Six months ago, Jorvorskie Lane found himself working in a furniture store in his hometown of Lufkin, Texas. Today, Lane sits atop an NFL depth chart as a starting fullback.
At Texas A&M, Jorvorskie Lane was a touchdown machine as he reached the end zone an impressive 35 times in his sophmore and junior seasons. At this time Lane was the starting tailback and was recieving the bulk of the carries in the Aggies offence. In his senior year Texas A&M hired a new head coach, current Dolphins offensive cordinator Mike Sherman. Once Sherman took over, Lane was converted to fullback causing an incredible decrease in his production and he no longer contributed as much as in the past. He finished his senior year with career lows in all statistical categories and finished with only 93 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns. As a result, Lane's draft stock plummeted and he was neither selected in the 2009 NFL Draft or signed as an undrafted free agent.
Despite a forgettable senior year, Jorvorskie Lane's total of 49 touchdowns is good enough to give him the school record for most career scores. After not being able to find a job in the NFL, Lane took his talents to the Indoor Football League and played the 2010 season with the West Texas Roughnecks. As a member of the Roughnecks, Lane added 12 more touchdowns to his career tally.
In the three years that followed, Jorvorskie Lane was not invloved in any professional football league and discovered that his dream of playing in the NFL was quickly slipping away. However Lane ensured that he remained in shape and took part in MMA and boxing training in order to do so. With all aspects of football coming naturally to Lane, he was aware that maintaining his weight was crucial for him to achieve his goal. His efforts payed off as he lost over 50 pounds since February.
After the departure of Lousaka Polite in the offseason, the Dolphins had a glaring need at fullback. With Sherman already having plenty of experience working with Lane, he showed his belief in the former Aggie by convincing the Miami front office to sign him to a contract.
Standing at 5'11, Jorvorskie Lane is now down to 258 pounds. With the recent releases of Ryan Mahaffey and Jerome Messam, Lane has the starting fullback job all but locked up. Although the west coast offence that head coach Joe Philbin is installing doesn't require a fullback in most packages, Lane will be used where he is most effective, in goal line work. Lane is a physical runner and his blocking ability alone should guarantee his spot on the 53 man roster.
For a fullback, Lane is also a reliable option in the passing game making him a nightmare for opposing defences to gameplan against. Unless tailback Daniel Thomas improves on converting 3rd and short situations where he was 3 for 13 a year ago, Lane may have a larger role in the offence than expected.
Jorvorskie Lane has taken full advantage of his long awaited opportunity to play in the NFL against all the odds. "My first love is football, so I kept the dream alive and never gave up" said Lane. Considering his role in the preseason, he may emerge as a key component to the Dolphins offence this year.
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Flashy camera angles and palm trees waving in the wind. Images conjured of neon lights and humid dance floors on South Beach. This is what one sees as the intro to the world that is the Miami Dolphins featured on Hard Knocks.
The Dolphins have undergone a whirl-wind of adversity throughout the offseason heading into training camp.
Whether it be missing on landing a head coach the fan base can revere, missing on signing a quarterback to make this fanbase forget the last decade of losing, and then signing, cutting, and trading away players that make the team or take the team from good to great.
Even though as fans, we have all had a glimpse of the Miami Dolphins and seen the fun-loving and yet stern Joe Philbin, we have to wonder is what were seeing exaclty what went down.
As a fan, we might question whether or not the second episode truly featured Chad Johnson being cut in Coach Philbin's office just for the sake of TV or did it take place earlier in the day with less drama. Did Philbin really cut Johnson or did Jeff Ireland give him his walking papers officially?
Do coaches as in episode 3 truly make fun of their players behind close doors such as Roberto "ankle weights" Wallace because of his inability to get separation at the line of scrimmage or catch the ball consistently. Would Bill Belicheck ever criticize a player to his face especially if he knew the season would appear in front of a national viewing audience?
