Dolphins Q and A with ESPN Dolphins reporter Cameron Wolfe

By Brandon J. Koch

A big thanks to Dolphins beat reporter for ESPN, Cameron Wolfe, for taking time to answer some questions.

Who are the players currently on the Dolphins roster that are apart of the future?

CW: You can start with cornerback Xavien Howard, who is clearly the Dolphins best player. He signed a deal in May that made him the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback and at 26 years old he should still be playing at a high level when Miami can compete. After Howard, the list gets shorter and its led primarily by young defenders like Christian Wilkins and Jerome Baker.

Is Flores apart of the plan at head coach, or is he just a one year stop gap?

CW: Yes, he’s a part of the immediate future and I believe he’s back in 2020 no matter what his final record is at the end of this season. Flores’ evaluation should begin in 2020 when he has a better talent base to actually compete so I think he’s guaranteed at least two years and he most likely will see three seasons at minimum.

Where does Josh Rosen go from here after being benched again?

CW: Rosen is handling his benching admirably given that this situation, and his own NFL career hasn’t been ideal thus far, but his next step is just to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick and hopefully pick up some of the intangibles that have allowed the veteran to play in the league so long. The benching is a sign that the Dolphins don’t foresee Rosen as their quarterback of the future. Best case scenario for Rosen is he gets another chance to start for Miami this year, shows some improvement and the Dolphins trade him to another team next offseason which could use give him a more insulated system to succeed in.


Is this the worst constructed roster you have seen?

CW: Yes, it definitely is. The Dolphins have maybe seven or eight players on their roster who start on an average NFL team, which is a clear sign of how far they are away from becoming contenders. This rebuild will take multiple years. It could be argued that Miami has the worst collection of talent in recent memory, and there seems to be no position group on this roster that is better than league average.

Who are some players the Dolphins will be looking to trade before the deadline?


CW: Kenyan Drake is the big name to watch. rake has been trying to be the man in the Dolphins’ backfield for four seasons, but two different coaches have decided he’s a better fit as a rotational back. He has shown instances of frustration with his role throughout his time in Miami, and he’s in a contract year. Drake has big-play ability and often shows elusiveness as a runner and receiver. He could help a contending team, and it’s easy to foresee Miami parting with him for the price of a fifth-round pick. Other potential players to watch could be either of Miami’s quarterbacks or DeVante Parker if the price is right.

If you could, talk about the Dolphins offense and defense and what you have seen from both sides of the ball.

CW: It hasn’t been good for either side of the ball to be frank. The Dolphins have the NFL’s worst rushing offense and the second-worst rushing defense – a big sign that the issues start in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Miami also has the NFL’s youngest team so there seems to be a lack of experience at key positions. The best part of both sides of the ball are in the skill players – Preston Williams, DeVante Parker, Kenyan Drake and Albert Wilson provide some playmaker ability at receiver and running back. On defense, Xavien Howard, Reshad Jones and Bobby McCain are strong NFL contributors that test offenses. But otherwise, Miami doesn’t have much to hang its hat on.

Map shows Bills are hated in four states

By Brandon J. Koch

A map put together by shows that four states hate the Bills.

Those states are: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont.

The New England Patriots of course are the most hated, with New York being one of the nine states.

Patriots: 9 states

Seahawks: 5 states

Packers: 5 states

49ers: 4 states

Eagles: 4 states

Cowboys: 4 states

Saints: 4 states

Bills: 4 states

Raiders: 2 states

Falcons: 2 states

Ravens: 2 states

Jets: 2 states

Browns: 1 state

Bears: 1 state

Texans: 1 state

Are the Sabres shopping Marco Scandella?

By Brandon J. Koch

Is general manager Jason Botterill looking to move a defenseman?

Two hockey insiders give us some information.

In Elliotte Friedman’s 31 thoughts, he brings up the abundance of defenseman that Buffalo will have once everyone is healthy.

“Buffalo is another team looking to move a defender, and I thought Arizona might make sense for one of these blueline-heavy clubs when Niklas Hjalmarsson went down. He’s a huge part of what they do. Since he’s going to be back and they are tighter to the cap, a big move is unlikely. The Coyotes believe in 22-year-old Kyle Capobianco, whose 2018-19 season was shortened by a knee injury. He played 13:18 in Tuesday’s victory in Winnipeg.”

Pierre LeBrun of the Athletic brought Marco Scandella’s name up in a trade deadline piece.

While the Sabres aren’t rushing to make a trade, Scandella is a name to keep in mind.

“If Rasmus Ristolainen ends up staying, and it sounds like he’s happy right now, then something has to eventually give on a Sabres blue line that’s going to be bubbling with bodies once everyone is healthy. Not that there’s any hurry to decide anything. Especially not with a trip overseas coming next month. But at some point this season I suspect the Sabres could deal a blueliner given those numbers. Scandella is a pending UFA on July 1 and currently carries a cap hit of $4 million. It’s not out of the question depending on league-wide interest that he’s the odd man out later in the season. He’s a quality veteran teams normally look to add closer to the deadline.”

With Brandon Montour expected to be back in a few weeks, we could see John Gilmour be sent down.

The defenseman carousel is just getting started.

