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Forget their QB situation, Dolphins bigger concern Lamar Jackson

Florida Football Insiders



Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

While most Dolphins fans will be concerned with the quarterback play of grizzled veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and whether newly-acquired second-year QB, Josh Rosen, will play on Sunday, it’s the quarterback on the other sideline who Miami should be most concerned about Sunday.

Former Heisman Trophy winning QB Lamar Jackson gets set to begin his second NFL season, and his first, since being installed as the full-time starter for the Ravens. And, the speedy Jackson will pose as many problems with his legs, as his arm, for the aqua and white.

Jackson took over late last season as the Raven starter after former Super Bowl winning QB Joe Flacco suffered a hip injury. Baltimore promptly rolled off win after win with Jackson becoming the first quarterback in league history to run for at least 70 yds. in five consecutive games.

In all, the Ravens went 6 – 1 and clinched the AFC North and a home game in the playoffs with Jackson at the helm.

Although they lost a Wildcard playoff game the next week to the L.A. Chargers, it was still obvious that Jackson, who was drafted at the end of the first round in April 2018, was the quarterback the Baltimore was ready to turn to you.

So, they traded Flacco away in the offseason to the Denver Broncos making Jackson’s job security, for now, obvious.

Now, Baltimore has a new offensive coordinator in veteran play-caller and former Lions head coach, Marty Mornhinweg. And, Ravens fans are anxious to see if Jackson’s throwing and touch on the ball that they’ve seen glimpses of in the preseason will become a reality for the regular season starting Sunday.

Obviously, Dolphins coach Brian Flores has a defensive background previously from New England. And Flores knows that Miami better have second and third level defenders ready to cut off and chase Jackson at Hard Rock stadium Sunday.

That challenge will likely fall on linebackers Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan. McMillan, who’s been held out of preseason due to undisclosed injury, is not on Miami’s injured list this week. So, that’s a good sign that he’s ready to play and, better be ready to run.

Look for Miami to also utilize safeties Xavien Howard and Minkah Fitzpatrick to come up and help stop Jackson and his mobility.

It will be interesting to see if Mornhinweg and head coach John Harbaugh give Jackson the green light to duck the ball and take off, like he did so often in 2018. In his seven starts down the stretch of last season, Jackson ran the ball at least 11 times in all of them and had four games where he ran the ball 17 times or more.

Jackson averaged 4.7 3 yards per attempt on his 147 rushes a year ago for nearly 700 yards and five TDs.

Again, Dolphins fans will scrutinize everything from Ryan Fitzpatrick’s accuracy to his beard, as he starts on Sunday, but, the real challenge is stopping the guy wearing number 8 in Ravens purple.

Or, it will be a long day in South Florida.

Miami Dolphins

Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine

Florida Football Insiders



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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Miami Dolphins

Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday

Florida Football Insiders



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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