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#pounditThursday, May 13, 2021

Articles tagged: Miami Dolphins

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.

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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.

Dolphins coach Brian Flores goes after Bengals following cheap shot

Brian Flores

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mike Thomas threw a blatant cheap shot late in Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, and Brian Flores did not hide the fact that he was furious about it.

Thomas committed a kick catch interference penalty in the fourth quarter when he leveled Dolphins punt returner Jakeem Grant well before the ball got there. Flores was furious and came charging toward the Bengals sideline. The coach needed to be restrained by an assistant.

Bengals safety Shawn Williams and Dolphins wide receivers DeVante Parker and Mack Hollins were ejected for their roles in the scrum that broke out following the play. Thomas was not ejected.

Flores was likely irate because that was the second cheap shot Grant took in the game. There was also a skirmish earlier that resulted in two key players being ejected. You can see that video here.

Video: Dolphins players run over referee celebrating interception

Miami Dolphins referee

The Miami Dolphins got a bit too excited by a Xavien Howard interception on Sunday, and one of the referees paid the price for it.

Howard picked off Denver’s Drew Lock on the Broncos’ first drive of the day Sunday. Howard’s interception set the Dolphins up at the Denver 22, giving the Dolphins a very short field to work with. That was, understandably, cause for celebration.

The celebration was a bit too much, though. One of the referees inadvertently got in the way of a group of Dolphins players and got absolutely crushed as they celebrated.

The official appeared to get hit in the face by one of the Miami players, and actually had to be taken to the locker room.

Players are not allowed to make contact with referees, and we’ve seen that rule applied very strictly in the past. There was no flag for this, however, given how obviously inadvertent it was.

Hopefully the official is okay. That was actually a huge hit, and it looked like it hurt.

Report: Draft picks were factor in Dolphins making Tua Tagovailoa starter

Tua Tagovailoa

Many were surprised when the Miami Dolphins named Tua Tagovailoa their starting quarterback, as veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick had played well for the team dating back to last season. However, the decision is one that Fitzpatrick clearly should not take personally.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the picks the Dolphins have in next year’s NFL Draft were a significant factor in the decision to hand the starting QB job over to Tagovailoa. Miami has the Houston Texans’ first- and second-round picks in the 2021 Draft from when they traded Pro Bowl offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil to Houston last year. Because they are so well positioned, they want to get a feel for whether or not Tagovailoa has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback.

The Texans are 1-6 entering Week 8. They could wind up having one of the top picks in next year’s draft. Miami, at 3-3, may also have a fairly high pick. In theory, the Dolphins could use one of those picks or combine them to trade up in the draft to select a top quarterback. If Tagovailoa plays well this year, they won’t have to think about doing that and can focus on other areas.

Fitzpatrick was understandably crushed when the Dolphins benched him, though all indications are he is still being a great teammate. The 37-year-old knew he was only a placeholder for Tagovailoa, even if he didn’t expect the change to be made this soon.

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.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was ‘shocked,’ heartbroken by benching

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick has played well for the Miami Dolphins this season and led them to a 3-3 record, which is why many were surprised to learn this week that he will be benched for rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The move caught Fitzpatrick off guard, too.

Fitzpatrick spoke with reporters on Wednesday about head coach Brian Flores making a QB switch during the bye week. The 37-year-old says he was “shocked” and extremely disappointed.

“I was shocked by it. It definitely caught me off guard,” Fitzpatrick said, via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. “It was a hard thing for me to hear (on Tuesday), just digesting the news. My heart just hurt all day.”

Fitzpatrick knew he was a placeholder for Tagovailoa in Miami, but he clearly felt he had done enough to keep the starting job for at least the remainder of 2020. Now that he has been benched again, he admits he is uncertain about what the future holds for him.

“I’ve been a starter, I’ve been benched all kinds of different ways … but this was kind of the first place other than Buffalo that I’ve been fully committed and invested,” Fitzpatrick said. “I felt it was my team.

“I basically got fired yesterday and my day today consisted of zoom meetings with the guy who fired me and sitting in a room with the guy who replaced me for four hours.”

