Week two of the NFL preseason continues tonight, as the Bucs will host the Dolphins in the annual in-state preseason contest. Of course, in typical Florida fashion and typical Bucs vs. Dolphins preseason fashion, the weather is looking like rain will be a factor in the game.
With that being said, here are a few things to watch for tonight:
Dolphins QB Battle:
Josh Rosen and former Buc Ryan Fitzpatrick are still battling for the spot of QB1 for the Fins. Rosen took some first-team reps in practice, and eventually Miami will need to see him work with the ones in a game at some point. Is that tonight is the question?
Also, look for Rosen’s “body language,” as that has been a topic of discussion at the joint practices this week and has been said to be one of his worst characteristics. With the weather being an issue tonight, it will be interesting to see who plays the better game at quarterback the young gunslinger or the veteran, Fitzpatrick.
With Kenyan Drake down with an injured foot, Ballage has an opportunity for the taking tonight. Both he and Drake were sharing reps, and Ballage was expecting expanded work coming into the season. With Drake now hurt, we could see the second year Ballage put a stronghold on the position after a great week of practice.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) August 14, 2019
Bucs Secondary Depth:
The Bucs have been hit with injuries throughout the secondary positions so far in camp in particular at safety. The Bucs added a veteran safety earlier this week in former Bronco, Darin Stewart. Stewart has already practiced with the team this week and could be a nice added boost to the back end. At Corner, look to see rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting take a step forward in his second NFL game, as well as USF rookie product, Mazzi Wilkins, who will try to keep up a strong camp.
Bucs Back up QB:
Bruce Arians has said Ryan Griffin gives him reasons to keep a third QB on the active roster. Now, Griffin has to keep playing well to restore the faith. Many have thought of Griffin to be the Bucs back up, but Blaine Gabbert has come in and taken that job. Griffin will need to show Arians that a third QB should be active and that it shouldn’t go to another position.
Bucs Rookie Matt Gay has lit up with what could compared to a “bazooka” right leg. With his long 60-yard kicks in camp, fans are taking videos in practice. This is excellent news so far, but none of this means a thing when kicking in practice.
After hitting a Heinz Field record 55-yard attempt last week in Pittsburgh, Gay will look to continue his success from camp into game action as he looks to lock up the kicking spot on the roster.
Dolphins reverse course- will start Josh Rosen Sunday
In a move that fits the pattern of seemingly having no true plan of how to get better and, further being willing to change or get rid of personnel on any whim, coach Brian Flores and the Dolphins have done “a 180 turn,” and will now start second-year quarterback Josh Rosen in Dallas Sunday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 19, 2019
After being adamant for the last three days the team would continue to start veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, even after two dismal games where the Dolphins lost by a combined score of 102 – 10, Flores and the organization have obviously decided that now is the time to see what Rosen can do.
We at F.F.I. called for this move on Monday, as Miami’s offense could be truly no worse than what it has looked like in the losses to Baltimore and the Patriots at home.
And sooner or later you have to give Rosen an extended look to find out, if he has some promise to be a quarterback of the future or at least, part of the mix as a backup etc., for 2020 and 2021.
Clearly, Miami is doing everything they can to lose every possible game they can and get their best draft position in 2020.
To that end, the Dolphins traded 2018 first round pick defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday acquiring their number one pick. This added on to the blockbuster trade of left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills where the Dolphins acquired the Texans number one and number two picks this year and their first round pick next year.
The Dolphins stuck Rosen in Sunday’s disaster with New England with nine minutes to go and trailing 43-0 and he threw 18 passes, completing only seven and also had an INT while being sacked three times. Rosen even managed to roll his ankle, but kept playing, but only in worthless garbage time.
Rosen, who was acquired in an April draft night trade with Arizona, was 3-10 last year as a starter with only a 55% completion percentage and 11 touchdowns vs. 14 interceptions with the Cards.
Now, considerably handicapped on offense without Tunsil and Stills, etc., we will see what the former UCLA first round pick can do against the formidable Cowboys.
Dolphins trade Minkah Fitzpatrick to Steelers
The Dolphins remained true to their “lose at all costs” mentality for 2019, as they dealt last season’s #1 pick, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers on Monday night.
TRADE: Steelers are trading a 2020 first-round pick to the Dolphins for DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2019
As we wrote earlier Monday night, Fitzpatrick has been disgruntled in Miami just two horrible games into their season and was given permission to seek a trade last week. Apparently, Pittsburgh came up with the best offer, first, to get the former Alabama All American.
Fitzpatrick, who the Dolphins took with the 11th overall pick in the 2018 draft, is disgruntled in part, because of the Dolphins “veteran purge” that has gone all in all offseason, stripping them of experienced talent everywhere. He further has been unhappy with new head coach Brian Flores and defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, moving him to different positions all over the defensive secondary in the preseason and the first two games of the year.
Fitzpatrick started and played significantly in most of Fins Sunday blowout loss to the Patriots 43-0 that dropped them to a dismal looking 0-2. And Pro Football Focus gave him a decent grade for Sunday:
Minkah Fitzpatrick was the highest-graded #Dolphins player in Week 2
— PFF MIA Dolphins (@PFF_Dolphins) September 16, 2019
GM Chris Grier continues to stock pile draft picks for the “named players” on his roster. This included the huge deal trading of starting LT Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills on the eve of the season to the Houston Texans. Miami got the Texans next two #1 picks and their second rounder in 2021 in that deal.
The acquiring of the Steelers first rounder gives Miami three opening round picks now in next April’s draft.
Reportedly, the teams are also swapping fourth (Miami’s) and fifth round picks in 2020 and sixth (Pittsburgh’s) and seventh rounders in 2021, as part of the deal.
Grier had been busy getting rid of other veterans in the off season. This also included dealing players like QB Ryan Tannehill and DE Robert Quinn in March, veteran WR Danny Amendola being cut after just one season in Miami and Pro Bowl DE Cam Wake being allowed to walk away in free agency.
In addition to trading Tunsil and Stills, Grier dealt his most productive tackler the last three years, Kiko Alonso, to the Saints at the end of preseason, too.
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