Dolphins K Greg Joseph out to win open competition with Jason Sanders

Greg Joseph once kicked as a hobby. Now he’s got a shot at the NFL. (Andres Leiva/The Post)

DAVIE — Many times throughout his life, Greg Joseph could’ve simply brushed kicking aside. Given how much of an afterthought it was to him at certain points, it’s a bit of an upset that he’s put himself in position to win a job with the Dolphins as he heads into Organized Team Activities this week.

Joseph was born in Johannesburg, 8,000 miles from the nearest NFL team, and spent most of his childhood on soccer fields. He moved to West Boca at age 7 and remained submerged in soccer, only picking up football heading into his final year at American Heritage School in Delray Beach because coach Stacy Sizemore talked him into it.

“Heritage was a big football school, so if you’re on the football team, it was kind of a cool gig,” Joseph said. “It was very fun. It was appealing because I’m a competitor and I actually had to compete for the job.

“I could kick a ball far, but that doesn’t mean it was going through the uprights. Changing the form from soccer to football was a big step. I can’t say I was good at all. And when I look back four years from now, hopefully I’m saying right now I wasn’t good. Hopefully I keep growing.”

Even after success at American Heritage, he had to claw his way onto Florida Atlantic’s team as a walk-on and didn’t give serious consideration to becoming a professional kicker until nearly the end of his junior year with the Owls.

The way he describes that epiphany now sounds nonchalant, but it was a turning point in terms of dedicating himself fully to the craft.

“I was kicking just to help out my team; I love my guys at FAU,” he said. “Towards the end of junior year, I kind of realized it was a possibility. I earned a scholarship. I was busting my butt. If I’ve come this far, why not give it a shot?”

Joseph now has the chance to turn what was once a hobby into high-paying career as he begins what will likely be a three-month audition with Miami. He’s in as good of a position as any rookie kicker can be, facing a one-on-one battle with seventh-round pick Jason Sanders of New Mexico as the Dolphins look to replace Cody Parkey.

Based on how they’ve handled things the last two years thanks to the NFL relaxing its preseason roster rules, they probably won’t decide between the two until shortly before the September cutdown deadline.

With no veteran incumbent in the mix, there will be an open competition between Sanders and Joseph. Sanders, the 229th selection out of 256 total picks, has no upper hand, and their college stats were comparable.

While neither posted overwhelming numbers in their collegiate careers, both impressed special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi in pre-draft workouts.

“A lot of people don’t want to hear this, but when you look at a college placekicker, one of the last things I look at is field goal percentage,” Rizzi said. “It’s completely different than the NFL. I can sit here for hours and talk about the guys and give you examples.”

Joseph hit 70 percent of his 82 field goal attempts at FAU, while Sanders made 71 percent on 35 tries. Both were very strong on kickoffs as well, according to Rizzi.

Rizzi, by the way, was the only NFL coach to put Joseph through a workout leading up to the draft and volunteered some helpful tips during that meeting in Boca Raton.

Joseph spent the last several months training and did some of that work in Jupiter with Parkey, who signed with Chicago as a free agent in March. That helped him tremendously, and he still refers back to some of the pointers he got in those sessions.

“A lot of mindset advice, and he did help me out with my form because he’s experienced and he’s seen a lot in his time in the NFL,” Joseph said. “I took all of it to heart and I wrote it down.”

One similarity between the two appears to be their mentality, though Joseph has yet to get the opportunity to prove he can maintain it under the pressure of kicking in an NFL game. Both players emphasize an absolute concentration on routine, which is something Rizzi often praised about Parkey.

The machinelike process is what attracted the Dolphins to Parkey in the first place, and it’s something they noticed about Joseph as well. That kind of disposition is reassuring to the coaching staff, and maintaining that outlook will help Joseph as he tries to secure his spot. It comes out in listless clichés, but it’s exactly how Rizzi wants him thinking.

“I’m gonna be kind of boring to you guys,” Joseph said. “I’m coming in here with the mindset that I’m putting my head down and working and worrying about what I can control. I can’t control what (Sanders) does. I’m just gonna do what I can.”

[Five new ideas from Dolphins OC Dowell Loggains]

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[Electric Dolphins rookie Kalen Ballage says he can do it all]

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Adam Gase: Miami Dolphins’ housecleaning triggered by loafing in Buffalo

Adam Gase says, ‘We just did not have enough guys’ giving all they had in Buffalo last season. (Getty Images)

It’s one thing to criticize poor play in the NFL, quite another to rip a team for effort.

