Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dolphins re-sign Gerald Alexander, place Roberto Wallace on IR

The Miami Dolphins re-signed veteran safety Gerald Alexander on Wednesday, filling a spot vacated by Roberto Wallace after the second-year receiver landed on injured reserve with a quadriceps injury.

Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State in 2010, Wallace caught six passes as a rookie and was a special-teams standout with eight tackles and a handful of downed punts. He had appeared in just two games this season, recording no tackles and seeing no action on offense.

A second-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2007 out of Boise State, Alexander was signed by the Dolphins late in the preseason before being waived during final cuts. He has been a free agent since the regular season began.

The 27-year-old Alexander has starting experience at both safety spots in his four-year career, totaling 159 tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles, four interceptions and 14 pass deflections in 39 games with the Lions and Jaguars. Alexander spent part of last season with the Panthers, appearing in two games as a reserve.

The Dolphins have also made a few practice squad moves this week, releasing offensive tackle D. J. Jones (who has since joined the Ravens' practice squad) and re-signing guard Ray Feinga.


Analysis

The loss of Wallace has no effect on the Dolphins' offense, as he was the team's last receiver on the depth chart and was not a factor in the passing game. When healthy, Wallace was an excellent special teams player. Although the team likes Wallace's size and upside, missing the rest of the year will hurt his stock and he'll have to battle again just to make the roster in 2012, quite possibly under a new head coach.

Meanwhile, Alexander is a nice depth signing and provides an experienced backup safety with both Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons dinged up. Alexander has shown in the past that he is a mediocre starter, though it is unlikely the Dolphins are aiming to give him a role on defense anyway barring multiple injuries.

Alexander is on a one-year deal and it is not guaranteed for the 2011 season. He'll be battling for a chance to be re-signed and come back to compete in 2012, but there's no guarantee he'll be on the roster in a month, a week, or even tomorrow.

As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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Monday, October 17, 2011

Dolphins at Jets - Live Chat

In between the conclusion of TBS' coverage of the MLB Postseason and my honeymoon (Oct. 23-30), I'll be able to get in one live chat for tonight's Monday Night Football game between the Dolphins and Jets. Thanks to Jay Dulmaine for hosting the chat for the Chargers game!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2011 Week Six Game Predictions

Apologies or the lack of coverage recently. It's a pretty busy time for me, working my first MLB Postseason as a production assistant for Turner Sports and preparing to get married exactly six days from now on Oct. 22, followed by a week-long honeymoon. Once November begins, I should have much more time to watch football and specifically the Dolphins!

Last week's record: 49-28
2011 season record: 31-17 (63.6%)


Falcons over Panthers — Atlanta has underachieved this year and Cam Newton has the Panthers more competitive than expected, but I still like the Falcons to step up this week and rebound from their loss to the Packers.

Bengals over Colts — This is hardly a quality match-up, but the Bengals have done better than expected and A. J. Green will be a major weapon against a shaky Colts defense. I'll take Cincinnati here.

Lions over 49ers — This is being billed as a match-up between two teams having turnaround seasons, but the Lions are far more impressive than the Niners. I have to go with a really hot Detroit team with the league's best receiver.

Packers over Rams — Quite possibly the most lopsided match-up of the weekend, the question is not whether the Packers will win the game, but by how many points. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense should have a field day in an easy victory.

Giants over Bills — A bit of an upset pick, I'm taking the Giants at home to rebound over a close loss to the Seahawks. Buffalo is without some key members of the defense and I think New York has a good day.

Steelers over Jaguars — Pittsburgh has underachieved at times this year, but I think the defense really steps up today and shuts down an inexperienced Jaguars offense.

Eagles over Redskins — They're hardly the dream team anymore and Washington is 3-1, but I think Philly wins at home and starts to get their season on track.

Raiders over Browns — Oakland doesn't really impressive me, but they're at home, coming off a nice upset over the Texans, and playing a Browns team that is no better. The Raiders are my pick.

Ravens over Texans — There is still a lot to like about Houston, but they are without the best players on both offense and defense in Andre Johnson and Mario Williams. I have to go with Baltimore at home.

