WELLINGTON – Make sure not to count former Dolphins cornerback Sam Madison among those who think the Miami Dolphins would be wise to part ways with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
“Ryan’s always been on the same page with Coach Gase since he’s been here,” said Madison, a four-time Pro Bowler with the Dolphins from 1997-2005. “No matter what offensive coordinator (he has), Ryan Tannehill has picked up the offense faster than everybody else. Now, it seems and should be that everyone is on the same page because they’ve been in the system a couple years.”
Tannehill, who turns 30 on July 27, missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in training camp. A first-round draft pick in 2012, Tannehill led the Dolphins to an 8-5 record in 13 games two seasons ago, completing a career-high 67.1 percent of his passes for 2,995 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
The Dolphins have yet to win a playoff game in Tannehill’s tenure, however, and some fans continue to call for a change at the quarterback position.
Dolphins Hall of Fame defensive end Jason Taylor, whose retirement in Jan. 2012 predated Tannehill’s drafting by three months, also expressed optimism in what the former Texas A&M star can do this season.
“If you can keep him healthy, we’re one year removed from being a playoff team,” Taylor said. “I think they’re in good shape and the next month (will tell) a big story. If you can get out of training camp into September in one piece, you’re set.”
Taylor and Madison, now coaches at St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, are serving as guest coaches this week at the Western Communities Football Tackle Football Showcase at Wellington’s Pierson Park.
Whatever Tannehill does this season will be without two of his biggest weapons from 2016, as running back Jay Ajayi was traded to Philadelphia last October and the Dolphins sent Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry to Cleveland in March. Landry posted a career-high 112 catches and nine touchdowns last season without Tannehill, but he failed to crack the 1,000-yard mark.
Miami signed former New England Patriots wideout Danny Amendola and Chiefs receiver Albert Wilson this offseason. Former Miami Hurricanes running back Frank Gore also signed with the team and will partner with Kenyan Drake for a 1-2 punch in the backfield.
“Yes, we added a couple new pieces, but they can learn on the fly,” Madison said. “As long as the major key points to this football team are in place, ready to go, and everyone can play extremely fast, you’ll see some playmaking ability out there.”
The Miami Dolphins have two fourth-round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, and neither started out as their own.
The Dolphins obtained the 23rd pick (123rd overall) from the Cleveland Browns in the Jarvis Landry deal.
And Miami obtained the 31st pick (132st overall) from the Philadelphia Eagles in the Jay Ajayi deal.
So — all Miami has to do is pick a Pro Bowl running back and Pro Bowl receiver in the fourth round and we’ll all be copacetic.
The Dolphins actually dealt their original fourth-round pick (111th overall) to the Los Angeles Rams for Robert Quinn.
That was a good trade. We kid not.
Let’s look at some of the players who have gone 123rd and 132nd overall in recent NFL drafts.
Last season, it was safety Montae Nicholson of Michigan State to the Redskins (6 NFL starts) and running back Donnel Pumphery of San Diego State to the Eagles (missed the season on injured reserve).
Other recent picks at 123: offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins (Steelers, 1 start); receiver Vince Mayle (Browns, 0 starts), receiver Kevin Norwood (Seahawks, 2 starts) and Brandon Boykin (Eagles, 7 starts).
Other recent picks at 132: defensive tackle Willie Henry (Ravens, 3 starts); receiver DeAndre Smelter (49ers, 0 starts), linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (Seahawks, 1 start) and defensive end Devin Taylor (Lions, 18 starts).
OK, so there are no future Hall of Famers in the group.
But Dolphins fans, have faith. And consider that Miami has found these players in the fourth and fifth rounds in recent years: Ajayi, Bobby McCain, Tony Lippett, Walt Aikens, Dion Sims, Lamar Miller, Reshad Jones.
Not bad at all, actually.
So, who are some players projected to be in Miami’s area in the fourth round of this year’s draft? Glad you asked.
Others confirmed the report, suggesting that the move is an attempt by head coach Adam Gase and the Miami front office to teach a lesson to the remaining players, particularly following the team’s 40-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday night.
