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Miami Dolphins

Bounce back win Sunday keeps Miami in AFC playoff conversation

Florida Football Insiders

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The very competitive AFC Wildcard playoff race has numerous teams vying for one spot at the moment. And, one of those teams is the Miami Dolphins.

Off of their 24 – 21 win over AFC East rival Buffalo, Miami improved to 6 – 6 on the season, and that currently has them just a game out of the final AFC playoff spot.

After Sunday night, the Chargers are in the five-spot in the AFC with their come-from-behind win 33 – 30 overtime victory in Pittsburgh. The Chargers are 9 – 3 and lead the Ravens by two full games for the final slot.

Baltimore, who defeated the Falcons in Atlanta Sunday is now 7 – 5 and a game in front of four teams who are tied at 6 – 6. That group includes the Dolphins, who are still benefiting from their 3 – 0 start in September. Those wins may prove vital down the stretch for Adam Gase’s club to return to post-season play, as they did under him in his first season of 2016.

Indianapolis is 6 – 6 after their shutout loss to the Jaguars Sunday, but they would still be in front of the Dolphins on a head-to-head tiebreaker after last week’s win over Miami. The Broncos and the Titans are both 6-6. Denver beat Cincinnati on Sunday and has won three straight games. Meanwhile, Tennessee rallied from 16-0 down Sunday to beat the Jets at home and level their record.

Just like in jumbled picture in the NFC, it appears that the final AFC Wildcard spot will require at least nine victories to get into January football. L.A. already is set at that number.

As we wrote on Sunday, it wasn’t a pretty win for Miami over the Bills, but they did enough to get it done. And the only thing they will be judged on over the final month is how many more wins can they get?

Get three more wins, and the Fins (or any of the others) will have a great shot.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins RB Walton facing potential NFL suspension?

Abbey Radeka

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins Running Back Mark Walton did not report practice today, but he did report to court to resolve multiple charges from arrests earlier this year. According to Miami-Dade court records, Walton received six months of non-reporting probation Monday as part of a plea deal to resolve his three offseason court cases.

For Walton, the plea deal means he wont have to spend any time in jail for any of his alleged crimes, but we don’t yet know how it will affect his eligibility in the League?

Technically, a player on probation can still be eligible to play regular season games, but in similar previous cases, players have been suspended for one or multiple games due to the NFL personal conduct policy.

The document writes:
“It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.

Players convicted of a crime or subject to a disposition of a criminal proceeding (as defined in this Policy) are subject to discipline. But even if the conduct does not result in a criminal conviction, players found to have engaged in any of the following conduct will be subject to discipline.”

Walton will still be eligible to play on Thursday night, in the Dolphins final preseason game against the Jaguars. But, depending on how quickly NFL officials come up with a suspension, it’s likely that he won’t be starting the regular season with the team.

Walton had five carries for 8 yards and one catch for 12 yards in Friday night’s preseason game against the Bucs. He’s currently battling with Kalen Ballage for playing time in the Miami backfield.

The Dolphins picked Walton up back in May, after the Bengals released him following his third arrest.

We wrote then, Walton’s most recent troubles involved a police chase after authorities in Dade County caught him weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed earlier in March. They eventually chased Walton and discharged a taser.

However, Walton, according to the police report, removed the prongs and continued to run. Miami police found a small amount of marijuana and a legally purchased rifle in his abandoned vehicle.

As we had also written in February, he allegedly got into the dispute with a woman that he did not know at his condo building, and was arrested by the Miami Police Department. The incident occurred in a parking garage after Walton became angry in a dispute about Walton’s car blocking the entrance.

When the woman apparently attempted to record Walton threatening her by using her cell phone, Walton grabbed the phone and struggled with the woman trying to get it back. Walton was taken into custody on a charge of battery.

The former Miami Hurricane was a 4th round pick of the Bengals a year ago who was active for 14 games but only carried the ball 14 times on the season for just 34 yards. He had an additional five catches for 41 yards on the year.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins will go back to veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins continue their ongoing evaluation of whom will start the season at quarterback between veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and second-year newly acquired, Josh Rosen. And on Monday morning, coach Brian Flores announced that after Rosen had started game two last Friday night in Tampa, Fitzpatrick will be back under center to begin the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars this Thursday.

Flores met with a media prior to the Dolphins latest workout on Monday but also said not to read too much into the latest QB switch:

Miami started Rosen against the Buccaneers, whom they acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in a draft weekend trade. And, as we wrote, he was largely ineffective for most of Friday night’s first half that he played.

The final stat line read 10-18 102 yards 0 TD and 0 INT, which indicates an average half of football.

And, yes there were damp conditions from pregame rain in Tampa, but Rosen on multiple occasions threw behind or low towards receivers that were open for possible gains. He was also jittery against the Bucs occasional blitz package from new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Rosen was sacked three times and knocked down several others.

A key moment of scrutiny was when Rosen was unable to get the team in the end zone after they got outstanding field position on a Buccaneers 31 yard line midway through the first after fumble buy backup running back Andre Ellington. The Fins moved inside the 10, but Tampa Bay held Miami on fourth down, where Rosen threw incomplete in the right corner of the end zone to backup receiver Isaiah Ford and Miami came away with no points.

While Flores tried to make it clear that the media and fans should not read too much into going back to Fitzpatrick as an indication on who will be the opening day starter, it will likely be the veteran when Miami hosts the Baltimore Ravens on September 8th.

Miami obviously knows what they have in the 15-year veteran Fitzpatrick, who started the first three games of last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And he led them to two victories and was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for both of the first to win in 2018.

However, just because Fitzpatrick starts the Jaguars game Thursday night, doesn’t mean Rosen won’t play in the first half with the first team to get another look for new offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea.

The game Thursday night will also be televised nationally by Fox and the Jaguars are expected to play their starters throughout the first half, and perhap,  into the early part of the third quarter.

That will give Fitzpatrick and maybe, Rosen,  ample opportunity to see what they can do against a quality defense.

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