In the land known for making feel good stories come to life on the big screen, it was the Dolphins who continued scripting one of the leagues best turnarounds of the season Sunday in Los Angeles. Miami’s fifth straight win, after starting 1-4, was a last minute come from behind effort against the hopeful hero Rams QB Jared Goff in his NFL starting debut.
“Especially in the beginning of the year we played form behind a lot, we found out a lot about ourselves,” wideout Jarvis Landry said to NFL Network. “Coach (Adam Gase) said we could have something special here.”
What has made the this five-game winning streak “special” is the maturation process of a young head coach and his team.
Gase has never been one to shy away from criticism and admit he is wrong. Case in point, Gase dialed back his no huddle hurry up plan of attack and had QB Ryan Tannehill and the offense start working out of the huddle following the loss to the Bengals. Gase said he felt too much, too soon on Tannehill’s plate.
Tannehill admitted the decision to work out of the huddle has allowed them to understand the play call and get lined up properly. It’s been a complete contrast from the miscommunication and uncertainty we saw early on the season.
Yet, the huddle also allowed Tannehill to inject some confidence to while trailing 10-0 Sunday in the fourth quarter.
“I told the guys right before the first touchdown drive, everyone take a deep breath, were going to win this game,” said Tannehill.
Along with the evolution of a first year head, the Fins fifth year quarterback is evolving as well.
Gone are the Week 4 “boo birds” calling for back up Matt Moore. Now that Tannehill is getting time to throw in the pocket, he’s showing the caliber of quarterback he can be.
That was no more apparent than in the final two drives of the game, where he went 12 of 13 passing for two crucial touchdowns in the final 6 minutes of the game.
“It was ugly on offense for most of the game, but defense kept us in the football game, made some really big plays for us, we found ways to make plays when it counted,” said Tannehill.
His running back Jay Ajayi has seen his fair share of praise lately, but neither one them would have it without the strength of the offensive line. Since all five starters have returned to the field, the Dolphins have yet to lose a game.
It’s not a coincidence that the success lately has been a direct correlation to the offensive line. The defense has even benefited from the O-Line stability.
Early on the in the season, the DC Vance Joseph’s defense was gassed and gashed for being on the field for too long. And while Sunday looked reminiscent of that, the defense managed to keep them in the game.
“That’s the way we practice, compete every single play, we practice this way especially on Fridays’,” said defensive tackle Ndomukong Suh. “It’s key for us to go out there and compete, and that’s what were going to do and continue to do.”
Some thought early on this season that Gase, the youngest head coach in the league, was in over his head, but now after five wins in a row, he is making a case for turnaround of the year.
Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine
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:
Tua Tagovailoa measured at 6-0, 217 pounds at the NFL combine today. Left throwing hand at 10”
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) February 24, 2020
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.
Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday
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:
We'd like to officially introduce you to our new HC, Karl Dorrell.
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) February 23, 2020
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.
“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.