Dolphins are trading RB Jay Ajayi to the Eagles for a fourth-round pick. And Adam Gase gets his message across to the locker room.
Chris Foerster resigned as Miami Dolphins offensive line coach, one day after a video was released which appeared to show him snorting a white powdered substance.
The Dolphins became aware of the video Sunday night and began to work to confirm its authenticity and when it was recorded.
It’s an embarrassing moment for Foerster and the Dolphins, which brings unwanted national attention in some ways reminiscent of the way the the Richie Incognito bullying scandal did in 2013.
“I am resigning from my position with the Miami Dolphins and accept full responsibility for my actions,” Foerster said in a statement released Monday. “I want to apologize to the organization and my sole focus is on getting the help that I need with the support of my family and medical professionals.”
Foerster was Miami’s offensive line coach under coach Adam Gase for two seasons, returning to a franchise he worked for in 2004. That season, Foerster held the role of offensive coordinator under Dave Wannstedt after Joel Collier resigned for health reasons.
In the video, which lasts just under a minute, Foerster addresses a camera and speaks of missing the person watching, and states that he is snorting the substance before heading to a meeting.
Foerster can be seen snorting three lines of a substance with a $20 bill.
In a statement, the Dolphins said: “We were made aware of the video late last night and have no tolerance for this behavior. After speaking with Chris this morning, he accepted full responsibility and we accepted his resignation effective immediately. Although Chris is no longer with the organization, we will work with him to get the help he needs during this time.”
Here are a few excerpts from the video:
“Hey baby, miss you, thinking about you. How about me going into a meeting and doing this before I go?”
“There’s those big grains falling, but I miss you, I miss you a lot.”
“What do you think, I’m crazy? I don’t know babe, it’s going to be awhile before we can do this again, cause I know you’re going to keep that baby. But i think about you when I do it. I think about how much I miss you. How high we get together. How much fun we have when we get together. It was so much fun. Last little bit before I go to my meeting.”
NOTE: Graphic language in the video below.
This is the video supposedly of Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster snorting coke before a meeting pic.twitter.com/L7ZsdZMH7U
Foerster began his coaching career at Colorado State in 1982 before moving on to Stanford and Minnesota.
In 1993, Foerster began his NFL coaching career with the Vikings, moving on to Tampa, Indianapolis, Miami, Baltimore, San Francisco, Washington, San Francisco (again) and Miami (again), under coach Adam Gase.
After a 1-4 start last season, Miami’s improved in large part due to improvement by the offensive line. Less than two weeks ago, Gase was crediting Foerster for the work he does getting multiple players ready to play multiple positions.
During the final 11 games of the 2016 regular season, Miami ranked third in the NFL with 132.9 rushing yards per
game and tied for third with 13 sacks allowed.
Foerster has mentored six players that were selected to 15 Pro Bowls – center Jeff Christy (2000), center Tony Mayberry (1996-99), guard
Randall McDaniel (1993, 1995, 2000), tackle Jonathan Ogden (2005-07), tackle Joe Staley (2015) and tackle Trent Williams (2012-14).
With Miami, Foerster has worked with offensive lineman such as Branden Albert, Laremy Tunsil, Mike Pouncey and Ja’Wuan James, all former first-round draft choices.
Miami’s assistant offensive line coach is Chris Kuper, who has 10 years of NFL experience and is in his second season with the Dolphins.
See, Landry is in the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him just $1.1 million this season, and he has yet to sign an extension for more money. And with the Dolphins concerned with the prospect of losing their stud, 24-year-old receiver for nothing — even though Landry has not complained a bit — it’s not unreasonable to consider getting what you can for him via trade.
Said this on my GM Street podcast @RingerPodcasts in May. Miami will listen to offers on Jarvis Landry and seriously listen.
After rumors spread over the weekend that Miami may entertain offers for Landry, Gase addressed the rumors with the media on Monday.
“I did talk to him,” Gase said Monday. “I told him there was no chance he’s being traded. If something that’s not true comes out like that, and I’m informed of it, I’m going to approach the player and tell him what really is the story.”
