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

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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.

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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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