With only five days remaining until the Dolphins kickoff the 2012 campaign at Reliant Stadium against the Houston Texans, Miami made its decision on which quarterbacks it will take into the regular season.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported that the Dolphins have released veteran quarterback David Garrard.
Garrard's release certainly wasn't because of his on field performance during training camp seeing as he was once listed atop the Dolphins depth chart and was the early favourite to win the starting quarterback job. Many believe that with Garrard in the mix for the entire preseason, Ryan Tannehill wouldn't be the week 1 starter. Miami cut the 34 year old Garrard due to a lack of durabilty and the fact that he wouldn't be game ready for another several weeks.
Nearing the end of his career, David Garrard has been hampered by injuries. He missed the entire 2011 season with a back injury and suffered a surgery required knee injury in early August while playing with his children at home.
The Dolphins ultimately elected to go with Matt Moore as the backup to the rookie Tannehill. Although Garrard had past experience working in the west coast offence, Moore is much younger and more prepared at this point to be Miami's backup. With Tannehill, Moore and Pat Devlin as the third string, the Dolphins have a solid trio at the NFL's most important position.
The release of Garrard also creates cap space and a free roster spot for the Dolphins. Miami brought in several wide recievers over the weekend that could be signed in the near future with the latest being former Patriot Jabar Gaffney. If it's not a reciever, the other position the Dolphins may address is cornerback where Rod Hood remains an available option.
Although Garrard's time with the Dolphins was brief he will leave a lasting impact on a key part of the team. Garrard's veteran presence assisted Tannehill thoughout camp and was in large part the reason Tannehill was able to catch Moore for the starting job.
Following the release David Garrard took to twitter saying "To all the dolphins fans thx for ur support! Best of luck to all my teammates. Thx for making me feel at home!! Phins up!!"
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Let's not get too carried away about Ryan Tannehill's first game officially as starting quarterback versus the Texans in Houston. Now starting Sunday, the stats count and wins and losses could mount. Everything that Tannehill does will be recorded on the stat sheet and Dolfans will be at the edge of their collective seats.
Ryan Tannehill has shown a calm presence in the huddle, pocket, and in the meeting room not seen since the likes of that other QB from 1983-1999 in Miami. Tannehill is certainly capable of taking over a game with the flick of a wrist.
However has anyone ever considered the one thing that makes him more a complete QB for this new wave of passers? His legs.
Yes, that's right, Tannehill has quick feet and has shown his ability to elude tacklers in his collegiate career. Whether it was a short 15 yard scamper for a first down versus Atlanta in the preseason or his history as a college receiver don't underestimate his legs.
In fact, Tannehill scored four touchdowns and had 58 rushes for 306 yards as a quarterback in college running Mike Sherman's west coast offense. A dynamic model for what the Dolphins will run this season the system adopted by coach Joe Philbin is a system that depends on all players on offense in lock step and ready to get set and snap the ball as soon as each play is over.
Certainly as a fan we all wish that the Miami Offensive line has what it takes to keep Tannehill upright, but what if they can't handle the Texans 3-4 Super Bowl caliber defense run by Wade Phillips.
Sure Tannehill has an uncanny ability to read the defense and fit the ball on the run, and make big plays.
However, some pundits might say that with the current depth at running back in Miami, Tannehill should have less pressure to throw, provided that the run game will get chunk yardage and first downs in the new zone-blocking scheme. However, having another dimension as a quarterback such as rolling out when he senses the rush from the defense, Tannehill has the athletic ability and mental toughness to make big plays when he needs that first down or more with his feet.
Wouldn't it be great if the Dolphins are inside the five yard line down four points and need a play, who is your go to guy? The play call will and should be Ryan Tannehill up the middle for the touchdown and a celebration near the tunnel after doing the unthinkable and beating the Texans in Reliant.
