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Miami Dolphins: Clean It Up

Five games.

Five wins.

The year was 2008 last time the Miami Dolphins won five straight games. That was also the last time the Dolphins reached the playoffs.

Will they find a way to return to the postseason this year?

Not so fast. There is still a lot of work to do. So many things to clean up. Penalties, defensive breakdowns…all the little things.

While the win last Sunday in Los Angeles was great it was also frustrating. The Rams defense held our offense in check for fifty-five minutes, while our defense just barely contained Todd Hurley and rookie quarterback Jared Goff. The most frustrating play could have broken the game open much earlier.

After Kiko Alonso force and the recovered a fumble(Kiko continues to impress) the offense tried to strike quickly. Going for a deep passing touchdown after a turnover is what you always hope for. It is an aggressive move which pays great dividends when successful.

When Successful…

It was not. Ryan Tannehill launch a beautiful deep ball towards Devante Parker in the left front corner of the end zone just like it was drawn up.  All Parker needed to do was time his jump and put his 6’3 frame to work. Touchdown right? Wrong. Parker jumped a step or two early and the ball flew just out of reach to be intercepted by Rams safety Maurice Alexander.

The timing was off by just this much…

My first reaction to the play was: “Seriously!?”.  A combination of frustration and disbelief. It was born not of anger because of the turn over but of shock. I had seen this movie before. We all had.

A nearly identical play Tannehill to Parker for a missed touchdown turned interception…that is how the week two game against the New England Patriots ended. Thankfully this time the Dolphins managed to recover to claim victory from the jaws of defeat. Even so this is something that needs to be cleaned up.

A play like that can be such a weapon if they can just get it right. Timing takes time. And repetition. And more repetition.

Get it right and the offense can be explosive. You have a threat to score at any time. It makes the entire offense better. More room for Jay Ajayi to run(as if he does not create enough on his own), more opportunities for Jarvis Landry to exert his will on the defense. It can build confidence on both sides of the ball. It opens up so many possibilities.

So clean it up…and see what transpires.

 

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The Last NFL Mock Draft of 2015

The hour is getting late and I still have not written my mock draft. Procrastination is strong this year.

I have no good reason for being so late this year. For once I do not have a real sense of what teams will do. Some of this is due to several teams clearly needing a quarterback with only two real prospects out there for the taking.

Regardless it is time. In fact it is past time that I put my name on the 2015 NFL Draft.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

This seems like a no brainer. Lovie gets his franchise quarterback.

2. Tennessee Titans-Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

I am not saying the Titans are taking Mariota. I am just saying someone takes him here. The phone lines will be burning up.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars-Dante Fowler Jr, Edge Rusher, Florida

Fowler stays close to home and excells in Gus Bradley’s defense.

4. Oakland Raiders-Leonard Williams, DT, USC

Williams is one of the best players in the draft. He should be able to work inside or out for the Raiders.

5. Washington Redskins-Amari Cooper. WR, Alabama

With Washington picking up RJIII’s five-year option they could give him some more weapons. Cooper does everything you want from a number one receiver.

6. New York Jets-Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

With Mariota off the board new coach Todd Bowles solidifies the offensive line for whoever is under center for the Jets next season.

7. Chicago Bears-Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

John Fox’s first job as new Head Coach should be to shore up the middle of the defense. Shelton should do nicely.

8. Atlanta Falcons-Vic Beasley, Edge Rusher, Clemson

Former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn upgrades his pass rush with Beasley

9. New York Giants-Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

Not a sexy pick but good value. Always need to protect Eli.

10. St. Louis Rams-Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

Great size, speed and body control. Nick Foles gets a number one receiver.

11. Minnesota Vikings-Devante Parker, WR, Louisville

Reuniting Parker and Teddy Bridgewater is a no brainer.

12. Cleveland Browns-Malcom Brown, DT, Texas

Wide Receiver could be the pick here but I think the Browns look to solidify the defensive line with their first pick of the first round.

13. New Orleans Saints-Randy Gregory, Edge Rusher, Nebraska

The off-field stuff drops Gregory to the Saints who desperately need pass rushers.

14. Miami Dolphins-Erik Kendricks, ILB, UCLA

Dolphins could go a few places with this pick. Todd Gurley and Breshad Perriman are definetly in play here. I think they take Kendricks to fill middle linebacker for the next decade.

15. San Francisco 49ers-Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon

Armstead steps in as the replacement for Justin Smith.

