Tag Archive for: Tua Tagovailoa

Dolphins breakout candidates

5 Breakout Candidates for the Miami Dolphins in 2022

The Miami Dolphins kicked of the Mike McDaniel era this week when rookies reported to the team’s facility. The Dolphins 2022 draft class featured a franchise-low four selections, but with undrafted rookies, a decent crop arrived to start training camp. With veterans poised to report on Tuesday July 26th, it’s time to consider which Dolphins are breakout candidates for the coming season.

McDaniel, the quirky offensive guru and 11th head coach in franchise history, is tasked with reshaping one of the most stagnant offensive attacks in the NFL. The Dolphins haven’t had a top-10 offense in 27 years, when Dan Marino was still under center.

Entering his first training camp as a head coach, McDaniel must identify the players that can help take Miami to the next level. The Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game in 2000 but seem to have populated the roster with players talented enough to end that drought.

Here’s a look at five breakout candidates for the Miami Dolphins in 2022.

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: WR Cedrick Wilson Jr.

The headlines this offense naturally went toward the trade acquisition of Tyreek Hill, but the signing of Cedrick Wilson Jr. should also excite ‘Phins fans. Miami targeted Wilson early in free agency, which signals confidence in potential production and offensive fit.

At 6-foot-2, Wilson stands as a solid complement to Miami’s other speedy pass catchers, and he’s something of a burner himself. He fits McDaniel’s as a run-after-the-catch threat, something that, coupled with the addition of Hill, pushed DeVante Parker off Miami’s roster.

Wilson comes to Miami following a career-year with the Cowboys. He made 45 catches for 602 yards and six touchdowns. Last season, Dallas quarterbacks registered a 138.0 passer rating when targeting Wilson on intermediate routes. That figure ranked eighth among all wideouts.

Although he’ll share time and targets with Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Mike Gesicki, among others in the passing game, Wilson should provide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with a reliable redzone threat. Waddle led the Dolphins with 15 redzone targets last year, but no other player was in double figures.

Gesicki saw nine, as did running back Myles Gaskin. Departed wideouts Mack Hollins and Parker vacate 14 redzone targets between them, so Wilson could pick up the slack there. He saw nine redzone targets last season, making six catches, including three for touchdowns.

 

While the 27-year-old fourth-year pro has never recorded a 1,000-yard season, he’s poised to assume a significant role in the Dolphins’ passing attack.

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: RB Chase Edmonds

Miami revamped their backfield this offseason with the additions of Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel, and Alec Ingold. While there’s a clear tie between Mostert and McDaniel given their shared time in San Francisco, Edmonds stands taller among Dolphins breakout candidates.

Edmonds was one of two running backs last season that registered more than 100 carries, over 5.0 yards-per-carry, and over 40 receptions. He finished top-10 in yards-per-rushing-attempt (5.1) and generated 341 yards after contact. Edmonds posted career-highs in 10-plus yard carries (19) and missed tackles forced (16).

Edmonds looks like a great system fit, too. The 49ers used a zone blocking scheme 282 times last season, 6th-most in the NFL. Edmonds thrived behind zone blocking last season, ranking first in the NFL in yards-per-attempt (5.8).

Edmonds seems to have an inside track for the starting role in Miami, and his dual-threat nature has him poised for a breakout season. He made 43 catches in 12 games last season, finishing 14th among running backs. He averaged 3.6 receptions per game, so if he had played a full season, he might have finished with 61 grabs. That figure would have put him top-5 among all running backs.

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: S Brandon Jones

While most of the offseason attention will go to Miami’s other safety Jevon Holland, Brandon Jones also looks ready to make the leap next season. He flashed an elite skill for his position last season, blitzing the quarterback, and finished with five sacks. That figure led all defensive backs in 2021. He also recorded 14 pressures.

Miami personnel official Matt Winston said recently Jones is “very reliable, in terms of what you’re getting day in and day out. You know you’re going to get some sort of explosive play. He’s got a niche rushing the passer in exotic packages. Really being a force in and around the line of scrimmage is where he’s stood out to me.”

Jones posted a 77.6 pass-rush grade in 2021 for Pro Football Focus, which ranked 10th among qualified safeties.

During OTAs, Jones told reporters he wants to avoid being labeled a “blitz only” guy. He said his goal is “just trying to be and find the best way for me that I could be well rounded.”

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: Jaelan Phillips

The No. 18 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Phillips finished with 8.5 sacks, second among all rookies last season behind only Micah Parsons’ 13. He also registered 16 QB Hits as a rookie.

Phillips played all 17 games last season, but seemed to get more comfortable as the year progressed. He recorded seven of his sacks in the second half of the season, including a run of five games registering at least half a sack. Phillips should get more run in 2022 following a rookie campaign that saw him play just 54 percent of defensive snaps overall.