Patriots over Cowboys — New England's defense is certainly shaky and the Cowboys are getting a big boost with Miles Austin returning, but it's still hard to bet against Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense.

Saints over Buccaneers — Josh Freeman and the Saints have been majorly disappointing this year, and right now I don't see any way they are able to keep up with the Saints' offense.

Bears over Vikings — Anyone can win these divisional match-ups and the Bears certainly have some concerns, but I still like their team better overall the Minnesota's.

Jets over Dolphins — The Jets' run defense has struggled this season and Daniel Thomas has been impressive when healthy, but I don't see any way it's enough to change the fact that Miami is seriously outmatched here. That first win probably won't come this week.


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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dolphins lose Chad Henne for season, bring back familiar face

Things couldn't get much worse for the 0-4 Miami Dolphins, as it was revealed Thursday that starting quarterback Chad Henne will miss the remainder of the 2011 season after sustaining a separated shoulder on his non-throwing arm that will require surgery.

Through four games, the embattled former second-round pick was on pace for career highs in passing yards and touchdowns, but the team had faltered out of the gate in large part due to red zone trouble, poor pass protection and a defense that had curiously regressed from its No. 6 ranking a year ago.

A free agent in the offseason, Henne may very well have played his last game for the Dolphins. Despite signs of progress in 2011, Henne's lack of production since he took over the starting job two seasons ago has been an issue for many Dolphins fans, and the team may be in position to select an elite quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft if their woes continue.

As for the Dolphins the rest of the way, Matt Moore is expected to take over as the team's starting quarterback, while veteran Sage Rosenfels has been signed for his second stint with the team to provide veteran depth. Undrafted rookie Pat Devlin remains on the practice squad.


Sage Rosenfels

Rosenfels played college football at Iowa State, where he was named the team's Offensive MVP as a senior and led the Cyclones to their first bowl victory.

The Washington Redskins drafted Rosenfels in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season as the team's third-string quarterback behind Tony Banks and Jeff George before being dealt to the Dolphins in the offseason for a seventh-round pick in 2003.

In four seasons with the Dolphins, Rosenfels served primarily as a third-string quarterback, backing up Jay Fiedler and Ray Lucas in 2002, Fiedler and Brian Griese in 2003, and Fiedler and A. J. Feeley in 2004. His biggest accomplishment with the team came in relief if Gus Frerotte against the Bills in 2005, as Rosenfels engineered a comeback with three fourth-quarter scores to erase a 23-3 deficit.

After signing with the Houston Texans in 2006, Rosenfels spent three seasons as a backup and started 10 games over his final two seasons in place of an injured Matt Schaub, accumulating a 6-4 record in relief. He was traded to the Minnesota Vikings for a fourth-round pick in 2009, but did not appear in a game as the third-string quarterback behind Brett Favre and Tavaris Jackson.

A year later, Rosenfels was again traded, this time to the New York Giants. He spent the season backing up Eli Manning, failing to throw a pass for the second straight season. Despite a strong performance in the 2011 preseason, Rosenfels was placed on injured reserve with a blood illness and later released on Oct. 4.

Rosenfels is presumably over his illness and would have to have passed a physical to sign with the Dolphins. He will likely immediate slot in as the No. 2 quarterback behind Moore and it remains unlikely Devlin will be promoted at this time. For what it's worth, Rosenfels' old No. 18 is currently taken by wide receiver Roberto Wallace, and No. 2 (which he wore in Minnesota in 2009 when No. 18 was taken) is owned by punter Brandon Fields.


Analysis

I'm sure there are some cold-hearted and blood-thirsty Dolphins fans happy to see the potential end to the Henne era in Miami, but I personally had always believed in his potential and at the very least it's a shame to see his season end like this. He certainly wasn't the biggest culprit on the Dolphins' 0-4 start and had actually been showing promise in Brian Daboll's new offense.

That being said, the red zone had been a serious issue for the Dolphins this season and consistently failing to get seven points that close to the end zone was a major issue. While I liked how Henne had played overall and I considered him the Dolphins' best option, backup Matt Moore probably doesn't represent a very big downgrade at the position.

