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On Jeff Ireland, cuts, and PFF metrics

After the Dolphins establish their practice squad and modify the bottom of the roster a couple of times, the work of general manager Jeff Ireland will be mostly done for this roster. His work then will mostly consist of scouting and gauging how well players perform.

And that, in turn, will measure how well he performed this offseason.

My column in today's Miami Herald tells you that Ireland did well in upgrading the Dolphins from a season ago. (I know that will be unpopular with some). But it is the truth and I give you the list of compelling reasons based on what I've seen in training camp and preseason.

The Dolphins yesterday made cuts. And it is interesting not one undrafted free agent rookie made the initial 53. That's a good thing.

To me, it suggests the Dolphins have a strong enough talent base that they're not augmenting to the roster with project players that basically were rejected for one reason or another in the draft. Yes, Miami has had productive players make it as UDFA inn the past -- Davone Bess and Dan Carpenter come to mind as a couple lately.

But these players rarely become stars. They are usually mid-level talent at best.

So the fact none made it this year suggests to me the Dolphins already had plenty of mid-level talent and below and are working to fill the higher levels of talent, their blue chip player number.

As you know, I'm partnering with ProFootballFocus.com this season and will provide game insights based on their metrics film review after every game.

Here are some interesting things that showed up based on the preseason finale and how I view these results.

Offensive Summary 

After a good performance against the Bucs, fullback Evan Rodriguez crashed back to earth vs. the Saints in his most extended action of the preseason (33 snaps). He participated in 20 run blocking plays and had a negative overall grade of -1.6.

(Salguero: As you know, the Dolphins kept Rodriguez and here's my concern: Of his 33 plays, the Dolphins ran the ball 21 times, according to PFF's study. If that is accurate it means the Dolphins will typically run when Rodriguez is in the game. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has to keep this from becoming a trend that defenses can recognize, otherwise he'll basically be tipping his run-pass selection when Rodriguez is in the game).

[UPDATE: The Dolphins cut Rodriguez today. He broke the news on his twitter feed. Makes sense. He had an unremarkable camp and, as you just read, an unremarkable game in the preseason finale.]

Third round rookie pick Dallas Thomas allowed a sack and a hurry in 22 pass blocking snaps.

(Salguero: Honestly, this kid needs a lot of work. He's a guard. A guard. A guard. The Dolphins continue to work him at tackle).

Michael Egnew got the “start” over Dion Sims, but Sims played one more snap, 29 to 28.

Pat Devlin threw both of his interceptions in the middle of the field and less than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. Devlin attempted just two passes 20+ yards down the field, targeting Marvin McNutt on a long TD and Rishard Matthews on an incompletion.

Dion Sims caught four of his six targets, with all four catches coming 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Defensive Summary

Five players missed 2 tackles, including rookie cornerback Jamar Taylor.  The team had 14 total.

Taylor was targeted four times and allowed three receptions -- to Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, and Nick Toon.

(Salguero: The Dolphins need both Taylor and Will Davis to grow up quickly. It's been rocky so far with injury setbacks for both players. Taylor is nowhere near ready to play against good NFL wide receivers and win consistently).

Backup defensive tackle Vaughn Martin had a sack and 4 defensive stops en route to a +2.5 grade.

(Salguero: Now we understand why he made the team, in part. This game was key for him. He played very, very well).

Special teams 

The Dolphins committed three penalties on special teams.

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