Teammates recognize Phillips’ potential as well. Three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead said Phillips “has the chance to be special” in the NFL. And Phillips’ pass rush partner, Emmanuel Ogbah, noted Phillips “has the mentality” and he’s “excited to see his growth this year.”

For comparison’s sake, Jason Taylor managed five sacks as a rookie, then nine in his second season. Taylor set Miami’s single-season sack record (18.5) in 2002, his sixth season.

If Phillips follows a similar trajectory, he’ll be among the elite pass rushers in the game. Should he make a four-sack jump in Year 2, he’d finish with 12.5, a figure that would’ve tied for seventh-most last season.

Dolphins Breakout Candidate: Tua Tagovailoa

This one seems like the obvious one, so I’ve saved quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for last among the Dolphins breakout candidates. Behind an improved offensive line and with a ground attack designed by running game guru McDaniel, a run-after-the-catch design for this offense should be one Tagovailoa thrives in.

Over his 12 games last season, Tagovailoa registered 2,653 yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and 10 interceptions with a 67.8-percent completion percentage. He led the league in deep ball completion percentage (50.0 percent) and red zone completion percentage (64.9 percent). Tagovailoa posted the highest clean-pocket completion percentage among starting quarterbacks (76.3 percent). That’s noteworthy considering offensive line play should improve following the additions of Armstead and Connor Williams.

Tagovailoa ranked fourth in play-action completion percentage (69.0-percent), too. While he might not excel throwing into tight windows, his top-3 receivers for 2022 can all create space for their quarterback with their speed.

Following his hire as Dolphins head coach, McDaniel said of Tagovailoa: “I think it’s important that you empower the quarterback with the rest of the players around him and the scheme you bring forth. So, I think his best days are in front of him.”

Tagovailoa’s accuracy and decision-making should help him capitalize on the talent upgrades surrounding him in Miami this season.

 

These veterans will report to Miami’s facility on Tuesday, July 26th, set for training camp. The first practice open to the public will occur on July 30th. Follow 5 Reasons and Three Yards Per Carry host Alfredo Arteaga for updates during training camp to see who stands out among the Dolphins breakout candidates.

What Erik Ezukanma brings to the Miami Dolphins

With the 125th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Texas Tech WR Erik Ezukanma.

The Miami Dolphins 2022 NFL Draft series continues with fourth round pick Erik Ezukanma

Round 3: Pick 102

Pre-draft

Initially in the draft process the Miami Dolphins were interested in Texas Tech WR Erik Ezukanma. During the NFL Combine, the Miami Dolphins had a formal interview with Ezukanma.

“Throughout the process, Miami did show a lot of interest and I had a formal (interview) with them at the NFL Combine. That’s where I got this hat. They just showed love throughout the process and for them to pick a spot with me, it was big.”

Erik Ezukanma on his pre-draft process with the Miami Dolphins

On Mike McDaniel’s evaluation of Erik Ezukanma, both he and Chris Grier liked him enough to draft him.

“It was exciting to watch him play and I think he fits the energy and the skill level that we’re looking for. We want guys to be fast and play fast and doing both with a decisiveness and a team-first passion that he bleeds. We’re excited to add him. That was the biggest thing, I saw a football player playing the receiver position.”

Mike McDaniel on Erik Ezukanma 

Scouting Report

Strengths

At 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds, Erik Ezukanma’s best ability in his toolkit is his contested catch ability. He’s goes above defenders and makes catches with defensive backs draped all over him.

The red raider product has the size, length, and strength to defeat press jams. Can make spectacular catches in the open field and when covered by defenders.

My favorite asset of Ezukanma and how Texas Tech preferred to use him. Ezukanma is built for breaking tackles after the catch. He looks like a power back when breaking away from tackles with his frame.

Another facet of his game is his versatility. At Texas Tech, Erik Ezukanma lined up mostly out wide; however, he was used plenty in motion, on screen plays, and swing passes as well as the occasional jet sweep.

“I’m a versatile guy. I feel like I can fit in right where Jaylen Waddle – the way he can take the ball out of the backfield as well as be a deep threat down the field, but also just a versatile guy with RAC ability and YAC ability – yards after contact and run after the catch. You can put me anywhere on the field and I feel like I can help the team in any situation.”

Erik Ezukanma describes his play style

Ezukanma’s hands are strong and among several NFL talents. However, with a revolving door of quarterbacks at Texas Tech Ezukanma had some drops that showed he was adjusting the other quarterbacks

Weaknesses

As mentioned above, a revolving door at quarterback and a coaching change was not ideal for Erik Ezukanma.

His production during the beginning of the season was red hot with 13 catches and 322 yards in his first two games.

