Genius Move by the Dolphins to place Lynn Bowden Jr. on the IR

Credit: @NFLTrade_Rumors twitter

There aren’t your father’s Miami Dolphins. The old Dolphins would handle the Lynn Bowden Jr. injury like Neanderthals, trying to start a fire by waiting for lightning. They would sit him out and wait for him to return just so he can take multiple weeks to potentially feel like he’s in mid-season form. Meanwhile three quarters of the season would be over and Bowden Jr. coming back wouldn’t mean anything.

But like I opened up with, these aren’t your grandfather’s Miami Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins have moved on from barely bi-pedal creatures to savvy Jordan Belfort type humans. Minus the skiing with dancers because as we know they got rid of those type of guys.

This regime that runs the Miami Dolphins are taking an unfortunate situation and turning it into a move that could very possibly pay off major dividends next season.

Hopefully, Bowden Jr. doesn’t take an injury settlement and will be in training camp with the Dolphins to start the 2022 season. He’s a player who is young and still very much learning a new position. He showed upside last year, and will have a great opportunity to produce for Miami for years to come.

The genius here is that Bowden Jr. has a hamstring injury, something that seems like a prerequisite to be a Miami Dolphin’s wide-receiver. A typical hamstring injury typically takes about 4-8 weeks pending severity and lingers around the whole season.

With putting Bowden Jr. on the season ending IR, he now gets to heal and to focus on next year. He doesn’t have to come back and get reacclimated to the team and slowly get worked in. Yes, it would have been fun to see him work back to playing this year. But with the amount of receiver depth the Dolphins currently have, he’s a guy that can sit out the year healing and learning and the offense won’t miss a beat.

We all know that the Dolphins, currently, house a loaded wide-receiver room. Even with the release of Robert Foster and Isaiah Ford, who lets face it will probably be on the team later on this year when the Dolphins have predictable injuries to other receivers and need a guy who knows what he’s doing to come in and play, the Dolphins have very good wide outs.

Parker, Fuller, Waddle, Williams, Wilson, Hollins, and either Grant, Merrit, or Perry will be their 7th receiver making the club.

But next year, the wide receiver room, I expect, will look much different. I would think Parker will be gone. Fuller signed a one year deal so it’s hard to say if Miami would sign him to a long term deal. Preston Williams and Albert Wilson are two other guys that aren’t locks to be around for multiple years to come.

So, this means that having Bowden Jr., who has been immersed in the new offensive scheme, will be able to step in a pick up where he left off. He might even be thought of as a guy who needs to be one of the main receivers on the squad.

The important aspect here is that Grier and Flores are always looking ahead. Of course this season is paramount but they’re smart enough to know that next year is also important to consider just a little bit right now. That’s why I love this move. There are adults running the show who will do things that seem weird but are actually in fact smart. Enjoy your Wednesday.

Follow Matthew Serniak on Twitter

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Miami Dolphins Cut Down to 81

Credit: Palm Beach Post

As of 4 PM EST today NFL league rules dictate rosters must be cut down to 81 players.

The Dolphins announced they released 3 players and played one on IR.

Jermaine Eluemunor, OL

Eluemunor came from New England during this offseason and was a depth piece for the team. After trading for OT Greg Little and seeing a slightly better OL performance on Saturday, the Dolphins released Eluemunor. 

This opens up the door for IPP player Durval Quieroz Neto.

Isaiah Ford, WR

This Dolphins released WR Isaiah Ford today. He’s had multiple stints with the team and always finds his way back to Miami. In a WR room with at least 7 guys who can make the roster, Ford had to show more over the last few weeks. 

Unfortunate for Ford, but good news for other WR’s like Kirk Merritt.

Robert Foster, WR

Robert Foster was released with an injury designation. He had shown some flashes of potential, but similarly to Ford, the WR was too crowded. His injury makes it an easier cut for Miami. 

This makes it clear that Mack Hollins will make the roster. He’s had a great offseason, and that isn’t a surprise.

Lynn Bowden, WR

The Dolphins placed Lynn Bowden Jr. on IR with a hamstring injury. This move is going to most likely end his season. Miami can release him with an injury designation and then choose to resign him. In that case, though, Bowden would be an FA and could sign anywhere.

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Miami Dolphins Training Camp Disappointments

Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The offseason is a little over halfway done. This offseason has been extra important because this was the first real offseason for second year players. Throughout this offseason, the Dolphins as a whole have looked up and down. Some days the offense looks light years ahead of the defense and other days vise versa. Below are some Dolphins who have been disappointments. These Miami Dolphins disappointments are either having a very quiet offseason, or players who just haven’t lived up to our expectations this offseason.

Matt Skura

When Miami signed Skura in the offseason, fans immediately thought he would be the starting center. Although he was the starter week one in camp, shortly after he lost the job to Michael Deiter. Early on in camp there were reports of Skura having bad footwork. To many Dolphin fans this was disappointing to hear. Skura was the Ravens starting center for the past couple years and last season had a shaky year due to injuries. It seems like Skura is not going to be able to bounce back this season with Miami as Deiter seems to have locked up the starting spot.

