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Miami Dolphins

Fischer: Dolphins enter bye weekend in better shape

Christopher Fischer

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hoto by Al Diaz/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

Rarely does the bye come at a bad time. But, in Miami’s case maybe, they would want to keep playing.

Maybe, it was the locker room gut check coach Adam Gase issued when he cut 3 players after week five. Maybe, it was finding a healthy “go to” back. What’s not in doubt? The Dolphins have responded with back-to-back unlikely wins with chemistry and momentum.

Two weeks in a row now we’ve had the type of energy, speed and attitude we’re been looking for,” said Gase.

The biggest difference has been the return of the all the starters on the offensive line. Since they were reassembled for the first time since the second preseason game, Miami’s rushing attack has been tremendous.

Jay Ajayi’s back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances, are just one of the benefits of the line getting back to normal. The defense has improved, because they’re not constantly on the field.

Over the first five games of the season, the Dolphins won Time of Possession only once. Since the O-Line has returned to form, they’ve held the ball for 10 more minutes than the opponent in each of the last two games.

“When you have the five guys that we have up front, I have a lot of trust in those guys,” said Gase.

A fresh defense has allowed Vance Joseph’s crew to hold the Steelers’ Le’veon Bell to 63 yards on the ground and the Bills to 67 total yards rushing. Oh yeah, Buffalo came in the number one team in the league in rushing yards per game.

It gets back to the old football mantra “Games are won and lost in the trenches.”

Having a bye week is probably a good thing for the big boys upfront to get healthy.

“I think the bye came at a good time, we have some guys who are banged up,” said Ajayi. “It will be good to get a rest.”

With the confidence flowing, Dolphins fans wouldn’t want this offensive line play to slip away like Laremy Tunsil in the shower. Which by the way, Ryan Tannehill’s wife made sure to go out and buy the O-Line shower shoes.

A native Floridian who graduated from Clearwater High School and the University of Florida, Chris Fischer has spent nearly 15 years in Sports Televison, including the last five as Sports Reporter and Anchor with the CBS affiliate in Tampa Bay-WTSP. He is a multi time AP Sports and Local Emmy award winner and will be seen this season as a sideline reporter on CBS-TV’s network coverage of the NFL.Chris brings enthusiasm and passion (particularly when it comes to his Gators) to College and NFL coverage to F.F.I.

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Miami Dolphins

What to watch Thursday Dolphins-Jags third preseason game

Jamil King

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Week three of the preseason is already here as the Jags and the Dolphins get set for their in-state clash tonight at Hard Rock Stadium.

Week three is known to be the “most important” preseason game as the starters will usually play a half of football. And, for the Jags, this will be the first time they will play most of the first-team offense, meanwhile, the Fins have another chance for Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick to step up.

Those are just a few of the things we want to watch:

Nick Foles– Of course, Foles is what to watch for tonight. The Jags will be letting the QB out of the cage tonight for the first time. The $88 million-dollar man will look to start his Jaguars career on a positive note. It will be interesting to see how he fares in his first live-action of the season.

Dolphins QBs- Josh Rosen hasn’t done anything to win the job so far in the preseason. He also though has not done anything to lose it either. So, Ryan Fitzpatrick very well could be the starter week 1. While some will argue there is no point in playing the journeyman over the 2nd year guy, Fitpatrick won games last year in Tampa Bay.

The Dolphins though, will play the guy they feel has the best chance to win them games to start this season, and want Rosen to become that guy, eventually. Tonight should show us who that guy will for the Dolphins opener.

Jackonville O-Line and Leonard Fournette– We think this will be the first appearance for the starting running back, as well on the preseason. We know he can be a punishing downhill runner, but new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo wants Fournette more involved in the passing game.

Will they show a little bit of what they have in store for him tonight though is the question?  Also, on the O-Line Cam Robinson is back how much will the Jags push him tonight though a few plays, a few series, a quarter or risk his first contact being regular season week one?

Dophins giving up sacks- Last week the Bucs accounted for five sacks (three on Rosen) against the Dolphins in Tampa. This week the Dolphins will face a better unit for a longer time and will need to help keep the QBs on their feet.

Coach Brian Flores even said after the game last week he would like to see Rosen take fewer sacks. If he wants to win the job tonight, he will need help from his O-Line and his own decision making.

Players out- The Jags have announced that nine players won’t be seeing the field tonight among those are WR Marqise Lee and three different tight ends. That means we could see a lot of James O’Shaughnessy at tight end. For the wideouts that means more opportunity for some of the guys like D.J. Chark, Chris Conley and company.

Mistakes- Last week Miami had some drops and a lot of flags thrown on them. Look out for the Dolphins to play a cleaner game tonight. With the starters playing more coach Flores is expecting fewer penalties after getting hit with 13 calls for a loss of 122 yards last week.

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Miami Dolphins

Report- Dolphins extending contract of WR Jakeem Grant

Jamil King

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have apparently made a move tonight and have locked in return specialist/receiver Jakeem Grant.

Miami Herald Dolphins beat writer Adam Beasley had the details first on social media:

The deal is rumored to be a 4-year extension to lock him down in South Beach through the 2023 season.
With a new coaching staff in place in Miami, they have made locking up the 2016 class a priority.

Grant was set to make just $720,000 in the final year of his rookie deal. Beasley did not have terms on the deal, but it’s safe to assume he will be getting a hefty raise. This deal could show the Fins are ready to give Grant a more prominent role in the offense, as well.

Previously, Miami GM Chris Grier has locked up 2016 draft pick Xavien Howard to 5 year, $73 million extension in May. The Dolphins will also look to extend left tackle Laremy Tunsil, as well, and he will likely command in the neighborhood of $12+ million per season to do so.

Grant has been a mainstay as a special team’s player so far in his career. As a return specialist Grant was an all-pro last season.  The 16.3 yards-per-return across 14 punt returns in 2018 is a superb mark, as was his 29.7 yards-per return average on kickoffs.

Grant was a sub 4.4 40-yard dash guy coming out of Texas Tech and has made his limited touches count in the NFL. Grant has 34 catches in three NFL seasons, scoring four touchdowns, and averaging 13.9 yards per reception. He and fellow speedy undersized receiver Albert Wilson made a 1-2 “big play punch” early last season, as Miami jumped out to a 3-0 record.

However, Wilson was lost in October for the season with a hip injury. Then, Grant ended up suffering a torn calf muscle and missing the final six games of last year.

Grant has also been on the sidelines so far this preseason with a nagging hamstring injury.

But, he returned to practice Monday, and the Dolphins apparently believe he is back to full health.

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