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Dolphins rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick told to prepare for safety and nickel back

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Friday was the first opportunity to take a look at all of the rookies for the Miami Dolphins at the team facility in Davie, and the “head of the class,” is first round pick defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama.

He met with the media on a range of subjects, including his draft night experience in Arlington, TX, three weeks ago. Plus, he discussed his playing days at the elite program of college football in Tuscaloosa, and how it has readied him already to step in and play at the pro level.

Here is the full press conference:

Particularly interesting is the subject of exactly what secondary position Fitzpatrick will occupy the most, when things get going in his rookie year.

Fitzpatrick had somewhat jokingly told Dolphins broadcasters Kim Bokamper and Jon Congemi on the Fins podcast “The Aubible” last week that he had been told by the Dolphins that he was being drafted at #11 overall at a “football player” designation.

On Friday, he opened up some more about his status, “Just gonna start off learning the defensive backfield. Whether it be the nickel spot, the safety spot. Just learning the defense, making calls.” He continued about what he hopes to accomplish, “My goal is to work hard every single day. Become better every single day….I just go day to day challenging myself. Day by day. Challenging myself, pushing myself…and with that comes other things (successes).”

Fitzpatrick was a consensus All-American in 2017, with 60 tackles, including eight for losses and one INT in his junior season. He decided to forgo his final year of eligibility to turn pro.

Interestingly, as we wrote earlier this week, a report stated that Miami owner Stephen Ross was wanting the Dolphins to trade down from the #11 spot, when they did get one of the quarterbacks at the top of the draft. Instead, the front office of Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier believed enough in Fitzpatrick’s skill, versatility, and tremendous experience in big games translating to the NFL, that they brought him to South Florida.

And that process has now begun.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins got contributions everywhere in Sunday win

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There were a lot of questions and plenty of reasons to doubt the Dolphins roster makeup, as 2018 was  getting underway.

However, two games in, the Fins have been impressive, and earned their way to an unbeaten start. Their latest effort Sunday at The Meadowlands against AFC East rival Jets saw numerous players new and old step up.

Whether it was TJ McDonald’s early interception of New York rookie QB Sam Darnold, or Kenyan Drake weaving through the Jets front seven for the early score a short time later, Miami set the tone.

And then, when Kiko Alonso knocked the ball free from Jets receiver Robby Anderson and Raekwon McMillan recovered it, it was new free agent receiver Albert Wilson capitalizing here:

It went for a 29-yard touchdown from QB Ryan Tannehill and Miami had command at that point at 14-0.

Tannehill spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and even found reserve A.J. Derby for a 19 yard touchdown, as the lead ballooned to 20-0 nothing.

Darnold ended with some decent yardage and a couple of second-half touchdowns, but the Dolphins registered four sacks and had three total takeaways to help put this one away.

Even ageless veteran Frank Gore got into the act. This as, the 35 year old moved into fourth place on NFL all-time rushing list trailing only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.

And late in the game caught a dump off pass from Tannehill and weaved through the Jet defense to pick up 3rd and 19, move the chains and allow Miami to run the clock out.

So the 2018 Dolphins don’t have Jay Cutler, Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and some of the others from a team that struggled last year.

However, their new faces stepped in and stepped up Sunday on the road.

And Miami is now 2 – 0 for the first time since 2013, and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

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Miami Dolphins

Gameday- Dolphins renew rivalry with Jets in New York

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Dolphins (1-0) at Jets (1-0)

Where: Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Spread: Jets by 2.5 (Courtesy Vegasinsidercom)

Renewal of the Rivalry

There are no longer names like Shula, Namath and Marino, but the storied rivalry of the Dolphins and the Jets is five decades old. As AFC East Rivals since the early 1970’s, these teams and fan bases are familiar with each other for generations. Yes, grandads, dads and in some cases, great granddads have watched these two play. The Jets hold a 54-50-1 record all time, and that includes a decisive win in the Meadowlands last year. The Fins, however, won the rematch (Cutler at the helm) later in the year at Hard Rock Stadium.

Now, they play right away in 2018 and the winner maintains at least a tie for first in the division.

Tannehill looks to build on week one

It was a bizarre game last Sunday in the opener with Tennessee, as there were two lightning delays that lasted more than 3 1/2 hours. So, it’s tough to judge everything completely. However, QB Ryan Tannehill, off his ACL tear last August, was effective for a lot of the game (despite two picks) finishing 20-28 for 230 yards and two TDs. One was a second half 75 yard bomb to WR Kenny Stills as the Dolphins prevailed 27-20.

Will the Jets 3-4 defense be able to rattle him? Will Tannehill handle the pressure and be accurate. It’s not the only key, but a big one for the Fins.

Finally, will the Jets look like they did Monday night?

In a remarkable win on the road on Monday night, rookie Sam Darnold overcame a pick six TD in the first :20 of his NFL career to play effectively in the blowout win over the Lions. Darnold who was 16-21 with two TDs, will have to be solid in this one for the Jets.

The Dolphins pass rush led by Robert Quinn and Cam Wake will try to fluster him and create those bad throws from the USC rookie.

The Jets defense and special teams came up with big plays also against Detroit, as they pulled away in the second half for a 48-17 win. That included an interception and punt return TD in the second half.

Miami will need to keep the Jets from making the big play Sunday.

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Miami Dolphins

Report- Dolphins OL Josh Sitton out for season

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The injury news is not good to wake up to on a Friday morning for Dolphins fans. Offensive lineman Josh Sitton will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury, according to a report.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald had the story first that Sitton, who missed practice this week with a shoulder injury, is going on injured reserve:

 

Salguero wrote, that Sitton actually tore his rotator cuff at some point during the playing of the second half of Sunday’s game with Tennessee. Yet, the 11 year veteran continued to play through it. Further, Sitton had been exploring the option of continuing to play with the injury in the short term this week, etc. However, he was advised that if the shoulder was damaged more, that surgery might not be able to repair it and it would end his career.

Sitton is a four-time Pro Bowler who was originally drafted by Green Bay, but was signed by the Dolphins away from the Chicago Bears this past offseason. He was playing in the offense of then Bears, now Dolphins coordinator Dowell Loggains. And it made him attractive to sign by Miami in March.

Loggains told the media Thursday that Sitton’s injury and possible absence for this week’s game against the Jets creates a problem,

“Does it change things? Absolutely. If you didn’t have someone at any position, you look to (say), ‘How is this matchup going to affect us in the game?’”

Sitton, who had started 137 games in his career coming into this season, had also been a mentor to former #1 pick left tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Miami will now go to veteran journeyman guard Ted Larsen, who started eight games over the last couple of seasons for the Dolphins ,but has also battled nagging injuries throughout his career.

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