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.
Dolphins were back to their bumbling ways Sunday
As the Dolphins came back down to earth in a humbling 37 – 20 loss to Buffalo Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, many of the same flaws from their 0- 7 start were back.
Although Ryan Fitzpatrick ended with good numbers and did not throw an interception, Miami lacked offensive punch from the outset.
Miami punted the ball on each of their first four possessions and by the time they had reached the middle of the second quarter, it was already 16 – 0 in favor of the Bills.
The Dolphins could not run the ball as Kalen Ballage had nine carries for only nine yards against what’s a good but not great Buffalo defense. Newly extended receiver Allen Hurns promptly fumbled after a first half reception.
It looked all too familiar to the home fans.
The pass protection was poor as Fitzpatrick suffered seven sacks in the game, and Miami was completely one-dimensional by the time the second half rolled around. Fitzpatrick was efficient in the air at 32 – 45 for 323 yards, but a lot of those yards came when the Dolphins trailed by more than two scores the whole second half.
As for the Bills, they ran the ball just fine with 168 yards on the ground and a 5 yard per carry average. Rookie Devin Singletary of FAU came back to the area and tallied 75 yards. And second year QB Josh Allen showed one of the traits that got him drafted in the top 15, as he scrambled seven times for 56 yards, including a second-half touchdown.
Yes, The Bills are putting themselves in position to be back in the playoffs for the second time in three years, as they completed the season sweep over the Fins.
It’s the kind of improvement under coach Sean McDermott that Miami eventually wants to see with coach Brian Flores. But, days after Flores was doing his best Bill Belichick “we’re on to Buffalo” with media questions, Miami was “on to another loss.”
And, as the Dolphins sank to 2 – 8, their reality is they aren’t talented enough or coached well enough, across-the-board to play good football game in and game out.
Buffalo reminded them of that Sunday.
Dolphins give veteran WR Hurns new deal
In a season that began horribly at 0- 7, the Dolphins have begun to come around and now, put some pieces into place for the future. That includes re-upping a veteran wide receiver on Saturday.
The team announced a new two-year extension for wideout Allen Hurns Saturday. And while it’s only a modest contract, it is a signal but the team is trying to build with at least some veteran players in the future..
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport had the contract details on Hurns is getting a new $8 million dollar extension through 2021:
The #Dolphins signed WR Allen Hurns to a 2-year extension worth $8M, source said. He gets $3.27M guaranteed.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2019
This is a raise over his 1-year 2.5 million contract he signed with Miami on the eve of training camp.
Hurns entered the league undrafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. His best season in North Florida was 2015, where he caught for just over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. After getting a four year extension from the Jags, they cut him loose to free up cap space after the 2017 season.
Hurns then signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys worth $12 million. However, after he played all 16 games in the regular season with 20 catches and 2 TDs, he suffered a horrific broken ankle in the Cowboys playoff win over Seattle, and was placed on injured reserve.
Dallas eventually released Hurns earlier this year and that’s when Dolphins GM Chris Grier swooped in bring a veteran presence to their locker room on a one year deal.
Hurns, who just turned 28 earlier this week, has played in nine games this season with three starts, including the last two. He doesn’t have more than three catches in any of them and only one touchdown, which came in the Monday night loss to the Steelers three weeks ago. Hurns also suffered a severe concussion against his team, Dallas, in week three.
It is obvious that Miami went on a veteran purge for most of their roster in the offseason and the beginning of this year. And, that included getting rid of veteran speedster Kenny Stills in a huge trade with team-mate Laremy Tunsil to the Texans on the eve of the season.
That brought the Dolphins to number one picks in return. Miami also released veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola in a salary cap move earlier this year.
Miami wants to count on former number one pick DeVante Parker. And, they were also very high on undrafted free agent Preston Williams before he suffered an ACL injury in the win over the Jets two weeks ago.
Finally, as has been the case with Hurns’ last couple of deals, the contract only reportedly has $3.2 million guaranteed and is therefore team friendly to get rid of him, if they choose to do so at any point next season.
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