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Who Will the Dolphins Target Next in Free Agency?

Ari Russell

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With the first wave of free agency being very active across the NFL last week, the Dolphins begin to focus their attention on the second wave, which will address certain holes the team feels they need to fill. Rumors are swirling around the Dolphins going after DT Dontari Poe. Let’s say they do somehow land Poe, that would really solidify the defense.

The problem with Poe is that the Dolphins aren’t the only team interested. Several teams are looking for a solid DT and the Dolphins may not want to stretch themselves too thin financially off one singing. It may be a situation where other teams out bid the Dolphins on Poe, and the Fins balk and move forward.

Another major defensive player still available is Dont’a Hightower. Similar to Poe, he isn’t signed yet and he’s certainly going to be in high demand. Will the Dolphins be able to make a bid for Hightower? It may depend on how they deal with LB Kiko Alonzo. The Dolphins do expect to resign the Alonzo, and with Lawrence Timmons coming to South Florida, Alonzo will likely play weak side LB. The Fins still need a strong side line backer.

The problem for the Dolphins right now is that they don’t have the financial capacity to make a big splash with the remaining free agents and at the same time make sure that all their needs position wise is taken care of. This likely means that the team will work on the bargain level to fill the needs, hoping to find the right player that fits in their schemes at the right price.

The second wave of free agency is going to be very interesting for the Dolphins. What will also play a huge role will be the draft. The direction the team takes this week, will have huge implication on the direction they will take in the draft next month.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins DE Quinn was one of few bright spots Friday night

Florida Football Insiders

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

It was largely a lackluster and at times, poor performance in preseason game #2 for the Dolphins Friday night 27-20 loss in Charlotte.

However, one of the bright spots is a guy that they are counting on for veteran presence and quarterback pressure in Pro Bowl veteran DE Robert Quinn.

Quinn made a couple of impact plays right away and introduced himself to the Panthers Cam Newton here:

It’s no secret in Matt Burke’s defense that they need Quinn and fellow Pro Bowl vet Cam Wake to get pressure of the ends. And while it was only a preseason game, it still had to be good feeling for all involved to see it.

Quinn spoke to the media post game about his potential impact and Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post was there:

“Just trying to do my job,” Quinn said. “That’s always been my motto. Just trying to do my job. Add my piece to the puzzle. Today was just a stepping stone. Trying to get back and make sure I can be a productive player to help this team win.”

Quinn said he feels a responsibility to stay healthy and perform at a high level for the Dolphins, particularly because they traded for him.

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “Getting older. But, I feel pretty good. Been working out. A little more stretching. Especially coming off the injury years. I’m not trying to set myself back. And also the commitment this team made to me I’m not trying to shoot them in the foot, also. Trying to do whatever I can to stay on the field.”

The Fins acquired Quinn in March from the Rams, and it’s no secret that the 28 year old felt betrayed.

He had 8.5 sacks a year ago under new first defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, as the Rams won the NFC West in 2017. However, the Rams made a series of acquisitions trading for DBs Marcus Peters from the Chiefs for draft picks and the same with Aqib Talib from Denver. They also signed former Dolphin Ndamukong Suh to a large one year contract.

Yet, Quinn did not fit into their plans or under the L.A. salary cap.

He does in both cases for Miami and they hope they see a lot more of what they saw Friday night.

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Miami Dolphins

Three things to watch as Dolphins battle Panthers Friday night

Florida Football Insiders

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Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins have traveled north to Charlotte to take on the Panthers in their second preseason game of 2018.

Here are three things we will be watching on Friday night:

Progress of Ryan Tannehill/the offense with him

We only saw a small dose of Tannehill (one possession) last week and there were some positives in his first game action in 18 months. Tannehill ran the Fins no huddle early completing 4-6 passes for 32 yards. He mixed some throws to Kenny Stills and Danny Amendola and Miami moved into field goal range before rookie Jason Sanders misfired from 53 yards out.

Now, it’s expected that Tannehill will play at least the whole first quarter, as he works his way back from his ACL surgery.

Kenyan Drake got the start in the backfield last week, and veteran Frank Gore was inactive for the game. The 35 year old Gore is expected to see his first action against what is a stout Carolina front seven on defense. The Dolphins attempting to establish some kind of ground attack will be key not just Friday night, but moving forward.

It’s a good test of the progress that Tanehill, the offense as a whole and new coordinator Dowell Loggains have made.

Handling Christian McCaffery

The Panthers have made no secret that they want to get second year RB and former first round pick, Christian McCaffery, many more touches this season. And McCaffery may be a better receiver out of the backfield than runner, especially between the tackles. McCaffery debuted (above) with four carries for 11 yards and two catches for 29 yards in Buffalo last week.

We suspect that he will play much, if not all of, the first half against the likes Cam Wake, Kiko Alonso, Davon Godchaux and Raewkon McMillian.

It will be a great test for Miami, which had trouble stopping the Bucs’ Peyton Barber in the first half last week, to try to handle the small but explosive McCaffery.

Dolphins focus and attention to detail

Dating back to their “dress rehearsal” practice at Hard Rock Stadium before preseason game one, the Fins had trouble keeping their poise, not committing silly unforced penalties.

How sharp will they look tonight? Are there false starts? Will there be dropped balls, missed assignments, blown coverages, etc.?

It is, after all the second preseason game and there should be some improvement in these areas.

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Miami Dolphins

“Ludicrous Speed?”

Florida Football Insiders

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

You need to have some levity to get through rigors of training camp, and Tuesday coach Adam Gase provided some in the form of 1980’s “B Comedies” and his team’s no-huddle offense.

The Dolphins showed part of that up tempo offense on the first series of their preseason opening game with the Bucs last Thursday night. And, QB Ryan Tannehill was effective running it on that opening drive.

However, we haven’t seen the fastest version of the Fins hurry up….it’s known in their lingo as “Ludicrous Speed.”

Now, unless you are a huge fan of the Sci-fi “spoof” movie from 1987, “Spaceballs,” that reference is likely lost on you. The movie stars Mel Brooks, Rick Moranis, John Candy, Bill Pullman and Daphne Zuniga, and is primarily mocking the the ultra popular “Star Wars” series of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

The reference to “Ludicrous Speed” comes from this scene, where Moranis, as the faux Darth Vader, is ordering his ship to chase after the “good guys.” Whether you’ve seen it or haven’t here goes:

It’s one of several memorable silly slapstick humorous scenes in the flick.

And that brings us to more humor with head coach Adam Gase being asked about “Ludicrous Speed” at his Tuesday post practice press conference.

Gase, laughed and knew that QB Ryan Tannehill had described that version to the media of the no huddle, where the team races to the line to run the same play, and try to catch the defense off guard or substituting, etc.

He was then, asked if it actually came from the movie?

“You know it? (Gase to a reporter)…. Yeah. There’s a lot of 80’s terms. You gotta remember, when we started this thing, who the quarterback was. The only problem was no one else knew what we were talking about. So it was good between me and him, but nobody else.”

The “who the quarterback was” is reference to soon to be Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, and the terms from when they were together in Denver a few years ago.

Manning, a child of the mid-late 80’s, obviously would use some of these terms or references as code words in the terminology for teams.

Our colleague, Chris Fischer of NBC-TV in Miami, put together his little feature involving Tannehill’s comments, the movie clips and Dolphins “speed, and posted it.

We say, Bravo to that.

And, Bravo to keeping guys and gals like Moranis, Pullman, Zuniga, and of course the late John Candy relevant a little longer.

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