The Texas Tech alum needs to improve his release package at the next level. He doesn’t gain enough separation on most of his routes, with the exception of the drag route over the middle.

Erik Ezukanma does not have enough route running ability which is needed for the NFL. Furthermore, while Texas Tech runs a spread concept, Ezukanma was used on scripted routes to maximize his usage and gain production.

There some inconsistencies at the top of his routes and when making adjustments in traffic, more so relying on his frame and contested catch ability to make plays on the ball.

Projection

The way in which Erik Ezukanma or “EZ” can simply pluck the football out of the air is ridiculous. There should not be any issues with his hands throughout his career and based on what he has shown on tape.

I expect Mike McDaniel to put Ezukanma in any position and let him work. His playstyle is very similar to Houston Texans wide receiver Nico Collins, who was also able to snag nearly every deep ball.

“That’s one of my strong suits. I feel like throughout my career I’ve really worked on contested catches, bang-bang plays. I feel like in the beginning of my career at Tech, that was one of the places I struggled at, but I gained more confidence with that and just getting bigger in the weight room, buying into the weight room and being able to make those contested catches even if a defender is on my back or hitting me at the same time. So I feel like that’s one of my high points of my game.”

Erik Ezukanma on his contested catch ability

Often, wide receivers are asked to block in Mike McDaniel’s offense. Ezukanma is more than willing as a blocker and should see an increase in snaps as the season progresses on run plays. Ezukanma has the size and strength to be an asset as a run blocker out on the edge.

In Miami,  he will be best served as a possession receiver that can work the middle of the field, a red zone target and a mismatch against defenders on motions, screens, and jet sweeps.

The modern day of NFL wide receivers is changing where wide receivers are more athletic than defensive backs. A weapon in any route or scenario that can make big plays, Ezukanma is just that.

Mike McDaniel will find a way to get Erik Ezukanma the football and let him eat.

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

 

Use code “FIVE” to receive a matching $100 bonus on Prizepicks

 

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa adding new weather-based focus to training

.As someone used to living in a tropical climate, it can be a severe shock to the system when the environment drastically changes to a much colder setting. Joints freeze up, more effort is needed to do daily tasks. In the case of football players, your performance could go down. Footballs lose 20% pressure, and for a quarterback, that makes a huge difference.

Unfortunately for the Miami Dolphins, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered from that exact scenario. It was clear during last week’s 34-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans, that Tagovailoa was not just having a bad game. The frigid air and pouring rain made it almost impossible for the island native to create any sort of positive momentum.

Tagovailoa had his worst game as a pro by far in what was his biggest opportunity so far. After a seven-game winning streak, all the Dolphins had to do was win two more times. They would be in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. But instead, Tagovailoa went 18-38, for 208 yards and an interception. Even his signature accuracy was severely hampered by the weather. His passes either sailed over the heads of his intended receivers, or bounced at their feet.

It was a wholly unacceptable performance, even in the eyes of Tagovailoa’s most staunch defenders. Tagovailoa was also very self-critical of his performance in that game, refusing to let the weather be an excuse.

“It played somewhat of a role,” Tagovailoa admitted. “But at the game, you got to go out there and you got to execute the plays regardless of the conditions, regardless of what it is. And, that, we just didn’t do enough of.”

It’s admirable that he’s not making excuses for himself. But anyone who watched the game could tell that the weather was having a very adverse effect on Tagovailoa’s game. There seemed to be no preparation for the weather throughout the week. It’s been said that Hall of Fame coach Don Shula allegedly used to soak footballs in ice water before games he knew his team would be playing in awful weather conditions. Many other coaches have similar plans to help their team get acclimated. But this Miami Dolphins squad looked frozen solid. It speaks poorly to the coaching staff for the entire team – not just Tua Tagovailoa – to appear unready for the challenge.

Now the offseason is fast approaching. Tagovailoa has an opportunity to try and show he’s still worth investing in. No matter what, he fully expects the speculation surrounding his future in the NFL to swirl all over again.

“I think people have their own opinions.” He said. “I’ve heard this the entire time I’ve been here so at the end of the day, I can control what I can control and that’s to be the best version of myself for this team. We’ve got to move on to the next game at this point. We’ll look at the mistakes that we’ve made, make some corrections and move on.”

Now with his fate up in the air, Tagovailoa revealed he has a very specific personal training regimen he intends to take into the offseason. One that he hopes will ensure he’s better prepared in the future.

“We do look at the mistakes that we’ve made after every game that we’ve played and see what we can fix to help us become successful so we don’t make those same mistakes. I think for me it’s being able to simulate the cold weather scenario and trying to throw a ball while it’s wet at the same time in cold weather. A lot of the good teams are cold weather teams as well. I think that is something to take into consideration this offseason for myself. I’ll probably go visit my brother or take a trip somewhere that’s cold and kind of get the feel of that.”

