Ryan Tannehill return to OTAs this week in Miami isn’t the only serious knee injury comeback story in Dolphins Camp. No, a guy that was almost forgotten, because he got injured in the first quarter of the first preseason game last August is back, too, LB Raewkon McMillan.
McMillan, a former 2nd round last year out of Ohio State has made tremendous progress as well from his ACL tear and is ready to bolster the Dolphins linebacking crew.
After Thursday’s OTA workout he met with the media to discuss what the last nine months have been like for him.
Dolphins Live: Raekwon McMillan meets with the media https://t.co/82FGMthzuG
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 24, 2018
It is interesting that he and Tannehill had their ACL surgeries on the same day last year, and almost had a rehab competition in trying to get back to the playing field over the past few months. As McMillan detailed Thursday:
“We starting rehab on the same exact day. From day one, it was always a competition. Who could walk without their crutches first? Who could run full speed underwater first? It was just little stuff. Who can get a bigger quad muscle? It was just really stupid stuff like that to keep competing with each other.”
Some are still shaking their heads that McMillan was lost for the year on a special teams play in a game that didn’t matter.
However, as we wrote last August, young players playing on special teams are going to risk injury. And Coach Adam Gase should not have been faulted then, or in the future, for trying to get young guys acclimated two playing on kickoff or punt teams like McMillan was, when he got injured last year.
The bonus is: if fully healthy, McMillan is like an extra draft pick for this season. And the Dolphins also coincidentally (or maybe not) drafted another Ohio State line backing prospect in Jerome Baker back in April. Baker looked to McMillan as a bit of a mentor in his time in Columbus, and it will help both guys throughout the offseason, training camp and more to be together.
The Fins have several question marks headed into this season and the biggest is, Tannehill and whether or not he can return to form. Obviously, another key defensive question is how big of a contribution can a guy, who never played a down of regular season football last year, either help the linebackers. The name is Raekwon McMillan.
Dolphins QB Rosen did little Friday night to win starting job
The ongoing battle for who will start the Dolphins season at quarterback took another interesting turn in Friday night’s preseason game with the Buccaneers. However, the current backup, second-year player Josh Rosen, did little to help his case to unseat veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
New head coach Brian Flores and his offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea, obviously challenged Rosen by having him start with the first team and play the entire first half in last night’s second preseason game.
Unfortunately, for Rosen and the coaching staff, he did a little to impress and at times, showed the same shaky quarterback play and bad throws that he did during a mostly dismal rookie season in Arizona. The final stat line read 10-18 102 yards 0 TD and 0 INT, which indicates average half of football.
And, yes there were damp conditions from pregame rain, but Rosen on multiple occasions threw behind or low towards receivers that were open for possible gains. He was also jittery against the Bucs occasional blitz package from new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Rosen was sacked three times and knocked down several others.
A key moment of scrutiny was when Rosen was unable to get the team in the end zone after they got outstanding field position on a Buccaneers 31 yard line midway through the first after fumble buy backup running back Andre Ellington. The Fins moved inside the 10, but Tampa Bay held Miami on fourth down, where Rosen threw incomplete in the right corner of the end zone to backup receiver Isaiah Ford and Miami came away with no points.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 17, 2019
Later in the first half Rosen should have thrown an interception, as he threw the ball right to Bucs rookie defensive back Jamel Dean after throwing late and behind a receiver on the near sideline. However, Dean dropped the INT. Still, Miami punted shortly after.
Coach Brian Flores said after the joint practices with the Bucs this week that Rosen needed to “improve his body language” and leading the team.
Yet, while this was a dress rehearsal, he did little to inspire the Dolphins offense, which only managed 2 field goals even with great field position throughout the first half.
There will still be more opportunity for Rosen in the final two preseason games, and perhaps he will be be
Lots to watch as Bucs host Dolphins Friday night
Week two of the NFL preseason continues tonight, as the Bucs will host the Dolphins in the annual in-state preseason contest. Of course, in typical Florida fashion and typical Bucs vs. Dolphins preseason fashion, the weather is looking like rain will be a factor in the game.
With that being said, here are a few things to watch for tonight:
Dolphins QB Battle:
Josh Rosen and former Buc Ryan Fitzpatrick are still battling for the spot of QB1 for the Fins. Rosen took some first-team reps in practice, and eventually Miami will need to see him work with the ones in a game at some point. Is that tonight is the question?
Also, look for Rosen’s “body language,” as that has been a topic of discussion at the joint practices this week and has been said to be one of his worst characteristics. With the weather being an issue tonight, it will be interesting to see who plays the better game at quarterback the young gunslinger or the veteran, Fitzpatrick.
With Kenyan Drake down with an injured foot, Ballage has an opportunity for the taking tonight. Both he and Drake were sharing reps, and Ballage was expecting expanded work coming into the season. With Drake now hurt, we could see the second year Ballage put a stronghold on the position after a great week of practice.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) August 14, 2019
Bucs Secondary Depth:
The Bucs have been hit with injuries throughout the secondary positions so far in camp in particular at safety. The Bucs added a veteran safety earlier this week in former Bronco, Darin Stewart. Stewart has already practiced with the team this week and could be a nice added boost to the back end. At Corner, look to see rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting take a step forward in his second NFL game, as well as USF rookie product, Mazzi Wilkins, who will try to keep up a strong camp.
Bucs Back up QB:
Bruce Arians has said Ryan Griffin gives him reasons to keep a third QB on the active roster. Now, Griffin has to keep playing well to restore the faith. Many have thought of Griffin to be the Bucs back up, but Blaine Gabbert has come in and taken that job. Griffin will need to show Arians that a third QB should be active and that it shouldn’t go to another position.
Bucs Rookie Matt Gay has lit up with what could compared to a “bazooka” right leg. With his long 60-yard kicks in camp, fans are taking videos in practice. This is excellent news so far, but none of this means a thing when kicking in practice.
After hitting a Heinz Field record 55-yard attempt last week in Pittsburgh, Gay will look to continue his success from camp into game action as he looks to lock up the kicking spot on the roster.