Skura had early camp struggles

Lynn Bowden Jr.

Bowden had minimal impact in the first preseason game, but this was a nice catch in trafffic.

Bowden is a Miami fan favorite, which is why it hurts to say his camp has been disappointing. After trading for Bowden last season, he became one of Tua’s favorite targets later on. His ability to make people miss and create yards after the catch is what separated him from other Miami receivers. That being said, Bowden has been invisible this camp. During the early stages of camp, we heard nothing about Bowden besides a few bad plays. This made some people think that he was moving down the depth chart. Others thought that the Dolphins could just be hiding Bowden so teams just “forget” about him. In preseason Bowden has been visible so maybe Miami is just hiding him and have plans for him when the season starts.

Solomon Kindley

Last season Kindley was one of Miam’s starting offensive lineman. This offseason, Kindley started with the third team. This shocked a ton of people especially because Miami did not focus on guard in the draft or free agency. People speculated that Kindley was over weight or out of shape but nothing has been confirmed. Kindley did work his way back up to the starting lineup. During camp, Kindley has not been blown off the line and has not looked like himself. He has shown flashes but it seems like his starting spot is not guaranteed. His pass blocking has been a big question mark since last year and Kindley has not shown any improvement to that. As the year goes on Kindley’s play and whether he wil remain a starter will be something to look at.

Kindley started camp on the third team and eventually worked his way back up.

Noah Igbinoghene

Iggy’s best play of his career. Stays on the hip of the receiver during the route and gets the pass deflection.

It has been quite the roller coaster for the Miami Dolphins cornerback room this offseason. Xavien Howard held out of OTAs and eventually requested a trade and on top of that had an ankle injury early in camp. This allowed both Nik Needham and Iggy to replace X in the starting lineup. While Iggy has shown flashes in both camp and in the first preseason game, he still looks like a very raw prospect. When Iggy was drafted we all knew it would take time for him to adjust to the NFL, but so far it seems like it may take longer than expected. Needham has solidified himself as the now backup corner behind Byron Jones and X while Iggy is on the outside looking in. I am not saying that Iggy will not develop into a good player, it is just disappointing to see no huge improvements from one year to the next.

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Miami Dolphins Training Camp Recap Day 7

Courtesy: Travis Wingfield. Miami Dolphins players stretch before day 2 of padded practice.

INJURIES

Will Fuller, who suffered a foot injury last week was held out of practice today. Xavien Howard, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, was also not at practice today.

OLB Andrew Van Ginkel who left practice Tuesday is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

Will Fuller and Jaelan Phillips were seen on the stationary bikes.

As for Devante Parker, he returned to practice today and got off to a quick start. DVP caught multiple balls over the middle from Tua Tagovailoa.

Towards the middle of practice, Allen Hurns landed hard on the sideline. He was slow to get up and walked off the field with a trainer. That may be a situation to monitor for a guy on the bubble.

OFFENSE

Tua Dropping Dimes

The offense got off to a very fast start. Tua and the WRs got off to a great start. In 1v1 redzone work, Tua connected with Grant, Waddle, Ford, and Merritt.

In that session, Tagovailoa threw plenty of touch passes and fit them in perfectly over defenders.

Tagovailoa connected on a 50-yard ball to Isaiah Ford, who flew by Noah Igbinoghene. He also threw a TD on a wheel route to Myles Gaskin.

In both padded practices, Tua has 6 TDs and no INTs in redzone work. He hasn’t thrown an INT in 11 on 11 situations since last Wednesday.

Kirk Merritt had another good day. He got open deep and over the middle and has been hard to cover as of late. Albert Wilson, who has been showing out since Day 1 had another solid day.

Devante Parker returned from injury. He got off to a quick start but didn’t have a huge day. Regardless, it’s good to see him back and making plays.

OL and Running Game

Rookie Liam Eichenberg started at LG today next to 2nd year LT, Austin Jackson. Veteran Jesse Davis was protecting Tua’s blindside.

The running game was lackluster once again. Myles Gaskin had a few decent runs, but overall not a great day on the ground.

2nd-year OL Solomon Kindley has struggled. He came into camp as a projected starter but he’s working with the third team.

His weight has been an issue. If he can lose some weight he may move up the depth chart soon.

Larnel Coleman had some solid reps when plugged in as the starting RT today, did a good job holding onto Vince Biegel for some time before Biegel figured Coleman out.

DEFENSE

Versatility

The versatility in the secondary was on display today. With Xavien Howard missing another day, Jason McCourty started at CB. With McCourty at CB, rookie Jevon Holland was at FS.

Run Defense

The run defense started where they left off. On the first run of the day, Raekwon Davis and Benardrick McKinney were there for a stop. Duke Riley and Sam Eguavoen all shot their gaps for a stop on Malcolm Brown. Emannuel Ogbah also stuffed RB Patrick Laird at the line.

Secondary

Nik Needham has looked very good the past week. He had a few PBUs today. However, Noah Igbinoghene wasn’t great today.

Rookie Jevon Holland grabbed INT on an overthrown deep ball from Tua in 7 on 7s.

