Thursday, April 23, 2020

NFL20 Update

Live sports! Comments flow ...


  1. A colleague of mine has a nephew who works in IT support for Zoom. He is working tonight to be on standby if things go haywire during the NFL draft. I appreciate his being on the job tonight.

  2. I actually am kind of touched each year by Roger Goodell's giant hugs of the draft choices, and I will miss that this year.

  3. It's fun to see Joe Burrow's living room.

  4. I think this draft is going to be great. Burrow's sitting on a black leather couch, with his parents on either side of him. After Goodall announces his first-overall selection by Cincinnati, ESPN cuts back to Burrow's neat living room in The Plains, Ohio. Burrow is under headphones connected to his cell phone. He is presumably on the phone with Bengals officials. His mom pats him on the left shoulder, and his dad pats him on the right.

    I will miss Goodell's big hugs on the draft stage, but that was really sweet.

  5. Burrow is now talking to Suzy Kolber and wearing a flat-billed Bengals cap and white T-shirt with a green outline of Ohio around the "740" area code for Athens County and the rest of southeastern Ohio.

  6. It is really fun to see these guys with their closest family and friends in their actual homes. We've now visited living rooms in The Plains, Ohio; Hyattsville, Maryland, and Grand Prairie, Texas, so far tonight, and now I want to go to all of these places. I've been to Hyattsville, but now I want to go back there.

  7. And, in addition to possibly a long-term answer at the most important position, the Dolphins later in the first round got two more guys who seem likely to be at least as good as the best players the team already has at their positions.

    If you take all of the rookie tackles taken in 2019 and average their rookie-season AVs, you get a 6. The Dolphins had only one tackle as good as a 6 in NFL19, Jesse Davis. Their next-best guy was JuliƩn Davenport, with a 4. Well, now we've got this guy from Southern Cal, Austin Jackson, and it seems to me there's a pretty good chance he'll be at least as good as Davis right off the bat and better than Davenport. That would be great.

    Same at corner ... average AV for cornerbacks selected in the first round of NFL19 was 5. Only current Dolphin who scored so well last season was offseason-pickup Byron Jones, with the Cowboys. And now we've got this guy from Auburn, Noah Igbinoghene. Seems promising.

    The great thing about rooting for Miami in the aftermath of last season is that the roster was so short on talent that the arrival of new talent at any position is able to be reasonably received with real glee. Looks to me like the Dolphins have picked up maybe four new, better starters via free agency and maybe two through the draft, plus Tua, since winning five of their last nine in NFL19. And I'm hopeful of three or more of those guys coming tonight and tomorrow in the second through seventh rounds.

  8. In conclusion, it’ll stink if Tua gets hurt, of course, but I feel really relieved that they took him. It sounds like they seriously looked in to possibilities of trading up to take Burrow and that wasn’t a possibility, and I can’t tell you how nervous I would’ve been had they passed on Tua and went for one of the other two quarterbacks taken in the first round—or no quarterback at all.

    Worst-case scenario, I figure, is that they never play the NFL again, in which case I at least get to go out on being all excited about getting this quarterback that everybody says is great.

    Second-worst is that Tua breaks his other hip on the first day of training camp, the Dolphins have gotten nothing with the No. 5 overall pick and they sputter through with six or fewer wins again this season. Oh, big deal—I’ve lived through all of that before, and I’m still here. And now we’re back in draft position to take another QB early next year.

    The thing I was really concerned about last night was that the Patriots were going to trade up to Detroit’s pick at 3 and take Tua, with some under-the-table deal that Matt Patricia would get to come back and coach the defensive backs or whatever if he got fired by the Lions. That would’ve made for such an awful night for me.

    As it turned out, I just sat there and happily watched all of the Miami picks come in and then slept like a baby. Looking forward to this evening!

    1. I don't think we'll see Tua this year. I have two big concerns. One is that Tua seems to be fragile, but an even bigger concern is that his Alabama coaches were unable to get him to learn to get rid of the ball quickly so as to not take so many hits.