Thursday morning, coach Adam Gase went after effort, blasting some of his players for going through the motions in a 24-16 loss at Buffalo that essentially ended the slim hopes this team had of turning around its season.

The Dolphins were coming off a resounding 27-20 upset of New England when they traveled to upstate New York and were flattened by the Bills, triggering a three-game losing streak as a 6-10 season ground to a halt.

“That game at Buffalo just seemed like a 20-hour game,” Gase said on Joe Rose’s show on WQAM-560AM. “I was just waiting for us to turn the corner and really get going and nothing was working for us. There was no swagger, no attitude, and it was disappointing to see. It wasn’t everybody. You turn on that tape, there are guys that stand out noticeably as far as their effort and their play that was extremely high, and they were giving everything they had. We just did not have enough guys doing that.

“That’s why we felt like we needed to change some things around.”

It was a stinging swipe by Gase, the likes of which we hadn’t heard since he blasted players’ study habits following the 40-0 shellacking at Baltimore in October.

Since Gase did not mention names, it’s natural to wonder whom he was criticizing.

The ironic part? Several of the departed were the team’s statistical leaders that day.


‘There was no swagger, no attitude, and it was disappointing to see.’ — Adam Gase, on some of his players’ lack of effort in Buffalo last season


Jarvis Landry, for example, was targeted 13 times and made 10 catches for a season-high 99 yards. Cody Parkey kicked field goals of 28, 41 and 26 yards and accounted for 10 of the 16 points. Ndamukong Suh had seven total tackles, including three for loss.

Other performances of note: Jay Cutler was 28 of 49 for 274 yards, was sacked three times, threw three interceptions, fumbled four times and had a passer rating of 47.5.

Among players still on the Dolphins, Kenyan Drake had 16 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown, DeVante Parker was targeted 12 times and had six receptions for 89 yards and Kenny Stills was targeted six times, finishing with one catch for 8 yards. Jakeem Grant had a 16.5 average on two punt returns. The other top tacklers were Kiko Alonso (10) and Reshad Jones (seven).

The game got away from the Dolphins immediately, which ought to sound familiar. Buffalo drove 81 yards in 10 plays to open the game, ending with a 1-yard touchdown run by LeSean McCoy. By halftime, it was 21-6, Bills.

In the grades I issue after every game, I ripped quarterback play (Grade: F) and manufactured the phrase “confoundingly erratic” to describe Cutler. I also took it out on linebackers, giving them a D, which, coincidentally, was the same grade I gave the coaching staff, saying it was “short on answers” after Buffalo took the lead. I said coaches exercised poor clock management late.

Pro Football Focus gave highest marks to Dolphins scheduled to return: T Sam Young (85.3), T Laremy Tunsil (81.9), DE Charles Harris (78.5), Parker (77.7), Drake (76.6) and LB Chase Allen (75.9). All are 25 or younger except Young, who is 30.

For amateur sleuths trying to sort culprits from innocents, there are scores of players no longer with the Dolphins who can’t be blamed because they were out injured that day, including Damien Williams, Jermon Bushrod, Michael Thomas and Nate Allen.

Mike Pouncey and Julius Thomas (two catches, 15 yards) started the game, Terrence Fede (two tackles) saw limited duty and Neville Hewitt saw spot duty. Matt Moore was inactive. Lawrence Timmons was in on 44 plays, 70 percent of the time, and finished with four tackles.

“We had a lot of good guys in that locker room that gave it everything they had and no matter what happened they never wavered and they just kept plugging away and we feel like we added good pieces to that group,” Gase said.

Here’s the bottom line: Next year at this time, neither Gase nor GM Chris Grier nor football operations chief Mike Tannenbaum will have any excuses. No one will care about “yeah, but” narratives. They’ve reshaped the roster as they wish. They’ve jettisoned some, put stock in others. Ditto for Gase’s assistants.

No, nobody should expect miracles following a 6-10 season, given the amount of talent lost. But if there aren’t tangible reasons for optimism on April 5, 2019, that’s a problem.

[Can Richmond’s Lauletta be an option at quarterback?]

[Insane 2017 Miami Dolphins season made Adam Gase a smarter coach]

[Will Dolphins’ passing game have better ball distribution this year?]

[Safeties McDonald, Jones need more time to develop chemistry]

[Amendola gets close-up look as Edelman may have thwarted another school tragedy]

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[Question results, but don’t question Stephen Ross’ devotion to winning]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

2018 NFL free agents: Walt Aikens reportedly agrees to stay with Dolphins

Walt Aikens is sticking around. (Andres Leiva/The Post)

The Dolphins are losing one of their best special teams players in kicker Cody Parkey, but they’ll hang on to Walt Aikens.