Make no mistake about the Rosenfels signing, he is not going to come in and push Moore for the job any time soon. Rosenfels is indeed a quality backup, with loads of experience, more touchdowns than interceptions and a solid 81.2 career passer rating, but Moore has been in the system since camp and should be more than capable of holding his own.

Rosenfels merely provides a second experienced player on the depth chart, as it is obvious the team does not consider rookie practice-squadder Pat Devlin ready to play in the NFL, or even be the primary backup on game days.

While Moore may be able to match Henne's production this season, I'm skeptical he'll be able to turn around the Dolphins season. The pass protection remains a huge issue and the Dolphins aren't going to stop many offenses with no pass rush and a handful of key defensive players producing well below expect levels.

With the Henne era (and possibly by extension, the Tony Sparano era) coming to an end in Miami, it's fair to wonder if the 0-4 Dolphins may in fact be the leaders in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. At the very least, the team seems destined for a Top 10 or even Top 5 pick, and one has to expect the only direction the team could go with that pick is a quarterback.

As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dolphins sign OT Will Barker away from Buccaneers; make practice squad moves

Desperately in need of a ginger former Cowboys offensive lineman since backup guard/tackle Pat McQuistan was not re-signed as a free agent in the offseason, the Dolphins have apparently remedied the situation by signing second-year tackle Will Barker off the practice squad of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Barker replaces veteran cornerback Nate Jones, who saw his contract terminated Tuesday. The former Dolphins nickel back returned to Miami two weeks ago due to injuries in the Dolphins' secondary after playing last season with the Broncos. He appeared in two games for the Dolphins after his signing, recording one tackle.

The Dolphins also made a few practice squad moves, releasing running back Nic Grisgsby and offensive tackle D. J. Jones, re-signing cornerback Vince Agnew, and signing undrafted rookie nose tackle Isaako Aaitui.


Will Barker

A Bryn Mawr, Pa. native, Barker redshirted his first season a the University of Virginia before earning the team's starting right tackle job the following spring. He was a freshman All-American in 2006 and went on to start 49 consecutive games for the Cavaliers over four seasons while playing opposite three future NFL first-round picks in D'Brickashaw Ferguson (Jets), Branden Albert (Chiefs) and Eugene Monroe (Jaguars).

The 6-foot-7, 325-pound Barker was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent following the 2010 NFL Draft. He attended training camp with the team before being waived during final cuts.

Barker began the 2010 regular season on the Buccaneers' practice squad, where he remained until Oct. 29 when he was promoted to the active roster. He appeared in three games as a reserve during his rookie season, making his NFL debut on Oct. 31 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Despite finishing the season on the active roster, Barker initially failed to make the team in 2011 and was re-signed to the team's practice squad after being waived during final cuts. He remained there until being signed by the Dolphins on Oct. 5.

Because he was signed off another team's practice squad, the Dolphins cannot replace Barker on the roster for at least three weeks. He will wear his college No. 61 with the team.


Isaako Aaitui

A Pago Pago native, The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Aaitui spent four seasons at UNLV, including the last three years as a starter. He appeared in 43 games and recorded 100 tackles (16.5 for a loss), four sacks, a forced fumble, and blocked kick. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft and did not attend training camp with the team.

This actually isn't the first time I've written about Aaitui, as he was initially worked out by the Dolphins on Sept. 21 along with a handful of other free agents. He will reportedly wear No. 90 in practice for the Dolphins after wearing No. 99 at UNLV.


Analysis

With a bye week looming and starting cornerback Vontae Davis returning to practice Wednesday, the need for Jones was no longer as great and he obviously hadn't made himself a vital part of the secondary during his two weeks here. Nolan Carroll and Jimmy Wilson will continue to serve as backups despite their strugles, while returning practice-squadder Vince Agnew will provide the practice depth lost with Jones.

Meanwhile, practice squad tackle D. J. Jones was no longer needed with the arrival of Barker. The long-time starting college tackle has good size for the position, plenty of experience, but limited athleticism and agility. He will likely be limited to right tackle in the NFL, lacking the talent for the blind side and probably being too tall for guard.

