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Dolphins coach Flores candid Monday on cutting vets- QB decision

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins continued their purge of high-priced veterans with training camp cuts looming later this week, when they released safety T.J. McDonald Sunday night.

And coach Brian Flores is making it clear privately and now publicly, that there are dual motives with the moves they are making. One, it’s an attempt to get younger while trying to be better. And two, what works best financially and under the cap for the team?

Flores talked to the Miami media prior to practice Monday morning and spoke for the first time since the team released the veteran McDonald ,who came to them 3 years ago:

McDonald’s started 14 games a year ago, but again does not fit into the new coaching staff’s long-term plan. GM Chris Grier obviously signed off on this move, which will cause the Dolphins to take a 4 26 million cap hit in dead money.

There is also speculation that Miami is trying to rework the contract and cap number for veteran defensive back Reshad Jones who is scheduled to make $13 million with a dead cap hit of $17 million if released. If they cannot work that out, Jones will could be released, but there’s a slim chance that the Fins find a trade partner later this week comes, too. Also, Miami could choose to keep the veteran Jones for depth in the secondary.

As we wrote this weekend, veteran linebacker Kiko Alonso and wide receiver Kenny Stills may also be on the chopping block, as veterans that cost too much. So, Miami could to get rid of either by release or trade later this week.

Flores did speak favorably at Stills responding well and continuing to do the things needed after his off-field controversy and criticism of owner Stephen Ross holding a fundraising dinner for President Donald Trump and also the NFL’s partnership with music mogul, Jay-Z.

Flores also told the media Monday that Grier has input into the decision of what to do at starting quarterback?

Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick played deep into the third quarter of the final dress rehearsal tune up last Thursday night against the Jaguars. It is believed that he will be the opening day starter against the Baltimore Ravens with second-year quarterback Josh Rosen backing him up.

Obviously, Flores and offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea want Rosen to challenge Fitzpatrick and he will get one more chance to play at least a couple of series probably in Thursday night’s preseason finale with the Saints Thursday.

Flores said last week that just because Fitzpatick was starting the third preseason game didn’t automatically mean the decision was made. Now, we’ll see, if Rosen has a good or better game later this week, if that’s true.

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Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Scouting Combine is getting underway in Indianapolis this week and on Monday morning, one of the prized quarterbacks that will be available early in the first round of the draft was there for official measurements and to meet with teams.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, whose season ended with a fractured hip last November, is on the road to recovery and he was officially measured and also, met with numerous teams that are looking at the possibility of drafting him:

In addition to not only the injured hip, but also a history of high ankle sprain problems, Tagovailoa has got to answer critics on his size. At just 6 – 0 feet there will be concerns about his ability to clearly see downfield through the massive bodies on NFL Sundays.

However, this can be combated by moving him around out of the pocket and that’s something that Alabama was successful at doing over his three years as well.

As we wrote recently, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering a fractured hip on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and then, their Citrus Bowl win January 1st, over Michigan

He came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.

Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.

In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.

As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.

Tagovailoa is obviously on the Dolphins list to look at strongly to select in the top five in the draft and currently, Miami is slated to pick fifth.

It is expected that Tagovailoa will work out for teams probably later in March or maybe even, early April at the Tide’s facility in Tuscaloosa, prior to the NFL draft coming to Las Vegas.

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Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former UCLA coach and recently promoted Dolphins assistant Karl Dorrell is headed back to college, as the new head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.

The school confirmed Dorrell’s hire on Sunday evening with a five-year contract to take over their Big 12 program:

The Buffaloes have been seeking a head coach since there coach Mel Tucker abruptly left to take the Michigan State job earlier this month.

Dorrell came to the dolphins with Brian Flores this past season, as wide receiver coach and earlier last week was promoted to assistant head coach for the upcoming season. Miami’s top receiver, DeVante Parker, blossomed under Dorrell’s tutelage as the year went on. He finished the season with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns becoming the favorite target of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Dorrel is the latest Dolphins assistant on the move. Flores fired the offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea he brought with him from New England. And, his defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left to take the same job with the Giants.

Dorrell had also been the Dolphins receivers coach, previously from 2008 – 10 and then, their quarterbacks coach in 2011 under the late Tony Sparano.

Colorado’s athletic director Rick George said in a statement Sunday night,

“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously. Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships. He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.” 

The CU Board of Regents still have to approve Dorrell’s contract, which will be $18 million for five seasons.

Dorrell had previously been on Colorado staffs two other times in his career, including most recently as offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995- 98.

Dorrell was named head coach of his alma mater UCLA in 2003, where he lasted five seasons and went to a bowl game every year finishing with a career 35 – 27 record before being fired after the 2007 season.

Dorrell had previously been receivers coach for the New York Jets 2015 – 18 under Todd Bowles (above) and two of his receivers had made the Pro Bowl during his time there.

Colorado picked Dorrell from an interview process that also included former Buffaloes player and Kansas City Super Bowl offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, who interviewed and was under strong consideration.

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