Aikens, who plays safety and works on multiple special teams units, has agreed to a two-year contract to stay with Miami, per multiple media reports. He has appeared in 62 of a possible 64 games for the Dolphins since being drafted in the fourth round in 2014.

He might be the last member of that ’14 draft class still with the team by the time the upcoming season starts.

Here’s a look at what’s transpired with the eight players Miami took that year:

First round, No. 19, RT Ja’Wuan James: The Dolphins exercised a $9.3 million team option on him for the upcoming season, but are weighing the possibility of rescinding it and making him an unrestricted free agent.

Second round, No. 63, WR Jarvis Landry: He totaled 400 catches, 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns in four seasons before the Dolphins traded him to Cleveland last week in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round pick and 2019 seventh-rounder.

Third round, No. 67, OT Billy Turner: Turner played 20 games for the Dolphins before coach Adam Gase cut him during the 2016 season.

Fourth round, No. 125, DB Walt Aikens: He continues to be one of their best special teams players and will be signed through 2019.

Fifth round, No. 155, TE Arthur Lynch: Lynch has never played in an NFL game. He was last seen on an NFL roster in August 2016.

Fifth round, No. 171, LB Jordan Tripp: Miami cut Tripp a year later and he has bounced around the league. He was with the Falcons last season.

Sixth round, No. 190, WR Matt Hazel: Hazel played five games before the Dolphins let him go in 2016. He spent last season with the Browns and Colts, including some practice squad time.

Seventh round, No. 234, DE Terrence Fede: He has one sack in 51 games and became an unrestricted free agent this year. It is unclear whether the Dolphins intend to re-sign him.

[Ndamukong Suh was a luxury the Dolphins could never afford]

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Miami Dolphins’ exodus continues with K Cody Parkey going to Bears

Cody Parkey, from Jupiter, is headed to the Bears on a new deal. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

The Dolphins are saying goodbye to the man who gave them arguably the best season by a kicker in their history. Cody Parkey is headed to the Bears, a source confirmed.

Parkey, from Jupiter, came to Miami a week before the start of last season and hit a 54-yard game-winner in his debut. That was just the beginning. He made 21 of 23 attempts on the season, missing only from 48 and 50 yards, and became the first kicker in documented NFL history to convert four onside kicks in a season.

He was also at the center of the best kickoff unit in the league, with Dolphins’ opponents getting an average starting field position of their own 23-yard line.

Miami is letting that talent walk out the door and will search for a kicker once again. Since the Dolphins cut Dan Carpenter in 2013, no kicker has lasted more than two seasons.

They drafted Caleb Sturgis in the fifth round that year and cut him in 2015 in favor of Andrew Franks. Franks was set to kick for a third season last year before the Browns put Parkey on waivers and the Dolphins claimed him.

His lone season in South Florida was a dream come true for a lifelong Dolphins fan. After his game-winner against the Chargers in the opener, he made the game-tying and game-winning field goals at Atlanta and a 39-yarder with 22 seconds left to beat the Jets.

Parkey, 26, was thought to be far better than Franks in every department, and it appeared the team had finally found a long-term answer at kicker. Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi called him “an upgrade across the board” in December.

“He’s really been what we expected: He’s a consistent guy, he’s got a great approach, he has a professional approach,” he said. “He’s a very good self-evaluator and a lot of times, it might sound simple; but as a kicker, that’s a big thing. He’s got a great demeanor.
“He’s been consistent since he got into the league, and hopefully that continues. I’ve had a pleasure working with him. He’s been really good, not only in the field goal area but also on the kickoff area. We ask him to do a bunch of different things between deep kicks, short kicks, onside kicks. He’s been a great welcome addition.”

Known locally as The Jupiter Juggernaut, Parkey had an excellent career at Auburn before making the Eagles’ roster as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He made the Pro Bowl that year by hitting 32 of 36 field goals and setting the NFL’s rookie scoring record with 150 total points.

He was injured for most of the 2015 season and waived the following summer. Parkey got another chance in September 2016, when the Browns needed a kicker on short notice before their game against the Dolphins.

Parkey signed with the Browns the day before the game and made 3 of 6 field goals against the Dolphins. He missed a 46-yarder to win it at the end of regulation, and Miami won 30-24 in overtime.

