The Miami Dolphins just completed one of their worst preseasons in team history. For only the 3rd time in franchise history, the Dolphins failed to win a preseason game. The crazy thing is, the losses aren’t THAT terrible, but it’s how they Dolphins have looked that is troubling. Last night, in the 1st quarter, the Dolphins took the lead on their opponent for the 1st time the entire preseason. That’s not good. That means the Dolphins starting defense hasn’t played well enough. It means the Dolphins starting offense hasn’t played well enough. It means the Dolphins have a lot of work to do before September 9th, which is only 11 days away.
The Dolphins starting units only got about 2 series worth of playing time against the Cowboys, so the final score of 30-13 doesn’t mean much. The Dolphins had some good, some bad, and some ugly in their preseason finale:
– Ryan Tannehill started and played for 2 series. He finished 5 of 7 for 35 yards in his limited work. One of those incompletions was a drop by Legedu Naanee on a perfectly thrown slant pass by Tannehill. The Dolphins first drive with Tannehill didn’t amount to much, but on the second drive, he drove the Dolphins down the field and inside the Cowboys 10 yard line. He threw a fade pass to Naanee who was mugged on the play, but no pass interference was called. Side note: these replacement refs are atrocious! Overall, I am impressed by Tannehill, he looked accurate and made good, quick decisions last night. He should only continue to improve as the season progresses, but he will make rookie mistakes along the way. The key to his success is to get him some help and for his receivers to catch well-thrown balls!
The Miami Dolphins have 12 days left until they open up against the Houston Texans. Hard Knocks last night, showed just how much the Dolphins will need to improve, if they want to have a chance in that game. Last night’s episode of Hard Knocks was the 4th in the series of 5 shows. The show was highlighted by players leaving the Dolphins. There were segments on Eric Steinbach retiring, the first round of cuts, and an inside look at the Vontae Davis trade.
What we liked:
– Seeing behind the scenes negotiations of the Dolphins trade with the Colts was pretty awesome. The Colts initiated the trade talks by calling Jeff Ireland and offering him a 5th/6th round pick for Vontae Davis. Ireland didn’t even consider it at that point. As the show moves on, the Colts keep calling/texting Ireland and ultimately offer a 2nd round pick for Vontae. Ireland wants more though and then talks to Joe Philbin about the possible trade. It’s interesting to see Ireland weighing the trade. He realizes that he’ll need to replace Vontae and that will be a challenge. He also realizes there is good value in getting a 2nd round pick for next year. Ultimately, he and Philbin decide that Vontae has been to ‘up and down’ and the trade is executed.
The Miami Dolphins believe that they have found their quarterback of the future. In April, the Dolphins used their first round draft pick (#8 overall) on Ryan Tannehill; The first time they’ve used a 1st round pick on a QB since Dan Marino. Tannehill has done a great job since joining the Dolphins, showing them everything they want to see. Tannehill knows the offense, looks like a leader, can make every throw on the field accurately, and can even scramble when he needs to. He should only continue to improve as he gains experience.
But wait a second, is there something that Tannehill might not know about the NFL yet? Last night on Hard Knocks, Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins, Tannehill was shown in a meeting with Matt Moore. Moore was quizzing Tannehill, not on the Dolphins offense or the opposing defensive alignment, BUT ON WHICH TEAMS ARE IN WHICH DIVISIONS IN THE NFL??!!! As a football fan, I would never have thought that a starting QB in the NFL could NOT know which teams are in which division or even in which conference.
The Miami Dolphins front office and coaching staff know that the team is not good enough right now to compete in 2012. The Dolphins coaches have watched the poor preseason performances we all have. The Dolphins roster, right now is simply not full of talent. For this reason, Jeff Ireland and his staff will be fixated on the waiver wire and the cut lists from the other 31 NFL teams. According to the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley:
The Miami Dolphins needed to cut one final player in advance of the 4pm deadline on Monday to get their roster to 75 players. Julius Pruitt, listed on the Dolphins depth chart as a 2nd team wide receiver, didn’t expect to be that cut. It was thought that Pruitt would be a virtual lock to make the Dolphins roster because he is an excellent special teams ‘gunner’ (fast guy on the outside that tries to down a punt inside the 5 yard line). On Monday, the Dolphins surprised many when they cut Pruitt to finalize their 75 man roster heading into the final week of the preseason.
Pruitt being cut was surprising, but it could have been done to send a message to all of the other wide receivers on the Dolphins roster. Pruitt had performed very well on special teams, but he was too inconsistent playing at wide out. Pruitt failed to prove to the Dolphins coaches that he belonged in the top 5-6 receivers. That’s really saying something, since the remaining guys on the Dolphins roster aren’t exactly Jerry Rice impersonators.