While Barker may not be long in Miami and could just be on an extended audition for a backup role, it's at least worth considering that the team could be moving to replace Marc Colombo at right tackle. The veteran starter's struggles have been well-documented this season, so it's not out of the realm of possibility the team could Colombo, insert Nate Garner as a starting right tackle, and use Barker as a backup.

As for Aaitui, he seems fairly raw and a borderline NFL talent. I've been unable to figure out why he did not attend training camp with a team (this is actually his first NFL signing since the draft), whether it be due to a college injury or simply talent. He did beat out a handful of other free agents for the gig though and will likely serve as a backup to Paul Soliai in practice with Frank Kearse gone to Carolina and Ryan Baker released last week.

As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.


Discuss this article on the forum here!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dolphins at Chargers - Live Chat

I'm working this Sunday, but facebook group regular Jay Dulmaine is running the chat, so enjoy and Go Dolphins!

2011 Week Four Game Predictions

I followed up a 14-2 performance (actually 15-1) in Week 2 by going just 9-7 in Week 3. What's worse, apparently my mom (who thinks Kurt Warner plays for the Seahawks) went 11-5.

Last week's record: 9-7
2011 season record: 31-17 (64.6%)


Bears over Panthers — I'm still not on the Cam Newton bandwagon, and I think Chicago easily has the better team. I like Da Bears in this ne.

Bills over Bengals — It's still a little hard to believe the Bills are actually good. And I'm predicting they'll eventually come back to reality, but it probably won't happen this week against a pretty sub-par Bengals squad.

Browns over Titans — This doesn't have the look of a very good game. Cleveland wasn't all that impressive in their win over the Dolphins last week, but they are at home and are getting Peyton Hillis back, so I'll go with them.

Cowboys over Lions — Some might consider this a bit of an upset pick with as good as Detroit is playing, but they have to lose sometime. I think DeMarcus Ware takes advantage of a still porous Lions line and helps Dallas to victory.

Vikings over Chiefs — Remember two picks ago when I said Browns/Titans wasn't a very good game? This one is even worse. That being said, Kansas City might be the worst team in the league, and the Vikings do have Adrian Peterson, so they're the pick.

Redskins over Rams — This is another game between two mediocre teams that I'm unsure how to pick, but I feel like St. Louis is still a little too banged up right now and Washington has the better roster.

Eagles over 49ers — I don't care if Michael Vick, Vince Young, Mike Kafka, or Ronnie Brown starts at quarterback for the Eagles. I'm taking them over the Niners.

Saints over Jaguars — New Orleans doesn't really seem to have a defense, but Jacksonville doesn't either and the Saints offense is going to put up more points than the Jags can match.

Texans over Steelers — My initial thought was to pick Pittsburgh here, but Houston is playing really well and the Steelers nearly lost to Indy last week. I'll take a good Texans offense at home.

Giants over Cardinals — Despite a barrage of injuries already, New York played some of its best football last week. They should have no problem with the Cardinals.

Falcons over Seahawks — It's fair to say Atlanta isn't firing on all cylinders right now, but I still like this team a lot and Seattle is pretty terrible. I expect this to be a rout.

Packers over Broncos — Aaron Rodgers is tearing up defenses at will, and Denver doesn't have nearly he offensive firepower to match him. The Packers will win big again.

Patriots over Raiders — New England's defense is pretty bad, but I expect Tom Brady to rebound from an uncharacteristic rough outing last week and lead the Patriots to a high-scoring victory again.

Chargers over Dolphins — I picked Miami last week (and admittedly, they were close to winning) but I've learned my lesson. The Dolphins' defense has a lot of problems right now and the offense is without their emerging rookie running back in Daniel Thomas, so I don't see a victory in the cards.

Ravens over Jets — Easily one of the best match-ups of the week, Baltimore rebounded from an upset in Week 2 to a monstrous offensive showing last week. I'll take them, primarily because I hate the Jets.

Buccaneers over Colts — Curtis Painter making his first NFL start for a terrible team on Monday Night Football? Not a recipe for success. Bucs should handle them here.


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