[Ndamukong Suh was a luxury the Dolphins could never afford]

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Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

2019 Pro Bowl: 9 Miami Dolphins with shot at being selected

Don’t count out a return to the Pro Bowl by Cameron Wake. (AP)

ORLANDO—There’s a lot to be decided before next season’s Pro Bowl, including where the NFL intends to hold it, but some players undoubtedly have their minds set on getting there after watching Sunday’s game.

The Dolphins were frustrated this year when safety Reshad Jones was the only one selected; receiver Jarvis Landry was added a replacement for injured all-star DeAndre Hopkins. Among the guys currently projected to be on next season’s roster, here are the ones with the best shot at playing in the 2019 game:

9. QB Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill is the Dolphins’ biggest wild card after missing the end of the 2016 season and all of this one because of knee injuries. They expect him to come back strong, and if he continues the improvement he showed last season, he’ll be right in the mix. It helps his cause that the league usually invites a lot of quarterbacks because of withdrawals. Two years ago, Trevor Siemian(?) turned down an offer to play.

8. WR Kenny Stills
Stills put up very good numbers the last two years and he’s just hitting the prime of his career. His chances of making the Pro Bowl for the first time would shoot up dramatically if Jarvis Landry doesn’t return to Miami, which would make Stills the team’s No. 1 receiver. He needs to get to 1,000 yards to be in consideration and has yet to exceed 931 in a season.

7. C Mike Pouncey
One of Pouncey’s biggest roadblocks to getting in the Pro Bowl is his twin brother Maurkice’s excellence as a six-time selection (every season he’s been healthy). It’d help Mike a lot if the Steelers break through for a Super Bowl appearance next season. Nonetheless, if Mike’s hip continues to be strong, they still have a chance of ending up in the Pro Bowl together.

6. RB Kenyan Drake
The ceiling is high for Drake in 2018, partly because of his talent and partly because Gase loves to load up the play book for dual-threat running backs. The upcoming season could be Drake’s first as a No. 1 option, depending on what the Dolphins do with Damien Williams. Over the final five games of this season, Drake led the NFL with 444 yards rushing to go with 150 as a receiver.

5. K Cody Parkey
The Jupiter Juggernaut just needs more opportunities. He tied the Dolphins’ single-season record by making 91.3 percent of his field goals in his debut season, but he’s got to get more than 23 tries in 2018. He also is the only kicker in the last 20 years (and possibly ever, but this stat wasn’t tracked prior to 1997) to convert four onside kicks in a season, and he led the best kickoff coverage unit in the NFL.

4. DE Cameron Wake
Wake is not to be doubted. From here on out, the assumption will be that he can keep doing this until he shows that he can’t. Many thought the ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered in 2015 would signal the end of his run as an elite pass rusher, and he followed that injury with seasons of 11.5 and 10.5 sacks. He might have made the AFC roster this year if Jacksonville had reached the Super Bowl.

3. S Reshad Jones
Jones has established himself as a brand name for the voters, which is key when it comes to making perennial Pro Bowl appearances. He was picked in 2015, got off to an excellent start to the ’16 season before undergoing rotator cuff surgery and was voted in as a starter this year. When he’s been on the field the last three seasons, he’s been a game changer.

2. DT Ndamukong Suh
Suh’s not done, and this year indicated it might be a while before he shows any signs of decline. At 31, he goes into the upcoming season among the most feared defensive tackles in the NFL. He was one of the most stunning Pro Bowl snubs in the league this year, prompting Gase to say, “I don’t understand that one… To me, that guy should be penciled in before they even start voting. He’s that dominant of a player.”

1. WR Jarvis Landry
Landry’s a good bet to make next season’s Pro Bowl, but the mystery is what helmet he’ll be wearing. After 400 catches, 4,038 yards, 22 touchdowns and three Pro Bowl selections in the first four years of his career, he’s a pending free agent who will be in high demand if the Dolphins let him walk.

[Jarvis Landry stars in 2018 Pro Bowl, which could be his final game with Miami Dolphins]

[Jason Taylor weighs in on Jarvis Landry’s free agency saga]

[Dolphins legend Don Shula asks for patience for coach Adam Gase]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

No gold star for Miami Dolphins’ special teams (but they did earn a gold belt)

Cody Parkey makes a 54-yard field goal to beat the Chargers in the opener. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

EIGHTH IN A SERIES

What went wrong for the Dolphins this season? What went right (if anything)? We assigned letter grades to each position group after every game. So with the season over, it’s time to issue final grades and see who flunked and who gets a gold star. Today: a unit in transition, special teams.