Tua Tagovailoa is going to be under scrutiny for not thinking of this sooner. His team may be the Miami Dolphins – for now – but every other AFC East opponent is a cold weather team. Whether it’s fair to criticize him for this or not is irrelevant. It’s already begun. The fan base has already run out of patience with him. He was advertised as the savior of the franchise. He has not lived up to that remarkable title.

Now, Tua Tagovailoa is at a crossroads in his young career. Fair or not, his performance against the New England Patriots could seal his fate with Miami. Or even potential other suitors. Some oddsmakers recently have the Dolphins listed as 6-point underdogs at home against Mac Jones and the visiting New England Patriots. NFL betting sites have them ranked similarly, expecting Miami to be embarrassed one more time, with Tagovailoa laying another egg even with the pressure off.

Loading
Loading...

It may be too late for Tagovailoa in Miami. But a strong performance against the odds to end the season could at least allow him to salvage his career. Before it comes to a cruel and premature end.

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

 

******

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “5Fins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge to win big.

Young Talent Starting to Show up for the Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins continued their win-streak to reach 4 wins straight this past week. Although the Dolphins started the season 1-7, they won out in their past four games, thanks mostly to the young stars on their team.

Tua Tagovailoa has stepped up during the Dolphins win-streak. Tagovailoa’s season completion percentage is 70.1%, which would clock in as the 18th best completion percentage in a season of all time!  To put that into perspective, if the season ended today, Tagovailoa’s completion percentage would be higher than Tom Brady’s highest accuracy ever.

In Sunday’s game against the Panthers, Tagovailoa completed 27 of 31 passes, putting him 8th best for completion percentage in a single game in NFL history (when attempting over 30 passes). If Tagovailoa keeps this up, Miami may have a chance at winning the rest of their games, and maybe even securing a playoff spot.

Jaylen Waddle also played his best in an NFL game yet this past week. He was targeted 10 times, racking up 9 receptions. Waddle also recorded his first ever 100-yard game, gaining 137 yards. Waddle led the Dolphins in receiving, recording more than half of the total receiving yards, along with the only receiving touchdown by the team. Hopefully, this is a good showing of Waddle’s future, as he played amazingly in this game.

Defensively, the team’s rookies also showed out. Jaelan Phillips recorded three sacks this past week, his best game of this season so far. He led the Dolphins in sacks, and arguably put up the best defensive performance of anyone on the team. Jevon Holland also played well, recording his second ever interception in the NFL. It appears he’s headed for Pro Bowls if he can stay healthy, good in coverage and when applying pressure. Whatever one thinks of Miami’s 2020 draft, it appears that Chris Grier did well in 2021.

If Miami’s young stars can keep up this play, the future is bright for the team’s next few years.

*****

Loading
Loading...

Three trade deadline ideas for the Miami Dolphins

The NFL trade deadline will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. ET. Some trades may not be announced until after 4 p.m. ET, but all must be agreed upon and filed to the league office before that time.

With the Trade deadline days away lets go ahead and speculate some moves the Miami Dolphins could make.

Spoiler: this article does not include Deshaun Watson.

WR Devante Parker and a 6th for OT Andre Dillard and a 5th

When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Andre Dillard with their first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, he was seen as one of the top two offensive tackles by many draft experts. However, he hasn’t panned out his draft stock yet.

There have been reports about Dillard being shopped around two AFC teams and would not surprise me  if the Dolphins are one of the two. Desperately, the Dolphins need help along the offensive line. He might not be the most exciting name but he becomes a serviceable starter on a putrid Dolphins offensive line.

Dillard, a backup LT for the Eagles, filled in for an injured Jordan Mailata and looked decent. Dillard, could play LT or RT depending on what the coaching staff prefers.

He has been one of the better OL for the Eagles in his limited playing time and was the highest graded player against the Carolina Panthers.

 

Devante Parker on the other hand has not been able to suit up for the Dolphins much this season. When healthy, he is a valuable weapon in the passing game. Parker could help Jalen Hurts’ development and be a veteran voice in the WR room.

There have been rumors about Devante Parker potentially mulling retirement. It would not be surprising if he is indeed the player as soft tissue injuries have made him sit out multiple games. 

A change of scenery may help Parker get back into his groove. Also, helps the Dolphins to dump of his salary and recoup it for 2022 Free agency. 

 

******

Loading
Loading...

******

WR Albert Wilson for LB Zack Baun

The Saints are desperate for WR help signing Free Agent Kenny Stills. Micheal Thomas has yet to return from IR, Tre’Quan Smith is coming off of IR. Mickey Loomis has to be on the phone for a WR that can stretch the field.

