Hey Dolfans, as we approach Preseason game 2 against the Bucs, I thought I would repost a highly detailed recap of the Fins scrimmages this week. This information comes from ckparrothead on the Finheaven forum:
Overall MVP of the two days was Kalen Ballage. I don't know what happened to Kenyan Drake that put him in a walking boot on the second day, he was supposed to practice on the first day and then he just didn't. Whatever it was though, Ballage took MAJOR advantage. Yes there were some drops. But the work he got in the receiving game was more significant than a few drops, IMO. And his running was stellar. He was shifty in the hole, making guys miss in a condensed space. But let's be clear about the real thing he showed off...SPEED. He made angles absolutely melt away by running like his *** was engulfed in flames. These Buccaneers players were NOT ready for his speed. That could've been a practice thing. Whatever it was, he looked like Fred Taylor out there.
You all know about Preston Williams. But another story line that generally goes untalked about was probably that Albert Wilson took some discrete steps toward coming back. He suited up, had the pads on, was getting lathered with work, and participated in a fair number of 7-on-7 work. He caught a ball second day, and looked like himself. He's going to be ready for Week 1 and that will be intriguing. Devante Parker had a decent first day but then was out the second day, and given his history with durability concerns, that's something to watch.
A guy that continues to get lots of action and is a virtual lock to be kept around on the practice squad (unless he gets poached) is Trenton Irwin. That dude can run and he can get open against man coverage. They like him doing a lot of stuff you'd see Julian Edelman doing. When Fitzpatrick went to the 2's, Irwin's production blew up even more.
Brice Butler was interesting in that first day they had he and Preston Williams working as a pair, subbing in with the 1st string in 2-WR personnel groupings. Something to keep an eye on in the Bucs preseason game. Two big, tall, athletic guys.
Miami's offensive line on the second day did a little better against the Bucs defensive front players than first day.
Jaryd Jones-Smith got the promotion to 1st string left tackle in place of Jordan Mills. I believe he let up a whistled sack on Josh Rosen at one point, although the officials were being quick to blow those plays dead and Rosen wasn't happy as I think he felt he stepped up to avoid the sack. But otherwise I felt like Jaryd was a stabilizing force compared with Mills. There are snaps where Smith's combination of wing span (biggest I've ever seen) and feet completely erased players in pass rush. That can be a positive for a guy like Ryan Fitzpatrick who has the wherewithal to use that extra spacing and time to do something that hurts the defense. I am hoping this promotion signifies what will happen in the games.
Along the offensive line, Isaiah Prince was picked on quite a bit by Dave DeGuglielmo. Bad. At one point he pulled Prince out of a drill and told him to go stand by a pole. When Prince tried to come out of timeout to go take part in the next drill, Gugs yelled at him again to keep his *** right by that pole, "You don't listen! I'm sick of talking to you!" Isaiah followed up that dressing down in front of the whole unit (and media) by struggling in team stuff. Though he did pull himself back up a bit the next day.
I thought Durval Queiroz was coming along and there was even a time or two he shocked me in how he executed two-man blocking assignments during position drills. But he was never allowed to engage in team drills, and that sort of shows you where he is. This one will be LONG in developing.
Chris Reed looked concise, consistent, and compact whenever I watched him. He was getting high marks from Gugs. They still have to train him at backup Center because when Kilgore gets hurt (and I believe he will) they need to make sure they have someone not named Tony Adams or Kyle Fuller to take over. Neither of the UDFAs they toyed with proved worthy.
Shaq Calhoun and Michael Deiter continue to be up-and-down, with the former being a little more up and the latter being a little more down, just my opinion. Jesse Davis was alright, but he looked low-ceiling for a right tackle.