Gase’s denial should put to rest the possibilities of a trade, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t teams pining for the 1,000-yard receiver. Here’s a look at five teams who may have benefited the most from dealing for Landry:
A trade between the Browns and the Dolphins may have been beneficial for both teams, but only if Miami were willing to commit to loading up for next year’s NFL Draft and, at least to some degree, conceding the 2017-18 season. While the Dolphins possibly could have gotten a high first-round pick, Cleveland would receive a building block who takes them closer to contention. When paired with second-year wide out Corey Coleman and rookie tight end David Njoku, Landry would give the Browns three young, talented targets for rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who earned the starting job after an impressive preseason. It’s a long climb out of the cellar for Cleveland, who haven’t had a winning season since 2007, but Landry could have signified a commitment to a brighter, more fruitful future.
New England Patriots
With the apparent season-ending ACL injury to Julian Edelman, the Patriots have a clear need for a skilled slot/possession receiver. In Landry, the Patriots would get a player who they can audition for a year without any long-term financial commitment. If Landry were deemed expendable when Edelman returns, or if the Patriots are unwilling to pay him the salary he wants, they can let him walk and still be stable at wide receiver. New England hasn’t selected in the top 10 of the draft since 2008, so if the Patriots were willing to part with their likely mid-to-late 2018 first-round pick for at least a year’s worth of production from Landry, the deal could have made sense for both sides.
Kansas City Chiefs
Landry thrived last season in a system that, when successful, called on the quarterback to do little more than manage the game. Playing in Kansas City, alongside quarterback Alex Smith, would provide Landry an opportunity to replicate that success. Outside of Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs’ receiving corps is littered with unproven first- and second-year players, meaning that Landry’s three years in the league would make him the de facto veteran leader of the group. Adding Landry could have helped Kansas City make the leap from middle-of-the-pack playoff team to serious Super Bowl contender.
New York Giants
Eli Manning isn’t getting any younger, so if the Giants felt like going for broke, adding Landry to an already impressive collection of receivers would surely fit the bill. A wide receiver trio of Landry, close friend Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall would be, at least on paper, pretty unstoppable. As would be the case with the Patriots, the Giants could have treated Landry as a one-year rental if they so chose. It’s unlikely any team — even the Giants — would be willing to commit to paying both Beckham and Landry the salaries they will command. But being able to pair the two college teammates, even only for a season, may have been intriguing enough to get New York involved in trade talks.
Sure, the Cowboys will be stung by the potential Ezekiel Elliot suspension, but bolstering their offense with a player of Landry’s skills would have softened the blow considerably. A tandem of Dez Bryant and Landry, complemented by Cole Beasley, would provide the Cowboys offense with enough weapons to withstand the temporary loss of its star running back. The addition of another reliable receiver would also help post-suspension, something of value to a Dallas team with its sights set on a Super Bowl.
Join our reporters for a special evening as they talk NFL with Dolphins Pro Bowl Guard Jermon Bushrod, two-time Super Bowl champion Bob Kuechenberg and former Dolphins Pro Bowl linebacker Kim Bokamper on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bokamper’s Fort Lauderdale. The event is free to the first 100 people and will include raffles, light bites and drinks.
Garo Yepremian was only 70 when he died in 2015, but that was of cancer. Earl Morrall died three years ago, after suffering with the same debilitating brain diseases we’re now associating with old-time football players, but he was 79. Bill Stanfill, who died last year at 69, long suffered from dementia, but he did so privately.
Today, there are no “buts.”
Nick Buoniconti and Jim Kiick — and their families — are paying a price for playing football no one should have to pay. Buoniconti is 76, but a youthful 76, we thought by his public persona. Kiick is 70. They and their relatives stepped forward this week to share details of their struggles with brain disease, threatening the romanticism South Florida has clung to regarding 1972.
We did not think of these heroes wrestling with a telephone because they couldn’t remember how to hang up. We did not think of them needing help going to the bathroom — or sometimes not bothering to go to the bathroom before relieving themselves.
