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Stock up, Stock down vs San Francisco 49ers

Welcome back to another installment of Stock Up Stock Down. In Week 5 of the NFL season, your Miami Dolphins came out on top against the San Francisco 49ers in a surprisingly dominant fashion with only a few things to nitpick at. We took control of the game from the first drive and did not let up throughout the game. With so much to dissect, let’s dive right in

Stock Up

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan must have a couple of burner Twitter accounts and saw all the calls for Tua to start because he came out on fire from the very first play. All last year we praised Fitz for his ability to give his receivers a chance to make plays on the ball by throwing the 50/50 balls, which he has done this year but only to Gesicki and DVP, and it was apparent starting the game with a deep shot to Preston for 47 yards and culminating with a 3 yard TD pass to Adam Shaheen.

Ryan led an efficient offense all afternoon long, finishing with not just the stats (22/28 350 yards 3 TD) but also scoring on 9 of the 12 drives the offense was on the field (1 was the final drive to kill time and in the game). Overall, because of his play, I doubt we hear anything else about Tua starting until we after we play the Jets at home in Week 6.

Preston Williams

All season long, Fitzpatrick has shown a level of confidence in DVP and Gesicki, but this week it appears the level of trust extended to Preston and showed what it could result in. Preston, from the first play, took the extra trust and earned more with a 47-yard deep catch to start the game, and he did not let up the rest of the game leading to the first 100-yard game of his young career. He finished the afternoon with 4 catches for 106 yards and a TD in what I would call the most complete game of his career. The key here is going to continue to see this effort and attention to detail from the Unicorn because if we do, the sky is the limit for him.

Jason Sanders

Last week I placed Jason Sanders in the stock up as a slight to Flores’s inability or unwillingness to make tough decisions, but the start to the year that Jason has had is truly something to marvel at. Jason has started the year 14/14 on field goals and another 10/10 on extra points. It is a piece of mind to know that your kicker is perfect on every kick each time you send him out there.

Defense

This must be what it feels like to have a defensive-minded Head Coach because the D was flying around all afternoon long. Throughout the game, we saw players like Jerome Baker, Eric Rowe, Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, and even Andrew Van Ginkel. Jerome finished with 8 tackles and a huge sack at the end to ice it. Rowe shut down Kittle to a tune of 4 catches for 44 yards. Xavien got an interception, which is his third game straight with an interception. Byron Jones seemed to be the missing piece that solidified the rest of the defense as Noah was not tasked with an impossible task. Lastly, one of my personal gems through my analysis of his tape, AVG. AVG was a wrecking ball off the edge all afternoon long, totaling 6 tackles 1 sack, 1 FF, and 1.5 TFL. For more in-depth on AVG.

Coaching Staff

The Coaching Staff all should get some credit for the game plan and adjustments made throughout the game by getting an early lead after a 4th down stop. After that momentum swing, it was all downhill for the 49ers. On the defensive side, the coaching staff placed their players in positions to succeed by eliminating the 49ers offense from ever getting in rhythm through the air. We realized early on that their secondary was extremely small, with the lone exception was Brian Allen, who was just activated this week. All game long we attacked a beat up and weak secondary. Preston being single teamed all game led to us hitting him early and getting him his 100-yard game as well as getting another huge game from Mike Gesicki.

Stock Down

Jordan Howard

I find it hard to imagine seeing Jordan Howard in a Dolphins uniform for very much longer. A random and surprise coaching decision to not dress Jordan for the game led to more of Breida and Myles taking over goal-line duties. I still am of the opinion that if Howard was given the same role and opportunity as Myles, he would more than show the skills that have made him a 1,000-yard RB in the league.

Rushing Attack

It seems counterintuitive that we would sit a talented RB while still averaging only 2.8 yards per carry before the game. That is unacceptable and by looking at the tape Myles is only getting whatever the offensive line is getting for him. I don’t see any explosive moves or ability to make a man miss and take it to the house and while Coach Flores has bromance for Myles, but we need to start getting the ball to Breida and even Jordan Howard. Think about this, Myles had a 21-yard run (his longest on the year) and had a total of 57 yards rushing on 16 carries. My math is funny sometimes but 15 carries for 36 yards equals 2.4 yards a carry. Unacceptable.

