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Dolphins Defense Had Better Make Some Quick Adjustments Prior to Thursday’s Showdown in Jacksonville

The Miami Dolphins week two home effort against divisional rival Buffalo was better than what they produced in week one on the road in New England.

The problem is, the results were the same.

The Fins are at 0-2, which maybe isn’t a complete shock to fans that knew with such a young team there would again be growing pains in 2020.

The issue though is that this team has shown resolve already that they can play with anyone, and now they have to put four quarters together, but won’t have much time to do it.

The Dolphins will be in action before anyone else this week, as they will make the short trip to Jacksonville to play the AFC South’s Jacksonville Jaguars on “Thursday Night Football,” at 8:30pm ET Thursday.

Miami opens as a three-point underdog, which isn’t a shock based on the fact the Jaguars come in at 1-1 after a week one home win over the Indianapolis Colts which many felt was an upset.

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Credit the Dolphins for hanging tough with the team that many have picked to win the AFC East in 2020 in the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, and nearly pulling out a win.

The Dolphins worked their way back into the game and led 20-17 after a short Jordan Howard touchdown run with 10:11 left to play.

It was the Dolphins defense that had a letdown though Sunday, as Bills young starter Josh Allen marched Buffalo right down the field for two touchdowns at 5:59 and 3:09 of the quarter to put the Bills up for good at 31-20.

If there has been something that’s been disappointing for the Dolphins in two games it’s their ability to put heat on the opposing quarterbacks.

Week one they saw a reborn Cam Newton and the Patriots, and Newton didn’t look like he had lost much from his good years with the Carolina Panthers.

Allen on Sunday helped the Bills pile up over 500 yards of offense, and was only sacked one time for minus four yards.

He also carved up the young Dolphins secondary, throwing for 417 yards on 24 completions with four touchdowns to boot, the last two the critical ones with the game on the line.

Adjustments will have to be made on the fly, as Miami only will get one day of practice before they meet up with Gardner Minshew II, who threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-30 last second loss to the Titans.

We will see if that one day of practice and adjustments are enough for the Fins, but no matter a better overall effort is needed or this team will sit 0-3 come Friday morning.

Dolphins Announce They Will Stay in Locker Room for Both National Anthems

A lot of things are going to be watched closely come opening day Sunday around the NFL, but maybe none more closely than how teams now treat not one – but two National Anthems.

The Dolphins have announced that they will NOT be on the field for either one – and that they will wait each one out before taking the field Sunday in New England.

It’s an interesting move, but likely they won’t be the only team that follows suit and doesn’t come out for either anthem.

Wednesday’s Dolphins and Patriots Injury Report

MIAMI DOLPHINS
 
Practice Report
  LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday TE Mike Gesicki (glute), CB Xavien Howard (knee), CB Byron Jones (achilles), WR DeVante Parker (hamstring), LB Kyle Van Noy (hand), WR Preston Williams (knee)
 
  FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday QB Tua Tagovailoa (hip)
 
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
 
Practice Report
  DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday T Yodny Cajuste (knee), LB Cassh Maluia (knee)
 
  LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday WR Julian Edelman (knee), WR Gunner Olszewski (foot), DE Chase Winovich (shoulder)

Dolphins Taking Calls for Backup QB Josh Rosen

The Dolphins are reportedly fielding trade inquiries for quarterback Josh Rosen according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
It is hard to believe there is a strong market for Rosen, who is firmly entrenched as the third-string quarterback in Miami, but perhaps teams are looking for a backup they can develop and are still intrigued by his draft pedigree.

The Arizona Cardinals traded up in the 2018 draft to select Rosen as the No.10-overall pick out of UCLA but he was mostly horrendous in 13 starts his rookie season, albeit with a clueless coaching staff and few offensive weapons.

The new coaching staff was so impressed with him that they took Kyler Murray No.1-overall in 2019, making Rosen expendable.

Then it was on to Miami, who gave the Cardinals a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fifth-round pick. Rosen wasn’t much better in his three starts in Miami-although he was once again put in a poor situation with a tanking team-and was unable to beat out grizzled veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

With No.5-overall pick Tua Tagovaolia showing he is fully recovered from the serious hip injury he suffered during his final season at Alabama and Fitzpatrick still in Miami to mentor Tua/make spot starts, Rosen is once again deemed expendable.

NFL 2020: Josh Rosen, John Ross among 14 potential trade candidates ahead of cut-down day

So what is the asking price for a QB who has completed 275-of-502 passes for 2,845 yards, 12 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in 20 overall appearances?

