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#pounditMonday, November 29, 2021

Articles tagged: Miami Dolphins

Dolphins used rare defensive formation to beat Ravens

Madden engage 8

The Miami Dolphins frustrated and confused the Baltimore Ravens en route to an upset win on Thursday night. They did so with a rarely used defensive approach, and Lamar Jackson and company simply could not adjust to it.

Jackson told reporters after the game that the Dolphins ran “cover zero” most of the game. One variation of that defense is “engage eight,” which is extremely popular in the “Madden NFL” video game series. Basically, Miami committed to the run and pressuring Jackson by acting like they were eight defenders into the backfield on several plays. Jackson admitted his opponent’s approach worked masterfully.

The Dolphins rode the defense to a 22-10 victory. Jackson threw the ball a whopping 46 times but completed just 26 passes for 238 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He rushed for just 39 yards, and the Ravens had 94 rushing yards as a team.

As you can see in the video below, the Dolphins faked like they were sending eight defenders on most plays. That obviously confused Jackson and the Ravens.

The Tennessee Titans used similar formations in their playoff win over the Ravens two years ago. Logan Ryan even made the “Madden” reference after that game.

The Ravens are obviously going to have to adjust. After seeing how well Miami’s game plan worked, other teams are sure to replicate it.

It’s not easy to come up with a defense that stymies Jackson, and plenty of coaches have alluded to that in the past. Brian Flores has had a disappointing third season with the Dolphins, but he deserves a lot of credit for Thursday night’s effort.

Reason Dolphins did not trade for Deshaun Watson revealed

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson was not traded prior to the Nov. 2 deadline despite rumors that teams were exploring deals for him.

One of the teams interested in a Watson trade were the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins did not complete a trade with the Houston Texans for Watson because of one big reason.

Jay Glazer reported on FOX’s pregame show Thursday night that the Dolphins were requiring Watson to settle all of his lawsuits before they traded for him. Glazer says the Carolina Panthers, who were also interested in trading for Watson, did not have that requirement.

Glazer says the Dolphins were willing to part with the draft picks the Texans were seeking. However, the big hurdle was Watson not settling. Glazer implied that the attorney representing Watson’s accusers were using the Dolphins’ interest in Watson as leverage in settlement talks, further complicating matters.

So, to recap, Glazer says the Dolphins were not scared away by all the allegations Watson is facing. Glazer also says the Dolphins were not scared away by Houston’s trade price. But the issue was the Dolphins wanted all cases to be settled.

The attorney for the accusers actually said all this last week. He also took things a step further and said the Dolphins even wanted at least one of the women to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Watson is facing civil lawsuits from 22 women who accuse the Texans quarterback of inappropriate sexual behavior. He is also the subject of a grand jury investigation.

Photo: Aug 17, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) before a game against the Detroit Lions at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Tua Tagovailoa out against Texans due to finger injury

Tua Tagovailoa at a press conference

Tua Tagovailoa was limited in practice all week with finger and rib injuries, and one of those ailments is serious enough that it will force him to sit out in Week 9.

Tagovailoa has a small fracture in the middle finger on his throwing hand, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. While the injury is not expected to keep him out long-term, he will not play against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Jacoby Brissett will start in his place.

The Dolphins are committed to Tagovailoa for the remainder of the season after they were unable to trade for Deshaun Watson. Injuries have been a concern for the former Alabama star since he was drafted, and he has struggled to stay healthy again this year.

Tagovailoa also missed several games this season with a rib injury. He has 1,040 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions in five games this season.

Photo: Oct 15, 2021; Ware, United Kingdom; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) at a press conference at the Hanbury Marriott Manor and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins GM responds to claim team wanted NDAs from Deshaun Watson accusers

Deshaun Watson in the rain

The Miami Dolphins were unable to trade for Deshaun Watson prior to Tuesday’s deadline. The quarterback’s unresolved legal issues had a lot to do with that, but Dolphins general manager Chris Grier says any talk of the team meddling in the case is completely inaccurate.

Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the 22 women who have filed sexual assault allegations against Watson, shared some of his thoughts on the Houston Texans not trading Watson. The lawyer claimed the Dolphins wanted the women to reach settlements with Watson and pushed for at least one accuser to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

“Obviously, there was a lot of effort on their part to get the case settled so there could be a trade…” Buzbee said.

On Wednesday, Grier denied that the Dolphins had any involvement in talks of settlements or NDAs. He said the implication from Buzbee was infuriating.

The Texans have reportedly been seeking at least three first-round picks in any potential trade for Watson. It makes sense that the Dolphins and other teams would be unwilling to give up that much with Watson’s legal situation unresolved. One report said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross asked for “contingencies” in talks with the Dolphins.

It seems obvious that the Dolphins would want more legal clarity before making a deal for Watson. That said, it would be a bad look if they tried to get involved in the lawsuits against the star quarterback. Grier understands that, which is why his response was so animated.

Photo: Jan 27, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; AFC quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) in the NFL Pro Bowl football game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson not traded to Dolphins due to lack of ‘contingencies’

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson is going to remain with the Houston Texans through at least the end of the season. Not surprisingly, the star quarterback’s impending legal situation was reportedly the main reason he was not traded ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.

The Miami Dolphins were always viewed as the most logical suitor for Watson. They discussed a potential deal with the Texans, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the two sides were not able to come to an agreement. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross ultimately decided not to acquire Watson after certain “contingencies” were not met.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Ross was only given permission to speak with Watson about a trade last night. That made it even more difficult to work out a deal.

Watson is facing sexual assault allegations from multiple women. Some of them have filed complaints with the police, but prosecutors have not yet determined if he will face charges. Despite that, the Texans were still asking for a massive haul in return for Watson. Teams like the Dolphins likely wanted some sort of assurance that they could recoup some draft capital if Watson winds up being charged. It’s no surprise the Texans were not interested in that type of agreement.

The Texans appear to have moved on from Watson, but they will now have to wait until the offseason to trade him.

Report: Only one team in play for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson

The Houston Texans are open to moving Deshaun Watson ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, but it does not sound like they will be able to create any type of bidding war for the star quarterback.

The Miami Dolphins are the only team with an actual shot at landing Watson in a trade, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Sunday. Watson is only willing to waive his no-trade clause for Miami, and the two teams have continued to discuss a potential deal.

Rapoport notes that there is “some urgency” on both sides to complete a trade, but the discussions are complicated for obvious reasons. Watson is facing sexual assault allegations from multiple women. He has not been placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, and that is unlikely to change even if he’s traded. However, his legal situation remains unresolved.

A report this week claimed another team made a massive offer for Watson. That team has since denied pursuing Watson. Again, the the quarterback is reportedly unwilling to waive his no-trade clause for any team other than the Dolphins.

If Watson is traded before Tuesday, it will almost certainly be to Miami. Otherwise, the Texans will likely have to revisit the talks during the offseason.

Dolphins player has critical assessment of Tua Tagovailoa’s leadership

Tua Tagovailoa at a press conference

There has been a lot of finger-pointing when it comes to why the Miami Dolphins have struggled so much in 2021. Some players believe it’s down to a leadership void that the likes of Tua Tagovailoa aren’t filling.

According to Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel, many in the Miami locker room blame the loss of key veteran leaders from the 2020 team for the team’s 1-6 start to 2021. Among those missed is quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who won the team’s leadership award in 2020 but moved on to Washington in the offseason.

One anonymous player compared Fitzpatrick to Tagovailoa, saying the second-year quarterback is doing his best but simply doesn’t lead as well as Fitzpatrick did.

“He’s great, and he’s trying. But it’s not Fitz,” the player told Kelly.

Whether Tagovailoa can lead an offense has been one of the big questions about him. Coach Brian Flores had praised him for his offseason leadership work, but the fact that Tagovailoa was not elected a team captain raised some eyebrows.

To be fair, the player isn’t necessarily saying Tagovailoa is a bad leader — just not as good as Fitzpatrick. It’s not clear if the team’s brass shares that feeling, but it could be one reason the team appears very interested in bringing in someone new.

