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#pounditSunday, April 18, 2021

Articles tagged: Miami Dolphins

Dolphins’ new QB coach has Tua Tagovailoa connection

Tua Tagovailoa

It seems the Miami Dolphins may have had Tua Tagovailoa very much in mind when hiring their new quarterbacks coach.

Multiple reports Saturday indicated that the Dolphins will hire Central Michigan offensive coordinator Charlie Frye as their new quarterbacks coach. Frye, a former quarterback for the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks, also has a preexisting connection to Tagovailoa, as outlined by NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks.

In other words, the Dolphins don’t seem to have any intention of going away from Tagovailoa. Speculation had increased recently about a trade for a big-name quarterback, but if Miami is this committed to Tagovailoa, that seems unlikely to be a priority.

The 22-year-old Tagovailoa threw for 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns, and five interceptions last season. For all the promise he’s shown, it seems he still has to win over some of his teammates. Perhaps Frye can help with that.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Report: Deshaun Watson has named his top two preferred trade destinations

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson reportedly knows where he’d like to be traded, and the top team on his list might surprise you.

According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Watson has told associates this week that he would like to play for the New York Jets. Watson is said to be a huge fan of new Jets coach Robert Saleh, and wanted the Houston Texans to interview him for their head coaching job.

Amid reports that Watson wants to move to the Miami Dolphins, the Houston quarterback would indeed welcome a trade there as well. However, his preference would be to move to New York.

Given the Jets’ struggles lately, it’s kind of a surprise to see Watson want to go from one dysfunctional organization to what is often perceived as another. If true, he’s clearly a huge believer in Saleh, and is also confident that the Jets will ultimately decide to move on from Sam Darnold and make good use of their salary cap space.

Maybe the simple explanation is that Watson is just inclined to take Richard Sherman’s advice.

Report: Some Dolphins players have doubts about Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins are committed to Tua Tagovailoa as the team’s starting quarterback in 2021, but they may have to do some selling to some of their players on that front.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald spoke to three Dolphins players who felt that guaranteeing Tagovailoa the starting quarterback job was premature, and admitted that they felt he had not shown enough in 2020 to receive such a guarantee.

The players told Salguero that they were unimpressed with Tagovailoa during training camp, and were “caught totally off guard” when he was abruptly named the starter in Week 7. The players even said they questioned whether Tagovailoa had any special skills beyond his accuracy, and one openly admitted to being frustrated when he was told that Tagovailoa would have to play in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick during the season finale against Buffalo.

“We always think next man up no matter what,” the player told Salguero. “But I saw Tua as the next man up because Fitz was better.”

The players made clear they have nothing against Tagovailoa and like him as a person and a teammate, but questioned why the Dolphins were so willing to publicly commit to Tagovailoa as starting quarterback while simultaneously pledging to have competition for every position.

“I don’t know, man, that’s like a puzzle right there,” one player said.

The Dolphins did largely look better on offense with Fitzpatrick under center, and Tagovailoa was getting benched mid-game as late as Week 16. It was quite puzzling to see the Dolphins bench Tagovailoa in key games with playoff implications, only to go right back to him as starter the next week.

It may be that Tagovailoa skepticism is helping fuel trade rumors like this.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Deshaun Watson could be traded to this team in blockbuster QB swap?

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson is clearly unhappy with the moves the Houston Texans have made in the days since their 2020 season ended, and there has been a lot of talk about him demanding a trade. If that happens, the Miami Dolphins will reportedly be a potential suitor to watch.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen confirmed on “Sunday NFL Countdown” that Watson is frustrated with the Texans for not involving him in the decision to hire general manager Nick Caserio and not interviewing Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy as part of their head coaching search. Mortensen said Watson’s “concerns about the franchise’s insensitivity on social justice causes have been reinforced.”

If the Texans do start exploring trade possibilities, Mortensen says the idea of swapping Watson for Tua Tagovailoa has been floated.

“You’re not gonna get anything but denials at this stage from both franchises, but this is an offseason puzzle we may be trying to put together,” the NFL insider said.

Watson has a no-trade clause as part of the $156 million contract extension he signed with Houston, but he would reportedly be open to playing for the Dolphins.

Trades of that magnitude are extremely rare in the NFL. That said, there have been some rumblings that Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is not sold on Tagovailoa. The idea of giving up on a No. 5 overall pick after one season seems farfetched, but Miami would almost certainly consider it if they were replacing Tagovailoa with an established Pro Bowler like Watson.