Albert Wilson can be that guy for the remaining 10 games for New Orleans. Wilson has not seen the field much as a Dolphin even with a stellar training camp. It seems as if Miami has been holding onto him as a trade asset.

Baun, the former Badger LB, has been relegated to special teams, and made some major strides during training camp and preseason for his development. Unfortunately, his game tape does not give a strong sample size to see his productivity. Still, Baun is capable of being a strong linebacker in the league.

The former 3rd round pick is speedy around the edges and active in pursuit against the run and does a good job hugging the line of scrimmage. Not to mention, he can cover the flats and hooks decently.

Baun will be helpful in special teams value and Duke Riley could be seen as a casualty, Baun is a cheaper replacement, still on his rookie deal, on special teams and a valuable 3rd down pass rush specialist. He reminds me a little bit of Kyle Van Noy, but lacks experience in this scheme.

OT Austin Jackson and CB Noah Igbinoghene for OT Taylor Decker

This may indeed cause an uproar for Dolphins and Lions fans. If a deal like this is made, Chris Grier and the Dolphins publicly admit that the selections and development of Jackson and Igbinoghene have been a failure.

On Detroit’s end, moving on from Decker shows that the Lions are fully committed to a rebuild and want young cheap players that they can mold to fit into their vision. Decker is in the first year of a four-year, $59.65 million contract extension ($29 million guaranteed), which shouldn’t be discounted in any trade speculation with cap numbers above $17.5 million for 2022-2024. 

Detroit can clean out big cap dollars in those three seasons with a trade. They can also start the future with Penei Sewell at left tackle now, not just as a fill-in for Decker as it has been so far this season.

Furthermore, Miami is able to move on from Austin Jackson and fortify their offensive line; thus to better protect Tua Tagovailoa and help the run game. A better offensive line will allow the Dolphins offense to score points on the board and help their defense. 

Decker may not be able to play out of the gate with a finger injury, but he locks up a spot for the future and bring veteran leadership the Dolphins have been missing for some time.

As for Igbinoghene, he has not been able to see the field much recently. A good athlete that is around the ball at all times cannot seem to make the plays after two years of development from this coaching staff. 

While learning behind one of the best corners in the game, Igbinoghene has not been what the Dolphins have hoped for. A change of scenery in Detroit to learn under former DB coach Aaron Glenn would help his development. It will also have him partner up with Jeffrey Okudah

This also opens up avenues for UDFA Trill Williams to possibly get more playing time, he was active against the Jaguars and made a few plays.

Follow Hussam Patel on Twitter

Brian Flores

Brian Flores definitively puts Dolphins QB controversy to rest

Brian Flores is many things, but there is at least one thing he is not. He is not particularly fond of repeating himself. Undoubtedly, that’s a trait he shares with the majority of the world. Who wants to say the same thing over and over as if no one heard you the first time? But it seems that the Miami Dolphins head coach has been dealing with this for the past two weeks, as rumors swirl about the status of QB Tua Tagovailoa.

To be clear, Brian Flores has been saying the same thing all through the offseason. Apparently, in his mind only, Flores has been abundantly clear. All of the outside noise, it doesn’t matter. All of those rumors regarding acquiring Texans star QB Deshaun Watson, more noise. But ever since Yahoo Sports’s Charles Robinson reignited the firestorm with his report of Miami discussing a trade with Houston, it’s been hard to ignore. Flores directly addressed this issue on Tuesday.

“I think there’s always rumors. There’s always speculation.” He said Tuesday. “There’s always some form of distractions and I think as a team we’ve got to block that stuff out and play. I thought they did that yesterday and I think that’s something that all players deal with in the National Football League. There’s always something going on. There’s always something that – some form of speculation or controversy and we just block it out, ignore it and move on.”

But the speculation continued, and it even reached a point where Flores felt compelled to make a statement to the entire team.

A statement that Flores would prefer remains in-house.

“You guys know this, I don’t really get into conversations I have with the team, players.” Flores said on Wednesday. “Those conversations are private. Like I’ve said before, I think it’s just common courtesy to keep those conversations between myself and the player or the team. I will say that Tua is our quarterback, I think he’s had a good training camp, I think he’s made a lot of progress. I think he’s made a lot of improvement and we’re pleased with where he is. He’s going through his preparations for New England the way he should be, and that’s where we are as a team.”

Loading
Loading...

Now that should have been enough. He said Tua Tagovailoa is the starting quarterback. But speculation continued, because Flores still hadn’t outright said that Miami was not interested in Deshaun Watson. So again the question was asked. Is Tua Tagovailoa the starter? And again, Flores repeated himself. This time though, the frustration came through.

“I don’t know if I can be more clear. I don’t know how many times – I don’t know how much more clear I can be here.” Flores said. “Tua is the starter. Do I need to say it again? I will.”

