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.
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.
“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.
Dolphins reverse course- will start Josh Rosen Sunday
In a move that fits the pattern of seemingly having no true plan of how to get better and, further being willing to change or get rid of personnel on any whim, coach Brian Flores and the Dolphins have done “a 180 turn,” and will now start second-year quarterback Josh Rosen in Dallas Sunday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 19, 2019
After being adamant for the last three days the team would continue to start veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, even after two dismal games where the Dolphins lost by a combined score of 102 – 10, Flores and the organization have obviously decided that now is the time to see what Rosen can do.
We at F.F.I. called for this move on Monday, as Miami’s offense could be truly no worse than what it has looked like in the losses to Baltimore and the Patriots at home.
And sooner or later you have to give Rosen an extended look to find out, if he has some promise to be a quarterback of the future or at least, part of the mix as a backup etc., for 2020 and 2021.
Clearly, Miami is doing everything they can to lose every possible game they can and get their best draft position in 2020.
To that end, the Dolphins traded 2018 first round pick defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday acquiring their number one pick. This added on to the blockbuster trade of left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills where the Dolphins acquired the Texans number one and number two picks this year and their first round pick next year.
The Dolphins stuck Rosen in Sunday’s disaster with New England with nine minutes to go and trailing 43-0 and he threw 18 passes, completing only seven and also had an INT while being sacked three times. Rosen even managed to roll his ankle, but kept playing, but only in worthless garbage time.
Rosen, who was acquired in an April draft night trade with Arizona, was 3-10 last year as a starter with only a 55% completion percentage and 11 touchdowns vs. 14 interceptions with the Cards.
Now, considerably handicapped on offense without Tunsil and Stills, etc., we will see what the former UCLA first round pick can do against the formidable Cowboys.
Dolphins trade Minkah Fitzpatrick to Steelers
The Dolphins remained true to their “lose at all costs” mentality for 2019, as they dealt last season’s #1 pick, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers on Monday night.
TRADE: Steelers are trading a 2020 first-round pick to the Dolphins for DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2019
As we wrote earlier Monday night, Fitzpatrick has been disgruntled in Miami just two horrible games into their season and was given permission to seek a trade last week. Apparently, Pittsburgh came up with the best offer, first, to get the former Alabama All American.
Fitzpatrick, who the Dolphins took with the 11th overall pick in the 2018 draft, is disgruntled in part, because of the Dolphins “veteran purge” that has gone all in all offseason, stripping them of experienced talent everywhere. He further has been unhappy with new head coach Brian Flores and defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, moving him to different positions all over the defensive secondary in the preseason and the first two games of the year.
Fitzpatrick started and played significantly in most of Fins Sunday blowout loss to the Patriots 43-0 that dropped them to a dismal looking 0-2. And Pro Football Focus gave him a decent grade for Sunday:
Minkah Fitzpatrick was the highest-graded #Dolphins player in Week 2
— PFF MIA Dolphins (@PFF_Dolphins) September 16, 2019
GM Chris Grier continues to stock pile draft picks for the “named players” on his roster. This included the huge deal trading of starting LT Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills on the eve of the season to the Houston Texans. Miami got the Texans next two #1 picks and their second rounder in 2021 in that deal.
The acquiring of the Steelers first rounder gives Miami three opening round picks now in next April’s draft.
Reportedly, the teams are also swapping fourth (Miami’s) and fifth round picks in 2020 and sixth (Pittsburgh’s) and seventh rounders in 2021, as part of the deal.
Grier had been busy getting rid of other veterans in the off season. This also included dealing players like QB Ryan Tannehill and DE Robert Quinn in March, veteran WR Danny Amendola being cut after just one season in Miami and Pro Bowl DE Cam Wake being allowed to walk away in free agency.
In addition to trading Tunsil and Stills, Grier dealt his most productive tackler the last three years, Kiko Alonso, to the Saints at the end of preseason, too.
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