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Miami Dolphins

Criticism of Gase for playing McMillan on special teams unwarranted

Florida Football Insiders



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The Dolphins are still feeling effects of injuries so far in training camp, including losing rookie Raekwon McMillan for the season Thursday in their first preseason game. It’s now confirmed that the former Ohio State tackling machine is lost for the season with a torn ACL.

Well, after the Dolphins resumed practice on Saturday head coach Adam Gase was questioned about why a rookie they were counting on to see significant playing time at middle linebacker this season would be on punt coverage?

To his credit, Gase gave an insightful answer that speaks to the challenge every NFL team faces with roster sizes and having to field special teams units throughout games all year long.

Gase responded to the question about why McMiilan was risking injury on special teams,  “Cause he was gonna play them in the season…..we only have 46 guys…. You’re a rookie and you have to experience these things. You have to do it.” Gase continued, “Cause, we throw him in a real game….and he’s never done it before, it’s not gonna be a good result…You feel bad for him, especially for a guy that’s never been injured before in his career.”

So, there’s the quandry. With young players, even guys you are counting on to play significantly either on offense or defense, you still will have to them on some or most of them one of your special teams units. You simply cannot field kickoff, kickoff return, punt coverage, punt return, etc. and not play first or second year guys.

And that brings back to McMillan being out there on punt team. There are obviously certain star Dolphins who you are going to protect. However, if you are on the active roster, you are very likely going take a physical risk and play one of the special teams units. He’s a linebacker, an instinctive tackler and suited to run down the field and make plays.

Further, Gase shouldn’t face an abundance of criticism for something he and all NFL coaches are forced to address, consider and then take risks with.

Remember, a few seasons ago (2012) when the Patriots lost the best tight end in the game, Rob Gronkowski, for the season, because he suffered a broken forearm while on extra point protection? Yes, the greatest coach in the game, Bill Belichick had him out there not only for that game, but basically throughout his career as a blocker on special teams.

And disaster struck.

From Pete Carroll in Seattle to Sean Payton in New Orleans, you take risks who you put out on special teams and they occasionally burn you.

It burned the Dolphins. Badly. McMillan is lost for the year.

But, that doesn’t mean Gase wasn’t trying to do the right thing with getting a player experience on something he was going to be asked to do come September 10th.  It means get ready to use star young players on special teams out of roster size and necessity.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins QB Rosen did little Friday night to win starting job

Florida Football Insiders



Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The ongoing battle for who will start the Dolphins season at quarterback took another interesting turn in Friday night’s preseason game with the Buccaneers. However, the current backup, second-year player Josh Rosen, did little to help his case to unseat veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

New head coach Brian Flores and his offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea, obviously challenged Rosen by having him start with the first team and play the entire first half in last night’s second preseason game.

Unfortunately, for Rosen and the coaching staff, he did a little to impress and at times, showed the same shaky quarterback play and bad throws that he did during a mostly dismal rookie season in Arizona. The final stat line read 10-18 102 yards 0 TD and 0 INT, which indicates average half of football.

And, yes there were damp conditions from pregame rain, 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.

Later in the first half Rosen should have thrown an interception, as he threw the ball right to Bucs rookie defensive back Jamel Dean after throwing late and behind a receiver on the near sideline. However, Dean dropped the INT. Still, Miami punted shortly after.

Coach Brian Flores said after the joint practices with the Bucs this week that Rosen needed to “improve his body language” and leading the team.

Yet, while this was a dress rehearsal, he did little to inspire the Dolphins offense, which only managed 2 field goals even with great field position throughout the first half.

There will still be more opportunity for Rosen in the final two preseason games, and perhaps he will be better.

Better than he was Friday night.

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Miami Dolphins

Lots to watch as Bucs host Dolphins Friday night

Jamil King



Week two of the NFL preseason continues tonight, as the Bucs will host the Dolphins in the annual in-state preseason contest. Of course, in typical Florida fashion and typical Bucs vs. Dolphins preseason fashion, the weather is looking like rain will be a factor in the game.

With that being said, here are a few things to watch for tonight:

Dolphins QB Battle:

Josh Rosen and former Buc Ryan Fitzpatrick are still battling for the spot of QB1 for the Fins. Rosen took some first-team reps in practice, and eventually Miami will need to see him work with the ones in a game at some point. Is that tonight is the question?

Also, look for Rosen’s “body language,” as that has been a topic of discussion at the joint practices this week and has been said to be one of his worst characteristics. With the weather being an issue tonight, it will be interesting to see who plays the better game at quarterback the young gunslinger or the veteran, Fitzpatrick.

Kalen Ballage:

With Kenyan Drake down with an injured foot, Ballage has an opportunity for the taking tonight. Both he and Drake were sharing reps, and Ballage was expecting expanded work coming into the season. With Drake now hurt, we could see the second year Ballage put a stronghold on the position after a great week of practice.

Bucs Secondary Depth:

The Bucs have been hit with injuries throughout the secondary positions so far in camp in particular at safety. The Bucs added a veteran safety earlier this week in former Bronco, Darin Stewart. Stewart has already practiced with the team this week and could be a nice added boost to the back end. At Corner, look to see rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting take a step forward in his second NFL game, as well as USF rookie product, Mazzi Wilkins, who will try to keep up a strong camp.

Bucs Back up QB:

Bruce Arians has said Ryan Griffin gives him reasons to keep a third QB on the active roster. Now, Griffin has to keep playing well to restore the faith. Many have thought of Griffin to be the Bucs back up, but Blaine Gabbert has come in and taken that job. Griffin will need to show Arians that a third QB should be active and that it shouldn’t go to another position.


Bucs Rookie Matt Gay has lit up with what could compared to a “bazooka” right leg. With his long 60-yard kicks in camp, fans are taking videos in practice. This is excellent news so far, but none of this means a thing when kicking in practice.

After hitting a Heinz Field record 55-yard attempt last week in Pittsburgh, Gay will look to continue his success from camp into game action as he looks to lock up the kicking spot on the roster.

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