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Dolphins make smart safe play going with Ryan Fitzpatrick

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins coach Brian Flores made it official after the final preseason game on Thursday night, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will be his opening day starter on September 8th, when the Ravens come to Hard Rock Stadium. And, for all of the “Belichick-like” secrecy about the battle for the job, it was and is the most obvious, safest move to go with the long time veteran over newly acquired second year QB Josh Rosen.

First, here was Flores making it official late Thursday night:

Flores told the media that he had informed the QBs and the team prior to the game that Fitzpatrick, who won the first two games of the season as Tampa Bay’s starter a year ago, would be given the chance to lead Miami, at least at the beginning of what will likely be a rough rebuilding year.

And, that’s why the move is safer and smarter than going with Rosen right away. Particularly, when you take into account that Rosen didn’t look very good in either of his last two preseason opportunities to demonstrate that he could challenge for the job.

Starting Rosen and having him potentially fail, or at least look largely like he did a year ago as a rookie in Arizona would do two big negative things. One, it would get the media and fans talking about 2020 and college QBs right away. And two, it might very well ruin Rosen confidence-wise, once and for all.

After all,  his record was 3-10 last year as a starter with only a 55% completion percentage and 11 touchdowns vs. 14 interceptions. So, if you put him behind the Dolphins suspect offensive line with a first year offensive coordinator (Chad O’Shea), it had the potential to be bad, immediately, again, psychologically.

No, with Fitzpatrick, he might just have the “Fitzmagic” start that he gave the Bucs last year, when he threw for 400 yards in two straight wins over the Saints and the Eagles. But, even if he doesn’t, and let’s say Miami is awful on offense while losing, then no one will question giving Rosen the shot at that point.

And, further, he could play for several games, even if Miami is struggling or bad, and no one would question having to evaluate Rosen, once and for all for the Dolphins future plans.

So, the bottom line is: Brian Flores made a veteran move- going with the veteran.

Rosen’s day will come, and maybe quickly, but with less immediate pressure and scrutiny by doing it this way.

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Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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.

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Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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.

Colorado’s athletic director Rick George said in a statement Sunday night,

“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.

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