The Miami Dolphins were back on the practice field for camp today at their training facility in Davie.
Three quick observations from practice: Wide receiver DeVante Parker struggled to get free from Xavien Howard all practice. Quarterback David Fales seems poised and practices like he’s been officially named as the backup. Kicker Jason Sanders with two 61 yard FG’s might have just created some distance in the placekicker battle.
Apart from these on-the-field happenings, the team hosted military and first-responders at their training facility. During this event, I took the opportunity to speak to Kevin Matza. Kevin is a recently retired chief petty officer, US Navy.
One of the great honors I had today was speaking to former Miami Dolphins wide receiver great, Nat Moore. Moore was the 78th pick in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft in 1974. Nat played for the Dolphins for 13 seasons from 1974 to 1986.
Today, Nat serves as Senior Vice President of Alumni Relations for the Dolphins. In 2011 the Dolphins introduced The Joe Robbie Alumni Walk of Fame, which honors former players not only for their achievements on the field but off as well.
This year, the Dolphins have announced it will add 6 players to the Walk of Fame. The last class to be inducted was 2014. It had been put on hold due to the new renovations of Hard Rock Stadium.
I sit down to write this article fresh off the Dolphins first practice scrimmage of the 2018 NFL season. As they have done in the last several years, The Miami Dolphins opened up the stadium to fans that want to come out and watch the team during training camp.
This year, however, I found myself in new territory. This particular game, I was joining the media to cover the team that I have followed for going on 4 generations. (showed my age there!)
As my alarm clock rang out at 5:30 am, getting ready for my 1 1/2 hr ride to the stadium, I laid there with my eyes wide open, getting excited for the day ahead. I arrived at the stadium a bit early. I sat down outside the stadium and a wave of memories surrounded me.
Twitter timelines are firing up. Social media in a tailspin over the start of the 2018 NFL preseason. The smell of football is in the air. Which means one thing here in South Florida….Dolphins football!
Going into the 2018 season the Miami Dolphins have several question that will need to be addressed in this up coming camp. The biggest story is quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He’ll be coming back from season ending ACL surgery that happened last year at the start of training camp.
After seeing Tannehill’s off season work-outs, the quarterback doesn’t seem to have missed a beat. Which will be key, if the Dolphins can improve upon last years playoff appearance.
No need to beat around the bush. The Dolphins went into the 2018 draft with definite needs. The 2 most glaring needs being at linebacker and tight end. Not only did they address these needs, they doubled down on them. They didn’t just take one tight end and linebacker, they took two of each!
Miami started the night off selecting arguably the best safety in college football, Minkah Fitzpatrick out of Alabama.
Dolphins GM Chris Gire had this to say about their new first-round pick: “Impeccable character. At the end of the day, this guy is a football player, creates turnovers.”
Great intangibles are just part of the package that Fitzpatrick brought as a top-notch prospect. Along with his versatility in the secondary, he’s a high-character player who’s willing to do what it takes to succeed.
“A little different skill set than the other two guys. We’ll see how it will all play out.”
Day 2 of the Miami Dolphins NFL draft did not disappoint.
As expected by many, the Dolphins selected Mike Gesicki a 6’6 249 pound TE out of Penn State. At 22 years of age, Gesicki, a former Basketball player, had been considered as a first round talent by many scouts.
His only knock was for a lack of blocking ability. Dolphins GM Chris Grier had nothing but praise for Gesicki, seemingly not too worried about his blocking, or lack thereof.
It’s the NFL Draft. Christmas for football fans. You hold your breath for that one split second while the name is called. Waiting for your gut reaction to kick in, ignoring the fear, thinking to yourself “Just don’t blow it”.
Then, exhaling in a sigh of relief that maybe, just maybe, this is the guy that will come and start to turn your team around.
The Dolphins selected at 11. Kinda mid-pack, which is where Miami seems to be every year. After the flurry of quarterbacks, some very talented guys dropped down the board, leaving Miami several players to choose from. A top 5 talent at 11…fans were poised and ready.
As the name Minkah Fitzpatrick, a cornerback from Alabama, rang out, the joy on many Dolphins fans faces became very obvious. Finally, the Dolphins selected an impact guy! Seeing fans unite and actually come together to enjoy this pick is a rare sight, not seen for many years down here.
Minkah Fitzpatrick who is 6-foot, 204 pounds was coached by arguably the greatest college football coach in history, although, not such a popular fella down here in South Beach, former Dolphins head coach Nick Saban. Saban had nothing but praise for this young man, and many in the Saban circle said that trait is rare to see coming from this particular coach.
Dolphins coaches raved about his extraordinary versatility. “He was a targeted player,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said. “Smart. Loves football. One of Nick Saban’s favorite players. Been a very good player for three years. Unique. He creates turnovers. He has had touchdown returns. We felt we could not pass on him.”
I like this kid, and I love this pick. Now onto round 2, which many Dolphins fans feel this is the pick that the Fins seem to struggle with.
Once again, the Patriots walked into Miami the odds-on favorite and came out losers. Although the score doesn’t adequately reflect it, it was an ugly Monday Night Football game. One the Patriots lost to the division rival Miami Dolphins 20-27.
It was a game where quarterback Tom Brady didn’t look like Tom Brady. It took 2 1/2 quarters of football before a Patriots wide receiver (Danny Amendola) caught a pass. And New England went 0 for 11 on 3rd down conversions.
Let that sink in, folks…the Patriots could not convert a single third down. The last time the Patriots were that inept at converting on third downs was in 1991. I remember those days – back when the Patriots were really bad – they hadn’t won more than 10 games since 1986 and this particular season, they went 6-10. Does anyone remember head coach Dick MacPherson? Nah…me either.
New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave drew up a game plan that was better than we’d seen in a while. It was aimed to take advantage of every weakness Miami has.
Unfortunately, our quarterback was bad; 1.8 QBR bad. Plus, the receivers didn’t help much. Our offensive line often gave quarterback Trevor Siemian time to throw, but the longer the game went on, the more Miami saw there was no deep threat, so they started rushing/blitzing often. 7 vs 5 isn’t going to end well.