Straight talk

It was during a late-November trip to New England that Bill Belichick kicked things off by calling a fake punt from his 27-yard line, with the line to gain 8 yards downfield.

If that weren’t enough of an insult to Miami’s special teams, try the fact that the Patriots converted, turning a three-and-out into a touchdown drive.


FINAL REPORT CARD FOR 2017 MIAMI DOLPHINS

[GRADING THE QBs: Barely a passing grade is all they deserved]

[GRADING THE RBs: Kenyan Drake’s explosiveness offers hope for ’18]

[GRADING THE OL: Without upgrade next season, team isn’t going anywhere]

[GRADING THE RECEIVERS: The top two are obvious … but then what?]

[GRADING THE DL: Lots of dollars, so why not lots of sacks?]

[GRADING THE LBs: All downhill once opponents discovered blueprint]

[GRADING THE DBs: Veteran safeties, youthful corners form good nucleus for ’18]


Hold that thought and consider what happened a week later, when a Matt Haack punt pinned the Broncos on their 5, leading to a safety. Before that day was over, six more of his punts were downed inside the 20, a team record. Terrence Fede blocked a punt. MarQueis Gray recovered an onside kick. The punt coverage team recorded a second safety.

Right there, in a two-game span, you have the 2017 Miami Dolphins at their worst and their best. It’s no surprise that my special teams grade for this season is a C.

This was a transition season for the unit, starting with the fact that the team replaced two dependable specialists, punter Matt Darr and kicker Andrew Franks, with an undrafted rookie punter in Haack and kicker Cody Parkey, a Jupiter native whose release from the Browns delighted the Dolphins only slightly more than a certain Daily Dolphin reporter I know. Good thing, then, that the Dolphins have 39-year-old long snapper John Denney to keep the specialists grounded.

Parkey was nearly automatic, making 21-of-23 field-goal attempts and missing only from 48 and 50 yards. He also helped the Dolphins recover four onside kicks.

Haack had an impressive 30 punts downed inside the 20 and averaged 44.5 yards per punt with a net of 40.7 — not great, but a good start.

Darren Rizzi, the Dolphins’ longtime special teams coordinator, rewards outstanding special teams performances each week by lending one player a gaudy, WWE-style championship belt that’s way heavier than you’d think. Key contributors this year included special teams captain Michael Thomas (led team with 11 special teams tackles), Walt Aikens and Chase Allen (seven tackles apiece) and rookie Vincent Taylor (two blocked kicks).

In fact, the Dolphins developed a knack for blocking kicks, or at least altering them with the threat of a Bobby McCain using his quickness on the edge.

The season also gave us insight into what goes into special teams — more than you’d think. One day, Rizzi was listing calls at his disposal, including spike, swing back, bunt, dribble, slam, smash, pooch, mortar. Those are just some of the onside kick nuances he can call. Didn’t know there was that much you could do with the football equivalent of a bunt, didn’t you?

What it all means

Stats and league rankings: Haack averaged 44.5 yards per punt. Parkey was 21-of-22 on FG tries with a long of 54. The kickoff coverage team led the league, with opponents’ average start at 23.0 yards. The kick return team was 25th (24.1 yards).

Number of times ST received an A: 1

Number of times ST received an F: 1

Season GPA: 2.07 (C)

Analysis: Despite the explosiveness of return man Jakeem Grant, the Dolphins did not return a punt or kickoff for a touchdown this season after totaling two last year. Given how close he appeared to come to breaking some, we’ll want to keep an eye on that for 2018.

Adjusted final grade: C

Coming tomorrow: Overall thoughts and a final team grade for the 2017 Dolphins

 

Picks and kicks: Here’s Part II of Miami Dolphins plays of the year

Kenyan Drake celebrates his 42-yard touchdown run against the Broncos by imitating LeBron James’ pregame chalk toss. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Just because it was a downer of a season — with the Dolphins managing just six wins — doesn’t mean it didn’t have its moments.

Today, we bring you the second of a two-part installment of the 10 best plays of the season by the Dolphins. Click here for a look back at Part I of our series.

No, Kenyan, you didn’t mess up

Situation: First-and-10 on Broncos’ 42.

The play: Kenyan Drake took the handoff from Jay Cutler and was met by safety Will Parks  for what appeared to be no gain. Drake got by Parks, but he still had to deal with end Adam Gotsis and linebacker Brandon Marshall. Drake weaved his way through all that traffic, then outran the secondary for a 26-9 lead.

