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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins coach Flores ready for more evaluation

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dolphins and head coach Brian Flores be back on the practice field Sunday in Davie and as they look ahead to a week of work in Tampa Bay with their in-state rival, the Buccaneers.

And, among a list of improvements needed, the first year coach knows that his quarterback competition will heat up some more.

Flores talked with the media Saturday after evaluating the film of the Fins 34 – 27 opening preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium. And in specific, what it came to second-year quarterback Josh Rosen, he knows there are things that must improve, as soon as possible.

We wrote about Rosen doing some good and some bad in the Thursday opener, that included him leading a touchdown drive on his first possession, but also throwing an awful interception later in the second quarter.

Of Course, 15 year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick knows the Buccaneers very well, as he was the backup and part-time starter the last two seasons in Tampa Bay before signing a two-year free-agent deal to come to Miami. The Bucs hired Bruce Arians this past off season and their defense has undergone a complete scheme overhaul to a 3-4 under Todd Bowles.

It’s expected that Fitzpatrick will play most of the first quarter in Friday night’s game, but Flores and his offense of coordinator Chad O’Shea, could adjust that and send Josh Rosen out with the first unit. However, Flores reiterated to the media that he got a good evaluation of Rosen even with second team against second team Thursday.

“All you can do is control what you can control. … Whether you’re first team or second team, I want to see how guys respond and work their techniques, wherever they’re at. … I think the best players will play.”

Still, everyone knows Flores rather see Rosen some behind the first team offensive line, and that includes when they practice mid-week in Tampa.

The Dolphins will also continue to evaluate the running back and linebacker situations, as two areas of competition with young players, who want to earn more playing time in Friday’s second game.

Miami will come to the Buccaneers facility for practices Tuesday and Wednesday with the Buccaneers, who have been their longest standing preseason opponent.

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Miami Dolphins

Dare we say win streak in Miami?

Florida Football Insiders

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Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Through two months, the Miami Dolphins seemingly had the worst start to any NFL season ever. A humiliating 0-7 first two months, they had everyone pointing to next April.

But wait … they’ve now won two in a row. And, not just covering the spread in the best sportsbooks, but outright victories? First, it was against Sam Darnold and the New York Jets, and then, last Sunday against a Luck-less, Brissett-less Indianapolis Colts. So, it appears that No. 1 overall draft pick is a thing of the past.

It’s hard to fathom that the Fins were intentionally flopping for the first six or seven games.  It takes the coaching staff and management mismanaging games to a sever degree to make it work, because the players are competitive. And, now, Miami is beginning to see that competitiveness the last three weeks.

Starting with the Pittsburgh Monday night game and especially Sunday, you can see the effort with players giving their all and managing to get a couple of wins.

The victory against the Jets was a disaster for the “tank.” It was the one win the Dolphins absolutely should not have gotten if they wanted the No. 1 pick … and now we see headlines like, ‘The Dolphins are Failing at Failing.”

And that brings us to Sunday and game against a division foe. The Bills, fighting for a wild card berth. are up next at Hard Rock Stadium and, don’t laugh, Miami is looking straight at a win streak Sunday.

So, Let’s look more at the matchup:

Miami’s offense is still the No. 31 ranked in the league … but over the last four games, their horrendous 13.22 points overall per game has increased to 19.25. This is dangerously close to the Buffalo Bills average score per game of 19.33. The Bills actually only put up 18.75 on the road. And, the Fins put up 26 in their last home game, and 16 in the one before that, bringing their recent home average to 21 per game (instead of the 12 points per game on the season).

If the Dolphins want to get to three in a row, they are going to have to get their penalty yards down. They rank No. 1 in the league for penalties. Despite the two wins, the Fins ranks at the bottom of pretty much every season-long NFL stat that exists … which is why the Bills opened as touchdown favorites. However, the public seems to think the Dolphins have a bit more “Fitzmagic” in them and the line has already been bet down to +6.

The Bills continue to play strong, defensive-minded football. But on the offensive side of the ball, they just can’t seem to put together four full quarters of clean, fundamental football. Josh Allen continues his herky-jerky play and is too inconsistent to put points up on a regular basis. This means that if the Dolphins can put up some points, they have a legit shot at winning – at least covering the point spread.

The guess is the Bills defense is too good for the Fins to have another 26-point home game. And, the Bills offense is too bad for them to score more than 20 Miami. This game has UNDER written all over it in big, bold, black marker. The Total is set pretty low because of this, but you can find the number now at 41 points.

If the Bills win, it will be because they completely shut down the Dolphins offense, So, we could see a 20 to 6 type affair. Then, again, Miami has momentum, they’re at home and a streak is within sight.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins kicker Sanders is AFC Special Teams Player of Week

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Two clutch field goals in Sunday’s upset win at Indianapolis have earned another Dolphins player another league award. Kicker Jason Sanders earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, as the the NFL announced it’s weekly winners on Wednesday morning:

Sanders successfully converted all four of his kicks, including three field goals in the Fins 16 – 12 victory over the Colts. The final two were from 48 yards each in the final six minutes of the game to give and then extend the Dolphins the lead.

Sanders also made a 47 yard field goal in the first quarter and that means that he’s the first Miami kicker to have kicked three or more field goals of 47+ yards in the same game since 1999.

Sanders is in his second season having won the Dolphins kicking job as a rookie free agent in 2018. This season he is 9-13 on field goal attempts with a long make of 54 yards and also, a perfect 12-12 on extra points.

Sanders’48 yarder with just under six minutes to go Sunday put Miami up 13-12.

Next, Colts backup QB Brian Hoyer threw critical interception (his third of the day) to Dolphins DB Nik Needham, and that enabled Sanders to eventually boot the second 48 yard field goal to push the margin to four with 3:31 to go. It obviously forced the Colts to have to score a touchdown to win the game.

In the waning moments, Hoyer drove Indy inside the Miai 20-yard line, but on fourth down at the 16 and less than a minute to go, TE Eric Ebron was stopped short of the first by 2 yards after a completion.

So, Miami took over on downs and ran out the clock out. It was the Fins second straight win after a horrendous 0-7 start to the year.

Sanders is the first Dolphins kicker to get the AFC award, since Cody Parkey kicked four field goals in the week two 2017 win at the L.A. Chargers.

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