Photo: Oct 15, 2021; Ware, United Kingdom; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) at a press conference at the Hanbury Marriott Manor and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Will Dolphins owner influence Deshaun Watson trade?

Deshaun Watson

The Miami Dolphins are clearly interested in a potential Deshaun Watson trade. The question is whether a deal can be completed prior to Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline. It’s fair to wonder if team owner Stephen Ross will try to nudge things in that direction.

A report prior to the season claimed Ross “really wants” Watson. The Dolphins pushed back at that narrative, but it has not gone away. According to Jordan Schultz, Ross has been a “strong advocate” in his team making a play for Watson.

Ross may want Watson, but there’s a difference between a team owner wanting something and pushing for it. Peter King of NBC Sports said in his weekly column on Monday that he has been told Ross is “not pushing his football people to deal for Watson right now.”

It would make sense for Ross to be intrigued by the idea of adding Watson. The Houston Texans star would give the Dolphins a much better chance to win now than Tua Tagovailoa. The question, of course, is if Watson will remain eligible to play.

Watson is facing sexual assault allegations from multiple women. He is still under criminal investigation, but he has not been placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List or suspended. That seems unlikely to change in the short-term even if the Texans trade him.

Watson has a full no-trade clause, and there has been talk that he will only waive it for the Dolphins. He has reportedly rebuffed at least one team that is interested in him.

Dolphins star Xavien Howard has unique response to latest trade rumors

Xavien Howard

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard has been mentioned as a potential trade candidate heading into next week’s deadline, and it’s fair to wonder if the Pro Bowler would welcome a change of scenery. If so, he is not going to admit.

Howard was asked on Thursday about his name coming up in trade rumors. He simply smiled, pointed to his shirt and said, “Miami Dolphins, baby.”

That would seemingly indicate that Howard is hoping to remain in Miami, but it’s possible he is playing coy.

If you remember, Howard requested a trade during the offseason. He was openly unhappy with his contract and said he did not feel the Dolphins were dealing with him in good faith. The two sides eventually agreed to a new deal.

Howard signed a five-year extension with the Dolphins in May 2019. He said during the offseason that he “didn’t completely understand” the contract at the time. Miami added incentives to the deal for 2021 after he held out and asked to be traded.

Would the Dolphins move on from Howard now? They’re 1-6 and nowhere near playoff contention. They also have another cornerback making top dollar in Byron Jones, who signed five-year, $82.5 million free agent contract with the team last year. It would not be a surprise if Miami looks to free up some cap space while also acquiring a draft pick.

Tua Tagovailoa has telling remark on Deshaun Watson trade rumors

Tua Tagovailoa at a press conference

Tua Tagovailoa can’t be feeling like the Miami Dolphins have too much confidence in him these days, but the former first-round pick is doing his best to put on a happy face — literally.

The Dolphins have been viewed as the most likely suitor to land Deshaun Watson if the Houston Texans deal the star quarterback. Watson has a no-trade clause, and a report on Wednesday claimed he is only willing to waive it for Miami. That led to a member of the media asking Tagovailoa if he feels wanted by the Dolphins organization. He had a very interesting response.

“I don’t not feel wanted,” Tagovailoa said with a chuckle. “That’s what I can say.”

Tagovailoa was asked about the fact that Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has come out and said his team is not interested in Watson. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has only stated the obvious, which is that Tagovailoa is currently the team’s starting quarterback. Flores could easily put the Watson rumors to rest. We all know why he hasn’t.

“I don’t base my emotions off of who says anything about me or who’s saying what,” Tagovailoa said. “All I can do is my job and do it to the best of my capability.”

Flores has been asked about the Watson rumors multiple times. The way he addressed the reports on Wednesday can’t have Tagovailoa feeling that confident about his future in Miami.

There’s a reason the Dolphins have been viewed as the most likely suitor for Watson. They’re obviously interested in him, which is not all that surprising considering he’s a 25-year-old Pro Bowler. What that also means, however, is that they’re skeptical about Tagovailoa’s ability to become a franchise quarterback. The former Alabama star likely knows that.