Jesse Davis at Right Tackle

It’s becoming harder to see a world where Jesse Davis comes back to have his job on as the Right Tackle once Austin Jackson comes back from IR. Seeing both Solomon Kindley and Robert Hunt move bodies around all game long really showed that we have a solid foundation to build on and one which needs as much playing time as possible, even if it comes at the cost of veterans who are mere stopgaps for the future. By all indications our investments this past draft have been fruitful and eventually we will have an OL with 3 rookies playing and based off the early results, we have no need to feel nervous about saying that.

Rush Defense

I really have a tough time understanding how a team that finished with 26 less points than us still manages to average 6.8 yards per carry totaling 131 for the day and 1 TD. Somehow while being up the entirety of the game, we still allowed San Francisco the ability to run the ball when they wanted to even though they had to throw it all game to try and get back into it. If this had been a closer game or even a game that San Francisco got a lead in, are we talking 200+ yards rushing being given up? It does little to play the what if games, but this is a trend that still has not been broken and with the potential loss of Davon Godchaux we lose one of our most experienced run defenders to an already porous rush defense.

Overall this team pulled off a great win which should show guys that these types of results are possible when everyone is playing together, mistake free and discipline brand of football. Coach Flores constantly preaches about each player starring in their role and if everyone can buy in to that we may be able to go on a little win streak here with the lowly but still rival New York Jets coming into town.

 

 

 

Stock up, Stock down vs Seattle Seahawks

Welcome back, guys, to another installment of Stock Up Stock Down. In Week 4 of the 2020 NFL season, your Miami Dolphins hosted the Seattle Seahawks and came up short in the end with a score to 31-23. In a hard-fought loss to a heavily favored team, let us dive in and see what happened in Week 4.

Stock Up

Solomon Kindley

A quarter of the season is over and Solomon Kindley has catapulted himself as the best pick of the past draft for us. Solomon has shown that his strengths in college (run blocking, double teaming, pulling) are strengths in the pros. Most importantly, his weaknesses (pass blocking and mobility) are areas he has attacked to get better with the results being apparent. Pro Football Focus graded Solomon as the highest-graded rookie OL in Week 4 of the whole league after allowing 0 pressures on 54 pass-blocking snaps while working through a foot injury he had before and during the game.

Devante Parker

Devante Parker has completely shed the soft label he had early on in his career. Anyone who closely follows and watches tape on DVP sees that the explosion from last year is not there at present. He looks a step slower, which can be the difference between a completion and an interception. Making no excuses and with an obviously not 100% hamstring, Devante took advantage of a plus matchup like an elite WR does.

Early on, the effort was to get DVP going with 2 catches, but he had to make some plays off during the middle of the first quarter because of a new and separate ankle injury. Devante came back and went to work from the second quarter on. DVP all game got open on slants, posts, and dig routes to the tune of 10 catches on 12 targets netting 110 yards with a long of 21. In a season that shows more and more the lack of explosive threats in this offense, it is a relief to see how consistent Devante has become while fighting through an injury that early in his career would keep him out.

Jason Sanders

Giving only praise and not harping on the negative, let’s give some credit to Jason for converting on all 5 of his attempts, yes, 5 attempts (more on that later). He was Coach Flores’ security blanket all afternoon long and would have been the only player to score without the final drive and Fitzpatrick late 10-yard run.

Ogbah & Lawson

For the first time this season, this pair of free agents popped all afternoon and showed exactly the reasons we brought them in for. Shaq had only 2 tackles, but they were a TFL and a Sack to show his versatility in stopping the run and being strong enough to wrestle Russell Wilson down. Ogbah was more impactful with 5 total tackles. Of those 5, 1 was a sack, 2 were TFL, and additionally had 2 QB hits, which led to Russell early struggles in the game as he was forced to leave the pocket consistently where we were unable to slow down Russell’s scrambles with him throwing on the run at an elite level.

Texans 1st and 2nd Round Picks

The Laremy Tunsil Trade is looking more and more like we committed highway robbery for all of those picks. After a 0-4 start to the season, the Texans have announced that Coach/GM Bill O’Brien has been relieved of his duties effective immediately. With our own struggles plus the ones the Texans are continuing to add, we can be sitting with potentially 2 top 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s paramount that we add players at skill positions early and often to properly give Tua the weapons needed to thrive.

