The Miami Dolphins are coming off their first win of the season, but they suffered two key losses on Monday.
First, running back Mark Walton has been suspended four games by the NFL due to his conduct in the offseason before he was a member of the Dolphins.
Statement from Head Coach Brian Flores on the suspension of Mark Walton. pic.twitter.com/7LxKyimD4M
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 4, 2019
Dolphins coach Brian Flores delivered the bad news, including the hope that Walton can contribute later.
Walton was arrested three times this past offseason, his first as an NFL player. His first arrest centered around marijuana possession. Then, he was charged with a battery misdemeanor for an altercation that occurred in February at a parking garage at his residence.
As we wrote previously, he allegedly got into the dispute with a woman that he did not know at his condo building, and was arrested by the Miami Police Department. The incident occurred in a parking garage after Walton became angry in a dispute about Walton’s car blocking the entrance.
When the woman apparently attempted to record Walton, he threatened her for using her cell phone. Walton grabbed the phone and struggled with the woman who was trying to get it back. Walton was taken into custody on a charge of battery.
Then, In March, Walton is said to have fled on foot from a rental car after being pulled over by Miami Police. A rifle was found in the car by authorities. He later pled no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge and was sentenced to six months’ probation, which was later vacated.
The Bengals, who drafted Walton, released him after the March arrest.
He since has been able to resurrect his career, signing in Miami. Walton has been the starting running back for the Phins over the past few weeks. Walton carried 12 times for 29 yards against the stingy Jets defense in their 26-18 first victory of the year Sunday.
The Dolphins were also aware of this suspension possibility before trading Kenyon Drake last week to Arizona. Now, the Phins will turn to Kallen Ballage, Myles Gaskin, and Patrick Laird.
Miami was also hit with double trouble Monday with a big hit to their receiving core. Breakout Rookie Preston Williams suffered a torn ACL against the Jets. Williams, who was undrafted after a monster season at Colorado State, had a great camp and pre-season to set up his productive rookie year.
He had 32 receptions, 428 yards, and three touchdowns. He was having the best game of his career against the Jets with two touchdowns in the first half.
The Dolphins will now turn to Allen Hurns to play more on the outside along with Jakeem Grant to compliment DeVante Parker. The Dolphins offense had been coming along over the past few weeks. Now they will have to replace two of their three most productive playmakers.
Looks like Tua Tagovailoa will work out for teams prior to draft
There will be numerous NFL teams interested, including the Dolphins, on just how healthy injured Alabama star Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is. And, a report on Wednesday says that Tua will likely be ready to throw for teams later in the offseason draft process.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that “NFL quarterback super-agent” Leigh Steinberg and his firm are letting teams know that Tagovailoa’s injured hip should be healed enough for him to be able to throw in early April prior to the NFL Draft at the end of the month:
From our Championship Wednesday coverage on @NFLNetwork: #Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa may throw for NFL teams during a Pro Day in mid-April, thanks to some very positive health news. pic.twitter.com/ooVJCyf0ij
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 15, 2020
This will be especially important for teams like the Dolphins, who will be selecting fifth currently in the upcoming selection process.
Tagovailoa 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.
However, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering the hip injury on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and their recent Citrus Bowl win over Michigan two weeks due to the injury.
Typically, players participate in some kind of individual workout or pro day, but as Rappaport relayed, most teams already know what Tagovailoa can do from his previous two seasons at Alabama. The bigger concern is his health and specifically his mobility, as he progresses through the summer and into the first NFL training camp and preseason of his career.
It is believed the Tagovailoa is the second, or at worst third rated, quarterback behind LSU Heisman Trophy winning National Championship QB Joe Burrow. Burrow is expected to be taken first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in late April.
Who is new Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer?
On Sunday night, the Dolphins finally decided to allow first-year defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to leave and take the same position with the New York Giants. And, coach Brian Flores moved quickly to promote a member of his staff, Josh Boyer, to be his defensive play-caller
So exactly who is former New England assistant that will now be in charge Miami’s defensive unit? More on him in a moment.
First, as we wrote, Miami had wavered Saturday night and Sunday on whether to let Graham go to the Giants to be with new head coach, Joe Judge, creating an important void. Graham was only being given a “lateral move” to New York, and Miami could have continued to block him. But, in the end, Flores had someone he could trust already on staff.
That’s Boyer, who has just completed his 14th season in the NFL, all previously in New England and then, obviously, his first with the Fins after coming with Flores last February.
Boyer’s background is as a secondary coach and specifically, working with cornerbacks. He held that job for his last seven seasons in New England 2012 – 18 and was part of three Super Bowl championships under Bill Belichick.
Boyer deserves credit for helping the development of defensive backs like Malcolm Butler, who sealed Super Bowl 49 win over the Seahawks with his famous goal-line interception of Russell Wison in the final half minute of the game. Boyer also worked closely with Pro Bowlers Logan Ryan and more recently, Stephon Gilmore, who iced Super Bowl 53 win last February with a late INT against the Rams.
This past year was obviously a trying one for the Dolphins defensively, as they finished 32nd in scoring and 30th in overall in defense. But Boyer cannot be judged too much, given the cornerbacks he was working with, especially late in the year.
He had his best player, former number one pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, traded away in the first month to the Steelers. Miami also lost veteran Bobby McCain to injury later in the year and had a depleted secondary at the very end of the season.
However, Boyer (shown above with DB Eric Rowe after his week 17 pick six of Tom Brady) obviously impressed Flores and GM Chris Grier with his coaching to get the promotion.
And, he’s following a similar path as Flores, who worked his way up from secondary coach to defensive coordinator with the Pats.
Now, we’ll see if Miami can bolster their defensive backfield this off sesaon.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 week ago
Booger McFarland out of Monday Night Football booth?
Miami Dolphins1 week ago
Apologies warranted for joke “Rooney Rule” has become
Miami Dolphins5 days ago
Who is new Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer?
Miami Hurricanes1 week ago
Hurricanes bungled bringing Alonzo Highsmith to program