  9. In heaven, I'll bet they are able to look up snap-count percentages for any team in any season of NFL history. In the here and now, however, thank God for Pro Football Reference, which gives us percentages all the way back to NFL12.

  10. The NFL12 Dolphins, coached by Joe Philbin, finished 7-9 and second in the AFC East. (This was the year the Ravens beat the 49ers in the "Harbaugh Bowl.”) This was the season after they got rid of Tony Sparano. They drafted Ryan Tannehill eighth overall (though their incumbent quarterback, Matt Moore, had been voted the team’s MVP the previous season). They also cut my favorite Dolphin of the era, defensive-captain Yeremiah Bell, and signed Chad Ochocinco.

    Here were the Dolphins who played at least three quarters of the offensive snaps that season:

    — G John Jerry 7
    — T Jonathan Martin 7
    — C Mike Pouncey 7
    — G Richie Incognito 9
    — QB Ryan Tannehill 10
    — TE Anthony Fasano 3
    — WR Brian Harline 8

    Here were the Dolphins who played at least three quarters of the defensive snaps:

    — S Reshad Jones 8
    — LB Karlos Dansby 9
    — S Chris Clemons 7
    — LB Kevin Burnett 8
    — CB Sean Smith 7
    — DE Jared Odrick 7
    — DE Cameron Wake 17

    Miami had three guys with double-digit AVs (Wake, Tannehill and DT Randy Starks, 72 percent of snaps and 11 AV).

  11. I didn’t like the Tannehill choice. He hadn’t played quarterack at Texas A&M for very long, and I felt like Moore seemed promising. Mainly, though, the problem I had was using the eighth-overall choice to pick a player who was considered no better than the third-best quarterback prospect (Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were chosen first and second overall).

    But by the end of NFL12, I felt pretty optimistic about the Dolphins. Tannehill played pretty well, and I liked straight-arrow Philbin.

  12. By the way, back to NFL20 for a second, the Dolphins' draft has played out quite closely to how I expected it to play out in terms of Tua at No. 5 overall and then positions drafted per subsequent choice. I know next to nothing about football. My guesses about whom the Dolphins might get were almost totally informed by the managing editor of a USA Today Dolphins blog (who also does a daily podcast about the team) named Kyle Crabbs. That guy is really great at what he does.

  13. The NFL13 Dolphins finished 8-8 and third in the division. (The Seahawks clobbered the Broncos in the Super Bowl this season. I can come pretty close on reciting the participants and scores of the first 25 Super Bowls, but I would’ve absolutely guessed Peyton Manning and the Broncos if you had quizzed me this morning who won this game just seven years ago.)

    This was the season they changed the logo:

    Mike Dee
    Lots of buzz re logos. Love the passion! We continue to explore a # of design decision by Draft. Happy holidays!
    5:23 PM · Dec 26, 2012

  14. Back to NFL20 for a second, the Colts just took a quarterback from the University of Washington, Jacob Eason. Here's the weird thing to me: Jacob Eason is the son of an accomplished football player named Tony Eason, but it's not the Tony Eason who played quarterback at Illinois and with the Patriots. I've never known or heard of another Eason in my life other than that Tony Eason, and new NFL Eason's dad is named Tony Eason, but he's not that Tony Eason. So weird.

  15. Among the veterans who had played a lot for Miami in NFL12 but left the team in the offseason were Karlos Dansby, Sean Smith, Kevin Burnett, Anthony Fasano, Reggie Bush (who’d been the top running back) and Jake Long (an offensive lineman whom the Dolphins selected first overall in NFL08, instead of Matt Ryan, et al.) Mike Wallace was considered the top free agent that offseason, and Miami signed the former Pittsburgh wide receiver.

