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Miami Dolphins

Tempo, Tempo, Tempo!

Florida Football Insiders

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Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins are still trying to figure it all out offensively. With QB Ryan Tannehill coming back from ACL surgery, with their best weapon (Jarvis Landry) having been virtually given away to the Cleveland Browns because management didn’t want to give him a huge contract, and now, with a new offensive coordinator trying to make sense of it all, it’s a lot.

However, that’s the situation for Dowell Loggains, who had been in Chicago (above), but is now at the helm of molding the offensive after re-uniting with coach Adam Gase.

Loggains met with the media this weekend during rookie mini-camp on a variety of subjects, but the one that interested us the most is what kind of philosophical adjustment he intends to make.

That would be an emphasis on “playing faster” or tempo. And, the Dolphins intend to pick that up.

Here were his full comments:

As Loggains said, “Obviously, we want to run an uptempo no huddle offesnse that Adam has done in the past. That’s what our vision is. And, we’re trying to get going that way.”

The stats bear out that the Fins were 22nd last year in plays run per game (62.2), and that was a full five play average behind the top three teams in the league (the Patriots, the Eagles and the Broncos). And, even scarier, Miami was last in the NFL in Gase’s first season at 57.7 plays per game. That was almost 10 plays less than the 2016 top ten average.

Granted, some of thos numbers can be skewed by not making first downs to sustain drives/the other team doing so, etc. However, this is obviously something that Loggains has been tasked with improving, since coming in from the Bears this off season.

In particular, when talking “no huddle,” and Ryan Tannehill now getting ready for a third year in Gase’s offense, that’s something to watch for as the season begins this fall.

As for Loggains thoughts on how Tannehill has looked? Here’s more from Loggains on Saturday:

“It’s been impressive to watch Ryan throw the football and the command he has of the offense. The 2016 season, he had such a good year and for me, when I got here, the first thing I did was turn on the OTAs and training camp right before he got hurt, and got to watch how much improvement, how much jump he was taking in Year two. It was unfortunate he got hurt. Obviously, the offense was affected by it.”

There’s no question that the Fins became a plodding, seven step drop offense with Tannehill’s training camp re-injury and the signing of Jay Cutler out of “retirement” last August to take things over.

Now, Gase, Loggains and the staff want to take the next steps with Tannehill back, and that means play faster, run more plays and wear down the other team, especially in the South Florida humidity.

He’s got young skill players like Kenyan Drake, rookie Kalen Ballage, Devante Parker, Kenny Stills, new free agent Albert Wilson and new draft pick Mike Gesicki that can go faster.

Still, saying it is one thing, the proof of how fast Miami’s willing and actually playing on offense, will come starting in September.

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Miami Dolphins

Jon Gruden’s returns to Florida already in coaching turmoil

Florida Football Insiders

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It may be premature to say that the “second honeymoon” for Jon Gruden with the Oakland Raiders is already over, but another defeat Sunday, and it likely is.

The Raiders are clearly struggling after dropping their second straight game last week in heartbreaking fashion against the Broncos in Denver. Oakland controlled most of the game and Derek Carr was outstanding, completing 23 of his first 24 passes on the day.

However, in the end Case Keenum rallied the Broncos and when Brandon McManus’ last-second field goal went through, the smirking critics of “Chucky” were already “sticking their chests out” about his NFL return.

Without question, some of this is self-inflicted, as Gruden clearly did not want to pay and therefore keep, linebacker Khalil Mack for the Raiders. And yes, they got a bounty of draft picks in return, but Mack has been nothing short of sensational as a pass rusher in two games in Chicago, and the Raiders defense is again mediocre-at-best.

So, that brings us to Sunday. And even though Gruden has been living in the Tampa Bay area while doing Monday Night Football for ESPN, this is the first time that he’s back coaching a game in the state since the final regular-season game of 2008. That day, ironically his Buccaneers lost to the Raiders completing a four-game losing collapse and costing his team a playoff spot-ultimately Gruden his job with the Bucs.

