Armando Salguero

Five newsy Dolphins observations: TNT redo, vets visit, promising underrated addition

Dolphins QB Fitzpatrick comments on the new QB, Josh Rosen

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick comments on the newly arrived QB, Josh Rosen, May 14, 2019.
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Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick comments on the newly arrived QB, Josh Rosen, May 14, 2019.

Some random thoughts and observations after the opened Miami Dolphins OTA practice Tuesday:

The big rage story of the day Tuesday was the TNT wall. I wrote about it. Everybody pretty much wrote about it as if it’s a new, interesting thing conjured by this new Dolphins coaching staff.

But ....

It’s not new, folks.

This TNT thing is said to stand for Takes No Talent. This coaching staff wants players to do the little things right — the things that really take very little athletic ability, such as lining up correctly and not jumping offsides.

Good idea.

Joe Philbin, coach of the Dolphins from 2012 to 2015, had a similar idea. He too had a TNT campaign going on throughout the Dolphins facility in the offseason prior to the 2015 regular season.

That TNT stood for “Tough ‘N Together.”

Philbin had reminders set up throughout the building to stress the Dolphins should be a tough and together team. The reminders included playing some AC/DC song meant to get the players feeling tough (not a fan, so I don’t know the song) played before team meetings or before the team went out to practice.

So TNT in 2015. TNT in 2019.

And this is where I remind you there’s nothing new under the sun. I made that point right here last week.

WINDOW SHOPPING

So the Dolphins are visiting with 3-4 outside linebacker Connor Barwin. This would be a great get ...

If it was five years ago.

Barwin is a great leader in the locker room and, I’m told, awesome to have in the community. That’s good.

But he’s 32 years old and if you look at his career arc, he has on the decline. He has been with three teams — Philadelphia, Los Angeles Rams, and New York Giants — the past three years. And the Giants cut him after one season in which he managed 12 combined tackles, including one sack in 15 games.

I have been ordered not to get all puckered up about Barwin, or his age, or his recent decline because nothing is imminent on the signing front and the team was simply window shopping on Wednesday — a day that saw a break in the OTA action.

I’m told the Dolphins brought in a handful of players (veterans) to check out Wednesday.

So not a big deal. For now.

But obviously the bigger takeaway from this is the Dolphins are still shopping for possible veteran upgrades in the last stages of free agency.

LOOKING FOR LEADERS

Dolphins coaches have recently been talking a lot about leadership and wanting leaders on their roster. Dolphins coach Brian Flores addressed this Tuesday in an interesting way ....

“If you work hard and put the team first, you’re a leader,” Flores said. “I want to have 53 leaders on our team. I want 90 on our team right now. That’s something that you can develop. That’s something that you can talk about.

“If you work hard and you put the team first, you’re showing leadership. Pro Bowls, I mean you can be a Pro Bowler and be lazy. That happens. If that’s the case, you’re not really a leader. You’re just an elite talent. Hopefully that answers your question.”

Not my question.

This is my question, based on the fact veteran safety Reshad Jones, a former Pro Bowl player, has decided to stay away from the voluntary team workouts and workout on his own locally:

Is not showing up to OTAs leadership?

“I would say, look, everything is a case-by-case situation,” Flores responded. “It really is. Again, it’s voluntary. We’ve got players all over the league who have shown a lot of leadership over a long period of time who haven’t shown up to the voluntary camps.

“No, I wouldn’t say that. I would say every situation is a little bit different. Yeah, I would say every situation is different.”

Flores is right to point out that players on other teams might stay away and be leaders. Flores is right to say it’s a case-by-case basis.

Tom Brady is staying away in New England. And he’s a leader on that team.

LeVeon Bell is staying away in New York. And he’s not a leader at all on that team.

But everyone in that room Tuesday knew I was asking about the Dolphins. And Jones.

Is he a leader on the Dolphins?

A GOOD FIT

Perhaps the most underrated addition the Dolphins made this offseason is the signing of veteran cornerback Eric Rowe.

Why I like this signing:

He’s 6-1 and 205 pounds, so great size.

He’s 26, so his best days might be ahead.

He has signed a one-year deal for a max value of $3.5 million which is a prove-it contract. So he’s going to be hungry because he probably wants to get paid next year.

He knows the Dolphins defense because the Dolphins are running the Patriots defense and Rowe played for New England the past three years.

I like this signing.

The worries?

Fine, so Rowe has not been elite. I get that. Two other teams had him and moved on.

Rowe also has had durability issues for a long time. He only played four games with the Patriots last seasons and in his three years with that team he never played more than nine games.

So is this going to be the forever answer at cornerback opposite Xavien Howard? Probably not. But it feels like a solid, if only temporary, patch over a hole in the Dolphins depth chart.

Because no one else seems to offer a solution. Cordrea Tankersley is still recovering from his major knee surgery, and he wasn’t awesome before he got injured. Bobby McCain at the boundary is not maximizing his abilities in the slot. Minkah Fitzpatrick out there is not maximizing him at the slot or his potential at safety.

And everyone else at the position is largely unproven.

So Rowe might be the guy. If he can stay healthy.

“It’s just important to me to stay healthy,” Rowe said. “Right now, I know he has me running with the ones, but for me it’s just trying to improve each day because it’s not just competing — obviously against young corners here that are really good — but it’s competing with guys on all 32 teams and all of the receivers out there.

“Kind of through my years in New England, I learned that you’re not just competing with the guys — you have to compete with yourself because there’s receivers on the Falcons, the Seahawks or whoever we play that are really good, so you have to get ready for them.”

OPTIMISM

Finally, I appreciate the enthusiasm recent right tackle signee Jordan Mills brings. The Dolphins are a rebuilding team. But it doesn’t sound like Mills has gotten that memo.

“It’s a great team, great young team [and a] new coaching staff,” Mills said. “(We’re) coming out here to build a championship, playoff caliber type team and get an opportunity to play for this great organization with a great history. It’s a true blessing and I’m glad to be here.”

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