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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins coach Flores should be one to defend “Veteran Purge”

Florida Football Insiders

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Despite what coach Brian Flores has said for months now, the actions have spoken louder than the words and the Dolphins are devoid of almost any veteran stars, especially if they were slated to make significant money in 2019.

That’s the hard-line truth in South Florida.

The Fins have stripped their team and will likely lose at least ten or more games and maybe worse, because the new head coach has convinced GM Chris Grier and owner Stephen Ross that this is what needs to be done for 2020, and beyond.

After making back-to-back trades this weekend that saw starting Pro Bowl caliber left tackle Laremy Tunsil, number one deep threat wide receiver Kenny Stills shipped to Houston and their leading overall tackler of the last three seasons at linebacker, Kiko Alonso go to the Saints, no one can dispute this is the Dolphins/Flores plan.

The rookie head coach was left to try to explain otherwise on a media conference call Sunday afternoon.

And, on the direct question on whether winning this season has taken a back seat to saving money and preparing for the future, Flores again repeated the same “stock answer.” The Palm Beach Post’s beat writer in Miami, Joe Schad, transcribed,

“I think you know what my response is going to be on that,” Flores said. “Again, this game means a lot to me. I wouldn’t disrespect the game with that. Again, no, we’re not. We’re going to try to win every game. I think that’s disrespectful to even … to say that. These guys work extremely hard.”

However, everywhere you look now, Miami has very few veterans to help them be able to win in 2019.

And that’s not because it’s Grier’s idea. The GM was part of the previous two-three years of drafting Tunsil, signing Robert Quinn, giving Kenny Stills a big raise, signing Danny Amendola and on and on.

Now?

The names of Ballage, Preston Williams, Gesicki, Wilkins, Baker and Minkah Fitzpatrick are ones to get used to. Oh, and at some point soon, you’re probably going to see QB Josh Rosen try to function behind the mess of an offensive line.

Of course, Rosen already experienced exactly this in a horrible rookie year in Arizona, where the offensive coordinator was fired midway through, the head coach was fired at the end and then, Rosen was dealt away to Miami.

Yes, they are young, but some would argue that it will make the 2019 roster hungrier.

Flores added,

“Well, we’re going to come to work every day,” Flores said. “We’re going to coach this group to the best of our ability. We’re going to come out, we’re going to work hard, we’re going to fight and we’re going to play hard and try to win every game. I think that’s what you do. That’s kind of how I’ve been brought up. This team is motivated. I think we’ve got some talented players and we’re just going to go out here and try to win every game.”

Effort may not be questioned. But, trying to win without veteran NFL Talent is very difficult if not impossible on a large-scale over 16 games.

But to be clear once more, this what Flores wants to allegedly be better the next two seasons, even if it means losing, a lot, between now and 2019.

Miami Dolphins

Dolphins “limbo game” with QB Josh Rosen remains

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins continue to do their diligence on the possible drafting of a franchise type quarterback that they may be able to get their hands on in the upcoming in April. However, there remains a looming question with what to do with the former first-round pick QB that they acquired last April.

Josh Rosen remains, for now, part of the Dolphins plans, yet, even his biggest supporters have to concede ,that Rosen is likely “the odd man out” should Miami take one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft.

That’s because GM Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores are obviously committed to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. We know this because Fitzpatrick not only rallied the team for several wins down the stretch of the season, but that Miami has also gone and hired Fitzpatrick’s former offensive coordinator and head coach at two of his other stops, Chan Gailey for this season.

That’s not something that the Dolphins brass did lightly, and it foreshadows that Fitzpatrick will likely be the quarterback that they begin the regular season with, just as they did in 2019.

So, where exactly does that leave Rosen, who played very little last year, but has a salary cap friendly contract?

It likely means that he’s only “an insurance policy” that could be dropped at any point for very little salary cap ramifications.

We wrote near the end of last season that it did not make any sense that Miami wasn’t at least giving Rosen game action and some live reps in games last December, if only to see once and for all, if they could develop him into a quarterback for the future?

Obviously, the Dolphins spoke loudly with their actions, and by not even playing Rosen in any of the last seven games, they were indicating he’s expendable.

Dolphins beat writer for the Miami Herald Armando Salguero wrote Wednesday morning about Rosen situation, but shed very little light on what his actual future is. This is primarily because whether it’s Salguero, other media or anyone else not named Flores/Grier, they don’t know for sure what Rosen’s immediate, much less longer range, 2020 future is.

Sure, they could hang on to Rosen through the offseason and have him try to compete for playing time.

But, that seems to be a futile exercise if the Fins have already made up their mind that Fitzpatrick will start the year. And then, you’re drafting a rookie quarterback drafting a rookie quarterback, again to potentially be the future of the franchise.

Then again, Fitzpatrick is 37 years old and could break down physically along the way, well before the start of next season. So, keeping Rosen as that insurance policy along with the rookie Miami likely drafts, isn’t the worst idea.

However, for now, the 23 year old former UCLA star is in limbo.

And, for all we know, he could be cut to begin free agency coming up.

Certainly not giving Rosen a start in any of the last 11 games on an awful team is a clear indication that Grier and Flores didn’t believe in him. This after acquiring him and watching him all offseason, preseason and in the games that he did play.

We now await their next move with Rosen, and certainly, he does, too.

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Miami Dolphins

Stafford trade rumor reminder Dolphins better be ready to trade up

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday morning a report surfaced that the Lions, who are currently slated to pick third in April’s NFL Draft, were actively looking to trade former Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Stafford. And, while that report has now been debunked, for teams like the Dolphins sitting in the fifth Spot, this is reminder of their reality of what could happen if someone jumps in front of them, in particular for a QB.

First, the report surfaced late Wednesday night from a local Detroit TV station that their sports reporter/anchor had learned that the Lions were looking for a trade partner for the 11-year veteran Stafford:

That report was quickly squashed by lions GM Bob Quinn and numerous NFL media reporters and salary cap experts pointed out that Stafford’s cap hit would be a massive $32 million dollars, if he is traded or released this season.

So it’s not likely, no matter how bad the situation is with the Lions, the Stafford is going anywhere.

But, that doesn’t mean that the Redskins, who are picking second and the Giants were picking 4th after the Lions and obviously both before the Dolphins at five, aren’t going to also be in the market to listen to trade offers for their picks.

This is, because Washington seems to be committed, for now with a new head coach and Ron Rivera, to last year’s first round quarterback pick, Dwayne Haskins

And likewise, the Giants have obviously made a commitment to their number one pick up last year, Daniel Jones. This after 2 time Super Bowl winning veteran quarterback Eli Manning announced his retirement, recently.

So, both NFC East teams appear to be targets, if a team (including the Dolphins) would look to try to increase their draft position.

This is in particular if that team were interested in the second best quarterback available in the draft, which is likely Alabama Tua Tagovailoa.

As was reported earlier this week, Tagovailoa is on schedule to heal from a fractured hip suffered last November in Alabama’s game with Mississippi State. While Tua won workout at the NFL combine later this month, it’s believed that he would likely work out for teams Alabama facility later in March or April.

One final factor in favor of the Dolphins and GM Chris Grier: they have some trade capital, including extra first-round pick this year and next year, with which the potentially move up if they so desire.

It’s all part of the evaluation process and then, the drama of what the teams at the top of the first round will look to do later this Spring.

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