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As many expected, the Miami Dolphins were one of the busiest teams in the NFL today as they searched the waiver wire for upgrades to the current roster. The Dolphins were awarded a total of four players off waivers while making seven claims, although it is unknown which players Miami's unsuccessful claims were for. Each addition filled a need, most notably at the wide reciever and cornerback positions.
The first player the Dolphins were able to add off the waiver wire was former Carolina Panthers cornerback RJ Stanford. A seventh round pick in the 2010 draft, Stanford is a project however he will be a part of the 53 man roster. Stanford who is entering his second season in the league has 13 tackles and one career interception in limited playing time. In Miami, Stanford will be the team's fifth cornerback, adding depth to a thin secondary.
Miami then claimed safety Troy Nolan off waivers from the Houston Texans. The 25 year old safety is entering his third season in the NFL with career totals of 84 tackles, 3 interceptions and 1.5 sacks in 30 games. With Nolan in the picture, the Dolphins now have the option to move Jimmy Wilson from safety to cornerback which is his stronger position. The addition of Nolan instantly improves the Dolphins secondary and fills a void in arguably Miami's weakest position in the past few years.
The most significant move the Dolphins made thus far was the addition of former Washington Redskins wide reciever Anthony Armstrong. Miami and Washington had discussed a trade that would send Armstrong to the Dolphins for running back Steve Slaton untill the deal ultimately broke down. Armstrong returns to Miami after he was released in August of 2009. In 2010 Armstrong had a breakout year catching 44 passes for 871 yards and 3 touchdowns however he was held to only 7 recpetions last year due to injuries. If healthy, the 29 year old will provide the deep vertical threat that the Dolphins desperately need out of their recieving core since trading Brandon Marshall.
The Dolphins also added former St. Louis Rams linebacker Sammy Brown. Brown was released by the Rams on Friday however they had intended to put him on the practice squad. Brown was an impact player in college as he registered 21 sacks and 50 tackles in his first two seasons but slipped down draft boards due to a lack of effort. With Brown being at the bottom of the Dolphins depth chart of the team's current linebackers, he will be counted on to contribute on special teams.
As the Dolphins claimed four players they were also required to cut another four to get back down to a 53 man roster. Rumored to be headed to Washington yesterday, RB Steve Slaton was Miami's first cut of the day. Slaton was expendable seeing as the Dolphins have a surplus of running backs including Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Lamar Miller and Marcus Thigpen. Linebackers Jonathan Freeny and Josh Kaddu were also cut along with veteran safety Tyrone Culver. The addition of Nolan made Culver expendable and the move clearly shows that the Dolphins are committed to building a young team.
Although Ryan Tannehill was named the Dolphins starting quarterback weeks ago, there is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the others on the squad. Miami currently has four quarterbacks on the roster with Tannehill and Pat Devlin already safe. It is unlikely Miami will take four signal callers into the regular season meaning there is only one roster spot for Matt Moore and David Garrard. With Garrard nearing a return from a knee injury and Moore having higher value at this point, the former Panther is likely to be traded in the coming days. A possible landing spot for Moore is Arizona where the Cardinals have an ongoing QB controversy and a surplus of recievers including Early Doucet.
While today's moves are a good start for the Dolphins towards improving the roster there is still plenty of work to be done.
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Going into the 2012 regular season, the Miami Dolphins will be operating with roughly 2.895 million under the cap or approximately 127 million in salaries. This new salary cap figure as reported by @nyjetscap shows that the Dolphins have very little amount of space to make some big transactions this season.
Included in this cap figure is some dead money off of Vontae Davis' contract. If you are unfamiliar with dead money, it is basically when bonuses are paid out a bonus and the player is no longer on the team. According to some reports by insiders, some 1.1 million counted against the cap when Vontae was traded. Essentially, it hurt the Dolphins a bit now, but in the long term, future salary amounts are for the Colts to handle from Sept 9th until the last game of the season.
Even though the Dolphins will be operating with very minor space this season, they are not the worst in terms of cap figures. The Ravens as of July have over 606,000 under the cap, and the Falcons, Chargers, and Saints are all under 3 million in space.
