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Remembering Dolphins great Nick Buoniconti

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Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports

One of the iconic Dolphins of the 1970s passed away on Wednesday and the remembrances continue to flow in. Nick Buoniconti, who was part of the perfect 1972 season in South Florida and later became as recognizable for his role as an analyst on HBO’s weekly “Inside the NFL” show every fall, died at the age of 78.

Buoniconti (shown above in one of his last public appearances in 2015) had been in declining health, including suffering from dementia and other effects of head trauma from all of his years in the NFL:

One of his teammates, iconic receiver Nat Moore, remembered his friend and fellow Dolphin alumni at Wednesday’s training camp practice:

Another of Buoniconti’s teammates and arguably the most bruising back in all of the NFL in the 1970s, Larry Csonka, shared a special and rarely seen post Super Bowl VII moment with Buoniconti on social media, too:

Also the aging legendary architect of those great Dolphins teams in the 70s, Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, expressed his sadness but also fond remembrance to the Fins website on the impacts Buoniconti made on and off the field,

I am sad to hear of Nick’s passing. Nick was special to me in every way. He was someone I greatly admired. His love for his wife, Lynn, his children, grandchildren, friends, teammates, family and the community was evident. His groundbreaking work with The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has made a huge difference in the lives of so many people. I am thankful to have had Nick in my life. I will miss him.

As Shula referenced, Buoniconti’s work with severe spinal cord injuries after his son Mark was paralyzed in a college football game in 1985 has been legendary in South Florida for four decades. The Miami Project Foundation has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for research, family care and more for those injured and their familes. Nick Buoniconti continued to spearhead the Miami Project and fundraising up until the 2010s and his recent health issues.

Buoniconti’s former television employer, HBO, also early this year released a fascinating documentary on his football career, his work on their network, his life away from football, his work with the Miami Project and ultimately, the toll that football played in his declining health.

Here’s the documentary:

It’s not an overstatement to say that Miami has lost one of it’s “Sports Giants” with Buoniconti’s death.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins will go back to veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins continue their ongoing evaluation of whom will start the season at quarterback between veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and second-year newly acquired, Josh Rosen. And on Monday morning, coach Brian Flores announced that after Rosen had started game two last Friday night in Tampa, Fitzpatrick will be back under center to begin the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars this Thursday.

Flores met with a media prior to the Dolphins latest workout on Monday but also said not to read too much into the latest QB switch:

Miami started Rosen against the Buccaneers, whom they acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in a draft weekend trade. And, as we wrote, he was largely ineffective for most of Friday night’s first half that he played.

The final stat line read 10-18 102 yards 0 TD and 0 INT, which indicates an average half of football.

And, yes there were damp conditions from pregame rain in Tampa, but Rosen on multiple occasions threw behind or low towards receivers that were open for possible gains. He was also jittery against the Bucs occasional blitz package from new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Rosen was sacked three times and knocked down several others.

A key moment of scrutiny was when Rosen was unable to get the team in the end zone after they got outstanding field position on a Buccaneers 31 yard line midway through the first after fumble buy backup running back Andre Ellington. The Fins moved inside the 10, but Tampa Bay held Miami on fourth down, where Rosen threw incomplete in the right corner of the end zone to backup receiver Isaiah Ford and Miami came away with no points.

While Flores tried to make it clear that the media and fans should not read too much into going back to Fitzpatrick as an indication on who will be the opening day starter, it will likely be the veteran when Miami hosts the Baltimore Ravens on September 8th.

Miami obviously knows what they have in the 15-year veteran Fitzpatrick, who started the first three games of last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And he led them to two victories and was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for both of the first to win in 2018.

However, just because Fitzpatrick starts the Jaguars game Thursday night, doesn’t mean Rosen won’t play in the first half with the first team to get another look for new offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea.

The game Thursday night will also be televised nationally by Fox and the Jaguars are expected to play their starters throughout the first half, and perhap,  into the early part of the third quarter.

That will give Fitzpatrick and maybe, Rosen,  ample opportunity to see what they can do against a quality defense.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins QB Rosen did little Friday night to win starting job

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The ongoing battle for who will start the Dolphins season at quarterback took another interesting turn in Friday night’s preseason game with the Buccaneers. However, the current backup, second-year player Josh Rosen, did little to help his case to unseat veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

New head coach Brian Flores and his offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea, obviously challenged Rosen by having him start with the first team and play the entire first half in last night’s second preseason game.

Unfortunately, for Rosen and the coaching staff, he did a little to impress and at times, showed the same shaky quarterback play and bad throws that he did during a mostly dismal rookie season in Arizona. The final stat line read 10-18 102 yards 0 TD and 0 INT, which indicates average half of football.

And, yes there were damp conditions from pregame rain, but Rosen on multiple occasions threw behind or low towards receivers that were open for possible gains. He was also jittery against the Bucs occasional blitz package from new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Rosen was sacked three times and knocked down several others.

A key moment of scrutiny was when Rosen was unable to get the team in the end zone after they got outstanding field position on a Buccaneers 31 yard line midway through the first after fumble buy backup running back Andre Ellington. The Fins moved inside the 10, but Tampa Bay held Miami on fourth down, where Rosen threw incomplete in the right corner of the end zone to backup receiver Isaiah Ford and Miami came away with no points.

Later in the first half Rosen should have thrown an interception, as he threw the ball right to Bucs rookie defensive back Jamel Dean after throwing late and behind a receiver on the near sideline. However, Dean dropped the INT. Still, Miami punted shortly after.

Coach Brian Flores said after the joint practices with the Bucs this week that Rosen needed to “improve his body language” and leading the team.

Yet, while this was a dress rehearsal, he did little to inspire the Dolphins offense, which only managed 2 field goals even with great field position throughout the first half.

There will still be more opportunity for Rosen in the final two preseason games, and perhaps he will be better.

Better than he was Friday night.

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