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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins place two more veteran defenders on IR

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With the Dolphins now 2-8, it appears they will be in full “tank mode” for the remaining six games. And that includes, putting two veteran defensive backs on injured reserve Wednesday morning.

Miami announced corner Bobby McCain and safety Reshad Jones both have played their final games in 2019:

McCain suffered further injury to an already ailing shoulder in Sunday’s 37 – 20 loss to the Bills at Hard Rock Stadium. He has played in nine games this year registering 26 tackles with two ints and three other pass breakups.

As for Jones, there had been great debate that the Dolphins would release or trade him in the offseason to save on the salary cap, just as they did with numerous other veteran starters. However, he started the season but was injured right away in the opener with Baltimore. Jones also has been battling shoulder and other injuries and only has played four games the entire year.

Sunday was the first time that Jones had played in a month, as he started and had six tackles, but the team and coach Brian Flores decided to shut his season down as well.

You combine this news with the fact that Miami had already placed Pro Bowl safety Xavien Howard on injured reserve a few weeks back, and it’s obvious the Dolphins are looking ahead to next year and are prepared to lose out for a better draft position.

In an interesting corresponding move to McCain and Jones going on injured reserve, Miami announced that they will be promoting former Hurricanes DT Gerald Willis off of their practice squad to the active roster. Willis, who was an all-ACC first team selection last year, who led the conference with 18 tackles for loss. However, he went undrafted, but was in Ravens training camp before being released on the final cutdown. Miami has had him on the practice squad for several weeks.

Miami Dolphins

Looks like Tua Tagovailoa will work out for teams prior to draft

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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.

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Miami Dolphins

Who is new Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer?

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Winslow Townson- USA Today Sports

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.

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