Of course, some of these anecdotal occurences lend to the idea that the Dolphins have more problems than most teams, that this glimpse is negative to the fan on the outside and draws in the national media like sea gulls on garbage of an empty stadium.
In reality, what we see is what we get with our closer look of the Miami Dolphins. We see a team that appears to be inept, fails to execute on offense and defense, and as players do not seem to care about being cut from the team.
There is a sense, that as a Dolfan, the Dolphins might have made the biggest mistake going into this season by accepting the invitation to be featured on Hard Knocks, in that the intrigue has not lent itself to being the lovable Dolphins that many of us have grown to enjoy as long as they are winning! That inside the halls of the headquarters in Davie exist bouts of desperation and wonder about how the season will turn out.
Frankly, the Dolphins have conspired to magnify all of the negativity because the producers for HBO chose to make their show about reality. Reality can be pretty, but mostly ugly in Miami. The reality is that the Dolphins should have opted out of this appearance because now, they not only have a target on their proverbial back by the media, but also by other teams.
And that...is detrimental in footbal, especially when an opponent has an edge.
Just ask coaches like Bill Belicheck...he'll probably have Hard Knocks playing on a loop before every team meeting!
Today on ESPN Radio, hosts Mike Salk and John Kincade took turns taking shots at the Dolphins after last night'sepisodes Hard Knocks. Whether it was Vontae David calling his Grama or Ryan Tannehill not knowing the NFL divisions, the two ESPN radio hosts thought that last night's episode was another reason why the Hard Knocks and the Dolphins might not be the best fit.
While as a fan, Hard Knocks has been entertaining and informative I could certainly see the argument that the Dolphins should have never accepted HBO's offer.
Results of Hard Knocks
-Help to better connect with the fan base (success)
- Allow fans to be more informed with decisions made by the organization (success)
- Build excitement for the season and possibly increase ticket sales (fail, ticket sales are slightly up but that is only due to the Tannehill selection not Hard Knocks)
-Improve public image in the National and local media ( fail)
- Chad Johnson fiasco displayed to the media ( showed a negative light on team, and does not match Joe Philbin's image of the team)
- Players being able to witness themselves being called out in front of a national crowd ( while Philbin and the players have stated that the players have been mature and taken their criticism
on the show well, I am sure it is not as easy as just brushing off the new opinion the fan base and national audience must have)
The Dolphins entered Hard Knocks an organization who has gone through its fair share of PR issues and struggles to be shown in a positive light in the national media. After Hard Knocks I am not sure what has exactly changed. While some might be impressed with Joe Philbin's determination of trying to make the Dolphins into a first class organization, and his effort to build a strong culture around the team, it appears to be the same old Dolphins organization that is displayed for everyone to see on Tuesday nights.
While Hard Knocks has been a blast for the fans (not to mention Jets, Pats and Bills fans who must be loving this) I am not really convinced the Dolphins made the best of their opportunity to clean up their reputation and public appearance with the national audience watching.
Oh well, what's done is done.
After starting at tight end for the Washington Redskins for the past eight years, the team has moved on from Chris Cooley. The Redskins officially annouced his release on Tuesday.
This move doesn't come as a surprise to many with 2008 second round pick Fred Davis finally earning a starting role with his impressive production a season ago. Despite missing the final four games of 2011 due to a suspension, Davis racked up 796 yards on 59 receptions to go along with 3 touchdowns.
Although Cooley is no longer a fit in the Redskins offence, he still believes he's good enough to be an NFL starter. Drafted as a third round pick in the 2004 draft out of Utah State, Cooley became a consistent contributor and was a reliable target for each quarterback who dawned the burgandy and gold. He was also a Pro Bowl tight end twice during his tenure in Washington.
Over two of the past three seasons, Cooley has been plagued by injuries and failed to play in more than seven games in a single year. With him out of the lineup Fred Davis took full advantage, forcing Cooley to convert to a fullback in order to remain a Redskin. Cooley's most recent full season came in 2010 when he was one of the most productive tight ends in the league, totalling 849 yards on 77 catches.