The Texans have reportedly not been able to get in touch with Watson in days. The quarterback’s agent sent a tweet on Friday ripping the team, though he quickly deleted it. You can see a screenshot of the tweet here.

Ryan Fitzpatrick unlikely to return to Dolphins?

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick continued to defy odds by playing at a high level in 2020, and he served as the best reliever in football for the 10-win Miami Dolphins. The 38-year-old is set to become a free agent, however, and it does not sound like he will continue in that role next season.

Dolphins coach Brian Flores said this week that the team needs to conduct a “full evaluation” before determining if they want Fitzpatrick back in 2021. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald interpreted that to mean the chances of Fitzpatrick re-signing with the Dolphins are “slim and none.”

A divorce could make sense for both sides. The Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick last year, and many believed he would be holding a clipboard for his entire rookie season. But even after Fitzpatrick played fairly well, Tagovailoa was still given the starting job after Miami’s bye week. Flores then used Fitzpatrick late in games when he seemingly didn’t trust the rookie, but how long can that continue?

If the Dolphins keep Fitzpatrick around next season and continue to use him as a closer, that would almost certainly shake Tagovailoa’s confidence. Even if Flores proved the approach can be effective, it is probably not one that upper management would sign off on for another season.

Miami has already undergone a significant change this offseason, and that may have had something to do with Tagovailoa’s development. Getting Tua to a spot where he can be a trusted full-time starter should be the goal for the Dolphins this offseason. That may be easier to accomplish if he doesn’t have to think about sharing snaps with Fitzpatrick in 2021.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Chan Gailey resigns as Dolphins offensive coordinator

miami dolphins logo

A fake report about Chan Gailey being fired by the Miami Dolphins circulated earlier this week, but it turns out the offensive coordinator is actually leaving the team.

The Dolphins announced on Wednesday that Gailey has resigned. Head coach Brian Flores thanked him for his contributions.

“I want to thank Chan for all of his hard work and dedication in what was a unique year,” Flores said. “He played an important role on the staff and in the development of our young roster. I wish him all the best.”

Gailey was in his second stint as OC of the Dolphins. He announced his retirement after spending the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the New York Jets, but he returned to work with Flores in Miami. Gailey had previously served as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills, among other NFL and college jobs.

The Dolphins finished 10-6 this season and have plenty to build on going forward. Some were critical of the way rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was used, as Miami’s offense seemed overly conservative at times. It’s possible that contributed to Gailey’s decision to step down.

A report from a fake Adam Schefter Twitter account claimed on Monday that Gailey had been fired. Even ESPN was fooled by it.

Biggest disappointments of NFL Week 17

Andy Dalton

We made it to the end of the 2020 NFL season, and we’ll certainly remember it for lots of different reasons. Despite the circumstances that surrounded it, we saw a whole lot of memorable performances all season, and Week 17 was no different. Some teams and players rose to the occasion, but others just couldn’t do it, whether they had nothing to play for or everything.

Here are the disappointments from the final week of the 2020 season.

Doug Pederson, head coach, Eagles

Pederson said he wanted to get a look at Nate Sudfeld in the Eagles’ season finale. But Pederson showed no regard for the integrity of the game by playing Sudfeld for the entire fourth quarter of a game that had playoff implications.

Pederson sat Jalen Hurts for the entire fourth quarter despite the Eagles being in a one-possession game the whole time. Sudfeld turned the ball over twice and did not produce any points in four possessions. It felt a lot like Pederson gave the game away, which was disappointing to most people outside of D.C.

Miami Dolphins

It’s fair to say that the Dolphins arrived a year earlier than they may have expected to. Still, they entered the day with a chance at a playoff spot. The Buffalo Bills team they were playing looked set to limit their starters. The Bills did that, and it didn’t matter. Buffalo scored 28 points in the second quarter, and things didn’t even improve much once Matt Barkley entered the game, with the Bills ultimately winning 56-26. To come so close and then get throttled like that has to be disappointing for Miami, but ultimately, it seems they just weren’t quite ready for the big stage yet.

Andy Dalton, QB, Cowboys

It turns out there was a reason Dalton failed to land a starting job last offseason. He still had the chance to lead the Cowboys to a surprising NFC East title, or at least position themselves for a chance at one with a win. That didn’t happen, and Dalton was a big reason why. Ineffective and inconsistent, he threw for 243 yards and was intercepted once.

