it comes to what the defense will do on any given play. Matchups decide who’s on the field at any given moment. The more players adapt to what’s thrown at them, the more they will get to play. Even if they don’t project to start over someone else.

Of course, this puts a mental strain on the players. They have to overcome it.

“It’s not more so the attacking defenses that I’ve been in, in the 4-3 systems that I’ve been accustomed to.” said veteran DT Akeem Spence. “In this defense, you’ve got to really learn a lot. It’s more so learning about more spots than positions and learning a new technique and what Coach Flores wants and Patrick Graham want and trying to go out and execute and compete.”

“It’s all about discipline. The biggest thing is everybody’s got – I mean, the coaches are going to put you in the best position to make plays, and I think that’s the biggest thing I keep in mind.” said pass rusher Charles Harris. “The number count isn’t the most important thing. When that game ends and you’re winning, that’s all that really matters. Like I’ve said before, one of the biggest things that we’ve got, one of the quotes that we’ve got coming is ‘get over yourselves.’ If I’m not getting that many plays, it might not be a week. We might have different schemes for different teams and stuff like that. You really don’t know.”

The Dolphins’ first preseason game draws ever closer, and after Saturday’s faux scrimmage, things are only going to ramp up from here. But more importantly, everyone will get a chance to see what this team can do in real action. True, it’s only the preseason. But considering what the expectations are for this team, how they do against other teams evaluating their depth will be telling.

Reshad Jones

The Reshad Jones situation is getting frostier

One of the things that’s become apparent about new Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, during his increasingly comfortable press conferences, is that he can be direct without necessarily calling anyone out.

He was calm and in control again prior to Wednesday’s last OTA day, including when he was asked about the one proven player who is still not here:

Former Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones.

Jones is clearly not happy about something, though what that is depends on who you talk to. And it’s apparent that he’s not a long-term part of the Dolphins’ plan, as they try to rebuild this thing nearly from scratch, with the exception of the mega-deal cornerback Xavien Howard got and the one that left tackle Laremy Tunsil is likely to get.

In the meantime, the Dolphins have Bobby McCain working at safety rather than cornerback and Minkah Fitzpatrick is shuttling between positions in the new defense.

Flores has been preaching competition at every position — and as we discussed on a podcast we will be releasing later Wednesday, it will be interesting to see how that applies to the quarterback spot if Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly outplays Josh Rosen, when it makes more sense from a big picture perspective to play Rosen.

But this answer about Jones and whether he would get his old spot back?

Also interesting.

Message?

Kind of.

Flores comes from New England, where he learned under Bill Belichick for a decade and a half.

Belichick doesn’t tolerate distractions of any kind.

Jones is the first test case.

Let’s see if he shows at the mandatory minicamp next week.

 

 

So what’s with Reshad Jones?

The Dolphins don’t have that many proven players left on the roster.

And those who are?

Well, they are hardly guarantees going forward.

Xavien Howard and Laremy Tunsil are due extensions, and it’s not clear if the Dolphins are committed to them. Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant are coming back from major surgery.

Reshad Jones?

Well, it’s not clear if he’s in or not.

Jones, one of the Dolphins’ few players with Pro Bowl pedigree, had a frustrating season, seeming to clash with now-ousted defensive coordinator Matt Burke about his role and even asking out of a game.

Tuesday, with a new coach (Brian Flores) on board, Jones was the most notable no-show for a “voluntary” veteran minicamp.

Then the explanations came, sort of.

And here was one of our affiliate podcast’s interpretation….

Whatever the reason, it’s becoming clearer that this will be close to a complete housecleaning.

Might want to try to get something for your old jerseys soon.

New episode of Three Yards Per Carry will be up overnight.

 

Photo by Tony Capobianco…..