Cooley's release has already caught the attention of several teams including the Miami Dolphins. It's true that at 30 years of age Chris Cooley is passed his prime and his durabilty is a concern however he is arguably a better pass catcher than any player currently on the Dolphins roster.
Miami's recievers have not performed well this preseason and offensive cordinator Mike Sherman recorded 8 drops against the Falcons. With the execption of Davone Bess none of the Dolphins recievers have yet to earn a spot on the roster, meaning the team is required to look elsewhere. Jeff Ireland must sign replacements for the current recieving core and signing Chris Cooley would be a great start to ensure the Dolphins are competitive this year.
A veteran of Cooley's calibre would provide major assistance to rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill who is in desperate need of a security blanket. Unforunately for Miami, a variety of suitors will be fighting for Cooley's services. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier that in addition to the Dolphins, the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders will also pursue the veteran tight end.
Miami's front office will have to act fast if Chris Cooley is to take his talents to South Beach this season and his veteran presence alone will pay dividends.
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Dolphin’s nation it’s time to a big deep breath, yesterday the Dolphins finally had luck on their side as it appears Jake Long’s ankle injury is only a minor tweak and he should even be ready to go for the opener although that has yet to be fully confirmed.
The offensive line would have been quite the mess with rookie Jonathan Martin moving to left tackle in practice as without the presence of their leader and all pro left tackle.
The scare did shed some light as how fragile this roster is and how 2012 might not be the one where the Dolphins breakthrough. While I refuse to be to negative before the season even starts it is interesting to note that the Dolphins roster isn’t even as good as it was coming into training camp.
As Omar Kelly noted : Garrard injury, Chad Johnson released, Vontae Davis traded, special teams stud Julius Pruitt released. While all moves were made by management the moves might have been more in preparation of building this team long term than improving the roster for this season.
With a Super Bowl both not very likely and the playoffs and a winning season even seeming like a stretch, personally what I would like to see from the 2012/2013 is that the Dolphins have found their franchise QB.
Hopefully despite what might be a hard season to endure, the result will have led to the Dolphins discovering that Ryan Tannehill is the right guy to lead this team for the next 10-15 years.
That being said in order to help Ryan Tannehill’s development come along, I think it is necessary the Dolphins add a vet and proven WR, whether it be through the waiver wire or through a trade, the Dolphins need to make Ryan Tannehill’s life easier.
While I don’t know how I feel about the long term approach of trading for Dwayne Bowe or others, the idea of James Jones does make sense. That being said like discussed before anything more than a 4th round pick for Jones would seem to be too expensive for my taste. The Dolphins draft twitter account also listed Jacbory Ford who is often injured but has the talent and big play ability this team can use.
The Dolphins are clearly in a rebuilding mode, which is OK because I believe it is necessary with the current roster however I still believe it is important to add to the receiving corps for today as Tannehill’s development is the key to this franchise finding success.
I believe the Dolphins can find the right balance in planning for today while preparing for tomorrow, that being said it certainly isn’t helping the odds for success this year when you trade all your assets away.
In what could prove as a pivotal move for the Miami Dolphins, Jeff Ireland traded away 4th year corner back Vontae Davis for a Second Round pick in 2013 and a conditional Sixth Round pick in 2013.
Vontae Davis struggled to climb up the depth chart this year with off season conditioning issues such as being ready for training camp, a lack of motivation to be a leader, and showing why the Dolphins selected him in 2009 as their first round choice.
Currently, Dolfans around the world of Twitter are not rejoicing for this move calling the move a sign of the Dolphins rebuilding and a willingness to alienate fans further by taking away talent and planning for future talent.
Experts such as Armando Salguero are quoted on Twitter saying that the Dolphins got "WORSE" today.