    What a disaster the Dolphins’ 2013 draft turned out to be? DE Dion Jordan went third overall to Miami, and he played in a total of 26 games for the Dolphins, starting once. He had seven games with Oakland last year. Miami’s second-round choice, CB Jamar Taylor, made nine starts over three seasons with the team; the third, OL Dallas Thomas, 26 in four; the fourth, DB Will Thomas, zero in two! The most productive player to come out of the draft was a linebacker, Jelani Jenkins, who started most of NFL14, NFL15 and NFL16 with the team, but he hasn’t played in the league since NFL17. Not one of the Dolphins’ NFL13 draftees came anywhere close to a double-digit AV in any season.

    Miami won its first three games. The third was at Miami against the Falcons, and it was really satisfying—Matt Ryan and Atlanta got off to a 10-0 lead, but Miami came from behind to win, 27-23, on Tannehill’s touchdown pass (and Ryan being intercepted with 12 seconds to play). But then Miami lost its next four—two each around the bye. After a three-game win streak in December—at the Jets, in the snow at Pittsburgh and at home against New England with leads Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on the call for CBS—the Dolphins were 8-6.

    Tannehill had a 120.6 quarterback rating in the win over the Patriots (compared to 85.7 for Tom Brady), and Mike Wallace caught six balls for 105 yards and a touchdown. A rookie, undrafted safety named Michael Thomas whom Miami had picked up off waivers earlier in the week intercepted Brady in the end zone with seven seconds to go. Until the Dolphins picked Tua Thursday night, the evening of Sunday, Dec. 16, 2013, is probably the most optimistic I’ve felt about the Dolphins in the last 15 or 16 years.

    Then Miami was outscored a combined 39-7 in losses at Buffalo and at home against the Jets to close the season and miss the playoffs.

  16. Here were the Dolphins who played at least 75 person of the offensive snaps in NFL13 and their AVs:

    — QB Tannehill 10
    — G Jerry 7
    — WR Wallace 7
    — T Tyson Clabo 7
    — WR Hartline 7
    — C Pouncey 8
    — TE Charles Clay 5

    And defensive guys …:

    — S Jones 6
    — S Clemons 6
    — CB Brent Grimes 10
    — LB Philip Wheeler 8
    — LB Dannell Ellerbe 8
    — DE Olivier Vernon 8

    DE Wake was the third Dolphin with an AV in the double digits, at 10.

  17. The biggest thing that happened in the Dolphins' 2013 season, of course, was the awful Richie Incognito-bullying deal. That all broke in November, and Incognito was cut shortly after a horrible voicemail came to light. By February of 2014, the NFL completed an investigation that also roped in offensive linemen Jerry and Pouncey and their position coach, John Turner. Turner was fired, and Jerry signed with the Giants.

    The Dolphins picked up a 1,000-yard rusher from Denver, Knowshon Moreno, and an All-Pro tackle from Kansas City, Branden Albert. And then they drafted a couple of offensive linemen, Ja'Waun James and Billy Turner, and a quick receiver, Jarvis Landry, and I felt pretty good about all of these moves.

  18. Moreno didn't start the opening game, at home against New England, and the Patriots got out to a 17-7 lead. But he started getting the ball more and more as things went on. Tannehill threw to Wallace for a touchdown in the third quarter; Moreno ran for one in the fourth, and the defense held New England scoreless in the second half. The Dolphins won, 33-20, and Moreno finished with 134 yards rushing.

    He was injured in a Week 2 loss at Buffalo. He came back for one game in October, and he was hurt again. And that was the end of Knowshon Moreno's NFL career.

    Miami finished 8-8. In Week 16, the Dolphins won in overtime against Minnesota on a blocked punt for a safety, but they were eliminated from the playoffs when the Steelers beat the Chiefs that same day. The following week, the Jets won at Miami, 37-24, to finish 4-12 on the season.


  19. The core Dolphins on offense in NFL14 (the guys who played at least 75 percent of the snaps):

    — C Samson Satele 9 AV
    — QB Tannehill 14
    — T James 9

    And on defense:

    — CB Grimes 10
    — LB Jenkins 6
    — DE Vernon 7
    — S Louis Delmas 4
    — DT Odrick 6

    Wake and RB Lamar Miller (both 11s) were the other two Dolphins with double-digit AVs in NFL14.