The Miami Dolphins had their biggest scare of 2012 earlier today when Jake Long left Dolphins practice after injuring his knee. We all waited anxiously to hear the results of Jake’s visit to the hospital to find out the extent of his injury. An injury to the Dolphins 4 time Pro Bowl Left Tackle was the last thing the Dolphins needed. Jake’s injury came just 24 hours after the Dolphins angered many fans by trading Vontae Davis to the Colts. Dolphins fans were angered because the trade essentially confirmed that the Dolphins are rebuilding this season. In our poll yesterday, 22% of fans said they hated the trade, while less than 10% said they loved it. The remaining 68% of fans that voted said they’d like the trade IF the Dolphins turned around and made a big move for a wide receiver.
Following Jake Long’s MRI, Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post learned that Jake ‘tweaked’ his MCL. Volin said that while Long might not make the Dolphin’s trip to Dallas for Wednesday night’s game, he is expected to be ready for week 1 against the Texans. For Wednesday night, it appears that Jonathan Martin will take over at left tackle. Martin played left tackle at Stanford and protected Andrew Luck’s blindside. Martin has been working to learn how to play right tackle and will return to that position once Jake Long returns.
The Miami Dolphins have continued to stress, since the end of the 2011 season that they are not rebuilding. However, many of their actions would suggest otherwise. On Sunday, the Dolphins traded a 1st round pick from just 3 years ago, for a 2nd rounder and a conditional 6th rounder. Trading Vontae Davis, the 2nd or 3rd best cornerback on the Dolphins for a draft pick next April, suggest the team is clearly rebuilding. What stings more is that Vontae Davis’ departure is a net loss for a couple of reasons. First, they lost draft value, in that they received less value than they spent to acquire Vontae. Second, the Miami Dolphins are a weaker team today than they were on Saturday.
The Dolphins obviously have their reasons for trading Vontae. Whether it was the fact that he showed up to camp out of shape and overweight or that he’s just not as mature as a 4th year veteran should be. The Dolphins MUST be comfortable with what they’ve seen from Nolan Carroll because this trade leaves a gaping hole at cornerback. Carroll will likely be forced into the nickel package now. Will Jimmy Wilson, who’s switched to safety, be the Dolphins dime back? The Dolphins decided to move on and like it or not, it’s most important to figure out what they are going to do next. I suspect the Dolphins will look for a corner that’s been cut from another team’s roster. Word on the street is that they are scouting other team’s corners aggressively.
The Miami Dolphins finally pulled off a trade that had been speculated about since Thursday. On Sunday, the Dolphins agreed to send Vontae Davis to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2013 2nd round draft pick and a conditional 6th rounder. Jay Glazer of FoxSports broke the story on Twitter:
The Miami Dolphins need to trim their roster to 75 players by 4pm Monday. Following the Dolphins 23-6 loss to the Falcons, they wasted little time in starting the process of getting from 88 players down to the league mandated number of 75. On Saturday, the Dolphins released the following players: Chas Alecxih (DT), Les Brown (TE), Marcus Brown (CB), Tyrell Johnson (S), Trenton Hughes (CB), Josh Linam (LB), Jerome Messam (RB), Jacquies Smith (DE), and Jonathan Wade (CB).
The most famous name on the Dolphins’ cut list is tight end, Les Brown. Brown became a household name because he has been featured in a few segments on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Brown is the former accountant turned NFL camp competitor. In the first episode, his struggles in blocking technique were well chronicled. He was seen after practice talking to his girlfriend when he uttered the now famous line ‘as uuuusghe’ (as usual).
The Miami Dolphins entered their 3rd preseason game, hoping to answer the remaining questions they have about their team. Would the Dolphins defense continue to look terrible against the opposition’s 1st unit? Would the right side of the Dolphins offensive line get Ryan Tannehill killed? Which Dolphins wide receiver would step up and make a statement that he belongs on the roster? After being named the starter, could Ryan Tannehill begin to take leadership of the Dolphins huddle?
Some, if not most, of those questions have come into focus. The biggest takeaway from the game for me is that the Dolphins wide receiving corps is not NFL quality. They could have the worst collective group of receivers in the NFL. That’s bad, but it’s especially bad when you have a rookie quarterback. The idea is to make a rookie quarterback’s job easier, not harder. The primary concern is that the Dolphins wide receivers are struggling to create enough separation to get ‘open’. This means that the margin for error for young Mr. Tannehill is quite small.