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2 posts from August 20, 2014

August 20, 2014

Dolphins seem to be leaning toward 2 QBs

As we creep closer toward the regular season, the picture of the 2014 Dolphins is becoming more clear and that includes the quarterback position where Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore are on the team ...

And that just might be it for quarterbacks on the active roster.

The truth is that while media and others have been speculating about Brady Quinn's signing last week, it seems increasingly clear the Dolphins are leaning toward keeping only two quarterbacks on the active roster when final cuts are made in just over two weeks.

And those two are Tannehill and Moore.

That will leave Quinn cut and likely returning to television work, while rookie Seth Lobato would be vying with other developmental types for a spot on the Dolphins practice squad. Interestingly, one of the developmental quarterbacks Lobato would be trying to beat out for a job on the Miami practice squad is Pat Devlin.

Devlin, waived injured last week, is eligible for the practice squad. The team reportedly reached an injury settlement with Devlin recently. But the door for Devlin in Miami is not completely closed, according to a source. So maybe, if he's healthy, he comes back on the practice squad.

By the way, the idea of carrying two quarterbacks makes sense because the Dolphins can use the extra roster spot for any number of reasons:

Possibility 1: The team can use the spot to keep center Mike Pouncey from going on the Physically Unable to Perform. Such a move would allow Pouncey to practice before the sixth week of the season, assuming his rehab from hip surgery allows him to do so. Otherwise, Pouncey on practice squad means he definitely misses more time, at least five games.

Possibility 2: The team can use the extra roster spot for an developmental offensive lineman who is more ready to contribute than Quinn or Lobato and Devlin. someone such as Sam Brenner comes to mind.

Possibility 3: The team might want to keep an extra linebacker and rather than cut someone such as Jonathan Freeny, he sticks.

Possibility 4: If Caleb Sturgis is not completely healthy or if the Dolphins are completely comfortable trusting him, but still don't want to cut ties, perhaps the team keeps two kickers.

Possibility 5: Perhaps because Knowshon Moreno is still getting into shape and neither Daneil Thomas nor Mike Gillislee have won the No. 3 RB job, perhaps the team holds on to both until it plays out somehow.

Possibility 6: There's a glut at tight end. Maybe the Dolphins keep five instead of four. The Dolphins had four last year during various parts of the season.

Speaking of tight ends, Charles Clay had what seemed like a great practice today. He caught at least five passes that went for first downs and at least two touchdowns down the seam.

The Dolphins have not yet made a final decision whether to play Clay in the preseason game on Saturday versus Dallas. It would be his first preseason game after missing while nursing a knee injury. But he looks ready to play. 

It looked goo so far

Tackling a focus and Jimmy Wilson's in crosshairs

Dolphins coaches have been preaching good tackling technique for several weeks now and it has gotten to the point where Jimmy Wilson has become something of the poster boy for ... how not to do it.

Wilson is about to become a Dolphins starting safety the first four games of the season because starter Reshad Jones is suspended for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.

So Wilson will be part of the Dolphins last line of defense.

But Wilson has been, well, inconsistent in the manner he protects that last line this preseason. In the first preseason game he bought a fake and totally whiffed on a tackle opportunity by a backup Atlanta running back. The back scored on a 50-plus-yard run, although it was called back because of a penalty.

Last week in Tampa, Wilson attacked Tampa's Mike Evans after the receiver caught a pass. Wilson hit him ... and simply bounced off. Evans turned and ran and would have had a 43-yard score had Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes not hustled from the other side of the field and caused a fumble to go out of the end zone for a touchback.

Regardless of the fact the plays didn't count, they made Miami coaches cringe.

And so they singled out Wilson in film study this week.

"Obviously we showed the whole team the play," coach Joe Philbin said. "We talked about the tackling. We talked about the great hustle creating a turnover aspect of the play. We have these things that hang in on our meeting rooms on how we tackle, how we pursue to the ball, how we create a turnover, how we get off of a block, and conversely we have a bunch on offense. That’s not how we tackle. Throwing your shoulder into a guy and turning when you should be having your chin up, wrapping your arms and accelerating your feet. That’s not good enough. You can’t tackle that way.” 

The message has reached defensive players not named Wilson.

“If you’re on defense that’s probably, might be the top thing in your job description," defensive end Cameron Wake said. "Your resume needs to be full of tackling because whatever you’re doing in pass coverage or whether you’re rushing the passer, at some point you have to tackle. Obviously, it’s early, rusty a little bit. But at the end of the day, that’s what football is so however you’ve got to get it done, you’ve got to get it done and get the ball on the ground."

I believe Wilson has gotten the message as well. Although he is expected to be the starter in place of Jones, that is not guaranteed. Michael Thomas and rookie Walt Aikens are also vying for the role.

If Wilson corrects his little tackling issues, he'll be the guy.

But the Dallas game -- the important third preseason game which teams use as a dress rehearsal for the season -- will be big for him.

He better not miss tackles in that game.