Later that same day, Tua Tagovailoa added his own comments. He made it clear he appreciated his coach coming up to bat for him.

“I think it means a lot with it coming from the head coach. The support that I have from him and from the team, it means a lot. But for me, I’m just focused literally on trying to get our guys ready for next week.”

Even if Brian Flores doesn’t say the specific words everyone’s looking for, the message is clear. Not to mention the message has been consistent all offseason long. The answer is always the same. Tua Tagovailoa is the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. Maybe there is some truth to the rumors that owner Stephen Ross wants Deshaun Watson.

On the other hand, several reports came out that Ross won’t force football decisions and has faith in Tagovailoa. That should be the end of the discussion. Brian Flores is as clear as he can possibly be. He isn’t going to make an official statement about Deshaun Watson, no matter how much anyone pries. He’s been consistent about that ever since he arrived in 2019, and he reiterated that philosophy last Sunday after the Bengals game.

“Reports (and) speculation are not things we really get into. Look, I understand the question; but as I’ve said in the past, any conversations we have or don’t have with other clubs are going to be internal. I’ve been pretty steadfast about that – with our players, with other clubs – and that will remain the case.”

Will this satisfy the skeptics who still insist the Miami Dolphins aren’t happy with Tua Tagovailoa? Probably not. But Brian Flores isn’t going to change his personal philosophy just to appease the media or the fan base. However, there is a counterargument. Why would Brian Flores be so evasive about Deshaun Watson, and yet so definitive about Xavien Howard when rumors swirled around him?

Everyone will remember last month when Brian Flores went on record to tell the media to write down they didn’t want to trade Xavien Howard. He couldn’t have been more clear. So why not do the same now for Tua Tagovailoa and Deshaun Watson?

The simple answer: He’s been clear about Tagovailoa. But Watson is not on the team. Therefore, Flores is not commenting. Is it the best strategy? That’s up for debate. Nevertheless, that’s who Brian Flores is, and everyone just needs to accept that.

The easy way to make this all go away, obviously, is for Tagovailoa to become the player he was in college. All preseason signs point to that being the case this season. If Miami wins games, if the offense looks good, the Watson talk will vanish into the ether. If he struggles, however, Flores has a lot of repeating himself to look forward to. He’s put down the rumors every which way, but there’s only one thing that will kill them.

As the old saying goes: Winning cures all.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “5Fins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest to get started.

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. 

Loading
Loading...

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.

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “5Fins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest to get started.

Will Fuller

Dolphins WR Will Fuller making long-awaited return

It’s been a long time coming. Not since Thanksgiving of last year has veteran wide receiver Will Fuller officially touched an NFL football field. Finally, on Monday, Fuller dressed fully and participated with his new Miami Dolphins teammates in practice.

“I haven’t played a game in a long time – since I guess Thanksgiving.” Fuller said on Monday. “That’s just something I have to work out through practice and shake that rust off. I feel pretty good, though. I’m out here running routes today and I feel pretty good.”

As of now, Fuller is the only wide receiver who hasn’t had much of a chance to work with QB Tua Tagovailoa. They did spend some time together in the offseason, running basic routes and building timing. But all of that was done on their own time. Now, everyone will get a chance to see what Fuller brings to the offense designed specifically for Tagovailoa. The very same offense that already boasts the likes of Albert Wilson, Mike Gesicki, and electrifying rookie Jaylen Waddle, among others.

“This is probably one of the deepest and talented receiving corps that I’ve been a part of, just as far as all of the guys.” Fuller said. “We all can get it done and of course the tight ends as well and the running backs. It’s been fun to watch these guys. I’m excited to get out there with them and put my best out there.”

Now with two consecutive days of practice under his belt, signs point to Fuller finally being healthy. Injuries have been the story of his career so far. His talent is undeniable, and his speed is deadly. Unfortunately, it’s his health that’s the biggest question mark. Since being drafted in the first round by the Houston Texans in 2016, Fuller has missed 27 games in five seasons thanks to nagging injuries.

“Those guys are working hard to get back.” Head coach Brian Flores said on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t say there’s any worry, it’s more they’re working to get back. They’ll be out there today. From that standpoint I know they are doing everything they can and that’s really all we can ask of them. That’s kind of the approach I take. Injuries happen … All that we can ask is that they do everything they can to get back as quickly as they can. All the guys who are dealing with nicks and bruises are doing what they can to get back.”

