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Miami Dolphins

Nick Saban abandoning the Dolphins changed college football for good

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On January 3rd, 2007, Nick Saban made a decision that not only altered the Dolphins short term future, but more importantly, his decision to go back to college and powerhouse Alabama probably changed that game forever.

First, when Saban agreed to leave another SEC high profile program in LSU, and come to South Florida, it was largely believed he would be an NFL coach for good. After all he had been the defensive coordinator for some guy named Bill Belichick, when they were both in Cleveland in the 1990’s. And with Belichick’s ultra success in New England in the early 2000’s, it only seemed natural that Saban would follow the same path to big success.

Saban, was lured by then owner Wayne Huizenga, and the fact that especially on defense, with veteran star players like Jason Taylor and Zack Thomas, it would be natural transition to make the Fins a Super Bowl contender, again.

In fairness, after early struggles, he did win his last six games to go 9-7 in his first season in Miami just missing the AFC Wildcard. It was his second year where the Dolphins struggled from the outset, were obviously going to miss the playoffs at 4-5 games below .500 heading into December ,and the coaching carousel in college was simultaneously heating up.

That’s when Saban decided to ask Huizenga to “walk” on his NFL contract, leave the Dolphins and go back to college. It was well known in the South Florida and SEC media that Saban’s wife Terry was not pleased with life in Miami and the differences of the NFL vs. essentially being “King and Queen” of an SEC small southern town. Don’t ever underestimate that fact in Saban’s thinking.

However, the biggest factor was Alabama, THE Alabama, the Alabama that was floundering for the better part of a decade, and had fired Mike Shula that December. And when the Tide turned their sights on Saban, everything fell into place for both.

You now know that since that December of 2006, and Saban’s hiring the next month, Bama has been “championship relevant” headed to the final two weeks of the season and their bowl (or now playoff game) in nine of his 11 years. Let that sink in for a second.

He is THE standard in college coaching now, in terms of recruiting, preparation, execution and results and with Monday night’s thrilling 26-23 OT win over Georgia, that’s five National Championships in nine seasons.

No one can argue the success. No one can argue that they are dynasty in Tuscaloosa, because of what Nick Saban has built and sustained. Look at all of his “disciples,” who continue to get head coaching jobs (including Georgia’s Kirby Smart from Monday). Everyone wants of piece of what Saban and Alabama have.

And certainly, no one can argue, that Saban’s decision to give up on the Dolphins and the NFL changed the game of college football for good.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins lose DE William Hayes for season with torn ACL

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The news is not all good on Monday morning at for the Dolphins after their 28 – 20 triumph over the Raiders. This after head coach Adam Gase revealed at his day after the game news conference that defensive end William Hayes has suffered a torn ACL and will be going on injured reserve.

Hayes, who did not start the game, but did have a sack and two tackles, has been a reserve defensive end for the last two seasons in Miami. He was originally a member of the Titans for four seasons before playing for the Rams for five years and then coming as a free agent to Miami in 2017.

Hayes had also been playing with a cast on his hand with an injury suffered in the week 1 game with Tennessee.

Hayes was injured trying to sack quarterback Derek Carr late in the first half Sunday. Gase told the media that in reviewing the coaches tape, it’s obvious that Hayes was trying not to land on Carr, when he planted awkwardly on his knee tearing the ACL.

Joe Schad, Dolphins beat writer for the Palm Beach Post provided more visual insight here:

The new rules and point of emphasis on not driving quarterbacks, specifically, into the ground on hits is already creating fury among pass-rushers all over the league.

Green Bay’s Clay Matthews was flagged for it Sunday for the second consecutive week after he put a hit on the Redskins QB Alex Smith. He landed on him going to the ground drawing a 15-yard penalty. Mathews was very outspoken after the game about how the league and the officials were now going to hamper a pass-rusher is ability to do his job by having him account for not wrapping up or landing on a player that they are actually tackling.

