As the Dolphins continue to work out this week, their litany of new faces are getting acclimated to each other and the coaching staff. One veteran acquisition who’s looking to make an impact on the defensive line has made an interesting jersey choice.
Akeem Spence, who Miami acquired from the Lions via a trade in early May, met with the media Tuesday afternoon on a wide range of subjects, including why he has switched from the #97 he wore last year in Detroit and previously with the Bucs.
Dolphins Live: Akeem Spence meets with the media https://t.co/ZnYC4vm39v
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) June 12, 2018
Spence talked about having big shoes to fill coming to the defense, and even bigger, putting on the #93 that Ndamukong Suh wore for the aqua and orange the last three seasons.
“I feel funny about it, because I’ve been 97 my whole career. You know when I came into the league Gerald McCoy (Buccaneers) was 93. So, I didn’t really want to be 93, but hey, it was the only number available. So, I just took it.”
He was later asked about having been in Tampa Bay and playing defensive tackle having comparison and interaction with Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.
“Sapp is Sapp. Sapp is great…..like I told people when I came into the league, I’m not Sapp. I’m not whoever…. I’m just me. I’m just trying to get better.”
Spence went on to set a goal that he would like to reach of eight sacks in a season. He had three a year ago with the Lions.
Spence was originally a fourth round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2013, where he ended up playing four seasons. In that time, Spence also played for three different head coaches (Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter), as well as three different defensive schemes in those four years.
His best season in Tampa Bay was his second (2014), where he had 39 tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Spence is looking to build on it all with his defensive line coach, Kris Koucrek, who has come to Miami this off season also, and obviously lobbied to get Spence down to South Florida with him.
Here’s a quick twitter video of Spence (in that new #93) and a brief shot Kocurek exhorting his guys from Tuesday:
? The defensive line is dialed in. ? pic.twitter.com/UaFabCMf1A
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) June 12, 2018
And familiar number or not, he is looking to make an impact on line that already has the likes of Cameron Wake, and Charles Harris, and now has added Robert Quinn, too.
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill on track to be back Sunday?
It’s an encouraging Monday in South Florida, as it relates to the injury rehab for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Now, the real question is: will we see the veteran back on the field Sunday against Indianapolis?
Coach Adam Gase met with the media Monday with the Dolphins coming off their bye week, and shared encouragement that Tannehill looks on track to be able to play soon. In fact, he’s back throwing a football for the first time since being shut down the week after the loss to the Bengals:
Dolphins Live: Coach Gase meets with the media. https://t.co/WJdtPu7WcS
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 19, 2018
In that game in October, Tannehill took a couple of significant hits in the fourth quarter meltdown and suffered what was eventually revealed to be an injury to the shoulder capsule. He did try to practice on the following Wednesday, and apparently the throws got worse and more painful, as the workout went along.
Tannehill ended up not taking any of the throwing reps in the Thursday or Friday practices, the Dolphins ended up hiding that point and were eventually fined by the NFL for listing him as “questionable,” when they knew he was not going to be able to play in the game with the Bears.
Veteran backup Brock Osweiler quarterbacked the team to the dramatic overtime win over Chicago that weekend, but there’s been little success since. In fact as Miami dropped two of their last three games, they had a nine quarter stretch without scoring an offensive touchdown.
Still, at 5 – 5, the Dolphins are on the verge of the AFC playoff picture and Gase has a decision to make about how soon he brings Tannehill back, as opposed to going with a healthier Osweiler at least for this week at the Colts.
Tannehill helped the Dolphins get off to a 3 – 0 start to the season, but that was with a more talented and healthy receiving corps than what they currently have. Free agent acquisition Albert Wilson has been put on injured reserve with a hip injury and the Dolphins, will also put Jakeem Grant on injured reserve with an Achilles injury suffered in their loss to the Packers eight days ago.
Veteran deep threat Kenny Stills has been bothered by a groin injury, but the hopes are that the extra week of rest with the bar I will help him for the stretch run of the season. Also, former number 1 pick DeVante Parker, who has seen his role increase with all of the injuries, had his left arm in a sling after the Packer game and his status is not known.
Back to Tannehill, as you probably know, he missed all of 2017 after ACL surgery and now, with having missed another five games to this point, there are question marks about his long-term future with the Fins?
So Gase has to weigh all of that in the decision-making of when to bring Tannehill back in a season that could still be salvaged down the stretch
Dolphins beaten up every way possible after latest loss in Green Bay
Make no mistake, the Dolphins season is not officially over at 5 – 5 headed in the bye week.
It just looks and feels that way.
Mostly, it does, because the Dolphins are banged up, not only physically, but also it appears emotionally and psychologically. So, much so, they don’t appear to have a whole lot left for the stretch run.
Let’s start with the actual physical injuries and that began Sunday with the inactives. The Fins starting offensive line was minus Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, which were not unexpected. However, after being able to practice some this week, former number 1 pick defensive end Charles Harris was not able to play against Green Bay today, either.
Then, as the game wore on, it was one Dolphin leaving after another. Whether it was Kenyan Drake with a shoulder injury in the first half or Bobby McCain with a concussion in the third quarter or when receivers Jakeem Grant and DeVante Parker both had to leave on the same Drive, it was tough to watch the Dolphins walking wounded.
The biggest fear is for the smaller but explosive Grant, who may have torn his Achilles in the third quarter. Grant was already suffering from Achilles tendonitis and came up hobbling right away on a slant pass and could not put weight on the foot. He was then carted shortly thereafter to the Dolphins locker room.
Coach Adam Gase offered no real update on Grant’s status other than that it’s a wait-and-see. As for Parker, same thing is being hoped, even though, the media reported him walking around in the locker room after the game with his left arm in a sling. You combine those injuries with Kenny Stills being slowed by a groin injury and Albert Wilson already out for the year having hurt his hip a few weeks ago, and the Dolphins may be looking for Mark Duper or Nat Moore to come out of retirement at this point.
Bigger than just the physical injuries, the Dolphins appear spent in the figurative sense as well. The frustration mounted as Aaron Rodgers continued to carve them up throwing darts all over the football field Sunday night in the Lambeau cold. He finished with only 195 yards passing, but did have two TDs. And, they marched on the Dolphins defense, whenever he wanted.
It was almost as if Miami was just helpless to do anything against him, and they are watching their season wind down.
Consider that backup quarterback Brock Osweiler was not able to spark the team for the third consecutive game. So poor is the offensive output, that Miami has not scored a touchdown in their last nine quarters dating back to the Thursday night loss in Houston.
The Dolphins aren’t playing with any confidence, at least from the guys that are replacing the injured players. Remember, with Miami at full strength early in the year they got off to a 3 – 0 start.
So, the bye week comes now and perhaps, starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill shoulder will be healed enough that he can practice in 10 days and maybe play at Indianapolis. It’s anybody’s guess as to who, out of the names above, will actually be healthy enough to help Tannehill and the Dolphins for the final six games.
Finally, even though Miami would appear by record to be very much in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot, they don’t look like a playoff team.
No. They’re banged up and look like a team that will be watching the postseason like everybody else.
Gameday- Dolphins travel to chilly Lambeau Field
Who: Dolphins (5-4) at Packers (3-4-1)
When: Sunday 4:25 p.m.
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Spread: Packers by 10 points (Courtesy of VegasInsider.com)
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