Stock Down

RedZone Offense

5 field goals, 1 touchdown, which came on the game’s final drive for the Dolphins. That is just unacceptable in any NFL game, let alone one where we are playing and trying to limit the leading MVP candidate for this year. 5 different times Flores decided to go for a field goal instead of going for it on 4th down. 5 different times.

They score ended up being 23-31, meaning 8 points short, which could have come in any of the 5 instances we thought best to go for field goals. Ultimately if we want to have a chance to compete and beat teams that very clearly overmatch us, we need to be out of the ordinary and be aggressive when the opportunities present themselves.

Rushing Attack

After last year where Ryan Fitzpatrick led us in rushing yards, and we decided to invest heavily in the OL and RBs, I could not fathom a single game where Fitz would lead us in rushing, and yet here we are again. As much as I love Myles Gaskins, it’s clear he is doing everything to the best of his ability, which still only leaves us with a 4.0 average rushing, longs of 15 yards rushing receiving, and finally 0 touchdowns.

How can Jordan Howard and Matt Breida be combined for only 36 carries when Myles has 48! Matt and Jordan are both proven backs who have shown they can perform at high levels in this league, and yet they have less than half the carries individually that Myles has? The coaching staff will have to take a hard look in the mirror because if Fitzpatrick cannot survive without a running game, I don’t want to even chance what Tua would look like with this rushing attack.

Fitzpatrick

It’s becoming tougher and tougher to swallow the product being fed to us by Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is an elite backup QB that can come in for a pinch and bring energy to a team but being relied on as a starter for 16 games is becoming more lunacy than unrealistic. Ultimately, this year’s goal is to get Tua comfortable enough that after the next draft where we add him some weapons, he can take the next step in his development, but without actually giving him playtime, how can he really get ready?

To clarify, I am not saying that Fitzpatrick was the problem in the loss versus the Seahawks because we severely lack talent at the skill positions. Outside of DVP and Gesicki, we don’t have anyone that consistently threatened defenses but having said that, Fitzpatrick is also not the solution. I wouldn’t want Tua to have to struggle with these skill position players, but there were plenty of times during the game where Fitz did not look past his first read, which from a veteran is unforgivable, but from a rookie would be understandable growing pains.

Jerome Baker

I really have had to start asking myself if maybe Jerome is hurt or something undisclosed behind the scenes is going on. After a monster first game where he totaled 16 tackles and played 95.3% of the snaps, Baker has totaled 16 tackles the next 3 games(!). And with each game, his snap percentage is going down. In week 2, he dropped to 93.4%, Week 3 to 89.4%, and finally, an alarming 69.8% of the snaps last week. As a player, we all thought would take the next step and be Coach Flores’s ultimate chess piece has really fallen flat this year and maybe in the doghouse similar to what Raekwon McMillan last year, and we see how that ended up.

Coaching Staff

Many questionable decisions could be dissected in-depth, but when do we start asking ourselves, is Coach Flores really a defensive genius? Every game at multiple instances, I ask myself, why is the defense struggling so much? Why can we not consistently rush the passer, stop the run, miss tackles, or just use or pieces more effectively? Noah Igbinoghene is going to be a great player one day, let’s hope, but why is he every game matched up against one on one and getting picked on all game? Why do we have such an inability to adjust to what the opponent is doing to us?

Every half time besides last week, it always feels like the other team comes out with a plan with what to attack in the second half while we are just continuing on doing what we did from the first half. Lastly, for Chan Gailey and the offensive side of the ball, we need more explosive plays, and Preston and Myles have shown to be unable to do either. We need to see more of Jakeem, more Lynn Bowden, more of Matt Breida and Jordan Howard. And can we gather up the courage one time to play like its 2020 and try and go for at least 1 of the 5-field goal attempts we just “couldn’t” pass up? Almost all analytics say to try and convert some of them, and that is what ultimately killed us more than anything.

Overall, this team desperately needs a jolt of energy and a coaching staff who can adjust. We can fix one of those issues by possibly seeing what Tua can do, but when can we hope for Flores and the rest of the staff to hold themselves as accountable as they hold players. Till next time, Fins Up!

