The Miami Dolphins are ready to take the “bubble wrap’’ off center Mike Pouncey. Once they’ve done that, they might want to consider putting it on quarterback Jay Cutler.
Pouncey, who is trying to bounce back from offseason hip surgery for the second time in three years, is expected to start the Dolphins third preseason game, Thursday night against the Eagles.
It will be Pouncey’s first game action since last Nov. 13 and it comes in what everyone says is the most important of all preseason games. For Cutler, however, it may be the most dangerous of all preseason games.
This third preseason game is sometimes referred to as a team’s regular-season dress rehearsal because this is the game in which the starters usually play the most, sometimes well into the third quarter.
It’s doubtful the Dolphins are planning to play Cutler that long. After all, he only played a dozen snaps in his Dolphins debut last week. If they are, though, they may want to re-think their plan.
There’s no question Cutler needs the work. Only two weeks removed from retirement, he’s still trying to shake off the rust, reacquaint himself with coach Adam Gase’s playbook and acquaint himself with his new Dolphins teammates.
But like Pouncey, Cutler is coming off a surgery as well (to his right throwing shoulder) and the last thing the Dolphins need to do at this point is put him in harm’s way for any longer than necessary.
The problem, of course, is that the Dolphins really don’t have any other choice, because by putting Cutler into the game behind their offensive line as it currently stands at all, they’re doing just that.
In addition to Pouncey, who has not been practicing regularly in an attempt to get healthy for the start of the regular season, right tackle Ja’Wuan James (shoulder) is not yet 100-precent healthy either.
Now add that to the situation at left guard, where injuries to Ted Larsen and Kraig Urbik will force the Dolphins to start their third option, whoever that is, and you can why this is such a perilous situation.
The Dolphins are already down one starting quarterback and in an effort to avoid going down two, Gase pulled Cutler from his first preseason outing last week just as soon as he took ne good hard hit to his shoulder.
Gase won’t be able to do that once the regular season starts, but he can do it now and in the wake of two days of joint workouts against the Eagles, he should strongly consider it.
Again, there’s no doubt Cutler needs the work. And he needs to get as much work with the offensive line he’s going to be playing behind as he can between now and the start of the season.
But it might be best in the long run if Gase were to see how that line holds up in a game with someone else taking the bulk of the snaps under center before he exposes Cutler to it for an extended period.
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.