Probably not much and it should be noted that Rosen was also on the trading block during the draft and the Dolphins had no attractive offers. If Rosen does not get traded, he will likely remain in Miami in 2020 as many teams will carry three QBs in the age of COVID-19.

Ryan Fitzpatrick Expects to Start the Opener for the Dolphins

When the Dolphins take the field in Week 1 to kick off their 2020 season, expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to be under center at quarterback with the hopes of pulling off another upset, Matt Johnson of Sportsnaut reports.

Fitzpatrick, who played a pivotal role in Miami’s stunning Week 17 win over the Patriots last season, seems to have the edge at quarterback over Tua Tagovailoa.

The Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, confident he will be the face of the franchise. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the talented rookie seemingly is far behind in the training camp battle.

According to The Athletic’s Josh Tolentino, Fitzpatrick is expected to be the Dolphins’ Week 1 starter when they face New England in the regular-season opener. Meanwhile, the club continues to take a cautious approach with their prized rookie.

Despite starting for one of the worst teams in the NFL, Fitzpatrick’s stats stood out. He threw for 3,529 yards last season with a 20-13 TD-INT ratio and an 85.5 quarterback rating. Even more impressive, he got hot in December with a 10-3 TD-INT ratio and a 95.9 quarterback rating.

Dolphins Agree to Terms with First-Round CB Noah Igbinoghene

While a number of teams are in a rush as they are still looking to ink draft picks, the Dolphins have done an excellent job in that area, and today announced they have inked first-round cornerback Noah Igbinoghene.

The Dolphins have agreed to terms with first-round cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the situation. Igbinoghene was the No. 30 pick of the draft. Miami’s agreement makes it three for three on first-round picks under a covenant for employment, and just 11 first-round picks signed in the entire NFL.

The Dolphins turned former first-round selections brought in by a previous regime into new draft capital, spending it on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, USC tackle Austin Jackson and Igbinoghene, who slots in as a starting nickel corner in Miami’s revamped secondary.

It’s a big deal for the team to have all three picks under contract before any sort of camp starts, as it means they will be there from day one, learning both the offense and defense just like the rest of the players on the team.

Three Key Players to Watch for the Miami Dolphins in 2020

For the first time in a long time all eyes in the AFC East will not be in New England on the Patriots, and instead a lot more pupils will be targeted in Miami, where the Dolphins played a lot better than expected in 2019 than many felt they would.

Today we throw out three key players on this team that have to step up in 2020 if the Dolphins are going to be the team to beat in the AFC East.

1. LB Kyle Van Noy

Van Noy joined the Dolphins this offseason from the rival Pats, and two seasons ago he led New England with 92 tackles, and in 2019 he had 15 quarterback hits, a team high.

He will work alongside fellow outside linebacker Jerome Baker, and the team is hopeful that he can build on the 6.5 sacks he had in 2019.

While still young, he does bring leadership skills to the Dolphins.

2. RB Jordan Howard

The Dolphins run game was so bad in 2019 that their leading ground gainer was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with a total of 243 yards.

Howard comes to the team from the Bears, where he showed he can be a bruiser and should be able to be the team’s number one back.

He put up 2435 yards in his first two years with the Bears, but only 1460 the last two years. The Fins are hoping he’ll be more like the first two years in the league.

3. WR DeVante Parker

He’s a rising star who stepped in last season for 72 catches for 1202 yards, an average of 16.7 yards per reception.

With Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa at the QB spot for now for the Fins, it will be nice to have a big name catching passes, and that player for now is Parker, a talent that looks to be getting better as he matures.

The fact they didn’t sign a big name receiver shows the faith they have in Parker.

The Dolphins in 2020: What Does the Season Hold – The D-Line (Part Two)

By Kevin Hood

Welcome to Party two. We will be Continuing in the trenches, let’s take a look at the Defensive line.

The Dolphins ran a hybrid defensive front last year, running both 4-3 and 3-4 fronts. I expect that trend to continue this year but lean more toward a primarily 3-4 due to the addition of better edge defenders via free agency and late-round draft picks.

The Defensive holdovers on the line are last year’s 1st round pick Christian Wilkins, 2017 5th round over achiever Davon Godchaux, and late-season waiver claim gem Zach Sieler.