Quote: “It’s funny,” Drake said of the touchdown. “I really can’t remember because at the end of the day, I was just out there trying to make sure I didn’t mess up. I think I made a couple of people miss.”


Reshad kept going; nobody else did

Situation: Second-and-20 on Titans’ 31.

The play: Matt Cassel dropped back to pass and was hammered by linebacker Kiko Alonso, with the force of the hit sending Cassel’s helmet and the ball flying. Not overly  interested in the helmet, Reshad Jones instead scooped up the ball, but the play was over because it was an incomplete pass … or so everyone thought. At that point, Jones was about the only one on the field who thought the play might still be alive, so he took off toward the end zone. After much discussion and a replay review, Jones was credited with a 38-yard return of the fumble for a touchdown.

Quote: “The coaches are always preaching that when the ball hits the ground, pick it up, you never know,” Jones said. “I just kept playing through the play.”


Cody Parkey makes a 54-yard field goal to beat the Chargers in the opener. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Parkey makes name for himself: juggernaut

Situation: Fourth-and-5 from Chargers’ 36.

The play: The delayed 2017 season-opener ended with a moment worth waiting for. Cody Parkey, acquired off waivers from the Browns (another nice move, Browns) only 14 days prior, was called on with 1:10 remaining and the Dolphins trailing the Chargers 17-16. No problem. Parkey drilled a 54-yarder that became the longest winning field goal in team history when Los Angeles’ Younghoe Koo was wide right from 44 yards with nine seconds left.

Quote: “I won’t tell you who it is, but I got on the bus after the game and a staff member said to me, ‘What’s our kicker’s name again?’ ” said Darren Rizzi, the Dolphins’ special teams coordinator. “So I think everybody knows his name now.”


This was definitely The Good Jay

Situation: Third-and-7 on Patriots’ 13.

The play: Patriots defensive back Jordan Richards thought he had a sure sack when he came in around left end untouched on a blitz. He got an arm around Jay Cutler, but Cutler made himself small and slithered away with a 360-degree spin. Still, he wasn’t in the clear, because Adam Butler was shaking off guard Ted Larsen and about to come straight after Cutler, too. Cutler spotted Kenyan Drake gaining separation and hit Drake for a first down on the New England 5. Cutler made it count, finding Jarvis Landry for a 5-yard touchdown on the next play for a 13-7 lead.

Quote: “That looked like the youthful Jay Cutler, from the start of his career,” ESPN’s Sean McManus said.


 

One hand on ball is enough for Landry 

The situation: First-and-10 on Miami 10.

The play: Jarvis Landry made a one-handed catch for a 12-yard gain against the Bucs’ T.J. Ward, who for whatever reason taunted Landry after driving him out of bounds. Ward was penalized 15 yards. Five plays later, Landry made it count by catching a 2-yard TD pass from Jay Cutler.

Quote: “We found ways to make plays downfield,” Landry said. “It’s what we can do.”


Kenyan Drake looks like a back who can carry the load for Dolphins in ’18

Dolphins’ QBs barely scrape by with passing grade for ’17

Championship Sunday underscores 25 years of Dolphins mediocrity

Jay Ajayi’s Train of thought: Win Super Bowl, make Dolphins regret trade

Vikings made historic TD, but here are top 20 stunning plays by Dolphins

Miami Dolphins 2017: bad on field, but how bad against the spread?

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How many Miami Dolphins could be added as 2018 Pro Bowl alternates?

Jarvis Landry absolutely merits a Pro Bowl invitation. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—Every year, a bunch of players drop out of the Pro Bowl. Some don’t have a choice if their team makes the Super Bowl, and the inevitable withdrawals could open up spots for Miami players who were left out.

A handful of Dolphins believed they had a shot, and their most notable omissions were Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Jarvis Landry. Suh is thought by many to still be the best or one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, Wake is on the verge of his fifth double-digit sack season and Landry is second in the league with 98 catches.

Mike Pouncey, Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Cody Parkey also have a chance depending on what happens at their positions. Pro Football Focus’ ratings had Suh and Thomas as deserving of selections.

The math favors Landry more than anyone else because the roster allots for four receivers. That group currently consists of A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown and Keenan Allen. Any injury would open up a spot. Beyond that, Brown is already playing hurt and has the possibility of missing the game because of Pittsburgh reaching the Super Bowl.

Landry leads the Dolphins in receptions, yards (844) and total touchdowns (eight). He is 11th in the AFC in yardage and tied for third in touchdowns. It’s worth mentioning he’s done that while playing on one of the worst offenses in the league and having Jay Cutler as his quarterback.

