Two weekends to go in the regular season and the Jaguars and the Dolphins are left playing out the string.
First, Miami will host the worst team in the NFL, the 1-13 Bengals at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. Of course, the Finns have been no great team either in 2019 standing now at 3 – 11, off of back-to-back losses to both New York teams at the Meadowlands the last two weeks.
This game is a new reminder of the often used phrase “Stupor-Bowl” with both teams combined record being 4-24.
We wondered earlier this week what sense does it make to keep playing 37 year old veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, instead of giving twenty-two-year-old second-year quarterback Josh Rosen another opportunity or two at the end of the year? This to see if he had any hope of being a decent work of the quarterback for Miami in the future? However, coach Brian Flores still wants to use Fitzpatrick at least a start in this one with Cincinnati.
One of the lone bright spots for Miami is wide receiver, DeVante Parker, who’s looking to go over the 1,000 yard receiving mark in the final two games. Parker help key the Dolphins 37 – 31 upset at the Eagles in their last home game 3 weeks ago with a 150+ yard day and two touchdown catches.
Cincinnati doesn’t offer much under first-year coach Zach Tayor. They have gone back to veteran quarterback Andy Dalton after benching him earlier in the year, and Dalton has been erratic at best, including throwing a couple of crucial interceptions last week in their loss to New England.
One thing is for sure, even if Miami were to lose to Cincinnati , they would still be a game ahead of the Bengals in the win column and Cincy would still have the top overall selection in next April’s draft.
Meantime, it’s been a wild last seven days for the Jaguars and now, they travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons.
First, it was a dramatic come-from-behind win in Oakland, as rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew led two key touchdown drives in the final six minutes of the game. Jacksonville pulled out a 20 – 16 win over the Raiders in what will be the final game ever, apparently, at the Oakland Coliseum.
However, owner Shad Khan decided to fire VP of Football, Tom Coughlin, on Wednesday night after an NFLPA appeal with former Jaguar player, Dante Fowler was successful against the team at arbitration. Fowler had had $700,000 withheld from him, because Coughlin and the Jaguars maintained that he should have been receiving treatment for an injury during in the offseason from team doctors and trainers at the team facility.
The situation embarrassed the organization further, when it became public and especially the part of the NFLPA suggested that free agents be aware the poor treatment of players in Jacksonville, when considering signing with Jaguars.
Khan decided enough was enough and even, though he was likely going to get rid of Coughlin at the end of the regular season in a couple of weeks anyway. Still, he went ahead and made the move, now.
So, is coach Doug Marrone going to be next? The Jaguars had a disappointing 2018, finishing 5 – 11 and until last week’s win, had lost five straight games. Will Jacksonville respond in Atlanta?
The Falcons have played good football as of late, including their dramatic win last Sunday in San Francisco. That’s where Matt Ryan hit WR Julio Jones with the game-winning touchdown pass with just a couple of seconds remaining.
After a 1 – 7 start, Atlanta has won four games since their bye week and is looking to close the season strong. And, we’ll see if the Jags play hard and play well for Marrone or help seal his fate.
Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine
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:
Tua Tagovailoa measured at 6-0, 217 pounds at the NFL combine today. Left throwing hand at 10”
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) February 24, 2020
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.
Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday
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:
We'd like to officially introduce you to our new HC, Karl Dorrell.
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) February 23, 2020
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.
“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.