Sports Illustrated wasn’t responsible for peeling back the curtain on 1972 with its series this week on the downward spirals Buoniconti and Kiick face. Buoniconti came to SI, wanting his story to be told. Truth is, neither story could be responsibly reported by Scott Price without cooperation from the families — families who say they’re speaking out not just for their benefit, but on behalf of all other old-timers who may be suffering in silence and struggling for their piece of the $1 billion NFL concussion-settlement pie.
More? Oh, yes, there are more such Dolphins. We just don’t know how many. Former Dolphins tight end Marv Fleming, who helps organize reunions for the 1972ers, said he couldn’t estimate what percentage of his former teammates have issues beyond the norm for their age.
But one ’72 Dolphin, speaking on the condition of anonymity, pointed to two other teammates who clearly were in distress at their last reunion. One brought a caregiver but appeared to be in good spirits, the anonymous player said. The other player seemed out of it, he said.
If correct, of 45 members of that team, that would make six players unable to live out their golden years in golden fashion. Six that we know of.
“You don’t know … until you know,” the anonymous player said, referring to any who might be suffering in silence.
The Buoniconti story shocked me. Kiick’s didn’t.
It was only two years ago that I met with Buoniconti and son Marc at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis to discuss the 30 years since Marc was paralyzed while making a tackle for The Citadel. Wearing shorts, tanned and vibrant, Nick looked like a man who just stepped off the tennis court but was itching to go a few more sets. The very first minute of our interview, he made it seem he was as fit mentally as physically.
“In 30 years, we’ve gone from a 1,000-square-foot research center to a 135,000-square-foot research center with 200 scientists and technicians with an annual budget of $25 million, which we have to raise every year in order to keep our doors open … ,” he said.
You think about the advances The Miami Project and The Buoniconti Fund have made, you think about how vital Nick was in raising those millions and you think about where Nick is now. And you want to stop thinking before this gets even more depressing.
Several months before that interview, I was speaking with Kiick about a documentary NFL Network recorded on the 1972 backfield trio he formed with Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris. Most of our conversation was a delight — a Jersey guy sharing hell-raising stories that always came back to them giving Don Shula gray hairs and Shula blaming Kiick for the mess du jour, whether Kiick deserved it or not. Kiick jokingly continued his decades-long pouting over why he had to block for the much-bigger Zonk rather than the other way around. He laughed about freezing his fanny during a trip to Alaska to fish with Csonka. He talked poignantly about how grateful he was to be a part of that historic team.
But I hung up feeling sadness. Late in the conversation, I casually asked how long of a trip it was to fly to Alaska to see Csonka. His answer was nonsensical, saying he had to first fly through Seattle or Denver but then flew and drove to Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Davie en route to Alaska.
That’s when, to borrow from the anonymous player, I knew what I didn’t want to know.
Here’s something else to know: If you want the NFL to switch to an 18-game regular season, rethink that. In wondering why the Dolphins are suffering this way, I realized that over that three-year span starting with the 1971 season, they played more games than any other team.
More games, more hits.
There’s a tendency to hit the pause button and say that was in a 14-game era, not today’s 16, but look closer. The Dolphins played three postseason games each of those Super Bowl years, meaning 17 “real” games. There’s more. Teams routinely played six — six! — preseason games then, and the Dolphins compounded it by also playing the college all-stars in a 1973 preseason with a mind-numbing seven exhibitions.
Add that up and you’ve got 70 games in three years, or 23.3 per. All in an era of no mercy on defenseless receivers, quarterbacks or brains.
They knew what they were getting into? Like hell.
“Obviously, if you take a pounding all those years, or even a few years, you’re not going to be the same as you were,” said Pro Bowl guard Bob Kuechenberg, among the toughest Dolphins ever. “We used to say, ‘Boy, I really rang his bell that time.’ That means you also got a concussion. But we all knew what we were getting into in terms of that.
“We didn’t know the part about the brain damage.”
There’s a lot we know today.
Whether it’s what we want to know is another story.