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Miami Dolphins

Gameday – Playoffs on the line in Dolphins-Chiefs matchup

Roy Cummings

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Allen Eyestone/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

What: Miami Dolphins (6-8) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)

Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

When: 1 p.m.

Latest line/Over-under: Dolphins +10.5/43.5

 

Why you should watch

 Isn’t obvious? This game has playoff implications. And not just for the Chiefs either. It’s hard to imagine but despite their 6-8 record, the Dolphins are still alive in the playoff race. In fact, there are still several different scenarios in which the Dolphins can make the playoffs. The common denominator in all of them: The Dolphins have to win out. There’s no more losing and staying alive, which they managed to do a week ago when they lost on the road at Buffalo. It really is do or die then for Miami. As for the Chiefs, they have a little more room for error, but the fact of the matter are this: They can clinch the AFC West with a win over the Dolphins today. Many thought that title would go to the Raiders this year, so the Chiefs will be looking to seize their opportunity to stay on top.

 

Key on: Dolphins WR DeVante Parker

 Dolphins quarterbacks have had a devil of a time throwing the ball to  DeVante Parker this year. They have thrown at least six interceptions, including one last week, when targeting Parker and currently have a passer rating of 52.5 when throwing his way. According to Pro Football Focus, only one wide receiver has produced a worse passer rating for his quarterback than Parker, who continues to be featured heavily in the Dolphins attack. A week ago, for example, the Dolphins targeted Parker 12 times. The result, though, was minimal as he caught just six passes for 89 yards and no touchdowns. They might have better luck this week. Parker is expected to draw cornerback Terrance Mitchell in coverage and if he does, Parker just might have the edge. Mitchell has had a pretty rough go of it himself this year, allowing an average of 1.87 yards per coverage snap, which is tied for 117th out of 120 qualified corners, per PFF.

 

Statistically speaking

 For a couple of reasons, this game figures to be a close, low-scoring affair. For starters, the Dolphins have one of the worst scoring offenses in the NFL. They’re averaging 18 points per game, which ranks 26th overall. Not only that, but the Chiefs are pretty stingy at home. They have yet to allow a team to score more than 20 points on them at Arrowhead Stadium, where they held the Eagles (31.3 points per game, second overall) to 20 points and Pittsburgh (24.6 ppg, 9th) to 19. And then there’s this: The Chiefs have an average margin of defeat this year of 5.67, which is the lowest in the league. Of their six losses this year, five have been by less than a touchdown. The only team to win handily against them so far has been the Cowboys, who beat them 28-17.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

Miami Dolphins

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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Miami Dolphins

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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