Again, that goes to the point of how Hayes apparently injured himself and will be lost for the rest of the year

The Fins obviously have players like Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake and former first-round pick Charles Harris that can still rush the quarterback.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins hit big plays against Raiders to remain unbeaten

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Another Sunday of big plays and another win for the Dolphins, who for the first time since 2013 are 3 – 0. This after dealing the Raiders their third straight loss in a 28-20 come-from-behind victory at Hard Rock Stadium.

After Oakland scored almost immediately, when quarterback Derek Carr hit Jordy Nelson on a long completion and then with a red zone touchdown pass, Miami found themselves trailing quickly 7 to nothing.

But from there on, the Fins began to hit the Raiders with one big play after another. That started with a 34-yard beautifully thrown touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a streaking Kenny Stills to tie the game 7-7.

The Raiders actually took a 10-7 lead into the locker room and then put together a lengthy drive capped with a Marshawn Lynch up and over touchdown in a 17-7 lead.

However, the Dolphins were not fazed and 2 minutes of clock time later had marched into Raiders scoring territory. That’s when Jakeem Grant took an inside flip hand off from Tannehill (above) and raced around the right end to cut the lead to 17 – 14.

Next, head coach Adam Gase went into the” bag of tricks” and after a double hand off, receiver Albert Wilson fired this long pass to Grant down the right sideline:

The 52-yard trick play touchdown, gave Miami the lead for the first time at 21-17.

The Raiders tried to mount a go ahead drive but Derek Carr’s the pass for Martavis Bryant was picked off by Xavien Howard ending their threat.

Next, Wilson caught another short pass from Tannehill and did the rest, racing around the left sideline for a 72-yard score at the 2-minute warning, which put the game away.

Tannehill finished 17-23 for 289 yards and the three TD passes. Carr had 345 yards and a TD in the losing effort, but also two costly interceptions.

The Dolphins are 3-0 for the first time since 2013. That team finished 8-8 and still missed the playoffs.

The Raiders fanfare of hiring Jon Gruden out of the Monday Night Football booth is over, as they are now 0-3 and already three games behind the Chiefs, who won Sunday.

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Miami Dolphins

Gameday- Dolphins host Raiders looking to remain unbeaten

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Who:  Dolphins (2-0) vs. Raiders (0-2)

Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Spread: Dolphins by 3 (Courtesy Vegasinsider.com)

Miami has opened by winning the first two games for the first time since 2013 and now has a golden opportunity to get to 3 – 0 today. Here’s what we’re watching

Progression of Ryan Tannehill

Coming off a solid start by spreading the ball around to numerous receivers, Ryan Tannehill will look to keep it up. The Raiders defense is obviously reeling after the trading of Khalil Mack on the eve of the season, and Tannehill may be able to take advantage of the Oakland secondary.

Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson as the deep threats could do significant damage later today. Look for coach Adam Gase and coordinator Dowell Loggains to test them early.

Does Derek Carr follow up last week’s performance?

Oakland’s 5th Year quarterback was tremendous for much of the Denver game a week ago, completing 23 of his first 24 passes. With the Raiders getting acclimated to Jon Gruden’s new offense and terminology, it’s still obvious they want to get the ball out of Carr’s hand quickly with short throws.

Another part of Oakland’s offensive success is the early running of Marshawn Lynch, who is questionable for this game with an injured shoulder. They would like to set up play action with Lynch or backup running back Jalen Richard. If Miami can stuff the run, it will help greatly in stopping the Raiders attack.

Dolphins defense continues its optimistic play?

Whether it was surviving the two lengthy weather delays two weeks ago against the Titans with key sacks and takeaways, or last week in New York with frustrating rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, Miami has been able to make plays at times.

That needs to continue on Sunday. Safety Reshad Jones will be a game-time decision with his injured shoulder and that could affect their defensive scheme for coordinator Matt Burke.

If Miami’s pass rushers, Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, Charles Harris, Etc can get to Carr it will make life easier at Hard Rock Stadium.

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