Josh Rosen was the 1st string QB both days. On the first day it was still being split up, but on the second day he was the exclusive 1st stringer. He looked sharp at times, when he was executing quick 1st read stuff. When he has to come off that, it got ugly (to me). You can visibly see the hesitation hitches in his body language when he's in the backfield, struggling to read the field in a fluid or timely manner. It really throws off the receivers as they try and stay in sync with him. There was a roll-out where Kenny popped open in the end zone and he just hesitated, didn't pull the trigger until it was too late. There was another roll-out he did the same to Preston Williams. Threw it way after the window, nearly picked off, Preston did a good job just to break it up. There was another play where his hesitation resulted in Stills not breaking off a route. Reminded me of trying to play music with someone you don't trust; if you start watching what they're doing instead of listening and feeling, it starts to sound ugly. Rosen held the ball a beat or two longer than he should on a lot of snaps, both days, which cost him whistled sacks. When the pressure was coming, he didn't DO anything about it, which is a stark contrast to Fitzpatrick. Coach criticized his body language and communication on the first day. That's never good.
But he interspersed all these paper cuts with like a big deep ball to DeVante Parker (on a play where he got really good protection), some other big passes. That's what keeps the fans at the table, but you can understand why the coaching staff keep signaling they want more.
Ryan Fitzpatrick took advantage of the bump-down by victimizing 2nd string defenses with his "Fitzmagic" routine. But he also had to deal on the second day with the fact Jordan Mills got demoted with him. So that hurt. But what he showed is that he could dig his unit out of a hole of their own creation, i.e. converting 2nd & 20 after a penalty or sack, stuff like that.
I was unsatisfied with some of the twitter reporting. For example Fitzpatrick threw a pick in the end zone on the second day, and I heard a bunch of criticism about it. But it was during the one-minute drill. It was only 3rd down, but the clock had hit 0:00. What else are you supposed to do, except scramble to buy time, then launch a high one into the end zone and hope one of your guys comes down with it? There was a defensive penalty on the play that bought them another un-timed down, and guess what he did? Fired off a bullet straight up the gut 15 yards to Trenton Irwin for the simulated game-winning TD. The ball fit so tight between defenders it looked like it just appeared in Irwin's hands somehow.
Still, after the week of Rosen working almost exclusively with the 1's...it is damn hard to imagine them starting this game with Fitzpatrick working with the 1's. That just doesn't make sense, from a chemistry standpoint. So prepare to see Rosen start the game.
The defensive line did not show very well against the Buccaneers offensive line in pit drills. That's a concern because those drills favor the defensive line. I thought Vincent Taylor and Davon Godchaux showed well enough. Adolphus Washington is a bit of a surprise standout. The ends, though...
They clearly wanted to get a look at Nate Orchard and Jonathan Ledbetter as defensive ends in these practices, and I think they might start a wave rotation during 1st string between that pair and the Charles Harris/Tank Carradine pair. Ledbetter is intriguing. Orchard not as much, but he does things the way they want their defensive players to do.
Jerome Baker consistently stood out among the linebackers. He just looks and feels...LEGIT. This is a guy to watch. We continue to see him used differently in practice than he was used during the Falcons game. In that game he wasn't blitzed, wasn't in on pass rush, didn't even play up on the line of scrimmage. But I saw him as a 5th outside rusher during the Bucs practices. Still not convinced it'll be good. They should settle him into a Jerod Mayo role where he could blossom. That could limit what they do with other positions, but it's not like they've got great talent to mold at those other positions.
Nick DeLuca looks like a happy accident. He's a late addition and they're using him like Jacksonville did on the edge, in pass rush, and he made plays on both days. He even snagged a pick. He's BIG. Not all that impressive of an athlete, but depending what they have him doing, he might not need to be.
The defensive backs showed really poorly against the Bucs wide receivers in 1-on-1's. That drill inherently favors the receivers, so that bears minding...although it staggered me just how CONSISTENTLY every single Bucs receiver could beat every single Dolphins defensive back, without being seriously challenged during these 1-on-1's. Even Xavien Howard was victimized, often by Chris Godwin. Still, this is a drill where the receiver wins like 80% of the time.
I thought Eric Rowe struggled. I thought Chris Lammons and Jomal Wiltz had their up and down moments. Cornell Armstrong is a good gunner on special teams and had a moment in coverage, but clearly in 1-on-1 drills not even all that competitive. This is a rough position for Miami.
Minkah Fitzpatrick snagged a pick on the second day. But otherwise...you can sense he's not 100% happy with how he's being used with Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald out of practice.
Bobby McCain looks fine at FS until you actually ask him to cover anybody.