So, where does that leave Miami next year?
First Miami can be in a much better cap position if they re-sign Jake Long. Re-signing Jake Long allows them more flexibility this season by buying out this year's contract and spreading it out over a number of years.
Should the Dolphins choose to trade Matt Moore, some 2.5 million could be freed up before the 9th, and any 53 man roster bonus would be paid by acquiring team.
In the off chance that David Garrard is named the backup or one of the backups, then he will be paid around the same as Matt Moore for this season.
I think that with the emergence of Pat Devlin, Jeff Ireland may not have both on this roster by September 9th, but we will surely find out soon.
Another point of contention that I personally just learned today via sports agent David Canter is that practice squad players are paid out of separate funds approximately $5,700 per week and are not guaranteed nor do they count against the cap.
So, if you are worried about the Dolphins not competing because of the Cap, that's part of it. The other part is making prudent decisions that will help this team in the future. Prudent decisions that stem from production from guys like Fasano and Jake Long. Should the Dolphins look at re-structuring Dansby's contract, that would be all possible if his agent would agree to such a drastic measure.
Next year, the Dolphins could be flush with cash with contracts potentially coming off the books. Of course everything changes with midseason signings that Jeff Ireland is known for.
Depending on where the Dolphins finish this year, they are going to need that cap space to accommodate a potential of 6 picks in the first 4 rounds.
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The deadline for all NFL teams to trim their roster down to 53 players is tonight at 9 pm Eastern. The Miami Dolphins entered the day with 74 players on the roster, needing to make 21 cuts in order to meet the league limit. Late last night the Dolphins cleared one roster spot by trading backup centre Ryan Cook to the Dallas Cowboys for a seventh round pick. Considering Miami planned to release Cook, they got good value in return and a chip that will help them avoid waiting in the waiver wire line.
News also broke today that the Dolphins had brought in several players for a wrokout including defensive backs Drew Coleman, Roderick Hood and Donald Strickland along with wide recievers Mike Sims-Walker, Brian Tyms and Donte' Stallworth. As of now none have been signed to a contract but keep an eye on Hood and Sims-Walker as possible additions to the Dolphins roster.
Reports have also been circulating today that the Dolphins and Washington Redskins have a deal in place to send WR Anthony Armstrong to Miami for RB Steve Slaton. While the trade has yet to be confirmed, Armstrong would be an upgrade to the current recieving core and Slaton was made expendable after the team drafted running back Lamar Miller in April. The possible acquisition of Armstrong is a solid move for the Dolphins however him alone is not enough and the wide reciever search must continue. If a deal is not reached, Anthony Armstrong will be released and expect the Dolphins to pursue him. Two intriguing recievers were released by the Packers earlier today- Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley-and Miami would be wise to put in a claim.
Trade speculation has also begun to swirl around Dolphins backup quarterback Matt Moore. With David Garrard working his way back from a knee injury, Moore has become available. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has confirmed that the Packers, Cardinals and Broncos have shown interest in the Dolphins 2011 team MVP. It seems like it is only a matter of time until Moore is dealt, the only questions are to which team and what will Miami get in return.
The Dolphins final cuts can be found below. Although Miami has now assembled their 53 man roster, waiver wire additions would require more players to be released.
CB Vince Agnew*: Agnew had a weak preseason and didn't do nearly enough to earn the fourth cornerback spot. That role will likely be given to a waiver wire or free agent addition.
LB Gary Guyton: Similar to Agnew, Guyton had a poor showing in the preseason and was hampered by injuries. Guyton had served as the backup to Karlos Dansby.
CB Quinten Lawrence*: Lawrence was beat down the field on several occasions during the preseason so this was not a surprising cut. He was also competing for the fourth cornerback spot.
WR BJ Cunningham*: Cunningham, a 6th round pick in this years draft, never showed signs of being an NFL calibre wide reciever. Cunningham was extremely inconsistent throughout the preseason.