Fitzpatrick on Buffalo: It’s an awesome place to play

By Brandon J. Koch

Ryan Fitzpatrick played in 56 games for the Buffalo Bills from 2009-2012, it’s safe to say he knows the game day environment.

“It’s an awesome place to play,” Fitzpatrick told the media today.

“Whether you’re there as a player with the support of the fans or as an opponent, a hostile environment.”

Fitzpatrick loved his time in Buffalo and remembers the people.

“That building, those people and the city of Buffalo, I have a lot of good memories.”

Fitz brought up the unique Gameday experience in Orchard Park.

“It’s fun to play a game in that great environment, this one is unique.”

“You have all these new stadiums that are enormous, it’s almost like the game is secondary, but in Buffalo it’s all about the game. After the tailgating of course,” he said with a smile.

Ryan Fitzpatrick to start Sunday

By Brandon J. Koch

Former Bills and current Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start Sunday in Orchard Park.

Head coach Flores:

“We’re going to start Fitz this week,” Flores said. “Kind of came to that conclusion over the last couple of days. We feel that was the best thing for this team and it’ll give us the best opportunity for this team to go up into a tough environment and try to pull out a win. And we do that on a weekly basis. What’s the best grouping, set of players, offense, defense, kicking game, to help try to win the game? We felt that was the case this week.”

More to come.

Sean McDermott is pumped for 3 straight home games with BillsMafia

By Brandon J. Koch

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott was on “Good Morning Football,” this morning and talked about the process and the upcoming three straight home games at New Era Field.

“To me, we have one of the most special fan bases in the NFL.”

‘It’s unique to play here in Buffalo.”

“If you build it they will come, and we’re trying to build something here. We’re not done.”

Next three home games:

10/20 vs Miami

10/27 vs Philly

11/03 vs Washington

Zay Jones said he did a good job with the Bills

By Brandon J. Koch

Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Zay Jones reflected on his time in Buffalo with the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I felt like I had a good amount of production in my second season,” Jones said. “Stepping into the third season, obviously I was hoping and planning for more. It wasn’t trending in that direction in the beginning. I was just trying to stay as patient as possible and really trust in that process of ‘it’ll eventually happen.’

“But I did my role, I felt like I did it really well. The targets and all that stuff, can’t really focus on that, can’t really control that. I did what I could. But now I’m here. So it’s exciting to be here, exciting to be in this locker room with these guys.”

A look at Jones career in Buffalo.

Receiving touchdowns: 9

Receiving yards: 1,033

Receiving average: 11.7

Receptions: 88

Games: 36

Quarterbacks he played with: Tyrod Taylor, Nathan Peterman, Josh Allen and Matt Barkley

Sabres shutout Stars, sweep home stand

By a Brandon J. Koch

The Buffalo Sabres defeat the Dallas Stars by a score of 4-0 at KeyBank Center.

Buffalo sweeps a three game home-stand with a complete game. This was the best game by the Sabres so far this season.

The Sabres are getting shots where they usually get them from. A well managed game by the defense, limiting the Stars offense.

Another look. Overall great defensive gameplay.

It was an uneventful 1st period, while the Sabres took over the 2nd and cruised in the 3rd.

Vesey- Mittelstadt- Rodrigues was sneaky good today, creating chances and keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

Before today’s game, Ben Bishop’s career against the Sabres was 12-0-1 with a 1.37 goals against and .951 save percentage.

That was his first career loss in regulation against Buffalo.

Up next. Sabres after dark.

Ed Oliver on the bye week: I missed Buffalo a lot

By Brandon J. Koch

Buffalo Bills rookie defensive tackle Ed Oliver is already comfortable with the NFL life and living in Western New York.

During the bye week, Oliver went back to Houston to be with family and friends.

Even with that, he missed Buffalo and glad to be back home.

From JT Messinger Of Channel 2 news:

Oliver talked about missing his own home and bed back in Buffalo and couldn’t wait to get back.

He also explained the rookie life and how close of a family this Bills team has become,

Sabres still undefeated at home

By Brandon J. Koch

The Buffalo Sabres are still undefeated at KeyBank Center after a 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers.

Here are some thoughts:

Sticking to the process: Another up and down game for the Sabres. They capitalized on scoring chances to take a 2-0 lead. But couldn’t respond to Florida’s pressure in the third. Even when the game was tied late and into overtime, Buffalo kept their composure.

As Linus Ullmark said, stick with the process and with the game plan.

Florida had the better first and third periods, while the Sabres were the better team in the second.

Panthers had the better opportunities and possession.

If you take a look at all five games of the Sabres scoring chances, there’s a theme. All similar of where they are shooting

Credit Buffalo’s defense, not giving up much in the front of the net.

The Okposo- Larsson- Girgensons line is perhaps the best line on the team? They’ve been outstanding in every game. Constant pressure, playing in all situations. Don’t break them up, Ralph.

The youngsters didn’t play much in the third, head coach Ralph Krueger talked about having experience down the stretch of games.

As we see here, Dahlin, Mittelstadt, Oloffson and Erod barley saw the ice.

It will be interesting to see if that’s a consistent formula going forward.

Charts are from: Natural Stat Trick, MoneyPuck and Evolving hockey.

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