Now, the Raiders have come all the way East to Miami to play the 2 – 0 Dolphins. And while Gruden is in absolutely no jeopardy of losing his job, at least not until year 3 or 4 if it’s not working, owner Mark Davis didn’t make this shockwave multimillion-dollar hire to have the Raiders be one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Clearly, there was going to be some learning curve for Gruden with his new staff and new players. However, with a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback like Carr the belief was the Raiders would be solid, if not a wild card playoff contender.

It hasn’t shaped up that way as of yet.

The good news for Raider fans is: no one is going to outwork Gruden at trying to get it right.

The bad news is: the Raiders may not have enough overall talent to overcome that above-mentioned learning curve and digging themselves an 0-3 hole start 2018.

And the Fins, may be about to deal “Raider Nation” their latest lost Sunday.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins got contributions everywhere in Sunday win

Florida Football Insiders

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There were a lot of questions and plenty of reasons to doubt the Dolphins roster makeup, as 2018 was  getting underway.

However, two games in, the Fins have been impressive, and earned their way to an unbeaten start. Their latest effort Sunday at The Meadowlands against AFC East rival Jets saw numerous players new and old step up.

Whether it was TJ McDonald’s early interception of New York rookie QB Sam Darnold, or Kenyan Drake weaving through the Jets front seven for the early score a short time later, Miami set the tone.

And then, when Kiko Alonso knocked the ball free from Jets receiver Robby Anderson and Raekwon McMillan recovered it, it was new free agent receiver Albert Wilson capitalizing here:

It went for a 29-yard touchdown from QB Ryan Tannehill and Miami had command at that point at 14-0.

Tannehill spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and even found reserve A.J. Derby for a 19 yard touchdown, as the lead ballooned to 20-0 nothing.

Darnold ended with some decent yardage and a couple of second-half touchdowns, but the Dolphins registered four sacks and had three total takeaways to help put this one away.

Even ageless veteran Frank Gore got into the act. This as, the 35 year old moved into fourth place on NFL all-time rushing list trailing only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.

And late in the game caught a dump off pass from Tannehill and weaved through the Jet defense to pick up 3rd and 19, move the chains and allow Miami to run the clock out.

So the 2018 Dolphins don’t have Jay Cutler, Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and some of the others from a team that struggled last year.

However, their new faces stepped in and stepped up Sunday on the road.

And Miami is now 2 – 0 for the first time since 2013, and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

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Miami Dolphins

Gameday- Dolphins renew rivalry with Jets in New York

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Dolphins (1-0) at Jets (1-0)

Where: Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Spread: Jets by 2.5 (Courtesy Vegasinsidercom)

Renewal of the Rivalry

There are no longer names like Shula, Namath and Marino, but the storied rivalry of the Dolphins and the Jets is five decades old. As AFC East Rivals since the early 1970’s, these teams and fan bases are familiar with each other for generations. Yes, grandads, dads and in some cases, great granddads have watched these two play. The Jets hold a 54-50-1 record all time, and that includes a decisive win in the Meadowlands last year. The Fins, however, won the rematch (Cutler at the helm) later in the year at Hard Rock Stadium.

Now, they play right away in 2018 and the winner maintains at least a tie for first in the division.

Tannehill looks to build on week one

It was a bizarre game last Sunday in the opener with Tennessee, as there were two lightning delays that lasted more than 3 1/2 hours. So, it’s tough to judge everything completely. However, QB Ryan Tannehill, off his ACL tear last August, was effective for a lot of the game (despite two picks) finishing 20-28 for 230 yards and two TDs. One was a second half 75 yard bomb to WR Kenny Stills as the Dolphins prevailed 27-20.

Will the Jets 3-4 defense be able to rattle him? Will Tannehill handle the pressure and be accurate. It’s not the only key, but a big one for the Fins.

Finally, will the Jets look like they did Monday night?

In a remarkable win on the road on Monday night, rookie Sam Darnold overcame a pick six TD in the first :20 of his NFL career to play effectively in the blowout win over the Lions. Darnold who was 16-21 with two TDs, will have to be solid in this one for the Jets.

The Dolphins pass rush led by Robert Quinn and Cam Wake will try to fluster him and create those bad throws from the USC rookie.

The Jets defense and special teams came up with big plays also against Detroit, as they pulled away in the second half for a 48-17 win. That included an interception and punt return TD in the second half.

Miami will need to keep the Jets from making the big play Sunday.

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