This week, I got a chance to talk with Antwan Staley (@antwanstaley) about the AFC South.
It seems the NFL has been plagued with more quarterback issues than usual, and this division definitely has it’s share of those. From Andrew Luck leaving the Colts to the Jaguars going all-in on Nick Foles only to lose him to injury to Marcus Mariota getting benched for Ryan Tannehill, what more could go wrong?
So I figured, who better to ask about what’s going on in the AFC South then my friend Antwan?
Staley is a football writer, an @EastCarolina alumni, a self-proclaimed “Hip Hop historian” and Chicken Wing Connoisseur. He has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. He has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders.
Editors Note: OurTurf Football has had a great, long-time friendship with Russell Baxter and we were honored when he asked a few of our writers to do team season previews for his website, PFG Vibe/ProFootballGuru. OTFB’s Lisa Johnson wrote up her thoughts on the upcoming season for the Miami Dolphins. The article was originally published on Aug 25, 2019, and can be seen here.
The Miami Dolphins fired Head Coach Adam Gase after 3 seasons with the Dolphins. After leading the Dolphins to their first playoff birth since 2008, Gase was fired after the 2018 season, posting a 7-9 record. The Miami Dolphins then moved onto New England Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Flores served as linebackers coach and defensive play-caller during the 2018 Super Bowl run. On February 4, 2019, Flores was hired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Going into the 2019 NFL season many teams have needs. Some have different needs than others, but no need is more important than that of the quarterback. There are at least 5 teams that are going to need some help at that position.
The Denver Broncos addressed theirs by agreeing in principle for Baltimore Ravens benched QB Joe Flacco. While Flacco won’t be the answer long term for the Broncos, he will at least give them some time to find their franchise quarterback.
Many NFL analysts have ranted that this 2019 quarterback class, to say it nicely, is average. No one guy stands out at this moment. You’d have to assume Bronco’s GM John Elway agrees with that assessment since he pulled the trigger so quickly on Flacco. I’ve always felt that if you pick a player in the first round, that player has to start day one. I just don’t feel that there are day one starters in this draft, which in my mind is why Flacco is a Bronco.
So what does this signing mean for the other teams that are quarterback-starved? It means another free agent/ “Gap” quarterback is about to hit the market. If the Broncos can’t find a team to trade their one and done QB, Case Keenum to, then he is expected to be released.
Let me first start out by saying…”Alright Miami!” because that was my very first thought after watching the Dolphins pull off a miracle last play to win the game. I could hear good ole Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich’s voice in my head.
A fitting end to a very typical AFC East match-up. A game that saw nine lead changes, which now stands as the second most in an NFL game.
Don’t think many fans would have expected that outcome when it comes to a shoot-out with future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
The Miami Dolphins have taken over the top spot in the AFC East. Yes, it’s only game 3 but honestly, most of the national media had written this Dolphins team off as one of the worst in the league.
Well, that worst team in the NFL has found themselves alone at the top of their division.
Offensively, during the first quarter, quarterback Ryan Tannehill struggled to find any rhythm. “Sometimes it’s not gonna be pretty but we all hung in there together and we found a way to get it done,” Tannehill said. I said this the whole offseason once the Dolphins signed Albert Wilson (my former hometown kid).
This is the guy head coach Adam Gase was searching for. Wilson brings a whole new skill set. He is fast and very versatile. He is a Gase guy. Coach said that Wilson, along with another explosive player, Jakeen Grant, have a whole set of plays designed just for these two players’ skill sets.
How many people can say they have become a part of history? Yes, my hand is raised. Yesterday, the Miami Dolphins played in one of the longest games in NFL history. 7 hours and 8 minutes to be exact.
It was a history-making day followed up by a Dolphins win. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday, considering last season at this time Hurricane Irma was making her presence felt. Facing adversity is becoming a common theme for these players.
Last year, the Dolphins home opener was rescheduled due to Irma. This year’s season opener turned into a marathon of lightning delays. Some of the fans that stayed enjoyed naps. Some just stayed in their seats. Others just got up and walked around the stadium.
In preseason game #3 we saw the starters play the entire first half. Earlier in the week, Head Coach Adam Gase wasn’t sure if we would see running back Frank Gore or not. It was announced shortly before the game that Gore would dress for the first time this season.
Gore saw very limited action. He only carried the ball 1 time for -2 yards. Then he caught a short pass out of the backfield for 1 yard. The rainy conditions and wet field probably made up Gase’s mind to end Gore’s night after that.
The offense started out slowly, which was a disappointment considering Ravens Coach John Harbaugh sat all of his starters. Later in the second quarter, however, quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the offense put together some nice drives.
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.