However, there is a more telling story with Will Fuller. When DeAndre Hopkins was in Houston, Fuller had to share the glory. Hopkins always had the spotlight as a perennial All-Pro wide receiver. Once Hopkins left to Arizona, however, everything changed. Quarterback Deshaun Watson now relied on Fuller to be his top target, and he took advantage of that chance. 2020 was Fuller’s best statistical year yet, as he logged 53 catches for 879 yards and eight touchdowns. The craziest thing of all, is that Fuller only played in 11 games last season. Which means he put those numbers up while still missing five games.

Loading
Loading...

If Fuller had played the whole season, who knows what he could have done? Now, it’s Tua Tagovailoa who will get the chance to benefit from Fuller’s presence, and he spoke about how happy he was to have the veteran back in practice at last on Wednesday.

“It’s good to have all of our guys back out here, to be able to work some timing and to be able to get some work in with them.” Tagovailoa said. “I think just them being able to get back into the huddle, hear calls, get out, know where they’re lining up at and then executing with them, I think that’s very important.”

The Miami Dolphins offense already looks vastly improved even without Will Fuller on the field. It’s hard to imagine how much better it can look with Fuller added to the equation. Perhaps, if he can stay healthy, Miami may feel compelled to offer him a big extension. Fuller signed a 1-year, almost fully guaranteed $10,625,011 contract with the Dolphins, both cashing in and betting on himself simultaneously.

Will Fuller is betting he can stay healthy. He’s betting that Tua Tagovailoa is ready to make a huge jump in his career and make him look good. If he wins those bets, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Fuller will be a very rich man in 2022 and beyond.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “5Fins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and you can also take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest by using the promo code “dolphins” to get started.

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.

Loading
Loading...

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.

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “dolphins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest to get started.

Miami Dolphins

Preseason Week 2 – Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons: 5 players to watch

After the first preseason game ended in a disappointing loss against the Chicago Bears, the Miami Dolphins will look to bounce back against their second training camp partner, the Atlanta Falcons. To be fair to Miami, the starting players looked impressive. QB Tua Tagovailoa looks vastly improved, even if the one interception in the endzone ruins his stats. As for the defense, even without Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, they stifled Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. The Bears didn’t get their first 1st down of the game until just a few seconds left before the end of the first half.

It wasn’t until the 3rd and 4th string players entered the game that things went awry. So when Justin Fields says the game was slow to him, remember who he was facing. He may live to regret that comment. The only true concern the entire game was the offensive line. They could not run block at all. The Miami Dolphins hope to change that against the Falcons. Alex Donno did his show, “Donno Daily,” and the five starting offensive linemen were the immediate choices for five players to watch during the live stream.

Now while that comment was made mostly as a joke, it is still valid. The offensive line needs to perform better than last week. So with that said, let’s take a look at the other top five players to watch during the second preseason game.

1. Tua Tagovailoa – QB

Let’s not beat around the bush this time. Obviously, everyone will want to see what Tagovailoa does in his second preseason outing. Will he continue to find holes in the defense? Can he navigate the pressure in the pocket? Will he make better decisions with the football in the red zone? Again, Tagovailoa looked masterful against the Bears. Except for that one bad decision that resulted in an interception in the end zone.

Some have said it’s a result of Tagovailoa’s lack of arm strength. True, he doesn’t have a cannon for an arm like Justin Herbert. His success is based on timing and reading the defense. Which, for those who paid attention to how Tagovailoa played at Alabama, has been his game from the very beginning. Watching the throw on replay, the main issue was when he decided to throw it, not how fast the ball got there. Even for a super strong arm, the throw was risky.

These are the kinds of things that happen with young quarterbacks, particularly ones that don’t have immense physical capabilities. Tagovailoa is learning how to dissect defenses and find the openings in them. His arm isn’t “weak,” it’s merely average. Sadly, average has become the new weak in the eyes of many. QBs like Tagovailoa take a little longer to develop. But history has shown that some of the QBs in NFL history were not known for their cannon arms.

They did, however, have an innate knack for knowing where to go with the ball and when. That is what to expect from Tua Tagovailoa. Watch to see if he displays more of that trait tonight.

2. Salvon Ahmed – RB

It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins want to use a running back committee approach. There is no set “starter” per say, it’s all about the matchups. Basically, every time anyone asks head coach Brian Flores about the starter at running back, he gives a similar answer.

“We like all our backs.” He said on Thursday. “They’re all a little bit different. They all have the ability to play multiple downs. We are going to try to use them all. From Malcolm (Brown) to Myles (Gaskin) to Salvon (Ahmed). Patrick Laird has gone in there and done some good things. (Jordan) Scarlett has gone in there, he had a couple good runs last week. (Gerrid) Doaks has gone in there and had some good runs. We try to use them all.”

Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop specific players from standing out above the rest. Only one RB actually managed to shine against the Bears, and that was Salvon Ahmed.

