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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins believe Tunsil may have turned a corner in his development

Roy Cummings

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil hasn’t had a very good season this year. Not according to the folks at Pro Football Focus, where his overall grade stands at 51.9, which currently ranks 54th among 80 qualifying tackles.

Given that Tunsil leads the Dolphins in penalties with 10 and has often looked either overmatched or unsure of what it is he’s supposed to be doing at what is supposed to be his natural position, the Dolphins probably don’t disagree with PFF’s findings.

The Dolphins, though, do see something in their 2016 first-round draft pick that few others do. Even as he continues to struggle at times (Tunsil earned a season-worst grade of 39.0 for his efforts against the Broncos last week, per PFF), the Dolphins see signs of progress.

One of the most obvious came during running back Kenyan Drake’s 42-yard touchdown run last week when Tunsil mauled and just kept on mauling Broncos end Adam Gostis to help spring Drake loose. Coach Adam Gase says there are a lot more that others may not see.

 “I think he’s played better (the past few weeks,’’ Gase said of Tunsil. “His practice habits keep getting better each week and I think he’s got a better understanding of the bigger picture now, which is really (important) for a young player.

 “I’ve seen a different look in his eye the last three or four weeks where it’s kind of like the lightbulbs are going off for him as far as understanding everything as a whole. I think it’s really making sense to him more and more as the season is going on.’’

It’s critical that it does, because Tunsil is the player the Dolphins intend to build their line around. That’s why he was moved from left guard to left tackle, and while the Dolphins knew the transition wouldn’t be seamless they surely hoped it would be more seamless than it’s been.

The good news is that it has more or less been the mental aspect of the game that Tunsil has struggled with. Sure, he’s had some moments where he’s looked out of place physically, too, but that’s to be expected with a second-year player.

And of course it didn’t help that Tunsil spent a year playing the position he wasn’t destined to play. That stunted his growth and that of the Dolphins, too, but in the eyes of Gase at least it seems the cornerstone of the Dolphins O-line is back on an upward trajectory.

“With a guy like him, you’re looking for that improvement week in and week out because he is one of those guys where you can really see what we have in him as far as his talent goes,’’ Gase said.

 “We just need to keep bringing him along, and he needs to keep maturing as a player, too, but I think he’s heading in that direction.’’

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins got contributions everywhere in Sunday win

Florida Football Insiders

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There were a lot of questions and plenty of reasons to doubt the Dolphins roster makeup, as 2018 was  getting underway.

However, two games in, the Fins have been impressive, and earned their way to an unbeaten start. Their latest effort Sunday at The Meadowlands against AFC East rival Jets saw numerous players new and old step up.

Whether it was TJ McDonald’s early interception of New York rookie QB Sam Darnold, or Kenyan Drake weaving through the Jets front seven for the early score a short time later, Miami set the tone.

And then, when Kiko Alonso knocked the ball free from Jets receiver Robby Anderson and Raekwon McMillan recovered it, it was new free agent receiver Albert Wilson capitalizing here:

It went for a 29-yard touchdown from QB Ryan Tannehill and Miami had command at that point at 14-0.

Tannehill spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and even found reserve A.J. Derby for a 19 yard touchdown, as the lead ballooned to 20-0 nothing.

Darnold ended with some decent yardage and a couple of second-half touchdowns, but the Dolphins registered four sacks and had three total takeaways to help put this one away.

Even ageless veteran Frank Gore got into the act. This as, the 35 year old moved into fourth place on NFL all-time rushing list trailing only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.

And late in the game caught a dump off pass from Tannehill and weaved through the Jet defense to pick up 3rd and 19, move the chains and allow Miami to run the clock out.

So the 2018 Dolphins don’t have Jay Cutler, Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and some of the others from a team that struggled last year.

However, their new faces stepped in and stepped up Sunday on the road.

And Miami is now 2 – 0 for the first time since 2013, and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

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Miami Dolphins

Gameday- Dolphins renew rivalry with Jets in New York

Florida Football Insiders

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Dolphins (1-0) at Jets (1-0)

Where: Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Spread: Jets by 2.5 (Courtesy Vegasinsidercom)

Renewal of the Rivalry

There are no longer names like Shula, Namath and Marino, but the storied rivalry of the Dolphins and the Jets is five decades old. As AFC East Rivals since the early 1970’s, these teams and fan bases are familiar with each other for generations. Yes, grandads, dads and in some cases, great granddads have watched these two play. The Jets hold a 54-50-1 record all time, and that includes a decisive win in the Meadowlands last year. The Fins, however, won the rematch (Cutler at the helm) later in the year at Hard Rock Stadium.

Now, they play right away in 2018 and the winner maintains at least a tie for first in the division.

Tannehill looks to build on week one

It was a bizarre game last Sunday in the opener with Tennessee, as there were two lightning delays that lasted more than 3 1/2 hours. So, it’s tough to judge everything completely. However, QB Ryan Tannehill, off his ACL tear last August, was effective for a lot of the game (despite two picks) finishing 20-28 for 230 yards and two TDs. One was a second half 75 yard bomb to WR Kenny Stills as the Dolphins prevailed 27-20.

Will the Jets 3-4 defense be able to rattle him? Will Tannehill handle the pressure and be accurate. It’s not the only key, but a big one for the Fins.

Finally, will the Jets look like they did Monday night?

In a remarkable win on the road on Monday night, rookie Sam Darnold overcame a pick six TD in the first :20 of his NFL career to play effectively in the blowout win over the Lions. Darnold who was 16-21 with two TDs, will have to be solid in this one for the Jets.

The Dolphins pass rush led by Robert Quinn and Cam Wake will try to fluster him and create those bad throws from the USC rookie.

The Jets defense and special teams came up with big plays also against Detroit, as they pulled away in the second half for a 48-17 win. That included an interception and punt return TD in the second half.

Miami will need to keep the Jets from making the big play Sunday.

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Miami Dolphins

Report- Dolphins OL Josh Sitton out for season

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The injury news is not good to wake up to on a Friday morning for Dolphins fans. Offensive lineman Josh Sitton will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury, according to a report.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald had the story first that Sitton, who missed practice this week with a shoulder injury, is going on injured reserve:

 

Salguero wrote, that Sitton actually tore his rotator cuff at some point during the playing of the second half of Sunday’s game with Tennessee. Yet, the 11 year veteran continued to play through it. Further, Sitton had been exploring the option of continuing to play with the injury in the short term this week, etc. However, he was advised that if the shoulder was damaged more, that surgery might not be able to repair it and it would end his career.

Sitton is a four-time Pro Bowler who was originally drafted by Green Bay, but was signed by the Dolphins away from the Chicago Bears this past offseason. He was playing in the offense of then Bears, now Dolphins coordinator Dowell Loggains. And it made him attractive to sign by Miami in March.

Loggains told the media Thursday that Sitton’s injury and possible absence for this week’s game against the Jets creates a problem,

“Does it change things? Absolutely. If you didn’t have someone at any position, you look to (say), ‘How is this matchup going to affect us in the game?’”

Sitton, who had started 137 games in his career coming into this season, had also been a mentor to former #1 pick left tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Miami will now go to veteran journeyman guard Ted Larsen, who started eight games over the last couple of seasons for the Dolphins ,but has also battled nagging injuries throughout his career.

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