“I don’t follow it as much as maybe you guys do, but I felt like he would’ve got in,” Cutler said. “I know how valuable he is to this team. I know how valuable he is to me. A ton of catches, a ton of production. Unbelievably unselfish player – blocks, hits people, does everything we want him to. So I was kind of surprised.”

The Steelers and Patriots, both 11-3, are the class of the AFC. If New England makes the Super Bowl, that opens up special teamer Matthew Slater’s spot and three others. If Pittsburgh goes, the AFC will lose seven players (the team’s eighth selection is linebacker Ryan Shazier, who is already out with a spinal injury).

The notable Steelers who could clear the way for Miami players are kicker Chris Boswell and center Maurkice Pouncey. Parkey, whose only missed field goal was from 50 yards, and Mike Pouncey are likely on the alternate list for both spots.

[Opposing quarterbacks are having the time of their lives facing the Dolphins this year]

[Snap count breakdown from Dolphins vs. Bills]

[Reshad Jones is the Dolphins’ only Pro Bowl selection]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Dolphins DT Ndamukong Suh on Pro Bowl snub: “I can always go to Orlando”

Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was disappointed not to be picked for the Pro Bowl. (AP)

DAVIE—The annual Pro Bowl voting results release might seem trivial, but it’s frequently a touchy subject in the Dolphins‘ locker room.

Two years ago, Reshad Jones vowed that he wouldn’t go if selected as an alternate when he didn’t land a spot in the voting—he was later added as an alternate and happily attended. Last year, Jarvis Landry declined to talk about being left off the initial roster (he was later added as well).

And now, there’s a bit of bewilderment about Ndamukong Suh being snubbed, particularly from coach Adam Gase.

Suh doesn’t sound like it hurt him too badly.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I can always go to Orlando if I want to.”

True, but he’ll need a spot to open up if he actually wants to play in the game.

The 44-man roster is filled by a combination of fan, player and head coach votes, each of which counts for one-third of the tabulation. That formula led to Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins and Tennessee’s Jurrell Casey as the AFC starters at defensive tackle, with Jacksonville’s Malik Jackson.

“It’s unfortunate, but I mean things happen,” Suh said of his omission. “We’ll continue to play as hard as we can and make up for it in these next two games.”

Jones was the only Dolphins player to win a roster spot outright this year. He came back from rotator cuff surgery to reestablish himself as one of the top safeties in the NFL. He is second on the team with 99 tackles, has 4.5 sacks, four pass breakups, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

“I think it shows to his ability as a safety and him as a dominant player,” Suh said. “He came in and has been healthy for us and has done exactly what we expected and played at a high-caliber level. He deserves the Pro Bowl.”

Suh, Cameron Wake, Jarvis Landry, Mike Pouncey, Cody Parkey, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas were all thought to have a reasonable chance as well.

Suh is an alternate, which means he could be added if any of those three defensive tackles withdraw. Players from the Super Bowl teams are automatically removed from the game, as well as anyone who gets hurt. Some players who simply don’t want to attend can find ways out of it as well.

Suh said earlier this month the Pro Bowl was important to him and he intended to play if selected. He made it as a starter last year, but did not attend. He didn’t say definitively whether he would go next month if picked as an alternate.

“The initial votes weren’t in my hands,” he said. “The next wave of things aren’t in my hands. If things allow me to go, great; if not, then that’s what it is.”

[Opposing quarterbacks are having the time of their lives facing the Dolphins this year]

[Snap count breakdown from Dolphins vs. Bills]

[Reshad Jones is the Dolphins’ only Pro Bowl selection]

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Dolphins K Cody Parkey better at kicking than Pro Bowl campaigning

(Photo by Allen Eyestone, graphic by Adam Hirshfield/The Post)

DAVIE—Cody Parkey demands that you stop what you’re doing immediately and vote for him to make the Pro Bowl.

Right now.

“Well, let’s see,” he said. “If you think I’ve done a good job this year, vote for me.”

Maybe demands was too strong of a word.

Anyway, the mild-mannered kicker from Jupiter has had a good year. He’s 13 for 14 on field goals, and it’s not his fault he doesn’t get more attempts. He has no control over that. The Dolphins are first in the NFL in opponent starting field position after kickoffs, and he’s believed to be the only kicker in the league to make good on two onsides kicks this year.