With the lack of production from the Dolphins secondary in 2019, it is hard to put much weight in the stat line for our holdovers. I fully expect these numbers to improve with the injection of talent over the offseason in Byron Jones and returning Xavien Howard. At the same time, Bobby McCain gets another offseason to adjust to safety.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Davon Godchaux:  

713 SNAPS, 445 4-3 DT, 162 3-4 NT, 95 3-4 END

64.1 OVR GRADE, 67.5 RUN GRADE, 54.2 PASS RUSH GRADE

2 SCK, 5 QB HITS, 11 HURRIES, 1 BAT, 52 TKL, 15 AST, 9 MISS TKL,

Davon Godchaux, like all Dolphins down linemen, moved around to keep the offense guessing. He played more snaps at the 3-4 NT position than his Dolphins teammates, and I expect that trend to continue. He led all DT in tackles for 2019, and with the addition of Raekwon Davis to the team, I believe the sky’s the limit for his 2020 campaign.

I would hate to predict a lock to start the year, but it would be a crime to bench someone with that kind of production and leadership. That said, The nine missed tackles leave plenty of room for improvement.

Christian Wilkins:

729 SNAPS, 457 4-3 DT, 81 3-4 NT, 141 3-4 END

64.4 OVR GRADE, 66.6 RUN GRADE, 58.6 PASS RUSH GRADE

2 SCK, 2 QB HIT, 26 HURRIES, 1 BAT, 35 TKL, 21 AST, 2 MISS TKL,

29 STOPS

Christian Wilkins also moved around the line. Unlike Godchaux, his limited snaps at NT suggest the Dolphins see him more as a gap penetrator than double team space eater. The selection of Raekwon Davis in round 2 of the draft this year does point to the coaching staff wanting their defensive linemen to be interchangeable, so nothing is definite.

I expect big things from Wilkins this year. The improved secondary and edge defenders should also improve his pass rush; his 26 hurries suggest he is capable of more than two sacks. I expect Wilkins to compete and ultimately win a starting job this season.

Zach Sieler:

79 SNAPS, 74 4-3 DT, 15 3-4 NT, 24 3-4 END

74.7 OVR GRADE, 75.3 RUN GRADE, 69.8 PASS RUSH GRADE

1 SCK, 0 QB HIT, 3 HURRIES, 2 BAT, 5 TKL, 1 AST, 0 MISS TKL, 6 STOPS

As a late waiver claim from Baltimore, Zach Sieler made an impact on the last three games of the season. His best game of the season was against Cincinnati, where he logged his lone sack and two hurries. Also logging some time at NT, he showed he is versatile enough to play in the Dolphins scheme. I expect Sieler to be given every opportunity to earn snaps this year. He should be a rotational player who should give starters a good breather.

Raekwon Davis (2019, Ala.):

83.2 OVERALL GRADE, 87.9 RUN GRADE, 71.2 PASS RUSH GRADE

1 SCK, 4 QB HIT, 21 HURRIES, 0 BAT, 47 TKL, 29 AST, 20 STOPS

Raekwon Davis, Miami’s 2nd round pick from Alabama, is run a stuffer. His three years of elite run grade suggests he will excel in the NFL stopping the run. At 6’6″ 313 LBS, he is a towering figure on any defensive line. That said, don’t be surprised if this coaching staff can get Davis to improve his pass rush, as Davis did log 8.5 sacks his sophomore year at Alabama in 2017. With John Jenkins now a member of the Bears, I believe Davis will be given every chance to cover the 478 snaps John Jenkins logged for the Dolphins in 2019.

Benito Jones (2019, Ole Miss):

68.2 OVER GRADE, 64.1 RUN GRADE, 71.6 PASS

RUSH GRADE, 5 SCK, 4 QB HIT, 19 HURRIES, 0 BAT, 30 TKL, 11 AST,

16 STOPS

Jones was an Undrafted Free Agent in 2020. His five sacks and 16 stops at Ole Miss in 2019 make him an intriguing player to watch this camp. With the right combination of coaching and conditioning, Jones could be a key contributor as a rotational lineman.

Ray Lima (2019, Iowa State):

 .5 SCK, 28 TKL, 19 AST

Lima is another Undrafted lineman for 2020. I expect him to come in to compete for a reserve role or a practice squad spot.

In closing, This year’s defensive line should be much improved. Better backfield play, along with continued growth, should make any Dolphins fan giddy. The growth of Sieler and addition on Jones and Davis will more than cover the loss of John Jenkins. This line can carry the expectation that all Dolphins fans feel in the now Bradyless AFC East.