  20. Oh, my, much earlier ... it started in June 2010. We have a 10-year anniversary coming up in a couple o months!

    I've got to go back and look at what I was saying about the Dolphins at the HP during this period.

  21. This is the season they started 1-3, fired Philbin on the way home from London and finished 6-10 with an interim, Dan Campbell. I have no good memories of this season, and I see in flipping through some old stuff that I wrote that I was actually pretty snarky in rooting for Philbin to get fired. I regret that.

  22. Five of the Dolphins' six draftees in NFL15 were still around the league as late as training camp last year. That's pretty good, relative to other Miami drafts. The first rounder was DeVante Parker, the wide receiver from Louisville, and he had far and away his best season in NFL19 and is a big part of the plan for the Dolphins moving forward. A fifth rounder, Bobby McCain, has played a lot with Miami, and he appears to me to be toward starting at safety in NFL20. Another fifth rounder, Jay Ajayi, had some great games for the Dolphins and then helped the Eagles beat the cheating Patriots in the Super Bowl in NFL18. The third-round pick, a guard named Jamil Douglas, played special teams in the Titans' win over the cheating Patriots in the playoffs in January. And then there's a defensive tackle taken in Round 2, Jordan Phillips, who had a falling out with Adam Gase over playing time and then turned out to be pretty great with Buffalo last season and signed a big contract with Arizona this offseason. That's some pretty productive drafting.

  23. Oh, that's right ... this is the year they signed Ndamukong Suh for all of that crazy money.

  24. Guys who played 75 percent of the NFL15 offensive snaps:

    — G Dallas Thomas 6 AV
    — QB Tannehill 11
    — WR Landry 9
    — T Jason Fox 5
    — C Pouncey 7
    — T Albert 9

    And defensive:

    — S Jones 9
    — DT Suh 7
    — CB Grimes 8
    — DE Vernon 7

    Tannehill was the only NFL15 Dolphin with an AV of 10 or more. You know, I am so happy for Ryan Tannehill that he had the season he did with the Titans last year.

  25. OK, NFL16. Good note from great Wikipedia: "This was also the first season without any players drafted in the 1990s, as quarterback Peyton Manning and cornerback Charles Woodson, both from the 1998 Draft, retired earlier in the offseason. There was still one player who had been playing since the 1990s in kicker Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts, who began his career with the Patriots in 1996, however, he was an undrafted free agent."

    As I wrote at the time, It Was A Good Season. Of course, I wrote that before the Super Bowl, but, still, for a Dolphins fan, it actually was a good season: 10-6. This was Adam Gase’s first year as coach.

    The Dolphins drafted well: T Laremy Tunsil, CB Xavien Howard and RB Kenyan Drake with their first three choices over the first three rounds. Only Howard is still with the Dolphins, but all three of those guys have been good NFL players. And a sixth-round pick, Jakeem Grant, has been a good returner for the Dophins and remains on the roster. Plus, the Dolphins picked a WKU quarterback, Brandon Doughty, and that made me really happy.

    The core guys who played at least 75 percent of the offensive snaps were …

    — T Jermon Bushrod 7 AV
    — T Ja’Wuan James 8
    — WR Jarvis Landry 10
    — T Laremy Tunsil 6
    — WR Kenny Stills 6
    — QB Ryan Tannehill 10
    — WR DeVante Parker 6
    — T Branden Albert 6

    And on defense:

    — LB Kiko Alonso 8
    — DT Ndamukong Suh 12
    — S Isa Abdul-Quddus 6

    And special teams:

    — Walt Aikens 1
    — Michael Thomas 4
    — Neville Hewitt 3

    DE Cameron Wake (11) and RB Jay Ajayi (10) were the only other Dolphins with AVs in the double digits.

    Oh, by the way, I didn’t think to look up special-teams snaps for the earlier seasons, but here’s a belated special shoutout to Jason Trusnik, who played at least 75 percent of those snaps for the Dolphins in NFL12, NFL13 and NFL14. So did Jonathan Freeny in NFL13. No Dolphin did so in NFL15.