Back in his Dolphins debut, he walked calmly out to the middle of the field with one minute left and his team down two points and nailed a 54-yard field goal like it was nothing. The legend of The Jupiter Juggernaut was born that afternoon in Los Angeles, and now it’s time for his triumphant return to the Pro Bowl.

But he’ll have to beat out New England’s Stephen Gostkowski (leading vote getter) and Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri (best percentage). Fan voting ends Thursday—click here to vote—and the rosters are announced Dec. 19 for next month’s game in Orlando.

Here’s the best Parkey can do to convince you to vote for him:

Alright, go ahead sell yourself for the Pro Bowl.
“Wow, you’re putting me on the spot.”

Being surprised by someone asking you about the Pro Bowl isn’t a good start to campaigning for the Pro Bowl.
“No, it’s not… I think there’s a lot of kickers deserving of going to the Pro Bowl. Why would I want to go? Because I’m having a successful year, not only on field goals but also on kickoffs and I have a couple onsides kicks. I think overall I’m doing good things all around the board. Is that good?”

Adam Vinatieri has a higher percentage made. Discredit him. Why is Vinatieri a fraud?
[eye roll]

It’s a simple question.
“He’s so old, come on. No, I actually got to work with Vinatieri and he’s a great dude. It’s very, very impressive that he’s doing it at that age. I can’t knock anything.”

You’re not understanding how this works.
“I’m not helping myself?”

I mean, you sound like you want Vinatieri to get picked.
“I don’t like promoting myself. I need you to promote me.’

No problem. Stephen Gostkowski, also a fraud.
“Yeah, I mean, he plays for the Patriots, so we don’t want to vote for him.”

You and Vinatieri made the Pro Bowl in the 2014 season, and you started out with him in training camp with Indy your rookie year. Was he cool?
“Just watching him and how he prepares. He’s got a routine he sticks to. I like to stick to my routine. That’s maybe something I picked up from him. I don’t do the exact same things he does, but every day this is how he starts and you can just see him. I came in there thinking, ‘I’m 22 years old, this guy is 42. I’m gonna have a bigger leg than him.’”

Wait, you thought you’d beat out Adam Vinatieri?
“I didn’t say that. I said bigger leg.”

You’re a kid and you thought you’d put Adam Vinatieri in his place.
“Now you’re putting words in my mouth. I said I thought I would have a bigger leg than him. But he was the ageless wonder and he came out there the first day booting 60-yard field goals and he was incredible.”

What was the best part of being in the Pro Bowl?
“It was cool. Obviously I was a little star struck being a rookie, undrafted, and playing with guys—Shoot, I remember Cam Wake was there. Odell Beckham, Jr. You’re practicing with these guys and you’re like, ‘Oh, do I belong here?’ I was kinda star struck. It’s really cool.”

Did anyone know you?
“Probably not.”

Did anybody hand you their dry cleaning? Or were you not allowed in the stadium?
“No, but actually, my first game here, they didn’t want to let me into breakfast. I was like, ‘I’m a player.’ They asked me, ‘What’s your number?’ I was trying to get breakfast, man, and they were like, ‘What are you going in here for?’ They wouldn’t let me in. Eventually they believed me because I was fighting hard for it. I was just trying to eat, man. That was my first home game.”

The Tennessee game? You’d been the kicker for a month already.
“But I look like I’m 12.”

Back to the Pro Bowl. It’s in Orlando this year. That’s pretty close to home.
“Yeah, but it’d be a lot of tickets. I’d have to keep it to a minimum. It would be really coo, obviously, to go to Orlando. Only two hours from Jupiter. Go to Disney World and all that good stuff. That would be fun.”

Why are you not actively campaigning for this? You have a Twitter account.
“Yeah, I do.”

Yeah, but it’s just stuff about charity events. It’s time to use it for something that matters.
“I like to use my influence in a positive way and I don’t really like to promote myself. Some guys do, and that’s awesome, but that’s just not what I do.”

You could be the kicker with guns. Like Ed “Guns” Hochuli, but of kickers.
“I’ve got The Jupiter Juggernaut and plenty of tweets by you, so I think you guys have branded me pretty good.”

Last chance to sell yourself to the voters.
“Well, let’s see. If you think I’ve done a good job this year, vote for me. But I’m not gonna sell myself. I’m just gonna keep doing my job.”

[Ndamukong Suh has it out for Patriots QB Tom Brady]

[What’s Jay Cutler doing behind the scenes to get DeVante Parker out of his funk?]

[Adam Gase has his finger on exactly what’s gone wrong vs. New England Patriots]

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