The Miami Dolphins have already established that they’re willing to give second opportunities, as they traded for Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen last month. And this weekend at mini-camp, the fins are giving an opportunity to a local star who’s had nothing but trouble off the field recently.
The Dolphins invited former Bengals and Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton to participate in their rookie tryout this weekend.
Mark Walton is here trying to impress the Dolphins coaches with the hopes of being signed. pic.twitter.com/ohjF0vekib
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) May 10, 2019
Walton was recently released by Cincinnati and their new coaching staff led by first-year head coach, Zach Taylor. This was after Walton’s third arrest since the end of the 2018 season had occurred in South Florida in the first week of April.
We wrote then, Walton’s latest troubles involved a police chase after authorities in Dade County caught him weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed earlier in March. They eventually chased Walton and discharged a taser. However, Walton, according to the police report, removed the prongs and continued to run. Miami police found a small amount of marijuana and a legally purchased rifle in his abandoned vehicle.
Walton turned himself in to Miami-Dade county authorities on April 6th and it all but sealed his fate with Cincinnati.
That’s because, it’s not only time Walton has been in trouble, since last season ended.
As we had also written in February, 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 threatening her by using her cell phone, Walton grabbed the phone and struggled with the woman trying to get it back. Walton was taken into custody on a charge of battery.
The former Miami Hurricane was a 4th round pick of the Bengals a year ago who was active for 14 games but only carried the ball 14 times on the season for just 34 yards. He had an additional five catches for 41 yards on the year.
Walton is also awaiting a third different trial on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge from January, as well.
Walton spoke to the media after practice and Safid Deen of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel captured these comments about his second chance this weekend:
— Safid Deen 💯💯💯💯 (@Safid_Deen) May 11, 2019
The Dolphins already have a lot of young depth at running back with incumbent part time starter Kenyan Drake returning. Plus, they have former Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage entering year two, and just drafted Washington RB Myles Gaskin in the 7th round last month.
And finally, besides the depth in the Miami backfield, Walton is obviously looking at NFL discipline for violating the personal conduct policy. He could be facing at least a game or two suspension or maybe even more, this season.
Pass interference overrule in Jets win over Dolphins shows flaws
The inconsistent application and rulings of the new NFL pass interference replay policy was, again, on full display Sunday afternoon at The Meadowlands. And when the league’s officiating command center gave the Jets a first down on a pass interference call that wasn’t even made by their game officials, it helped New York kick the winning field goal to beat the Dolphins 22 – 21.
And, understandably, Dolphins coach Brian Flores was none too happy with the whole thing.
Although Flores refused to elaborate about why he went running after and arguing with the officials before his post-game handshake with Jets coach (and former Dolphins boss) Adam Gase, it was clear he was none too pleased with the ending to the game.
From last nite…The afternoon for Brian Flores and Adam Gase: Emotions decided by an unseen strangerhttps://t.co/XkUmph2hWK
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) December 9, 2019
To reset the scene, the Jets were driving trying to retake the lead trailing 21 – 19. This was after Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders had made his seventh field goal from 37 yrards for Miami to hold a two-point advantage.
Then on a 3rd and 18 play, Sam Darnold’s incompletion to Vyncint Smith may or may not have been enough contact to throw a flag. The on-field officials let it go.
But, that’s when the NFL supervisor of officials Al Riveron, his assistants and the command center initiated a replay review, as it was under two minutes remaining in the game.
Eventually Riveron overruled the on-field refs, and he gave the Jets the pass interference call, a first down at the Miami 38, and it eventually led to Sam Ficken making the game winning field goal from 44 yards out with no time left.
Now, it was not the first time, even recently, that the NFL has done this in the final two minutes with the game on the line. In the Buccaneers win over the Arizona Cardinals last month, Riveron and the command center overruled the on-field officials having not thrown a flag. That’s when Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans was clearly interfere with in the end zone, as Tampa Bay was looking for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Buccaneers got a first and goal at the one, scored and won the game 30 – 27.
Further adding to the confusion and controversy is that the NFL has been so reluctant to overturn flags for pass interference, one way or the other, throughout this first year of using instant replay for pass interference.
However the command center in New York has now demonstrated, not just with the Evans situation but even another case in the Dolphins-Browns game a couple of weeks ago, that they will use replay to overrule their on-field officials and make a penalty call in the final two minutes of a half or game.
Our Jason Cole wrote that this aspect of the review mechanism is troubling and potentially only going to get worse. This is because the league is interjecting themselves rather than backing their guys on the field who didn’t throw a flag unless it is blatantly obvious.
Back to Sunday, Miami had numerous chances, especially early, to get touchdowns while moving inside the Jets 10 yard line. However, three times, Sanders kicked a field goal of 28 yards or less giving Miami only nine points at the half.
The Dolphins had plenty of struggles in losing to Gase/their AFC East rival, and the replay decisions out New York aren’t going to make anyone feel any better about it.
“Mountaineer Shot” earns Dolphins K Sanders AFC honors
One of the great trick plays, not just of this NFL season but in recent pro football memory, has earned the Dolphins kicker who caught a touchdown pass Sunday AFC weekly honors.
The league announced Wednesday that kicker Jason Sanders, who became the first place-kicker to catch a touchdown pass in 42 years, is the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week:
Special Teams Players of the Week (Week 13):
— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2019
Sanders also made his only field-goal attempt, as well as two extra points, earned the weekly honor for Miami’s 37 – 31 upset of the Eagles.
However, it is the play that is known as “Mountaineer Shot” that Sanders will forever be remembered for not just in Dolphin history, but NFL.
We wrote about the play on Monday, as head coach Brian Flores and special teams coordinator Danny Crossman implemented the direct snap to punter Matt Haack, while players were spread wide on either side of the formation.
Haack then, took the snap, rolled left and when the Eagles rushed at him, he flipped the ball to Sanders for the touchdown. The play is named for the center, Kilgore, because he played at Appalachian State, whose nickname is the Mountaineers. And, it’s something that Dolphins had been practicing regularly on and off for the past two months.
Furher, as for the historical aspects of the play, Sanders became the first kicker to catch a touchdown pass in an NFL game since Baltimore’s Jim Turner did it in a game in 1977.
It is also the first time since the AFL – NFL merger in 1970 that a punter has completed a touchdown pass to a kicker and the play will live on for years and years to come.
It is the second time that Sanders has won the AFC special teams player of the week award this season. He also got the honor for his two clultch 48 yard field goals in the fourth quarter of the Dolphins 16-12 upset of the Indianapolis Colts in November.