The sight of Byron Maxwell getting lost in coverage on what proved to be a 50-yard touchdown pass against the Eagles last week has the Miami Dolphins contemplating a change at cornerback.
Given what we’ve seen of the rest of the defense under new coordinator Matt Burke this preseason, the Dolphins might want to consider making a change at a few other spots as well.
After all, the, a quick glance at the difficulties the Dolphins have experienced defensively so far this preseason suggests there is a lot more than just some poor play at cornerback at the root of the problem.
For example, in the midst of surrendering 21 points to the Eagles in their 38-31 loss last Thursday, the Dolphins first-team defense gave up a six-play 53-yard touchdown drive that was engineered by Matt McGloin.
McGloin is the Eagles third-string quarterback but he did wonders against the Dolphins first-team defense while working mostly with second-team players by completing 9-of-10 passes for 84 yards in the first half.
McGloin, of course, was just the latest in a line of quarterbacks who have lit up the Dolphins this preseason. Carson Wentz preceded McCloin for the Eagles and completed 6-of-10 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
To be fair, McGloin was intercepted once, by Lawrence Timmons, in that first half, and Wentz was sacked once, but Wentz still finished up his stint with a 104.2 passer rating.
It’s been like this from the start, when Falcons quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub split the reps against Miami’s first-team defense in the first quarter of the first exhibition game and were a combined 5-for-5 for 52 yards, a touchdown and a 149.5 passer rating.
And it’s not like the Dolphins are getting the job done against the run either. Though they’re only giving up an average of 3.6 yards per carry so far, they’re allowing an average of 135.3 yards per game, fourth most in the league.
This after the Dolphins ranked 30th in the league in rush defense a year ago, when opponents gashed them for 4.8 yards per carry and a 140.4 yards per game while Vance Joseph was in charge.
The biggest problem appears to be an inability to get off the field on third down, where the Dolphins have so far allowed opponents to convert 26 of their 52 tries, or 50-percent.
The Dolphins can’t even seem to get off the field on fourth down just yet. They’ve allowed their opponents to convert three of their five attempts in those situations so far this preseason.
The last two figures are not exclusive to the first-team defense. They’re for the entire defense as a whole, but it speaks to the bigger issue and that issue is quite a simple one.
While it’s still a bit too soon to be worried about what lies ahead for this Dolphins, all the signs along the road so far suggest there may indeed be danger dead ahead.
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.