Aside from linebacker Jerome Baker, Dolphins coach Brian Flores might have praised Charles Harris and Eric Rowe more effusively than any others Dolphins veterans this offseason. But neither, to this point, has validated the faith.
Harris, through two games, has five tackles and no sacks in 127 defensive snaps this season, meaning he has three sacks in 29 NFL games. Now listed as a linebacker instead of a defensive end, Harris has just one QB pressure and no QB hits in 56 pass rushing snaps this season.
He had that one pressure in 30 pass rushing snaps Sunday, after producing no tangible stat in 26 pass rushing snaps against Baltimore. Through two weeks, Pro Football Focus overall rates him 72nd of 99 edge rushers.
The disparity between Harris and a couple of edge players selected within 10 picks after his selection keeps growing wider. Pittsburgh’s TJ Watt, drafted eight picks after Harris at 30, has a sack this season and 21 in his career. Atlanta’s Takk McKinley, chosen four spots after Harris, has 14 sacks.
Rowe, who was with Flores in New England the past two seasons, had a second consecutive subpar game, allowing four of six passes thrown against him to be caught for 54 yards.
Rowe’s season numbers: 12 passes thrown against him, 10 completions, 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Two other players Flores hoped would be part of the future haven’t played up to expectations. PFF ranks Kalen Ballage 55th of 56 running backs through two weeks, and Jerome Baker 68th of 77 linebackers.
The Dolphins replaced started right guard Danny Isidora with Evan Boehm for 10 plays of Sunday’s game and both are expected to compete for the starting job, with Chris Reed inactive Sunday. Both Isidora and Boehm were acquired in Aug. 30 trades.
Isidora has started both games for Miami after starting three games for the Vikings in his first two NFL seasons. Boehm, who didn’t play in the opener, has started 13 games for Arizona and Indianapolis over the past three seasons. PFF charged Isidora with allowing one of New England’s seven sacks.
▪ Though Ballage started Sunday, Kenyan Drake ended up playing far more, 37 snaps to Ballage’s 21, with Mark Walton getting 10 snaps… Among receivers, DeVante Parker played 57 of 62 offensive snaps, Preston Williams 42, Jakeem Grant 28 and Allen Hurns 28…. At tight end, Mike Gesicki (35 snaps) and Durham Smythe (25) played more than Nick O’Leary (14).
▪ Pro Football Focus gave the Dolphins’ five highest grades on offense, in order, to left tackle Jesse Davis, Walton, quarterback Josh Rosen, Williams and Smythe.
On defense, the top five grades went to safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, linebacker Vince Biegel and defensive tackles John Jenkins and Davon Godchaux.
▪ PFF gave Miami’s three worst grades on offense to Gesicki (atrocious pass blocking grade), Grant (dropped a potential touchdown) and Ballage (two dropped passes, including one leading to an interception return for a touchdown and six yards rushing on four carries).
The three worst grades on defense went to defensive end Avery Moss, cornerback Jomal Wiltz and Baker, who allowed three of four passes thrown against him to be caught, for 65 yards.
▪ Couple other notes from PFF: Guard Michael Deiter “was solid in pass protection but really struggled as a run-blocker.”... The Patriots threw five times at Xavien Howard, but only two were completed for 19 yards...All six balls thrown to DeVante Parker were incomplete, though none were called a drop.
▪ Fitzpatrick, who could be traded at any time, played 68 of Miami’s 71 defensive snaps. [UPDATE: Fitzpatrick was traded to Pittsburgh on Monday night. Here’s all the details.]
Flores was asked directly if he would like to find a way to keep Fitzpatrick on the Dolphins’ roster. He noticeably did not say “yes.”
“Well, he’s here,” Flores said. “He played well yesterday and we’ll go through the Cowboys tape and find a role how we feel is best for him and the group. I thought he played well and hopefully he continues to play well…. He’s a heck of a player.”
Here’s one small reason why Fitzpatrick’s value should be even higher: As the 11th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, his fifth-year option for 2022 will be cheaper than any player picked 1 to 10.
For players drafted in the top 10, the fifth-year salary is calculated by finding the average of the top 10 highest prior year salaries for players at the same position. For players selected between 11th and 32nd in the draft, the salary is determined by averaging the third through 25th highest prior years salaries for the player’s position.
▪ The Dolphins are on a pace to set most NFL offensive and defensive records for futility. In the last 40 seasons, no team had a worse point differential through two games than the Dolphins, who stand at -92. The only two worse in history: The 1923 Rochester Jeffersons, who were outscored by 116 in their first two games, and the 1961 Oakland Raiders (-99).
The Dolphins’ 102 points allowed in their two games are tied with the 1973 Saints for the most relinquished through two games since the inception of the Super Bowl.