Both Ahmed and Myles Gaskin hail from Washington. They were teammates there and between the two of them, Gaskin was the starter while Ahmed was the change of pace back. That dynamic seems to be repeating itself, as Gaskin tends to get the heavier carry load. However, if the pattern continues where Ahmed gets production with his superior speed, the Miami Dolphins may need to reanalyze that.

The Atlanta Falcons run defense isn’t exactly top-tier. Unless there’s a complete meltdown in blocking, Ahmed or one of the other backs should be able to gain some yards on the ground. Keep a close eye on Ahmed and see if he looks better than the others.

Loading
Loading...

3. Austin Jackson – OT

At least one offensive lineman still had to make this list, in spite of the discussion with Alex Donno. Without doubt, Austin Jackson has taken a beating over this past week. Reporters, fans, coaches, they’ve all been pushing him in hopes that he’ll rebound after his terrible performance against the Bears in his first ever preseason game. True, they are being patient with him. On the other hand, the Miami Dolphins obviously want to see some improvement from him as time passes. This will be an opportunity to do so.

Jackson was a high ceiling prospect coming out of USC. That’s why the team felt compelled to draft him 18th overall. He has all the physical tools, it’s just a matter of putting them all together. That’s partly coaching, but it’s also on him to do his part. He’s working hard, trying to make the most of his reps. Even Tua Tagovailoa is doing his part to help Jackson get back on his feet.

The Atlanta Falcons pass rush isn’t known for being dangerous. In fact, most Falcons fans have lamented their complete inability to get to the quarterback and create any sort of pressure. That changed during the joint practices with the Dolphins. According to numerous reports, Tagovailoa was harassed in the pocket all week long, which isn’t a good sign for Miami. The struggle is so real that the Dolphins even decided to give up a 7th round draft pick to take a flyer on former Panthers OT Greg Little.

Austin Jackson is the man to watch simply because his struggle was the most obvious last week. Any sort of improvement this week will be welcome.

4. Jaelen Phillips – LB

The Miami Dolphins kept Jaelen Phillips out of the first preseason game in spite of the fact he participated in practice against the Bears. The plan, according to Brian Flores, was to bring him along slowly. Now Phillips has gotten in a full week with no setbacks. It’s more likely that this time, the former Miami Hurricanes star will get a chance to see real game action for the first time in his career.

But that isn’t guaranteed.

Phillips has the potential to become the modern-age Jason Taylor if he reaches his full potential. In many ways, he’s what Dion Jordan could have been if he hadn’t essentially thrown his career way with off-the-field issues. The only thing stopping Phillips from getting there is his own health. His ceiling is staggering, but he won’t reach it if he doesn’t play. The first thing to watch against the Falcons is if Flores allows him to play.

If the answer to that is yes, then watch to see how Phillips does rushing the passer, dropping back into coverage, and being an overall menace to the Falcons offense. If he happens to start, then that will say even more about what the Miami Dolphins think of him.

5. Jakeem Grant – WR

Depending on who you ask, Grant is either a lock to make the Miami Dolphins roster, or his days are numbered and it’s only a matter of time before he’s cut. The split opinion of the Texas Tech standout is truly remarkable. He is undeniably a dynamic playmaker once the ball is in his hands. But that in and of itself is the problem. It’s not always a guarantee that the ball will get into his hands.

As a kick and punt returner, it’s hard to find better options on the roster than Jakeem Grant. The only one who even comes close is rookie Jaylen Waddle, and he’s expected to contribute much more as a wide receiver. It might not be in Miami’s best interest to put Waddle out there to be targeted. As a wide receiver, Grant has a checkered past marred by multiple drops. These drops have caused the fan base to largely turn on Grant, but apparently the coaching staff still sees value in him.

It’s still not a guarantee that Grant will make the roster. He has to show he’s reliable as a receiver as well as a return man. Thankfully, he and Tua Tagovailoa seem to have a strong rapport building in training camp. He’s been the target of a number of Tagovailoa’s practice touchdowns, which shows they can make it work even against Miami’s starting defense, as well as Chicago and Atlanta’s.

Love him or hate him, Jakeem Grant brings electricity to the roster. As it’s unlikely most of the projected starters at wide receiver will play against the Falcons, Grant will have ample opportunity to showcase his skills. He needs to make the most of it to keep the leg up he has on some of the other fringe players.

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

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at everythingtradeshows.com or call 954-791-8882

 

Thrive Fantasy takes away the hours of research required to make the most out of your fantasy sports experience. Thrive’s featured $100K guaranteed contest is only $20 to enter, and the first-place winner takes $20K.

Go to https://www.thrivefantasy.com/?promo=5Fins and use the promo code “5Fins” to match up to $100 on your first deposit when you sign up, and you can also take advantage of your Dolphins knowledge with their special Dolphins-based contest by using the promo code “dolphins” to get started.