The AFC Championship Game: Not a surprise, yet surprising

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

With the conclusion of the AFC Championship Game, we now know who will play in Super Bowl LV: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC) and the Kansas City Chiefs (AFC).

As the defending champion, it shouldn’t have surprised me that the Chiefs moved on again, and yet, it very much did. The Buffalo Bills are a young, up-and-coming team that, frankly, may have been the biggest winner in the “Tom Brady leaves the AFC East” game.

Let’s take a look back at how the Chiefs defeated the Bills to punch their ticket to the Big Game and a chance for a repeat championship…

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Watson to the Dolphins?

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

As I am wrapping up the final day of the senior bowls practices, some NFL news broke which included the Miami Dolphins.

Rumors have been circulating for weeks about Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s unhappiness with the Texans front office and possibly wanting out. He’s named the Miami Dolphins team as one of the teams he would like to play for.

No big surprise there. Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores is very well respected around the league. And Dolphins GM Chris Grier has started to build a solid future for this team.

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Dolphins coaching staff kicks off Reese’s Senior Bowl

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson// @LJ1303

As the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl got underway, Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores and his coaching staff got things started.

After a week of testing and quarantine coach Flores and the National team finally got to see some daylight. Due to strict covid protocols, all regular Senior Bowl activities had been canceled prior to both team arrivals.

Day one did however get off to a rocky start. Due to inclement weather, the Senior Bowl staff sent out a mass email that day 1 practice had been moved inside, so no media attendance was to be expected.

Soon after, the skies parted and the weather pattern changed.

The staff quickly reversed the inside order and moved the practice back out on the field. Clearing the way for media to converge back to Handcock Whitney Stadium.

Once we got inside and settled, the team had just taken the field. As teams split into groups, I noticed that Alabama’s top wide receiver and projected first-round pick, DeVonta Smith, was sporting a finger brace on his right hand. Smith has taken part in all team meetings.

When asked by the South Florida media about Smith and his smaller thinner body frame, Coach Flores was pretty quick to snap back that Smith is a tough player. The staff didn’t seem to be bothered by his size, they just wanted it to be known that he had some great college performances, especially in big games. Coach Flores also spoke to the fact that he thought Smith was a good kid.

It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins are in need of a true #1 receiver. And if you watched any of Smith’s highlights, he is no doubt on the Dolphins draft board.

Another player that Coach Flores and this staff will have an opportunity to take a look at, is Alabama running back Najee Harris. Harris put on a show during the College National Championship game. He showed great athleticism in the running back spot.

As I watched him today, I noticed that he was an attentive young man. He was talking to coaches while seemly taking everything in. Looks like he would be a great fit in the Dolphins’ backfield. Just putting that out there!

With one day of practice in the books, Coach Flores and this Dolphins team have a great opportunity to get an edge up on the 2021 NFL draft class. Scouting is something that Coach Flores knows all too well. Before starting his rise into the coaching field, Coach Flores was an assistant in scouting.

I also got the chance to speak to Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy.  Nagy told me how Flores excelled in the scouting world. He would even write up Nagy’s scouting reports for him.  So according to Nagy, if there is one thing Coach Flores knows, it’s evaluating talent.

So not only is Coach Flores evaluating talent, he is coaching in it. Seems to have come full circle.

Follow Lisa on Twitter @LJ1303

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The Bills are moving on in the playoffs.

Sonja Greenfield, Senior NFL Reporter NFC North, NFC East

By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN

I’m keeping you guys on your toes. I usually am writing about the NFC East or the NFC North. Because it’s the playoffs, I decided to switch it up and venture to the AFC side of the League, to talk about the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts Wild Card game.

After quarterback Tom Brady left the division in the offseason, I don’t think anyone was happier than the Buffalo Bills to see him leave. With Brady out of the division, it was pretty much a given that they would win the AFC East, at least on paper.

Despite the Miami Dolphins having a pretty successful year, the Bills finished 13-3 and got to host their first playoff game in 25 years. They were even given permission to allow a “small” amount of fans to come and cheer on their Bills. The Colts, on the other hand, finished their division tied with the Tennessee Titans with an 11-5 record. Quietly, rookie running back Jonathan Taylor lead the way with over 1,000 rushing yards.

Continue reading “The Bills are moving on in the playoffs.”

Loss leave Dolphins fans with many questions

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

As Miami Dolphins fans watched their playoff hopes get squashed by the surging AFC East Champion Buffalo Bills, not only did the Dolphins miss the playoffs, but they also seem to have opened themselves up for some tough decisions ahead.

Following a 56-26 loss, Dolphins fans were left wondering if Miami’s first-round draft choice, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, is indeed the chosen one. Many fans have already seemed to have thrown in the towel, especially since the Dolphins hold the 3rd and 18th picks in this year’s NFL draft, which is likely to hold 3 quarterbacks that are worthy of a first-round selection.

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Miami Dolphins run for the playoffs

Lisa Johnson,
NFL Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

With only 4 weeks left in the 2020 NFL season, the Miami Dolphins find themselves in the hunt to secure a playoff spot. According to the New York Times, the Dolphins have a 58% possibility of making it to the postseason.

The Dolphins will start this run against the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. With Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes having another MVP type season, the Dolphins will send out first round pick rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who is 4-1 as the Dolphins starter.

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OTFB Fan Forum: Holiday Edition

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West/AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

It’s time again for the Our Turf Football Fan Forum. For those new here, once a month I ask the members of our Fan Forum a question to get their thoughts on the state of their team or football in general. Since this month is full of holidays and (hopefully) good cheer, I decided the question should reflect that.

In a season we weren’t even sure would happen, there have been a lot of ups and downs. Between very little training camp, no preseason, and COVID-19 issues, there has been a lot that has gone wrong in the 2020 season. However, in my opinion, there has been a lot that has gone well too. And that was my question for the forum.

In a season that wasn’t guaranteed and had lots of things going against it, what has gone well? I told the members it could be about anything NFL, and they came up with some fantastic answers.

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Midseason grades: Fan Forum gives Buffalo Bills a B+

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West/AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

As part of our Fan Forum series, I asked our forum members to rate or grade their favorite teams so far through the season. You can read the other members’ comments here, but when I read Ashley Petty‘s answer, I thought it deserved a little space.

In my opinion, the Bills are one of the most fascinating teams in the NFL this year. With quarterback Tom Brady moving on from New England, we knew there was a strong chance that the upstart Bills would fill the void that was left. It hasn’t been perfect, but I think there is a lot of good coming out of upstate New York. As Ashley comments below show, she agrees.

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Midseason check in with the OTFB Fan Forum

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West/AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

We are halfway through a season we weren’t even sure we were going to get. It seems almost impossible, but the NFL has kept on track during the pandemic and for some teams, things are going quite well. Others…not so much.

I reached out to our fan forum to check in with them to see how they felt their favorite teams were doing 8 weeks into the 2020 season.

Matt Cullen is a new member of our fan forum. He is a long-suffering New York Jets fan, and at the halfway mark, is ready for a change.

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Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores “Yes, we are starting, “Tua”

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

Late afternoon Tuesday, October 20th, 2020. Miami Dolphins fan received the news that Ryan Fitzpatrick would take a seat. News broke through team sources that Dolphins first-round pick, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, would get the start moving forward.

So it is official…it’s “Tua Time” here in Miami.

Fans’ reactions went from excitement to the not so excited crowd. Many fans questioning the timing of the decision. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has led the Dolphins to back-to-back wins. We started to hear early rumblings about playoffs or possibly winning the AFC East. So why now?

Continue reading “Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores “Yes, we are starting, “Tua””