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Tannehill Gets Bold And Hurricanes Position Battles Take Shape. Football Season Is Upon Us!

Alex Donno
August 16, 2018 - 10:31 am

The Miami Dolphins will play the second of four preseason games tomorrow night, bringing Adam Gase’s team a step closer to (finally) opening up their regular season. 

The Dolphins will face the Panthers on the road in Carolina. Expect to see offensive and defensive starters play more than they did in last week’s opener. 

“I think you’ll see the starters quite a bit in the first quarter,” said USA Today’s Antwan Staley, appearing on my show this week. “I think we’ll see them probably for at least half of the first quarter. They want to get some rhythm offensively.”

If recent practices are any indication, Ryan Tannehill is chomping at the bit to get his season started. The Dolphins’ starting quarterback has missed the team’s past 20 games with left knee injuries. Now, he has a clean bill of health and perhaps a new attitude. 

During Sunday’s practice, Tannehill kicked rookie running back Kalen Ballage out of the huddle after Ballage missed a block, resulting in a play that would have gotten Tannehill smashed in a regular season game. 

Tannehill continued to chew out Ballage after the play. 

A new Tannehill debate was born. Does a guy like Tannehill, who really hasn’t proven anything in the NFL, have the right to berate a teammate? 

My opinion on this is clear. I firmly believe that a starting quarterback in the NFL has a license to be authoritative in the huddle with his offensive teammates. Whether you’re Ryan Tannehill or Tom Brady, that sort of power comes with the job of quarterback. And in this case, a mistake like the one made by Ballage would not only cause a sack, but potentially cause injury to the quarterback. 

Head coach Adam Gase approved of Tannehill’s tirade. 

“He’s was right today with what he did,” Gase said Sunday. “I would have been upset if I were him because who knows what the result in a game would have been. I think he was in the right. He kind of made an example there.”

Meanwhile, training camp fights on Monday led to a roster change. During one of several Monday skirmishes, defensive tackle Gabe Wright threw a blind side punch or elbow to the back of starting running back Kenyan Drake. Drake wasn’t even wearing a helmet at that time. 

Hours later, Wright was cut. This sends a clear message to the roster that behavior like that won’t be tolerated… especially if you’re on the bubble of even making the 53-man roster. Wright was unlikely to make the team, sitting behind Jordan Phillips, Akeem Spence, Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor on the depth chart. 

After Wright was cut loose, the Dolphins brought back Kendall Langford, who played in Miami from 2008 to 2011. 

Down in Coral Gables, the Miami Hurricanes sit only 17 days away from their 2018 debut! The Canes will face LSU on September 2nd (a game you can listen to on this radio station.) 

Out of necessity, a youth movement at the tight end position has begun. The most tenured player in that position group, Michael Irvin II, suffered an injury last week that will sideline him for roughly four months. 

The other three tight ends on the roster combine for zero collegiate catches. The time to shine for highly touted true freshmen Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory is NOW. Sophomore Brian Polendey will also see his number called. 

Jordan and Mallory, by the way, were both four star recruits out of high school. 

While Malik Rosier is “still the guy” at starting quarterback, according to head coach Mark Richt, the backup spot is less clear. 

I’m expecting redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry to be the number 2 quarterback, but there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of separation between Perry, redshirt freshman Cade Weldon and true freshman Jarren Williams at this time.

“It might be one guy one week, and the next week I might put another guy on,” said Richt on the backup job. “I’m considering that, because I think it’s that close of a competition. You learn more in a game than you learn in practice. You can practice all you want in that position, but until you play in a game, it’s hard to evaluate completely what a guy will do.”

Speaking about starter Malik Rosier, Richt says his confidence is at an all time high.

“I think even saying Malik’s the guy helps Malik be the guy,” Richt said of Rosier. Richt has noted improvement in Rosier’s leadership skills. 

Once the season begins, these will be the two main questions marks I would like to see Malik Rosier improve upon: Completion percentage and turnovers. Rosier completed just 54 percent of his throws in 2017, and he threw 10 of his 14 interceptions over the final six weeks of the season. 

If Rosier can manage an efficient performance against LSU on September 2nd, the Canes could be well on their way to a special season.