While Fitzpatrick has said all of the right things and gone out of his way to help Tagovailoa since the offseason, he clearly did not take the news well.

Fitzpatrick was benched coming off two dominant victories. The Dolphins beat the New York Jets 24-0 on Sunday and the San Francisco 49ers 43-17 the week before that. While he has thrown seven interceptions on the season, he’s played well enough to keep Miami squarely in the hunt in the AFC East. He also helped the team put an end to the tanking talk last year with his steady play.

Flores expressed frustration over the way the Tagovailoa news got out, but it doesn’t sound like that was an issue for Fitzpatrick. He’s simply upset he lost his job, which is totally understandable given the circumstances.

Dolphins coach unhappy with way Tua Tagovailoa news leaked

Tua Tagovailoa

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores confirmed on Wednesday that Tua Tagovailoa is taking over as the team’s starting quarterback, but Flores is not pleased about the way that information got out.

With the Dolphins having a bye this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that they will hand over the starting QB job to Tagovailoa in Week 8. Apparently that report came out before Flores had a chance to inform his players of the decision. The coach said he plans to apologize to the team that it somehow leaked.

If Flores hadn’t even told his players about switching from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Tagovailoa, it would stand to reason that not many people knew. Someone within the organization must have leaked the information to Schefter, which would obviously be enough to irritate the head coach.

In any event, Flores praised Tagovailoa for the strides he has made in practice that led to the switch. Flores also couldn’t say enough positive things about Fitzpatrick.

The Dolphins may have been planning all along to make Tagovailoa the starter following their bye week. While he only played for a brief time in Sunday’s blowout win over the New York Jets, the former Alabama star showed how much the moment meant to him with his actions after the game.

Fitzpatrick has been a steadying presence for Miami dating back to last season. He has the team 3-3 this year and squarely in the playoff hunt, which is why the switch to Tagovailoa is surprising to some. The Dolphins likely feel Tagovailoa offers a higher ceiling.

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.

Tua Tagovailoa to be named Dolphins starting QB

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins gave Tua Tagovailoa his first NFL action when they had their game against the New York Jets well in-hand on Sunday, and the rookie quarterback is keeping the job.

Tagovailoa will start for the Dolphins over veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick when the team comes out of its bye in Week 8, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Fitzpatrick has led Miami to a 3-3 record and has them squarely in contention in the AFC East. He did throw two interceptions in Sunday’s 24-0 win over the Jets and has seven on the season, but he has carried his steady play from 2019 into this year. That is why many are surprised the Jets are going with Tagovailoa.

The timing is likely not a coincidence. This may have been the Dolphins’ plan all along, as Tagovailoa will now have the bye week to get up to speed before taking over. Many expected Tagovailoa to take a redshirt year as a rookie to recover from the hip injury he suffered at Alabama, but he has had nothing but positive news about his health since.

Tagovailoa attempted two passes and completed both for nine yards on Sunday. He showed how much the moment meant to him with his actions after the game. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores must be confident with what he has seen from the former Alabama star in practice.

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: Le’Veon Bell will sign with one of these three teams

LeVeon Bell

Le’Veon Bell is not expected to remain a free agent for very long after he was released by the New York Jets on Tuesday, and the star running back has reportedly narrowed his decision down to three teams.

Bell is expected to sign with either the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports. He could make a decision as early as Thursday.

Bell is reportedly taking the opportunity to win into consideration, which makes the Chiefs and Bills seem more likely than the Dolphins. However, he trains in Miami and has connections to the area.

It may be a total coincidence, but the Jets’ next three opponents are the Dolphins, Bills and Chiefs.

Bell’s social media activity indicated he was relieved to be cut by the Jets. He never really seemed to get along with Adam Gase, and the Jets coach basically avoided questions about why he decided to part ways with Bell.

Both the Chiefs and Bills are two of the strongest teams in the AFC, and Bell would be a great addition for either. It’s not often a contending team has an opportunity to sign a game-changing player in the middle of a season.