WR Clyde Gates: Many anticpated this release as the fourth round pick from the 2010 draft was never able to use his speed as an asset and become a vertical threat. Gates is still a very raw player but his potential wasn't worth using a roster spot for.
WR Roberto Wallace: Wallace has all the traits to be a great NFL wide reciever but does not have the abilty to seperate from coverage. The Dolphins gave him plenty of opportunities, now it's time to move on.
WR Jeff Fuller*: Fuller had a decent showing in the preseason but was not able to have the breakout game needed to seal his roster spot. In the end his connections with Ryan Tannehill and Mike Sherman were not enough.
DE Jamaal Westerman: One of the biggest surprises of the day, Westerman was thought to be one of the Dolphins best pass rushers. He was simply out played by his competition for the backup role.
WR Chris Hogan*: Given the nickname 7-11 by his teammates during training camp, Hogan wasn't able to translate his success during practice on gameday. Great talent and potential, just needs some work.
Other cuts include DT Ryan Baker, OG Chandler Burden*, LB Cameron Collins*, OG Ray Feinga*, CB Kevyn Scott*, LB Shelly Lyons, OT Lydon Murtha, DT Isaako Aaitui*, DE Jarrell Root, OT Andrew McDonald*, OT Will Barker, and S Anderson Russell.
*Player is eligible to join the practice squad.
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Congratulations to the Miami Dolphins for providing more headlines off the field rather than on it this preseason!
The preseason is finally over, but not without embarrasments exascerbated by being on national TV on Tuesdays.
As tough as it was to watch last night's last preseason contest, I mustered up the courage to lower the volume a bit on my laptop so I didn't have to here about the Cowboys playmakers or here more from the playmaker himself in Michael Irvin.
The Dolphins started out the contest versus the Dallas Cowboys with a beautiful three and out with the first team defense intact except for Karlos Dansby.
Then entered the future of the franchise: Ryan Tannehill, protected by a very vulnerable and shaky line that held together for two series. Tannehill showed a calm and cool prescence and incredible poise for a rookie. He got rid of the ball quickly and hit his receivers often. Even though he didn't get much help or effort from Legedu Naanee, he found a way to drive the team with help from the running game and Marlon Moore, to a score on a 43 YD field goal by Dan Carpenter. In all, Tannehill showed glimpses of Marino, Montana, and Brady rolled into one. He showed that he can be the guy for this year and maybe years to come.
Getting the start at running back was Daniel Thomas who proved useful on third down running in the past, but had 5 carries for 31 yards, including a huge 19 yard run to the outside, showing burst and power unseen all preseason.
Beyond that, the starters came into the game and quickly exited with 3 points giving way to the reserves.
The rest of the contest showcased the Dolphins defense inability to tackle any Dallas runningback. The Dolphins were runover for a combined 283 yards on the ground. Grant it, the starters were not out there that long, it's even more alarming that the depth that was supposed to be in place got gouged by a group of Dallas runningbacks that could strike fear into teams late in the season.
The Miami Dolphins final preseason game showed that they do not have the depth to compete at a high level this year. As a result, Jeff Ireland and Coach Philbin are going to have to think long and hard about what kind of team they want to feature in Houston next week and beyond.
Finally, the Dolphins secondary continued to get outplayed in the air and the abundance of penalties in the secondary shows a lack of discipline not seen in Miami in sometime. Understandably, the refs made some questionnable calls, the Dolphins cornerbacks and secondary have to play smarter.
Overall, this Dolphins team resembles nothing like we've ever seen...but there is a glimmer of hope: Tannehill played great!
Pat Devlin's gutsy performance proved that a moment's notice he can lead a team down the field in any situation, down or distance!
Things have to be looking up in Miami, except for the uncertainty like a black cloud over this defensive unit as a whole. More questions than answers.
If it's any consolation, Tannehill will hopefully have some new pass catchers by this weekend!
Fingers are crossed especially with word out of some media circles about potential deals for a receiver or maybe more!
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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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