16. Houston Texans-Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF

While they still need a quarterback the Texans get their number one receiver. While raw I expect Perriman to excel at the NFL level.

17. San Diego Chargers-Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

If not for the injury no way Gurley falls this far. The Chargers jump at the chance for a dominant every down back.

18. Kansas City Chiefs-Cameron Erving, C, Florida State

Erving is the best center in the draft.

19. Cleveland Browns-Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma

Someone will take a chance on DGB. And yes I don’t think Cleveland has learned from Josh Gordon.

20. Philadephia Eagles-Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

Chip Kelly wants to move up for Mariota, badly. If he cannot pull it off he takes the best corner in the draft.

21. Cincinnati Bengals-Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State

Goldman will learn from Geno Atkins. Making the front four very dominant.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers-Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

The Steelers desperately need to rebuild their secondary. Despite his issues Peters fits perfectly.

23. Detroit Lions-Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

Gordon can be a game-breaking back. Detroit will be thinking of Barry Sanders when they pick Gordon here.

24. Arizona Cardinals-DJ Humphries, OT, Florida

Humphries may be the best tackle in this draft when all is said and done. Carson Palmer will need the protection as he comes back from his injury.

25. Carolina Panthers-Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami

Flowers can play all across the line. Should immediately upgrade the offensive line.

26. Baltimore Ravens-Philip Dorsett, WR, Miami

Joe Flacco will love Dorsett’s speed and big play ability

27. Dallas Cowboys-Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington

Athletic and versatile. Thompson should be able to fill multiple roles in the Cowboys defense.

28. Denver Broncos-TJ Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh

With Peyton Manning coming back the offensive line is absolutely a need. Should fit well in the new offensive scheme under Gary Kubiak.

29. Indianapolis Colts-Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon

Andrew Luck is the franchise. You can never have enough protection for the franchise. Fisher should slide right in at left tackle.

30. Green Bay Packers-Erik Rowe, CB, Utah

Good size, speed combination. Can easily play either corner or safety.

31. New Orleans Saints-Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

A nice long target for Drew Brees.

32. New England Patriots-Bud Dupree, Edge Rusher, Kentucky

Dupree is a raw, versatile player. Can work standing up or with a hand in the dirt. Bill Belichik loves players like that.

 

The time is growing short. Draft day tends to change things minute by minute. Cannot get enough of it.

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Miami Dolphins: NFL Draft 1st Round Options.

This week the NFL holds its annual draft, this time in Chicago. Starting Thursday, April 30th all 32 teams will begin building the future of their franchises.

Months of film study, testing and debating go into choosing these draft picks. No picks are more highly debated than the first round pick.

Taking a look at the Miami Dolphins these are my 1st round options. This is where I would go not necessarily what I think the team will do. I also decided to include a backup plan for each player. Lets get started.

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia, 6’1, 220 lbs
I have been on Gurley since last September. He is not simply the best running back in this draft. He is one of the best, most complete backs in years. He has the power to move the pile, the speed to reach the corner and the body control to create the big plays. Even more importantly he is a talented and willing blocker with hands to excel in the passing game.

Back-up Plan: Tyler Varga, RB, Yale, 5’11, 220 lbs
Varga is a versatile back that should be available in the late rounds. He could contribute quickly for whatever team takes him.

Erik Kendricks, ILB, UCLA, 6’0, 230 lbs
Middle linebacker has been a need since Zach Thomas left Miami. Kendricks could solidify the position for the next decade. Great instincts, nice speed. Kendricks would pair well with Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi to make the linebacking corps a strength of this defense. While some question his size for me he hits right in the sweet spot of what I look for in linebackers.

Back-up Plan: Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson, 6’3, 243 lbs
Anthony runs like a deer with good, not great instincts. He is still a little raw but could be a diamond. Should not get past the third round.

Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF, 6’2, 212 lbs
Perriman has been flying up everyone’s draft boards in part because of a 4.2 40-time. While a little raw, Perriman is not just about speed. He has better than advertised hands and big play ability. If he came from a bigger school he would be talked about in the top-3. He gives the Dolphins a solid number one receiver in the next few seasons.

Back-up Plan: Chris Conley, WR, Georgia, 6’2, 213 lbs
Conley brings an 18.2 yards per catch average to the table. Great quickness and nice hands. Can be a very nice deep threat if given the chance.

Any of these players work for me in the first round, the back-up plans would help tremendously later in the draft. What the Dolphins actually do is anyone guess?

This is an exciting time. Cannot wait for the draft.

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