John Jenkins got to work with the first team today as Christian Wilkins didn’t take all the first-team reps.

Sam Eguavoen had a solid day as he tries to make a push on the bubble.

Vince Biegel gets a sack on the 2 minute drill and a force on 1 on 1s, was also sent inside the facility for a hit on Tua Tagovailoa.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Michael Palardy is one of the underrated FA signings. He’s been on point all camp and had another great day today.

Jason Sanders had been perfect all of camp. He missed his first kick today off the post. It’s nothing to worry about for one of the best kickers in the league.

Team News

Tua Tagovailoa had his best day so far in camp. Ball placement was great today. The connection of Tua to Waddle and Tua to Wilson gets stronger by the day.

Allen Hurns was hurt earlier at camp but later came back.

Noah Igbinoghene is still struggling at camp, he’s only into his sophomore year and 12 total games at DB in his Auburn career.

Matt Skura was back playing with the 2nd team OL after being demoted to third team.

Lynn Bowden Jr. is still unnoticeable at camp as he hasn’t made any noteworthy plays, could be on the bubble.

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Preston Williams’ Role in 2021

In a year of turnover and controversy at the Quarterback position, Miami Dolphins receivers had a tough time gaining chemistry with their signal callers. DeVante Parker led the receiving group with a surprisingly low 793 yards, being in and out of the lineup with injuries.

With Parker’s inconsistency and health issues, second year receiver Preston Williams seemed like the logical answer to Miami’s problems.

During a 2019 season where Williams played in only 8 games due to a knee injury, he showed a knack for big plays and a large catch radius with his 6’5″ frame. Racking up 428 yards, it looked like Williams was poised for a breakout year in 2020.

Preston Williams scores a touchdown against the Jets.

But the anticipated year didn’t live up to expectations, as Williams suffered from drops, only surpassed 100 yards once and had another season ending injury after only playing 8 games. He finished the year with a 65.5 grade from PFF and 6 games under 50 yards.

Facing disappointing seasons from their top 2 contributors in Parker and Williams, the Dolphins heavily addressed the wide receiver, adding elite separators in Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle. They hope that their speed and route running can complement the contested catch abilities of the receivers currently on the roster.

But with those additions, a new question arises: What happens with Preston Williams?

While his 2020 season was lackluster, Williams is still a young, cheap contributor in this receiving room. Going into his age 24 season, he will still make under $900,000. This makes cutting him virtually useless (and unlikely), as he still slots in to make the team and the cap savings would be miniscule.

Trading him doesn’t seem reasonable either, because his production is too low for a team to give up significant value but he’s far too talented for Miami to trade him for a minimal return.

But entering the final year of his contract, Williams must show that he can stay healthy for a full season and perform well enough to earn an extension and a spot in Miami’s long term plans.

So the real speculation comes in how Williams figures into this team and where his role will be.

As far as the depth chart, Williams will most likely enter training camp somewhere between the 3rd and 5th receiver spot, in contention with 1st round pick Jaylen Waddle and veteran Albert Wilson, who is returning after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns.

After being drafted in the first round, it can be assumed that Waddle will get plenty of playing time off the bat, as the Dolphins will look for early production out of the slot. As for Wilson, he hasn’t played a full season since joining the Dolphins in 2018, where he showed promise under the Adam Gase regime.

Albert Wilson scores a touchdown against the Raiders.

Although Williams has seniority over players such as Jaylen Waddle and Lynn Bowden, who the Dolphins acquired from the Las Vegas Raiders last offseason, analysts see him getting significantly less target share than he did in 2020.

Analyst Mike Clay projects targets for the Miami Dolphins.

As analysts such as Clay see Williams as no more than a roster bubble type player, there is still hope that the UDFA that was once looked at as a rising star could see a significant number of targets.

Aside from Parker, Williams is the only notable wide receiver with the ability to create mismatches with his size when the field gets smaller. His ability and athleticism could lead to him getting increased targets in the red zone, as that’s where he has thrived in the past, and separation becomes less of a priority.

Preston Williams catches a touchdown against the Jets.

Although 2nd year QB Tua Tagovailoa’s skillset promotes more of the route running and YAC play of Fuller and Waddle, Williams was one of his favorite targets as a rookie. In the minimal time they played together (only about a game and a half), Williams saw 6 receptions. Of those, 4 came in the first half of the Cardinals game, including a 30 yard pass and a red zone touchdown.

Preston Williams scores a touchdown against the Cardinals.

Tagovailoa looked much more comfortable when Williams was in the lineup than he did with any of the other receivers, as the young QB posted a game widely regarded as his best (against the Cardinals).

Even though other receivers will be considered for the higher spots on the depth chart, Tagovailoa’s chemistry and comfortability cannot be overstated, as many of the moves made this offseason were to maximize his effectiveness in the offense. If he and Williams continue to work on their connection in training camp, there is a good chance we could see a specific yet crucial role for him in his 3rd season.

At the end of the day, Williams’ spot is very much up for grabs. Over the coming weeks, the depth chart will begin to materialize, and the once up and coming wide receiver will need to capitalize on his opportunities to continue his development at the NFL level.

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