Dalton will have to find another backup job, because he didn’t do much to convince anyone that he had the skills to remain a starter in this league. It’s not his fault he was thrown into the job he was due to Dak Prescott’s injury, but it did serve as a reminder of what he really is.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Panthers

The Panthers are going to have to seriously consider whether they want to stick with Bridgewater in the future. Yes, he was playing behind a battered offensive line, but he has thrown one touchdown since the end of November and isn’t getting it done. He doesn’t really look like an NFL starter. He was ultimately removed from Sunday’s game due to the blowout and the fact that Carolina had nothing to play for. His status will be worth watching going into the 2021 season.

Cincinnati Bengals

Sure, the Bengals didn’t have anything to play for Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, who were looking to solidify a playoff spot. Still, the team has looked a bit more lively in recent weeks. That was not the case on Sunday, as they simply got steamrolled 38-3. Quarterback Brandon Allen completed just 6 passes on 21 attempts. There is some chatter that coach Zac Taylor’s job security may be iffy. If that’s true, Sunday didn’t do much to prove to ownership that they’re on the right track and still fighting.

Houston Texans’ defense

The Texans have a lot of work to do. They remain exciting on offense at the best of times, but awful on defense, as evidenced by how the end of this game went. The Texans had fought all the way back to a 38-38 tie and seemed to have done enough to get the game to overtime with 18 seconds left. Enter the defense, which somehow left space in the middle of the field and allowed Titans QB Ryan Tannehill to find A.J. Brown with what was essentially a 52-yard Hail Mary. The Titans hit the field goal, and the Texans lost thanks to their horrific defense once again.

Dolphins’ Laremy Tunsil trade gets even better with latest Texans loss

miami dolphins logo

A 2019 trade between the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans looks like even more of a steal for the Dolphins after Sunday’s action.

In August 2019, the Dolphins traded offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans in exchange for a huge draft pick haul. At the time, the deal appeared to make sense for both teams. The Texans were playoff contenders, while the Dolphins were considered likely to be a factor for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

The tables have turned since then. The Dolphins suddenly have a good chance of making the playoffs, while the Texans look poised to embark on a full rebuild. Houston will have to do that without its top two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft as a result of that trade. And it gets worse: thanks to the Texans’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, their pick, which belongs to the Dolphins, will fall in the top five. That means the Dolphins may make the playoffs and grab a selection that could still be as high as third overall, while the flailing Texans won’t have a first or second-round pick next April.

Miami deserves huge credit for how quickly it rebuilt, using trades like this one to restock talent-wise. For the Texans, it’s proof they were headed for disaster even before Bill O’Brien’s failed tenure as general manager. They haven’t been well-run for a while, and there’s a reason they’re getting publicly laughed at these days.

5 most important remaining games on NFL schedule

Alex Smith

It may be hard to believe, but we’ve reached the final stretch of the 2020 NFL regular season.

Despite the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL has managed to maneuver their way to the tail-end of the schedule. And with just two weeks remaining this season, playoff contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the pretenders, which also means each game is of the utmost importance.

With plenty left to be decided, here’s a look at the five most important games remaining on the NFL schedule.

5. Week 16: New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Saints currently lead the NFC South by one game, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looming. Meanwhile, the Vikings find themselves on the outside of the wild card race looking in and cannot afford to lose again this season. Although these two teams seem destined for different outcomes, they collectively make up one of the most important remaining games of the season — third in terms of importance factor heading into Week 16. The reason for that is simple: regardless of the outcome, it will impact both the Saints and Vikings, as well as the Buccaneers, Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals. And that’s the fun of late-season games during a tight playoff race.


Bengals’ Quinton Spain tried following Dolphins into tunnel after heated game

Cincinnati Bengals logo

Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals featured a lot of bad blood that nearly spilled over after the game.

Multiple players were ejected during Miami’s 19-7 win, and emotions ran high for much of the game. The tension continued afterwards.

According to Josh Tolentino of The Athletic, Cincinnati offensive lineman Quinton Spain tried to engage with and taunt multiple Miami players during the postgame handshakes. Spain was so determined to have words with the Dolphins that he was walking with them toward the tunnel before being restrained.

The Dolphins were left furious late in the game after a blatant cheap shot by the Bengals. Those emotions clearly carried over after the final whistle, and it seems the Bengals were mostly instigating that, too.

This all came in the aftermath of multiple ejections as well, but those were more controversial.