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Fischer: Dolphins trying to find their way

Christopher Fischer

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Photo by JCS/Icon Sportswire

(Our Chris Fischer is working the sideline for CBS-TV coverage again this week of Dolphins-Steelers with Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots)

Where do the Dolphins go from here?

They were bad last week against the Titans. I mean really bad.

It was such a deplorable effort by the offensive line that yesterday coach Adam Gase took a torch to it, cutting Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas. Both were forced in to playing positions they were rather unfamiliar with on the left side (Normally they play on the right). That’s no excuse, but neither is the fact that QB Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 11 times in two games. One thing that seemed disturbing for “Fins Fans” is when Gase told me exiting the locker room at half “we’re already max protecting, we’ve got to do a better job of keeping pressure off our quarterback.”

According to Pro Football Focus “Tannehill has faced pressure on 43.4% of drop backs so far, most in the NFL.” And yet, fans in the stands are calling for back up quarterback Matt Moore.

“I know when we have 18 drop back passes and he is hit or sacked on 9 of them and the completions we do have, he has guys in his face,” said Gase. “I’m supposed to blame (Tannehill) for that.”

Gase has been preaching accountability to the locker room. He threatened to cut guys for doing a poor job and he delivered on that promise.

Tunsil’s Slip

Prior to Sunday’s game we learned Left Guard/Tackle Laremy Tunsil was placed on the inactive list, for slipping in the shower and injuring his ankle. “It’s one on thousand, one in a million type deals,” said Gase. “It’s a bad deal, talk about unexpected, that’s an unexpected thing to happen.”

I noticed on the sideline that Tunsil wasn’t there alongside Branden Albert, who was also on the inactive list. Tunsil took X-Rays on Sunday, and Gase said yesterday he’s walking around without crutches.

Conspiracy theorists now have something work with in regards to the Tunsil injury.

No Wake zone, Defensive line doesn’t make a splash.

They were there, I promise. I saw the Dolphins defensive line playing football on Sunday. However, Tennessee went in with the number one offensive line according to Pro Football Focus and the Dolphins couldn’t do anything against them. That’s head scratching with a unit that features Ndamukong Suh and Mario Williams.

Cameron Wake was moved to an off the edge linebacker threat on passing downs. No matter what Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph dialed up, the defense couldn’t get to Marcus Mariota. The Titans utilized a lot of play action roll outs to get Mariota out of the pocket.

This week the defensive line will get a more stable pocket passer in Ben Roehtlisberger, but expect the Steelers’ game plan to deviate.
This week’s Match-up
Black and Yellow will take over the empty aqua seats at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.

Pittsburgh will put their fifth ranked offense up against the 29th ranked Miami defense. And while the Steelers come in with the 26th ranked defense, it’s rather misleading. Pittsburgh has given up more than 17 points just once this season.

For the Dolphins the game plan must be simple. Keep the pressure off of Tannehill and use double coverage on Antonio Brown.  But, even that might not be enough to help.

“I just think we have a rough start to the quarter of the season, it will get better,” said Albert.

With an offensive line and secondary in shambles, Miami will need to figure out a way to win the Time of Possession battle. Which means they’ll have to try something new, bucking their 31st ranking in third down conversions.

The line is already 8 points in favor of Pittsburgh, but Sunday could prove to be another line in the sand game for the Dolphins locker room.

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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Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine

Florida Football Insiders

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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

Florida Football Insiders

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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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