And of course, the timeline of any Dolfan wouldn't be complete without the strong presence of #FIRELAND as the hash tag serving proof that fans feel disappointed and misled on who the Miami Dolphins are of 2012, not to mention immense anger toward Jeff Ireland!
In reality, and on paper, the Dolphins now appear limited at the corner back position. The "shutdown" corner duo of the Dolphins, Davis combined with Sean Smith, is gone now. With only Sean Smith remaining of the Smith and Davis duo, the Dolphins are left with Richard Marshall a 2012 free agent signee and Nolan Carroll to play on nickel packages.
Now comes a time where the Dolphins will attempt to turn the page by taking their draft picks and be able to have 5 picks in the first 40 slots of the draft and retool this team.
Vontae Davis had his chance, he showed the Dolphins four interceptions last year. However, when the interceptions came, the Dolphins season had gone by the wayside. Davis never showed a Pro Bowl caliber season and had a difficulty staying healthy. Even though the Dolphins signed Richard Marshall in the offseason and he may not be the answer, the Dolphins are willing to move forward from 2012 to 2013.
In addition, while Ireland pulled the trigger on the trade with a new, but yet savvy GM in Grigson of Indianapolis, I believe that Joe Philbin in his conversations with Kevin Coyle realized that Vontae was not a fit with the management and coaching style of the Joe Philbin Miami Dolphins. The move could have been orchestrated by Philbin with Ireland and owner Steve Ross' blessing.
Now as Dolfans, we will soon find out if this move in the pre season turns out to be a blessing for the future of this team or a curse for years to come in the cellar of the AFC East.
First Brandon Marshall, Yeremiah Bell, and now Vontae Davis, what's next for Miami?
As Dolphins fans had their palms covering their faces watching the receiving corps drop pass after pass, one has to start to think how much is this group of receivers going to hold this team back.
Before I go into the receiving group let me note that Fasano usually sure handed did not really lend a helping hand either. The Dolphins who have lacked playmakers season after season seem to have got no further in solving their very blatant hole. After Davone Bess, the Dolphins are now struggling to even field 2 or 3 NFL caliber WR's.
Mike Sherman says of the WRs, "I think we’ll keep Bess. I can pretty much guarantee that, but there’s only one of him."
The late round draft picks and undrafted free agents have one by one failed to step up and prove they can contribute. Brian Hartline doesn't seem to be getting in the lineup any faster
and it has got to the point where this group of wide outs could damage Ryan Tannehill's development. Putting the kid out there with out much help around him almost defeats the purpose of letting him get in there and learn.
Whether it's Wallace, Gates, Matthews or Moore, none of these players have been able to step up and provide quality and consistent production.
August 28th should be a wake up call for this group as players around the league will be getting cut and the Dolphins will surely be looking to improve the current group which have not come close impressing. It's not like the Dolphins to make big deals, so I wouldn't expect the Dolphins trying to deal for Reggie Wayne or Mike Wallace or any other sexy name that most fans are hoping for. James Jones might be a candidate to be dealt however I find it unlikely a SB hopefully Packer team would deal the depth they have built up incase of an injury.
The more likely scenario for the Dolphins would be the free agent market of cast offs from other rosters after the player cuts. What ever route the Dolphins choose to go, it would be very concerning if the Dolphins decided not to adress the position. At this point the fans have to sit back and relax and hope that the right player falls in the Dolphins lap. Here are some players that might be on the roster bubble which could be options for the Dolphins at WR.
Deon Butler and Mike Williams - Currently on the Seattle Roster
Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch and Donte Stallworth - Currently on the New England Roster
Danario Alexander and Brandon Gibson - Currently on St Louis
Joe Morgan- Currently on New Orleans
Ruvell Martin- Currently on Buffalo, played with Philbin in GB
Arrelious Benn - Currently on Tampa Bay
Louis Murphy- Currently on Carolina
Donald Driver and Jarrett Boykin - Currently on Green Bay
Mark Clayton - FA
Mohamed Massaquoi - Currently on Cle