 

 

 

Dolphins stock up, stock down vs Bills

Welcome back to another installment of Stock Up Stock Down. In Week 2 of the NFL season, your Miami Dolphins lost a nail bitter to the Buffalo Bills 28-31 in a game where we had a lightning delay and truly felt like we were down more than we were. Let’s dive into what went well and not so well this week.

Stock Up

Solomon Kindley:

It’s hard to put into words how to quantify Solomon having a hell of a game due to us not cracking 100 yards rushing, but man, was he flashing all game. Him and Hunt is showing the tenacity to want to finish blocks consistently, which is a sight for sore eyes. Did you see him pulling on that Jordan Howard touchdownrun? I sure did.

Mike Gesicki:

A promising sign that a player is beginning to take the next step in his development is seeing them take advantage of favorable matchups. Going into this game, the Bills had ruled out their top 2 LB meaning Gesicki was going to be getting covered by 3rd and 4th string players consistently, and man did he take advantage. Gesicki was all over the field running crossers, digs, and even coming down with one hand catches. Gesicki finished his afternoon scoring a touchdown to bring it to within 3 points and totaling eight catches for 130 yards and the touchdown.

Isaiah Ford:

One of the position groups that I have been challenging the most to see more is the WR room. Sticking to the positive (that Preston drop on 4 th down was brutal) Isaiah took full advantage of the opportunities given to him and ended the day with seven catches for 76 yards. More importantly, than the stats was Isaiah being Fitz security blanket; anytime a 3rd down was needed to keep the game close, it was to either Mike Gesicki or Isaiah Ford.

Ryan Fitzpatrick:

After a dreadful Week 1 for Fitz, this was an excellent rebound game. In yet another week where we cannot crack 100 yards rushing, Fitzpatrick had to manufacture everything with a defense that had little to no respect (and rightfully so) for the run game. Fitz kept it close all game and willed us to within 3 points and onside kick from making this game go into potentially overtime. Fitzpatrick completed the afternoon with 328 yards throwing, two touchdowns with a 65% completion percentage. I threw all those numbers out to show that Fitz was not the problem , and Tua would make little to no change. It is frustrating to see the other rookies in Burrow and Herbert already playing, but Fitz has earned himself some breathing room this week.

Stock Down

Jerome Baker:

Coming off a 16 tackle and impactful game, I was highly disappointed to feel Jerome becomes a ghost today. From 16 tackles to only five today, I am interested in the All 22 coming in to see if he was game planned to be taken away or if he didn’t bring the same intensity as Week 1. Overall a lackluster effort from the defense.

High Priced Free Agents:

I am really hoping the early indications are off, but man has every single high- priced free agent been a colossal waste of money. Byron will be excluded due to getting hurt early on in the game but everyone else has been terrible. KVN has missed multiple sacks in multiple games. Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Elandon Roberts were all signed to shore up the run defense and they have made no difference. Overall the defense has looked worse than the one that finished the year last season. Seems odd to come to that conclusion after all the money and draft capital that has been allocated to the defense.

Coaching Staff:

A disturbing pattern in my Stock Up and Stock Down report has already shown itself in this young season, and that is the coaching staff making terrible decisions. Coming into the game, the coaching staff decided that Josh Allen was not going to beat us with his legs and made him a passer in the pocket. Josh took the challenge and torched the defense for a career-high 417 yards passing and four touchdowns.

The defense never adjusted to Josh throwing it all over the field until Stephon Diggs accumulated eight catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. After the game Xavien Howard was asked why Noah Igbinoghene was exclusively on Diggs getting torched for five catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. Xavien responded that the game plan called for Byron to shadow Diggs all game, and when he went down, they went next man up. The plan going into the game was not working, and just like the last game, there was no adjustment by the coaching staff. Eventually, the coaching staff is going to have to take responsibility for not only a terrible game plan but also not being willing to trash the plan and adjust to what is going on during the game.

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

Dolphins stock up, stock down vs Patriots

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

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

Stock Up

Brandon Jones

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

Austin Jackson

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

Christian Wilkins

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

Jerome Baker

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

 

Stock Down

Ryan Fitzpatrick

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

Wide Receivers

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

Run Defense

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

Coaching Staff

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

 

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